Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Great Photos & Great People

Thanks to Mike & Anne, Northern Express, and Dave & Barbara, Knot Again, we now have some excellent shots of us underway aboard Mirasol. I really appreciate your efforts and I'm already working on getting the photos and the video posted to the website.

I would also like to thank Kathy & John, Oceana, for delivering a variety of items from North Point, including the CD of the photos, a Halloween bag of candy for Quinn from Miss Lori, and a new hatch from Lagoon.

Passage Updates

As Gregg mentioned in his latest post, we will try to make daily updates to our position map on the main website on the Current Position page, http://www.svmirasol.com/map_currentpos.htm. I'm not sure what time of day these updates will happen, but my plan is to do it sometime in the mid-morning. The map is an interactive Google map, so you can double click to zoom in, or use the tools provided in the upper left hand corner of the map to navigate. The markers will contain our position and date/time stamps. We will also try to update the blog while we're underway, so check in with us periodically here as well.

Monday, October 26, 2009

5-ish Days and Counting!

Five more days in Norfolk and then, weather permitting, we're off to Tortola!

John arrives on Halloween and we'll be ready to go on November 1st. Quinn will have his Halloween booty, Mirasol will be ship-shape and well provisioned, Christmas gifts and decorations purchased and stowed, and an eager crew ready to set sail for Tortola.

All we need is the right weather. Happily, it's looking pretty good for a sail date of 11/1.

Tortola is the largest of the British Virgin Islands and is one of the most Northwestern islands of the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean. We plan to spend several weeks in this area before venturing further South and East.

As the bird flies, Tortola is about 1250 nautical miles (1450 statute miles) from Norfolk, Virginia. Aboard Mirasol, we expect to sail about 1400 nautical miles.

For our landlubber friends, this circuitous route deserves a little explanation. It's all about the Trade Winds. Once we get down to the latitudes of south Florida, the winds start blowing very predictably from the South East. Further south, they blow always from the East. These are the Trade Winds. If we head straight for Tortola, we'll run right into the Trades and be faced with an upwind slog for many days. That is a recipe for a very, very grumpy wife and son. Since I don't want a divorce or to sell the boat in November, we won't go that way.

Instead, we'll head towards Bermuda. Once we're about 100-200 miles southwest of Bermuda, we'll turn almost due south for Tortola. This should keep the wind on our beam and the family smiling!

We hope to make the trip inside of 10 days. A lot will depend on the weather we get, and how much wind. Right now, the forecast for our departure from Norfolk is for very light winds so we'll probably have to motor-sail for the first couple of days. The first leg of the trip is a little tricky as we have to deal with the Gulf Stream and coastal weather. I'll go into that on the next post once I have a better grip on the weather for next week.

Once we're offshore, we hope to make daily posts of our location to our web site and a short update to the blog. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bright lights, big city

It's nice to be back in Norfolk. I love the location of the marina - we are right downtown and the waterfront is absolutely beautiful. Lots of restaurants, things to do & see, even a mall. I know this isn't Gregg's favorite spot, mostly because of the noise and because of how dirty the boat gets here. But for me, it's nice to be in a fairly large city. I've even managed to get a haircut and a pedicure! And Quinn thinks it's the COOLEST to have pizza delivered to the boat (well, that and the ferry rides).

We're glad our friends from North Point, Kathy and John (Oceana), made it in safely today. (Thanks again, guys, for bringing our new hatch down with you!) It'll be fun to hang out with them for a while before the passage to the BVI's. They are also heading south to Tortola on another boat (Windward Passage), then they are returning to Norfolk to take their own boat to the Bahamas.

Anyway, after dinner on the boat with Kathy & John tonight, I spent the evening updating our main website and hemming Quinn's Halloween costume pants. He is adorable, by the way, as a little super hero/muscle man. The festivities begin tomorrow for the little ones with a Halloween party at the Children's Museum, then "safe" trick-or-treating for a couple hours in Portsmouth (a ferry ride from here). We'll let him do it for a while, then go to dinner at the Biergarten. Last year, there was trick-or-treating at the mall in Norfolk on Halloween, so I will check and make sure we can do it again this year. I know trick-or-treating in a mall sounds lame to those of you with actual neighborhoods, but I tell ya, the Godiva and Lindt stores hand out the good stuff. I'm trying to figure out how I can borrow a few more kids!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


We've spent the past couple of weeks in Yorktown, both in a marina (York River Yacht Haven) and at anchor in Sarah Creek, just down the way from YRYH. It started out with a busy week with lots of boat maintenance and boat cleaning. Mirasol looks fantastic inside and out, but my shoulders will take a few days to recover from all the cleaning and waxing I did on the hull. The locals at the marina had great fun standing around watching and commenting. Sigh.

We also spent a day in Busch Gardens and a day wandering around historical Yorktown.
The day in Busch Gardens was a lot of fun. They had the whole park decked out for Halloween and since we went on a weekday, the park wasn't very crowded. Quinn got to ride the Elmo roller coaster over and over again with no wait, great seats at the shows, and just about no wait at any ride he chose.

Jen rode the very cool Griffin roller coaster on a double-dog-dare, again with no wait. I missed out on the ride because shortly after her ride, it was closed for maintenance and the line got long.

After dark the fog machines and a spooky soundtrack came on and trolls, witches, goblins and skeletons started sneaking up and scaring the passing crowd. They were pretty gentle with Quinn, but still scared the pants off him a couple times. He had a blast, but I can live without riding tea cups again for a while!

The second week has been much more leisurely. Small chores, maintenance, and a Lego-cleaning marathon (don't ask), but a lot of reading and relaxing too.

No firm plans for the next few days. By mid next week we plan to be near the southern mouth of the Chesapeake to un-pickle the watermaker and make sure it's working and ready for the trip south. We can't use the watermaker in the Chesapeake since all the silt and algae in the water would plug filters quickly. We fill it with preservative chemicals for the summer, a process called "pickling". We're hoping the water at the mouth of the Bay at high tide will be sufficiently clear to avoid trashing too many filters during the recommissioning.

From there its on to Waterside Marina in Norfolk, VA for last minute provisioning and preparations for the trip to Tortola.