Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Amara tied to the marina in Gibraltar.
Martin, Patrice and Garry made it safely to Gibraltar.  When they arrived, they cleaned up the boat, walked around Gibraltar and got some dinner—Martin sounded tired.  Tomorrow they will start to provision the boat for their trip to Gran Canaria (the Canary Islands).  They think that they are going to sit tight in Gibraltar for a few days to let a storm pass.

Martin said that the large rolling waves that they fought against all night were interesting for him in learning to get used to the sounds that Amara makes underway.  He said that she would creak and let out a moan just like what you would imagine an old whaling ship would make while making it's crossing.  Nothing alarming but just a matter of getting used to how Amara expresses herself on the water.
Pulling into the marina at Gibraltar.
No biggie to have this coming up from behind.
A little blurry, but a look at The Rock.
Martin trying to catch something for 
dinner while underway.
This isn't just for sport.  This is for dinner.  
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SPOTLIGHT—Meet our Crew

I thought that I should write a little bit about our crew since I keep throwing the names Patrice and Garry around, I thought it is only appropriate for our readers to know a little bit about them and how they came to help us to get Amara to the Caribbean.

Today I thought I'd write a little bit about Garry and then tomorrow write about how we met our captain, Patrice.
Back in May when Garry joined us on our trip down to the BVI's.
A little tired after his 2-6 night shift while having to weave through boats all night.
 Mallorca to Gibraltar.
Currently, Garry calls Hawaii home but he is a "born n' bred" Idaho potato farmer.  We met Garry at a boat show last year in Oakland. During a dinner with our broker, Garry happened to be sitting at the same table as us because he was also using our same broker, Phil Bermanwe highly recommend him if you are in the market to buy a boat.  More about Phil later.

Kind of a funny story.  While we were all sitting at the table that night, drinks were being ordered.  Of course, Martin and I ordered soda and so did Garry.  A little while into the course of the conversation, the subject came up about Mitt Romney running for president and Mitt's religious affiliation.  If you don't know by now, like us, Mitt is a Mormon.  The comment made was completely innocent, but it wasn't the most positive comment made about Mormons (we're used to this).  As the conversation got a little deeper, I checked out and looked over at Garry and struck up a conversation with him.  I asked, "Garry, where are you from?"  When he replied, "Rexburg, Idaho", I quickly noted his choice in beverage, did a quick calculation in my head, and promptly asked him, "Are you a Mormon?"  He replied, "Yes" and I said, "Us too!"  Note:  We let the others at the table know we were Mormon, and the conversation quickly turned into a love fest about how great of a religion it really is. And it is. We left it at that, but so funny and awkward for a sec.  What are the odds that we met someone so close to home and a Mormon of all things?  We formed a fast friendship with Garry during that week.  In fact, Garry joined us down in the BVI's last May when we were all getting our sailing licenses to skipper a bareboat cruiser.

Garry has been a tremendous help to Martin not only during this transatlantic crossing, but back in Canet while preparing Amara for the voyage.  It has been nice for Martin to have someone to bounce off ideas with him, as well as, someone to ride along on Martin's numerous trips to the store to buy supplies.  More importantly,  just to have someone around from home.  Plus, he comes in pretty handy because his watch times are 2-6 every morning and evening while sailing Amara.
Yesterday, Garry snapped this photo of a a little stowaway that flew onto the deck.   

Anyway, Garry used to keep homing pigeons as a boy and recently got back into keeping them as a hobby.  As a boy, he would take his pigeons to Island Park, ID (right outside of Yellowstone) and release them to see if they could find their way home to his farm in Rexburg, ID.  So, when Garry saw the pigeon had hitched a ride on Amara's deck, he was more than entertained.

I think that when one is at sea (at least in my little experience) everything has a little more meaning.  You learn not to waste items or time.  You learn to communicate with yourself on another level and even the littlest of signs are not overlooked.  That is why I like what Garry wrote to me telling me about his experience with this homing pigeon on the deck of Amara.  He writes:

"Twenty nautical miles off the coast of Spain, a homing pigeon landed on Amara. With some coaxing (by placing some oatmeal out the front window hatch) the bird came in closer. It was obvious that this was someone's pet, since the bands were clearly visible on it's legs. 

I did some reading and likely the bird was flying from somewhere in North Africa. They can fly over 1100 miles and hit top speeds of 110mph, avg is 50. Races of 500 miles are common for these pigeons. 

I wondered if it was a lost racing bird and where it might have come from. The Med is over 100 miles wide where we are sailing and this little pigeon was flying from the south, headed to Spain. After I told Martin about how I had raised pigeons as a young boy and then gotten them again a few years ago, Martin replied, 'Garry, this is a sign just for you.'   

Having served as a missionary on an Indian reservation and the fact that I grew up in the outdoorsI have been exposed to all kinds of wildlife. So I knew what Martin meant by pointing this out and that this was just for me. Being at sea and in the greatest parts of the wild right now, I found it strange that the first bird to land on the boat wasn't a sea bird, but this lowly pigeon. Something that would have meant nothing to any other observer, but meant the world to me. I took this as a sign that this is a good place for me to be right now. Here on Amara. Thank you for inviting me along. —Garry"

So the journey continues.  We are grateful for our crew.  

Martin and his team will wait out the storm in Gibraltar and then make the choice to either sail on to the Canaries, or cut straight down and head for St.  Maarten (cutting about 5 days off their journey but making it a long trip with no more ports to break up the voyage).  The decision has yet to be made.  Of course, I'll keep you posted.

P.S.  Garry is the resident reporter.  It's nice to get an update from him most days along with photos.  Martin isn't the best at documentation, so I really enjoy hearing from Garry each day about their adventures.