Snapshots from Crossing the Atlantic

It’s now a week since we arrived here in Martinique. The solitude of the ocean passage seems like a distant memory. Irish John returned home to his farm near Cork only a couple of days after we arrived, and since then we have moved from the quiet anchorage into the busy marina to make the post-crossing repairs and re-provisioning easier.

In the evenings, we have been looking back at the photos of our trip and reminiscing. Soon I will leave the boat too. Gill and John will head south to find a safe haven from hurricanes and viruses, and I will head north, beginning a long journey back to the UK. More on that to come, but for now, some snapshots of life aboard the good ship Mehalah.

SAILING

Leaving La Palma marina behind
Letting out a reef at the end of a dawn watch
And putting one in as the sun sets again (a few days later, a couple of hundred miles further south and a good 10 degrees warmer)
Deciding where and when to gybe

WASHING

Takes up a surprising about of time, in both planning, preparation and execution…

The first wash – note the calm sea behind. Little did I know it would be many days before I could repeat.
And these were the seas that felt ‘calm’ enough to wash in, after the 3 metre waves that had come before
Doing laundry on the side deck
And drying behind the helm

SLEEPING

Sleep – to be grabbed at any opportunity and in any place

A quick nap before the next watch
The brace against the mast position
The knee-under-side-cushion wedge

BOAT MAINTENANCE

Sails to check, rigging to test, rattles to quieten, lee cloths to mend, Paul to oil…

Giving Paul his twice-weekly oil…
… Required some interesting positions
Filling water bottles – at least a two person job
Gill going beyond the call of duty to repair my torn lee cloth in particularly strong seas. That early in the passage and with such swell, spending much time upright and below deck was enough to make me feel queasy, so I would never have managed sewing whilst holding up a mattress with my head without a bucket nearby…

FISHING

Daily highlights – selecting a lure, deciding whether to keep it close to the boat or further away, watching the line, and finally… a fish! And a fishy supper to follow.

Will today be the day..?
Landing our first catch – mahi mahi
Fish’n’chips, Mehalah style
Our second catch – a much bigger mahi mahi which fed us for four meals. Thank you fish.
And of course the flying fish that flapped aboard during the night and were discovered on deck in the morning.

SWIMMING

One of my highlights – jumping into the ocean, 2 miles deep and 800 miles from the nearest land.

HOORAY!! Swimming at a leisurely pace to keep up with the boat being carried in the 1 knot of current.
Hoping for no sharks…

WILDLIFE

Talking of sharks… we also saw a breaching and blowing whale (alas, no photos), many pods of dolphins and plenty of birds, including a lost pigeon and a hitchhiking noddy.

Watching dolphins at the bow
Leaping through the waves

BRACING

Using every limb

The classic cockpit position
Two limb at a time yoga – the only time it was calm enough
The bunk-to-table brace – often adopted between preparing each ingredient for a meal to fend off queasiness

WEATHER

It’s not always blue skies and blue seas…

Sometimes, breakfast in the tropics looks like this (just after John commented that it was particularly peaceful, prompting a squall with gusts of 35 knots)…
And enough rain to make the sea splash back up into the sky and the two become one.
An early warning sign – squall rainbows

PARTIES

Any excuse – entering the tropics, changing timezone, passing halfway

Entering the tropics in our finest tropical gear
Party music for the tropical party
Rum and fresh fruit punch for breakfast (!) to toast passing halfway
With most of the rum generously offered to Neptune
And of course the arrival party – we made it!

ARRIVING

Such anticipation, excitement and relief (and exhaustion)

Dawn view of Martinique – land ahoy!
After dropping anchor in Sainte Anne
Time to call home after jumping overboard
First steps on land… will I have lost my land legs?!
And finally – why I love France and Martinique – pain au chocolat, croissants, baguettes and fresh orange juice delivered by dinghy to our boat the following morning

7 thoughts on “Snapshots from Crossing the Atlantic

  1. Great photos Mariel. Looks like you had a wonderful time. Hope your trip onwards and home isn’t unduy inconvenienced by travel restrictions! Where are you heading for first?

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  2. Good morning Mariel.Hope you’re keeping your head down in these crazy times. Told you it would all go to shit when you went away ! (Nice Maui Maui) Xx

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    1. Haha, thanks Steve! I’ve taken up gardening to keep myself out of trouble – you’ll have to come and inspect my work when you can. I’m just a bit further into Dorset than you 🙂

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