Saturday, May 3, 2014

Throwing Off The Dock Lines!

What does it feel like to wake up in the morning knowing that, that day you will set sail for 4,500 miles / 35-40 days at sea?

This morning I was awake at first light.  I went up to the marina's shower house and took a very long, very hot, shower.  I let the water cascade over me, luxuriating in its freshness and heat knowing that it would be over a month before I could "waste" fresh water like that again.  Showers offshore are in the cockpit, from a camping shower that is set up on the Bimini and they are a rushed affair usually using less than a gallon of the precious stuff.  Sure we have a watermaker but it only makes about a gallon an hour.  That is enough to keep us all happy but not enough to waste.

After my shower I walked around the boat and double checked things.  Engine is ready to go but we can only motor her for about eight days so what's more important is the rig and sails.  We replaced our backstay in Panama and the rest of the standing rigging is good.  The running rigging has been checked and a few things replaced and we have 25 feet of fire hose which was given to us by a friend in St Thomas so we can cover areas that will be subject to chafe.  Chafe is the enemy on these LONG passages.  The sails will be set in the same position certainly for days, possibly for weeks.

What do I check and in what order of priority?  I like what Captain Fatty says... "Keep the rig up and keep the water out!"  Those are the main priorities.  All areas on deck where water could enter have been sealed off.  The little mushroom vents on deck have actually been sealed with a NON-ADHESIVE silicone.  The chain locker vents have foam sealed in them and the chain is also stopped up.  The anchor is secure. (Yes I keep the main anchor and chain in the locker... We have the right amount of weight on our bow to keep the boat trim, if you're interested in all of that look up the older post called "Hold Fast."). The side ports will be sealed for the entire voyage but the two deck hatches will be open when the weather is fine and if it really gets rough we actually seal them with that same non-adhesive silicone.

Our deck is clear when we go offshore with the exception of our dingy which is tied to the foredeck.  We don't have any crap tied to the lifelines, or clutters of jugs and bicycles.  We actually saw a boat leave Panama with 15 jerry jugs on EACH side of the decks!  Get a trawler!   I cannot imagine what a pig that boat was under sail.   But I digress.

We have a great weather guy, Bob Cook of Ocean-Pro Weather and our friend Bob Thomas paid for our weather forecasts all the way to Hawaii.  Bob sends us forecasts along the way and will keep us out of harms way if anything tropical starts to develop.  We will be sending a position report off to him every morning which tells where we are and the weather and condition of the boat and crew.  In this report we will also share little stories about what we are doing to occupy ourselves, funny things the kids say and what we are eating.  Everyday our buddy Mike will post these reports on our blog.  Unfortunately there will be no pictures because we cannot send them out over the satellite link.

We will also be updating our FaceBook page "Wandering Dolphin" multiple times throughout the day.  The posts from offshore always have a little link under them to our world map showing you right where we are.  You can also go to that same "Mapshare" link anytime you want from our blog page and click on the little boat where it gives an option to locate us.  You can click on that and it will find us right where we are as long as we have a sat fix at that time.

The other thing you can do, AND WE LOVE THIS, is send free txt messages to our Iridium phone.  We have folks who txt us every day with riddles and jokes or questions which we answer on Facebook.  These folks actually become our friends offshore!  We look forward to hearing from them everyday.  The phone sends out a little alarm telling us we have a new message.  You can send them any time of the day or night.  Remember, our phone is in the cockpit, and someone is always on watch.  The NightWatch is pretty boring and a txt at 2:00am makes it fun for the poor sap on that watch.  To send us a free message just follow these instructions:
you leave the number 8816 that is already in the number slot and add our number to it 32521786 then just type in your message. Don't bother putting your email in the email line but do put your name and the message order like 1/3, if you're sending 3 msgs. (160 total characters per message) But you can send as many as you like and they are free. Remember when the beep goes off from the phone we always jump to see what it says...

Our biggest challenge on this trip will be fighting boredom.  Imagine if your world shrank to the size of a normal bedroom and you had six people living there for over a month!  Now make the bedroom move constantly...

Here are our favorite offshore pastimes.   Music is ALWAYS playing in the cockpit and is changed by the person on watch at the time, Kristofer, EmilyAnne, and Kaleb read ALOT, Kanyon watches movies, Benny reads a little and plays Gameboy or iPad games, and Rebecca sleeps and listens to music and plays Minecraft and other iPad games.  We will also be doing school after about three days (once everyone is in the groove.).  We put out the meat lines for fish when we need new meat and I am going to try a trick to catch flying fish by lighting up the sails at night.  There are always things that need to be sewn or fixed and our rule is to fix stuff right when it breaks.

We hope you all can experience this trip with us and live vicariously with us.

Throwing off the Dock Lines,
Captain Tofer, Becca, EmilyAnne, Kanyon, Kaleb, and Benny

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