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Fryderyk - Atlantic log Day 18 - 23

Day: 18

Date: Dec 7th, 2022

Last night it was raining cats and dogs. At some point literally like someone was pouring a bucket of water over your head, but the rain was so warm and soft that it could actually be enjoyable, if it wasn't making it harder to hear and see ourselves and use touch sensitive (bad idea...) plotter screen. S Rain and squall, wind gets up to 35kt and down do 12kt, sails go up and down, up and down. Everyone is soaked to the bone trying to dry our clothes while it's wet everywhere. At least mood is up and humor is "dry" :P

Day is surprisingly nice, some clouds in the morning, but later it gets sunny. Luckily for us because not only our clothes were wet. The boat itself was wet in and out with some mysterious leak that we've observed close to the navigation station. Not good. Let's see if it's our hull that is leaking or we just caught too much water spray last night and it just meanders and leaks until it will dry out. Szymon is cool about it so rule of the thumb: trust your captain and chill out.

Our on board oven is rather toy than a real oven, but Mama (yeah, eventually we all call Danusia "mom") made us home bread and it's so good! It disappears faster than our distance to St. Lucia. Winds are not favorable with mostly western winds during next days meaning we have to tack a lot meaning instead of 500nm miles to go we have to make ~700nm or so... And sometimes there's hardly any wind so we have to use boat engines. Our VMG (Velocity Made Good which is our actual speed to destination) is very low last days and will be even lower. Endings are tough, right?

Tonight we see the coolest moon so far! It's a full moon so it's bright as a tiny sun. At some point it all looks like a stage that is set for a theatrical play. There's a widespread strip of cartoonish clouds just over the horizon that looks like it's painted by a set artist. Strong bulk shapes end even stronger contrast between their dark and light fluffy lumps. The moon is hidden behind a huge cloud (partially illuminating those cartoonish horizon clouds thus making some of them dark and others light) so you can only see its shy forehead, like it's waiting for a sign to start a play. And that funny little piece of its forehead is making just enough light on the water to make it look like a huge round spotlight illuminating the dark stage of the ocean. It's an absolute deus ex machina moment that is waiting for a dramatic event to start! And it should be freakin' dolphins because we haven't seen them so far and their only excuse could be that they're rehearsing a special artistic programme just to leave us speechless!


Day: 19-20

Date: Dec 8-9th, 2022

In the morning Ania told me that she has seen dolphins on her night watch, boom! 3rd book finished (Lem's Invincible), I'll switch to some classic animation now. Belville Trio is... wow!

We had beef steaks for dinner tonight and this time we learned from our mistakes (on-board grill cannot keep high enough temperature while sailing due to wind cooling) and we made them on a grill pan. Restaurant class steaks! Spanish meats, in particular beef, are so great!

Weather is getting nicer, the sun is shining again, but the wind is... crap. It's either W or very weak NW wind meaning it's so sloooow now. In good days we had >150nm daily distance to destination, now we have half... almost every boat we see uses engines and it seems inevitable for all of us. We've just talked to some German folks from Relax 2 catamaran that sails along us for the second day now and they offered us 24 cans of beer. Temptation is huge but we are 97,75% sure it's some nasty trick and they just want to get ahead of us this way ;) Racing on the ocean on a tourist vessel like a catamaran looks like a snail race. Yesterday we jumped ahead of Relax 2 and it took them almost all day to equalize, so yeah, really laid back racing. At least for now, will see just before the finish line!

Anyways, they mentioned they have something ~40h on their diesel left. We have roughly the same and we know we can be short 30nm on a petrol. Did I mention it looks like interesting season finale? :P


Day: 21

Date: Dec 10th, 2022

We are so close yet so far! Little over 200nm left to St. Lucia and little less than 25% diesel in our tanks. In theory it means ~200l if our meter is reliable. It should be enough but we also have plan B (and plan C that we don't want to come to life...) to visit Barbados just to refill our tanks and get safely to the finish line should the wind be as weak as for the past few days. We still have a time to make this decision but now we have to take different ones e.g. how many times we can kick off Panda (Pandas eat diesel, kids!) to produce fresh water and how many showers left to St. Lucia, or maybe it's only sun bath that has left on the table?

Tonight we start to experience so called "caribbean sunset". Colors are extremely vivid. Almost still and slowly waving ocean reflects sun as an oily stains emitting warm light. I took really nice video of this delightful sunset and we sit together for a long time until the show is over.


Day: 22

Date: Dec 11th, 2022

it's a last day in the ocean as we approach St. Lucia. Water is calm, wind is low but it allows us to sail occasionally for an hour or two so it's not that bad. We save the last diesel fumes for when it's really needed! last night's sunset and today one are among if not the most beautiful ones. They're really simple too, clear sky, clear mirror like water and one of the most crispy and punchy colors I've seen. Tonight we celebrate crossing 100->99nm distance left with a small 187ml bottle of white wine that we pured to 5 vodka shots so everyone can taste. As a dessert we have ice cream! Our desperation got so far that today Szymon whipped cream and mixed it with some leftover Croatian cocoa that we've found in our stash and it tasted like the best ice cream we could get on the Atlantic! We usually had 2 meals per day but today we additionally spoiled ourselves with an evening carbonara so we eat all this as the sun goes down, no one goes to bed, we stay a little bit longer to watch most beautiful night sky since rally, and listen to music as milky way spills above our heads. To the left we can see huge white glow that stretches for miles. Looks like the moon is about to rise, but it's no moon this time. It's Barbados seen from 40nm distance. Each one of us bets on exact time we will see St. Lucia's land tomorrow. Bets vary from 10am to 5pm UTC. I did not take into land altitude into consideration so I know I'm wrong already. Part of me wants it to be 10am and the other cheers for 5pm. It's been a long time, but on the other hand, not long enough...


Day: 23

Date: Dec 12th, 2022

I started my last night's watch at 8am. UTC. We use UTC to organize our lives on boat and sync with ARC rally HQ, but local time is 3am so it's the middle of the night. I prepare my morning coffe around 9 and I see Marek snooping around the sun deck. He woke up earlier, too much excitement. I guess we are all excited to reach our destination soon but I personally can feel something else too. Anyways, we sit in the dark watching the moon and waiting for dawn. Here it comes, in purple and red first, then come blues and greens and yellows in spectacular gradients. On the west though, there's mostly light blue and the cutest cotton candy pink cumulus clouds ever. Szymon and mom wake up too, and as it just gets bright enough to spot anything on the horizon Szymon says "Laaaaand hooo!". Its exactly 10am UTC and we see two huge mountain peaks of St. Lucia, and guess who said it's gonna be 10am! Not me :p

Through this morning I have a lot of different feelings. I'm really happy we (almost) made it and I'm excited to see Carrabeans. And to see Basia, my wife, as she landed yesterday, probably now finishing her morning coffee somewhere near Rodney Bay marina. We haven't seen each other for 4 weeks and it's the longest ever. On the other hand I can sense some subconscious tension and anxiety about all the stuff that I've left behind for past weeks. I feel like being on the ocean is much safer than on land. Life is simpler here with simpler rules. But these feelings disappear quickly. I'm confident as never I can handle all of it. I've come to a funny realization that 10 years ago I've changed my life as I quit my legal career where for the last years thereof I had contributed in a major way to construction of one of the most iconic modern buildings in Warsaw, known as the Sail. Now I lay under the sail that brings me straight to a new place I have never been before. I feel like I've changed a lot in the past 10 years and I changed a lot during the last weeks. I have no fear of entering this new land. Everything is in the right place.

The End(?)


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