I think this quote captures the beauty of sailing offshore (- Liz):
"I can't decide which way to look. To the east the sky is ablaze with a new, clear dawn, the sun's rays piercing the heavens through some fluffy clouds over the horizon. In the west, the moon follows Jupiter, sinks lower and turns a blood red before dipping beneath the horizon." - Andy Schell
Andy writes about confused seas and taking action fast with the crew when some dark clouds move towards them at sea! Isbjorn sails (and motors) through squalls, perfect southeasterly breeze, and well, no wind at all. All the while navigating by just celestial navigation.
This will be the last time Isbjorn plies the waters of the Caribbean for nearly two years. What is really an ‘end’ to our time down here, is a very exciting new beginning for us. Isbjorn will be pointing her bows ever more north over the next 18 months, culminating in our adventures north to the Arctic in summer 2018, when we hope to get as far as 77º north or more as we explore the coast of Svalbard. Both of us are absolutely ready to leave the heat, and very much looking forward to going back to the Azores. In fact, this is the 5th anniversary of our first passage there on Kinship, with ARC Europe in 2012, so a bit of nostalgia here at the same time as we look towards the future.
I asked WRI's Jeremy Davis to elaborate on 1). how the storm formed; 2). what makes a system 'tropical' anyway, especially these that form outside the actual tropics; 3). could this have been 'missed' in the past prior to the high-resolution imagery weather forecasters have now; 4). how rare it actual is; and 5). if this means we're setting up for a busy hurricane year. Jeremy's discussion follows:
The last Caribbean trip for a while and it is a bit bittersweet! Crew joined us up in Trellis Bay, BVI and the plan to stay there for the night changed quickly. The wind swung us around a bit too close to a nearby boat and since we had to re-anchor anyway, we decided to head over to Spanish Town straight away where we had to clear out of custom before departing the BVI.
...Sideways to the wind, the mainsheet is at the knot. With wind in the sail, we start to accelerate. I think we can thread through the first two moored boats, then jibe and slide out into the channel. Just beyond though lies the inner reef, in the center of the mooring field, right where we’re pointed...
Photo by crewmember Nick W., taken from the masthead!
“You know, most people don’t love ocean sailing anyway. It’s something you endure to get to where you’re going.”
Sometimes. But sometimes it’s the entire reason you go from A to B - to experience the highs and lows, the joy and anguish of sailing over the horizon and into that ocean wilderness. I actually do love it.
Today is ‘Day 0’ of our final Caribbean passage for almost two years, until our return in 2019. Isbjorn is bound for the Grenadines for the second time in 2017, a change in our original schedule, which had us going back to St. Barth’s and on to Dominica. Why the change? Because the sailing passages will be longer, and having been once in the Grenadines already this year, we felt compelled to return. They are a neat place.