HALFWAY HOME

Time: 1:40 PM (yes, writing to you when the sun is out! – well, overcast, but daytime, in any case)

Current Position: South 4 degrees, 10 minutes, West 27 degrees, 29 minutes

You are receiving this “extra” update because today is the day we will now officially consider the “halfway home” day.

We have basically arrived at the first waypoint (which was 4 South, 28 West), and, with Matthew’s permission, we are now heading for the second one, which is 10 North, 42 West. We left April 20, so we have been at sea 27 days.

Feels good to get to this milestone.

Last night was eventful. We are in the middle of a string of squalls. Philip dealt with them all during his watch, and then I took over.

As usually happens, I write a leisurely update saying not much is happening, then I hit “Send” and all hell breaks loose. Seems that way lately, anyway.

Starting about 3AM, the wind went from 2 knots to 20 knots to 16 knots to…well, you get the picture. That I could handle, but it also did a complete 360, direction-wise, in about an hour and 15 minutes. All while pouring rain.

I was out there hand steering, because there’s no way the autopilot could have handled it without going nuts. I was in my bathing suit and my windbreaker, which is a good combination when it’s raining that hard. I had to gybe several times. I was going upwind for a while, reaching, downwind, you name it, as the wind clocked around.

At one moment, I had the feeling that this really is our boat now, and I really am getting to know what is needed when. It’s all starting to feel simpler, more routine. I’m starting to actually feel like “the admiral.”

Now the winds are light – 2 to 5 knots, as we slowly make our way to the Caribbean, off the coast of South America.

Andy wanted to know why we haven’t been fishing. The real answers are, 1) I’m too lazy (or, more accurately, I guess, I’ve been busy with other stuff), and 2) why kill a fish when a cow has already contributed so generously to the freezer?

I would have to get the fishing supplies out, try to catch something, clean it without getting the boat tooooo dirty…then cook it. I’m sure it would be incredibly delicious, and there are some fisherpeople on this list who are thinking I’m nuts not to be doing it, and I know that Monique on the other Atlantic 48, Zen, is a fisherwoman par excellence. Ditto for Chris White, the boat designer, and his wife, who are also divers. Maybe on another trip I’ll be inspired. Right now there’s still a lot of filet roasts in that little freezer!

The genset (generator) is fine. The ragged running noise I was hearing was due to the wave action sending sea water into the exhaust, backing it up for a second before the generator pushed it back out again with the other water it was already discharging. So no need to take apart the genset. Once we realized that, Philip looked at me and said, “Do this,” while wiping his forehead with the back of his hand. I did. Wheew.

I’m getting really good at squeeze bottle showers. I bought a bunch of plastic squeeze bottles at Plastics for Africa – similar to the kind they use for catsup and mustard in the less-fancy restaurants – and they really come in handy for so many things, including watering the plants, serving as a cooking tool (filled with water, oil, etc.) and dipping them in one of the buckets that has filled with rain water and then using it to bathe. When it’s this humid, getting clean really makes a big difference.

Thank you all for reading these messages. Your advice and good wishes are as welcome as a cool tropical breeze.

We both send our love.

Halfway Home! Yay!

Philip and Kristin

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