This was our longest single passage to date. We sailed from Rabat, Morocco to Arrecife on Lanzarote Island (Canary Islands), covering 520 nautical miles in 145 hours. For me, it was monumental for many reasons. I only had one brief bout with seasickness, and even though Maik would have preferred more wind and more high drama, I welcomed the days when we were just slowly drifting along and I could actually relax and read a book, shower on deck, play with the puppies, and enjoy the amazing wildlife who joined us for the journey! I can’t wait to share with you the remarkable encounter we had with one of the sea’s gentle giants! But first . . .
Day 1—Saturday, 1 December 2018
As we prepped for our passage, I took a long walk with Cap’n Jack and Scout and said farewell to Morocco.
I think the pups know when we are about to set sail. They see us making preparations—Maik secures the deck and the cockpit, enters the route on the plotter, and fills out all the departure paperwork, while I work hard to secure the cabin and get the dogs ready for the passage.
We can see the pups getting excited. I think that by now they know the routine. They begin patrolling the deck, trying to help Maik. I believe that they sense our excitement, so they get excited too.
At 08:30 I applied my new Transderm Scopolamine Patch that I had scavenged for all over Guntersville, Alabama the week before. I had high hopes that it would help me battle the seasickness. But I still have my potato handy—just in case.
We left our mooring at 09:10 and cruised over to the customs dock. Maik went into the office to handle all the discharge procedures, while I stayed with Seefalke and the Seadogs.
A British couple on a beautiful sailboat, Jack the Lad, moored next to us. The customs dock is very small so they moored Jack the Lad directly to Seefalke on the starboard side and then climbed across our boat to get to the pier. I’m always curious about other sailors—the reporter in me wants to know their story.
I asked the woman if they were full-time sailors. She told me that seven years ago her husband retired, so they began sailing a lot more regularly. About a year later, she was laid off from her job. She was so cute. She said the management pulled her and a few other colleagues aside and told them they were redundant. She said everyone else was disappointed and upset, but she was cheering, “Yay! I’ve been made redundant! Now, we can go sailing full time!”
They’ve been living on Jack the Lad, sailing around the world ever since.
Sometimes we meet people who are weekend sailors or perhaps they sail on vacations. Others are full-timers. They all have an interesting story to tell, and we find it interesting to learn all the different scenarios that make it possible for a wide range of people to follow this incredible dream. While in Morocco, we were moored next to a Dutch man and his Filipina girlfriend. He rents his home in the Netherlands and uses the rent money to finance his sailing travels. They have been living on Eastbirds and sailing the world for the past four years with this simple monthly budget. Some sailors, like my friend Yvi, sell everything they own and sail until the money runs out. Then they go back to work until they can save enough money for the next sailing adventure. Many are retired and using their life’s savings to fulfill their dream in their twilight years. We also meet sailors, like us, who are able to work remotely while sailing. We meet very few, if any, sailors who are independently wealthy and able to just cruise along without any budget or limitations, although I’m sure there are some out there. (Watch our video - The Reality of Working While Sailing).
The Moroccan exit customs procedure was a bit less tedious than the entrance procedure. Our drones were returned to us, and we were quickly cleared and departed at 11:00.
There were gigantic waves outside the mouth of the marina. We felt like we were on a roller coaster, but Seefalke handled them perfectly—gracefully surfing over them as we made our way into the open ocean.
I was already feeling a little queasy and wondered if I should have applied the patch a bit earlier. Once we were into the open Atlantic, we hoisted the sails. I decided to rest a little and fight the early queasiness.
I was feeling better during the afternoon and around 18:30 took a short two-hour shift so Maik could rest for the first long night watch. I enjoyed a spectacular red and orange sunset and was reminded of the old poem... “Red sky at night, sailors’ delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors’ warning.”
I will share photos of the remarkable sunset, but the images I snap in my brain and in my memory are so much more vibrant than the ones we capture on film. The photos and video just never quite do justice to the colorful beauty that we get to enjoy live.
Day 2—Sunday, 2 December 2018
I slept from 20:00 to midnight then took over the night shift. My tummy was in knots and was cramping uncomfortably, which I didn’t understand because the waters had been relatively calm.
I think whenever we are in port longer than a week, we just struggle to get back our sea legs. I could feel the nausea building and at 12:48, I surrendered and fed a few fish over the port side of Seefalke.
Afterward, I felt better. The nausea seemed to fade away quickly. I was wondering if the patch was either not working, or perhaps it’s the medicine from the patch that made me sick. Either way, I will keep the patch and give it a chance to work. One patch is designed to last three days.
As I recovered from the short seasickness attack, Scout came up to the cockpit and joined me. We cuddled for about 15 minutes, then she returned to the warm cabin below to cuddle with Maik. Her visit was short, but so sweet.
It got cold during the night. I wrapped a sleeping bag around me like a cape and made it through the rest of my four-hour watch with no problems, no seasickness, not much traffic, and no drama. Just how I like it!
Maik relieved me at 04:00. I went back down and had a restful four hours. In the morning, my head was hurting, and I felt like my body needed protein. I decided to make some scrambled eggs. They were delicious—just what I needed to refuel.
All day we had relatively calm seas. There wasn’t much wind, so we motor sailed a little. However, there were swells coming in from the Atlantic that continued to rock us occasionally.
We were about 25 nautical miles from shore when we saw a small wooden, open-hull fishing boat. The boat couldn’t have been more than 15-feet long. There were four fishermen in it. I thought about how seasick they must get in that little boat that was being rocked just as hard by the Atlantic swells as we are usually. I also thought about how this is their office. The sea is their livelihood. We can sit in port and wait for favorable weather, but they have no choice but to be out there every day, no matter how severe the weather. This was a long way from shore for such a small boat with nothing more than a small outboard motor and no cover to protect them from the heat or cold or rain. That little boat could get tossed and capsized very easily. But they were still working.
While I was in the states, Maik bought me a mini Christmas tree. My mom had given me some solar-powered lights. With the calm waters, Maik and I decorated our mini-tree and secured it in the cockpit. This made me feel festive and happy!
The water was calm during the afternoon, and the sun was shining brightly. I decided to try to work. I brought my laptop to the cockpit and felt just fine in the open ocean air. But I didn’t want to push it. I worked for about 30 minutes then put the laptop away. This was probably a wise move.
I desperately want to find a way to do productive things while we are at sea. In small steps, I am trying to read a little when I can, write a little when I can, and try to find a way to do some normal everyday things while we are at sea. I need this to break the sleep-watch-sleep-watch-sleep-watch routine.
I’m beginning to wonder what 20-40 days of this will be like when we cross the Atlantic in a few weeks. I hope I can find ways to be productive. I would love to be able to read and write. I’m a bit worried about handling the loneliness and boredom. Yes, Maik and the pups are here with me. But it’s still lonely at times when we are on opposite sleep schedules.
Maik cooked a warm hot dinner. When conditions enable us to cook, we cook. It’s so nice to be able to get some warm meals in our bellies instead of just snacking on fruit and crackers and gummy bears. There have been many passages on which it has been impossible to cook a proper meal.
Day 3—Monday, 3 December 2018
We continued with our usual night watch shifts. I take a short shift from 18:00 to 20:00 so Maik can rest for the long night ahead. Maik is on watch from 20:00 to midnight. I take over midnight to 04:00. Then Maik resumes again 04:00 to 08:00. He then sleeps from 08:00 until whenever he wakes up, usually around 10:00. We both get eight hours of sleep, but Maik’s is broken up more than mine. I like this schedule. I only have one long overnight shift, and I get to see the sunset AND the sunrise every single day. (Watch the Sunrise at Sea time lapse video.)
During my midnight to 04:00 shift it was pitch black dark. There was no moon at first, but there were a zillion bright shiny stars twinkling in the black sky.
Sometimes I love the silence and the beauty and the solitude of night shifts, but sometimes it’s hard work just to stay awake. I miss the feeling of being productive.
By the time Maik relieved me at 04:00, I was exhausted and looking forward to a restful four hours off watch. I settled in with the pups and quickly drifted to sleep.
At some point the wind changed and Maik adjusted the sails. All of a sudden, the boat was rocking on all sides. I kept sliding off the bed and repositioning myself. I thought about getting up and moving either to the floor or to the stern so I could stabilize my movement. I don’t know why I didn’t move. I ended up fighting the rocking of the boat for three hours and didn’t get any sleep.
You know how sometimes you just can’t sleep? The harder you fight and struggle to rest your eyes and your body, you just can’t do it?
My head was splitting, but I didn’t know if I could take an ibuprofen as long as I still wore the patch.
Around 07:45 I finally gave up and went up to the cockpit to relieve Maik. I was exhausted and grumpy. This is the point during these passages—Day 3—when I get frustrated with the tilt and the waves and the fatigue. Sometimes I just want some normalcy. I want my house to stop moving and fighting with me. I just want rest.
Maik offered to let me sleep a couple more hours and he would stay on watch, but I wouldn’t let him. I knew he was exhausted too. He told me he would take a two-hour rest then relieve me. To this, I agreed.
Of course, when I’m down like this, looking at the beautiful scenery is the best medicine. We had the most magnificent sunrise, and we were making some speed. At this point, we had 175 nm between us and Rabat.
When Maik awoke around 10:00, I was feeling much better. I had calmed my own frustrations and just embraced the beauty around me. Maik made some eggs. We ate breakfast together, and then I went back down to try and get the sleep I missed the night before.
After a two-hour deep sleep, I felt so much better. I joined Maik and the pups in the cockpit and enjoyed the gorgeous afternoon! We had four sails up, and they were giving us speed and also cushioning the movement of the swells. There was not a cloud in the sky, and the sun was shining brightly! A perfect afternoon!
Later in the day the wind died down. We took down all sails except the main and began to motor sail. It was nice gliding along smoothly for a while, although I think Maik prefers the heavier weather.
We relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful day. I grilled some veggies and we ate a warm, hearty meal before beginning our night watches.
Day 4—Tuesday, 4 December 2018
As I began my midnight watch, I realized that we had traveled 244 nautical miles—about halfway to our destination. Usually, night three is just before the day we arrive at a destination. Usually, we are on the homestretch at this point. But on this voyage, we weren’t even half the way.
We had been grateful to have favorable weather and conditions, so far. And since the first night when I had a brief battle with seasickness, I had been feeling well enough to read a little and write a little. This felt so good to finally feel well enough to do some productive things. It’s also been nice to not have much traffic to deal with, even though the no activity adds to the boredom of the long night.
The lonely, black nights can get long. Sometimes we listen to audible books or to music. I’m sharpening my candy crush skills.
Also, I spend time in the night making notes for this blog. I want to document everything, and if I don’t make notes, the days all run together and it’s hard to remember details later. It was nice that on this passage I was feeling well enough to actually look at my phone. I’m always jotting down details in the “Notes” app, but on this passage, I was actually able to write and not just make notes. I can easily transfer these writings to the laptop when we make landfall.
It’s easier for me write on the laptop, but I don’t want to bring it into the cockpit at night. We get the occasional unexpected saltwater shower and the occasional boat tilt, so I don’t want to risk damaging the laptop.
However, even when we have calm waters and barely any traffic, it’s important for us to not get too distracted from the watch. No matter what, I stop what I’m doing and make my perimeter checks every 10 minutes.
Maik relieved me at 04:00, and I crashed hard. I awoke four hours later to a fantastic sunrise! This is the first time in a while that I’ve gotten deep sleep during the night. I actually slept a full eight hours—there was just a four-hour break in the middle. I felt great! It is amazing what rest can do for you—both mentally and physically!
At this point, it had been three days of wearing the seasickness patch. I removed it and decided not to use another one just yet. I believe it helped me. I had only one brief episode on the first night and felt fine the rest of the time. Of course, we had not experienced any long periods of heavy conditions.
On such a beautiful afternoon, I relaxed in the cockpit and read a book for a couple hours. This is the first time I had felt stable enough while underway to open a book and just focus on the pages and get lost.
We enjoyed the afternoon, but by midday we began preparing the cockpit and cabins for some strong winds that were expected over the night and into the next few days.
While things were calm, I cooked a hot meal and we filled our tummies. If it gets rough, you never know when you might be able to cook again.
At sea, the calm never lasts for long.
Day 5—Wednesday, 5 December 2018
As I began my midnight to 04:00 watch, I noticed that we had sailed 325 nautical miles so far on this passage, and we had been at sea for 85 hours, 48 minutes. This is officially the longest amount of time we’ve been at sea on a single passage. But there was still a long way to go.
The wind had picked up, but not as much as expected. Our course was still comfortable.
I didn’t get restful sleep during Maik’s 20:00 to midnight shift. There was a lot of activity on the radio. Some of it was the standard ships communicating with each other to avoid collision. One ship might radio another ship and ask them to make a shift to either the port side or the starboard side so they can pass safely. Sometimes I can just hear fuzziness and static. On this night, for some reason it seemed like a bunch of lonely sailors with too much rum in their systems were amusing themselves over the radio with random comments and sometimes playing music. Combine this with normal activity, and it was a major distraction. At the same time, it’s lonely at sea—especially in the black of night. If these guys want to talk to each other and find company on the radio waves, I have no problem with it. The authorities may feel differently. However, in the middle of the sea, there is no judge and no sentence.
I awoke with the sunrise and the bluest, cloud-free sky I’ve ever seen. I fed the pups and they did their morning business on the grass mat on the bow. They have come a long way with their onboard potty training.
Maik and I shaved (his head and my legs) using a bowl of hot water we heated on the stove. We both took what my mom calls a “spit bath,” then Scout and I went onto the deck. I sat there for hours reading “Seraffyn’s European Adventure” by my sailing idols Lin and Larry Pardey. It’s so nice that I finally felt well enough to read on board.
Around 12:30 we were visited by a school of dolphins who played in the wake of our bow for about 20 minutes. The dolphins were putting on a show, leaping and jumping and diving deep below the surface. We were amazed at the clarity of the 3,000-meter-deep water. We could see the dolphins taking deep dives below the surface. We had not seen any wildlife yet on this passage so we were thrilled to see them. I’m sure there have been fish and other sea life underneath us the entire time, but this was the first we had seen.
When the dolphins swam away, disappearing as quickly as they had appeared, I returned to my deck spot, leaned my back against a row of four fenders, cuddled with Scout, and once again got lost in the pages chronically the Pardeys’ adventures on Serrafyn. The Pardeys spent 47 years living on small sailboats, circumventing the globe several times.
Earlier that morning I read Maik a quote from the book. Larry Pardey said, “...the most important tool or equipment you can have onboard is a well-trained crew.”
Apparently, Maik paid attention.
He stood up on the stern deck and said, “Hey, Michelle...” I looked up from my book just in time to see him toss one of our big round fenders overboard. “Man overboard!” he said. “What do you do?”
Maik loves to spring these little exercises on me—especially when I’m perfectly content and he happens to be bored. I was a little agitated that I had to stop reading mid-sentence and spring into action. I was really enjoying the opportunity to finally just relax onboard and get lost inside the pages of my book. But I also know it’s exercises like this that make me prepared for potential emergencies. They also give me confidence, so I participated.
I went through the man overboard procedure—with a few mistakes— and in about 15 minutes retrieved the floating fender. This, of course, was not quick enough had I been rescuing a living thing rather than a rubber fender.
Maik pointed out my mistakes and then we reviewed the procedure in detail. This is the procedure of a man goes overboard while the engine is on . . .
Move engine to neutral.
Give rudder. This means turn the wheel toward the person in the water so he/she can’t get caught in the screws in the stern.
Hit the man overboard button on the plotter.
Toss out the buoy marker as close to the person as possible.
Throw a life ring and try to “lasso” the person with the floating rope that is attached to the boat and to the life ring. Basically, make a circle around him with the rope.
When you can, get on the radio and say “Mayday. Mayday. Mayday. This is Sailing Vessel Seefalke. Man overboard. Man overboard. Man overboard.” Then give your coordinates.
Position the beam of the boat between the person and the wind/current so that the current will push the person toward the boat. At this point keep the engine in neutral.
Get back to the person as quickly as possible. If the person is conscious, talk to him and assure him you are coming to get him.
Take down the sails if needed, so you can maneuver the boat with just the motor. Just let them fall. It doesn’t have to be neat.
Place the extra ladder onto the side of the boat. There is another ladder that permanently stays on the stern.
If the person is unconscious, depending on the weather conditions, if it is safe tie a rope around you that is also attached to the boat. Jump in and try to pull the person to the boat.
If the person is unconscious, rig a crane using the mizzen boom.
After our exercise, my already stinky body, which had not been showered in four days, was dripping in sweat. The waters were perfectly calm, so I decided to use the deck shower. Our deck shower is simply a small bag filled with five liters of water, warmed by the sun. It felt so good to get clean and wash my nasty, greasy hair.
Maik showered after me. Five liters is more than enough for us both to have a full shower. Then we sliced open a fresh pineapple. It was so yummy and refreshing!
At 13:55 we hit the 370 nautical mile mark, making this officially the longest single passage on our voyage so far. At that point, we had been at sea 98 hours, 58 minutes.
Maik took a brief nap while I cuddled with the puppies on the deck and once again, got lost in my book. A few hours later, Maik cooked a warm pasta dinner and began adjusting the sails for the night shifts.
I took my usual short shift at 18:00 and around 19:30, our dolphin friends returned. The sun had already set, but I could hear them porpoising in the water and breathing through their blowholes. When they surfaced, I could see their black silhouettes in the moonlight.
Maik came up for his night shift at 20:00, just in time for us to cross the same latitude line that puts us even with our home town of Gulf Shores, Alabama USA – 30° 17’N. Pretty cool!
The American South was now north of us.
This was my favorite day at sea, so far. It finally felt like we are in something of a normal living-at-sea routine. I started to feel like we will be just fine living everyday life during the long Atlantic Crossing!!
Day 6—Thursday, 6 December 2018
When I came to the cockpit for my midnight-04:00 watch, I could feel the warmth of the air, cooled slightly by the fresh breeze of the sea. This reminded me of home.
The wind had picked up a bit. We were now averaging about 3.5 knots compared with the two-knot average of the day before. Four knots is probably the equivalent of a person casually jogging, while 3.5 knots is about the speed of someone walking briskly.
Maik told me that during the night our dolphin friends returned, and this time played in the bioluminescence created by the plankton in the water. He tried again to capture it on film with no luck. I suppose this is a beauty reserved only for sailors to experience live.
The drunken-sailor shenanigans continued on the radio and kept me entertained throughout the four-hour watch. The reporter in me wanted to talk to them and learn their stories. But the rules-follower in me didn’t want to break the marine radio rules. I passively listened and made up stories in my mind about these lonely sailors, so far from home, just hoping for a bit of company in the long, black night.
After a semi-restful sleep during Maik’s 04:00-08:00 watch, I settled in to my favorite part of the day—the moment went the night becomes light and the sky reveals its special colors of the day. It’s different every morning, and on this morning, the sky just above the horizon was bright lavender fading into cotton-candy pink and then a warm buttery yellow.
At around 08:20 I heard a huge blowing sound that was unmistakably a whale. I looked just to the starboard side to see a giant charcoal gray whale surface and then dive again not more than 10 meters from Seefalke’s beam. I shouted to Maik, “Wake up! Come up here! It’s a whale!”
We have an agreement that we wake the other if there is something spectacular to see. This absolutely qualified! Maik came rushing up to the cockpit in his underpants and bare feet just in time to see our whale surface again, this time on the port side.
We both grabbed cameras.
I rushed to the bow with one camera while Maik set up another camera on the starboard sea rail and then took a third camera with him to the stern.
At first, we thought our whale was about the length of Seefalke (12 meters) but a closer look revealed he was about 10 meters long. He circled around Seefalke—surfacing every 30 to 40 seconds—and was very interested in us.
He was swimming so close we could see him diving through the crystal clear water just next to the boat. If I had jumped into the water, I would have landed right on top of him. That’s how close he was!
At one point, he was so close to the stern he actually sprayed Maik (who was still in his underpants and bare feet) with his blowhole.
By the way, the puppies were in the cabin below and could not have been less interested. Cap’n Jack had retrieved the wrapper of a package of cheese from the trash and this seemed much more interesting to the Beagles.
All this was happening just as the sun was bursting over the port side horizon blending magnificent tangerine and burnt orange hues with the already-brilliant pink sky.
Later, based on its markings and size, we referenced our book “MeeresSäuger” and the elders of the internet to identify him as either a young Bryde’s whale, a young Fin Whale, but most likely a Sei Whale. Our whale was all alone. We are not sure if he was a boy or girl, but we felt he was a boy. Since we were headed to Spain and he appeared during a glorious sunrise, we named him “Hijo del Sol”—Spanish for “Son of the Sun.”
Hijo del Sol continued to circle us and was very curious. At one point he swam right next to Seefalke’s port side, turned onto his side and looked right at us. He actually made eye contact with us, and this gave me happy chills all over. His underbelly was a much lighter gray than his back and it was glowing underwater, reflecting off the fresh morning sunlight. At first, I noticed what I thought was a huge fin standing about a meter above the surface. But then we realized this was one side of his huge tail that revealed itself from his sideways position. He continued to study us curiously.
We were cruising along under sail at about 3 or 3.5 knots. We know this whale can swim much faster than this, but he continued to stay with us—on Seefalke’s pace—for about 40 minutes. Sometimes he was circling us, and sometimes he was surfing the waves behind the stern.
And then . . . Poof. Just like that, Hijo del Sol disappeared into the deep blue sea.
We will never forget this most amazing and intimate encounter. (Watch our video about our close interaction with this amazing WHALE!)
At this point we had been at sea 117 straight hours and sailed 440 nautical miles. I was reminded once again why we do this. It’s all about moments like these. As Maik returned down below to take his after-watch rest, I thought about all the times I was so miserably seasick or battling exhaustion or dehydration or homesickness. Even when I felt like giving up, I kept coming back because of the gift of special glimpses of magnificence like this. All those hours of being sick and uncomfortable were only a distant memory now and totally worth if for 40 minutes of a glorious encounter with this gentle giant of the sea.
What a tremendous way to start the day! I spent the rest of the morning finishing my book and starting another gem from the Pardeys, “Taleisin’s Tales - Sailing Toward the Southern Cross.” The Pardeys’ books are entertaining, but also educational as they share decades of experience sailing the world.
We were about 20 or so hours from landfall. I spent the day relaxing and reading while Maik played around with dozens of sail configurations trying to find some speed on another windless day. “Why is it that the men prefer the wild?” my friend Yvi asked me when I told her of the passage and how much I was enjoying the calm.
The Canaries are part of Spain, so we raised the courtesy flag as we entered Spanish waters once again.
After dinner I settled into my two-hour short-shift evening watch and for the first time in six nights there was barely any color in the sunset. The wind and waves had picked up significantly and we seemed to have reached our statute of limitations on calm waters. The sky and the water were silvery grey as the day turned to night.
Day 7—Friday, 7 December 2018
I had drifted into a deep sleep after my midnight-04:00 watch, when Maik woke me at 05:30 and urgently told me to come help him in the cockpit. I quickly threw on some shoes and pants and rushed up to help him, even though I was groggy and confused from being awakened so abruptly. The genoa reef line had gotten tangled into the furling mechanism. I stayed in the cockpit while Maik went to the bow to try and untangle it. This is one of those things that would be easy to fix while in port, but almost impossible to fix while at sea with heavy wind and waves. He got it under control, but the genoa sail was not quite all the way furled and flapped in the wind.
All the commotion woke the pups and it was a struggle to keep them from going onto the bow with Maik. Scout got nervous and promptly went into the stern cabin and peed on the cushion of the bed. I cleaned it the best I could and didn’t scold her. With everything under control, I went back down to sleep a little. Maik awoke me again around 08:00 as we were approaching Arrecife.
I was grumpy and exhausted and unable to be excited about accomplishing our voyage. I regret this. Approaching our destination, especially after such a long passage, is generally a highlight for us. As we got a little closer, Maik returned to the bow to try and finish furling the flapping sail that could impede our mooring maneuver. I took the wheel and steered us in circles while he used our motion and the wind to wrap the remainder of the flapping sail around the stay.
We arrived in the marina at 08:20 and secured Seefalke. We both let out a sigh of relief. Maik kissed me and hugged me tightly. Somehow, my grumpiness left me and the excitement returned! We had made it!
I gave Cap’n Jack and Scout a much-needed walk while Maik checked in with the marina and with customs. He is European, and we were in Spain, so his immigration procedure was easy. Mine required more effort.
We spent the next four hours walking 3 km to the border police/immigration office on the other side of the island. The pups were not as frustrated as me. I was tired, but they were completely energized. We unleashed them and let them run and play and explore during our expedition. While walking the 3 km back to the marina, we found a local dive and stopped for food. I finally got some authentic paella, and all was right with the world!
The next weeks will be all about repairs and provisions! Seefalke has a date with a crane on Tuesday to replace the zinc anodes, and we will be stuffing her to the brim with food, water, and supplies in anticipation of our Atlantic Crossing!