The Last Leg
Land Ho!

Practically Perfect

July 3rd and this is a great day.

We have fewer than 400 miles to go.

We are under sail and aiming exactly for Horta.

We saw a pod of dolphins jumping and diving for breakfast.

We have water and I am clean.

EW thought about the water issue and decided that we must have 30-40 gallons of water in the port tank. Unfortunately, the water pump doesn't pick it up when we are heeling to port. I knew we had water in that tank as that is the tank with the hand pump and I've been getting water out of it for dishes and such.

This morning I put the 30 gallons that were in the jerry cans into the starboard tank, which is very close to the water pump, and once that task was completed the water pump provided water on demand. So we probably have at least 50-60 gallons of water in the two tanks, plus nearly 4 gallons of drinking water that are part of our provisions. We'll be in on July 7th or 8th, do the math, and I could get clean today.

So I cleaned the boat a bit, cleaned me a lot, washed my hair, and life is good.

EW is on watch in the cockpit playing his guitar. I'm below out of the sun, reading and writing. We are surrounded by sea and sky, and evidently dolphins and whales, though we haven't seen more dolphins or any whales yet. Right now, this crossing thing looks pretty good. Yesterday we had pasta with some of my pre-made frozen meat sauce and a salad of canned veggies and Italian Dressing. Tonight we have leftover Schooner Rice, and I told EW that since I have two watches off tomorrow, I'd make pizza.

EW is happy. I am happy.

This cruising/voyaging life doesn't suck.

As of 14:09 UTC on July 3, we are located at 39 31.64 North and 36 51.91 West.

July 4th and an even better day. The wind died yesterday so we traveled only 50 miles in 24 hours and some of that was just current moving in the right direction. EW got fed up and motored for a while, but reason and fuel management prevailed and we ghosted along under sail all night. Now we have 4 - 7 knots of wind (Whoo Hoo!) and are moving under sail at 2.5 knots. I made oatmeal/raisin scones for breakfast and was rewarded with our first whale sighting. Sitting on deck, chatting with EW, I looked to port and saw a large dark body about 30 feet out from the boat. It was a small whale and we couldn't see the shape of its head, but saw the back and saw it blow as it swam, not quite parallel to us, angling towards us for a closer look. It sunk under the water and we watched the depth sounder for a close encounter, looking from it back to the water. EW noticed a light colored area under the waves, again 30-35 feet off the boat, and wondered what would cause that as our whale was dark in color. Then "our" whale surfaced still closer to La Luna, but this time clearly swimming away from the boat -- towards Mama. Mama was lighter in color, twice the size and more knowledgeable about the polite swimming distance from sailboats: close enough for photos, far enough away for safety. Mama led Jr. well around our stern and off to sea. We did see Mama's head, and believe them to be pilot whales, but she was lighter in color than I would expect for a pilot whale, so we'll have to do some research.

This morning we are 39 22.59 North and 35 47.61 West

Happy Independence Day to the U.S.! Four years ago EW and I spent the day in Portland, and enjoyed our last 4th of July in Maine with Portland Symphony Orchestra on Munjoy Hill. It's a great memory. Today, we made another great memory. It's lovely to be sailing slowly towards the Azores.

July 5 Still having trouble getting on Sailmail. Seems to be a lot of traffic out there, so I'm stacking these up.

Yesterday evening the wind and weather changed. We had a rain squall late in the afternoon, then clouds. There must have been more wind north of us because we had a shift in wind and waves about 7 PM. Since then we've had 10-12 knots of wind from the northwest -- perfect for putting us right where we need to be. Unfortunately that wind was partnered with very choppy seas, 3-5, maybe 6 feet, causing bounce, and rolls, and rattles, and bangs, and lack of sleep for both of us when we were off watch. Later, during EW's midnight to 6A watch the wind direction changed enough to at least make the sails behave better. I worked to make all inside noises stop and was able to sleep some. EW is out like a light now for his four hours off.

These conditions have excellent timing. We were ready to turn southeast to the Azores and are aiming directly for Horta. Also, I had the two watches off schedule yesterday and got a lot of cooking done in the morning and early afternoon when the seas were 0-1 feet. I made scones for breakfast, served with bacon and fried apples, and in the afternoon I made a new batch of granola, a loaf of bread, and pizza for dinner. (Friday night is pizza night.) For the normal "movie" version of our Friday we watched the clouds roll in, adjusted sails between bites of pizza, and basically ate quickly and cleaned up quickly as it look as if a big squall was moving in. We haven't had a big squall on this crossing (knock wood) and didn't get it last night, either. All is good.

We also moved "La Luna" time up one hour so we are just one hour away from Azores or UTC time. We'll change another hour tomorrow morning and be ready for shore. Just in time. Currently it's 0919 UTC and we are located at 39 00.46 North and 033 46.04 West. We are 243 miles from Horta and should land in the morning of the 7th as long as the wind holds. Yes, I'm getting excited.

July 6

Twenty-nine years ago we were getting ready for our wedding. Now we're getting ready to go ashore tomorrow. It's 10:48 UTC AND La Luna time and we have fewer than 100 miles to go. We are motor sailing in order to charge the batteries, but can sail along directly to our goal at about 4-5 knots. If we go too fast, we'll have to hover near shore until light, so I'd rather go slowly. This afternoon I'll clean a bit, and put Howie's champagne in to chill. We will celebrate our anniversary and our arrival tomorrow. We will have made it in 21 days -- three weeks to the day of setting out, probably a few hours earlier than when we left. Smiling. This really doesn't suck. I'd do it again.

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Dick Hodskins

You must feel great to have accomplished this task. May good fortune and judgment be with you for the rest of your trip!!

Happy Ours, CYC

ps: You should see our remodeled, "new" club house. Official grand opening middle of month.

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