Thursday, February 21, 2013

Transatlantic Crossing Route

For those of you who would like to see the Atlantic crossing that Amara will be making,  I made a little map for you to see the route that she will be sailing.

Canet, France >> Gibraltar:
As of today, Martin and his crew have traveled 672 nautical miles from Canet, France to Gibraltar.  It took them 3.5 days, having to hang out for a day in Mallorca until the weather passed.  They were met with force 6 winds with gusts at 43-50 mph in high seas.  One wave was so high that it caused a startling crash against the boom.

Gibraltar >> Canary Islands (Las Palmas):
Looking at the weather window, as of today, Martin and Patrice have decided to leave Sunday from Gibraltar and sail to the Canary Islands.  This is 683 nautical miles and should take them about 4-5 days.

Atlantic Crossing: Canary Islands >> St. Maarten:
In the Canaries (Las Palmas), the crew will provision Amara for their long Atlantic crossing.  This passage will take anywhere from 17 to 20 days (pending weather), with a distance of 2700 nautical miles.

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.  
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pulling Up to the Rock

Martin and our trusted captain, Patrice.
Martin and his crew should just be pulling into Gibraltar as I type this.  I just got off the phone with Martin and he was starting his watch.  Each crew member (there are 3 of them) are taking 4-hour shifts.  Martin's shifts are from 10-2 in the evening and 10-2 in the afternoon.  We had a good talk and it is always nice to get connected with him even though we are going on 4 weeks without being with each other.  It really is so hard and I can't believe that it will be another month until I see him.  This was not part of the bargain, and I am really not happy about us being apart for so long.  Okay, okay, I'll stop my complaining, you've all read this before.
Martin said that the weather has been chilly and windy.  They have been mostly motoring Amara because they are trying to make up for lost time.  The wind is not in their favor and they need to get through the strait of Gibraltar before the weather kicks up again.  They have been going at an average 9 knots so far.
Our mate, Garry.
Boat Tour!

A lot of people have requested some photos of Amara.  Well, since I'm not there, I couldn't take actual photos of Amara and Martin and team are a little busy at the moment.  So, I thought I would post some photos that I grabbed off the internet, as well as some photos of a Lagoon 560 that I took at an actual boat show in Cannes, France this fall.
Amara's Layout -- 4 Cabin Version
Back deck.  Taken at a boat show.  
I grabbed this off the internet.  
This is what Amara looks like on the water 
(Minus all the people hanging out in the water.)
This is what our salon looks like, but our
cushions are a brown leather instead of white.

The top deck (fly bridge).
The top deck behind the Captain's chair.
Amara has four state rooms.  This is the owner's cabin.
Meaning, this will be my home for the next year or so.
This is another VIP cabin.  Basically, this is
what the remaining two bedrooms look like as well.
Each bedroom has it's own bathroom (head).
This is similar to our dinghy/tender.
The swim platform lifts and lowers
the tender into the water.  
Part of the back deck.  A place I will be
found for a lot of the trip. 
So there, that gives you an idea of what Amara looks like.  As soon as I get on the boat and get all her bedding on, pillows put away in pillow cases and plates and silverware aligned in their proper drawers, I'll do a video and give you the grand tour.  Until then, I hope this gives you a better idea of what our beautiful Amara looks like.

Monday, February 18, 2013

On the Move

Garry sent this photo to me this evening of Amara at sunset.  I can't wait to finally be able to share these kinds of sunsets with Martin on Amara.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Au Revoir, France!

Leaving Canet
Great news! Yesterday, Martin and his crew finally left Canet, France and are now docked in Mallorca, Spain.

On Friday, Martin threw a party at the marina for all the individuals that helped get Amara up and running and on Saturday he and his crew set sail for Gibralter.

I spoke to Martin this morning and he sounded tired, elated and little overwhelmed.  Sailing a vessel this large comes with it's headaches.  Martin felt a little "in over his head" with all the controls, mechanics and running parts of Amara.  He expressed his gratitude to me on the phone that he is so glad to have Patrice, our captain, there to help to figure out how everything works.  Nonetheless, they are on their way!  For me, it means that they are one day closer to seeing Lily and me.

Goodbye, France.
Can you see the excitement in Martin's face?
...and it's official, Amara is ALL OURS!

Let's get this party started!