Location: Underway to St. Helena
This is it: We are crossing the Atlantic. On a sailing boat.
After eight magnificent days of exploring Cape Town and its vicinity while getting accustomed to the boat and to each other, we are now on our way across the South Atlantic. First stop: Saint Helena.
The day started with our minds set on the final preparations that needed to happen before leaving the dock, making sure that the boat, as well as ourselves, we’re ready to spend the next eight to ten days offshore. Most of the shopping was done yesterday, but there is always something that you remember at the last minute. Or maybe you want to spend the last coins you have left in ZA rands before heading to a new country with a different currency. The last snacks were bought, the boat’s water tank was filled up one more time before taking the shore freshwater hose off, we changed from shore power to generator power, and cut all the other umbilical cords, as Kris calls them, that connected us to land. (Only figuratively, of course. We might need those “cords” again at some point).
It was somewhat sad to leave South Africa, knowing that there are many other places there yet to be explored, so many other things to do that we have left undone, and so many kinds and helpful people we had no time to meet. However, at the same time, all of us are excited to spend our first night onboard moving Argo and to visit other countries, sail, dive, hike, dance, investigate and learn about other cultures.
After lunch, we left the dock. Once the deck was washed from the dust accumulated during days and days at the dock, we finally raised the sails. The mainsail, the main staysail, and the forestaysail were raised. At 1600, we started watches. From now on and until we arrive at St. Helena, the three watch teams will take turns, switching every four or two hours to make sure the boat runs properly and we make it safely to port. We are already getting to know the boat well, doing boat checks, handling lines, using seaman’s vocabulary… We are sailing! We even had already our first dolphins coming to play with Argo’s wake.
And tonight, we will enjoy the first sky full of southern stars and a beautiful waxing moon, away from the city lights.
Good night, moon. I will now let Argo rock me into my first passage, sleep, my favorite kind.