Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Crossing the Pond"

After a LOT of prayer and talking to other cruisers and sailors who actually know what they're doing, we decided to take the adventure one more level and cross the Atlantic at the end of the year, this year.
When we started the adventure, we had no intentions of crossing oceans, we just thought we'd float around in the Med for a few years, and sell the boat and move on. After examining all our options, and getting a lot of encouragement from people who have sailed across oceans and around the world, we feel like we are up for the challenge.

For us, among other things, it has meant getting Mehari more ready for that kind of voyage than she is now. We had the older kids bring back from the US some more electronics, and communication systems to make the crossing safer. We have always had a 406khtz EPIRB unit. It's a floating global location system that alerts the local Coast Guards, if we are in danger, and it means immediate assistance.

We also bought a new VHF, with AIS, which is new technology to alert of all other vessels within a 20 mile radius. Similar to radar, but with the added feature of boat name, speed, and the ability to make direct contact with other vessels. We've already liked using this one in Italy and Malta.

We also bought a satellite phone, which is able to send and receive emails, and receive weather updates, a big plus when making a ocean crossing. We will also be able to contact other boats 'going our way' as during the time of year we plan to cross, there are many, many other boats doing the same thing.

We have always had a on board water maker which can take seawater and put it though a high pressure membrane and actually turn it into drinking fresh water. It takes the salt out and is cleaner than the water in most cities in the world. Two hours of running the water maker and we have enough water for all 8 of us for a week.

The last purchase we made was here in Malta. The biggest, heaviest, and most expensive item I have not yet opened or have any intention of ever opening is an 8 man offshore life raft. This is a worst case scenario item that we would much rather have and never use than need and not have. I will be glad to sell it on the other side....still unopened!! Any takers?!

So, it has not been a careless decision and while there are obviously risks, they are measured risks. Like anything in life, you weigh the options, educate yourself as best as you can, prepare yourself and move forward. We are naturally a little apprehensive of the unknown, but excited at the thought of accomplishing something this huge. It will come with an enormous sense of accomplishment and achievement, something I think the kids will carry the rest of their lives.  It will be in late December or early January when we will leave from the Cape Verde islands, off the coast of Africa, and will take approximately 3 weeks, depending on the wind and sea conditions.

Some have asked where you stop at night, but you don't.....you sail on and on and on, rotating and keeping night watches and like anything that is a large undertaking, baby steps eventually add up to giant steps. Speaking of giant, we have been working on giant lists of things like: a more well stocked first aid kit, trying to anticipate illnesses, and provisions and food lists for a boat of 8 to eat and live for 3 weeks. 50 bags of pasta is the first item ;)

Thanks for letting us ramble and explain some of this, hope it wasn't boring and we'd love all the prayers of our friends and family and anyone who has picked up reading our blog as we've travelled. Thanks for the words of encouragement an emails of all the amazing people we've met so far, we're certainly awed by the support.

Love you all!

~ Hems

3 comments:

John said...

Pretty incredible!! You KNOW we will be praying!!!

Bruno said...

Right decision!

Buon Vento!

eliZabeth Gaus said...

So are you guys coming back to the US after this?!

Love you all!

Elizabeth G.