BattPack Sailing Log Days 13-16

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Rex’s fabulous drone shot – just look at that expanse of blue!

Day 13 – December 7th Rex and I did the 10:00-1:00 shift and it was lovely to share the shift with him. We talked about anything and everything under the starlit sky. We saw an incredible shooting star which shot right across the sky. The glorious peace is one of the most magical things about night shifts. That, the twinkling array of stars and the phosphorence which sparkles in the wake alongside out boat. It feels like there is magic all around.

We awoke to the glimmer of a Rainbow to the starboard side of our boat. She came in the wake of a couple of squalls, which hit the later night shifts. Today we are in between squalls and calm. In a moment of calm, Rex proposed that this was the most settled weather we would get and it was time to fly his drone and take some aerial footage of the boat. We had discussed him flying his beloved drone on a day where we were becalmed, yet that day hasn’t come and neither is it forecast. So, we agreed that a calm window today looked like the best bet. We were still doing 3-4kts and so landing the drone back on the boat (an essential) would be the dicey part. The plan was for Rex to aim it as best he could and Jay throw a blanket over to smother it when it got close, shutting off the motors on first contact. Rex got the drone flying with some concern about landing it on a moving target. He had previously only landed it on a stationary target in light winds. I held him steady as the boat was still rockin’ and rollin’ – his body was shaking with the nerves. He took the footage as best he could and then it was landing time. It was much harder than he thought and in the end a crash landing was all that was possible – the drone hit the fly deck, then skidded down the port side of the deck before coming to it’s final landing place right on the front edge of the port bow – it was scooped up just in time by Alex! Phew! Jubilation! The photographs are excellent and the video footage just amazing – nothing but BattPack, a whole lot of sea and sky – the vista is so vast that it appears as thought you can actually see the curvature of the Earth! Well done dear Rex and a special mention to how well you handled the stress darling boy!

It is Friday, or fri-yay as little Liberty calls it! Whenever we are onboard it is a particularly excellent day for the kids because a little pirate called Little Jonny Naughty hides sweets for them around the boat. He first came into play in 2008 when we bought our first boat BattCat. Jason’s Granny, the legendary Granny Batt came onboard and before we knew it there were gold coins hidden in the cabins – much to 3 and 4 year old Ruby and Rex’s delight! This started a tradition and the kids are thrilled that he still manages to find our boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean! Liberty is convinced that the magical phosphorescence has something to do with it! Happily aboard with his sweetie treasure haul, Jago has just declared that “Life is brilliant!”

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The stunning rainbows on the voyage were a highlight

Day 14 – December 8th A peaceful day, not much wind but the calmest seas we have had. Not really ideal as we are all keen to get to St Lucia at this stage and despite enjoying the more relaxing motion, we want to increase speed! Our ETA is 5 days time – we expect to arrive by mid afternoon on Thursday 13th December. Just in time for Rex’s 14th birthday on the 14th December!

Jago’s tooth came out today – it has been hanging on a thread for a while! He wonders if the tooth fairy will find him in the middle of the ocean?!l

We have the 3rd shower of our trip this afternoon. Heavenly to be clean! Never again shall we take a luxurious daily hot shower or bath for granted – never!! We dream of the things that we shall enjoy in St Lucia – hot showers, pizza and ice-cream top the list! For tonight a Thai Curry will have to do!

157 miles covered in the last 24 hours. 5 more days to go…..!

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These darling kids were upbeat throughout the tip!

Day 15 – December 9th – I did the sunrise shift which passed smoothly until 05:50, when what looked like a bright green light, similar to a firework, shot out across the sky from behind the headsail and then petered out. All I could think was that it was a flare. I leapt out of my seat, took a note of our position, could see nothing more on the horizon and switched on the VHF to Ch 16 to listen out for an emergency call. I woke up Jay to see what else we could do. We shone a bright torch in the direction of the light, but could see nothing else. We sat and pondered what on earth it could be – apparently not a flare, they don’t come in green and they would travel with the wind whereas the arc of the green light I saw was across the wind. We wonder if any other ARC boats saw it? We will investigate more in St Lucia!

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Dolphin Magic

We were treated to a magnificent pod of dolphins this morning! At least 50 of them! They were so sociable and playful. They danced and leapt around our boat for a good hour! We sat on the bow, with our feet hanging over the edge, almost touching their bodies. What a delight to behold! We were all captivated. Dad played the harmonica throughout and we were whooping with joy! We had all been wishing to see a big pod since day one and our wish was granted! We have some incredible photos, videos and memories of this day!

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Front row seats for dolphin viewing!

We thought we had a big catch on both fishing lines this afternoon, but in both cases it was a large clump of heavy seaweed. If that is such hard work to pull in, then god knows what a fish would be like! Have lamented the lack of fish in the catch again, we had a surprise at dinner. Quite out of the blue, during our spaghetti Bolognese meal in the cockpit, a flying fish flew in, hit Liberty in the forehead, Jago on the arm and landed in the middle of the table. We were all so shocked, there were many screams and yelps as it flippered about speedily. After several attempts, Jay managed to pick up the slippery fellow and throw the startled fish back into the sea. Jago and Liberty both promptly collapsed in my arms, sobbing with shock! Bless them! Once they recovered, we all had a good laugh about it. Not many people have been whacked by a flying fish, which tried to leap into their dinner! Holy Moly!

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Our impressive seaweed catch!

We have 700 miles left to go. Some strong winds forecast, so a lumpy last few days looks likely. But St Lucia is an ever increasing reality!

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My gorgeous nephew Alex who was a total star throughout!

Day 16 – 10th December – We are galloping along! Great job because we absolutely need this pace to get to St Lucia in time for Rex’s 14th birthday on the 14th December.  The dear boy has been a total star onboard, but another day at sea for his celebrations simply isn’t top of his agenda and I am wholeheartedly with him!! He will make the best of whatever situation we are presented with, but certainly getting to St Lucia, eating pizza, swimming and enjoying a change of scenery will be just what the doctor ordered!!

184 miles in the last 24 hours- 535 left to go! We are on a direct course of 280 to St Lucia. The wind is high 25-30kts and the forecast remains as such for the next couple of days. The seas are huge again and after a couple of calm days, everyone is feeling dicky. We are down to the last few sea sickness tablets which are being rationed out according to need! Various squalls hit us and we race inside to escape the thundering rain. They only last a few minutes and soon the sun is drying everything out again.

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Rex and Ruby snuggled in on their nightwatch

The food supplies are drying up but we are still creating delicious meals each day. Our attempt at a Wagamama Cha Han tonight – less of the usual fresh vegetables, instead tinned asparagus and sweetcorn will have to do! With a douse of sweet chilli sauce, the crew will be happy!

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Galloping along with our Gennaker

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