|Dad at work up the mast|
Still in Hampton, Virginia. Dad has been working away at jobs on the boat to prepare for the ocean passage as well as looking at weather forecasts and consulting with Patrice about a possible departure date. At this point the weather isn't cooperating and there appears to be no good weather window to cross the tricky Gulf Stream before Wednesday of next week. So for the time being we are stuck in an open-ended pattern of waiting.
We joined up with a group of cruisers doing the same passage and are now part of the Salty Dog Rally. It's free and composed of people not wanting to fork out precious funds for the Caribbean 1500 as well as people who have done the 1500 in the past. Rallies like these follow the concept of 'safety in numbers' and offer participants weather information as well as access to the expertise of cruisers with more ocean experience. While out on the passage we will check in daily with rally organizers who will track the progress of participants and ensure their safety. Despite being part of this larger group, though, our major priority will be to stick with Raftan the whole way.
While in Hampton we've all tried to keep busy in our own ways. While Dad works through his ever-growing list of jobs, Mom, Sarah and I have gone on lots of walks, been reading and watching movies, used a laundromat on the campus on Hampton University, and visited the Virginia Air and Space Centre. It has a ton of interactive exhibits on airplane history, US Navy History and Space exploration and while there you can fly lots of different aircraft on simulators and even land (or in my case crash) a space probe on Mars.
Some details from the week: The temperature has cooled a lot, but despite that houses here still have gardens blooming with pansies, chrysanthemums and roses. The people we've encountered on our stay, be they cruisers or locals, have been very friendly and helpful, some even offering to drive us to stores for supplies. Sarah got a kindle of her own and we can share all our books between our two kindles. Dad ordered boat cards (business-like contact cards for the boat) because everyone else has them to keep in touch with fellow cruisers they meet. Krill continue to crackle on our hull eating algae from the carpet of marine life growing there.
That's all for now, passage info to come soon,Nicole.