if there is anyone reading about my adventures here and is not on Facebook here are the links to the photos I have posted so far.
The ARC Europe is a way for sailors to cross the Atlantic with support. There is also the fact that there are other boats doing the same thing at the same time, there are radio check ins twice a day while underway and in port there are services and activities. Even though Pixie Dust is a slow boat compared to the other boats in ARC Europe 2015 and most of the fleet left us in their dust after about the second day we still had visual contact of another boat for most of the first leg. One evening we were joking with them over the radio about dropping in for dinner because they were having stir fry and we had opted for sandwiches because of the rough seas.
Most of the boats can be handled quite easily by a crew of two. While cruising the British Virgin Islands Joe and Dawn required no help, in fact Joe had sailed Pixie Dust single handed for many years before meeting Dawn. Most of the sailing around the Caribbean involves day sailing with the occasional overnighter. Passage sailing involves long distance sailing taking a week or longer. Because the boat is constantly under sail (or motor if the wind is lacking) someone has to be at the wheel 24/7. They would have to have a watch schedule of every four hours or six hours, this means long watches and short sleep periods. This can be quite taxing for a crew of two so they will try to find an extra crew member or two. With a crew of four the watch schedule can be quite relaxed with plenty of time to rest and sleep between shifts.
There are many ways to find crew, friends, word of mouth or crew lists. There are web sites where crew members advertise their availability/experience or boats can post crew wanted. I met Dawn a year and a half earlier on a closed Facebook group called Women Who Sail. Another woman had posted about how to get sailing experiences or a school that offered offshore trips. In the ensuing discussion Dawn posted that she was looking for crew for a trip from the mid Atlantic states to BVI and I replied I could be interested. Several phone calls and such later I was onboard. Unfortunately because of weather and repair delays in the end I was unable to make the trip but we kept in touch. When Dawn posted on Facebook in early January that they had been accepted in the ARC Europe 2015 and were looking for crew I immediately replied, I’m in!
Dawn sent me details then said they were going to be out cruising with guests and would be back in touch in early February to get things confirmed. After doing a lot of research and checking vacation time and such I told her that I could commit to either leg one (BVI to Bermuda), leg two (Bermuda to Azores) or, if they were in a pinch for crew, BVI to Azores. she said they had someone lined up for Bermuda to Portugal so I said great, BVI to Bermuda. They had one other person committed for the whole trip.
Meanwhile, the whole Nijmegen March thing came up at Air Force and, after looking at all aspects including vacation time, deemed I could do both even if it meant I had to do a couple of days of the annual camping trip to Vermont in August with no pay. I was a little worried that I might lose a bit of the conditioning while on the sailing trip but I would have another four weeks once I got back before the two tryout March days.
Finally, on 5 May I fly down to BVI, meet Joe and Dawn face to face for the first time and the other crew member Mike who was brought on because of his experience of not only sailing his own boat to Bermuda but has crisscrosses the Atlantic several times as crew. He was to do the whole trip with Teful replacing me in Bermuda.
The trip to Bermuda went well, we had three and a half days if great sailing, all on a single starboard tack, then the wind died and we motored for two and a half days with the last 24 hours or so with a 15-20kt knot headwind that caused us to slow down and buck all over the place. On Friday, almost exactly six days after we left Tortola, we arrived in Bermuda.
As we were sitting at dockside just enjoying the moment Mike informed us that he was leaving the boat. That took us all by surprise as things seem to be going well and I think we all gained a bit of knowledge from his expertise. This left Joe and Dawn in a bit of a pickle because they would have to find a new crew member in five days before the passage to the Azores.
Since I had done that research earlier I knew I had the vacation time to go to the Azores so I said, let me send an email to my manager and see if I can stay out another couple of weeks. It was only noontime on the East coast so I knew that wouldn’t be a problem. Got an answer back in about ten minutes, go for it! So, I said to Joe and Dawn, if you don’t mind having another inexperienced member on board (Teful’s only offshore experience was Saint Martin to Newport last year) then I’m in. They enthusiastically said yes so now I am off to the Azores on Wednesday!
As far as the dream to do Nijmegen, well, I’m just trading one dream for another. One us a sure bet (sailing across the Atlantic) while the other was a long shot at best. In fact the lumbar pain that was caused by the marching has flared up again and has bothered me the whole time we have been in Bermuda. I hope it dissipates before the next leg.
Checking to see if Twitterfeed separates the header from the contents
Sent from my iPad
I now have it set up so that I can use an email to post to Facebook. The next step is to set up a connection on e boat to the sat phone that Dawn has so I can post while we are sailing
Sent from my iPad
Will jet pack work?
Sent from my iPad
It’s been a long time since I’ve used mcmullenweb for the blog. With the advent of Facebook most of my friends already know what’s going on in my life so there is less a need for a blog nowadays. However, the Facebook format is limited. The status updates fall somewhere between the 140 character limit of Twitter to the you could write a book capabilities of a blog. For my everyday activities I no longer have need to need to use it but it sure comes in handy as a diary for larger adventures.
I am about to partake in one of these larger adventures. On December 7th I will be flying down to North Carolina to hook up with a 46′ Morgan sailboat and help crew as it makes a late season run through the Atlantic to the British Virgin Islands. If all works out weel timing wise and weather wise I will be back in Montreal a few days before Christmas.
I won’t go into details at this point, I’ll fill those in as the time to depart comes closer. Over the next week and a half I’ll chronicle my preparations and arrangements for this trip.
On my way to SXSWi this morning but my usual luck, the flight is delayed. This is my third time attending SXSW (2006 and 2010) and the third time experiencing delays on my way. The weather is Montreal is not nice this morning but that is not the reason for the delay, apparently mechanical difficulties with with the airplane. So, while I sit in the airport waiting an extra two hours for my my flight I am having a breakfast of a BLT and a bloody Caesar. My layover in Dallas will now be four hours instead of forty five minutes so I guess I’ll munch on some BBQ while waiting there. Expecting to arrive around 5, should still be able to make my dinner time with old SXSW friends
Spent the last few days in Ao Nang in the Krabi. Decided to splurge a bit and am staying at a small resort where I have the pool side bungalow. It is costing all of about $80/night.
Did two days of diving in the area, three dives yesterday at an area near Koh Phi Phi island. The first was the wreck of a car/passenger catamaran ferry that sunk about 13 years ago, the other two sites were reefs. Great stuff to see in cluding a couple of clown fish frolicking in the amenome.
Sorry about no updates, not always reliable internet connections. I will be posting stuff in the next couple of days to catch everyone up with my travels.
Just wanted all to know I am in the south of Thailand, far removed from Bangkok and the insanity happening there. I don’t return to Bangkok until Friday, five days from now. By then things should be calmed down a bit. My nephew on the other hand was enroute from Angkor Wat to Krabi and was passing through Bangkok was right in the middle of it all as it spilled into the Khao San Road area. That is where the hotel is that we stayed when we arrived in Bangkok and will stay at on Friday night. The rest of the gang are also at that hotel this weekend.
Anyway, Gabe is like an insect who is attracted to a light so no doubt when things started to go south yesterday he headedc in the wrong direction. People beside him were shot. He took photos of the bullet holes in cars, buildings and such. He is supposed to meet me in Krabi tomorrow (Monday) morning but apparently it’s a mad house trying to get out of Bangkok tonight.
So, until the rest of the postings here are the links to where I posted some photos and videos on Facebook (all have access to the photos):
Thailand first couple of days: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=205550&id=734201030&l=410a064176
Fun dive number 1 Ko Tao: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=207610&id=734201030&l=2738949a81
Night Dive Ko Tao: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=207608&id=734201030&l=3049a9665f
Just landed in Taipei, Taiwan after a 13 hour flight from Vancouver. Fairly uneventful flight, food was ok and actually managed to sleep a bit after ingesting various drugs.
Now sitting in the Taipei, Taiwan airport where we have a two hour layover before the last leg to Bangkok.
The airport is full of Hello Kitty stores: