Friday, December 30, 2011

Passage from H E double hockey sticks.

Wow, that was a long 5 days!

It started out OK as we finally left the river and headed out into the Atlantic ocean past Banjul, the capital. Once we were clear of the land, we were hit with a nasty swell from the starboard bow (front right corner) Most catamarans don't handle a side swell very well and for Mehari, coming over the corner is just miserable inside.

We've found that the quickest way to get over seasickness is to lay down. It seems like your body adjusts more quickly to the motion, Rachel and the little girls went to bed early, and that left Maggie, Levi and I taking turns for the night watches, and trying to keep supper down!

Soon after dark, around 7:30, Emma informed me that they were getting water coming into their bed from the windows above them. Sure enough the bed was already soaked and some sea water was finding it's way into the room. There was no way to look or repair it underway as it was dark and very rolly seas, so Emma moved to the couch and it ended up the girls slept in the living room the rest of the passage. By the next morning, it was soaked, mattresses, blankets, everything! Pretty miserable, and we were all feeling really sick. "Only" 5 out of the eight of us ended up throwing up ;) and it was all we could do to get the wet bedding outside to air out. Cleaning would have to wait.

Rachel was feeling too sick to cook, and we all were feeling too sick to eat. So for two days, we only drank water and did a LOT of laying around.

We found out later that there was some sort of high pressure system pushing an unusually large swell south from Europe, I think it had more to do with the angle of coming north from Gambia. Actually, I don't really care, I just don't want to go through a passage like that again! That's all we know!

Anyway, also on day one, we managed to break a shroud (a stainless steel cable) inside one of our front sails. This made our mast off balance, and we didn't want to push it and risk breaking our mast, a huge disaster. So we weighed the options of going back to Gambia, where repair would have been unlikely if not impossible, or heading back to Dakar, Senegal, repair a possibility, or to push on to Cape Verde where repair was certain, even though it was still 4 days away. We opted for going to Cape Verde, and tool it a bit slower, with only our jib sail out front, not using our main because we were afraid it would be 'pulling' back on the mast. Levi and I rigged up some lines to stabilize the mast, because as we were going over the waves, you could look up and see the mast flexing. Not a comforting feeling! If we started slowing, we would alternate the motors and keep a steady pace.

We arrived in Cape Verdes late Thursday night, after 10, and anchoring never felt better! The bay is large and while it wasn't the calmest anchorage.......,after our week, we were all asleep in about 4 seconds.

We have a tradition of making a big breakfast the morning after a passage and this was no exception: omelette's, toast, hash browns, and Levi even made chocolate chip pancakes, then we set about picking up the pieces, literally. The cabin, cockpit, and the rooms in the boat were destroyed, and we all pitched in, got some music crankin' and in a few hours, felt like we were getting a handle on it. Levi and I took 5 loads of laundry (for starters) to the laundry-mat, and picked up some fruit and milk. more doom, the next post will hopefully be how great Mindelo is......

See you soon!

~ Hems

1 comment:

larry said...

Your discription of misery made me laugh and feel queezy al at the same time. Glad you got that passage out of the way before the big crossing.