Hi everyone! We made it to Senegal!
This passage was much easier than the last one. It was over 850 miles, so we were prepared for it to take over a week to get here. That’s a long time on a little boat!
The weather was pretty much in our favor all the time. That meant almost the entire way the wind was behind us, or on our port beam (perpendicular to the boat on the left side). When the wind is exactly behind you, you can put the main on one side and the jib on the other in a configuration called wing-on-wing. It’s really beautiful to behold! And it makes the boat go fast, so we got here in just 7 days!
I had morning watch this time, which was from 0600 to 1000. Getting up was easy because someone was there to wake me up. Then the rest of the watch went fast as I fished, watched sunrise, reconfigured the boat for daylight, and then got Evi up to do our radio conversations (at 8 and 9). It was a great way to start the day; I will happily do morning watch again.
One day I had a great watch. It started out with night time dolphins. They made streaks of phosphorescence. You could not see the dolphins at all, just the comet-like streaks moving around the boat. Cool! Then at dawn, I caught a fish. I put the line back in the water because it was tangled up and in my way in the cockpit. I got another fish immediately, so now I had two fish flopping around not quite dead, and another tangle of line. I figured, well three would not be TOO much, and put the line in again. I went below to find the rum we use to kill the fish (pour it in their gills), but got another fish when I was below decks. This time I did not put the line back out! Evi came up from bed and helped me gut, fillet, and skin them. We had them for lunch and dinner for three days!
For the record, the fish were all tuna, about 16 inches long. They yielded over 3 pounds of fillets!
One evening as we were getting ready for bed, we hit a whale. It was this big hard bonk, then the boat kept going. It was pretty scary for a second, until we were certain that the boat was not taking on water, and that the whale would not try to take revenge. Other than floating containers (like the kind you see on trailers on the highway) whales are about the only other thing in tropical waters that can hole a fiberglass boat like Wonderland.
During the first few weeks aboard (over a month ago!) I read the books Evi has on board about sailing, sailboat maintenance, cruising, etc. One of the things from those books that stuck out in my mind was this sentence: “Baking perfectly matches the pace of life on a boat. When you run out of bread from land, try making some yourself!” After a few days at sea, I was sitting on morning watch thinking that the regular breakfast (granola, yogurt, milk, and the first of many bottles of water) was getting old. I decided that I wanted to bake scones for the crew so that they’d be ready when everyone got up. I went below and took a look in the Moosewood cookbook, but there was no scone recipe! How could that be? So when people woke up, I asked if there was another cookbook on board, but there were not any with scone recipes. So we asked on the radio, and got a recipe, but it used some magical English flour called self-rising, so we had to experiment with the recipe some to figure out how to simulate self-rising flour with our boring European flour and three-year old American baking powder. The first try was OK, but on the second day the skipper said they were Out Of This World! (The secret, it turns out, is to use the broiler to brown the tops. The high sugar content in the dough makes the tops brown in a really satisfying way.)
I also made bread the next day. It turned out great and I got a request for a repeat performance for Thanksgiving.
We had a great Thanksgiving while underway. We got email from both my Mom (thanks mom!) and from the Pratt family. We had been making plans and setting aside produce for several days before. We were hoping to catch another fish for Thanksgiving, but had a vegetarian menu planned too, just in case. We didn’t catch a fish after all, so we had mashed potatos, baked sweet potatos, carrots and broccoli steamed and buttered, garlic sesame green beans, and homemade bread.