"Rosita" Reports - Leg 8

Ship Bar

122600 1600 UTC-1
Christmas was busy on Rosita. Fuel & provisions amidst a crazy Christmas shopping scene in Praia. Fixed watermaker again (high pressure pump drive bolts sheared for third time, also replaced low pressure seals - Village Marine needs a new design engineer), shared Christmas with the McGaffey family, made a new gooseneck for the US Embassy yacht/ evacuation module, ran bureaucratic foreign clearance gauntlet, & generally cleared decks for the passage to Trinidad. Last thing was to get a pile of great Christmas emails. 2200 miles to Trinidad. Currently in Santiago's wind shadow & motoring. 0400 1227 Made it through the Fogo and Brava acceleration zones and now settling down to a steadier ENE 20 with the occasional series of rolly swells. Good to think of our new friends as hore there as we slid by in the night. GPS tells us we have about 2 weeks to go. Dust haze has cleared so stars brilliant. Hank's watch had dolphins like torpedoes in phosphorescence. Mkl

12 28 00 0100 UTC-1 1441N 2745W 170m in past 24h.
Happy not to be in temperate latitudes, given forecast for further north. A regular sentiment for past few months. Wind eased to NE15. Less swell. I reef, full jib. Water maker life between pump reattachment exercises now down to 5 h. So will finally forget about that little luxury till can find an engineer. Happily we filled the tanks before it croaked again. Plan B was to stop in Fogo for water if they weren't filled by then. Crew settling back into the usual routine. Oliver increasingly able to stay awake on demand. Lots of clicky sperm whales out here. Other very loud squeals of I know not what too. No birds (No terns since Azores - Jeremy).The number of boats en route from over here to over there a fraction of what it was a month ago. Something about Christmas in the Caribbean. I continue to be amazed at how many people (~200) are signed up to this list. I guess the delete button is easy to find. Mkl

12 29 00 - Right now we are surfing wing & wing on an 18-20 knot breeze. Rather fun, not much goes wrong. The flying fish & squids are well in notice. So far we have only heard some sperm whales. Dad & Oliver have been hearing some "strange noises" while listening to the hydrophone, not exactly sure what they are. The only sighting has been a whale, the size of a large Orca, completely black, with a curled dorsal fin. This was only sighted twice, both times plowing out of the crests of several large waves. Dad has actually turned out to be a fairly avid cook, making truly scrumptious dinners for us these last few nights, not that this is his first time cooking. Beside the water maker falling apart again the crossing has gotten off to a great start. Sam
Cupboard love. Routine is building: sleep, eat, and fix chafe. Chafe never sleeps: it squeaks, you fix it and it moves on someplace else. Sounds like writing funding proposals. Awesome sunset: reds & greens. 1411N 03043W 0040 UTC-1 122900. Mkl

Cruising along with a bubbling wake. Rolled up jib a bit 'cause we needed to head up a few degrees. Funnily, it was Mom who suggested the decrease in sail. Today was the first day of Mid-Atlantic school. It was surprisingly painless. Sightings have been limited to flying fish, that are scattered along the deck and water, and dolphins (who so conveniently appear at MIDNIGHT). Tom has invented the game whereby he throws a ball-on-bungee which wraps itself around the rolled-up dodger, unravels its self, and hysterically hits Dad's head if he is ascending the steps (if it doesn't bop Tom first). Just in case you were wondering, we're all still here. Chris
Noon to noon 205 miles. Best yet for Rosita. Cumulus, sun, steady following sea, and a bone in her teeth. A few petrels. Less sperms now, still some dolphins. Hank & Oliver both doing seasonal things on concertina we bought in Lanzarote. Chili & sweet C Verde zucchini & egg plant for dinner. 1353N 03357W 0014 UTC-1123000 All's well. Mkl

12 31 00 1335N 3714W 0015UTC-2 185m in past 24h
Simply flying along! We're averaging 8-9 knots, periodically surfing up to 10 an d occasionally up to 13. It is blowing 20 off our starboard quarter and we have the main reefed once and most of the jib poled out. We haven't seen another boat since CV just flying fish. Right now I'm just about half way through my watch a nd reading random sailing magazines (even though most of them are a year old). M y watch is from 2000 to 2400 and so far on this passage I have been by myself wi thout Sam. However I enjoy being alone for a couple of hours each day. Even thou gh everyone is still there close at hand I am the only one awake and doing thing s. The solitude is a great thing when you are with them 24 hrs. a day. Even so t he days pass by quickly enough, I'm usually awake by 0900 and school takes up th e rest of the morning then the afternoon consists of reading and card games. Oli ver (The occasional DVD too! They all disappear in to the forecabin....Mkl)

01 01 01 1324N 04037W 0000 UTC-2 Another day, another millennium charging along on Rosita. Avg 8.6ks last 24 h. Monitor vane doing all the work, although M fusses over her nonstop, grease for chafe here, sprit bottle of water to pulleys there . Boys happy with routine, getting school work down, & puking nothing back up. T oday, haircuts for M, S & C- who always dulls the blades. All looking forward to mid-point shower stall tomorrow- as lone female member of crew, I can attest to the pungency of multiple Moore males. Celebrate the New Year with a bar of soap ! YAHOO! We have had a few rain showers, but not enough to address deep red Cape Verdean dirt that permeates all lines/canvas/etc. on boat. Aloft far more dirty, as it wasn't rinsed with salt spray. Learned 4 new tunes this week on my concer tina. Hannah
207nm in past 24h. Must be the good dose of Clark/Harris sailing speed genes abo ard. Fewer sperms in past 2 days. Coming up to what is left of Mid Atlantic rid ge at this latitude. Mkl

01 02 00 0110 UTC-2 1309N 4358W ENE15. 21 y ago sailed Canaries to Antigua.
Major piece missing this time is no frigate birds. Same steady winds, same clouds, but different hopes and expectations. Rhythm set: much reading as the waves roll un der us, clouds above and she hisses along, with a warm breeze on your back. Gett ing Cape Verdes into perspective, thinking of the Caribbean kaleidoscope. Kids e xcited about being in a place that speaks English. Essentially right whale agend a now on hold till we get to Bermuda in May. So time to explore history of sugar & slaves, and get some exposure to tropical nature. Just finished Michener's "C aribbean". Frustrating to glean shards of insight about cultures we will visit and not have the whole picture or access to greater depth of information. From a sociological stance we could have spent years reading for this trip, yet the r eality is we will use the time as we do, experience what we can and emerge with broader perspective of humanity. Mkl

01 03 01 1310N 4657W 0020UTC-2 800nm to Tobago.
Hard to put words to the magic of this passage. Relieving Oliver at midnight, the moon was directly ahead, the wi nd behind, a few low clouds & stars bright. The sails either side backlit by the moon, Rosita dancing back and forth through the moon river on the water, as the waves roll under from behind and to the right. As the foam catches the light w e seem to be in a state of cruising alchemy. Kids have been saying: "this could go on forever, although it might get a bit monotonous in the end", or "we've onl y got another 1000 miles of this". Hannah getting seriously productive in the bakery department. At this rate we will be in Tobago on Sunday. Havent seen a water hose or laundromat since first week in October. Last time we saw a decent marine hardware store was Scotland in August. So Trinidad, which h as become a yachting mecca for the Eastern Caribbean, sounds like a promised lan d. It has shopping malls! Birds too. Mkl

01 04 01 1249N 4949W 0035UTC-2 650m to go.
Still running w single reefed main & poled jib . For last day wind has gradually been dying: now NE10-15 & we can't make our c ourse of 280 M because once we head that far off the wind we hardly move. We're able to do about 6.5 kts steering about 287. We think we have the maximum amount of sail because if you take the reef out of the main she slams like anything ev ery time she rolls. The second jib wouldn't do much, the big jib is more stable then the spinnaker, and the purple cow wouldn't set. So we'll just have to mosey along like this until we get there. However those few days where we flew along hopefully will make up for it. Dad got the American weather forecasts off the In marsat for the first time today. But he got it again from Alberto the Italian we ather net version of Herb. Dad is still going to check in because Alberto only h as one other boat and it's fun talking with him. American Chop Suey for dinner. More drizzle rain. Oliver

01 05 01 1214N 5236W 0025 UTC-3. 480 m to Tobago.
Wind more fitful in past 2 days, but sh e seems to know where the stable is & keeps nodding along at 6 to 7 knots. The l ess we try to tweak her, the better she goes. Seem to have more wind than boats to N. Surprised how well we've avoided serious chafe. Hearing sperm whales about 1x daily now. The following is from our 9 year old crew member, who no doubt wi ll grow to see the less wonderful sides of the ocean with time: Hi everybody. I'm Tom. I think this trip is really cool. The other day a flying fish went through a hatch and into the galley. Struck me as a stupid thing to. T his trip is really exciting. We've been at sea for 10 days now. It's amazing how wonderful the ocean can be. I've been reading a lot. The Caribbean sounds reall y cool. We're headed for Tobago, which is part of Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad and Tobago is the country and Tobago is the island. Quite complicated, really. I hear there's lots of monkeys in Trinidad. Bye.

01 07 01 1115N 06005W 23m E of Tobago.
Steady parade of ships rounding N end of Tobago, presumably headed to/from Panama. Tonnage exceeds what we've seen since leaving Cape Cod. Ambling along waiting for dawn to make the final approach to Tobago. Se eing boobies. Still no frigates. Bittersweet end to this passage: has been truly one of the best ever for me, but it's time for "civilization". We've averaged 7 kts over the 13 day trip.
Any lingering guilt about not visiting the Cintra Bay area in the Western Sahara , an important old right whale calving ground, on the way to the Cape Verdes fro m the Canaries, was dispelled by this piece today on the COMSAT news service: "A LGIERS - Militant Polisario Front, seeking independence for Western Sahara, said Morocco had violated ceasefire there Saturday shortly before Paris-Dakar car ra lly was due to pass through the disputed territory." Hope they haven't been usin g the last right whale for target practice. Mkl

01 08 00
Sometimes I feel positively guilty using GPS and charts on CD. You open up the c hart on the PC, and as the little boat moves into the arc of visibility of the l ight you are heading for, you stick your head out the hatch and look in the dire ction ordained by the chart and surprise, surprise - 1st piece of land in 2200 m iles - there she winks. We duly anchored here in Scarborough, Tobago at 0730 UT C-4 today. Although I must add that the horizontal datum glitch on the PC chart plotted us on dry land as we came up the channel. Customs and Immigration had a decidedly British flavour to their civil but unrelenting inquiry into ones app ropriateness for admission. Happily we appear to be low risk and have enjoyed e xploring the air-conditioned shops, the pizza joints, the laundry service and th e cash machines that actually work. But still we feel totally bereft of the Cap e Verdes we came to love and admire. Plan on being around here for a week or th ree. Michael.

01 12 01 Scarborough, Tobago.
Absorbing rich culture here. Thriving folks: not pu shy, but confident in who they are. Trinidad & Tobago do have a problem in that they are in the outwash of the Orinoco River with all the "stuff" that comes dow n from Colombia. More in Trinidad than Tobago. Yesterday went on a guided tour with a local - David Rooks. Knows island birds & trees really well. Visited Lit tle Tobago island: nesting red billed tropic birds with their attendant group of harassing frigate birds, inducing them to regurgitate in midair & catching it m id-flight. Other beautiful birds - humming birds and such. David also a histori an. Great perspective on the value of channel between Trinidad and Tobago for S panish galleons, French & English privateers & US and UK WW2 ships blocking Germ any's access to local oil. At which point local humpbacks & sperms departed. Rai n forest tomorrow with David then sail around to NW of island for reefs on Sunda y. Michael

01 15 01Arrived yesterday in Trinidad.
Booked in to haul and paint bottom next week, and replace the standing rigging that we have not yet done en route. Two more lengths had stranded on way over. Please do not send any more mail etc to the TTYC. Delivery is hopeless. I have to go visit each and every courier's office (PO FedX DHL UPS Customs, etc etc!) on the island to go retrieve various things at this point. Michael

01/22/01 - Hope to launch tomorrow with a newly painted bottom and new standing rigging. Sam's latest missive to his grandmother sums up some of our recent times....he fails to mention that school rolls along, Oliver had two teeth pulled, and the mosquitoes emerge out of the swamp behind the boatyard at 0230 sharp....

We are in Trinidad and loving it. This place is really neat. It is the total opposite of Cape Verde. In the south it's rolling hills covered with corn and other produce, the north on the other hand is along the edge of the Caribbean plate so they are mountainous and covered with rain forests. Dad thinks they are evergreen but I still think they are deciduous. We'll have to find out. We drove to Asa Wright nature center yesterday and went on a walk through the forest, it was a very short walk compared to some that dad goes on with us and we didn't see many birds because there were lots of little kids in the group and it was a pretty big group. We saw tons of birds new to us though just sitting on the veranda at the base camp thing. They have a small clearing lined with bird feeders just below the veranda; I saw birds that I have never seen before there. My favorite two birds are the Bannannaquit and the Great Kisskadee; They look almost exactly the same except that the Kisskadee has a duller brownish black back while the Bannannaquit has a shinny black back. The main and most notable difference between the to is that the Kisskadee is about four times the size of the Bannannaquit. They both have magnificent shinny black heads with bright white eye- brows, not unlike those of a badger. The guys may have already told you, but I can't get over the Pitch Lake. It was amazing (not that it didn't stink like a dead skunk). The thing that I think is the coolest about it is that in the summer the sun ignites the methane gas that hisses out of it and the like is sometimes a lake of fire. Sam

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