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!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Beautiful Scenes of Reunion Island

Martin sent me some beautiful photos that he took while on their sightseeing tour around Reunion island.
The flowers are breathtaking.

The beautiful waterfalls.
Martin reports that they are going to sit tight for the next few days since there isn't much of a weather window at this moment.  He is hoping that it will open up in the next few days so that they can head to Durban and then on to Cape Town.  I'm crossing my fingers and saying a few prayers in their behalf so that they make it their safely without the weather getting in their way.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Gents Have Made it To Reunion Island

I got an email today from Martin telling me it was a smooth sail to Reunion Island.  He wrote that so far no internet but they do have a rental car!  Looks like they are going to do a little tourist activity today.

While sailing, fishing has been at an all time high.  They have caught so much fish that there is no more room in the freezers for fish.  Martin told me that they are eating it as fast as they can but every time they do, they catch another fish.  Well, at least I know that they aren't going hungry.

Martin and one big Mahi-Mahi.