Category Archives: 2014 06 Orr’s Island to Lajes das Flores

Days at Sea… No. 1 thru 13

Days at Sea… No. 1 thru 13

Because my blob blogging was intermittent at best these past two weeks, I’ll just mention a few highlights per day. I may call on crew member Dick Stevens, whom we were extremely fortunate to snag as our third voyager, to help me with some of these events (he was a much more faithful scribe with his log).

So, off we go…

JUN 6 Day 1: Set off at 9am from Orr’s-Bailey Yacht Club (OBYC) with hugs and waves and a special guardian angel charm in my pocket and a butterfly one on my necklace;

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then initiated diet plan promptly at 1:36pm, i.e., started my normal course of being seasick. oh joy. but did complete my night time watches (8-11p and 5-8a).

JUN 7 Day 2: Managed to get spinnaker wrapped around one of the lines only to have Max climb the mast to free it up while Dick and I tried to help from below… success (thank king neptune)

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All settling into a routine with prepping meals, washing dishes

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checking weather and route

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and catching naps when off watch. Juanona starting to get into passage decor.

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while dolphins appear.

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JUN 8 Day 3: Realizing that passage hygiene is now in full force with Dick, I’m ashamed to say, beating me to the first underwear change. Spotting sargasso seaweed and man o war jelly fish as we near the gulf stream

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JUN 9 Day 4: Awaken my body during my 5am watch by dancing to “Happy” and “September” (blessedly no photos of this) while later getting the guys to join me in another rendition of “Happy” captured by the go-pro camera facing the cockpit. Made our breakfast yogurt bowls.

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Also, enjoying the other animal aboard (black spider) as it attacks its image in the starboard winch

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Boat smelling sweet. And, the closest encounter we’ve had all passage with Baltic Mercur, a cargo ship approximately 520 ft long, 69 ft wide traveling 12.5 knots.

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JUN 11 Day 6: On spin cycle as we sail in a turmoil of frothing seas and high winds, even surfing down one wave to over 15 knots! Most of day spent going 8 to 10 knots, even 11, as we hunker down.

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At night a big splat sounded against Juanona’s hull resulting in a burst of salty water where it travelled via the cockpit down a bit into the galley. Dick, in his aft berth, got a shot of the water, too. Not a fun way to spend the night. We are all religious about wearing our harnesses when on deck

JUN 12 Day 7: Snack Bin raid… thanks to Dick bringing aboard some tasty snacks to add to our provisioning, we have a HUGE snack bin.

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Although we try to limit ourselves to just one small square of chocolate after dinner and a few fireballs during the day, I just HAVE to have something else from that pile of delicious, non-nutritious treats. Only Max seems to be able to resist the calling of the snack bin, but he’s been known to relish a fireball or two.

JUN 13 Day 8: I’m now resembling an over-ripe banana with my purple, yellow, and black bruises. Trying to perform the most elementary tasks (such as putting on foul weather pants) requires a form of athleticism more suited to a contortionist vs. a middle-age sailorette. And, if the unpredictable sway of the boat isn’t enough, there are boisterous slaps of waves against the hull that startles you just as you’re about to finish a task; and, what’s worse, bruised banana hues just aren’t my colors. But we are rewarded with a flying fish found on deck

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and, captain finally gets some well-deserved sleep

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while Dick performs his clean-up magic in the galley

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JUN 14 Day 9: More slip sliding around… but the sunrise if gorgeous

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we manage a smorgasbord lunch

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and, later we believe we entice dolphins at sunset with some Pavoratti at dinner time

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JUN 15 Day 10: SHOWER DAY NUMBER TWO! And, we use a mustard bottle to send a message to sea

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Have been enjoying our eggs from Two Cove Farm in Harpswell, ones we didn’t need to refrigerate as long as we turned them every day (although later we did put them in fridge just to be safe)

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Captain invents best way to block out light for sleeping off watch

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JUN 16 Day 11: Today I witnessed another guy thing… napkin shirts. I nearly choked when I saw Dick perform the same dining etiquette that Max does: using the shirt as their napkin.

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JUN 17 Day 12: It’s another washing machine day with all of us being bounced around. It is good isometric exercise but, boy, can it make me cranky. fortunately, that can be mollified with a visit to the snack bin. Dick has figured out how to wedge himself into his berth

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JUN 18 Day 13: Almost there!

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JUN 19 Day 14: LAND HO!

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Arrive at Lajes approximately 1:00p

Waiting for Dawn

Waiting for Dawn

I’m 38 minutes into my morning watch and the clouds are just showing some peek-a-boo light as we drift 8 miles off of Flores, our first Azorean island.

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Keeping an eye out for other watercraft, I see a catamaran will soon pass our stern as it most likely makes its way to the island of Fial, the most popular yachtie stop-over, roughly 135 miles to the east.

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This morning, around 7am, we’ll make our way to our second landing on this westernmost Azorean island, anchoring in the harbor of Faije Grande on the the northwest coast of Flores. It’ll be our second visit in less than 24 hours. We actually arrived yesterday early afternoon at Lajes’ new marina on the southern tip of this island only to leave four hours later to find a safer spot for Juanona (and us).

After thirteen days at sea we vacated our docking berth due to forecasted surge. This unpleasant and potentially dangerous condition is created by current rushing in and out of a harbor causing boats to violently rock to and fro. A British boat at the same dock showed us their lines that had snapped clean from a previous surge, which was more than enough impetus for us to plan a quick exit.

We weren’t unfamiliar with this phenomenon. In 2002 we had stopped at this same port but anchored in the little harbor. Getting ashore using one’s dinghy was akin to being spit onto land by the King Neptune.

Those four hours ashore, though, were productive. Not only did we meet cute customs guys

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but also filled one of our three water tanks, visited the post office, and purchased some fresh provisions. Dick, our great crew from Orr’s, sampled his first Azorean cheese

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along with some Portugese wine, the latter being something we all agreed would have been better if never opened.

The walk straight up a hill allowed Dick and I to admire the amazing flowers from which this island earns its name. Hydrangeas,

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birds of paradise, IMG 0986

even wild ginger (Ellen, I think of you when I see these :)

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lined the streets. The volcanic soil just burst with lushness, enticing us to literally stop and smell the flora.

The three of us also walked along the sea wall in search of the sign Max’s son Chris painted back in 2002.

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Putting one’s mark on the seawall was begun in Fial many years ago while a relatively recent activity in Flores. Ours was one of the first in 2002, and we really didn’t believe we’d find any evidence of it 12 years later, but we did! A bit faded but definitely there (if you knew what you were looking at).

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But, back to our exit. Max orchestrated our departure: Dick on board, myself on the dock, and Max at the helm. To say it was hairy is putting it mildly.

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I’m not one to easily get stomachaches from tension, but I did on this occasion. We had to time our tossing the lines with the wind and building surge only to have the engine quit while Max was backing us out within six feet of rocks. Why it cut out, we don’t know. What I do know is that it was not an event I hope to experience anytime in the future.

Now, five hours later we’re anchored in Faije Grande after following a group of dolphins along the west coast of Flores.

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We’ll go ashore later just to stretch our limbs.

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And, possibly, even most absolutely probably, we’ll open one of the bottles of good wishes sent with us from Maine and toast the completion of our first passage of Juanona Voyage II.