When I woke up to see the pilot boat circling outside our cabin and read on the captain's board that shore leave had been revoked, I knew our departure was imminent. We spent the morning making sure everything in the cabin was properly secured and participating in one last at-sea drill before the real thing.
Zoe is a champ during drills. The captain seems to have an uncanny ability to time them for just before her naps, so she usually just hangs out drinking her bottle, taking in all the excitement and then crashing once we get back to the cabin. It's perfect. Her balance is getting better every day, and she's mastered standing up in her bulky lifejacket. It's fun having a mascot at our abandon ship station.
My favourite thing about sailing day is the moment just before we cast off the last of the lines when the captain comes on over the loudspeakers and prays over our voyage. After a hearty amen, serenaded by the stereo blasts of horns from the tugs and the ships we were passing, we headed out past the breakwater and onto the open seas. After a short pause to check the lifeboats that had spent the last ten months hanging over the dock, we set a course for the Canary Islands.
I'm an indifferent sailor on a good day, so I was glad when the announcement was made that the bow was open. Along with pretty much everyone else on board, I headed out there for the fresh breeze and the sunset, joining the hordes of photographers bent on capturing some small part of the beauty that surrounds us.
It's been smooth seas so far, which means that my stomach was settled enough this morning to have a little fun with Zoe. Pirates are a real concern along parts of the West African coast, but I don't think the captain will mind this particular one being on board. Avast, me hearties. Hand over the
This morning we heard the first overhead page that there were dolphins at the bow, so I bundled Zoe into her Boba and ran down there to see them playing in the spray. Yet another milestone for our little sailor girl, and one that I hope will be repeated many, many times in the days and years to come.
We have a few days to go before we reach Las Palmas, so we're going to kick back, relax, and enjoy the incredible beauty of the ocean. Please be praying for smooth seas; the skies aren't as blue as I'd like them to be, and sailing in an old train ferry isn't exactly the smoothest ride if the winds pick up.
Zoe's ready to wake up from her nap, and there's a whole rocking ship to explore, so I'll leave you with this video of the dolphins from earlier. I'm glad Josh Callow had the presence of mind to bring his iPod out to the bow; I ran out so fast that all I brought was my camera without its memory card. Not helpful.
(Thanks to Deb Louden for taking both the photos that I'm in; it's wonderful having friends who are photographers!)