Monthly Archives: March 2017

Camomile continues North

Diamond Rock

Our position at 10.00 (16.00 UTC) Sunday 26th March
14 26N
061 02W
We have just passed the beautiful Rocher du Diamant (Diamond Rock)

We left Le Marin marina yesterday and anchored off of St Annes last night, as we did last Saturday. Having had a week in the marina we felt refreshed again. I was in the middle of posting a blog on Martinique when I ran out of internet so it will have to wait until we get back on line again. No facebook again for a while so if you’ve messaged me I’m not ignoring you. 🙂

The dinghy came back from ‘ospital and we had no reason to stay any longer. We had a great time catching up and saying goodbye to another set of cruising friends. Life long friendships have been made again. So on to pastures new, new friends and hopefully some old ones.

Crews of Antares, Keyif and Adina

Last thought for today. We’ve seen lots of flying fish on passage and around the island. Quiz question for you – is it a shoal of flying fish or a flock of flying fish??? I actually don’t know so you’ll have to google it and tell me.

Be good. XX

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 57 we made it.

This is the same blog but I’ve added some photos.

Our position at 16.30(19.30 GMT) Saturday 18th March was
14 26.39N
060 53.38W
The anchor is down, thank God, literally as we’ve arrived safely in Martinique after completing our circumnavigation.

Our last 30 hours was fairly uneventful except for the mini drama of nearly using the Hydrovane rudder. Bill had noticed the steering was behaving oddly on his night watch and put the autohelm on. In the daylight he looked over the stern to see the Hydrovane rudder looking bent. We hove to (stopped the boat) to look at it and discovered the pin clipping it into position had broken. Fortunately Bill always ties it on as well so we hadn’t lost the rudder. It was brought back on board and was a passenger for the rest of the journey. Incredibly Bill doesn’t have a spare, he had already used it, so we’ll have to get one along the way. That was our only breakage on the whole trip which is pretty incredible considering the miles we have covered.

Barbados in the distance

We continued to sail through the day although the wind started dropped in the afternoon and we motored for 2 hours because we (I) didn’t want to slow down, until it picked up again. Barbados came into view about 4pm as we sailed past the north coast with the lights from the resorts twinkling in the dusk. I watched a cruise liner leave Barbados on the AIS and was SOOOO tempted to call them up and ask for a lift! I ate my last 4 squares of chocolate during my last night watch.

I awoke to 100% cloud cover and a line of squalls matching across the skyline. Bill went back to bed for his second sleep while I sat in the cockpit with the umbrella up because it was also raining. The wind disappeared so the engine was on again. The cloud and mist continued through the morning and Martinique was hiding behind it. St Lucia appeared about 8am, which is the island south of us, and Martinique about 8.20, but disappeared again. When Bill got up I made pancakes for our last breakfast at sea because we seem to have missed pancake day while we’ve been out here.

Camomile right on the line

I started to come out of my chrysalis like a butterfly and began to sing again, I haven’t been singing for a while and although Bill says it’s nice to hear me singing again I think he’s just being kind because he prefers it to the silence! As we were about an hour away from our finishing line the sun appeared along with a pod of spinner dolphins jumping out of the Caribbean blue sea to welcome us. The wind started to blow and the engine went off. As Martinique emerged from the cloud we were quite close and able to see the lovely houses built into it’s verdant green hills. As we’ve already written we crossed ‘the line’ at 1.30pm Bill and I hugged each other with me in tears and Bill pretty close. It’s just amazes me we actually managed to do it.

Turning Camomile back to Le Marin, Martinique

We turned Camomile back towards the marina and had to motor quite hard against the wind to get there. Even though it was only 4pm when we got to the channel we decided not to go into the marina but anchor in the bay in front of St Annes for the first night to ‘wind down’ slowly from the journey. Once we go into the marina my feet won’t touch the ground with washing, cleaning, shopping, etc.

Heading into the anchorage




Once anchored I felt an enormous sense of relief that we were safe and could relax. We spent a short time sorting out the boat then the bottle of bubbles came out. We didn’t have posh Boli like someone we know (!) but a nice South African sparkling wine that was very nice along with some cool white wine too. I had intended cooking lemon chicken and apple crumble but I put some Pringles and cheese and biscuits out to have with our drink and dinner got forgotten.

The celebrations begin

I spoke to Sara on Norsa for the last time on the net (the SSB doesn’t work very well in the marina) and said an emotional farewell, they have another 7 or 8 days out there but they aren’t coming in our direction. Not sure when we’ll see them again – the down side of cruising. 😦
So to sum up the journey we left Simonstown 9 weeks ago and spent 3 days in Cape town before leaving on 19th January. The journey from Cape Town to here was 5634 miles altogether but we stopped in St Helena for 2 weeks and 2 days. The passage just from St Helena to here was 3857 miles that took 27 days 9 hours or 657 hours giving us an average speed of 5.8kts which isn’t bad considering we’ve had anything from 3kts to over 8kts along the way. It has become our longest passage and, as I’ve already said, it won’t be beaten. Of those 657 hours the engine was only on for 77 hours, half of those were for charging the batteries when the day was cloudy. The solar panels and wind generator kept the batteries going for the rest of the time.

So we go into the marina later today for 5 or 6 days then we will start to make our way north to complete the rest of the 1500 miles or so to get us to Florida. We’ve got 6 weeks or so to do it which, hopefully, will be enough time. The plan is Martinique this week
Antigua next week
St Martin first week in April
BVIs second week in April
Sail to Turks and Caicos third week in April
Sail the last 700 miles or so to Florida (on the inside route) during the last week in April If there’s anyone on that route that we know we would love to meet up.

All well on board.

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

Camomile completes her circumnavigation

This is the same post but I’ve added some photos.

WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP We’ve done it!!

Bill and Sue on the bow of Camomile

At 13.30 this afternoon Camomile crossed the ‘finishing line’. We have sailed around the world traversing all meridians of longitude, the equator and then met our outgoing track here. Eventually we’ll complete our journey and head back to the UK but for now we feel we can call ourselves circumnavigators. Very emotional moment. Can’t believe we’ve actually done it, just Bill and I on our own but that’s basically how its been for the last 8 years. We’ve joined rallies and cruising groups but once you leave port, particularly on ocean passages, you are on your own; completely unassisted.

The line between the green crosses was our track from 2010

From the UK we’ve traveled 58525 miles so far on the worlds oceans and our circumnavigation from this spot on the 11th January 2010 and back to it today was 52365 sea miles or to put it in another context, two times around the earth’s equator.
This voyage has taken us 7 years 2 months and 7 days visiting 44 countries, some more than once, and more islands then we could keep count of – maybe we rushed it!

We haven’t arrived back with a tatty worn out boat either, Camomile is in better shape than ever. During our circumnavigation Bill has kept her well maintained and she has had new electronics including new autopilot, vhf and ssb radios and a new dinghy and outboard as a result of insurance claims from storm damage. Bill has replaced the standing rigging and most of the running rigging (ropes), she has had new sails, stackpack, cockpit cover and bimini, a new cooker and I’ve replaced the kettle three times. Bill also repainted Camomile and replaced all the woodwork (grab handles, toe rails, etc) and the propshaft. So I say to all you yachties working on your boats getting ready to leave, like Bill’s rhyme says JUST GO, there’ll be plenty of opportunity to finish your boat on the way round.

Back stooped and shoulders sagging
Soul and body really flagging
Worn out and weary, time to retreat
Before this daily grindstone has me beat

Cast your mind to a white sand shore
Green palm fronds over sea azure
Trade winds there cool a simpler life
And roaring breakers mute that strife

Above blackest night and pin prick stars
Milky way and meteors
Beneath glowing wake eats up the miles
as mast and deck heel to the sails

Go cruising now my friend don’t wait
’till fatty fare ‘n stress slow up your gait
Real loved ones will support you swim or sink
Life’s hour is later than you think

exert from the Rhyme of the Middle Aged Mariner by Bill Redgrove

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 56

Our position at 10.00 (13.00 GMT) Friday 17th March was
13 00N
058 37W
on a course of 297T with sunny blue Caribbean skies.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 168 miles. Average 7kts again. Our 24 hour runs peaked at 10pm last night with 178 miles in 24 hours. We have 157 miles to go to Martinique and hopefully be in late tomorrow.

This is our 26th day at sea since leaving St Helena. Still got the current as you can see from our speed but it’s dropping. We have altered course slightly to pass quite close to the north of Barbados because, alledgely, there’s a good current there and we are trying to keep our speed to get in before dark tomorrow. The wind has dropped slightly over the last 24 hours and is now more F3 than F4. The heel of the boat is a bit more comfortable and tempers less frayed.

The plan for tomorrow is to pass the entrance to the marina and sail another 10 miles to our ‘finishing line’ before double backing and then going into the marina. We may make that before dark if not we’ll anchor off St Annes overnight and go into the marina on Sunday. It will be wonderful to just sit still, it’s been a long trip.

Yesterday we passed the three quarters of the way from Cape town to Florida. Our challenge was to cover 500 miles a week to make it in time and obviously after this journey we have plenty in hand for a few weeks relaxing in the Leeward islands but then we will have to press on. There will be time to explore these islands more next year.

I cooked chicken hot pot last night which was an excuse to use leftovers. It had half an onion (4 left) a chopped chicken breast, the last carrot, some herbs, a tin of tomatoes and a tin of butter beans (which were going rusty after their sea bath) and the sweet potato that Bill doesn’t like .. he didn’t notice.

One more night watch.

All well on board.

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 55

Our position at 10.00 (13.00 GMT) Thursday 16th March was
11 40N
056 08W
on a course of 305T with squally skies.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 170 miles. Average 7kts, we are flying again We have 323 miles to go to Martinique possibly only 2 more night watches.

This is our 25th day at sea since leaving St Helena. Oddly enough we haven’t been this far north since we were last here. Most of our cruising has been in the southern hemisphere. The current is back as you can see from our speed but it’s a bumpy old ride. The wind picked up to 20kts gusting 23kts during the night which has made the sea lumpy again.

The waning moon didn’t rise until 10.30pm last night and it’s still dark when I get up in the morning, so I have the pleasure of seeing both the moonrise and sunrise on my watch. The moonrise is probably more spectacular as it rises like a sleepy eye from the horizon. Without the ambient light coming from the land it casts an eerie glow over the sea. The sunrise is much brighter, usually accompanied by some beautiful pink clouds briefly before it starts to heat up the day.

Did that William get his ears boxed? Only lightly. After he said AGAIN what a nice sail it was I said, without raising my voice, ‘No, it’s not a nice sail, it’s an every time I open the cupboard everything falls out kind of sail, when I try and put my nickers on I fall over kind of sail, being strapped to the gallery to cook kind of sail, trying to sleep while levitating off the bed kind of sail, sitting watching the waves licking the side of the boat just waiting for another one to soak me kind of sail, it’s not a nice sail and I don’t like it’! To which he just laughed, gave me a hug and said we’ll soon be there.

I cooked a bolognaise sauce last night, just added a jar to the mince I’m afraid. We were going to have it with Penne but I got a new packet out of store and put it down on the worktop and noticed the packet was practically moving there were so many weevils in it. Did I feed it to him?…. I was tempted but I didn’t fancy it myself so I emptied it over the side. The packet of pasta twirls under neath it luckily wasn’t affected. When we arrive the cupboard will have to be emptied to make sure there aren’t any more of the beasties in there, impossible to do at sea. I rarely have anything in it’s original packaging, every thing is decanted into lock top boxes for that very reason but I needed extra supplies for this journey and I didn’t have enough boxes. That will teach me.

2 more sleeps to go then I’ll start smiling again.

All well on board.

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 54

Our position at 10.00 (13.00 GMT) Wednesday 15th March was
10 14N
053 43W
on a course of 304T with squally skies.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 142 miles. Average 5.9kts We have 490 miles to go to Martinique possibly 3 more night watches.

This is our 24th day at sea since leaving St Helena. We are on the home run now, like the second week of a holiday although instead of rushing by it seems to drag when you’re at sea. We’ve just passed the three quarters of the way mark and less than 500 miles to go now so a mere Biscay crossing.

Heard on the net yesterday that Norsa and Solstice have crossed the equator so all the northern hemisphere boats, on the net, are now back in the northern hemisphere.

Speed dropped off again yesterday evening and moral and chocolate were low when I went to bed. The speed gradually picked up overnight but I woke to a squally sky this morning. The wind piped up to 20kts gusting 25 so we put the second reef back in. Luckily it didn’t last long. Our boat speed is showing more 6 & 7kts now so hopefully that’s the end of the adverse current. Moral is a little better this morning although it’s not helped by someone who keeps saying what a great sail we’re having and what is all the fuss about …. he’s going to get his ears boxed soon and he won’t see it coming.

Last night I cooked one of those Fray Bentos steak and kidney pies, frozen potatoes and tinned carrots. Emergency rations normally but the pie and the carrots were some of the tins that took a bath the other evening when the big wave came down below and, although I’ve cleaned the storage out, they are already starting to go rusty so we’ve got to start eating them. We used to have the pies when we were children on holiday because my Dad used to like them. I’m not that keen plus this was years out of date so my expectations weren’t high; they were not exceeded.

All well on board. :-/

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 53

Our position at 10.00 (13.00 GMT) Monday 13th March was
08 55N
051 47W
on a course of 301T with sunny blue skies.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 139 miles. Average 5.7kts slowly recovering We have 629 miles to go to Martinique

We have been out here 23 days from St Helena. Our original Atlantic crossing was completed in 23 days 3 hours so that will now become our second longer passage, this will be our longest passage. Another 4 or 5 days yet.

Speed increasing as the adverse current is gradually losing it’s pull on us. Don’t think it wants us to get there. We shook the reefs out last night as the wind dropped a bit but put 1 reef back in this morning. Everything else is the same. I spend the morning writing, I enjoy getting emails, and try and sleep in the afternoon. Pretty boring stuff but I suppose a boring passage is better than a difficult one.

Last night we had pork chop, sausage, bacon, potato wedges from the freezer and the last portion of Heinz baked beans.

All well on board.

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 52

Our position at 10.00 (13.00 GMT) Monday 13th March was
07 44N
049 48W
on a course of 307T with 30% cloud cover over sunny blue skies.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 128 miles. Average 5.2kts We have 767 miles to go to Martinique

Yes we have changed our destination. Tom on Adina very kindly sent me the check in formalities for Barbados and we discovered they are charging US$375 for the first 2 days and $100 per day after that – and that’s just the port charges, anchorage is on top! If you also add marina fees on top of that it would have been very expensive, total madness. Even if we had that sort of money I refuse to pay it because they obviously don’t want yachts to go there and are only interested in superyachts. Those charges are designed to keep the riff raff out – so we aren’t going. It’s just over another 100 miles to Martinique so we’ve decided to go there instead. I’ve checked our old log book and entered our course from 2010 and set up a ‘finishing line’ so we will complete our circumnavigation before we go into the marina. Exciting.

So I spoke too soon saying I would be having a Sunday brunch on land. Hopefully we’ll arrive some time Sunday in time for sundowners but depends on our speed over the next few days. I think I put the kiss of death on Barbados by making a flag, won’t be needing that now. Martinique is French and I’ve got one of those.

Last night our speed slowly increased as we were gradually released from the grip of the adverse current. I take a log reading every 4 hours and keep a running record of our 24 hour mileage and the worse was at the 10pm log reading when the lowest we achieved was 120 miles in 24 hours, it’s gradually increasing now. Bill and I studied the RTOF files and if we moved 100 miles to our west we would pick up good current but that would add almost a day to our journey but we didn’t think the extra push from the current would save us a day plus you never know if those files are accurate. It would also mean the last part of our journey would be close hauled into head winds and we didn’t want to do that. If we were going to Trinidad or Grenade it might have worked but it was decided we would keep to our course and tough it out. According to the same files about 200 miles further on we get a good current anyway.

The skipper says we couldn’t ask for a better sail, 15kts on the beam with a slight to moderate sea. That’s ok if you like sailing!!

Spoke to Sara on Norsa this morning on the net. They are sailing well and expecting to cross the equator later today. Norman caught a wahoo yesterday and Ingvar on Marieke managed to catch a 40 to 50kg swordfish a few days ago. Well done to them, proves there are fish out here.

Last night I made lemon chicken with egg fried rice.
Take 1 large chicken breast or 2 small ones and cut it into cubes. Beat an egg in a small bowl and add the chicken cubes to coat them in the egg. Take a plate and sprinkle with a couple of spoons of cornflour and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Carefully transfer the egg coated cubes of chicken onto the cornflour (I use a fork) Take a shallow frying pan and add a splash of oil. Roll the chicken cubes in the cornflour and transfer to pan, this is messy add a little more cornflour if necessary they need to well coated. Pour the remaining egg over the cubes and gently shallow fry. When they are cooked on one side turn them over breaking up the egg you poured over. Meanwhile put some rice on to cook and chop up half a green pepper. Keep shaking and turning the chicken cubes gently, when cooked transfer to a bowl for a few minutes while you cook the pepper in the same pan. When the rice is almost cooked break an egg into the center but don’t stir leave to set while the rice finishes cooking. When the pepper is cooked put the chicken cubes back in the pan and add half a jar of lemon sauce (sorry I cheat I bought one in a lovely Chinese shop in the Seychelles) or a lemon stir fry sauce and simmer gently to heat up. When the egg is set in the rice give it a stir. serve with the lemon chicken on the top. One of my favourite dishes. Yum.

Hope you enjoyed your walk yesterday and felt better at work this morning.

All well on board.

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 51

Our position at 10.00 (13.00 GMT) Sunday 12th March was
06 38N
048 01W
on a course of 287T with 30% cloud cover over sunny blue skies.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was a disappointing 127 miles. Average 5.2kts We have 786 miles to go to Barbados

Things are back to normal now with watches taken in the cockpit again. We started losing our good current last night and seem to have moved into an area of adverse current. I watched our SOG drop from 7kts to 6kts to 5kts last night and then to a disappointing 3.9kts but the boat appeared to be doing the same speed. When Bill got up for his watch we took one of the reefs out which gave us a little more speed but we are heeling more now. This morning we still have a NE wind of 14 to 18kts blowing in moderate seas with the odd wave washing across the deck but the cockpit is dry. We are managing to keep an average speed of 5kts. The RTOFS files say the adverse current will continue today but we should pick up better current tomorrow. It is what it is quite frankly, it’s not like we can drop the anchor somewhere to wait for the current to change! Currents are a really pain, tides are bad enough but you expect them close to land, in open sea like this one assumes it’s just ‘plain sailing’ I wish!

We left St Helena 3 weeks ago today and have beaten our Pacific passage of 21 days, that will now become our third longest passage. Probably got another 5 or 6 days out here but this time next week I’ll be having a nice Sunday brunch some where, can’t wait.

The hardest thing on board when the boat is heeling (leaning) like this is the inertia of the waves. Camomile rises and falls with the waves but every now and again ‘slides’ down a wave causing every thing and every one to slid sideways if it’s not held down or you’re holding on. Simple every day jobs become a really chore. Washing up is difficult, everything has to be carefully stacked so things don’t go flying. A second person drying up doesn’t help because there’s only room for one person in my galley and if Bill dried up the plates and put them on the table they would go flying too. Getting dressed is another problem, you get one leg in a pant, the boat lurches and over you go! Can’t tell you how many bruises I’ve got. Luckily, sadly, I’m used to it and mostly cope with it.

The moon has been good the last couple of nights with the full moon being tonight. It makes night watch better when you can see further than the end of your arm. Lots of flying fish around us but only a few commit suicide on the decks. Ingvar on Marieke eats them, not sure I like the thought of that. All is well on the net. Marieke is about 60 miles to our port and Ganash is about 120 miles to our starboard. Antares has streaked on ahead but he is 60ft. Norsa and Solstice have left the Fernando islands and are heading towards the ITCZ and the equator. WOW are still in Fernando but maybe leaving today.

Last night I made a stir fry in a black bean sauce. I’ve still got 2 carrots, half a red pepper, one and a half green peppers, 2 red onions and 3 white onions so I chopped up a red onion, a carrot, the halves of the red and green peppers, stir fried them, added some strips of beef and a black bean sauce packet. Really nice. We decided not to have rice or noodles with it because we had eaten too many cookies earlier! 🙂

As it’s Sunday go for a walk for me simply because you can and think of me still out here while you’re walking. Maybe post me a photo on facebook.

All well on board.

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 50

Our position at 10.00 (13.00 GMT) Saturday 11th March was
05 31N
046 14W
on a course of 300T with sunny blue skies.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 182 miles. Average 7.5kts fastest on this passage We have 911 miles to go to Barbados

A much calmer day today. The F5 winds continued through the night with gusts of 25kts and watches were taken down below with the wash boards in to prevent more water going down the hatch. There were more waves over the side but not as bad as last nights one. The speed of the boat was helped by a knot or more of current and the miles were ticking down much faster. This morning the wind veered slightly and dropped to F4 which enabled me to take her back on course with an apparent wind angle of 120 giving us a much smoother ride. During the day the sea has become calmer but still moderate.

We put the clocks back one hour yesterday so we are UTC -3 now.

Overnight the GPS ticked down to less than 1000 miles to Barbados, a good physiological barrier and we also passed the 950 miles to go which is half way between Fernando and Barbados and three quarters of the way from St Helena to Barbados so the end is nigh.

Last night I made chicken rogan josh which was just a jar from the cupboard with some chicken and rice, another easy meal. I made bread this morning and cookies, although they weren’t up to the standard of the ones my son makes for The Thomas Cookie co, but still nice.

All well on board again.

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

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