Christmas in the Doldrums

Christmas at sea. Our “schedule” resulted in us being underway for Christmas. This is a first for either of us.

We left Cape Town in late November. Since then we’ve stopped at St. Helena (where Napoleon was exiled and eventually died) and at Ascension (where the US government keeps track of satellites, missiles, and rockets). Both places were quite pleasant with small local populations, but pretty poor internet (maybe the US base had better service at Ascension, but we couldn’t access it). We have some pictures and stories, and we’ll post those when we get to the Caribbean.

Which leads us to our Christmas at sea. We left Cape Town when we did to try and make Puerto Rico by the end of February without being too rushed anyplace. And it’s a pretty big ocean to cross. The crossing to St. Helena took a bit over 9 days, from there to Ascension a bit less than five. But the big push is our current crossing from Ascension to Barbados (or Grenada, or Trinidad, we’ll decide when we get closer). Three thousand miles of nothing but ocean. Three weeks at sea if the weather gods cooperate.

The first week was just about the most pleasant passage we’ve ever had. We put the spinnaker up and didn’t take it down for 6 days. We gybed once, but other than that we just had a nice ride. We crossed the Equator on the morning of the 23rd. About two hours later the wind dropped down to the classic doldrums conditions – nothing. And the skies opened up with that other classic doldrums condition, torrential rain. The rain let up after a few hours, but the wind has been light ever since. Frustratingly so. We’re managing to keep a move on, but it has been slow.

Christmas day finds us with 100% cloud cover, no wind, and intermittent showers. But the sea is calm, and the motion isn’t too bad, so we can’t complain. It will make it easier to put together a proper Christmas dinner. And the weatherman promises we’ll get wind in our stockings this evening.

We hope anyone who reads the blog has a pleasant Christmas and we promise to catch up a little once we get back to regular internet service.

Merry Christmas

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