PAM: The ride was truly beautiful as advertised! Mira treated us to a delightful 10 day sail – we left Fortaleza, Brazil, on Friday Nov 10 and arrived at St. George, Grenada, Monday, Nov 20. Entire trip from Argentina to Grenada – 40 days and 1 hour!!
After 15 hours of travel time from Atlanta, Glenn and I dragged ourselves through the Fortaleza airport on Monday, November 6. We had been communicating with Mira by satellite off and on for weeks. Pikin (our delivery captain), Miguel and Tomas (crew) were sailing Mira at a good pace up the coast of Brazil. As long as the winds cooperated around the tip of Brazil, Pikin estimated an early Wednesday arrival into the marina in Fortaleza. We still had plenty to do to prepare for our part of the trip.
Shopping for last minute fishing gear, scouting out the best provisioning grocery stores, and beach front dinners, Glenn and I kept ourselves occupied for those few days in Fortaleza.
Dinner with the requisite caipirinhas at Coco Bambu in Fortaleza.
We got the exciting call at noon on Wednesday. Mira had arrived into Fortaleza’s Marina Park! She looked great – despite the long journey. Pikin, Miguel and Tomas took very good care of her. Special thanks also to 40 Grados Sur and their entire team for building such a beautiful sea-worthy Antares.
The next few days flew by with much needed R&R for the crew, customs and immigrations visits (took almost 5 hours!), and grocery store provisioning – which took almost as long as the paperwork 😔.
We planned a Friday morning departure, and indeed, we were off by 10:30! Armed with scopace patches and sunscreen, Glenn and I were ready for almost anything!
So, for multi-day offshore passages Mira sails non-stop; day and night. Long ago, sailors established a “watch” system to ensure that some subset of the crew would be on deck and responsible for the safety of the crew while keeping the boat sailing in the right direction. For the 10 day trip to Grenada, Pikin had set up a rotating watch schedule for himself, Miguel and Glenn. Day shifts were 4 hours, because everyone was mostly awake and in/out of the cockpit able to help. Night shifts were 2 hours, which allowed four hour stretches of sleep for each crew. I supervised the night shifts from my bed – but, usually managed to greet Glenn with a hot cup of coffee for his 6-8 am early morning shift.
I chose to take the “galley watch” – cooking our one big meal of the day, usually around 1:00 or 2:00. Cooking was enjoyable and easy on Mira – though the equatorial heat forced me to revert to lighter, easier meals as the trip stretched north.
It was a really good idea not to have a big nighttime dinner – otherwise the crew on night watch would be even sleepier!
Mira is designed for offshore sailing and is equipped with important navigational gear like GPS, chart plotters, radar, VHF and SSB radios, and AIS.
We found the most important gear was the auto-pilot — truly the hardest working crew member! I was most amazed that we never touched the helm wheel the entire 10 day trip – except leaving Fortaleza and entering the harbor at St George, Grenada. Along the way, winds were usually pushing Mira from 120-150 degrees from the bow. We mostly kept to one course and adjusted the sails based on the strength and minor directional changes of the wind – asymmetrical spinnaker for light downwind sailing – screecher and genoa when the wind speed increased.
Our comfortable, off-shore daily routine on Mira was punctuated by some amazing highlights!
FISH: The first scream of “Fish!!!” sent everyone into a mad, hysterical scurry around the boat! Glenn had been reading, studying, and dog-earing “The Cruisers Guide to Fishing”, and he was the most experienced on the boat! After a false start or two, we were able to catch 3 tuna over several days. Glenn was almost an expert by the end of the trip – his catching, cleaning and filleting skills were admirable. Yummy fresh fish – tuna ceviche with homemade chips, sautéed, soy and orange juice marinated tuna, and fresh tuna vegetable salad – with still more – frozen for a special night.
EQUATOR CROSSING: Crossing the equator and watching the latitude slowly count down to North 0 degrees 00.000′, is a big deal for ocean sailors.
It’s actually really hard to capture the exact moment …
What we didn’t realize, is there is also a day long celebration that accompanies the “crossing” of the equator. Each ship has their own tradition, and Pikin, the only crew member to have already crossed the equator, celebrated Mira’s in style! I’ve never laughed so hard as when God Eolo (Greek God of the Wind – AKA Pikin) leaped from the salon, gaudily dressed head to toe.
He christened the 3 pollywogs with water poured over our heads and pronounced our new names!
Day long festivities celebrating the transition of Pam, Glenn and Miguel from pollywogs to true mariners. God Eolo made several appearances in full costume – anointing each of us – Golden Dolphin (Pam), White Shark (Glenn) and Dorado (Miguel)
DOLPHINS: When the shout “Dolphin” ripped the air, we all ran to the bow. For some minutes, Mira was surrounded by the most beautiful dolphins, leaping and jumping. One swam directly underneath my perch on the bow sprit chair, seeming to peer up at me! As quickly as they came, they shot off into the distance. but, we could still watch them leaping high into the air for many miles.
The sunrises, the sunsets, the storms and the clouds made the entire trip one to remember!