Saturday, 1 July 2017

Happy Canada Day from Grenada!

The question we are asked most frequently is do we plan to sail back to Canada? 

Our response is usually "we'll see". Some interpret that response to mean that we don't like where we come from. Sure we have not stepped foot in Canada for two years since we left July 5, 2015. We want to show the girls the vast diversity of countries, cultures and people that exist on this blue marble. But so far no matter where we go, Canada still shines as one of the best countries in the world. 

We proudly fly our giant Canadian flag off the stern of Maple every day. Happy Canada Day!!!! 

(This picture is from Canada Day last year in Greece, crazy to think of how far we have come in 12 months. Thankfully Darryl has had a haircut or two since then too.)

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Gratitude!

Ah the Caribbean, it has not disappointed us with its warm, blue waters and plenty of sunshine.  We have already enjoyed a visit from wonderful friends from back home, which took us all from Barbados to the Grenadines and St. Lucia.

Yes, this picture is real!  Unbelievable colours and scenery!


Is this not what you think of when you think Caribbean?!

The girls are better than me at free diving, love seeing their confidence build in the water.

We have the best friends in the world who are willing to come all this way to visit us! 

Never can have too many sunset pictures.

We are beyond fortunate to be living this life!  Darryl and I have now travelled through 26 countries in our time together (hard to believe we have known each other now for 20 years!).  Twenty six countries that all offer different cultures, landscapes and experiences, but the one thing they all have in common are amazing people.  People from such different backgrounds, whether they are sailors or not, and all of them have stories and experiences they share with us that enrich our journey.

The tough part of the nomadic lifestyle is saying goodbye and not knowing whether our paths will cross again.  Since we have been over here in the Caribbean we are beyond fortunate to have met up again with four boats (s/v VA, Element, Rafael and Escapade) we knew prior to the crossing, plus two brothers who finally managed to hitch a ride across the Atlantic who we had met in Las Palmas.  As the saying goes, a cruiser's sailing plan is written in sand at low tide, so is bound to change.  So all the more miraculous it is when paths cross again with a fellow cruiser.

We never tire of meeting new people along the way.  Darryl literally lost me for three hours the other day when I got talking with a Canadian couple on their boat who have countless inspiring cruising stories.  We are now in Martinique and thanks to friends (s/v Escapade) we met in Las Palmas and have reconnected with here, we were introduced to a French couple who are scuba dive instructors and dive masters.  Despite the language barrier, (boy, do Darryl and I ever need to break out the Rosetta Stone and work on learning French again) we managed to enjoy three wonderful evenings with all of them.

We have countless examples of serendipity in our journey, but our experience yesterday was one I will never forget and demonstrates perfectly the generosity of those we meet!  Darryl had decided awhile ago he wanted to complete the first level of PADI dive training, but wanted to wait for the warm Caribbean waters to learn.  During the Atlantic crossing he completed all the course material and exams, but he was waiting until we were standing still for a bit in Grenada to complete the practical portion of the training.  I was on the fence about it as I was such a wimp when I first learned to snorkel (clearly I have a hang up that people are not meant to breath with their faces in water!) that I figured diving was way out of my league.

Bring things forward to yesterday, when the couple offered to take Darryl and I scuba diving just to get a taste of it!  They generously allowed us use of their equipment and took us one at a time for a dive.  They were so patient and calm, especially with me who played my usual mind games that I am going to die when required to breath with my mouth below the surface.  And next thing you know, I was fully submerged and touching the bottom (we are talking about only 3 meters here).  It was exhilarating to conquer that fear and best of all...LOVE it!  So I guess I need to catch up to Darryl and get some course work completed!!!

D taking a stab at this whole diving thing.
Check it out, I am not hyperventilating and clawing my way to the surface!

Whether it is conversing with a man on a beach who is trying to sell me a necklace (yes I bought it darn it!) but at the same time discuss the beauty the ocean offers us all, or through lots of charades and laughter to share a meal with other cruisers who generously share their time and expertise to help me conquer a fear and discover a new passion.  These encounters we continue to have is what keeps me excited to see who might stumble next into this journey of ours.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Photo Journal of Our Atlantic Crossing

The Preparations - Provisioning

So how do you prepare for a three to four week crossing for four adults and two children when you have no opportunity to run to the store for that forgotten ingredient?!  A lot of money, loads of trips to the stores to identify what we want (but thank goodness the major stores deliver!!!!), and plenty of creativity on where to store it all on the boat (nothing like using a spare shower stall to store produce).  The water line was getting lower and lower by the day.




Logo Painting

As though we didn't have anything else to do just prior to departure, Darryl was insistent that we leave our mark in Las Palmas.  It seems to be a tradition for departing boats to paint a logo on a rock or wall in the marina.  Despite our imminent departure date, Darryl and the girls managed to paint our logo on a rock to commemorate our first ocean crossing.





Departure Day

For as long as we have been planning the Atlantic Crossing, we have had January 10 as our intended departure date for some unknown reason.  However, for all of December and early January, we were experiencing highly unusual weather.  Usually at that time of year, the trade winds are well set in and everything is very predicable.  Instead, the weather was very unsettled and the winds coming from the opposite direction.  It was delaying loads of boats in leaving.  We kept our eye on January 10 but figured it likely would be a later departure date.  But sure enough as January 10 approached, the weather was changing and the winds were turning to the more usual NE direction.  And wouldn't you know it, we were all ready and left on January 10!!!  

So the morning of, we had our crew briefing and the raising of our crew flag and we were set to cast off the dock lines.



Things To Keep Us Occupied

So what do you do for three weeks when restricted to an 11.5 meter x 6 meter floating platform?  Surprisingly a lot!!!

First and foremost, the four adults rotated on a 2 hour watch schedule all day and night.  While Ella took the 1400 to 1600 watch every afternoon.  I could not be more proud of Ella for being committed to her watch.  The only watches she missed were on the first day when we were only a couple of hours out of Las Palmas and she wasn't feeling great, and the last day, with all the excitement the watch schedule went out the window.


Any excuse for a celebration, which on Maple involves food and the smallest bit of imbibing.  Crepes and cava to celebrate the halfway mark.  And sausages and beer to celebrate Australia Day!




Knitting (can't thank Sandra enough for her amazing patience!), dress up, cleaning (huge thanks to Jeff for cleaning the rust stains around all the stanchions), boat repairs (sadly no pictures of Darryl clinging for his life to the mast), and reading, reading and more reading....




School For All!  Darryl involved the girls in charting our course on the chart.  We did a unit on Christopher Columbus.  And even Jeff and Sandra got in on the action with Darryl teaching them how to splice rope and make soft shackles.  







Fishing!!!  We had a tough start after losing four lures, plus five catch and release of small tunas.  But our persistence paid off on Day 9 when we reeled in a beautiful 13kg yellow fin tuna.  So of course dinner that night was SUSHI!!!  Since our freezer was already full of meat purchased prior to departure and then the addition of the tuna, we did not fish for awhile.  

On the morning of Day 15 with prompting from Jeff we cast the lure once again.  And within an hour Jeff had reeled in a gorgeous dorado (aka: mahi mahi)!!!  








Lots of scenery that looks like this:



Where is all the evidence of all that amazing wildlife we experienced??  In video format of course and that takes WAY more effort to edit than throwing up a few pictures on a blog post.  So with enough nagging perhaps I can get Darryl do it, otherwise, we might all be waiting awhile before I figure out how the heck to edit out hours of video of boring seas for the 5 second blip of a whale breaching or dolphins playing in our bow waves.

Arrival

After 20 days out of sight of land, on Day 21 land was spotted!!!!  And after 21 days and 9.5 hours, we dropped anchor in the Caribbean after leaving from the Canary Islands.




The girls wasted no time jumping in the water, at the same time we watched the first sunset in the Caribbean on board Maple.  We have not been in the water since early October off the coast of Spain, so the white sand beaches and warm waters are glorious.




















How do you begin to thank two people who took four weeks in their lives to help us safely bring our home and family across an ocean?!  Any words seem inadequate, so I just hope Jeff and Sandra know how much gratitude we will forever have to them.  I could not imagine this experience without them being part of it.  Much love and thanks to you both!  xoxo


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Atlantic Crossing Day 22 - ANCHOR DOWN

At 1730 local time (2130 UTC) on Jan 31, 2017 our position was 13.15.66N, 59.38.74W.

The anchor is down and we have stopped moving for the first time in 21 days and 9.5 hours. We are anchored outside Port Charles on Barbados. We are not sure what to do with all the silence and stillness.

And wouldn't you know it the first sailboat we saw as we arrived in Port Charles was Canadian flagged no less who was just leaving. When we spoke with them on the VHF, Darryl realized he has actually been in email contact with the captain relating to rigging related questions. Yet another example of what a small world it is!!

Darryl has us all checked in to the country so tomorrow we will all venture off the boat for the first time, how incredible it will feel to have our feet on solid ground again. What an amazing journey it has been! Maple handled the crossing beautifully, big thanks to our auto helm who was a workhorse for the entire time. But most importantly thank you to the crew on Maple who worked tirelessly to bring us all safely across the Atlantic Ocean. I am still in awe that we just crossed an ocean!!!!

The girls wasted no time jumping into the water for a swim and play. Ella who is quite picky about water temperature gave the nod of approval to the temperature here. Jeff and Sandra soon followed them after.

We are all exhausted and looking forward to an uninterrupted night sleep before we sail further down the island to Carlisle Bay!


Love to all from,

Janet for
The Maple Crew

PS: Sorry for the delay in sending this out, but we had a hard time getting the modem to connect.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Atlantic Crossing Day 22 - LAST DAY!

At 1230 UTC on Jan 31, 2017 our position was 13.50.84N, 58.58.99W.

Land has been spotted!!!! Jeff and Sandra were the first to spot land this morning around 1100 UTC. We are now less than 50 miles to the north end of Barbados! We raised the spinnaker again for the first time in a few days to try to gain a couple of knots of speed in hope we can arrive at the customs dock by 1700 local time (2100 UTC) before they close. It will be tight but hopefully we can pull it off.

We will be in touch when we have arrived!


Love to all from,

Janet for
The Maple Crew

Monday, 30 January 2017

Atlantic Crossing Day 21

At 1600 UTC on Jan 30, 2017 our position was 14.46.40N, 57.12.51W.

At 1200 UTC today (Jan 30), we officially completed Day 20 of our Atlantic crossing with just 192 miles to go to reach the north of Barbados! The sight of land is tantalizingly close!!!

We are having one of our best days of sailing today, only had to wait 20 days. We have a full headsail and one reef in the main and are sailing at a beautiful angle with seas that are being relatively kind to us. Maple is loving the ride and handling it all so beautifully after this long journey.

This morning, we discovered our hard working tow generator had lost one propeller blade and the other was broken. I think the plastic blades after 20 days and the big seas we were surfing down the last two days had reached its breaking point, so to speak. Fortunately it came with two spare blades so she is happily back in the water keeping our batteries topped up beautifully in compliment with our solar panels. The only downside is this generator is no longer made so spare parts are no longer available for purchase. So we will have to find an alternative to getting new backup blades made for us. No doubt that will be an adventure in itself when it comes to sourcing boat parts with no fixed address.

The Maple Crew are all doing well!! We have enjoyed the journey but also looking forward to the destination. Perhaps our next update I can say "Land Ho"!!!!


Love to all from,

Janet for
The Maple Crew

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Atlantic Crossing Day 19

At 2200 UTC on Jan 28, 2017 our position was 14.53.31N, 52.21.39W.

We are now 450 miles from our destination and starting to look forward to our arrival!

After 19 days, we were overdue for some high winds and big, confused seas. So they arrived with vengeance today. As Sandra said, this is fine as long as it only lasts a day. So we have put that request in. The main sail made its first appearance after a long rest today and we made good speed all day but in uncomfortable seas. Tonight, the seas have sorted themselves out and we are back enjoying following seas with the head and main sails trimmed wing on wing as best we can manage on a catamaran. Wing on wing is a first for us on Maple thanks to Jeff guiding us through the set up. Now we will all need to be on our toes tonight during our watches to keep the balance right. (And yes, we do have a preventer on the boom for those who know what that means.)

Our latest casualty on board is our external hard drive that did not like being dropped and as such we have lost all our movies and music. Oh well, perhaps it will mean Iris will have to find other things to do. Shockingly Ella and Iris had their best day of playing together for the first time in 6 years they have known each other. Now let's see how long that lasts, I am not holding my breath.

Everyone is still doing well on board! The fresh food is quickly dwindling, we have already had to break out the canned fruit. We have all done an amazing job with meals, loads of variety. Although I am sure Jeff and Sandra are looking forward to a meal that doesn't involve hearing us nag Iris to finish her dinner. She is a master negotiator that one.


Love to all from,

Janet for
The Maple Crew

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Atlantic Crossing Day 16

At 1630 UTC on Jan 25, 2017 our position was 15.33.94N, 45.23.92W.

We continue to sail along in comfortable seas and winds! We have pulled the spinnaker down the last two nights to be cautious with squalls. It paid off the first night when Sandra experienced a brief squall, but last night we just bobbed along at a painful 3 knots most of the night with no visits from squalls. Never thought I would say that we were hoping for one just to briefly see some decent boat speed!!! First thing in the morning the spinnaker was back up doing its thing beautifully as usual. The fix for the broken block is still holding well so let's hope it can hold on for another week or so.

We have not been fishing since we caught the tuna as we just didn't have any more freezer space. Jeff gave us a bit of a nudge yesterday wondering when we might cast the line in again. So this morning we did just that! I put in a request for Jeff to catch us a dorado (aka:mahi mahi). And boy did he deliver!! Within an hour we had the reel spinning and Jeff pulled in a beautiful 5kg (nearly a meter long) dorado. We are looking forward to dinner tonight!!!

On a completely unrelated note and really one that only Iris's grandparents might be interested in, Iris has her first loose tooth!!! It is one of her bottom front teeth. It will be the first time the tooth fairy will have to make a visit to Maple. Perhaps it will fall out in Barbados where big sister, Ella, likes to retell her story of losing one of her teeth when we last visited Barbados nearly four years ago.

The Aussies on board |(Jeff and Sandra) would like to wish everyone back in Australia a very happy Australia Day (26th). We hope that the barbie is fired up and the beers are flowing and those that are still working can enjoy a long weekend!!

So that is the extent of the excitement here on Maple! Just enjoying life, contained on an 11.5m x 6m floating platform!

Love to all from,

Janet for
The Maple Crew

PS: Ok this is starting to become a habit. As I finished writing this email we were visited by a pod of whales!!! We must be the luckiest sailors out there. I can't say for sure how many whales there were but I believe it was at least four or five of them. Ella was on watch and gave the shout out when she spotted one. Then the first close encounter was right beside the boat when I believe a mama and her calf surfaced together to scrutinize Maple. After this we had front row seats to FOUR full breeches off our port quarter! Unbelievable!!! I can't believe how fortunate we have been with whales visiting us, along with all the other wildlife. What an amazing trip this has been!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Atlantic Crossing Day 13 & 14

At 0815 UTC on Jan 24, 2017 our position was 16.16.74N, 42.51.29W.

Maple continues to plod her way across the Atlantic. We've had unseasonably light winds so far but we're actually not complaining. Light winds mean less stress on the boat and smaller seas so overall it has been really comfortable out here. We're enjoying the sunshine and the solitude.

Things have been relatively quiet on Maple,on the night of the 22/23 we once again flew the spinnaker at night. Winds were light all day with about 10 knots from the East and we didn't see any signs of impending squalls in the evening so we made the call. At around 0500 UTC the winds picked up and we decided to drop the spinnaker. Janet and I (Darryl) thought we had it under control so did not wake Jeff or Sandra. That was my mistake and one I won't make again. The spinnaker came down beautifully, except for the fact that one of the ropes which control it (the port sheet) ended up in the water.

If I asked you to drop a rope in the water from the bow of our boat, and have it tie a knot around one of the propellers I doubt you could do do it. If I paid you to do it, you wouldn't be able to, but at 5AM when it's dark and windy and you're tired and you don't want the rope to get tangled, I guarantee that it will. Yep, you guess it, the line in the water inevitably managed to wrap itself around the prop. The engines weren't on so it was not a big deal but I couldn't free it from the deck - that's right, I was going to have to go swimming. Fortunately, I could wait for daylight. With the coming of the dawn we stopped the boat as best we could and in I went. The rope came free with no drama and we were underway again in a few minutes. The water is warm and beautiful if you don't mind it being about 4000 meters deep...

We continue to experience some intermittent problems in getting our radio to turn on. It seems that when it's acting up I can get it to work again by removing power from the radio and then restoring it (essentially resetting it???) but I don't know if the issue will continue. Long story short - if you don't hear from us regularly, please do not assume the worst - we are doing well and it is probably just a communication snafu. If anyone wants to google something for me the radio is a ICOM M802 SSB radio. Perhaps "ICOM M802 not turning on" or "need to reset ICOM M802" or something like that? Let me know if you come up with anything relevant. No worries if you don't as I'll be googling like a mad man once we have internet access again.

Love to all from,

Darryl for
The Maple Crew

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Atlantic Crossing Day 12

At 1700 UTC our position was 17.59.53N, 37.28.39W.

What a difference two days makes!!! I bet all of you have been tired of our "oh how wonderful life is on board Maple in the big blue". Well that all changed on the evening of Day 10 after all of the whale excitement and sushi dinner. I (Janet) was on watch from 2200 to 0000 and at around 2300 I heard something go bang. Because the wind was reaching the limit of us flying the spinnaker, Darryl fell asleep in the cockpit in case we needed to quickly make a sail change. After an inspection in the pitch black (the moon was not up yet), we discovered that a block that held the spinnaker about two meters down from the top of the mast had broken free. This left the spinnaker halyard flying directly from the masthead, which is not what our rigging is designed for. So we woke up Jeff and Sandra to take on the task of taking the spinnaker down in the dark. Precisely why we had originally said we would never fly the spinnaker at night. But that 7 to 8 knots of boat speed is so darn intoxicating.

Fortunately for once that spinnaker actually came down relatively easily, small blessings! And then the rest of the night we were left bobbing along with only the headsail at 4 to 5 knots. Lame!

This is where I need to put a plug in for the amazing sailing community we are so fortunate to belong to! Darryl immediately emailed other cruisers, most of whom we met during our long stay in Las Palmas. D even sent off an email to the rigger who re-did our rigging in Palma this summer on the off chance he could provide some input on our options. By the next morning, we had heard back from other cruisers, Mike, Peter and Janna, as well as our rigger. So wonderful that from a distance and in the middle of the ocean, we are able to reach out for support. So D and Jeff spent the day tinkering with various ways to make a fix. Unfortunately yesterday the seas were less comfortable with swell coming from multiple directions. Not a day for anyone to head up the mast. So we just puttered slowly along with the headsail.

Wouldn't you know it that the resident whale came to check up on us again last night! What a welcome sight after a bit of a tough day. Jeff even saw the whale do a complete breech from the water. Too bad the Go-Pro wasn't running at that moment.

This brings us to today! We are officially at the halfway mark to Barbados! So we have plans for a Halfway There Celebration. But first we had some work to do. Overnight, the SSB radio stopped working. So that was first up, after reconnecting some lose wires we are back in business. Now the tough part. D going up the mast to make a fix in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The seas were a bit more gentle today, but for those of you who have never ventured up a 17 meter mast, what you discover is any slight movement just creates a pendulum up there. So needless to say, D was not excited at the prospect of climbing the mast, but it had to be done. Unfortunately the Go-Pro mounted to his head didn't really show the work he was doing up there, but I believe it did beautifully capture the copious amount of cursing every time the swell hit us on the side, which was pretty much every second swell. With his legs firmly wrapped around the mast and a tether around him to try to keep him close to the mast, he managed to make the temporary fix. And we have just hoisted the spinnaker and all is looking good so far!!! Much happier with the 6 knots of boat speed to the 4 we have been averaging the last 24 hours.

It was an amazing team effort from those on Maple! Jeff and I winching D up the mast. Sandra at the helm with the impossible task of trying to keep the swell hitting the stern as gentle as possible. Have I mentioned before how grateful we are to have these beautiful people on board with us?!?!?

But wait, the excitement is not over yet! After we get back inside the boat patting ourselves on the back for a job well done, I notice the fresh water pump and bilge pump are running!!! Are you kidding me??? Yes, after a quick investigation, we found that a newly installed water filter had cracked its housing and was leaking water into the bilge. We figure we may have lost about 100 liters. Is it true that bad things happen in threes? If so, hopefully that is all there is.

As for marking the milestone of reaching the halfway mark, the girls had bought loads of candy before we left, which they hid and brought out as a surprise. I made crepes with all the trimmings for lunch after all the work was done. The cava is chilling in the fridge for a much deserved, very small sip. And the most exciting part of all: HOT SHOWERS!!! We have been running the port engine to heat up the water and it is heaven to feel clean for the first time in 12 days.

Here is to smoother sailing from here on out!

Love to all from,

The Maple Crew

PS: If you do respond to this email, please delete my original email first as it will speed up when we download any responses. Thank you!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Atlantic Crossing Day 10

At 1800 UTC our position was 19.08.49N, 33.43.47W.

IT FINALLY HAPPENED!!!! It only took 10 days and a sacrifice of 4 lures to the sea gods. But boy was it worth the wait! A beautiful 13kg yellow fin tuna was hauled on board this morning after some effort. The freezer is full again. And most important of all we are having SUSHI tonight for dinner!!! We have all the fixings ready to go and many hands will hopefully make it a quicker process. Since we don't have any more room in the freezer, the lures (what is left of them) will stay in the tackle box for a few days rest.

And on the plus side perhaps we will sail a little faster without three lines trailing behind us. The spinnaker had to come down yesterday evening as we were hitting up to 20 knots of apparent wind. So it was a slow, rocky night with only the headsail up. But at first light today the spinnaker is up again and doing her thing beautifully.

The hoisting and lowering of the spinnaker has often caused us problems and last night was no exception. But what a difference it makes to have four sets of hands helping get her down. Jeff and Darryl discovered a problem with one of the blocks at the top of the sail so worked well into dark to get her all fixed up for this morning's sail. We will see how it works out when we have to lower her again. Always an adventure!

The air temperature is getting warmer, although without a thermometer on board, I can't tell you how warm. Still not warm enough yet for Sandra to shed her foul weather pants on her night watches. The water is even feeling invitingly warm. Too bad it is not calm conditions to stop the boat and take a dip.


The Maple Crew

PS: WHALES!!!! Before I am able to send off this email, we are currently being visited by whales (two of them, we think!)! It is now close to two hours that we have spotted them circling around us. It has been the most amazing two hours spent searching the waters to see where we could spot them next. One appears to be about 6 meters and the other 8 meters. They even like to turn on their backs to show us their white bellies just below the surface of the water. Who knows how long they are going to stick around!? What an incredible experience for all of us here on Maple!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Atlantic Crossing Day 9

At 0930 UTC our position was 20.26.70N, 30.40.23W.

Still under spinnaker we are at the start of our 9th day at sea. This also means 9 days since our last shower!! We have plenty of water still as our water maker has been working great for us whenever we have the extra power from the solar panels. However, I think no one is inclined to have a cold shower since we only make hot water when we run the port engine and that last happened on January 12. I dream of how amazing that first hot shower is going to be.

As for the food department, we have been enjoying some great meals on board. Unfortunately none still include any fresh fish, but I am confident we will have our day. The fresh fruit has not held up great and we have had to throw out a number of oranges. The bananas are now at the point that I need to start baking banana bread. The pears are finished. And the one remaining mango needs to be eaten now. The apples are the only hold out. So sadly I think by the second half of this trip we will have to rely on canned fruit, which is never as appealing. The fresh veg is going alright. We have a ton of tomatoes that need to be eaten NOW, so tonight my plan is to make roasted tomato soup. The peppers and green beans (thank you Kylie for the paper towel trick, it is working beautifully) are holding up well. The carrots did not like being unrefigerated the first few days so we tried to salvage what we could and found room for them in the fridge. And of course the cabbage, onions and potatoes are going to be all we are eating in the end along with our canned veg stores. However, we are far from going to starve with the amount of frozen meat, grains and beans we have on board.

As Jeff would say, there has been "no drama" with our sailing. Darryl and I keep waiting for the shoe to drop and for something dramatic to break, but we will enjoy each day when that doesn't happen. The fix we made to the tow generator is holding up beautifully so far. We switched around one of the guy lines for the spinnaker when we noticed wear on the one splice. We had to reconnect the main halyard when a shackle came lose. Tightened yet another leaky connection on the newly installed water maker. Fixed the stop switch for the port engine (this was broken before we left). Otherwise, we just sit here watching the spinnaker sail around and wait for the reel to spin on the fishing line.

We are just under 400 miles away from the halfway point. Still experiencing following seas and winds. Dolphins paid us another visit again yesterday but still no boats in sight. All is well with the crew!



The Maple Crew

Monday, 16 January 2017

Atlantic Crossing Day 7

At 0900 UTC our position was 22.49.61N, 26.43.34W.

Here we are still bobbing around the Atlantic at the start of Day 7. We have had the spinnaker flying for the last three days continuously. There is very little to report other than we are all still happy and healthy. The dolphins have taken a respite from visiting us for the last 24 hours, but we had one curious seabird pay attention to us. It flew through our cockpit and around the boat a few times. We figured it was looking for a resting post but I don't believe it ever landed. Unbelievable to be hundreds of miles off shore and here is this lone little bird flying around out here.

We are still waiting to catch the big one. We have caught four little tunas, which we have all released to live another day. We are still holding out hope we can enjoy some fresh sushi on board soon!!!

Life is fairly simple on board. We take our turns at watches, including Ella (Iris attempted once and her limited attention span lasted a whole 25 minutes), sleep, read, make meals, watch the stars, see the sun and moon rise and set. Life is good.

We are enjoying gentle seas and breezes. It is not a quick crossing so far, but we are happy to have the calm conditions while they last.



The Maple Crew

Sunday, 15 January 2017

SV Maple Map

Hello everyone, I am Jeff Kozoris, Janet's brother.
I am sending this email to all the people who are receiving Darryl's daily updates.

Here is a Google Map I have created and am maintaining every time I get an update.


Enjoy!
:)
Jeff

Atlantic Crossing Day 5

At 0900 UTC our position was 24.18.09N, 21.54.54W.

We have been enjoying calm, following seas and light winds. We have been flying the spinnaker for the last 24 hours, our longest run with it since we bought it. We had originally planned to not fly the spinnaker overnight, but with a very bright moon to keep it as bright as dusk and only light winds forecasted, we decided to take a chance. It worked out beautifully as we maintained 5 to 6 knots of boat speed overnight.

Yesterday morning when fighting to hoist a very twisted spinnaker, we had some curious dolphins come to laugh at us. They didn't stick around long when we didn't pay them attention while we were cursing the sail. However, later in the day we were visited by a mega pod of dolphins, nearly as far as you could see on either side of us were dolphins swimming. We even had a couple show-offs do some big jumps for us. Never tire of their company. I also saw two Portuguese Man-o-War jelly fish gracefully sail past beside us. That is the extent of the visitors. We have not seen any sign of other boats for over 24 hours, not since the fishing vessel.

The crew are all doing well!! The girls have adjusted beautifully to life at sea, are in very good spirits. Of course as usual they chat Sandra's ear off any second she is willing to listen. Perhaps now that we are in a rhythm on board we should start back up with school...no doubt the seasickness will return at that point with full vengeance. :)

Much love to all of our family and friends!

The Maple Crew

Friday, 13 January 2017

Atlantic Crossing Day 4

At 1100 UTC our position was 24.53.33N, 20.05.97W.

Hi all,

Here we are once again sailing under spinnaker under beautiful sun and blue sky. After all the cloud the first three days it is great to see sun again. Yesterday was another great day for all of the Maple crew. We are in a great watch routine of two hour rotation and everyone is pitching in with meals. Sadly we have not caught a fish yet so working through our mountain of provisions.

Jeff and Sandra celebrated their 37th anniversary! No doubt 37 years ago they didn't picture themselves on a boat with a bunch of Canadians crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately our cabins are not luxury, so they were roughing it here on Maple. However, we did manage to arrange for a sunset visit from a huge pod of dolphins to help them celebrate!

Our tow generator has been given a second lease on life thanks to some improvising by the captain. It is working so far and helping keep our batteries charged without having to run our engines.

We saw one other sailboat on the horizon but didn't get closer than 5 miles from each other. Last night, I passed a big fishing vessel way out here by less than a half a mile. And that is about the extent of the excitement for us! We are slowly making progress to our first waypoint before we make the turn west with the trade winds.

Thanks again for the well wishes.

The Maple Crew

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Atlantic Crossing Day 3

At 0900 UTC our position was 26.12.21N, 18.14.11W.

Another largely uneventful day passed on Maple and we've begun day 3 of our journey. The casualties so far include some significant wear on our tow generator which may mean we lose the use of it for the remainder of the crossing - not ideal but manageable. We think the solution is at hand but requires a welder which we neglected to pack.

We had a glorious full moon for our watches last night. Still no fish on the line, in spite of a couple of nibbles. Spirits remain high, even in the absence of spirits. The weather is still reasonable with winds from the Northeast allowing us to use our spinnaker to run downwind in daylight hours. WE know that the weather won't always be kind so are taking advantage while we can.

The crew of Maple

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Atlantic Crossing Day 2

At 0813 UTC our position was 27.08.62N, 16.23.04W

It the start of our second day at sea, we're making slow progress towards our first waypoint and the warmer weather in the Caribbean. Winds have been fickle but we've avoided motoring too much so far. Shifts are working out and we're focused now on getting into a sustainable rhythm. Everyone on board is safe and well so far. Hoping to catch a fish and some better seas today.

The crew of Maple

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

And they're off...

Hello loyal fans and followers.

As of 1530 UTC our position was 27.54.17N 15.19.53W.

Maple left the dock from Las Palmas today at about 1230 UTC. We have now been underway for 3 hours and are in the midst of following seas and wind with the spinnaker pulling us along at a brisk 8.6 knots. Not a bad start but we want to keep it conservative as we've got a long way to go...

Thanks for the well wishes from those who saw us off!

The happy crew of Maple.
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At 1899-12-30 12:00 AM (utc) our position was 28°07.37'N 015°25.44'W

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Setting off on the high seas

Well hopefully the seas aren't too high!  We believe we are getting close to casting off the very grungy dock lines here in Las Palmas and heading for the warm weather to the west.  The winds have not been typical for this time of year with strong south easterly winds, when steady north east winds are the norm.  But we are excited to see that the forecast is looking good starting Tuesday for the north east winds to return.



Our amazing Australian friends, Jeff and Sandra, have just settled their beautiful boat for a little respite.  They will move aboard Maple on Sunday for as long as it takes for us to cross the big blue to Barbados.  We are so fortunate to have them as crew for the crossing.  Super excited to get more sleep!!!

We have all of our grocery provisions on board and will do our fruit and veg purchase on Monday.  All the lockers and bilges are completely full so it will be fun to find room for the fresh food.  Maple is already sitting very low on her water line.




If you are interested in following us while we are out there, we will send position updates via our SSB radio when we can.  We will try to connect regularly but can't guarantee how often we will be able to update our position.  Don't panic if you don't see any change in our position for a few days.  To follow our route, you can find us at this link:


We believe we might leave on Wednesday, January 11th if the forecast holds up.  We are excited to get under way and are looking forward to warm waters again and of course the rum!!!