perjantai 28. lokakuuta 2011

October 26th 2011

Bribing The Gods

Have I, by any chance, given you the impression that we dislike the ongoing leg? If so, the impression is absolutely correct! Actually, the sailing per se has not been so bad and, occasionally, we have made very good progress indeed, but mostly in a wrong direction. It seems to be so easy to go anywhere but east!

At the moment, what we are lacking is a sense of rhythm, or routine if you prefer that term. For us, rhythm means stability at sea, i.e. a daily routine that holds everything together and will not break even during squalls or minor storms, and this applies to any long-term crossing (excluding the Northwest Passage). But here, everything is continuously unstable and, therefore, extremely tiring. It is as if we were in a race with strategies for making use of or battling the ocean, tidal, and counter currents, pre-planning how far we should go, and at which point we should turn back to avoid the current or find a current (just too many currents!). But, of course, it is nature herself that we are trying to compete. So, what can one do?

Last night at 3.50 am, we finally crossed the Equator. Because of the awkward timing, the celebrations were postponed till morning when we opened a bottle of sparkling wine. As usual, we also gave our offerings to AHTI and ILMARINEN, the ancient Finnish Gods of the Seas and the Winds, respectively. Now, we are just waiting for them to change the course of the ocean current and the direction of the wind. How difficult could that be!

maanantai 24. lokakuuta 2011

October 23rd 2011

Fighting The Currents

01° 01, 618´ N, 048° 25, 192 W

Before we left Trinidad, we heard of a sailor who after having sailed from Trinidad to Brazil had said that he would never do it again. We agree with him completely, we will NEVER EVER want to sail this leg again! It is not just the headwind and the ocean current that we have to tackle but also the dozens of fishing boats and their several miles long drift nets, not to mention the tidal currents of the numerous rivers that run into the sea all along the coast. Yesterday, while passing the delta of the river Amazon, we didn't realize that we were too close to the river mouth until the strong tidal current started sucking us towards the river. And for a while it seemed that whichever way we tried to escape it, the current was going to win the battle. Here straightforward tacking proved futile, and we ended up leaving all kinds of curious looking tracks on the chart.

We have now been at sea for sixteen days during which time we have sailed a total of 1,489 nautical miles. But we have only proceeded 1,040 miles towards our destination. So, more or less 450 miles have gone to waste and, as far as we know, the worst part of the leg is yet to come!

torstai 20. lokakuuta 2011

October 20th 2011

Like A Nightmare!

Last night, off duty and fast asleep, I suddenly woke up to a cacophony created by Latte causing havoc in the saloon, and Pekka shouting and running around waving his hands like a windmill. I was wide awake in a fraction of a second and learned that just minutes ago we had sailed through a thick cloud of insects of which at least a hundred or so had decided to invade our boat. There were huge dragonflies with a wing span of no less than fifteen centimetres, beautiful butterflies and other big and small insects of various colours and shapes flapping around us, and Latte the Hunter running amok amongst them. We managed to get most of them out but at daybreak, when I went up, the deck looked like a battle field. Our sweet Latte, aka Jekyll and Hyde, had clearly had the time of her life. It was such a shame and a waste of beautiful creatures but there was absolutely nothing we could have done to save them.

At the time of the incident, we were sailing about 25 miles off the coast. Why they had been so far out at sea, remains a mystery. One possible explanation could be migration, but the huge heterogeneity within the group makes us wonder. But, of course, we know very little about insects.

October 19th 2011


Because we have been forced to use the engine much too much due to the counter current and lack of wind, on the 16th of October, we stopped at French Guyana to get fuel. We anchored at the bend of the River Mahury next to the Marina Degrad des Cannes just off Cayenne, the country's capital. There was no fuel dock at the Marina and the nearest petrol station was more than ten kilometres away. The fact that because we were in FRENCH Guyana everybody spoke nothing but French, presented another problem for us. But with the help of a lovely young Brazilian sailing couple, Andreia and Matheus, we managed to rent a car and then using the good old Jerry Can Method, got our tanks full. This morning, we set sail again and are currently motoring against two knot wind and one knot current towards Brazil.

October 15th 2011

Pearls On A String

Since we left Trinidad, the days have followed one another monotonously as pearls on a string. So far there has been only one day that has differed from the rest and that was when we celebrated our 41st Engagement Anniversary. I don't know if people normally celebrate the date of their engagement, we certainly have never done it before but, as the Trinis say, Any excuse will do! So, on the morning of the celebrations, I awoke to beautiful blue skies and a turquoise sea, and was soon sitting in the cockpit with a glass of chilled white wine in my hand. While waiting for the pancakes Pekka was making in the galley, I was reading Vonnegut's Timequake where a timequake zaps everybody in an instant from February 13th 2001 back to February 17th 1991. Then they have to get back to 2001, minute by minute, hour by hour, experiencing all the things all over again. And it suddenly occurred to me how nice it would be if the timequake zapped this particular day back to yesterday so that we could relive it. But, of course, that didn't happen, and the following day was again just another pearl on the string.

maanantai 10. lokakuuta 2011

October 10th 2011

On our fourth day at sea, we discovered that we have a stowaway on board. It is a grey lizard which we have named Tauno. Tauno is a good, old Finnish name but, for some unknown reason, with connotations of stupidity and foolishness as, in this case, coming aboard a vessel that is going to stay at sea for several weeks. Under the circumstances, all we can do is to wish Tauno the best of luck and hope that he'll make it.
We also have another uninvited guest on board, namely a small fly, and he too has a name. He is called 'Tauno's Dinner'!