2012 Atlantic Crossing Summary

Atlantic Crossing Arrival Barbados

Malua is at 13:05.67N 59:37.06 at 1500 UTC on 11/12/2012
Distance travelled 2920
Distance to go NIL
Equipment broken - Nil
Sails torn – Nil
Lines worn through – nil
Equipment failure – Nil (one extractor fan blade broken due to my putting my finger in the fan!)
Water made and collected – half full tanks
Engine hours both propulsion and battery charging 154 hours (70 hours to motor through flat calm)
We finally arrived at 1500 11/12/2012 21 days 6 hours and 30 minutes after leaving Las Palmas Canaries.
The voyage had all the expected highs and lows. The vista from the cockpit is just awe inspiring from sun rise to sun set and the different shades of blackness during the night. We started with a full moon that would rise just before sun set and we ended the voyage with a new moon that rose just before dawn. The stars moved over head during the night. If you lay back at the start of your watch and looked up I could recognise the planets and some constellations. Jupiter was to the east with Aldebaran next to it. They moved westwards during the night across the sky. I never identified the north star Polaris.
We kept GMT/UTC time right through the trip but adjusted the time we started the nightly watch system to start one hour after sun set when it got dark. Piers would take the first 3 hour watch and I the next. I would always take the last at sun rise so he could sleep a bit longer. It worked very well indeed as we both adjusted to the rhythm of the day. If the night was bad we would catch a nap during the day.
We had great meals. Always had cereal when Piers woke with bead or toast. On Sundays the Master cooked a full breakfast of bacon, fried eggs, tomatoes, toast, marmalade and coffee.

Lunch was a mixed affair. If we had fish we had a light fish meal but generally it was cold. Some times I mad a tuna and bean salad eaten in wraps or as is. We had cold meat balls and some ham. Dinner was the main meal prepared an hour and a half before darkness. The prepared meals are just easy to have, so generally when we cooked some meat from the freezer we cooked more than enough so we could have the balance a few days later. I like a good French beef stew with a good flavour of wine and the herbs of Provence. We had a variety of potatoes from mashed – with lots of butter, to boiled to shallow fried or done in the oven. The variety was versatile and very tasty. The rice ranged from Basmati (piers favorite) to just normal always cooked by the absorption method of 10 minutes on a heat dispersion mat and then left to continue for an additional 10. Just right all the time.
Vegetables was not the strong point on Malua. They ranged from tinned peas, beans to cauliflower and peppers. Not a great selection.
Deserts varied from nothing to tinned apricots with cream – not well accepted by the crew who did not feel well the first night they were presented so associated them with rough seas. – more for Harry.

Fruit lasted well. We had a few oranges – cut in different methods – rugby or other. Tangerines were eaten after most meals while dates, dried fruit particularly were available for instant snacks.
We drank lots of water. I had three Fiji water bottles on the go at all times consuming about a litre during the night. It got very hot in the quarter berth with little wind circulation. Piers drank water with lime juice.
I kept a log of the journey based on UTC time. Initially at 0600 and 1200 every day. It was generally a snap shot of the past hours so did not reflect the true wind or sea conditions which could very greatly but we did put comments along side. My daily report became confused because I would write about the past day in the afternoon of the next and like all bad events your memory only remembers the good times.
The highlights of the trip:

We are no in Carlisle Bay Bridgetown Barbados. We sailed in with all ship shape like Bristol and dropped anchor. The watchmate told us that the anchor was not holding as we had breakfast so we pulled it up and headed towards a sand patch. Dropped the anchor right in a sand patch then Piers dived on the anchor to check and noticed a large steel industrial half wheel along the anchor line. I soon realised that we could turn it into a mooring. Out came the extra chain and the nylon mooring line and before you knew it we had made ourselves a permanent mooring. We left the anchor out just in case the chain parted but Malua is nor going any where in this gusty wind and rain squalls.

It was now time to check in. On inquiring where the Customs offices are at a few boat. The Canadians said we would have to take Malua into the large commercial dock and tie up there then go to Customs but they had checked in at Port St Charles and we should sail the 19 miles because it was much easier. The Germans pointed out we had broken the law and we were illegal immigrants and the authorities would take a dim view – however they did tell us where the Customs offices where. We set off in a heavy rain squall in the RIB and small outboard.

The cruise ship that had passed us during the night was taking on their passengers through the Customs hall as we made our way to the offices over looking the hall and duty free retail area. The official are very polite and knew the form and procedures. They asked for our check out papers from Morocco which I had not received but I did have a form from Rabat officials that gave us a few months re-entry into the country. It was in Arabic script with English in the appropriate places. I convinced the Customs that that was the correct form that he required. OK now go to Health. “Has their been a plague on the vessel while on passage?” “Has any one died?” OK now go to Immigration who will stamp your passport. My Oz not UK passport was handed over so I had nor stamps in it while Piers was full of countries right around the world. The official had to search for a clean space. All formalities complete the Customs official leans forward across his desk and asked “ Will you do me a favour?” “Yes of course” “Go to the duty free and purchase three one litre bottles of Absolute vodka. Here is the money. ( the exact amount)” It was then that I knew I had him on my side. I duly went and purchased the vodka along with two large bottles of Mt Gay rum. Returning to the office I saw him close the binds of his office before I entered and the contraband was handed over behind closed doors.
We then walked out of the dock against the flow of passengers returning to their cruise liner only to be stopped at the exit gate by Customs who wanted to know what we where doing – “yacht checking in” OK you can pass. My large bag bulging with the local fire water rum was not noticed.
A magical moment on Malua

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