Atlantic-Crossing St. Maarten to Azores, Days 1-12

We are under way since 11 days now and have had a very quiet journey so far. When we left St. Maarten on the 3rd of June, there were two other sailing boats leaving on the same day. One of them is a young single-handed sailor (he has two hands but he sails alone) with his 26-foot boat „Phoebe“ and the other one are a French couple and their son on a 53-foot Amel called „Bororo“. Since leaving port together we stay in contact until today and update each other on our positions and weather conditions.
The first few days were absolute smooth upwind sailing with almost no waves at all and a nice breeze. We didn’t have such smooth sailing in a while and certainly didn’t expect it from our journey back to the Azores. Much more, our expectations were a bit fearsome, because we heard about many sailors who were caught up in low-pressure systems with a lot of wind and waves.
We had decided to take the direct route to the Azores and not to make a stop in Bermudas. Basically the bigger risk on this passage is that you don’t have enough wind instead of having too much wind. And so far, this has been our experience: After five days of smooth cruising, the wind died down and left us on the open ocean with no wind or waves. It was time to turn the engine on, and it has been on for a long time since then because we didn’t have enough wind. Luckily we stored a lot of extra Diesel in jerikans before we left St. Maarten. Until now we have covered a distance of 1166 nautical miles of which we sailed 665 and motored 491. This balance is due to change soon as we are currently in position 33°57N / 50°09W, under sail (yihaa), and are expecting some more winds up here in the more Northern latitudes.
Until now, this passage was a lot quieter than the first one from Las Palmas to Grenada and we found a lot of time to discuss, relax, fish and even bake cakes. The fishing hasn’t been very successful so far but cross your fingers that we will eventually catch a fish – as we have brought all the ingredients for delicious sushi with us this time. We also spotted some dolphins on the first day and a family of whales a few days ago. We approached them with a safety-distance and they waved at us with their fins. It was great to meet them in what seemed to us the middle of nowhere, but is just their normal home to them. I don’t know what kind of whale they were but we will look it up as soon as we have google again and post some pictures when we arrive.
Being out here feels like being in a wide desert. The birds that accompanied us in the beginning have left and all the life we ever see are the portuguese warriors – and there are plenty of them. From time to time we see a small fish at our stern. We suspect that it lives within Naima’s centerboard (i.e. the place where we can pull in our sword). The water has gotten quite a bit colder, so this poor guy must be freezing… The moon has been accompanying us with a bright light ever since we left St. Maarten and in the hours when it hasn’t risen yet, we can see the stars clearly and undisturbed. We practice night-shifts of three hours, but allow ourselves to doze in half-hour rhythms during the shifts if there is nothing to do. And so far we can’t complain: we gotten a fair amount of sleep and don’t feel tired. Physically, we are thus in a good shape for the second half of our journey, which looks like it is going to be interesting weather-wise. Hopefully, we will reach the Azores safe and sound in 10-14 days and will be able to post our next post from there and with pictures.
Stay tuned and cross your fingers for us! Salty hugs from the middle of the Atlantic!

2 thoughts on “Atlantic-Crossing St. Maarten to Azores, Days 1-12

  1. Howdy Atlantic-trotters! What a trip! I just learned about the website and still catching up with all the wonderful stories and pictures you posted. Ela, if you brought your sax onboard, then play a little Schnip schnap Schnappi for Bernie. Nothing better than a silly crocodile dance half way to Azores! You guys are fantastic! Get back safely (no wind is safe, by the way) 🙂

    1. Heeeeyyy Xnappi! You’re unbelievable. I should have done some Schnappi action on the Atlantic, but with my Accordean. Ha! I have an accordeon now, didn’t take the sax though. And: I don’t know how to play the accordeon, soooo still need lots of practice. Come and visit us soon and take the saxophone along!

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