Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | January 30, 2012

Day 57: Welcome to Week 9

Gosh, doesn’t time fly? However, apparently Storm petrels and Shearwaters were NOT flying similarly today as, unusually, we haven’t had our regular visit. So the highlight of the day has been lots of sargassum weed (well, ocean with blotches in is much more interesting than just plain ocean). By late morning, we realised that the weed clumps were in neat lines – not on the same route as us as we’d cross these lines from time to time. Honestly, the amount of time that serious veg gardeners like Mr McGregor and R’s mum spend trying to get their veg in rows, and out here on the ocean it’s self-organising! Mind you, according to Land Team guru Chris Martin, the sargasso sea is meant to stretch from 20-35 degrees North, so what it’s doing down here at 17 degrees, I’m not sure. I think it needs to be rounded up by some kind of seaweed dog, which might already be a character on Sesame Street, but if not, should surely be a green version of whatever that breed is that looks like it has twisted string for a coat (you can tell I’m a cat person).

Still struggling with strong conditions – BBs, thanks for your suggestion, but that classic approach seems not to work at all with our boat, which pays no attention at all – in fact, that’s how we broke our first rudder, so we’re not going to risk it again!

A somewhat random wave rocked the boat violently today just as H was trying to pour water into meal pouches – don’t worry, Rog, no damage like your ankle, but we now have quik-cook macaroni lurking in the foot well. Mmm, nice.

Clint, thanks for the info that we should soon see frigate birds which look like pterodactyls. Do you remember that Chris A rang me, just over 6 years ago to say you’d seen a pterodactyl, and with the help of the RSPB, I identified for you that it was a frigate bird? Actually, DO people see these when routing to Barbados not Antigua? – I know there was a colony on Barbuda, not sure if they hang out round the further south islands? And do you really see them this far out?

Thanks to Sooty and Paul for Quintin Head results.

Good to hear from the Lavericks, Michael R (he’s still not convinced about prime fun), Alice from ReturnPath, Claire S, Mandy for the news of the snow on the roads near the dam in Sheffa, and Mel for news of snow settling in Somerset (keep the dreary weather updates coming!), also Father and  Elisabeth, and Atlanta and Alex. And Liz & Lawrence (maybe more side planks would have given me enough stability not to wrench my back when that wave came through?), and Heidi.

Brilliant to hear from John Beeden – many congrats again, John, on an exemplary crossing! We would, however, be happy to swap with you right now!

Thanks to Meg the KGS librarian for a cheeky message on a chocolate today (and to BBoys for their Power Bars).

And HUGE thanks to those who have recently made donations (Land Team pass some info on – we don’t have internet access, so don’t know all details), but we and our charities REALLY appreciate it – it is SUCH a motivator to keep plugging away.

I’m sure you’re all doing the maths too, but if we can average 30 miles a day (and we’re not banking much extra above that right now!) we could yet make it for H’s birthrday on 28 Feb.

By the way, those who have been watching the Talisker site for photos of arrivals, do people get given a burger and fries on the quayside still, or was that just an Antigua thing?

Keep telling us what you’re all up to – we love the snippets of everyday life!

And finally, thanks to Lisa and Chris for all of the info flow in here – really keeps us going!


  1. FYI Frigate birds do get out as far as you guys. It does however mean you haven’t got too long to go now! Whichever way you want to view that. Keep an eye out for the Spanish Man Of War jelly fish too. We saw LOADS of them last year on our crossing. Look for a nice purple looking crown (like a balloon) floating on the surface. The tentacles stretch for yards under the surface.
    Roger G

  2. Re the burgers and fries thing…When we arrived last year, we were asked on our way round the headland what we’d like from the marina cafeteria. We made our orders but, due to the lateness of our arrival, had to make do with what was on offer! Our fault, not theirs! So, yes. You should get something like burgers and fries. They are to die for!!
    Roger G

  3. Hee hee – liked your comment re the cheeky message from me – must have been something about bottoms up or similar. Can’t remember what I wrote but hope it spurred you on! I’m thinking of you whilst having a coffee from Hawks and a couple of squares of dark choc during Tutor period – does that make you feel envious? I thought not!!

  4. Hey you two, great mileage btw. Not sure about the burger but saw a pic of R2R with Sir Cliff on the harbour front. Front page Sunday Tele. Not sure if he’s as tasty as a burger, maybe a bit tough, specially if he had the builders in:-). Us Sheffas In full prep for SY Intl Royal Head Race now. V serious:-). Have a good day, Safely strapped on, good to hear!

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