Usually one of us writes a blog, the other one edits a bit and then we publish it. But after Saskia wrote this blog, and Miguel edited it, we realized (again) that we experience crossings so differently and we thought would be good to publish both versions. This is Saskia’s version, later we will publish Miguels!
And another thing I realized after sorting out our photos: all the photos show nice, calm seas. It would be great to be able to say that that is how it was, but the reality is that we just do not take photos or videos when the seas are rough. Mostly because we are too busy with other things and only a little bit because I am sure I will drop my phone when Saetta (and us in it) get smashed around 😉
Anyway, on with the story!
GOING HOME – SASKIA
If you follow us on social media, you know we have been struggling to leave the Azores. We prepared the boat, double-checked the weather, but just before departure, Miguel got an anxiety attack. He felt very nervous, was sweating, and only the thought of leaving gave him chills. So instead of leaving Ponta Delgada, we went out for coffee. We talked it through and decided that leaving whilst Miguel felt like this is not the right thing to do, and we would give it at least another day to see if this would help. At the same time, we talked about other options, because what would we do if this anxiety doesn’t go away before this trip? We always feel nervous before departure but this time it felt different, it didn’t feel like it would go away soon. After sending out a couple of messages to friends, one friend replied that he would be happy to help. Phone calls were made, flights were checked, money discussed, and pretty soon after Roel flew into Ponta Delgada. As part of this journey, we have sailed with Roel, his partner, and their son. We met them in the Canary Islands, later in Cape Verde and we have spent our time in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines mostly with them. Roel is a very experienced sailor, and with him aboard Miguel felt confident to start the last part of our trip.
After a very nice breakfast on land, stocking up on pasteis de nata, we felt ready to go.
The first days of our trip were amazing. Plenty of wind to sail, plenty of sun to enjoy. We did at such a good speed! And since we were with 3 persons on board, we could get a good rest after our shifts. Miguel still felt nervous, and could not enjoy the sail as much as Roel and I did, but it was manageable. He was mostly concerned about a low that was going to pass us. He wanted to slow down, to make sure the low would pass in front of us, but it was hard to say goodbye to the 6 on the speedometer. We thought the weather would be manageable until it wasn’t. A couple of days before reaching the English channel, we saw the strong winds we were expecting, developing in a storm. Roel contacted his friend who had done the weather routing on their crossings and after that we decided to turn back, to avoid being hit by this low. This was definitely the right decision. We still got bad weather, but it would have so much worse if we would have been caught by storm Evert whilst being in the English channel. Almost 24 hours after turning back, we decided to start sailing towards our track again. We still had winds up to 35 knots and 3,5+ meter waves, but it felt quite comfortable, with the winds and the waves coming from our back. Still, looking next to you and seeing a massive wall of water, is not the most enjoyable time on the ocean! According to the weather forecast, the waves would slowly come down, and so would the wind. By the time we reached the English channel, we only had 0.5 meter waves and just about enough wind to sail. One day in, and the wind died down, so for the last three days of our trip, we had to run the engine. We hadn’t seen a lot of traffic on our crossing, but in the channel, there are boats all around. No more sleeping on shift, we needed to pay attention!
After entering the channel I kept on thinking: we are almost back in the Netherlands. Almost back where we began our trip. It feels weird. It feels like yesterday that we enjoyed the Caribbean, but it also feels like we are returning from a weeks holiday. This last year has flown by. We are happy to go back, but we know there will be plenty of times we will miss the cruising life. We hope to catch a bit of good summer weather in the Netherlands, so the temperature shock won’t be too big, although our nights have been really cold the last couple of days!
Our thanks goes to…
We are very grateful for Roel, who came to our rescue, and for Sanne and Obbe, who had to miss him again! And thanks for Robert, who took the time to guide us around the weather.
A massive thanks for Jorn and Lisa from Levante for giving me some of their seasickness patches! Thanks to you I got through the rough days on this trip without much trouble. And well done on your own crossing, you were flying!!
Hugs and kisses for Helena and Chris, we’ve had a blast in Ponta Delgada and your support is amazing!
And also a massive thank you for all the supportive messages we got after posting about our struggles before we left Ponta Delgada. It is heart warming!
We arrived back in Amsterdam on the 3rd of August, in the evening. It was so nice to arrive, but we’ll tell you more about that later!
As said, this is my version of the events, stay tuned for Miguel’s story!