Firstly, a very special thank you to Richard & Carole from the UK, who generously donated a sextant, chronometer, almanac and celestial navigation book for Constellation and I. I met Richard & Carole while they were on holiday Gran Canaria, where they also took me out for lunch and gave me a bag of provisions. With this additional navigation equipment, I will finally be able to learn how to navigate like a real mariner, and greatly further my marine education! Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful generosity. Thank you also to Wim from Holland (the Dutch shine again!), Joel from Australia, Charles from Ireland and Pedro #2 (again!!!) for sending through some cash to keep me going. As you'll see below, it's becoming a dire situation down here, and this show of generosity helps so much, both practically and also as a show of support. This waiting is really getting me down... A lot of people are emailing and asking 'when are you leaving' or 'why haven't you left yet', and while I know people are just curious, I'm feeling the pressure from this website and the public nature of the entire project bearing down on me. I'm doing my best guys, you'll know when I leave, and I'm doing everything I can. I thought a lot about why I'm feeling this way, and frankly, the Atlantic is one of the major pinnacles of this journey, and it's like I'm sitting at the bottom of Mt Everest as winter approaches, waiting to make my ascent, and it's the only thing I can think about. I'm mentally paralysed by the coming challenge.
To try and alleviate this state of mind, I decided to see some of the other islands, and also visit Pedro #1 who landed in Tenerife last week, looking for work and sun. I left Las Palmas at 2pm anticipating an overnight sail, wanting to arrive at the anchorage during daylight. The sail was more or less textbook, and while I suffered a little seasickness, I did ok, nibbling ginger in the cockpit with the stereo turned on full. The stretch of water between Gran Canaria and Tenerife must create a funnel effect, as the conditions increased during the night, with several waves crashing into the cockpit. It was nothing dangerous, but I wasn't really anticipating it. For a brief and somewhat scary second, you hear a cresting wave approaching the stern, while you hope it's not too big, only able to see the white of the wave tops at night, as it dumps into the boat. In fantastic tradition, 'Windy the Windpilot' kept a perfect course as Constellation skidded around under Genoa, the boat rolling in typical stern wind motion. We made it to the anchorage with no problems, where I tried to get a few hours sleep after keeping watch all night. Pedro arrived later in the day, and I rowed into shore for the pickup, swimming back to the boat with 'Bob the leaky duck' overloaded with luggage:
As you can probably guess, the solar panels seem to be eternally stuck in Madrid, and I don't know what to do... I received an email from a new friend (Rafael) in Santa Cruz yesterday, offering to help with contacts at DHL, which is really my last hope. Because of this entire postage disaster, I am now pushing it to arrive in the Carribbean outside of hurricane season. As you know, my initial plan was to arrive in St Maarten, and work for a couple of months before heading north to resume my New York City ambitions, however this plan is now essentially useless - I would arrive in St Maarten in May, and have to leave a week or so later. My money is running so low, I have now genuinly had to consider whether this Atlantic crossing is even viable. I've spent many hours walking and considering my situation, but quite simply I've come so far, I cannot possibly throw the towel in. I really only have just enough money to provision the boat, and with this all in mind, I have redirected my course to straight to Bermuda. This is a somewhat unusual course to take, however it is entirely possible, dipping into the tradewinds as if I were heading to the Antilles, and then steering directly up into Bermuda without stopping. This course change buys me a little extra time before I have to leave the Canaries, and is also en route to where I need to go (NYC).
For this plan to work, I must now wait another two or three weeks in order to correctly time my arrival in Bermuda with the seasons. This strategy also enables me to give my solar panels a bit more time to arrive - However, if they fail to show up in the next few weeks, I will be forced to leave without them, as it seems rather pointless to abandon my crossing over their disappearance. Possibly a friend in Gran Canaria could pick them up in 12 months time, when the lazy and slow bureaucrats in Madrid finally decide to look into that box sitting in the corner with all the dust on it... And then forward the package on to the USA. At this stage, I am anticipating an early April departure.
Last but not least, I turn 27 on Friday, which doesn't help at all...! Every year is closer to the inevitable, and I had dearly hoped to spend my birthday in the middle of the ocean, or in the Caribbean, sitting on the beach, drinking rum with crushed lime and sugar in celebration of great distances...
And speaking of birthdays, Happy Birhtday Mum! I hope you had a nice day, and I'm so sorry to have missed yet another March 12.