May 2021 — These are pictures that go along with the posts contained in the following GPS Tracking page:
Here are the posts leading up to arrival Bermuda:
Preparations for the crossing
Wed Apr 21 2021
Just got back from a week shake down cruise to the Abacos with a list of things to take care of in the next ten days.
First day out
Sun May 02 2021
Departed the evening of Mayday only to ground on a sandbank on the way out of Florida. Was helped off by USBoatTow while waiting for rising tide. After such an ignominious start Emmanou crossed the Gulf Stream overnight with little fuss and made Eastward turn North of the Little Bahama Bank at 3am heading 070 True/080 Magnetic (to avoid subtropical ridge lying near 28N). Will stay on this ENE course for next 2.5 days (unless winds and waves stiffen) before taking rhumb line to Bermuda. ETA Thursday May 6 ahead of Low Front approaching Bermuda Friday. No major casualties yet.
Day two, four to go
Mon May 03 2021
A little rocky going into Sunday night. Tony seasick. Thach queasy. Karin and Jonathan perfectly fine. Impossible beef shepherds pie for dinner. Had to reset the Autopilots around 1am due to data disconnect with electronic chart plotter (resorted to tried and tested off/on approach) during which time Emmanou did a 360 pirouette. Crossed paths with a half dozen tankers and cargo ships heading to and from Europe. Also came across a 33 foot sailboat (seemingly single handed) doing 2.5 knots heading our way — At that rate she would be at sea another two to thee weeks before reaching Bermuda. Nice and clear this morning. Horizon clear all around and not a radar blip for 24nm.
Midway in the Bermuda Triangle
Tue May 04 2021
Autopilots lost Navigation data again on Jonathan’s watch. Putting it down to effects of the Bermuda Triangle.**
Yesterday was emergency drill day: fire drill, MOB (man overboard) drill and abandon ship drill. Plenty of hilarity as Karin was unable to open the packaging on the floating light beacon (also to discover batteries needed to be loaded for it to work). Much good spirits. Emergency readiness — not so much.
Crew enjoyed Karin’s very healthy lentil soup in between Trader Joe’s dark chocolate bars.
** turns out the Raymarine electronic navigation system was set to transmit too much extraneous data to the Simrad autopilot. By reducing the data settings to the minimum required to steer the problem was fixed.
Day Four, One to go
Wed May 05 2021
Each passing day feels shorter than the previous. Tony tried fishing — unsuccessfully — no takers for the electric blue lure. Meanwhile, Jonathan picked up three flying fish lying on the foredeck on his morning walk which ended up in the freezer for bait/breakfast. Jonathan conducting citizen science experiment by launching empty San Pellegrino bottles over the side containing handwritten notes with coordinates and return contact info — looks like contributing to sea glass under the guise of human learning. Jonathan tried to elevate the sartorial mood by changing into a freshly pressed dress shirt after his morning shower. This shamed Tony into getting out of his night watch PJs. Crew practiced hand steering effectively following a drunken sailor track on a dry boat. Thach gave a silent thank for the two autopilot systems. Crew much looking forward to Karin’s vegetarian lasagna.
Bermuda in the morning!
Wed May 05 2021
Chugging along at a relaxed bicycle pace after sunset in a moonless night. Waiting till we get close enough to call Radio Bermuda for arrival instructions. ETA first light. With loss of US Sat TV signal after day one we have been bereft of news. Imagining biggest surprise. World peace or global market crash? And did Chelsea qualify for the Champions League final? So many questions…
Thu May 06 2021
Contacted Radio Bermuda 50nm out. On advice from RB rerouted entry around outer Safe Water Morse Buoy and slowed down for first light. When asked why we wanted to enter after 6:30 we said “so we can see?” Under the impression that new health protocols might have been implemented May 2 we asked if we needed to take arrival COVID tests. RB reply was “In what universe would you imagine not?” Welcome back to the real world. Oh and Chelsea 2 — Real Madrid 0.
A little excitement on entry
Thu May 06 2021
As planned, Emmanou started entry in St George’s Harbour at first light after watching the pilot ship St David drop off its pilot on a cargo ship negotiating the Narrows entry around the North of Bermuda. Our entry was Town Cut directly into St George’s Harbour when Bermuda Radio asked us to turn around to go assist the pilot ship St David some 5nm away on NE Shoals. She had run aground, lost a prop shaft and was taking on water. At our speed we were easily overtaken by a coastguard RIB as we struggled to get to the scene in mounting winds and avoid becoming a casualty ourselves (see our GPS track). We were mercifully relieved of our duty and allowed to proceed to the customs dock for entry clearance and mandatory arrival COVID tests. Emmanou and her crew are now safely anchored on the South side of the Harbour awaiting test results that hopefully will free us from quarantine and allow us to go find decent WiFi on land.
COVID comings and goings
Sat May 08 2021
Crew was cleared with negative COVID test results same day as arrival and went back to shore to celebrate only to find everything closed due to 8pm curfew — curfew is being lifted Sunday (tomorrow). We retreated back on board for a round of Dark & Stormy’s (to complement the Mimosas after anchoring). Tony went for a swim and dived the prop to find a heavy rope wrapped around the main prop and rudder — most likely picked up while backing down anchoring (which explained the thumping sound when setting the anchor). A few trips down with his trusty rust-proof knife and Tony managed to extract a small mound of soft rope. Underwater GoPro footage from Jonathan confirmed the running gear is free from fouling. Jonathan left to fly back to walk Dylan the dog and pick up this season’s batch (hive?) of bees and Jane Leach arrived from RI. In deference to Jane being prone to motion sickness we put out Emmanou’s flopper-stoppers (frames on outriggers that greatly reduce roll at anchor) in readiness for 35-40 knot winds. Awaiting Jane’s COVID test results the confined crew enjoyed copious left overs from Karin and watched a double-header of “The History Boys” and “Friday Night Lights” from the on board DVD collection.
Don’t drink and dive
Sat May 08 2021
During yesterday’s Dark & Stormy fest Jane spotted her newspaper plastic bags blowing off the back deck and screamed at Tony to jump in to retrieve the bags and save unsuspecting turtles. Still under the influence of D&S’s Tony dropped his pants and dived in only to realized that he still was wearing his hearing aids. While he did recover one of the bags it was at the (significant) cost of one hearing aid lost to the deep blue yonder — the other was resuscitated into action after a night in rice.
The next day Zhach and (girlfriend) Alex arrived and coincidentally the Van Vleck clan also arrived en masse to celebrate Mother’s Day on the island. After dropping Z&A off on Emmanou for their quarantine Karin and Thach went back to pick up Tony and Jane who had gone to get beer. As the expanded crew settled down to another round of D&S‘s the Harbour barge boat came up to Emmanou towing the tender which had drifted to the other side on the Harbour. To compound the fiasco the bow line of the tender managed to wrap itself around the prop of the barge. Undeterred, Tony again went prop diving (after first handing his remaining hearing aid to Thach’s safekeeping) to unravel the snarled line. Post-Mortem among the crew was that in the transfer of the precious beer cargo and haste to start cocktail hour no one remembered to tie up the tender. Karin’s strict no drinking while underway edict was starting to make sense.
The other side of the tracks
Mon May 10 2021
Bermuda opened up to indoor dining Sunday and the crew took advantage by going for breakfast at the White Horse. Thach tucked in to an excellent Bermudan salted cod breakfast (Bacalau, reminiscent of kippers) while the rest of the crew settle for more traditional fare (avocado toast, French toast) also excellent. Tony and Thach also took advantage of the restaurant WiFi to join the Sunday morning TeWerve ex-rugby Zoom call to critique the Lions SA tour team selection. After an aborted test flight of the drone (due to the GPS no fly restrictions close to the airport) we landed on Tobacco Bay for our inaugural Rum Swizzles and some snorkeling and lazing on the beach. Zhachary was able to duck dive and retrieve a handful of golf balls from the nearby St George’s golf course (under construction) for our tee time later in the week. Ended the evening at the Van Vleck’s magnificent rented compound off Harrington Sound for dinner. Stepping into the palatial setting with a manicured yard running down to the water and private tennis court made us realize that we had been hanging out in the low rent district of Bermuda in St George — Emmanou’s more natural habitat. On a side note Tony’s feet are sore from walking around all day without sandals (having left them on the boat). Karin followed suit for the evening excursion.
Sun May 16 2021
An unstable Azores high punctuated by cold fronts has delayed Emmanou’s departure for at least a week. Hard to gauge the weather on a 10-12 day crossing but a safe passage below 30N would add at least a two days detour so we decided to enjoy Bermuda a little longer. With Nuno Simas’s arrival from the Azores the crew’s experience level has been augmented by 180,000 nm and two circumnavigations. Nuno has been a great addition to the crew as he has been knocking off Emmanou tasks off Thach’s ever growing list and getting her increasingly shipshape —along with his culinary and guitar skills. Jane headed back to Newport and Zhach and Alex are headed back to Denver tomorrow. With their departure the Red Scooter pack will be much diminished. The week’s high/lowlight was an aborted dive trip with the Van Vleck clan as we had to turn back with worsening weather and a few of the crew seasick. Another lowlight was Chelsea’s loss to Leicester in the FA Cup final — Thach drowned his sorrow at the Swizzle Inn with a healthy pitcher of Rum Swizzle before a wobbly ride back to St George’s on the back of Karin’s scooter.
Waiting for Weather Window
Thu May 20 2021
Each member of the crew are handling Emmanou’s extended stay in Bermuda in their own way. Thach and Tony sampling the golf courses, readying the sea parachute for an unlikely deployment, getting the drone ready, servicing the jet ski, and getting seamanship tips from Nuno. Karin working her way through Weather for Dummies, menu planning and provisioning, filing our tax extension, and making sure Thach and Tony don’t goof off excessively. Nuno making sure the water makers are running reliably, fixing Tony’s head (his vacuum flush toilet, not the piece of equipment between his ears — although that could maybe also use some adjusting), caulking the leaks in the instrument tower, getting the fishing gear ready for the tuna schools off the Azores and generally making sure Emmanou and her crew are shipshape. The crew also hung out with Tricia and Dan, friends of Tony’s who have made a life on the Southwest side of the island. The long term weather is pointing to a Tuesday-Wednesday departure. The sailboat fleet in St George’s Harbour (mostly ARC bound) are getting ready to leave over the weekend to take advantage of the 25 knot winds at the start of their run to the Azores. Emmanou is hanging back to hopefully enjoy a more sustained calm high pressure ridge.