Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Heading Home from Antarctica

Everyday my morning routine is getting on my computer and tracking where Martin is on the boat in Antarctica using the online tracking system provided by the boat.  It is so fun to follow it and know where he is.
From looking at the photo above, you can follow the dotted lines seeing that the boat left Ushuaia, Argentina, sailing across the Southern Ocean, eventually reaching Antarctica.  I love modern technology. LOVE it!

Often while talking with Martin on the phone he will comment about seeing whales breaching right in front of the boat.  Amazing!

Once they reached Antarctica, he was able to go on a few expeditions looking at wildlife and hiking around.  He told me that he has seen so many emperor penguins that he is a little "penguined out".  Ha!

Now, from looking at the map, you can see that the boat is on it's way home back to Ushuaia.  They should be reaching landfall by Feb. 1, which hopefully happens because he is scheduled to fly home on the 2nd!

So glad that Martin was able to have this experience.  I can't wait to see all the photos that he was able to take capturing such a remarkable part of the world.  I'll be sure to share them once he is home.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sailing Around the World? Check!

Arriving in St. Martin on January 7, 2015!
It's hard to believe that after a little less than two years ago, we have reached our goal... TO SAIL AROUND THE WORLD!

It was an amazing feeling to be arriving in St. Martin (where we left from in March 2013) knowing that Martin was able to achieve his dream by sailing around the world.  I have to pinch myself just thinking about this whole experience.  If you haven't guessed by now, when Martin sets a goal, he meets it!

It's not to say that it hasn't been a little tough along the way, especially for Martin. He has been going full speed ever since he got back on AMARA in March of last year in Australia.  We knew that it couldn't be another year to keep sailing because we have other projects in the works and we needed to be back in 2015.

So, here we are... DONE!  It's a strange feeling knowing that after all this hard work and long days sailing, we're done.  Well, kind of.  Martin isn't actually done.  In fact, once we arrived in St. Martin, Lily and I left for home to Utah and Martin headed to Argentina to board a tall ship and join a sailing expedition that was sailing to Antarctica.  I don't know how he does it and where he finds the energy?  I'll talk more about his experience in Antarctica in another post.  For now, let's focus on the remaining days of our trip through the Caribbean, eventually arriving in St. Martin...

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Lily and I joined Martin in Grenada where he, David and John had sailed from Brazil arriving in Grenada on Christmas day.  (That's a lot of sailing!)

The first thing, once we arrived in Grenada, was to go to a hotel where Martin and Lily got in some swimming, while I got to do some lounging by the pool.

Next, we went and did some snorkeling and saw the underwater statues just off the coast of Grenada.
Martin is like a fish now.  He would dive down and
 just swim around without coming up for air. 
I, of course, instructed Martin to swim down and snap a photo of
me quickly as was able.  As soon as he did, I would

 swim as fast as I could up to the surface.
Again, me holding on so that I didn't
float right back up to the top!
It was also fun to just drive around on AMARA's tender and check out Grenada.
We even had time to go to the local Mormon church and pay the congregation a visit. 
This is always a lot of fun for us.
After visiting Grenada for a few days, we left for the Grenadine Islands, first stopping in Mustique.  All I can say about Mustique is that it is an absolutely beautiful island!  Mick Jagger, Shania Twain, Tommy Hilfiger, as well as, the Royals all own homes on this beautiful island.  It is very exclusive but be prepared to spend some money if you go, but so fun.  After Mustique, we headed for the Grenadine Islands.  

Our sweet girl enjoying the sun while we were visiting Tobago Cays.  So fun!
Lily and Martin taking a much needed respite on the island of Nevis.
If you ever get a chance to visit the Grenadines, I say go for it!  Each island was beautiful and pristine.  But because we had to be in St. Martin by the first of the year, we didn't have much time to visit each island for more than a day.  I have some great photos but I forgot to pull them off of the card of the camera that Martin took to Antarctica.  So, I will for sure do another post so that you can see some of the beauty of the islands.

We travelled from St. Vincent, to Union Island then on to Martinique, up to Dominica and past Guadalupe and over to St. Kitts and Nevis (Beautiful).  It was some of the roughest sailing that I have experienced.  It was supposed to be all down wind, but the sea has a funny way about not working with you at times when the wind shifts.  Martin and David did some amazing sailing during those long days and I am in awe of how they were able to muscle through it to get us safely into the harbor of St. Martin.  What a feat!

It was such a weird, wild and intoxicating feeling to reach the bay right outside of St. Martin.  We had to wait a bit for the bridge to open before we could enter the harbor.  We lined up behind the other boats and I wanted to scream out to everyone and say, "Hey, we just sailed around the world!  Can you believe this?"  Instead, I kept my head about me and Martin and I just kept high-fiving and hugging each other.  I have to admit, I really teared up because I was just so proud of Martin and this accomplishment.  It really was so hard in spite of his love for sailing.  Me putting a timeline on his effort probably didn't help matters, but he DID it!  HE DID IT!

Once we arrived to St. Martin and found a place to tie her up, we cleaned and cleaned and cleaned up AMARA getting her ready for another sail to the Bahamas.  More on that later...
Goodbye, AMARA until we see you again in April.
Enjoy the rest in St. Martin.  You've been good to us.
Lily on the flight home from St. Martin to Utah.
She was one tuckered gal but such a trooper.
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Meanwhile... Martin can be found on this tall ship on his way to Antarctica.

Martin called the other day (actually, he brought his handheld satellite phone, so we talk everyday.  So convenient!).  Anyway, he is loving his time on this ship.  He is crewing from the coast of Argentina (starting from Ushuaia) over to Antarctica. He has already crawled out on to the bowsprit and even climbed up the rigging all the way up to the top of the mast.  While at the top, he was able to furl the royal sail and then went out on to the yardarm.  (A little too brave for my liking.)
To give you an idea of what a yardarm is.  Martin crawled
out to the edge much like this guy in this vintage photo.
Martin said that he is thoroughly enjoying this expedition and loves that he is able to have the same experience as sailors had over 100 years ago.  

More on his adventures along with photos once he gets home at the beginning of February.  I am so glad that he is having the time of his life, but so anxious to have him home soon.

Stay tuned for more, but in the meantime, we are going to just bask in what Martin was able to accomplish.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Making Great Time!

Great photo of Martin with AMARA in the background.
I got a great email from Martin today.  They are making great time and it looks like they will arrive in Grenada just in time to meet Lily and me when we arrive on the 26th.

Email update:

"We are currently crossing the ITCZ  the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone about 300 nautical miles off the coast of French Guiana.  This is where the wind from the Northern Hemisphere and the wind from the Southern Hemisphere meet and creates a belt near the equator of unsettled weather and sometimes the doldrums with no wind.  We have had plenty of wind, and some bouncy seas as I think the swells from the north are colliding with the swells from the south.  We also have had a lot of rain and rain squalls, but fortunately, no lightening.  At least it helps to wash down the boat, but things are definitely damp and muggy.

We also threw a celebration for John crossing the equator the other day.  We sprayed him with shaving cream and doused him with a bucket of water, before presenting his official certificate for becoming a Shellback.

We have been making good time doing 200+ miles per day and currently have 929 nautical miles to go to Tobago."

Tobago is about 100 miles from Grenada, so it looks like it will be a piece of cake for them to make it to meet Lily and me.  We were worried that Lily and I would be drinking pina coladas by the pool for a few days waiting for them to arrive.  Looks like Martin will get to join us instead!  

Meanwhile, here are some great photos of the gang while visiting Fernando de Noronha that I thought you would enjoy.

The men enjoying their Thanksgiving dinner while at sea.
A little dessert after Turkey dinner.
Famous David and his mooring expertise.
John and a tank on Noronha.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Quick Update

I just got word that AMARA and crew are going to skip the Amazon and head to Forteleza, Brazil for a quick fuel stop and then off to Grenada in time for Christmas!  I think after reading updates and other cruisers experiences on the Amazon that it was wise to at least not do it in our boat.  :)


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What's happening in Fernando de Noronha

AMARA will be heading to Brazil to the mouth of the Amazon.
Yesterday, Monday, we spent the morning "checking into Brazil" as the officials weren't working on Sunday when we arrived.  The Brazilian Federal Police handle the immigration paperwork here, and after the paperwork was finally done, they gave us a ride to their favorite restaurant where we all had lunch. They have become our good friends.  

After lunch we did a two tank dive in the National Park, and observed a big red snapper grab an octopus for his lunch.

This morning we went for a ride in the AMARA tender and filmed the local spinner dolphin by holding the GoPro camera underwater; we got some great footage.  We then toured the coastline inside the National Park boundary. 

Several hours later, the National Park Police stopped by AMARA and told us that it is illegal to take a boat into the National Park, and tried very hard to give us a ticket.  We had no idea about the "no boating" rule as the charts just say not to anchor there, and the local tourist map doesn't say anything about not boating in their list of Park Rules.  We were then escorted to Park Headquarters to meet with the Park Director who spoke a little English.  The director initially said that it should be obvious to us not to bring a boat into the Park.  We carefully explained that it isn't obvious to a visitor when the rule isn't posted in any of their literature.  It also isn't posted on the Marine chart, and not mentioned when you check into the Port.  He finally understood and accepted our rationale, and we were able to be on our way.

Following that adventure we spent some time at the beach were we watched a "Footvolley" match (beach volleyball where players only use their feet) and then a beauty contest.  To top off the evening, we went to every ATM on the island (3) trying to get money so we can pay our $460 departure tax in the morning.  No luck at any ATM even though the locals could withdraw money.  Hopefully tomorrow our teenage friend, "the money changer" might rescue us or we won't be leaving Fernando De Noronha anytime soon.