It is 1940 on Monday evening December 7th 2009….we are 9 and a half hours into a 22 plus hour passage on the Atlantic.

We (the royal we of course) decided we were not going to do “the ditch” on this leg of the trip….we were going “outside”…to encourage him further, a boat tied up just astern of us, “Indian Summer”, had exactly the same idea….”we’ve seen enough Georgia marshes…enough golden reeds!!! They all said, but I like meandering through the golden reeds of Georgia…I was outnumbered and I gave in, graciously, I hope.

I tenderly secured my herb garden...

We left Thunderbolt Marine at 1000 this morning with "Indian Summer" happily following.

So here we are in the middle of a dark night on the Atlantic with nothing in sight but the faithful bow lights (sometimes red sometimes green as they are getting tossed around a bit) of Indian Summer directly astern of us….the “buddy boat concept is a great one, David just called them on the VHF to advise them of a course change of 5* to starboard to avoid some bad area.

Their auto pilot is not working, which is really a bad bit of luck on such a long trek, so they are happy to follow Soli’s guiding light. Sharon has been hand steering for a good chunk of time, her arms are aching! I am a spoiled brat and have not had to drive yet….also I am not very good at it because I don’t enjoy it or I don’t enjoy it because I am not good at it! But I did go forward on the cabin top to reef the main (being well tethered in of course)…I feel much more comfortable doing deck work, even in rough conditions, with D at the helm than the other way around…if I fall in I trust him to do a MOB (man/woman over board) maneuver and rescue me, if he falls in, he is history(and so am I!)!!!

Had to go and record our 2000 position and plot it on the chart, although we have very good electronic equipment on board, on passage we always have a paper chart at the ready with a plotted position on it as a backup, in case all the teckie stuff should die on us….we will at least know where we are!!!

Sorry if I am repeating info that you long time followers already know but we have a few new friends who don’t yet know the lingo and the drill..

Another reason, I was told, is that by doing a sea passage, we are saving a few nights dockage at marinas, which of course since we are in “R” mode is a consideration…true, I say but what about the AMAZING new anchor and windlass D is itching to try…that would not cost anything….they could start earning their keep!

Do you get the feeling I am unhappy, not at all; I’ve been told I like to complain….MOI??? complain! But I don’t see myself doing this for three weeks such as an Atlantic crossing, although I’ve heard the first couple of days are the toughest after that it gets easier.

D just called “Indian Summer” to advise of another 5* to starboard to avoid an UNLIT buoy…that would be quite nasty, not a bump in the night.

I’ve just been asked if there was any tea left…now I knew I was good for something, braving the elements, ie a kettle dancing up and down as the boat heels this way and that, full of boiling water, that I am monitoring out of the corner of my eye, at a respectable distance waiting for the whistle and then I shall make the Cap’t a cuppa.

You may think I am bored, this could not be further from the truth, I have spent a good part of my time, keying in waypoints with lat and long on our chartplotter, 37 to be exact and we are approaching number17, and planning a route, so D would have a nice line to steer along ..kettle is boiling…back in a sec!

Well I’ve managed another thermos of tea making mission without scalding myself….not to be outdone but Sharon informed us on the VHF that Steve had treated her to a supper of chicken and beans! Hummmm... but can he make tea, and with ginger snaps too?

I’ve taken time off to record and plot our 2100 position and am pleased to report that after some calculations I have logged a progress of 7.5 nm (not a typo, it stands for nautical miles) in the past hour….

Well, “another damn buoy! “ from the helm and also we are starting to see more traffic, ie lights on the horizon which show up  aspurple blotches on our radar screens,  it is quite nifty, you can track them and the chart plotter will tell you how far they are, how fast they are going and in which direction and their bearing to your vessel. Bored, did you say, nah!!!

Just checked our route….72 nm and 10hours and 23 minutes to go…this might be a very long blog, albeit a boring one unless of course you are saved by my battery dying…do not fret I have a 12 volt charger!

9th December 2009

D here since the usual blogger is busy making us supper.

Since Catherine stopped writing we have travelled the 72 nm safe and sound with wind and swell dying down in the early hours to a fairly comfortable pitch and rolling motion. We got to the St Augustine outer sea buoy at 08.00 hrs 8th where the official sea passage ended and then carefully threaded our way down the entrance channel with breakers on both sides of us – it would be silly to do something daft like running aground at this late stage, wouldn’t it? Thence into the calm of the bay, turn to starboard, under the bridge and turn into the marina that we have booked – Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor http://www.camacheeisland.com/

First a quick stop at the gas dock to top up our diesel, For those of you interested in such information, we used 14.2 gallons in 23.2 hours of engine running time and covered 132 nm . Our consumption was less than our usual gallon per hour since we ran most of the way at reduced rpm to stay close to our buddy boat. Once onto the dock that had been assigned us we went through the usual tasks of putting the boat to bed…. On this occasion it included raising the main again to take the reef out since we had not bothered to do so when we dropped the main at sea. By the way the main was reefed not because of bad weather or strong winds, there was, in fact, no need to reef, other than it saves us from having to do this at night in the dark and perhaps under more pressure should a squall appear.

As we were putting the boat to rights the telephone rings and it is the office asking where I was. Anyway to cut a long story short the company that Tony and I had started 17 years ago has been sold and I had to sign the director’s resolution to sell the company. Fortunately Catherine was ever on hand to snap a couple of shots of me signing my “ John Henry “ to this (for us anyway) historic document !! Not very dignified kneeling on a concrete dock with the boat boy waiting to take it back to the office to fax it back to Montreal.

An end to an era for me – officially retired as of 31st December 2009. I shall undoubtedly miss the people that I have worked with, but the work….. no I don’t think so. As the Lionel Bart musical show said “ Fings aint wot they used ter be “ !!! Meantime we have the boat and all her attendant problems, cleaning, scrubbing , servicing etc etc etc !!

Today we have had the alternator taken away for testing as I was not happy that it was working properly . We shall see tomorrow whether I am just being a nervous Nellie. Taking it out of the boat means also that we can renew all of the belts (three in all) for those haven’t been renewed for several years. Only one was truly worn but we intend to have new throughout to be on the safe side.

Whilst doing the passage Catherine also broke one of the lifelines, a possible serious matter, although not in this instance. They have now been inspected and all are to be replaced tomorrow using the old stainless steel fittings as and where possible. What price safety ??

So the list goes on and now my supper is ready and I must go. Binow!

Dec. 10th…

We did not have wifi yesterday so I could not post, sorry!

I woke up yesterday, quite refreshed and ready to attack a day’s work on Soli…and it was going great,  then Jim arrived to take apart our alternator (D felt it was not putting out as it should) and before long I had the familiar sight of two men lying on the floor of the boat with grease up to their elbows, pushing, pulling, grunting to remove it…it was worse than giving birth!

Needless to say, the boat was upside down and the rest of the day was busy putting everything back so it would look relatevely neat again.

Last evening we started our cruising life in earnest by going over to our dock neigbours and traveling companions, Sharon, Steve and Ruger the boat lab (Indian Summer).
It was very nice as we had all worked hard on our boats all day to just relax, share a drink, munchies and get to know each other better.

Today, rebelotte with the alternator, it came back with a clean bill an of health and was reinstalled with a little less struggle than it was to remove it… it was then decided that the regulator was the problem, so we have one on order and the saga continues.
We also have Mike the rigger changing the life lines, not sure if I mentioned that during the Atlantic passage as I was coming back to the cockpit after furling the main, I just touched one of the life lines and it broke, fortunately I was not leaning on it and was tethered to the boat or it would have been me in the drink in the middle of the night….now that would have been a good exercise for the skipper to find me and fish me out!!! Anyhow safety first ...they are all being changed…so much for stainless steel not rusting…it just rusts LESS!

Today was a polishing job for the two of us… we did all the stanchions etc, since the life lines were out.

I am sorry, all this is sounding a little too technical and boring but that is our life at he moment, soon we hopefully will send pictures of beaches, sunsets and coconut trees but we have to get there yet and getting there is half the fun,so they say!!!

Today a man walking on the dock stopped and said to me “you live the life I dream of” ...that was so well put and touching, so I replied “you dream of polishing and buffing?” all kidding aside it is all pretty amazing and I am so grateful to be able to live our dream!

Must go make sups …talk to you soon ...will try and post a few pics later so come back and ckeck!

Marysa, this one is for you ...not very exiting am afraid!!

And dear Joan this one is for you.

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