“Avocation, Bermuda Radio. Good morning.” A calm, English voice came over the radio at 12am, Bermuda Time. We can see a white light on the south west side of Bermuda, shining out to sea. A beacon to the 800 boats that reach the small British Island annually by sea. An hour later, we spotted the light shining from the South East side of the Island, which is our target. The breeze is right off our starboard stern, and we only have our main sail flying. We realized this morning that we couldn’t make landfall before 12-1 this morning, so slowing down was our best option, to approach the island at daybreak.
It’s amazing to think that five days prior we pointed the bow north into the middle of the Atlantic, and 850 miles later, we were able to find a spec on the globe. Less amazing with modern technology, but unimaginable for the sailors even 50 years ago, guided by the stars and sun.
Today’s first watch was at 0430 - the same as my first watch five days prior. It was the first time I hit snooze in nearly a week - I guess I’m returning to shore habits, or finally enjoying my slumber. My fan overheated yesterday, but the weather has noticeably cooled down since departing St. Maarten, so the lack of ventilation wasn’t unbearable. I’m sensing that life on board is going to cool down a lot from here on out. My watch treated me to a beautiful sunrise - I think the best since we’ve been out to sea.
Captain whipped up some french toast for breakfast, and while soaking up the maple syrup, I soaked in the rising sun, warm Atlantic breeze, and calming sounds of the waves. I still have not lost interest in the passage, and am somewhat mixed about our upcoming landing. The idea of continuing at sea for another 4-5 days, straight on to Rhode Island, would be a welcomed announcement. Unfortunate or not, we are planning to stop, and will be spending the next 4 nights on Bermuda.
The rest of the day was peaceful. I spent more time in the cockpit after my shift, talking to Jeff. I learned that he was originally from Utah, and had grown up in the Mormon church. He met his bride of 20 years while attending the biggest party school in the US...Brigham Young. He said that they eventually left the church, partly on account of their struggle with having children, and the constant reminder by the religion of the importance of big families. They have an adopted 14-year old son whom they home school on a 6-acre plot of land outside Grand Rapids.
The best way to describe Jeff’s character is to share that he could fit in perfectly on the Big Bang Theory. He has explained astrophysics to Alejandro and I by night, and electrical current and wave technology by day. I’m more of a “what time it is” person, but I don’t have the heart to stop him when he’s on a “how the watch works” description. As a professor of engineering, he epitomizes the quintessential nerd. Yet, I like him. He’s passionate about this new sailing hobby, and is as curious as he is knowledgeable.
Dan is the other crew member whom I’ve been imprisoned with on watch. He comes on an hour and a half before me, is my watch partner for my first 90 minutes, and then is relieved by Alejandro. Dan is 64, and certainly acts his age. He has these funny little moments, recalling his time at Colorado College, smoking pot, or listening to the Stones. But, he’s also extremely smart, knows everything, and is not afraid to share what is on his mind. I suppose at that age, you really could care less about someone else’s opinion of you. He tends to want to please the Captain, which for some reason always drives me nuts. I find myself cracking a joke or ridiculing him in a good-natured way to remind him that he should be less serious.
Dan’s youngest daughter earned a masters in teaching at DU and is currently serving her time as an elementary school teacher in Denver Public Schools - God help her. His older daughter lives in Manhattan and is married, and the middle son is somewhere doing something. Dan reminds me of Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm, without the cynicism. They even look similar, if Larry grew out a beard and a short pony tail. In his first year of retirement, he drives down to his boat daily, works on his 34 foot Southern Cross, reads veraciously, doesn’t watch tv or listen to podcasts, and is good friends with his urologist. You can’t make this shit up.
In five days, we haven’t had any luck with our fishing. We throw a 300lb test line astern, tied to an aft cleat, with a 6-inch rubber squid and hook attached. In the event we do snag a 30lb fish, we’ll be bringing her in by hand, so perhaps our lack of luck is saving us on unnecessary work. I would still like to land a fish before this is all done, and dine on fresh sashimi in the cockpit. The captain, who used to commercial fish on the East Coast, assured us that the Gulf Stream will be our prized hunting ground.
I spent a fair amount of the day reading my new book - the Little Paris Bookstore. The character, having lost the love of his life, sets off on an adventure down the Sein river in France on a floating bookstore barge. Other than missing the love of my life, his story is my own.
Tomorrow, from Bermuda...
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Home Base | Denver, CO
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