Yup, we made it over! We have been here for over 2 weeks, but the world wide web is not cooperating too well with us over here. It took us 23 days (and 40 minutes) to cross the Atlantic Ocean, from the Canary Islands to Martinique. We had expected around 3 weeks, so we weren’t far off. And we will be the first ones to admit it; it was tougher than expected.
Prior to departure we had prepared mentally for the fact that we would not be able to get off the boat, over even see land, in 3 weeks time. Since we are both quite restless persons, we expected this to be our biggest challenge. It seems like we did our homework, because this part of the crossing went surprisingly well. Although, of course it was an amazing feeling to set foot on land again in Martinique!
For us, the challenges of the crossing were mainly about the unpredictable weather- and sea conditions we were facing. This time of year we were expecting steady Passat winds and waves coming in from behind, and also pretty calm seas. Boy, were we wrong! We had gale force winds with up to 22 m/s of wind (44 knt) and 10 – 12 meter high waves at the worst. In addition, the sea was a mess! The waves came at us from 3 directions almost the whole passage.
With this much crappy weather it was hard to get enough rest, and we were pretty exhausted at times. But luckily restlessness is not the only thing the 2 of us have in common – we both try to focus on the positive things, and so we managed to keep the spirit up onboard. Daily routines, such as having our meals together, checking how many miles we sailed the last 24 hours, battery status mornings and evenings, reading books (out loud 🙂 ) , playing cards etc. was really helpful.
It also helped that we did have a few days with conditions as expected in between, and then everything was forgotten and life onboard was good. We enjoyed some lovely sunsets, but sunrise was our favorite time of the day. And trust us, the stars feel unbelievably close, and there are soooo many of them. And please do not arrest us on this, but we think it was Venus showing up every evening; so clear and low on the horizon, that it looked like it was coming from a boat.
There were many discussions prior to departure about bringing extra crew member(s) for the crossing. For us, the decision of being only the 2 of us, still feels like the right one. Since there will be tough days on a long crossing, we felt it helpful to know each other’s good and bad sides. We could also allow us to spend extra time on the crossing to make it as comfortable as possible, since we had no crew member(s) return ticket back home etc. to consider. This also gave us flexibility to choose which island/port in the Caribbean we arrived to.
On the way over we did not see other boats in about 20 days – still we were not alone. Birds and flying fish, was something we saw a lot of! Every morning we were surprised by the new marks of flying fish on board the boat. Some had even hit the roof, the solar panel and the lazy bag. Unfortunately, this meant that some ended their flying/swimming days on board Tango.
We are sorry if this post seems a bit on the negative side, but we do not want to “sugarcoat” any of our experiences. That being said, now that we have a few days distance from the crossing we can say that we are really glad that we had the oppurtuntity to do this. To cross the Atlantic Ocean in our own home, just the 2 of us, is a very special feeling. The experiences we have had here in the Caribbean so far is alone worth the crossing. In addition, we know that we have a lot to look forward to.