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Beyond the Bulge - Day 21
December 6, 2015

Beyond the Bulge - Day 21

Hello Friends-

It has been a good week here on GS2- and today is another spectacular sunny day with 14-20 knots of breeze from behind me, so life is good. Getting around that damn Bulge of Brazil was an ordeal, involving many days of upwind sailing, so I am very glad to have that in the rear view mirror. On the bright side, I was able to finish my book "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese, which I would highly recommend to all.

As we move south down the coast, I see Salvador, Brazil is about 260 miles to the West, which is where Josh Hall and I finished the 2005 Transat Jacque Vabre Race, taking first place in the Open 50 class. I think we sailed the course from LeHavre, France in about 21 days, so I am about to surpass my longest time at sea on a sail boat. The last two weeks have been mainly upwind work, which- after a while- beats up on the boat and its crew, so I am very glad to be going downwind, and I think GS2 is as well! The easy motion of the boat through the water is like being on magic carpet ride- particularly at night- and is a much-needed and welcome relief. 

So- I was wondering if ya'll got your invitations to the GS2 dance party held last night between 2:00 and 4:00 AM about 140 miles off the coast of Brazil? Wait- you didn't get an invitation? Funny- I didn't either- but the party just kinda spontaneously combusted.

I was lying in my little sleeping nest by the nav station- watching the numbers and the chart plotter and making minute course adjustments as I usually do- and decided to listen to some music to help me fall asleep. I started with some James Taylor- Best of- which was very nice- but instead of making me sleepy- it made me a bit melancholy, and I switched over to some Little Feat and whoa- that got the party started. I can't quite explain it, but I had what I might describe as a "cathartic release", as all the tension of the past three weeks and getting used to being alone on the boat all came gushing out. 

Some serious air guitar was played in the cockpit under a kaleidoscope of stars, as oceans of tears flowed from deep inside me- not sad tears- nor really happy tears- just tears of release of all the stress bottled up inside since before the start of this voyage. It’s been a lot- and it felt really great to just let it rip- from Little Feat to the Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, Eric Clapton and Michael Jackson (Billie Jean, Bad- robot… yes ; moonwalk… not so much) and finishing at sun-up with Pink Floyd- Dark Side of the Moon…  Breathe… Breathe in the Air. Nice… 

When the sparkler finally burned out- I was spent- but felt much better. It would have been fun to get some of awesome air guitar scenes on video, but I think my family would disown me! Better that stays between me, GS2, and the South Atlantic! 

So this week looks like some nice downwind sailing, with the goal of eventually getting south to get into the prevailing Westerlies at the bottom of the South Atlantic and then into the Southern Ocean. The temptation is to turn left early and head for Capetown, but history has shown that patience is rewarded in getting South before trying to get West, due to the St. Helena high pressure system that lurks waiting to ensnare the impatient mariner. If one does become caught and becalmed for days on end, it becomes like in the Horse Latitudes- throw the animals overboard to lighten ship- hope the grog doesn't run out- and pity the cabin boy! That is not where I want to be!

So- here is hoping that the coming week is a good one for all- that the Christmas spirit of giving slowly envelopes us- and we all feel gratitude for our many gifts- 

With love and appreciation for all your support-

Joe and GS2 on the Kharma Bus rippin' along in the South Atlantic






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