11th Nov 2011
Frequently Asked Questions.......
What was the nicest place you have seen?
That has always been one of the most difficult questions. But here goes….I’ll only mention the real highlights of our trip since almost every country had so may things that we like……also, there were some countries we did not sail to, but I would still like to mention them ….
- Cape Verdes
- Galapagos, Marquesas, Tuamotus, all in the South Pacific
- South Africa, Namibia and Botswana
- St. Helena
The reason we like these countries is mainly nature (animals, geography) and (lack of) people.
Have you been in storms?
Yes, but if you look at the amount of sailing and the total days of storms, then you could say that it was a tiny piece of our lives……In ten and a half years we had 7 days of storms. All around New Zealand and Australia.
Storms are mainly a nuisance because of the waves. Water has so much force, it is hard on the boat. We had 60 knots of wind between New Zealand and Fiji and decided to employ the drogue so we could slow down. It worked well. When we were in the Gulf of Carpentaria in Australia we had about 35 knots of winds, so it was not too bad, but the shallow waters made a horrible sea and we were bounced around a lot. Between Fiji and New Caledonia we had horrible seas as well, they came on board and bent our stainless steel bimini posts…..
Were you ever afraid?
Yes, of course, we’re only human. I think I am scared faster than Duncan (he just doesn’t show it, so I don’t always know). But I was not panicing, I actually was very calm. The worse the situation got, the calmer I got. You are there, you can’t do anything about it, you cannot say, “ok, I have enough of this, let’s go home”. You are in the middle of it and you will have to work with it. At some point I did think, “Well, if we survive this, then we have something to talk about over a beer”…….Duncan is an extremely competent sailor and I have always felt very safe with him and I knew he would do anything to prevent us from getting smashed. I would never sail with anybody else.
Did you see pirates?
Fortunately not! We did have to divert our course when we left Chagos to avoid them though. We were planning to go to the Seychelles but at the time we left the Seychelles were closed off because of the pirate situation. We decided to go straight to Madagascar. One day we heard on the SSB radio that a commercial ship was attacked just 100 miles from us. Far away, but far too close for comfort. So, it was not a very nice trip, it made us nervous. We saw commercial shipping without navigation lights going by at 23 knots…..it does make you wonder…..
What do you do at night in the ocean, do you anchor?
No, it is not possible to anchor in the middle of the ocean. We have about 75 meters of anchor chain on Moose and the ocean is a couple of kilometers deep, so it is just not possible. We take turns in the night (and day) to manage the boat: 3 hours on, 3 hours off during the night, the one person on is always in the cockpit looking for ships and keeping an eye on the weather and the sails. After 3 hours he/she will be released and can go to sleep. During the day we are more flexible in the hours.
What was the longest time you have been at sea without seeing land?
The longest we have been at sea between islands was 23 days, between Isabela island in the Galapagos and Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas. We had very good winds for most of the time and when we arrived in Fatu Hiva we didn’t go ashore the first day…..We were so used to being on our own and we were not ready for people yet……When you are so long at sea, landfall can be “all of a sudden….” ☺
Do you miss sailing now?
Yes, of course we miss sailing. We have been on land since a few months now and we talk about our sailing life almost every day. But would we go back to full-time sailing? No. For different reasons.
First of all, we are very happy in our house here in Canada and we can explore and do very different things. We’re back to seasons, which is something we have not had for a long time and we like the colder weather and the sweaters. We’ve done many miles and we were very lucky (and smart) to not run into trouble. We’ve done our night watches and we have seen many countries and met many people. But it is nice now not to have to wake up in the middle of your sleep and to just be comfortable in bed. We have made many (far too many) pictures and we are watching them as slide shows and enjoy our travels over and over again. We want to ski this winter! ☺
Secondly, going back to the same places is not possible; going back never is (the place and you have changed). Also, a first time is very different from the visits thereafter and we don’t want to change our memories that we have of all the places we have seen for the first time.
We will be sailing Moose again of course (she is on the hard in Curacao right now). Probably up the east coast of the States and further up the Canadian coast. But not for full time…..I like my washing machine and hot shower far too much! ☺