To start my description of our voyage thus far, note that this is my second crossing with the Foundation, the first being aboard Galeon Andalucia from Atlantic City to Vigo. We set off from the Canary Islands roughly two weeks ago, and the days have flown by. I cannot express my gratitude enough, and I send love to all of the friends and families that are following our voyage.
Today we woke up to have a morning bite to eat (toast, butter, leftover soups, salads and pastas). The coffee on board is strong, which is great to kick start the day. During the morning watch we crush out some maintenance which is always needed on a ship of this size. Sanding, oiling, painting and overall lookout duties take up the morning watches. If you don’t paint it twice, how´s it supposed to look nice?
After noon we have some time off, during which I like to read, play guitar and chat with the crew. Juarez, Eduina and David have taken it upon themselves to practice their english before we reach the USA. I utilize their studies to practice my spanish grammar and sentence structure. Today we played some dice games and studied after lunch (lentil soup and fresh mahi). The food has been great, and we have caught a ton of fish. The evening comes around and we find ourselves stunned by one spectacular sunset after another. The majority of the time we have had wonderful weather; bright sunny days followed by cool and soothing evenings. Once the stars come out the sky is astounding. With little cloud cover we can see thousands of different stars, with picturesque constellations scattered across the sky.
The happiest I have been on board any ship is when our sails are full of wind, and this crossing is proving the Santa Maria´s capabilies of being a sailing machine. Since day one we have been calculating the wind direction and speed, subtly changing our course and trim to make full use of the sails. They are beautiful, brand new sails with large red crosses, picture perfect at any time of day.
11th day of December 2018
The morning watch was well spent listening to music and sanding the main deck. Since the ship left dry dock for the first time the beautification project is never ending.
We are not alone on our voyage; for the past few days we have been sailing side by side with a pod of whales. They play and spin next to the ship showing a dominant grayish blue color then a flourish of white underneath.
Flying fish erupt out of the water every few minutes, and occasionally we are greeted by sea turtles. Boat traffic on the open ocean has been sparse though not enough to let our guard down. Whenever a dot appears on the horizon a discussion ensues of what type of boat it is and where we can imagine they are going. We have seen tankers, sailboats, and even odd flickering lights at night. Historically, many sailors fear the sea and her strange ways, but our crew is confident and brave. The mix of characters aboard is diverse, each crew member adding skills and style to our voyage.
12th day of December 2018
Today my watch woke up to a wind change, instead of sailing with the wind from our starboard quarter, we are instead being pushed almost directly from the stern. The rocking and rolling has calmed significantly because this ship was built to handle a following sea. Manolo, Fran, Juarez and I sanded the main deck, cleaning up any discrepancies and evening out the connected planks. Eduina, Angel and Crespo made meatballs, which were outstanding.
As we roll gently towards land, our distance traveled has greatly surpassed the number of nautical miles we have left to sail. In roughly 500 miles we will be entering the Caribbean and soon we will see Puerto Rico on the horizon. I have saved an Espetec (meat log covered in fungus) to feast the moment we sea land. In the Canary Islands I bought a jar of spicy mango chutney to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast, also in celebration of “land ho”.
There are still many days ahead of us, so wish us luck and fair winds. As a legendary sailor once said, the stars will be our compass, wherever we may roam. And our mates will always be just like a family. And though we may put into port, the sea is always home.