At three o clock in the morning we saw the lights of St. Lucia and Martinique on the horizon after 2100 NM. Some squalls followed Ydalirs silent sail both on starboard and to Portside and the moon was smiling from behind as we approached the Caribbean. The stars were still guiding us, before they went to sleep behind the cloudy curtain. Soon daylight showed us the green mountainous beauty of St. Lucia and we reached the finish line at 8.57 on the 10th of December after 2146 NM and 16 days on the vast Atlantic!
The long blue journey, far from anything else, has been an adventure and a dream, but nevertheless, it is great to see land again.
Log day 1 , Monday November 23
We left Mindelo with fresh PCR test results in our hands. It felt totally ok to be negative. The fleet that had stayed and awaited the test results over the last five days became close friends and now everyone looked forward to the two weeks long journey over the Atlantic to St. Lucia in the Caribbean.
We started at 15 Mindelo time and of course, Ydalir was the first to cross the starting line. Dan is excellent in strategic starts, a champion as he is. Later we took advantage of the fall winds of the island, Santo Antao and later sailed south with weak winds. We were happy to finally be out at sea and it was great to see the other sails around and talk to them over the vhf. We had Capitain made pesto for dinner. The basil is delicious on Mindelo.
Log day 2, Tuesday November 24
We continued to sail in the sunny weather. NIlla could even bake some cinnamon rolls and the water was glittering like diamonds in the fluorescent water at night. The moon was half, and gave a soft light to the night. We enjoyed seeing the silvery arrows of flying fish shooting out of the water with a gracious speed and dive into the water again. No wonder that the birds cirkled over the blue surface to catch one now and then. Two elegant birds flew by. We don’t know their names, but their kin where edged like a shoebox, it might be African birds.
Log day 3 Wednesday the 25th of November
In the morning hours, after a delicious breakfast t with Cape Verdean yogurt and the best passion fruit ever tasted. Soon we spotted a dozen of Atlantic spotted dolphins that came to play and frolock with our bow. These beautiful animals always makes us so happy and it was a lot of joy to watch them swim around in over an hour. In the afternoon we caught a mahimahi and we were very happy to have some fishing luck. We had lemon cake and chicken for lunch.
Log day 4, Thursday the 26th of November
We had come quite high up north and now we gybed southwards again. The winds grew stronger and we had our main reeved and the genoa fock up. The waves grew as well and the swell with it. It was hard to sleep in the bow cabin as everything rolled. Luckliy nothing broke. We cooked a big portion of chili con carne that we could eat the upcoming days. And a sticky chocolate cake to keep the mood up.
Log day 5, Friday the 27th of November
The winds grew stronger, up to force 9 and the sea was so bumby, it was not easy to say if sleep or a long night shift was better. It was fascinating though to watch the mountain waves high up before Ydalir glided in the next valley and then slided up again. Sometimes the waves knocked us heavy on the side. I am amazed of how much our Ydalir can take, she is really the toughest one. We knew the wind wouldn’t go on for ever, but having thousands of nautical miles to go, it was not so easy to keep the patience up. As it was so good to eat yoghurt, I tried to make some new out of the leftovers and managed quite well. Out of one liter heated powder milk, I made new yoghurt.
Log day 6, Saturday the 28th of November
The winds calmed a bit, but the waves were still high and one smashed over from the back and the salt water running in through the air channel into the space where our generator is located, with a deadly outcome for the inverter. Now we were not able to use our water maker anymore. We have 700 liters of water, but it is now important to save water, you never know how long we need it. Luckily we can make the dishes with salt water.
Log day 7, Sunday the 29th of November . first Advent
Since days we have not seen any other boat and we miss the vhf contact with the ARC fleet. We start to send emails instead and it feels good to hear how it is going for them. It s also the first time we are not in the northern countries for the advent time. No gingerbread made and here we have 28 degrees and sunshine while the snow is covering the earth in Finland. Anders makes a spicy lamb in cabbage stew. Sooo delicious. We lose two of our lures to some monsterhuge fish in the ocean and quite a lot of thread. It will be hard to fish anything the next days.
Log day 8, Monday the 30th of November
Dan and Anders call the service crew in Sweden to see if we can get some help with the generator and orders spare parts for St. Lucia. The sea is very calm and we have our parasail up and make quite a speed in the light winds. Nilla makes yoghurt and a carrot cake to celebrate the upcoming 1000 miles, wich we reach at 19 Rio de Janeiro time. We listen to music and Ulf makes delicious Italian meatballs and the full moon lightens up the calm nights. We still have to tack now and then, because it is not possible to sail direct on the rhumb line to St. Lucia.
Log day 9, Tuesday December 1st Halfway
The full moon shines on the silvery surface of the sea. It feels good. We come closer to halfway across the Atlantic! The day begins with a Dan excercise, on his shift he has been thinking of a solution for resolving our watermaker problem. As the inverter didn’t like saltwater coming in from behind through a vent, it was dead since Saturday. We still had sufficient water to survive to St. Lucia, but it is troublesome to manage with a strict water conservation role. Now Dan disconnected the watermaker from the generator and connected it to our standard inverter and the watermaker was working again!
With 1078 NM made good and still 1078 NM to go, we start to celebrate this special halfwayday. Ulf surprizes us with huge Swedish candy boxes, filled with delicious Swedish licorice, chocolate and “lösgodis”. This was a special treat far out on the ocean and tears are in our eyes. This day we also see the first ship on the voyage since the Cape Verdes, a 300 metre tall frigter bound for Singapore. We call them up on VHF and they diverted their course to give us clear way. We are not alone on this ocean, even though it mostly feels so.
We continue to celebrate with boat made icy lime cheesecake. It was cool and delicious in the hot sun. As the winds were calm, force 2, the Parasail was gently taking us forward, Nilla and Ulf jammed “Summertime” with flute and guitar on deck, and we believe we had a crowded audience under the keel. Fish are jumping. One of our fans got hooked on the feeling, it was a quite sizable Dorade. Now it was time for a glass of champagne together with the captains freshly baked bread, slices of Canarian chorizo and juicy olives. This halfway day turned out to be the best so far and with an Asian chicken wok with delicious vegetables, we were all very happy and relaxed. Come what may, we are already halfway!
Log day 10, Wednesday December 2nd
We gybed in the moonlight. Normally we try to avoid it, because it can be very tricky in the dark, but now we didn’t have a choice. Some knots on the lines, that we didn’t see at first, made it a little bit complicated. We were luckier at daytime. Today we caught five small Seabreams and a one meter long and 7 kilo heavy Mahimahi. It was so beautiful, golden and yellow with blue spots.
Log day 11, Thursday December 3rd
We have got some rain and now we keep watch and closely track the squalls, that’s local moving ministorms with rain. At night, they are easy to spot and see how they move on the radar. It is important to have them on Portside to avoid having to sail against the wind. The best is to stay as far away as possible. Today we stop and jump into the water! It is amazing to swim with 5000 metres below you can really feel that the water carries you. The blue, a colour so deep blue and clear at the same time, so special and it is 26 degrees warm, refreshing and relaxing. Of course, we do have a safety line close by. It is far to swim to land and now and then a Portuguese jellyfish sails by and they are deadly poisonous. The wind dies and we have to motor for some hours.
Log day 12, Friday December 4,
Today is a beautiful day and we can set the genoa and main sail and we can keep on nagging miles at the speed of five knots. Far away on the horizon, a whale shows its back, quickly followed by a second one. It’s a short show, but we are very happy to see them. Maybe minky whales.
Log day 13, Saturday December 5
The night was calm and the full moon was shining bright as a lighthouse. At daytime we see some fishes that are swimming and catching smaller fishes in the waves. It is beautiful to see how elegantly fast they swim and turn in the water, passing by and coming close again for another turn. We watch them for hours, it is not easy to identify what kind of fish it is under the surface. Flying fishes glides by and tries to escape their enemies. We have thin pancakes for breakfast.
Log day 14, Sunday December 6
Today Anders and I hoists the Parasail on our own for the first time, its good to try on the Finnish Independence day and it works very well. We stop and swim again, so refreshing in the vast ocean. Today we have Korean bulgoki for dinner. We usually only eat one together in the day, dinner for four at four.
Log day 15, Monday December 7
The wind was growing stronger in the night and it was mor inconvenient to sleep when Ydalir is pushed and tolled from side to side, up and down. Nevertheless, Anders bakes some bread and a cake. It is time to change the time, we have reached another time zone.
Log day 16, Tuesday December 8
This is a really calm and smooth sailing day on the Atlantic. We have sailed 1900nm from the Cape Verdes and we feel all the waves in our bones and get used to the gurgling sound of the water tumbling around Ydalirs hull. In the sunset a dolphin family, a couple with a baby swims by and quite carefully take some slow turns around the boats bow. We are always so happy to see and greet them. We keep on sailing with a good speed and see three boats n the distance. We are coming closer to land.
Log day 17, Wednesday December 9
Squalls pop up on both sides more often now, so we have to take down the sails and motor around them. We have had a strange noise coming from the steering system during our sail. Today Dan changes the freshwater pump and at the same time he notices that some screws are loose and missing. Luckily he can replace them, otherwise we could have lost our manual steering capability. We are quite eager to get closer to land now. It’s a nice last evening together on board.
Log day 18, Thursday December 10
We see the lights of St. Lucian and Martinique shoreline in the far distance and butterflies flying in our bellies. It feels so good to see land again! Some squalls still keepG chasing us, but we sail with nine to ten knots and escape them with a wind force six. Daylight comes and a rainbow rises over Martinique. Maybe a treasure is hidden there. We get the Caribbean feeling over the radio and birds are doing their welcoming serpentine loopes around us. After seventeen days far out on the ocean in our small boat, surrounded by blue, white and black, we are very happy to see green land again. The hills of St. Lucia are gorgeous. The ocean has carried us well from Europe and Africa to the Americas and we are thankful and happy.