Archive for February, 2010

So the Sara G is getting ever closer to Barbados! Less than 1000 miles to go now.

Mike talks about a busy few days aboard the Sara G in his latest podcast

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Mike talks about what he misses most from home as well as answering other questions about life on board the Sara G.

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News updates live from the Sara G. Podcast live from the Sara G on Day 37 of the mikejones.ie voyage across the Atlantic.

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Podcast from Mike on Day 36 live from the Sara G, edging ever closer to Barbados! In fairness to the crew of the Sara G, they have been through a lot. Day 36 Podcast

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Sunday saw us wrap up a weekend of good sunshine and decent mileage. We are now cruising along and the boat feels so smooth through the water, this is due to a good scrub of the boat. Mylene and Matt took the opportunity of calm conditions to jump in and clean of the barnacles which had began to accumulate on the hull. It is amazing how different the boat feels after the scrub. At this stage we would all probably feel pretty good after a good scrub! The weekend also flew by as I had my music back. It was so nice to be able to sit on deck with my Mp3 player safely tucked away in its water proof Peli case. All the crew was provided with a waterproof Peli case by Niall at http://www.peli.ieto make sure our music players stay dry and safe even in the roughest of conditions out on deck. So far they have performed great and it is cool to see the 3 cases lined up on the deck at night as everybody bops there head to the music of their choice, Matt even treats us to random bursts of lyrics from his favorite songs. It is so sporadic and loud it helps keep me awake which is useful at 5.30am!

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Another sunny day in the Atlantic and we are back on the imaginary treadmill, the horizon never getting any closer, just surrounded by blue with no land to reference the distance we are travelling. We are however making good mileage and with the breeze increasing each day, we should finally reach half way some day this week.
It has been great to have emails back as I am getting some great messages from friends, family and fans. It is really encouraging to hear all the messages of support and I look forward to reading my emails at 18:45 each day before I go back to the oars for the evening, it never fails to put a smile on my face. Keep the messages coming and if you any questions about life onboard send them on and I will do my best to answer them.
I have had some requests for more pictures and video, unfortunately our internet speed is so slow it is not feasible. Our connection speed is at best 9kb/s, pretty prehistoric, only just faster than carrier pigeon! I will get all the pictures and some video clip up online as soon as I get to dry land, well after I have a pint, a steak and a good night’s sleep.
We also have a new friend, as Barry seems to have disappeared or been eaten by dolphins, a fantastic electric blue Yellow Fin Tuna, he is about 2 foot long and looks tasty, so far no joy catching him though!

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Happy days, sun shine, dolphins and my music player which has not worked for 3 weeks came back to life! What a great day the rowing was pretty nice all day with a light tail wind small swell and beautiful sunshine, these are the days that make this so worthwhile. If you could bottle and sell the feeling of being out here surrounded by only blue ocean slipping effortlessly through the water with the wind on the stern and the sun on your back you could make a fortune.
One small glitch in the day, the moments that remind us of how significant we are out here, came between 4-5pm when the wind shifted slightly to the south east and increased to a mere 10-15mph. It was the longest hour of the day as Pedro, Peter and I rowed our hearts out to barely stand still, in the end we started to go backwards at 1mph, heading north! Thankfully a slight course correction along with a minor wind shift lifted the shackles and just as my shift ended the boat began to slip through the water once again.
I was so excited though as my Mp3 player which ran out of battery on day 3 and since then refused to take a charge came back to life as I plugged it into the laptop in a last ditch effort to breathe life into it. It is so great to have my own music and videos back again, although James did very kindly share his Ipod with me over the past few weeks, it is so nice to have my own tunes!
The real highlight came just at sunset when a pod of Atlantic Spinner Dolphins came right up to the boat and stayed with us for about 10 minutes. Although we had seen some dolphins these guys were so close and playful you could almost touch them, they slowed right down to the speed of the boat and from inside the cabins you could hear them communicating under the water. We stopped rowing to allow them to get alongside the boat and we all chilled out for a few minutes to enjoy their company.
The only problem with all these dolphins is that they are depleting our fish stocks from under the boat, hopefully they leave some Derado for us.

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Just a quick update to say we are still making mileage in the right direction but not much else going on really. The days are hot, back up around 25degs Celsius today and the nights are a little chilly, but still in shorts though. Today should be around the half way point in days as we now expect to cross in around 48 – 50 days but the half way mileage point will not come until next Wednesday. I am really looking forward to that as we will finally have only 3 weeks to go, for the past 10 days I have been telling myself we have 3 ½ weeks so it feels like we are standing still.
We are also each stock piling any orange rations to ensure we have enough to get u to the end without having to delve into the contaminated green packs, the thought of them make me feel ill.

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Day 23
Back in the groove today after a couple of days in the 2 on 2 off, feeling good and the boat is gathering speed as the wind comes around behind us at last. Chilly night last night but the past couple of days have been roasting.
Good news is the laptop is back in action after Matt and Pedro took out the faulty part and rewired the mains on to the circuit board. Now we just need to be super careful with it. Great morale to have it back but no fishing today. We have decided to reward ourselves with fishing only after we make 75 miles or more in a day.
We also had our fish stocks depleted as a pod of bottle nosed dolphins came hunting this morning. It was pretty cool to see them in action as they circle the boat the herd the fish in and then they pick them off, no place for the poor Derado to go.

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Day 22

Great to have the cabin back to myself for sleep last night, even of it was only for 2 hours at a time, it is so much cooler and you can stretch out properly. Also nice to the back rowing and making some miles although with a cross wind we are not making great miles. We should be back close to where we went on sea anchor within about 24 hours and then finally back on track for Barbados.

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Day 21

Today was a great day, after what was the worst night on board so far. We got slammed by a big storm during the night, wind were up over Gale Force and probably gust force 9 most of the night with swell in the region of 7-8 meters. James an I got seriously thrown around in the bow cabin and had a god laugh as we would in turn get flung across on to the other , apologizing all the time although the actions were completely out of our control. Funniest of all must have been opening y eyes to look across at James and we both went airborne and levitated above our bunk for about 2 second before slamming back down as the next wave crashed in. It is probably the closest I will ever get to being in a zero gravity environment.

But finally after 124 hours (over 5 days) on sea anchor we finally got moving again at 1500, what a relief. We also had a major morale boost as we caught 2 Derado fish. They have been hanging out under the boat and we didn’t think our rubber lure would catch them but with some foil from our rations and a neat whipping I dressed up our lure to make it look nice and tasty. So much so that Matt had the first fish on board after about 60 seconds and I had one hook before I even realized I had the hook in the water, like catching Mackerel back in the camber in Cobh.

The Derado are a nice big fish and after I gutted and filleted them we fried them up to give everybody a tasty fresh treat. Surprising they also taste very like Mackerel.

Just as morale was boosted we took our eye off the ball and a large wave crashed into the stern cabin shorting out the laptop charger an nearly toasting Mylene. Bit of the kick in the teeth but we were so glad to be moving again we didn’t let it get us down.

After a couple of hours drifting down wind and sorting out the boat, bailing the hatches and resorting the food rations we got back into rowing at 8pm and it was back to the 2 on 2 off grind, at last!

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Still on Sea anchor as of Sunday Lunch time but it looks like we only have another 24 hours to go before we finally get the wind shift we badly need. Funny thing a about the past few days is that the boat is pointing in exactly the right direction, this is due to the fact that when a boat is on anchor it will always point directly into the wind.
It has been pretty boring on board so not much to report. We have had some equipment issues since we went on sea anchor, some of them have been sorted but we are still waiting to get a couple of them fixed.
First up the water maker is tripping the switch when we run it on 2 pumps, we don’t know why just yet and will have to wait until Monday to talk to the electrician. Hopefully he will have an answer for us, it is not a major issue it just means it takes longer to make water on just one pump.
Second problem is that after a couple of days going backwards on sea anchor the cable connecting the steering snapped. Thankfully we have a spare but it is very early in the trip to lose our primary cable.
Third problem is that our satellite data connection has been down for the past few days. We can still make voice calls but it seems there is a problem with the server receiving the messages from the satellite in America. Hopefully this will also be sorted once they get back to work on Monday.
In other news we have a few fish living under the boat, the first guy to arrive was a blue and black stripped guy that we have named Barry, we think he might have some friends bit we only ever see one of them at a time. Yesterday we had some more visiting fish, one of them looked like a 2 foot long tiger shark. He was pretty menacing and was circling the boat for quite a while. No sign of him today though.
We are all looking forward to getting back on the oars tomorrow, only 1 more sleep!

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As of this evening, Friday, we are still on sea Anchor. It has been a long couple of days sitting around hoping for the wind to change. Thursday was particularly rough with gale force winds, we got throw around a lot in the cabins and with the hatches closed it gets pretty stuffy very quickly.

Wednesday night we set up a watch system which involved us hot bunking so when you woke somebody to go on shift you took their bunk, this was because we only had 5 bunks in operation for the 6 of us. This resulted in both James and I having to depart the sanctuary of the bow cabin to sleep in the stern cabin. It is very wet, hot and smelly in there, as somebody keeps farting. I’m not pointing any fingers but let’s just say it isn’t any of the lads.

Today Friday has been relatively calm compared to yesterday with some squalls pushing through as the cold front of the depression passes over. The winds have been up and down but we have been able to spend most of the day on deck getting some sun. We also did some more admin getting kit dried out and moving the life raft out on deck to free up the sixth bunk. Now everybody will have a proper bed for the night.

According to Stokey we might have these southerly winds until Tuesday which will mean a full week on Sea anchor, Disaster! But hopefully over the next 12-24 hours as the low pressure system moves south east we will get northerly winds and will finally be able to get moving again.

The one thing that has become very apparent over the past 50 something hours is that we are now on an expedition, for a while there it seemed like a holiday as we racked up the miles. Now after being pinned down for a few days and having our resolve and our patience tested I am really beginning to fell like this is a pretty big undertaking. We will relish every mile we row for here on and take nothing for granted and hopefully the weather and mighty Atlantic will grant us a safe and swift passage to Barbados to be reunited with our loved ones.

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Apologies for the slight gap in posts… Long story short, The Sara G was on Sea Anchor for the last few days going backwards (slowly) and then the email on the sat phone broke down. The Great news is the Sara G is on the move again with an expected target arrival date of February 28th in Barbados. They are […]

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