Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cape Town, South Africa!

Martin and his crew made it safely to Cape Town on Thursday.  It was a fairly smooth and fast sail.  It was exciting to see the map of when AMARA rounded the Horn.
Rounding the Horn headed to Cape Town, S.A.
Once AMARA got to the bay, just outside of Cape Town, they were greeted by seals.
John being greeted by a friendly seal.

The harbor of Cape Town is absolutely beautiful although when they arrived to Cape Town they were welcomed by a thick fog.

The fog was so thick there for awhile that Martin said that they couldn't even see a boat length in front of them.
AMARA is tucked in the harbor down below.
The harbor in Cape Town.
Once they arrived, Martin got his first taste of Ethiopian food (one of my all time favorites).

I had planned to go out to South Africa to meet up with Martin, however, we decided that we would prefer Martin to be home sooner—meaning my coming out would delay the trip.  So we made a quick decision and cancelled my plans so that Martin can leave on Tuesday and head to Forteleza, Brazil (pending they get their Visa's to Brazil).   So instead of spending ten days in Cape Town, he is trying to cut it down to 4 days.  

Another change in plans is that Doug had to leave to go get his own boat down in Florida.  From there, he is headed down to the Bahamas. We were sad to see him go, but understand his desire to get on his own boat.  Good luck, Doug and safe sails!

Martin sent me a wonderful video that he took of the nightlife in Cape Town.  Enjoy!  I hope to update a little more while the guys are in Cape Town and before they take off to Brazil!  Cross you fingers that they get their Visa's soon!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Guest Speaker

While Martin was in Durban last week, he went to the LDS (Mormon) Self-Reliance Center where the church centers it's efforts in helping the poor and needy, as well as, helping members to find jobs.  Martin has always had an interest in this program and is always looking for opportunities to serve in the areas he is visiting... or just getting to see how the program is progressing in other parts of the world.

While he was there, he met a mormon bishop.  They got to talking and the bishop suggested that Martin stop by the church on Saturday.  There was going to be an activity for the youth of the stake (a group of mormon congregations that gather together is called a "Stake") and he should come to get to know the kids from that area.

Martin and I were talking on the phone that Saturday morning and he said, "Hey, do you think that I should go to the church this afternoon?  Looks like they are doing a youth conference, so I am not sure if I should even go (since it isn't an adult-focused meeting)."  We talked a little more on the phone and I said, "You know, you should go.  You might be missing church on Sunday (because they were taking off and heading to Cape Town) this may be the only church that you get this week.  So, we finished our conversation and Martin left for the Youth Conference.

When he arrived, he had a chance to meet a lot of the youth leaders and he was so impressed by how they had set up the program for the youth in that area.  The 100 plus youth were divided into different groups and each group was either, learning how to formal dance in the gym, while others were learning how to apply for jobs at the Self-Reliance center, (right next to the church) and the last group was learning how to utilize the internet to do missionary work.  All great youth specific activities that would benefit these kids.

However, somehow in the midst of all of this, Martin was asked to be the concluding speaker to the whole group when they all met back at the church.  Of course, Martin is a fabulous speaker and has done quite the circuit back here in the states to both adult and youth groups, so he was able to pull stories and lessons from his past experiences to teach these young kids about setting goals.  His topic to the youth was about climbing the mountains of life and how they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to doing, as long as they are moving forward with determination.  Something that comes very naturally to my goal-setting husband.

Of course, after the conference, Martin gave a few of the youth leaders (who gave him a ride home) a tour of AMARA.

I am so glad that Martin is always looking for opportunities to stay present and involved wherever he can, at this time.  He is getting a little anxious to get back home and have life be a little more normal, but really, he also loves being on the boat.  In the meantime, I am glad that he can share his talents with others while he is sailing.

In other news, they are almost to Cape Town.

This Just In! AMARA making incredible time heading toward Cape Town!

Martin just sent me this news flash!  They took off on Sunday and are making spectacular time heading to Cape Town. 

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"Reuters AP (Well, not really, but if Rueters knew, they would totally have posted this.)

Martin Frey reporting from off Cape St. Francis

The sailing yacht AMARA achieved a new 24 hour distance and speed record over the last 24 hours from Midnight to Midnight.  Distance traveled was 253.1 nautical miles (291 miles—That's fast!), making her average speed better than 10.5 knots!   These results were achieved with the assistance of the favorable Agulhas current and not likely to be repeated until AMARA sails up the Gulf Stream off the eastern coast of the USA.

Sometime tomorrow afternoon AMARA will also achieve another first with the rounding of the southern tip of Africa which will take her to a latitude of 35 degrees south, the furthest south that she has ever been."

AMARA should be reaching landfall on Friday.  Martin reports that Cape Town is less than 2 days away.  Yay!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bunny Chow... Well, Not Literally

Last Saturday night, Martin, David, Doug and John went to a Blues Festival in Durban.  First stop... Bunny Chow

In Durban the people are very proud to be the only place in the world where you can get Bunny Chow.  Bunny Chow is a lentil and meat curry that is served in a bread bowl.  It is extremely popular and is inexpensive and often very spicy. 

Tradition dictates that the proper way to eat Bunny Chow is with just your fingers making for very messy hands. Given that that they are leaving Durban on Sunday, it was imperative that they all ate their Bunny Chow today.  Martin had his at lunch and here is the crew getting their Bunny Chow initiation Saturday night while they were enjoying the Durban Blues Festival. 

PS. No bunnies were been harmed in making Bunny Chow.

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Here are some photos of Charlie, the crowd pleaser, at the Blues festival.

I have another post coming shortly...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cool New Video—Adventures On AMARA

Doug sent me this great video of him and the gang during their passage from Reunion Island to Durban.  It's quite entertaining as it shows the whales greeting them as they approached Durban. It also gives you an idea of how rough it can get on the high seas.  He was also able to capture some footage of them while they were in the gale that had winds upwards to 48 knots.  Never a dull moment on AMARA.

Enjoy!  (And thanks, Doug!)

Landfall this morning—Durban, South Africa

AMARA and her crew reached landfall today arriving in Durban.  As they approached land and were just off the coast, they were greeted by Southern Right Whales that came up next to AMARA while breaching and spy hopping in the water.  Martin felt like it was the welcoming committee coming out to greet these tired sailors and escort them in to South Africa.

I spoke to Martin via Skype this evening and it was so nice to get caught up and be able to see each other on our computer cameras.  He was very excited to be on land and was enjoying a breakfast at a local coffee shop.

I'm just so glad that they made it to Durban and am anxious to meet up with Martin in Cape Town in less than two weeks.

More news to come in the morning.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gales and Currents

Martin sent me an update via email on what they are currently dealing with.  I thought I would share it on the blog.  They are almost there!

"We have about 100 miles to go before we get to Durban, but we are in a full Gale tonight.  I just got off watch and had winds up to 48 knots (which is around 54 mph) and some lightening just to keep it interesting. The boat is doing well in the waves.   We are also just about to cross 30 miles of the Agulhas Current which runs down the African coast at about 4 knots. Fortunately the wind is going the same direction as the current, so the waves won't get any bigger.

Don't worry about anything, I'm having a blast, and just thought you would like to hear what we are dealing with at the moment.

I will let you know when we arrive in Durban.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dispatches from the Indian Ocean

Great news!  AMARA should be reaching landfall by the 12th!  That's just around the corner.  I am so happy to know that they are almost there and that land is near.  It's been a rough ride and Martin, David and Doug are anxious to make it to Durban.

I got a great email from Doug today that I thought I would share with you.  It demonstrates how there is never a dull moment while at sea.

Enjoy the read...

"This morning while I was on watch (at the helm) I saw a Humpback whale breech very close to the boat.  It jumped almost completely out of the water, then fell on its side with a tremendous splash.. less than a hundred yards from the boat.  Very cool!  He then swam along side us for a while before losing interest and moving away.

Then later during that same watch I encountered a very interesting navigational problem.  The instrument that measures boat speed relative to the water said we were moving west at eight knots.  However, the instrument that measures boat speed relative to ground (the GPS) said that the boat was basically not moving at all.  We were in a very strange ocean current eddy that was pushing us to the east at the same speed that we were moving through the water to the west.  The net result was no progress even though we were sailing as fast as we could.  An eight knot current eddy is almost unheard of, but not impossible. The waters in this part of the Indian Ocean are famous for doing strange things like this and today they lived up to their reputation.  (In case you're wondering what I did to solve the problem... I pointed the boat north and ran that way for a while until we were clear of the strange eddy.  If I hadn't done that and things hadn't changed then we could have stayed in that same spot of the ocean forever, sailing as fast as we could but getting nowhere.)"

Monday, October 6, 2014

Madagascar and an Albatross

I heard from Martin today.  It's always a great treat to hear from him while they are underway.  He told me that they are rounding the tip of Madagascar at about 200 miles from the shore.  The wind is gusting at 30+ knots while they are fighting a 3 knot current with steep waves that are making the boat roll at a 45 degree angle.  Needless to say, there is lots of pounding on the hulls.  Martin said that the waves are so high that they can see waves breaking at the height of the window from outside the galley.  That is high!

I asked him if he was feeling sick and he said that they were too busy to feel sick as they are fighting the seas most of the time, but that they are having fun.  Really, that is all that matters.

While talking with Martin on the phone, I could hear the wind whistling through the sails and it sounded a bit sketchy.  He told me not to worry, and that they were fine.  About that time, a huge Albatross flew up next to the boat and Martin said that it had a huge wingspan at about 6 feet long.  I quickly googled "Albatross" to see it could really be one and it said that "If you want to see an Albatross, go to Madagascar."  So cool!  Martin reported to me later that the bird stayed with them the remainder of the day staying close to the boat.  He also said that he understood why sailors often commented that they felt that they were being watched over by these large birds as they flew close to their ships.

AMARA is still slated to reach the coast of South Africa in about 7 days.. whether it be Durban or somewhere close to it (as the wind is pushing them a bit off course at times).  Fingers crossed they make it sooner rather than later!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Next stop... South Africa!

I spoke to Martin yesterday as they were leaving port and headed for Durban, South Africa.  It should take them around 9 days to arrive—pending good weather.  Martin, David and Doug saw a small break in the weather and decided to go for it and leave port and head to Durban.

This could be a good thing... or a very bad thing.  The weather has NOT been great and if they hit bad weather, then there would be lots of wobbling and teetering which is never good on the stomach.
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Last Sunday, Martin went to church at a small congregation of the LDS church on La Reunion island. At the end of church, and in true Martin fashion, he got up and invited everyone over for Family Home Evening (a night set aside for families and friends to gather—usually on Monday nights) on AMARA.  He called me after church and said he had a bit of anxiety about the get together because neither Sue or myself would be there to help out in the planning.  However, I was fully confident that Martin, Doug and David could pull it off (John had left earlier, via airplane, for South Africa to meet up with his wife, Tamrika for a short visit).

As you can tell from the photos below, it looks like the evening was a great success!
Members of the LDS (Mormon) congregation on Reunion Island.
The table is set.
Lots of yummy food for everyone.

The Branch President
(He overseas the congregation on Reunion Island).
This is a great photo of Martin and
a LDS (Mormon) missionary.
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This week,  Martin, Davie and Doug went on a hike with their aim at the highest peak that they could find.  They were able to climb to 9,500 feet which is equivalent to Mt. Olympus here in Utah.  Martin, who is the most athletic person that I know, and can climb any peak with ease, said he really struggled on the climb since he hasn't been able to workout out much since he has been sailing for the past 6 months.  He's anxious to get back to his regular workouts and climbing the peaks here in Utah. Doug was able to capture some great photos of the climb and of David and Martin at the top of the mountain.
David and Martin at the top of the peak.
The clouds settling in at the top.
Doug at the top!
Martin wrote me this morning and said things are going well and so far, so good.  I hope to hear from him tonight or tomorrow and hopefully there will be good news to follow.  I sure miss my guy and can't wait to meet up with him in the next two weeks.  I am wishing them smooth sailing until we meet up soon!