Captain's Log, Stardate:


12/08/2001

The ARC Crossing Part 5

487 miles to go!

All is well aboard Escape Cay with now less than 500 miles to go. Wednesday and Thursday were bad days in that there was very little wind. We are a sailboat and we need wind. I know from previous experience in the Caribbean (while trying to get from FL to Trinidad), the wind blows at 20 kts or more, in your face, ALL THE TIME! So it was especially frustrating to have just 5-10 kts from behind us. It's not just that you move so slowly, it's that there are still waves left over from the day before or far away gales and they cause the boat to rock making the sails flog horribly. It got so bad at one point, we broke down and motored for two hours. After 2,000 miles without using a drop of diesel fuel to propel us, here we were motoring. But we could see some wind ahead and had a goal. Several of the boaters have sat phones aboard so we all check in with one of them giving our noon position each day. While checking in yesterday, we learned that many other boats had motored, some for 24 hrs. Thus we can still profess to be purists.

I have missed being able to fish for the last five days or so. After catching three mahi-mahi one day and a 30 LB tuna the next, our fishing rod has been grounded by the ship's chef until our present supply has been consumed. Damned purists!

Some people have written to ask if we are starting to get tired of this long passage. I look at it like this: We have all dreamed of living or vacationing in a beach house near the sea. There, we could enjoy looking at the puffy white clouds extending as far as the eye can see until they caressed the shimmering horizon. Beneath this cottony blanket, there would be presented for our viewing pleasure, the royal blue of the ocean with its undulating waves occasionally capped in white. There too, we could hear the roar of the surf lulling us to sleep each night. Would you get tired of it after a week, assuming you had enough good books with you?

We have been at sea for 12 days now and we all just love it. It's like Eric said yesterday, "I just hate to go to sleep because I will be missing something, whether it be day or night." Although the moon created unbelievably beautiful scenes at night, now that it is waning, we are left with a star-studded night sky that's out of this world, literally. With the nearest artificial light hundreds of miles away, the sky is coal black in between the "beelions and beelions of stars," as Carl Sagen used to say. And it's different down here on the 15th parallel than in N. America or Europe. The North Star is low on the horizon now. Orion and his faithful dog are nearly directly overhead. These are normally bright stars up north but positioned straight above, there is that much less atmosphere to go through and so they are that much more brilliant. Looking to the south, we see stars never seen before by anyone who has never left Minnesota, like Canopus, the second brightest star in the sky! And, even though we all wear our swimming trunks from sunup to sundown, we do not have to worry about bugs since there are no insects of any kind aboard to make paradise just a little less than ideal.

This morning a little after sunrise, we all watched a towering cumulus explode upward before our very eyes. This cloud went from cotton ball size to anvil head in 15 minutes or so. To top it off, the top quarter had a rainbow slung across it, like the banner draped across a Miss America contestant, with no other sign of a rainbow elsewhere in the sky! We all took pictures but why? Such scenes, we have come to believe, cannot really be duplicated on film.

In short, we have it all (for just another couple of days): A far away horizon in every direction, ubiquitous flying fish, vivid colors of sea and sky, the roar of our 20,000 LB boat blasting over the sea (with no noisy, smelly engine to mask it), brilliant night sky, and, strange as it may sound, exquisite cuisine, thanks to our private chef/crewmember extraordinaire, Layne. Is this all worth being partly seasick most of the time? In my view, absolutely! (Although I, personally, have never been seasick, I'm sure the rest of EC's crew would agree).

Hope all is well with you and your family.

Lee, Eric, Layne, and Ron