Day 45 – Tooooo far to Gibraltar (547 miles)

Chef Phil’s demeanor just before departure summarized how we all feel. He was sitting quietly, but looked gloomy. He kept asking how many days we would be at sea, and we kept telling him it would be five full days. He asked if there was anything we could do to shorten the trip. We would say “No,” and he would think about our answer for a few minutes before asking again – “How many days exactly will it be?” The concept of five days just couldn’t sink in.

We now have two of our five days behind us, and the three that are left feel like a lifetime. Everyone is sleeping, when not on watch, just to pass the time. Last night on our watch, a lonely voice came on the radio to say “Anyone for chess?” No response. The voice came back later – “Anyone play poker?” An hour later, a voice said “Anyone want to discuss the weather.” That one got a taker, but the conversation lasted only about three minutes before that too became boring.

The weather is not doing much to brighten our moods. Yesterday, I thought I was back in Seattle. Grey and dingy. For a while, we drifted through fog that existed both outside the boat, and inside our heads. Kirk has been doing what he can to energize the boat, but stubborn sullenness seems to have set in. He has now requested that each boat provide 30 minutes of entertainment after roll call. Sans Souci has decided to do a talent show tomorrow night. I’m hoping that the seas are calm. I’ll put the music up loud and have Roberta’s parents square dancing on the front deck. Thus far I can’t think of a personal talent to exhibit. Perhaps I can count to 20 in hexadecimal or something… Goleen is at least making an effort. They announced a fishing derby for the day. Only Grey Pearl agreed to put lines in.

The seas are improving. They’re far from smooth, but not bad at all. Kirk just jumped on the radio to announce a group swim. That may kick off activity. It will be a while though before we can gather everyone together. Our boats are spread out over nearly an 8 mile distance. My guess is that we should be together in an hour or two.

It’s strange to think that in just three more days the rally will be over. I’m very curious to get everyone’s schedules post-rally. Roberta and I have now firmed up our schedule. We will spend a week in Gibraltar, for various small repairs. Then we’ll slim the crew back to just Roberta’s parents and us. We’ll then do a two-day around the clock burst of cruising to get to Formentera (near Ibiza). After Formentera, we will have another 800 or so miles to cover, but can take three weeks to do so, and stop at all our favorite places in the Med. Around the end of July we’ll park the boat near the France/Italy border where it will rest, until November, when it will be freighted to Vancouver. Hopefully we’ll get one or more of the other boats to cruise with us for some portion of the run. We’re surrounded by fun and interesting people, but we’ve been so busy crossing the ocean, we’ve not had time for fun. Some mellow island hopping is what everyone needs to remember why we love boating.

As I write this, it is 1:20pm GMT, and we are at 36.57N by 16.54W. We project arrival in Gibraltar on Saturday morning around 8:00am GMT. Division 2 is almost exactly 100 miles ahead of us, on the same track, and Emeritus is approximately 10 miles to their port side. We are running at 9 knots, and the slower fleet at 5.5 knots.

On this morning’s roll call, no one had anything to report. No mechanical problems. No excitement.

My internet connection has gone flaky. I do have some pictures to upload, but am having a heck of a time doing so…

P.S. – Here’s an email I received which answers yesterday’s riddle:

“…in a similar situation, I have lined the toilet with trash bags. Good luck.

-Mark Hayes”

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Credits     |     Video produced by: Rock Steady Media     |     Teletype photo: Arnold Reinhold     |     PDP-11 photo: Trammell Hudson