Friday, November 29, 2019

A Rolly Night

120 NM overnight trip from St Augustine to Cape Canaveral. 

Waves were quite a bit bigger than forecast so we took a pounding getting out of St Augustine Inlet. 

Quite a rolly bumpy night. 

Not much fun for the crew. 


Glad to be back on dry land and looking forward to the rocket launch on 4 Dec!

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Leaving St. Augustine, through the lifting bridge.

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Napping in the cockpit while off-watch.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Hello Mickey!

By: Kam Wong/Gong Gong (guest post)

November 25th to 28th.

Me: Aila, which one do you like the most, Legoland, Magic Kingdom or Epcot?

Aila: Legoland!

Me: give me 3 reasons that Legoland is the best?

Aila: it has better and more rides; I play with Lego; and I don't know any of the Disney's.

To this 7 years old girl, Lego has more influence on her than Mickey Mouse's power.

The nine hours flight from Gatwick was not full. I watched three movies in the premium section of this Norweign Air and dozed on and off. 

Aila ran to me from a distance once she saw me stepping out the gate in Orlando and jumped right on me like a monkey, clinging on my arms and legs like an orangutan, giving me a big hug and kiss. 

That tiny body has the magic power to melt my heart and sweep away my tiredness. 

Meanwhile, Tai was running around teasing me to catch him. 

For the next three days, they would entertain me a lot better than the Mouse and the Duck in Orlando.

Disney's still can wield its magic over so many parents and grandparents to fork out a minimum of US$80 to dress up the children into the many characters that have been created. 

And the little ones do look cute and pretty in those glitzy dresses. I just wonder if that is the little girl's fancy or the parent's fantasy. 

Since 1928 when Mickey was born in a studio, it seems it has shaped the American psyche and convinced a huge number of people to wear the funny mouse ears on their head as a symbol of belonging to almost a cult. For it has brought joy to the nation and the world even in their recessions, distress and despair. And in a simple ride like flying with Dumbo, it draws smile even from the serious. For that one minute or so, Dumbo gives pleasure, fantasy and laughter. In real life, parents are like Dumbo, caring the young, giving laughter and happiness.

What a wonderful four days here in sunshine Orlando: seeing the kids putting a one hole in mini golf, yearning for more faster rides by Aila (she's a dare devil) while Tai is happy settling in the more traditional Spaceship Earth, Bonnie and Matt sliding back at night to get the adrenaline going in the Space Mountain and Fast Track Testing. 

My heart smile, and Anjulia would have too.

And now, everyone is asleep in Anjulia Sue at the St. Augustine marina. 

We'll set sail tomorrow, catching the right conditions going down south. I believe we'll anchor near Titusville and get back on land on Sunday to greet Anice's arrival. 

The whole family will be together at the same time. How sweet can that be!

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Late night dinner after picking Gong Gong up at the airport.

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Learning to Boat in Legoland
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Bonnie's boat ran out of battery and so needed to be towed back.

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A Lego knight and Aila

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Legoland models
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Miniature Statue of Liberty

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I wonder what she's saying...
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Masters of Flight ride at Legoland
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Impressive Lego Car

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We lined up for 40 minutes to go on Magic Kingdom's carousel.
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Cinderella's Magic Castle!
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Best ride ever at Magic Kingdom - DUMBO!
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Frontierland at Magic Kingdom

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Best attempt at a fam picture
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Sibling love!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Navigating to Venus

By: Matt

I spent quite a bit of time on our last night passage trying to work out what this light was just in front of us shortly after sunset. 

It seemed bright enough to be from quite a large vessel which appeared to be nearby and on a collision course as our bearing to the light remained constant.

I couldn't see it on the radar or AIS so it was impossible to calculate CPA (closest point of approach) or TCPA (time to closest point of approach).


Turns out the CPA would have been approximately 162 million miles and a TCPA of just over 3,082 years based on our average speed of 6 knots. 


A collision with Venus was one thing I didn't need to worry about.

Need to sharpen up my night navigation skills!



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Boat or Venus?

Friday, November 22, 2019

Floridaaaaaaaahhhhh!

Team Thornington made it!

We sailed SV Anjulia Sue from Southport NC to St Augustine FL .... and survived!

Due to the time of the tide and current, we decided to head further south than our intended destination of Jacksonville FL.

Instead, we headed for St Augustine. Did you know St Augustine is the oldest city in America?

It may not be a big passage to some seasoned sailors but this was a huge accomplishment for us as a team.

At 54 hours and over 300 nautical miles non-stop, this was a good exercise for us to see how we did together.

I can see how multiday passages get easier after the first couple of days. Everyone has gotten into a rhythm and roles and responsibilities have been established.

This little taster passage makes us yearn for something bigger, longer, farther....

We did have a bit of a scare when at about 1pm yesterday (Thursday) and after 30 hours of blissful sailing we needed to turn on the engine due to lack of wind and ... nothing.

Starter battery bank (two car batteries new in June) was showing 9V! Couldn't even start it in parallel with the house bank.

We were 40NM offshore so options were limited. We tacked back towards shore to heel the solar panel south and get into VHF range if we needed towing.

Luckily it was midday on a sunny day and after a couple of hours of solar with all batteries linked together, the engine started so we turned south again and motor/sailed the remaining 24 hours to Florida.

Phew.

I have this obsession after every passage, big or small, that I have to clean and tidy and organize everything. Until it's all done, I cannot sit down.

Tonight I've put away all our winter jackets, hats, fleeces, etc. I've dug out our shorts, t-shirts, sunhats and sunscreen.

It feels like we are on holiday in this tropical climate, and we are all loving it!

When we arrived at Rivers Edge Marina, we got ourselves a cold drink, put a couple of loads of laundry on, went out for a celebratory late lunch/early dinner and showered.

And now, sleep. The first full night of sleep after an overnight passage is heaven.

Even though Matt and I try to get at least four hours of shut eye when we're off watch, we rarely get that because of the beeps and chatter from the VHF and just the need to be alert all the time, even when we're not helming.

So the first sleep after a passage is divine. We can sleep deeply and allow ourselves to truly rest.

We have a couple of boat jobs to do in the next few days which will keep us busy. Before jumping to the Bahamas we will try to address most of our to-do list since getting parts and supplies in the Bahamas is a lot more expensive and time-consuming.

But it's not all work and no play. We have a date with another kid boat tomorrow evening and then on Sunday night we welcome our next special visitor!

Gong Gong Kam Wong will join us for a few days as we play tourist in Orlando and then carry on sailing south together.

Sweet dreams to y'all!

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Last night's gorgeous sunset over the Atlantic.
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After dinner UNO game in cockpit on our second night. Still a bit chilly as you can see. 

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Glassy water this morning. Yes I was very tempted to jump in.
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Reading Max and the Midknights together, a gift from Tai's class as a going away present.
They LOVE this book and have read it multiple times each already.

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St Augustine lifting bridge. We have officially arrived!
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Always ready at the bow.
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Ready to throw the mid-ship line. 


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Our route from Southport NC to St Augustine FL. That little section where it veers
off is where our engine didn't start and we had to wait until our solar panels
produced more electricity to charge the batteries. Once we got the motor going again,
you can see we altered course and headed straight to St Augustine.

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Tropical weather finally! Tai took this with a special filter.

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Ahhh the beloved palm tree! To me, I love seeing them because
it signifies that I'm somewhere hot and tropical.

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Me and my toothless girl.

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Shrimp 'n Grits
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Cuban sandwich with black beans and rice. And a Pina colada.
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This hamburger was so thick and juicy, even Matt tried to
eat it and pulled his cheek muscle

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Look at the size of that lemonade! 

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Celebratory lunch/dinner at Hurricane Patty's.

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Homeschool assignment: research what you want to do in Orlando and pitch it to us.
Your wish may just come true!
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Goodnight from Rivers Edge Marina.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Night Passage Update From The Atlantic

Quick update here while I have one bar of cell reception!

Currently offshore just between Georgetown and Charleston, South Carolina.

We have been sailing 95% of the passage so far and if any sailor knows, this is incredible.

We had an easy going day reading, napping and chatting.

Spotted dolphins at midday! I was more excited than the kids. Aila even said "We've seen so many before, Mom!" And she goes back to reading her book.

Excuse me?! Does she think seeing dolphins is an everyday thing?!!!

Baked some fresh bread and ate some leftover pasta.

I'm on night watch now while everyone is sleeping sweetly to the gentle rock of the boat.

This has got to be the most spectacular night passage we've done so far.

Unbelievably beautiful out here on a warm night sailing in 12-15 knot winds. Our average speed has been 6 knots or so. Pretty good.

The whooosh of the hull slicing through the water. The splash and gentle roar of the waves. The energy of this magical ocean!

Oh and the stars! The more I stare up, the more stars reveal themselves.

I've got books, podcasts and a good playlist to keep me company. But I just find myself drifting in thought.

Night sailing is good for inspiration and reflection.

Night night y'all.

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Watching the sun go down. 
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Five hundred shades of ocean.

Sunshine State: we are coming for you!



We decided to stop and anchor in Southport last night after an overnight sail/motor of 130 nautical miles from Belhaven. 

There was going to be some big wind so pausing our passage was wise.

This morning, Wednesday, at 7:22am we weighed anchor and continued on our passage.

As much as we have (somewhat) enjoyed the ICW, we find the part of researching and worrying about bridges, tides, currents and other vessels too much of a nuisance.


We are pretty tall at 63 feet with our mast and instruments. Most fixed bridges are 65 feet so it doesn't give much leeway. With the recent storm and water surges, we had a few anxiety-inducing moments.

We prefer to be out in the open where we can sail and not worry too much about other obstructions. So offshore we go!

Morale is high on SV Anjulia Sue.

The kids are currently in their V-berth trying to achieve zero gravity with every bounce and wave we go over.

Matt and I are sipping coffee in the cockpit and watching out for big tankers and tugs.

The sails are set, the sun is out and it actually feels warm!

With a golden weather window starting today until Friday afternoon, we are aiming for Jacksonville, Florida.

It will be our longest passage yet at 267 nautical miles.

But if the last five months have taught us anything, it's that anything can happen.

However, five months ago there was NO WAY I would've agreed to a 55+ hours passage.

So in that light, I feel stronger and more confident.

We know many other friends taking advantage of this weather window too today. Fair winds and following seas to you all!

Sunshine State: we are coming for you! You and your big theme park where everyone is deliriously happy and adults dress like mice.

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Just another beautiful sunrise.

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Sad end to this boat.


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Another victim :(

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ICW views

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Along the ICW there are many homes of varying sizes.
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Common homes seen along the ICW.
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Go captain Tai!
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Checking the tell tales.
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Miss Aila making meatballs. Inspiration from our friend
Laura we met in Port Washington.

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Meatballs a la Aila.

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Aila's pasta bake she made on passage.
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Our passage from Belhaven to Southport NC. 

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Sea glass treasure! 

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On the beach at Southport.

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Stretching our legs on Southport beach after getting diesel and water.

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Didn't see one alligator or snake.
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Palm trees.... So we ARE going south!

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Chilling at anchor in Southport.

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Sunset at anchor in Southport.

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These container ships are HUGE! Pics cannot do them justice.

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Napping is my fav past time on passage :p