Preparing for the Atlantic Crossing was a bit overwhelming and tedious. We were unexpectedly in Las Palmas for nearly 4 weeks due to engine troubleshooting. We joined the ARC+ (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) to cross the ocean -with a stop in Cape Verde – then onto St.Lucia. There were nearly 100 boats and 80 kids. The rally eased my fears of being all alone in the vast open ocean. The first week was full of fun meetings and seminars, even a “provisioning” course where I learned how to calculate how much food and water to take on board. You have to plan for 50% more incase of an emergency situation. Las Palmas is a wonderful place to be “stuck”. The ARC organized really fun events for the kids (dinghy sailing, tree planting, museum tour, etc) The kids made friends that I believe will be lifelong relationships! The supermarket is massive and they deliver to the marina for free! We missed the ARC+ departure due to our engine repair issues. That was a sad day, watching all the boats take off together! We were disappointed but decided to try and keep a positive outlook and believe everything happens for a reason. So we decided to join the ARC group which left later and doesn’t stop in Cape Verde -its just a strait shot from Las Palmas to St. Lucia. The kids were able to participate in all the activities again and we met more great families and kids. Then another sad day – the ARC group left and we didn’t get to go. Lagoon technicians came to us from France and decided we needed all new fuel filters and to clean the tanks. The local Volvo crew worked really hard to get us up and running. It took about a week and then we took off on our own, 6 days behind the ARC group. I still felt the energy and peace of having 200 boats in the ocean taking the same path. We were able to follow along and track our friends on the yellow brick app and we even eventually caught up to some of the ARC sailboats.
It took us 16.5 days to cross the Atlantic Ocean. It was just our family, the crew (Dal, our skipper and Alex, our deckhand), the boat, water, and sky as far as the eyes could see and all God’s creations of the air and the ocean. It was glorious. There are no words to capture those moments. I attempted to keep a journal to memorialize the events of the day, but I couldn’t capture the heart and soul of it all. Still, it is a recounting of some of my thoughts and happenings. I hope you enjoy the read.
Saturday, Nov 30 – The day began with French toast for breakfast, ham sandwiches for lunch, and the kids giving pedicures on the flybridge! Alex cooked chicken pot pie for dinner because I started to feel nauseous and couldn’t stomach to prepare the meal. I don’t think I will ever really escape this seasickness. I laid down and slept for some time. I’m not sure how long, but I know I woke up at 11:15 pm, and Daddy was on night watch. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one feeling sick as he started puking, so I did night watch from 11:15 pm-12 am. The stars were insane! I couldn’t stop looking at them. You have no idea just how magnificent the sky is when you live surrounded by city or neighborhood lights. It’s breathtaking – this fantastic creation of God. Then, I saw a bioluminescent jellyfish. It was spectacular! The way the light shimmered as it moved through the water. I almost felt like I was in another world, seeing all this beauty that had been hidden from me. I so hated that Daddy is sick but now I can joke with him as he has been with me and tell him that he’s not ill. It’s “just mental.”
Sunday, Dec 1– Seasickness again and this time to the max. I can’t believe how long I’ve been enduring this. Feelings of puking, headache, fatigue, anger, sadness, all at once! I just couldn’t motivate myself to get out of bed until late in the afternoon. Then I cried and threw a little fit. I think I’m just so exhausted. Not sleeping well, being sick, the constant up and down of the boat, and adjusting to the open ocean. I keep asking myself, “Why are we doing this? This is dumb!!” Thankfully, Dal made the best chicken stir fry- so delicious. It gave me back a little life. I still couldn’t eat much because I felt sick, but it tasted great. The sunset tonight was amazing- just the sun by itself falling into the ocean. Despite how I feel – how tired and sick I am – I’m so grateful for all of this. I know it will be worth it in the end .
Monday, Dec 2 – I’m still nauseous today but certainly feeling better. I made avocado toast for breakfast, egg roll in a bowl for lunch and dinner will be roast! When I cook, I have to mentally power through and repeat “I can do this, I can do this!” Brett and Brett Jr. put diesel gas from a barrel into the tank. We took an extra 660 liters of fuel and we needed to even out the weight so as we go through diesel, they pump fuel into the tank. Ellie has been sick most of the day. It’s as if it’s taking turn, moving from one of us to the next. The sky is perfect blue with a few clouds. I sat on the front bow for a while. I was in the sunshine and it felt so beautiful on my skin like it was waking me up and pulling me free of the seasickness. Then I had the thought “not a care in the world.” It’s so true. Out here, disconnected from everything and everyone, we could be the only people on the planet. The evening consisted of us five snuggled up lying on the flybridge and finding animals and shapes in the clouds. I loved that moment. I looked to my left and my right and I whispered to my mind to freeze this moment. This was a forever moment. I don’t ever want to forget it. When they are grown and we are old, please let me remember this. Then night came and the moon rose so brightly. It was as if you could touch it like if we sailed toward it and I stretch my fingers up enough, I could somehow touch the face of the moon. Then the clouds all faded away to darkness, and the giant stars came back again like old friends and I was happy, so happy being surrounded by all this and those I love.
Tuesday, Dec 3 -I’m most certainly feeling better, not 100%, but maybe 70-80%. I’ll take it! Unfortunately, I slept terribly. I have restless dreams and terrible thoughts when the sun goes down. As beautiful as this world is, there is danger. I’m not naive to it. I worry about food, do we have enough to last. I worry about the engine; will it fail again. I worry about what is in the darkness at night when you can’t see your finger before your eye. The darkness here is total, only the moon and stars give light. On a cloudy night, there is no light. Also, the boat is so noisy. I was not prepared for the sounds, the creaks and the water bashing the hulls. The noises kept me super restless. Enough of that though. We fished and there was a fish on- but it got loose! Lunch was made and it was hotdogs. One of the highlights of the day was a fantastic dolphin show at 4:30 pm! What splendid creatures they are! Then another great moment was watching the Lion King as a big ole family. We made hot tea and popcorn! The sunset was breathtaking. We finished the day off with banana muffins and date energy balls! I’m so thankful I had energy and a desire to bake! The time changed back for one hour but it made little difference here. Here, the sun is our clock and you can’t ever turn it back.
Wednesday, Dec 4 – I woke up to a beautiful rainbow. Wow! I wasn’t expecting that. A little message from God that he sees us, this speck on his vast big ocean. He also sent us another beautiful sky. Then, a punch in the gut came when Brett told me we are slowing down to conserve fuel and it might take longer. We might arrive at the 18th (instead of the 14th). My first thought, was about food and do we have enough for those extra days. Then I played checkers with Ellie and that calmed my worries. Fish on!!! Two times! God is answering my fears about food. Brett filleted them and I put them in baggies and into the fridge! I made quesadillas for lunch and they were yummy. More dolphins came to see us. I wonder what they think as they pass us by? Watching them come towards the boat looks like kids running to a birthday party or at the park. They are so happy and bring joy. We are all excited to see them as we watch them dart in the water; it’s just magical. I’ll never get tired of their playful arrival and the energy they bring to us. Later, I laid on the front bow listening to music. I love the peace that comes with the ocean, blue sky, vibrations of the ship. I saw two birds! I wondered where their island was or what land they called home. Then another dolphin show at 5:30 pm! Brett and Brett Jr. made Ginger Honey Mahi Mahi for dinner ate on the flybridge! Daddy had downloaded YouTube videos on how to prepare Mahi-Mahi and it turned out great. It was windy on the fly bridge but still fun and a great experience. We serenaded our Brit crew Freight Train by Aaron Watson. I think they had a great laugh at our Texas music and twang! Now I’m feeling less and less seasick but certain things make me woozy- like when I am cleaning down in the cabin rooms or putting dishes away, make me feel nauseated. Welp, no cleaning or organizing on my to do list for the rest of the trip! LOL. The boys built a fort in the evening! I love watching them be kids. They built a blanket fort on a boat in the middle of the ocean. For some reason, that thought makes me smile so big. Goodnight.
Thursday, Dec 5 – Today was a great lesson in the book I’m reading “Letters from God.” He hears us when we pray. Breakfast was a fluffy pancake followed by a fantastic nap on the flybridge! Tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch, and then we watched Star Wars. Ellie is still not feeling well again. My sweet angel has struggled with seasickness much longer than the rest of us. I too feel a little off today but wearing my Beats headphones helped a little. I’ve been listening to Matchbox 20 and dancing around the boat. It’s amazing how cool this experience is when you feel well. When you are sick, you think to focus much on your body and the pain and discomfort. When the body is well, you start to feel and experience all the splendor around you, the wind against your skin or the flash of water across your feet. At one point, we were on the front bow, such a crazy surreal experience at that moment. The wind blowing, music blaring, the clouds above are so full and close I feel like I can reach up and touch them. The sunshine through the clouds reminds me of the verse “the heaven declares His glory.” Only a calm in the storm of seasick that didn’t last long enough, I suppose, because then the sea is a bit choppy and I started to feel yucky again. Alex made spaghetti and meat sauce. Corbin and Ellie went to sleep at 8:30 pm! Life is done differently when you are on nature’s schedule.
Friday, Dec 6 – I slept in till 10 am!! It was so lovely to get some extra sleep. Then I was up making breakfast, bacon, and eggs with toast. Celebrity Stylist Claude VanHankerchief made an appearance and cut Dal’s hair. It was a fun show, and we all laughed. My husband is a funny man. I tell you! Then we saw another fantastic full rainbow. We had sandwiches for lunch and a lazy afternoon. Ellie is still not 100% and I am still feeling blah as well. Dal made a delicious stir fry for dinner. I so love our dinnertime around the table together. I appreciate the connection we all have as there are no distractions. We talk to one another. No rushing off to the next thing. We are so present. Then after we ate, there was another gorgeous sunset. Wow! I don’t have the words to tell you how beautiful it was. We’ve had great weather and beautiful skies which is such a blessing. In the evening, we made brownies for dessert. Ellie and Corbin were both a bit whiney this evening. It’s to be expected. They are missing family, our old house on Royal Fern and our pup, Scout, very much tonight. So, to ease their sadness, I sang them songs to sleep- Jesus Loves Me, Chances Are and Silent Night. I then did 2 hours of night watch. During night watch, we log our coordinates and information every hour. I enjoy it. I like looking at the radar, AIS and the charts. I watch our DTD (distance to destination) the most! We monitor the water temperature and its interesting how it is getting slightly warmer each day as we get closer to the Caribbean. Again, all those stars, darkness and peace are the best part of night watch. Brett Aaron and I then watched Planes Trains and Automobiles together. I never tire of that movie! So funny! My sleep, sadly, was terrible. I tossed and turned all night and didn’t rest well. Oh, how I miss good consistent sleep.
Saturday, Dec 7 – This has been a long day with plenty of naps. We had hot dogs for lunch. Found lots of flying fish on board. Yes, flying fish that land on the decks of the catamaran. We had the chance to talk to Mark & April on the satellite phone. It was so good to hear their voices and catch up. Then I laid out on the bow with the kids & Dal. It felt so good to tan. The warmth of the sun against my skin, the smell of the ocean and the breeze; it was so Heavenly. Daddy cut Corbin’s hair and did a fantastic job. He may have a second career up his sleeve. Dal made delicious gnocchi for dinner. Ellie and Bam made rice crispy treats for dessert and I, again, slept terribly. I love the verse “I lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Oh Lord, make me dwell in safety” Psalm 4:8. I have it on repeat it in my head.
Sunday, Dec 8 – This morning, I made peanut butter toast for breakfast and then watched Captain Phillips on my laptop. That was a dumb choice of a movie! LOL. Somehow it was the only adult movie we downloaded prior to the crossing. If I could do it over again, I would have made more of an effort to download movies! Daddy offered to color my hair! He’s so funny- dressed like Claude again and he did a fabulous job! I think he’s very pleased with himself and his hairstyling abilities. I am certain he will never attempt it again and now has a huge respect for my hair colorist, Wiley! Ellie got some great video! We were all laughing so hard. I cooked pork roast, rice and green beans. The pork wasn’t that good. I was disappointed but it all got eaten. We fell back another hour and I went to bed early! My hair color turned out great, I must say. Think of all the money we are going to save now that I don’t have to go to the salon, haha. Nope that is one thing I’m not giving up!!
I’ll wrap up the journal for now and post the second half of the crossing soon.
In the meantime, check out our YouTube video of the Atlantic Crossing! Click Here!