blog | photos | schedule | about... | crew info | contact | home

30 November 2009

Happy Birthday, Captain Sean!

Sofia, Sean, Andy
Most important things first: today is Sean's birthday, and we've already celebrated with lunch on deck, and a yummy Swedish chocolate kladd kaka (literally "messy cake") for desert. We couldn't get the candles to go in the breeze, but decorated Sean's slice just the same. Rumor has it we're having lamb and potatoes for dinner, though once again, how Sofia manages to cook real food with the rock-and-roll of the boat like this is quite the mystery to the rest of us.

We had an excellent spinnaker run yesterday afternoon, hitting 11 knots a number of times in the puffs. We went back to wing-on-wing with the jib for the overnight watches, and the seas and winds have built since yesterday, so we're continuing to steam along, steadily chewing up the miles.

Sofia loves driving.

As Anne types this, Sofia is driving, and entertaining herself trying to dip Andy's feet in the water - he's riding on the seat in the bow pulpit, and with the sea state, the bow does sometimes dip all the way down to the top of the waves as they go by. Everyone's taken turns sitting up there in the sunshine - it's the best seat in the house, better than the best rollercoaster.

Wind and weather continue to behave beautifully, with just small fair-weather tradewind clouds and bright blue skies. The sea is getting ever so slowly a lighter blue, too.

Flora and fauna count:

  • a few seabirds (larger, white and brown, hugging the wavetops)
  • lots of flying fish
  • 3 kamikaze ex-flying fish on the deck in the morning (we've had to add a new duty to the morning watch chores: clean up the night's collection of small, sadly dead, fish. Why they choose to leap onto the deck at night is beyond us.)

30 Nov 2009 21 09.674N 30 23.015W

- Anne, for WT

29 November 2009

Of Meatballs, Spinnakers and Fish Fashions

We continue to make excellent time on course, with the wind cooperating nicely. Just before lunch today we pulled down the jib and finally got the spinnaker up.

Hard to see in this small version, but Casey's got a big grin on his face. (See the photo album for a larger version of the photo.)
The weather is beautiful, with mellow following seas. To save electricity, we're driving by hand rather than relying on the autopilot, which is giving everyone lots of great practice helming.

Sofia treated us to authentic Swedish meatballs for dinner last night (yum) and Anne notes that meatball leftovers make an excellent snack at 3 AM when you're on watch.

We're seeing lots of flying fish, including two who, for no apparent reason, decided to commit suicide by jumping up onto the deck in the early hours of the morning. Anne, having been requested to "make something out of this origami thing you do," had folded a paper carp, and it turned out to be exactly the same size as one of the ex-flying fish, and made an excellent shroud for an eventual burial at sea.

Oisin and Sean say "Happy Birthday, Conor!"

Heidi says "Happy Birthday, Mom!"

Flora and fauna count:

  • lots of flying fish
  • two ex-flying fish
  • tiny black sea birds, maybe petrels.

29 November 2009 UT 16:22 23 02.868 N 27 29.400 W

- Anne, for WT

P.S. Oh, and since we left it out yesterday, we wish to give appropriate credit for the recipe for the fabulous raspberry muffin cakes - thanks, Uncle Frank! Your muffins are a crew favorite.

28 November 2009

An ancient pagan Irish wind dance...

...was actually just Sean stretching his back on the aft deck, we think. He's adamant that it'll call up more of the breeze we want, and, really, why argue with him?

Wind and weather continue to cooperate beautifully, and we're sailing along under jib and mainsail, wing-on-wing, chewing up the miles.

Today is polish-the-stainless day, so we've got (old) toothbrushes and rags and little tubs of polish and are clambering around the boat shining everything we can see.

If Sofia keeps making the little raspberry cake/muffins the crew loves, we're going to run out of butter. We're wondering who'd answer a mayday call for more butter?

Flora and fauna count:

  • 1 dorado, caught and filleted for a yummy fish shishkebab dinner
  • Oisin saw dolphins on night watch on the 27th
  • pod of around 20 dolphins (spotted, very cool-looking) came and played with the boat for quite a while this morning. It looked like they were daring each other to get the closest to the bow before peeling off into the bow waves
  • 4 flying fish
  • 1 extremely lost butterfly (how did it get here?)

28 November 2009 14:45 UT 24 06.937 N 24 27.711 W

- Anne, for WT

27 November 2009

Blue Skies

After, in Arlo Guthrie's words, a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat (and, yes, we did listen yesterday to "Alice's Restaurant" in honor of the day) we've had a quiet night and morning. The wind continues to cooperate, and has even gone east enough that we're on a pretty direct course for St. Lucia without needing to do so much as adjust the sails.

With our two new crewmates, our crew roster is now three Americans (Casey, Heidi, Anne), three Irishmen (Sean, Andy [Sean's dad], Oisin [friend of Sean's, and for those of you not familiar with Irish given names, it's sort of pronounced like "ocean"] and one Swede (Sofia, our fabulous cook). We all imagine that our vocabulary and accents are going to get odd by the end of these weeks together. Flashlights have become torches, small things are now "wee," and aluminum has gained an extra syllable to become "aluminium."

Flora and fauna list:

  • several seabirds
  • a small pod of dolphins at night, barely noticeable except when they surfaced to breathe, backlit by the moon's reflection on the waves

27 Nov 2009 13:18 UTC 25 00.185 N 21 08.415 W

- Anne, for WT

26 November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Whole roasting turkeys being a bit hard to find at supermarkets in Spain, we're having a slightly modified Thanksgiving dinner of turkey legs, anyway, and as many typical dishes as we can help Sofia (who is, after all, not American but Swedish!) cook up. Sounds like stuffing is right out, Stove Top stuffing mix having not made it over here, either.

We think there are a couple of American-football-related movies on our media box, so we'll surely be watching one of those, later, in lieu of the usual pass-out-on-the-couch-watching-college-ball routine the American crew contingent is used to.

Oh, and Casey plans on putting "Alice's Restaurant" on the stereo at noon, of course.

Just another typical Atlantic Ocean Thanksgiving, eh?

- Anne, for WT

Are we there yet?

The errand flurry finished - after finally tracking down some spare hydraulic fluid, the two last things we did were return the rental car and send back our internet-connection USB stick - we motored out of the busy Santa Cruz harbor at just about noon on the 25th.

Andy driving.

We've got a lovely northeast breeze, and have been sailing wing-on-wing downwind since the afternoon of the 25th, and we're making good time. The swells and breeze have built slowly and steadily overnight, and we've hit a max speed so far of 12.4 knots going down a wave.

Overnight our wake kicked up scattered bits of phosphorescence, tiny sparkles in the bow wave as we rolled along. Not a lot of other critters around, so far, anyway.

The crossing crew: (left to right) Heidi, Casey, Andy, Sean, Anne, Oisin (Sofia taking the picture)

Everyone's settling into the watch system (3 hours on, 6 off) and we're doing a clever half-watch turnover so everyone ends up with two watch partners rather than just one. And Sofia is whipping up yummy meals in spite of the swells (the rest of us have no idea how she does it.)

Sun, a fair breeze and a following sea - couldn't ask for more! This is really delightful crusing sailing.

26 Nov 2009 12:19 UTC 16 06.98 N 18 07.51 W

2503 nm to go!

-Anne, for WT

24 November 2009

Quick Update - our last day in Santa Cruz

Wild Tigris - view down the mast Sorry for the lack of updates - not too much to say other than "yup, still in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, prepping for the crossing." (Though we have made a couple of cool day trips - details in a post-dated post from this weekend.) We're in the midst of the last-day-in-port runaround at the moment, on schedule to depart for the crossing on Wednesday. Everyone's getting pretty excited, and we're up to our full crossing crew of seven. Wild Tigris - main halyard The weather is looking good - while we've still got 'Net access, we're using Passage Weather ( for forecasts and graphical weather maps. Once underway, we'll be downloading the weather in nice compact GRIB-formatted files from ( Look for an update tomorrow, underway, at least; and photos and stuff tonight if we can. - Anne, for WT

21 November 2009

Could be Tenerife, could be the moon...

Heidi and Casey and Anne took a day trip off to the middle of the island to go see the volcanic mountain that's the highest peak in Spain - El Teide. Wild Tigris - Trip to El Teide, Tenerife Driving up from the coast, we first were in the coastal-desert-like surroundings we'd gotten used to from bopping around Santa Cruz. As we climbed, though, suddenly we were surrounded by a beautiful pine forest made up primarily of the Canary Pine, and incredibly long-needled pine. The road, built along a huge ridge that runs up the central axis of the island, brought us back and forth to views of the southeast coast, and then the northwest coast, and occasional views of the mountain towards which we were heading. Wild Tigris - Trip to El Teide, Tenerife Just as suddenly as the change from dry scrub to forest, we drove out of forest... and onto a near moonscape. The whole central part of the island, apparently, had been a huge volcano, which became unstable and slid off into the ocean to the north/west coast of the island. Later, another period of eruptions caused the current mountain to form in its place. Wild Tigris - Trip to El Teide, Tenerife The bulk of the mountain, almost hiding the top, symmetrical cone. Wild Tigris - Trip to El Teide, Tenerife We took a tram up to the base of the final cone; this shot is looking down along a lava flow down the mountain face. The whole valley down below is what is leftover from the original volcano-slides-into-the-ocean event, with various other lava flows and smaller cones inside. Wild Tigris - Trip to El Teide, Tenerife The final cone at the top of the mountain. The top is 3,718 meters above sea level. We think the top of the tram station was at around 3,600 meters. The view was incredible. A most amazing and wonderful trip.

19 November 2009

At dock in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

We are snugged in at dock in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. After a boat-wide scrub down, inside and out (who would have imagined how much salt could get everywhere in just four days?)

Now we're in midst of the usual in-port scramble, making shopping lists, taking inventory, fixing what needs fixing, doing laundry... The deck looks a bit like an explosion in a chandlery, but we did get the awning up over the cockpit and had lunch out in the breeze in the shade - very civilized. Since most things close over the weekend, we figure we'll have time to play tourist a bit Saturday or Sunday.

One new adjustment here on Tenerife - after all that time in the Med, with its tiny tidal swings, we're suddenly having to deal with a 2-meter tide change (and, being a largish boat, we're docked against the edge of the quay, not on a floating dock) so getting on and off the boat is a bit of a trick at times. Anne had fun making a rope ladder last night out of an old halyard, which helps a bit, anyway.

Picture uploads and such over the next few days as there's time.

19 Nov 2009
28 27.952 N
16 14.704 W

- Anne, for WT

18 November 2009

Land Ho!

After a fairly grey and uneventful day yesterday (except, perhaps, for Sean dodging a big rainstorm in the middle of the night) we're in sight of Tenerife. The winds haven't cooperated much, mostly light and following, so we've primarily motored and motor-sailed so far. The engine and its new parts are working well, and it's been nice to be able to exercise everything a bit before heading out on the big leg of the trip.

With land in sight, we've started talking about the lists of chores and errands we'll need to get done before leaving on the Atlantic crossing - a good scrub-down for the boat (can you say "salt encrusted"?), many loads of laundry, more provisioning and spare parts hunting, and gathering crew for the next leg. (We're hoping to have 7 for the crossing, up two from our complement of 5 that we've had from Cartagena to here. It will fill the watches out better, and give Sofia proper time to deal with feeding the ravenous horde.)

We'll be in Tenerife through the weekend, we figure, so there should be time to see some of the sights, as well. Apparently Spain's tallest mountain is here - some 12,000 feet - which ought to be cool.

Once we're settled there will probably be regular internet access, so we'll try to get more pictures uploaded!

Interesting tidbits/things observed:

- 1 sea turtle spotted yesterday by Sean and Sofia - a flying fish zipping along for quite an amazing distance - scattered assorted seabirds continue to buzz by - two small whales cruised by the boat yesterday afternoon - the sea is a really interesting color here, a deep indigo blue, nothing like the blue-grey waters in New England

Around 30 n.m. to go to Tenerife!

11:36 UT 18 Nov 2009
28 45.269 N
15 45.445 W

- Anne, for WT

17 November 2009

"Fish! Fish! We've got a fish!"

With an entry title like that, we might as well skip to the end of Monday, when the reel at the stern suddenly went "zing!" Yup, we landed a really cool fish, a Dorado (also called mahi-mahi, or dolphin fish. No, NOT a porpoise-dolphin, never fear!) Fresh fish for dinner, yum. And fish steaks in the freezer for later, too. Wild Tigris - Gib to Canaries

All of Monday the weather was beautiful and sunny, with light chop on top of some long, slow rollers. We're already noticing that it's warmer, and on nighttime watches aren't having to put on every bit of gear we brought to keep warm.

The autopilot is steering for us a lot of the time, and is behaving well even in the rollers. This setup, in particular, does something really cool - you can set it to keep the wind angle (rather than exact course) constant, so you keep the sails really full all the time. As long as the wind is reasonably steady, once you set it, it keeps you very near course with really good speed.

Things are pretty quiet, now that we're past the fishing areas - most watches last night didn't spot a single light anywhere. We'be been moving along under various combinations of sails and the motor. Tuesday morning Casey even managed an experiment with an J/80 spinnaker (an old one from his boat, Argo III) to see how it'd do as an extra downwind sail. More experimentation is in order, as it seems to behave oddly without having the head and tack held to a firm spot.

A couple of us are fighting off the Boat Cold, and so there's lots of napping while off-watch, but otherwise all is humming along. Sofia continues to whip up excellent food and stand watches in rotation, dunno where she gets the energy - WT is not a diet boat!

We're hoping the skies clear up a bit before tonight, as the Leonid meteor shower is supposed to peak tonight, and should be quite a show with good dark skies. Mother nature, of course, is going to go ahead and do whatever she pleases, but we can always hope.

225 miles, probably 25 or so hours, to Tenerife!

13:34 UT 17 Nov 2009
30 56.519 N
13 02.661 W

- Anne, for WT Wild Tigris - Gib to Canaries

16 November 2009

Dodging Morroccan fishing nets and (finally) sailing!

Wild Tigris - Gib to Canaries

After a peaceful - if busy - night dodging around the nets of Morrocan fishing boats, we turned the engine off this morning and finally sailed for a while. Seas are choppy on top of some long, slow swells, and we're back on motor sailing, on course directly for the Canaries. (Not quite halfway, that should happen this evening.)

We've had a couple of good-sized pods of dolphins come by and play with the boat, something no one seems to tire of. It's quite a sight - as soon as the dolphins realize we're nearby, they all head straight for the boat, and start surfing in the bow wave. Everyone believes - whether it's true or not - that the dolphins like it when you wave and whoop and holler at them, and we've obliged them with big smiles all the while.

More seabird species have appeared, graceful things soaring with their wingtips just off the swells, swooping and diving in the troughs, hunting for fish.

Speaking of hunting for fish, we've got a line all set up off the stern (thanks, Jeff!) and are hoping for some fresh fish along the way, too.

UTC 1200 16 nov 09
32 52.4 N
009 58.7 W

- Anne, for WT

15 November 2009

Off the coast of Africa

Wild Tigris - Gib to Canaries

We've been underway now for a bit under a day, with around 570 miles to go to the Canaries. We've finally got a sail up, too. (The winds being a tad contrary, however, we are motor-sailing. And as Anne types this, we're tacking towards the coast in anticipation of more wind and bigger seas tomorrow, and thinking the coast will be a milder ride.) Said wind is hovering between 14 and 18 knots, with moderate seas (forecast to go to 3-5 meters) which we're mostly seeing as long-period swells. All very reasonable, and the boat's quite comfortable with the sail up.

Casablanca appeared at the edge of the chart plotter just a while ago - a cool thing to see going by on the map, for sure.

Flora and fauna count:

- moderate numbers of whatever beasties they are that bioluminesce in the wake

- three small dark ocean birds (petrels?); three small white ocean birds (terns?) and two big ones (albatross?) [having been unable to find a mid-atlantic ocean bird species reference, Anne is guessing, here.]

- two blows from whales, a good distance off

- one flying fish

We've tested both the weather-data gathering system and the email-by-sat-phone, and they and all other systems are behaving nicely. We like that. :)

UTC 1200 15 Nov 2009
34 47.3 N
007 41.1 W

- Anne, for WT

14 November 2009

...and we're off!

After one short day in Gibraltar, we're off for the Canary Islands. I'm updating this quickly while we're still in cell-phone internet range; hereafter, we'll start using the satellite-phone-email blog updates. Conditions look decent, though at the moment we're motoring. With any luck we'll actually get to some sailing soon! We're heading out into the straight of Gibraltar now; the next few hours will be busiest, as it's a very busy shipping area, but we've got all our nifty electronics and radar hard at work (not to mention most of the crew watching) to keep us out of the way of the big guys. Updates when we've got 'em! 36 04.216 N 05 24.665 W 19:05 UTC 14 Nov 2009

13 November 2009


...finally. Wild Tigris - Gibraltar Sunset and Gibraltar. (And Casey and Heidi on the bow.)

12 November 2009

Farewell, Cartagena

Wild Tigris - Departing Cartagena! 11:06 UTC 12-Nov-2009 37 30 .276 N 01 03 .461 W

11 November 2009

Diesel purr

Have you heard a prettier sound? We haven't, recently. The plan: we're gassed up, the boat's tidy, we're leaving tomorrow (Thursday, November 12, 2009) as soon as we can pay the dockside bills!

The parts are here! The parts are here!

Wild Tigris - the parts truck The truck from the maintenance company Wild Tigris - Engine Bits! Have you ever seen a more beautiful piece of machined aluminium? ...more updates when we've got 'em!

10 November 2009

A study in contrasts

Wild Tigris - Small Boat neighbors Opti fleet racing in the harbor Wild Tigris - Big Boat neighbor Cruise ship that appeared overnight at the neighboring dock And, yes, we're still in Cartagena. Waiting for engine parts. Stay tuned.

05 November 2009


Getting a bit stir crazy, Heidi, Casey and Anne decided on another road trip, this time to Granada to see the Alhambra ( The place is hard to summarize in a sentence or two; most of what you see there today is the fortified city/palace of the Nasrid sultanate of Granada (the last Islamic state on the Iberian peninsula) but there are elements of older construction as well as later Christian rulers’ palace structures. It's world-famous for the incredible surface decoration throughout the Nasrid palaces, tile patterns and carved stone. The place is truly awe-inspiring. We tried to take pictures, but it’s hard to capture the depth and scope of the artwork. Here’s a random sample – more over at WT’s flickr site here: Wild Tigris - Alhambra roadtrip Wild Tigris - Alhambra roadtrip Wild Tigris - Alhambra roadtrip Wild Tigris - Alhambra roadtrip

04 November 2009

Another project day

Having found a dryer that would – in theory – fit in the rather confined space we had for it, it was now a project to get it in there and secured. Lots of staring, measuring, and careful trimming were required: Wild Tigris - dryer install, continued Sean and Sofia ponder the dryer space Wild Tigris - Anne dismantles the nav station Meanwhile, an important computer cable showed up, and Anne spent a while cable-tracing behind the navigation station, and, with some tweaking, finally got the internet-by-satellite-phone connection working. (Blog updates while under way, hurray! No pictures, though, those’ll have to wait for fast connections in port.) The day ended with a really pretty sunset: Wild Tigris And cool clouds: Wild Tigris

No news...

...from Cartagena. There's some appearance of movement on the needed engine parts, but we're not going to jinx it by talking about it too much just yet. (Sailors are a superstitious lot, if you haven't noticed.) In the meantime, other projects are in progress around the boat, as well as some local-ish sightseeing roadtrips. They're not particularly on topic (this is supposed to be a sailing adventure, after all) but Anne will try to get 'em put together into some photo collections and blog entries nonetheless. (Our reading public is complaining that we're not interesting enough. No kidding. Marooned in Cartagena... better than a desert island, that's for sure, but we'd all rather be moving!)

02 November 2009

Extreme Tea Drinking (or, one way bored sailors spend their time)

In addition to the apparently endless list of small projects and errands while we’re in port waiting for the engine bits, Anne found a project of her own: take a photo for the Wallace and Gromit Foundation’s “Extreme Tea” contest. The top of WT’s mast seemed a pretty extreme place for a cuppa, so she prevailed on Sean to send her up the mast, and Heidi took pictures. Wild Tigris - Anne up the mast Part way up Wild Tigris - Anne up the mast Mostly there Wild Tigris - Anne up the mast Top! Wild Tigris - Anne up the mast View down to Heidi Wild Tigris - Anne up the mast View down to the deck Wild Tigris - Anne up the mast Mug in hand Wild Tigris - Anne up the mast Yup, she’s there at the top of the mast somewhere. Earning her keep, checking some of the rigging ("as long as you’re up there…"): Wild Tigris - Anne up the mast Wild Tigris - Anne up the mast

01 November 2009

Sierra Nevada

A day-trip away from Cartagena lies the Sierra Nevada (“Snowy Range”). Anne, Casey and Heidi drove there to poke around. Wild Tigris - Sierra Nevada countryside A view of the mountains, approaching from the East Wild Tigris - Livestock warning We saw a lot of these signs – warning of livestock in the road. Saw very little actual livestock, though. Despite being armed with a map thoroughly inadequate for the task of navigating through the mountains, we did pretty well. Until we got fairly lost near the town of Ugijar. Anne’s pretty sure that the town name is pronounced differently than the way we took to saying it (“oogey-jar”) but it became fairly important to find it, as we figured out from this roadmap: Wild Tigris - Sierra Nevada Roadtrip Actual road map. Sort of a logical map, rather than a physically accurate one… By process of elimination (let’s see, this town’s on the big map, so’s this one, so the pass must be *here*) we figured out the list of towns we needed to go through to get over the pass. Wild Tigris - Sierra Nevada No idea what they were warning us of, except perhaps the risk of getting lost Wild Tigris - Sierra Nevada roadtrip Another typical sign, including our favorite, Ugijar. Wild Tigris - Sierra Nevada Roadtrip Casey and Heidi Wild Tigris - Sierra Nevada Roadtrip Finally, some livestock Wild Tigris - Sierra Nevada Roadtrip And at last, the pass.