LEG III Crossing

Off to Gibraltar!


Day One: June 1, 2004

  Start Location: Sao Miguel, Ponta Delgada
Start Lat/Lon: N 37.45, W 25.41
Day Plan: Depart heading 112 degrees
WX: Partly Cloudy, Temp 70
Wind: E/NE 5-7 knots
Barometer: 30.62


Delphinus Webmail


As we prepare to leave Sao Miguel we checked out instruments, fuel, water spares and provisions.  It is a busy day or two and everyone gets into the act to help out with the effort. 



Later that day, as we proceeded to clear out of Sao Miguel, a Maritime Police member from Ponte Delgada boarded Delphinus and asked to check first aid, flares, extinguishers, documentation including captain's license, SSB license.  This is the first time we have ever been boarded.  We passed, with a few minor lectures as to why we should have more paperwork documenting our certification with various electronic equipment.

As we leave Sao Miguel there is a 5-10 kt breeze and flat calm seas...right on the nose.  We begin the trip motoring down the coast.  A few dolphin swim by but don't say long and we believe we see a small whale off to the port side.  The days are long here with the sun not setting until after 8:00 and at the moment the weather is warm..

A few days before departure we looked across the harbor and saw an almost unbelievable sight.  The US Army had entered the harbor in a new model of ship.  The TSV-1X is probably one of the most awesome vessels that I have laid eyes on.  On Memorial day we were visited by the 1st Navigator and two of his buddies.  He said he had just purchased a new Gulfstar 43 and when he saw our flag from across the harbor he and his fellow navigator and a "boson-in-training" grabbed a ride to come visit us.  It was especially poignant to have a member of our military aboard our boat in a foreign nation 1000 miles from any continent.  They were very nice young (and strong) fellows.  After they left both Deb and I wished we had said something more to them as they were obviously headed enroute to "somewhere you don't want to be".  We'd have to kill you if they told us, and then we told you where they were going...fortunately, they didn't! (P.S. it goes "wicked, wicked,  fast"! - that, they did tell us, but we won't endanger your lives further.)





Day Two: June 2, 2004

Lat/Lon: N 37.24.6, W 23.04.6
Day Plan: Stay on rhumb line
WX: Partly Cloudy, then Rain, Temp 60
Wind: E/NE 5-7 knots
Barometer: 30.62



The day started off cloudy and cold, and then headed downhill.  It started to rain, winds gusted to 22 kts, and the refrigerator started acting up.

The weather systems enroute to Gibraltar are obviously different here than in the Caribbean and on the North East coast. In the Caribbean it is one big weather flow with winds almost always from the same direction - East.  Not too surprising - until you've been there a few months and the weather pattern hasn't changed - then it's a bit like moving from an ocean home to a river front home - seeing the river or wind always going in the same direction initially gives me the creeps.  I'll take the ebb and flow of the tides over a river any day, though, the winds of the Caribbean I might be convinced of!  On the NE coast the weather comes in systems as well but they are also dependent on the heating and cooling of the coastal landmass.  Out here, 1000 miles from nowhere, there is the Azorian High pressure system.  It funnels winds around the Azores in a big circle (until a low from the N adds some excitement), and sends a patchwork of weather our way from the North.  It is not a consistent wind speed or direction like the Caribbean or the NE - it fits and starts, and holes open up in the clouds, and giant clouds bear down on you with squall lines that look ominous (but are really just a 25-30 knot kick here and there.)  Not bad, just different. We're told the Med has its own interesting moods - more on that later...

Hayden and Kelsey are a big help.  They each take a 3 hour watch which entails manning the helm, documenting the various gauge readings and generally keeping an eye on Delphinus' systems (see sample of log notation from Deb at helm at Midnight).





Enroute we have seen the Sea literally strewn with hundreds of thousands of tiny sails - of what look to be extremely early-stage Man-'O-War - about the size of a 50 cent piece.  The youngest ones look like they have developed much as a clam would, and the youngest ones appeared to have a small mollusk-like appendage on the top of their floatation platform.  As they get a bit older the appendage disappears and a purple border exuded from the shell-like body reminiscent of the color of its older siblings found (and stung by) in the Caribbean. As we've only missed Portugal by a few degrees, and a few hundred miles, we now understand the reason they are called Portuguese Man-'O-War.




Meghan spies a Delphinus dolphin


Day Three: June 3, 2004

Lat/Lon: N 36.20.08, W 19.46.30
Day Plan: Stay nearer rhumb line
WX: Partly Cloudy, Partly Sunny, Rain, Temp 60
Wind: E/NE 20-40 knots
Barometer: 30.60
Last night was a cloudy overcast night for the most part.  There was one moment when I looked up from my book to check the horizon and saw a bright blue green light glowing from the water about 400 yards from Delphinus.  It was late and I was alone on watch.  I wondered for a few seconds whether a submarine was going to breach (or Neptune) when I realized that the light of the full moon had found a small patch of clear sky to shine through.  The clouds were thick and deep almost everywhere else which made the effect that much more striking.

Thursday was a day of book reading and problem solving.  The girls have whipped through a few books apiece and are enjoying the weather, when it isn't too rough to read.  Hans and I however have a different perspective.  I was well on the way to organizing our courtesy flags when the fridge wouldn't respond to the switch. It appears that we have had a small leak in the strainer for the salt water feed for the refrigeration system - the result of which is an airlock that stops the system from keeping the food cold.  Apparently the dam finally broke and there is now no stopping the air lock by bleeding the strainer.  This causes the system to overheat a number of times and finally blew a fuse and ultimately an electrical coil in the breaker.  No spares for this, so we've jury rigged the system to run the freezer.  The fridge however is a bust for the remainder of the trip - until we get to Gibraltar.  Deb and Pam have moved all of the food to the crisper, freezer and drinks fridge (Deb's rule is still in effect so no loss there) and we will continue to have marvelous meals a la chef Pam.  Beef Stroganoff with tenderloin - yumm! (I had been in such great shape before sitting around on a boat eating Pam's gourmet meals!)

Oh, and one of the alternator fan belts just blew off...hoping that the 2nd belt holds til morning.




                                  Lounging at the drink cooler                                                           Gammon on the aft-deck  


Helping with the web page!




Day Four: June 4, 2004

Lat/Lon: N 36.04.06, W 16.22.77
WX: Partly Cloudy, Partly Sunny, Temp 60-70
Wind: N 5-15 knots
Speed: 7.5 knots
Barometer: 30.60




Today looks like the wind will finally come North so that we can head straight for Gibraltar.  The problem is there won't be enough of it.  This morning the wind was light and seas calm.  Everyone slept in until 9:00ish which was great after the last few days of heavier weather.  We are playing lots of gammon and reading, together, or on our own.  Scrabble is out and Yachtzee too.  Showers were had and the water maker filled the tanks again.  Dinner was an incredible roast chicken with "chips" and spinach pies (very good with ketchup says Meghan).

Oh! and take a look at the Monster that Kelsey caught!

Deep Sea Squid?                                                                       Discussing how will we Cook it?


Day Five: June 5, 2004

Lat/Lon: N 35 56.00, W 13 00.08
WX: Partly Cloudy, Partly Sunny, Temp 60-70
Wind: N 5-8 knots
Speed: 7.5 knots
Barometer: 30.31




Wind is non-existent and a motoring we must go.  The seas are fairly calm allowing for school on the high seas.  The previous evening gave us two only two boats within our 24 mile range and none within our Delphinus "5 mile limit".  As we look at the fuel consumption needs and the weather forecasts for the next few days we are seriously considering a change of course to Lagos Portugal in order to refuel before heading off to Gibraltar. 
The day has shown us a number of ships headed from or to the Straights of Gibraltar.  Some of these ships are (with an English accent) massive!  We finally made the decision at 1900 (7:00PM for you land lubbers) to change course and head for Lagos.  What we've read says good things about the marina, city and beaches.  Of course as soon as we made the decision the wind picked up again enabling a 6.5 - 8.5 knot speed enroute to Lagos.

         Hayden Taking a Position                                          Bill and Hans Fill Fuel Tanks with Spare Diesel

                   History on the Aft Deck                                             Pam Creates Yet Another Gastronomical Masterpiece!


Day Six: June 6, 2004

Lat/Lon: N 36 41.1, W 09 18.20
WX: Mostly Sunny and haze, Temp 70
Wind: N 12 knots
Speed: 8.7 knots
Barometer: 30.30




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