We have been sailing a long time, and are ready for a break. Specifically, we are looking forward to some good Cornish Pasties, some Guinness beer, and that staple of British cuisine, Chicken Tika Masala. We have been listening to BBC on the radio, where they are talking about the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The last several days have been windy and rough, and not conducive to writing anything. We have had a brief respite today, with wind of 7 – 9 knots. We used these hours to take showers, shave and shampoo. Salli made some cherry cobbler, which really hit the spot. As I start to write this, it looks like the wind is picking up again. We will see how it goes.
This is one of the craziest things we have ever done, and it seems, we have pulled it without much hardship. We do of course have to get the boat home at some time, all details yet to be determined.
CHECK IN A FEW DAYS FOR A NEW SHORT VIDEO HERE
Today, we had some porpoises swimming around the bow, and I got a quick video of them which I will add to this post, in a couple days, once I get the bandwidth. Last night, we saw them jumping completely out of the water, 100 feet from the boat.
The one major trouble we have had on this trip has been communication. Up to now, we have relied on the Winlink system to send and receive emails. As a Ham radio licensee, I am entitled to use this network, and it has been great. There are hundreds of amateur stations that are left powered on, around the world, day and night, allowing me to contact them, log on, and digitally send and receive emails anywhere through short wave radio, at no charge, and with no data limit. This is how I post my location reports, make inquiries about technical problems, and how I post blog posts I make while underway. Apparently, the FCC has been cracking down on the amateur radio community, which has caused the amateur radio community to start policing itself more energetically, and what did they discover? That there have been “third party communications” taking place between the USA and other countries, which the USA does not have reciprocal agreements with. Most of these countries are located in Europe, where I am.
Who are these parties? The first party is me. The second party is the Ham at the other end of the radio link, in this case the operator of the ground station. The third party is everyone else, who the other parties communicate with or help to communicate. In nearly all cases, my emails are considered third party communications, and can no longer be conducted through ground stations in Europe. If I want to send them, I have to use ground stations in Canada, a country we have an agreement with. This is much more difficult to do, since radio contact is only reliable at this distance, at certain random times of the night. This change was announced Saturday morning, and put into effect within hours, with no concern to those at sea like myself, who are relying on Winlink emails to make safety, weather, and emergency communication. I will be posting this blog, if I can, through Amateur Station VO1MFK in Halifax, 3247 kilometers distant.
As I write this, we have 120 miles to go, 1/10 of our original distance. We still have 80% of our diesel fuel, and 40% of our water, and are starting to be less careful about conserving it, using water for such unthinkable extravagances as washing the salt off the cockpit seats. We opened the last bag of gummy bears, and been taking a hard look at the last sausages.