Into The Mystic
Trip Start Mar 14, 2007
91Trip End Ongoing
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1st Mate's Log:
21/02/08, Thursday, 18:30, Atlantic Ocean, 26.08.823 N by 79.36.750 W
Set sail today! around 10. Gulf Stream is tough, like a giant river, and we're heading directly into southeast wind. I'm on third watch, going to eat and sleep for a little bit now. Oh yeah, I have trouble going below deck, got woozy and hit my head today. [See picture. I remember in my mind's eye at the time, the little hole that goes below deck was like the entrance to a dark, evil abyss. The route the captain elected to take from Florida to the Virgin Islands is known as the Thorny Path, considered to be one of the worst passages in the world - it's ten days directly into the trade winds.]
Saw porpoises [who came up with that word?] yesterday for ten minutes [they were playing in the bow wave - awesome]. Lee caught and filleted a mahi [delicious]. He got sick last night while we were motoring. [After that, Lee decided he'd had enough and desperately wanted to get to the nearest landfall. He got better afterwards, and we settled on dropping him off at the Turks and Caicos (What the heck are those?! Apparently, it's a whole country I'd never even heard of before.). Richard and I would make the subsequent journey to the Virgins on our own.] I'm getting better I think. [I now know the true definition of sea-sickness and sea-legs, and it's not the motion sickness people usually think it is. It's the three days or so it takes for your abs, neck, and limbs to get used to constantly being strained and for your brain to callous up against being jostled around inside your skull (at least that's what it feels like).] Checking radar and using binoculars at night, red on left, green on right. [The navigation lights on the big cruise ships and tankers tell you which direction they're heading so you can try not to get run over. A night shift consists of trying to stay dry while checking the radar and making sure the autopilot is following the course on the GPS. There's also a lot of hoping you don't run into a random cargo container or a sleeping whale - otherwise, it's into the life raft with ya]
25/02/08, Monday, 12:00, 126.96.36.199 N by 188.8.131.52 W
Land, ho! Saw more dolphins today, coming up for air near the boat - they were huge. Not many boats the past two days. No wind but seas are calm, motoring for Turks and Caicos. Richard and I will have to go it alone now to Puerto Rico then the USVI. [I should explain in case you haven't figured out why this is vexing. With say three hour shifts, now I only get three hours of sleep at a time instead of six. If the autopilot goes, now you're down to maybe two hours at a time. That can't be good for your sanity.] We may go via the Dominican Republic. I'm doing much better below now, but it's still tough.
26/02/08, Tuesday, 18:00, Turtle Cove Marina, TCI
From what I can tell, we're in Provo, on the Providenciales island of the Turks and Caocos. [This is close to being right - Provo is what everyone calls Providenciales. I guess the island is too small to have names for towns.] I don't know what a caicos is, or what a cay is for that matter. [A cay is a sand island, a desert island if you will. I think those crazy Brits pronounce the word like 'key', which might explain the Florida Keys.] I don't even know if this is a country or a territory of the U.K. I think it's part of the commonwealth (whatever that means). We had to have a guy from customs come to the boat yesterday to stamp us in while we flew our yellow quarantine flag. It's a funny place; the population is mostly black, I think it's on 110 Volts, it uses the U.S. Dollar, they drive on the left, and I think they speak a different language sometimes.
We explored the beach a little today - it was nice. Saw a girl sunbathing topless [bonus]. It's funny how cars honk at you as you're walking along - from what I can figure, it's a kind of taxi system. Thinking about playing poker tonight. [That never materialized. Gambling is legal in most of the Caribbean - bonus.]
28/02/08, Thursday, 16:00, between Turks and Puerto Rico
Often see flying fish. Haven't resorted to peeing sitting down yet, although there were probably a few occasions where I should have. [Peeing on a boat that's under way should be an Olympic event.] Last night was brutal... Captain is hell-bent on making the USVI - he seems pessimistic and scared. [He wanted to get to the USVI on a specific date to pick up his sister.] All the good luck charms I have is funny. [You have a lot of time to think when you're out at sea.] Tired on 3 hour shifts, hungry too.