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The flying fish used to be cute, but not so much anymore…

Posted by Tni Newhoff on Friday, January 26th, 2007 at 11:20 am

We have just completed my longest passage to date. It is nice to have these kind of miles under my belt and to continue to build on my sailing knowledge and experience. We left Conception Island on Tuesday evening and arrived in the Dominican Republic on Friday morning. Originally we had not intended to make this hop all at once but we got a nice long weather window and as you all probably have figured out by now (since weather is all I seem to talk about) we had to take advantage of it. Also, the boat Crux contacted us as we had been planning to travel down to the Caribbean together and they along with two other boats Kaleidoscope and Aurora were planning this passage and wanted us to join. It’s great to have the company when making passages and safety in numbers is always attractive so we scrapped our plans to head to Provo (the Caicos). We had planned to head south by way of the Caicos in order to fuel up but we did some calculations and figured that we might just be able to squeeze by on what diesel that we had and Crux would also be able to provide us with 5 gallons more that they had in a jerry can. What does all of this have to do with flying fish you ask??? I’m getting there. The passage went really well. The winds were mild and though we had to motor quite a bit we also got in some great sailing. David and I got to work on the rhythm of how to make passage, working in shifts, getting used to being productive and effective on little sleep or sleeping in spurts, and I also got to work on my technique for cooking while under sail and making passage. Our style, which seems to work well for us, is starting at 8PM we work in two hour shifts. One person is at the helm while the other sleeps. We’ve taken to sleeping in the aft cabin rather than the master. Since the master is at the front of the boat, it gets a whole lot of activity when the boat pitches…which it does quite a bit when in swells and in general it is a whole lot noisier when under way. The aft cabin is nice and low to the ground (water), dark and cozy sort of like a bottom bunk. The great experiences sailing and otherwise abound on this passage. We saw the most beautiful sunsets and equally beautiful sunrises. I found reserves in my body that I did not know existed. I found such peace and comfort in the dark blanketed all around by water and stars. I experienced the dark of moonless nights where you can’t tell where the horizon begins and ends. We saw whales and dolphins! I saw the Southern Cross for the first time!!! Yes, I was sailing in the middle of the Atlantic in the middle of the night and saw the Southern Cross. Not having stepped foot on land for more than a week by the time arrived in DR our senses were heightened and as we were about to make landfall we could literally smell the soil. The air suddenly became humid and musty with the smell of land. Most surely this smell exists in the air always but we never smell it b/c we are desensitized to it. The aroma was powerful and filled us with such a feeling of joy thinking that this was yet another unique perspective that our little adventure has gifted us with. Ok, so about those fish… We’ve been watching the flying fish throughout our trip. It’s so cool to see them fly, sometimes for what seem like forever. While on watch, when often times you are surrounded by water and not much else, they provide entertainment as the skip across the horizon. During my late night watch on Thursday night, for whatever reason I seemed to continue to attract the flying fish. I was enjoying the solitude and watching the luminescence off of our stern all night. Over the course of this evening 4 flying fish made their way into the cockpit. One landed on my chair and another actually hit me in the head! To have something enter your cockpit, in the middle of the night in the middle of no where, in total darkness, isn’t close to being in the vicinity of fun. I felt like a target…I mean really…who gets hit in the head by a fish??? After the last one I conducted the remainder of my watch from the companionway stairs. Let’s just hope that there are no flying fish in the Caribbean…frankly, I’m over them!

3 Responses to “The flying fish used to be cute, but not so much anymore…”

    Tni,

    Obviously, I need to pack a gigantic fly swatter for you when we see you in 3 weeks. Hang in there, matey!

    Just got your word that you’re in SW Puerto Rico! Whew. You are racing, people! We figure in about a week, we should be able to figure out where we’re flying to to meet up! I understand President’s week is VERY busy with Yachts in the Virgin Islands (both US and British). Don’t let any tourists bump into Rosario!

    Ludy

    Yikes! That would scare me too! Can you grill those flying fish?? You’ve traveled so far since we saw you in December! We are heading to Palm Harbor with our daughter and her family next week, hope it is warmer than NJ! Keep up the great postings.

    Becky and Rich

    Hey there Tni and David!!
    Finally found some time to check out your blog site today.
    Love the photos and blogs of your adventure thus far!
    Too bad you didn’t get a photo of that errant flying fish saying “hi”!
    Take care and stay in touch.
    Cheers from San Francisco!
    Jay Ridgeway

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