Leaving Nassau wasn’t as easy as we thought. The generosity and hospitality of our new Bahamain friends was second to none and it seems that the Weather gods conspired to keep us there for one more night – which turned out to be a brilliant way to say goodbye to the Bahamas – with a home cooked feast at Geoffrey & Rosa’s house, with the whole family coming over to say hello – a beautiful baked hog fish, home made coleslaw, banana fritters (whose name we cannot recall) & plenty of amazing rum all served with plenty of that unbeatable Bahamian hospitality that we have grown to love!
Thank you – especially to you Amanda, you rock!
We’ve packed away the dinghy on the foredeck
So we left Nassau in a stiff Nor easter which was meant to be an easterly and it soon became obvious that we would be beating into it – punishing the boat and crew alike – Todd and I had a quick look at the charts and decided to head for Grand Bahama – a 150 NM detour, but one that would allow us to ride "the magic carpet" of the gulf stream as well as hopefully avoiding the high pressure area with no wind which was forming north of the Bahamas.
How to turn an 800NM trip into well over 1000 Nautical miles
The plan worked well – the wind settled overnight and within 24 hrs we were travelling at 9knots over the ground picking up up to 2 knots of current.
It was a great trip, with plenty of time for fun, games and the odd bit of thinking time.
We’ve all, at one time or another in our lives, strived towards something we really wanted – in my younger years I worked crappy jobs whilst studying to save up enough money to buy an old VW kombi Van – the work sucked, but the appeal of buying my first car kept me going with a smile on my dial.
A bit of downtime on watch – Nath finding innovative ways to keep his hand warm
Since then there have been many situations where I have resorted to imagination as a way of justifying and motivating myself through difficult situations – "imagine the day I don’t have to wake up and go to work, imagine the day when I don’t have three proposals hanging over my head, budgets to meet, clients to see, staff to hire, meetings to go to… imagine the day when I’m sailing under a star lit sky, on a balmy summer evening, listening to great music, the boat is self steering on auto pilot and I’m suspended in the moment – it was on the 4th night or so, the conditions were so calm that we decided to do one man watches and get plenty of rest – we were motoring in calm waters.
I came up on deck at 3:00am and no sooner had Dimitry gone to bed, that the wind came up – a perfect 12 knot breeze just aft of our beam – I hoisted the main and as the wind swung further back I decided to pole out the headsail – within 15 minutes Squander was flying along in the calm seas, steady as can be – I looked up at the sky and thanked my lucky stars – and they replied – with a huge shooting star lighting up the night sky.
Sun rising as my watch comes to an end
It was at that moment that I recalled all those times when I would day dream about this precise moment, those 6:00 am rises when the surf was pumping but instead of hitting the waves I headed to the office to try and get a head start on the day, those evenings when instead of catching up with friends for a beer I’d be finishing proposals at my desk till 9 and 10pm, those sunny summer days – when I hated looking out of my office window realizing I was committed to the indoors instead of being out there – That moment alone, on a solo nights watch, made all that hard work worthwhile – and there have been many such moments in the past 18 months with hopefully many more to come – It seems that dreaming about better days seems as important as remembering the shitty days once your dreams start becoming reality!
The trip from the Bahamas was largely uneventful as far as sailing goes, but being an inventive bunch we kept ourselves well entertained…
Paper Airplane flying competition
The competitors’ airplane design varied greatly
On the 14th of May at approx 29N 77W we had the inaugural “Airplane Cup” where Russia took on the might of Australia and came out second best – see the video below!
Name a food game
Very simple game that kept Strike and Action entertained for hours – you start with A (eg Apple) then the next person names a food starting with B (eg Bread) and so on until you get to Z or someone gets stuck – might seem trivial but how many foods do you know that start with X??
hahah – yeah it was a slow trip!
Search for Russia’s next male model – dimitrij does blue steel
This man not only has "the look" but also managed to sneeze 17times in a row – impressive huh??!
Hooking a huge Marlin
Whereas not exactly a game it certainly broke up the boredom – as those of you that have been following the blog for a while know – our fishing has been really bad to date – we’ve caught 2 Barracuda and a beautiful big Snapper – but nothing else???!! A mix of doing a lot of upwind sailing & shallow water sailing I think has contributed… anyway – late one afternoon one of the rods went OFFF – whizzzing like crazy – I tried putting as much drag as possible on it and it didn’t even begin to work… within 20-30 seconds I could see all of my 500M of line disappearing – we had hooked something huge – I grabbed the fishing rod and just held on to see what would happen.
Just as we thought the monster at the other end was going to break off all of the fishing line – a huge MARLIN jumped into the air some 300-400 metres away and freed itself from our lure – a bitter sweet result as we’re glad we didn’t unnecessarily kill a 2-3 Metre fish but it would have been fun to fight with it for a while and it certainly would have provided some great entertainment!
Casino 31degrees North was setup in international waters aboard Squander. Games of 21 were fiercely fought between players and the banker alike – we’re not sure who won in the end as thankfully the wind came up and broke up the fun.
Spot something – anything!
A ship, another yacht, a bird, flotsam, a huge blue bottle
400 NMiles from land, motoring in dead calm conditions for 36 hrs – great excuse for a BBQ!
Salt water spa bath – Squander style – one day we were all getting a bit on the nose and needed a good wash. The sun was shining and all 2,500m of water under us was blue and calling – we were sailing at about 5 knots with very light breeze behind us so we decided to try and get dragged / washed behind the boat – Action volunteered to go first but only lasted a minute or so as he opened his eyes under water and thought the rudder was a huge shark fin – we all ended up taking turns, enjoying the afternoon & getting a good wash in the process!
Action looking for sharks
Cap’t Gav no longer in command of his ship
Getting out was not as easy as it seems – Dimitrij demonstrates
DJ Strike Harvey’s greatest hits at full ball were also a memorable aspect of the trip – in fact we will miss old Nath a lot as he’s forever providing entertainment, laughs, ingenuity and not to mention his constant efforts to produce extra wind – whether we need it or not!
Nath’s favourite hour or three – sunset drinks
We tried having a rule that we were allowed to start sunset drinks when the sun was about the height of a beer above the horizon – Nath pondered this idea for a while… it was 3:00pm and things were fairly thirsty onboard – he disappeared down below, put his PARTY playlist on at full ball and came up with beers for everyone proudly announcing a solution to a problem that we didn’t know we had – rather then waiting all those hours until the sun goes down towards the horizon, we can stack 4 beers on top of each other and use the sun’s decent to pace ourselves as we consume them…so brilliantly STRIKE!
Nath’s leaving Squander in the next couple of days and heading to Canada to spend the summer in Muskoka teaching water skiing. On his last night at sea he took charge of the stereo and entertained us with all sorts of tunes at full ball – with the highlight definitely being the change of watch wake up – listening to Pink Floyd’s "comfortably numb", travelling at 8 knots under a star lit sky at 3:00am – brilliant (well for those of us that were on watch anyway – sorry Simon and Todd hahahahh wakey wakey fellas!)
Nath’s last night at sea on Squander
We arrived in Bermuda almost exactly 7 days after leaving Nassau – and although it wasn’t a particularly fast time – we were happy to be in port, having not only completed our first decent long passage but also really enjoyed it!
The markers north of Bermuda warning about the outlying reefs
Entering St George’s Harbour
Leaving the Atlantic behind for a week or so
Todd and his phone – the story unfortunately doesn’t end there… but more on that in the next blog post!