Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Captain Claus Tober took the Heraclitus and crew from Sant Carles de la Rapita, Spain, arriving into Marseille at noon, October 5. Thanks to friend of the Heraclitus, Captain Jean Robert Varaillon Laborie, the ship docked at the Quai d'Honneur in the Vieux Port.

Further thanks to Captain Varaillon Laborie's colleague Captain Jacques Casabianca, and to the Communaute' urbaine Marseille Provence Me'tropole.

Nearby in Aix-en-Provence, the Institute of Ecotechnics (www.ecotechnics.edu) hosted its conference on the Mediterranean October 7-10, with experts in marine biology, linguistics, geology, art/science collaborations of the Mediterranean rim, maritime history, traditional dance and percussion, agronomy and ethnobotany, palaeontology, and the history of architecture and art. The Heraclitus was be a focus of this conference, with attendees visiting the ship in Marseille, and discussing our expedition, Lives and Legends of the Mediterranean Sea.

Our oral history team: Johanna Eurich, Christine Handte, Frederic Hegeler, and Isabelle Bondi have done 18 interviews of Marseille and Sete port citizens, continuing the effort begun in Spain in January 2011, in conjunction with Museu Valencia d'Etnologia and Dedalo Software.

Martial Casbah, President of L'Office de la Mer, (http://www.officedelamer.com/), has expressed interest in longterm collaboration between the Ecotechnics team and the Heraclitus.

Captain Tober and Expedition Chief Christine Handte have secured the Heraclitus for the winter season.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Valencia 9/24 by Abi Shapiro

A new day has dawned on the RV Heraclitus; an expedition completed, captain departed and expedition chief off on land to the place where the ship was designed effectively leaves this beautiful entity in our hands. Excitement pulsates throughout the ship as we organize ourselves and find our own methods of creating a synergetic flow of energy with which to operate.

Last saturday morning was met with tear filled eyes as we bid farewell to our beloved captain. He was sent off with good tidings and a full stomach, following a magnificent night stuffing ourselves on a gourmet dinner created from the exquisite meats and cheeses of Valencia's Mercado Centrale. Each crew member regaled the Captain with a heartfelt speech to which he responded with kind words and advice of his own. The Evening was concluded at the beach where the wind bid it's own farewell with an unexpected thunderstorm; the rain whipping our faces and lightening striking down around us as we made our way back to the ship was the perfect ending to a glorious chapter aboard the black ship.


The past couple days have consisted of more meetings and list making than we care to admit to, but the results are already shining through. Everyone is settling into their new (and old) roles comfortably, ship work and maintenance has been prioritized, schedules written and food supplied. The lovely crew from the neighboring customs ship continue to greet us warmly and offer their aide (as well as they're prosciutto ham!) and were instrumental in assisting us with setting up shore power this afternoon. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we are ready, willing and able to continue in the Heraclitian tradition which so many people have poured their hearts and souls into.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Voyage from Tangier to Valencia, September 10th 1010 by Claus

20:00 Zulu
38.44'N
0.28'E

Morocco was all worth it and beyond.
Thank you Manno, Gordon, Pablo, Omar – the fine gentleman that caught the lines upon arrival, just after sunset 3 weeks ago after a rough crossing under reefed mainsail across the legendary straits of Gibraltar.
Tangier was so very civilized and colorful and different – maybe even more so during Ramadan.
At the end of quay no.2 next to some giant cranes and rotting fishing vessels from other times, right at the rough and busy entrance to the port we tied our mooring lines – Heraclitus permanently watched and protected by police in uniform, Heraclitus somehow at home.

We felt the magic of another world, the magic of ancient rituals and beliefs that had been alien to most of us:
Breaking the fast on the market, haggling prices, feeling the gentle touch of pick pockets or learning to smile away hustlers….Marveling at great architecture, snake charmers delicate craftsmanship, hard working people and the enchantment of the ancient Medina.
The magic calls for prayer…
A real port – dirty but organized, windy and very busy with ferries and a huge local fishing fleet, the packing and loading of hundreds of sharks, giant blue fin tuna or many dogs and thousands of cats gave no chance to rats – all accompanied by the typical stench of a working fishing harbor.

Heraclitus radiated its magic in the harbor and beyond:
French Captain Varaillon Laborie of the Biladi became a fan, Tahir Shah and his beautiful wife Rachana hosted and spoiled some of us with good company and great conversation in Casablanca. We felt the power of Jajouka and found an unusual team of mooring men in the chief of police and the manager of Comarit, when finally taking off our lines from the African continent four days ago.

A crew of nine set out to sail the last leg of a great voyage.
We had a westerly gale forecast and that is what we got. Heraclitus took it with humble endurance and was flying towards the east with up to 9 knots in a short steep Mediterranean sea under blue or starry skies. Very difficult to hold a course that night and we saw plenty salty water shooting all over the deck and loads making it into synesthesia creating some never seen swimming pool action – to be bailed and pumped in the middle of the night by the happy crew.
We made radio contact to Jean Robert from Biladi in the first stormy night and yesterday to everyone's excitement we even rendezvoused some 30 nm miles east of Cabo de Palos. All of us on deck, jumping up and down while 20.000 tons of Biladi was racing past with 20 something knots, honking her horn on her way to France.


Now we are just 60 nm away from Valencia Spain and have stopped the engines in very calm seas to take a breath and marvel at the outrageously beautiful silhouettes of the Spanish coast at Cabo de San Antonio. The new moon is diving into the horizon while Camaron is singing to us a welcome welcome of his latitude......

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Voyage from Azores to Tangier, August 21, day 0 by Claus

We arrived in the Bay of Tangier and the last sail was finally lowered exactly when the sun touched the horizon, just of the entrance to the harbor.
I was afraid that this crossing might take 20 to 30 hours
Great afternoon in really rough seas, we got a solid pounding towards the end - probably the roughest 30 miles of the whole voyage . The mainmast is still standing proud and now we are alongside an empty commercial dock with gigantic truck tires as fenders, in the harbor of an ancient city.
Xti, Gordon, Omar and Manno our remarkable team of mooring men/woman took the docking lines in port after watching Heraclitus approaching for the last ten miles towards Tangier from high up in front of the old cities wall.
We had real audience and they liked it...
Later we went for a fine Moroccan Dinner on the Terrace of the Continental hotel, we walked through the old town, talked, enjoyed the difference and had mint teas or coffees in bars with lots of atmosphere and history.
It is Ramadan and the city wakes up late and is very lively while nobody is drunk - very interesting.


Always fantastic to see something completely new, so I am in trance now and try to realize that this was a truly grand finally of a wonderful time across a very big ocean.

We sailed here
Jemanja, thanks for having us...


Tomorrow we have to move the ship forward before the arrival of a cruise liner at 11:00.

I am very tired and very wired but it is time to go to bed - 21 st of August 3:50 Zulu.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

20th of August 1500 zulu by Claus

15:00 Zulu

35.59'N
05.56'W

Alright then

We are going for it!

Force 7 now from the east - Mizzen and fore sail are taken down, only the main sail is up and Heraclitus is pounding into a very rough sea and about to cross the main shipping lane of the straits.
DD 671 is working hard and the wind is from 70 degrees before the port beam, the bow is diving in constantly, water is flying over the decks. Another 16 miles to Tangier -and it feels like the longest stretch of this crossing...... we are making an amazing speed of over 3 knots in these adverse weather conditions right now on a course of 135 degrees; most of that is current I guess.

Hope that the wind has peaked already and remember all the good work that was done in South Africa during our last dry dock.

I feel the strain on the ship and will be a happy man when we drop anchor tonight - preferably in day light.
The harbor of Tangier should offer some protection.

The skies are clear and if we run late the moon will help some.....
If it gets to crazy we will turn around and try to anchor around Cape Trafalgar until the weather has settled.

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Voyage from Azores to Tangier, August 20th 2010, day 14 by Claus

10:38 Zulu

36.07'N
06.04'W

Heraclitus is working hard into a force 5 easterly wind.
Sails are pulled in tight, we have just changed to a starboard tack to get again closer to the Spanish coast, to find protection from a windward shore. The ship is only doing 2.8 knots on 1200 RPM. Heading for Cabo Trafalgar at the moment - kiss me Hardy....


We are back on a port tack now and are heading straight for Tangier, bearing is 140 degrees and distance only 25 nautical miles. .
Speed is averaging on a meager 2.5 knots.
Don't know how big the swell will be when we finally have to cross the open straits of Gibraltar,. The east wind might also gain in strength when being funnelled through the high mountains on either side. The rigging is not happy, but the sails are needed to keep a straight course. The bow is starting to dive....
Generally the current sets with 2 knots to the east through the strait and that will hopefully carry us nicely towards Baie de Tangier.

We'll try...
Tangier tonight or shelter of the coast of Spain - the next couple of hours will tell.


A helicopter of the Spanish Guardia Civil is circling us right now.....

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Voyage from Azores to Tangier, August 19 2010, day 13 by claus

10.30 Zulu

34.42'N
07.51'W

Last night was excellent.
We raced down the west coast of Portugal towards Cabo de Sao Vicente and finally turned east towards Cadiz around midnight.
For a few hours the ocean became very rough while the north wind put our rigging to a fine test.
The radar, packed with targets became a useful toy and helped to make sense of all those moving lights -
plenty of cargo ships, cruise liners and busy fishermen around.

It is early morning now, winds are very light from NNE and we are running under engine on 1150 RPM towards the east.
140 nautical miles to Tangier, we are cruising with 4.8 knots and so far we seem lucky - I like it....

Yesterday morning I was on the helm when Gilson saw whales very close to the ship and I climbed awkwardly out of the Lhasa window, our helms house, to see for just some seconds several blows of maybe 4 or 5 creatures with rather large and pointy dorsal fins in close vicinity.
Das was no sharks! But can it be that we saw a group of Orcas????

Palm trees in England? Orcas of Portugal? Chinese junk made of stone in Africa?
A world full of wonders hidden to the eyes of ignorance might explain it all.

The little fish of mahi mahi genes, that came on board in the early hours of yesterday got marinated in soy sauce and wasabi before being seared for just a few seconds and munched away secretly in the galley by some greedy bastards - I was one of them! Yes!

I did not get too much sleep last night but collapsed happily on the stern bunk in command room in between exciting moments.
A low mountain range can be seen to the north and to sense when waking up this morning the smell of land that got carried over to the ship by some light early morning breeze was a delight - there must be pine trees over there.

Europe is only 20 miles away...

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Voyage from Azores to Tangier, August 18 2010, day 12 by Joan

August 18, 2010
It is now 12 days since we left Horta. Hopefully in 2 ½ to 3 days we will be in Tangier. Today started grey and cold when I came on watch at 0800 hours. By the end of watch at 1200 hours the sun was shining. We have had more cloudy days than sunny ones. The days can be cold with sometimes a force 6 wind blowing at 22-27 knots. Noodle that I am I forgot my sweat pants as well as the pants to my foul weather gear. During the day I wear 3 T-shirts and a hooded sweat shirt. Sometimes I also wear my foul weather jacket with the hoods up of course. Let's not forget my survivor buff. At night it is obviously colder. The little bit of sun that warmed the winds and air is now gone. I bring a blanket on deck with me and wrap myself in it. Jethro an Australian living in the UK calls me "blanket girl". Being American I think I look like an Indian squaw. Juan from Argentina tells me I look like a Bolivian woman.

"Go for it" seems to be the mantra on the ship. It is the response you most often get regardless of what you say or ask. I want to have a coffee. "Go for it". I'm going to take a nap. "Go for it". I'm going to take a shower. "Go for it"

It seems to me that the youth of today use the word "awesome" to freely thereby diluting it's meaning. "I got a new shirt". "That's awesome". "I just saw the new Twilight movie". "That's awesome". Being on deck of the black ship Heraclitus, completely surrounded, 360 degrees by the Atlantic Ocean and the ship is in dead center. The perimeter of this circle is the horizon line. That is as far as you can see. Only the ship that I am on exists. When I look up the sky is completely filled with stars, planets and shooting stars. Yes I made a wish each and every time. Will I tell what the wish was, no of course not? Will it come true?? I'll have to wait and see. It is as if you are swaddled in a blanket of stars. This umbrella of stars, if you will, comes down and tenderly kisses the horizon.
This friend is awesome.

Joan a.k.a. Queenie and Auntie Mame.

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Voyage from Azores to Tangier, August 17th 2010, day 11 by claus

23:00 Zulu

38.05'N
10.54'W

The wind has been pumping nicely from NNE for the past 24 hours and we are sailing on 4 points behind the port beam, averaging between 5 and 6 knots. If we continue like this we will see the the lighthouse of Cabo de Sao Vicente to port side by tomorrow night, from there it is only another 180 nautical miles to Tangier.

The swell is coming from the north and of short frequency, some waves in between were exceptionally high and earlier today we heeled over hard enough to take on water on leeward through the starboard side porthole in command room - that is rare as it is located about 2 meters above waterline - roll on Heraclitus...
Plenty of water has also collected under the wooden floor in Synestigia - our main dance - and dining hall and is slushing around noisily; we can not get it out when we are heeling so hard, no worries we are used to it..

Otherwise all sails are up under clear skies, the stars are bright, the fish don't bite and all seems honkey dory.


I am watching the weather carefully with Freddy's help. It seems as if there is a strong east wind developing for the 21st of August - not good for approaching Moroccan shores just before the straits of Gibraltar.
Currently we are lucky and are riding inside the western edge of a strong wind system, it is calming down of our stern...

So the latest fantastic idea is to focus on arriving a day early, instead of finding some hide out on the southern Portuguese or Spanish coast.
A bit of magic and it might just happen....and after passing Cabo de Sao Vicente we shall try to stay close to the southern shores of the peninsula, steering for a position north of Rio Guadalquivir, the entrance for the port of Sevilla, to again have a better angle towards easterly winds when finally taking aim for Tangier.

Only 80 nm to Lisbon right now and we might see its glow on the horizon to the NE after the moon is going down in a few hours.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

At Sea

Voyage from Azores to Tangier, Monday August 16 2010, day 10 by Claus

22:30 Zulu

39.36'N
12.51'W

Yeah ,we are kind of flying in a sexy force 6 wind and sea state - lots of white cap, sprays and big swells from the beam make the ship roll back and forth and heel with up to 30 degrees to starboard - almost as good as it gets, still on the gentle side and everyone seems to like being on the helm - there is something grand about steering 120 tons of boat through a rough ocean; the ship seems to like it too.
We covered 120 nautical miles in 24 hours, currently we are making up to 6 knots -
Captain was in good mood this morning and made some fine Kartoffelpuffer for breakfast, however...I could not find the applesauce and neither could the search and rescue team that I had sent through the vessel just before it was time to serve. This added a certain tragic twist to my performance - I am over it now.

The crew is quiet and when the ship is this fast one can hear the propeller shaft rotating rapidly in engine room, driven by the water rushing past.

It is 170 miles to Lisbon, 250 to Cabo Sao de Vicente, 430 to Tangier. Soon, too soon we will experience lots of ships traffic - new to most of us .Gibraltar straits is such a narrow passage to the Mediterranean.
From tomorrow on I shall sleep in command room again - closer to the action...

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Voyage from Azores to Tangier, August 15th 2010,day 9 by Claus

18:30 Zulu

40.58'N
15.13'W

I wanted to share my thoughts on the at times difficult question of our ETA Tangier.

For the past 24 hours we are sailing in good winds from NE towards Cabo de Sao Vicente, the SW tip of Iberia.
The Atlantic is beautiful today, grey skies, blue skies, rain or sunshine all racing past in quick succession while the waves are slowly growing bigger.
We are making between 3.5 and 4.5 knots and I am hopeful that weather conditions will be to our advantage for the next 2-3 days at least.
I would love to meet the ETA Tangier of 21st of August and we are doing our best to make the old black lady fly.
Any crew that does not perform to standards is punished immediately .
If the sea turns against us I shall consider dealing with it like Persian emperors have done in good old times before.

It is about 560 nautical miles to Tangier and we will have to cover a for Heraclitus very high average of 94 miles per day to arrive next Saturday, just before evening prayer on the shores of Morocco... - very difficult but not impossible.

It really depends on the weather, especially after we negotiated the southwest tip of Portugal.
If the infamous Levanter blows with near gale force winds into our face we can not even dream of trying to approach the straits of Gibraltar, but will have to find some place to hide instead.
If the sea is calm or a sweet little breeze blows from the west, we shall - especially with the help of DD671, pump up the volume and make it just fine and on time into the port of Tangier. That is my wish.

If we can not make 94 nautical miles but only 80 or even 70 per day, we would arrive on August 22nd or 23rd only....

I much appreciate every ones involvement and the great efforts that have been put into making this voyage to Morocco happen.
I hope that Gordon, Pablo, Manno and Omar - our fine international avant guard will be able to greet us in Tangier even if we run late.
I hope that Fortune continues to be our brother in arms and that Jemanja is still in love....

We just caught our first fish on this trip - que bonito....

Precision is a wonderful thing.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

I Saw The Light

I Saw The Light
by Rio

I have never been one to exclaim that I've seen the light, but this time I feel compelled to write about it, as I am now a true believer. As they say, seeing is believing, and for me, seeing twice is believing.

The light I've seen is a phenomenon, known to many of us as Eddie's Light. The first time he saw it was in Papua New Guinea. The light has appeared to him in white, green, orange, and red, sometimes very briefly and sometimes for several seconds, in total about fifteen times. Once he and Captain Claus were on deck and the light appeared above on the port side, and once with Kira he saw the light in green on the stern. He describes it as an extremely concentrated bright spot light, but with a colored trail similar to a jet stream. The light always appears somewhere in close proximity to the ship and is distinctly different from a shooting star. Eddie has seen it on port, starboard, above, and in South Africa across the entire ship from starboard to port.

The first time I saw the light was on the crossing from Freeport to Horta. It was night, during my 8pm to 12pm watch. Abi was on the helm and I was on deck, sitting on the rigging box next to Lhasa. It appeared as a bright white light, about a foot in diameter, about 4 feet off the deck, just aft of the main roll bar. It illuminated the deck, and lasted about two seconds. We both saw it and were astonished.

My second sighting occurred a couple of nights ago, on my new watch, the 12am to 4am. Carlos was on the helm and I was again sitting on the rigging box. The light appeared in approximately the same location and had a similar duration. Carlos also saw it quite distinctly.

Neither Eddie nor I can recall anyone from another ship describing such a phenomenon, and none of the other sailors Eddie has asked have seen such a light. So perhaps we should call this the Heraclitus Light. Lyn-Li believes it is aliens, who are attracted to the Heraclitus, as they recognize its magical properties and know there are people on board who will appreciate such phenomenon, at least enough to write blog entries about it.

Whatever explanation for the light you gravitate to, if you are the type who requires explanations, or perhaps you are simply comfortable accepting it as a part of the Heraclitus' magic, it now has a place in Heraclitean history.

For those of us who enjoy the magic of being on deck at night, the possibility of seeing the light again is ever present, and I somehow find it offers reassurance that the Heraclitus is indeed a magic ship, a unique vessel that is also a portal to another world where even seeing the light is possible.

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First Sight of Land by Rio

FIRST SIGHT OF LAND
by Rio

Day 37 of our 39-Day Voyage from Freeport to Horta, July 25, 2010


I had been at sea for over a month, thirty-seven days to be exact, which made this my longest voyage, exceeding the

36-Day Survival Voyage during the Around-the-Tropic-World Expedition in 1983. During my time at sea, many thoughts,

feelings, experiences, dreams, passions, histories, potentialities, and so on moved through my subconscious and

conscious minds, while the Heraclitus cut its way through the deep blue north Atlantic waters.


My inner sea had its ebbs and flows, it rolled with rising swells, and sank with deep troughs, crashed about under

strong winds and cresting waves, and became flat and still in the doldrums of a windless mirror sea. My inner sea

reflected the ever-changing seascape that surrounded the Heraclitus; clear blue sky, star-studded no moon nights,

immersion in fog and mist, a full moon illuminating the mainsail swollen with today's wind, squalls pounding ship

and sailor with rain and wind.


The two seas of my inner and outer experience merged together, flowed into and out of each other, and formed a

unique resultant experience, known to some for as long as man has inhabited Planet Water. The sea-persons life, a

life that is unknown to those who cling to the shore.


Eleven bodies moved about the Heraclitus, through her inner hatches, across her deck, and up into her rigging. Six

men and five women, each traveling in and sharing their man-time and women-space, responded to the Heraclitus'

ever-present need for constant attention. From mid-twenties to early sixties, spanning a range of generations, the

older sharing stories of experience and adventure, the younger questioning, wondering, offering insights, whims, and

all meeting most intensely in shared music, recorded and live. All seemed to share an interest, expressed or

accepted, in some form of personal development, call it enlightenment, reflective experience, and such.


Eleven individuals who represented a multitude of sub-cultures, surface generalities represented by their passports

and World Cup favorites, but such designations do little but scratch the surface during a long voyage, and fall away

with each passing nautical mile. The pressure cooker of the Heraclitus ensured that even the most unwilling and

reticent were forced to engage, reveal, and participate, even unwittingly. All who choose to face it, openly

realized that none could get off the boat, and were all in it together. Some rose to the challenge of how to make

the most of such a rare opportunity, while others prayed for port arrival and the accompanying release of pressure.

Somehow all eleven continued to laugh. In their own way, none lost their sense of humor. Each one knew that "this

too shall pass" and that some day soon we would see land and shortly thereafter, set foot again on solid ground.


The day of seeing land came on July 25th. At about 04:15 (06:15 UTC) I was awoken and called to the deck by Lyn-Li.

"Come now! The moon is setting, the sun is rising, and land is almost visible." Feeling I did not have a moment to

delay, I wrapped myself in my warm comforter and braved the cold morning air. Struggling to contain my rapidly

departing dreams and quickly waking body and mind, I joined half the crew on deck. All were alive with smiles and

light-hearted banter, silently speaking, 'something really important is about to happen and I'm not going to miss

it.' Standing on top of Nemo's for a better view, or back on the poop deck picking the clearest vantage point, eyes

reached out into the disappearing darkness for what each was sure would be the first sight of land. "Do you see it?"

"No?" "Look there, see where my finger is pointing. That's it."


At that moment I was suddenly transported back to 1983 and the thirty-sixth day of the 36-Day Survival Voyage.

On that morning, the Savage Seven, as our crew came to be known, found ourselves in the Banks Islands, a group of

islands in the Pacific located just north of the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu. However, when we awoke that

day we were by no means sure of our location or what course of action we would take.


On this recent voyage, we had radar, a GPS, and a compass adorned our binnacle. In 1983 we had none of these. GPS

had not been invented yet, our radar wasn't working, and our binnacle compass had been thrown overboard when a line

from the main sail caught on it. We did have a chart and a small hand held compass.


Vividly recalling that morning, I remember spreading the chart out on the deck and turning it to corresponded with

the islands that surrounded us. That was about as close as we had known for certain our location in a month. It is

difficult to express the comfort and confidence that afforded. Still, without engine, with only the emergency

tiller for steering, as the hydraulic steering had failed a week before, and no room for error, a successful

landfall was far from assured. We had recently rescued the Heraclitus from grounding in Western Samoa and knew we

no longer had it in us to do it again.


Once we were certain of our position, we analyzed the options and identified the main bay on Vanu Lava as the most

promising entrance. The southeast wind was just right for our approach. On the starboard tack, with one person on

each block and tackle of the emergency tiller, one pulling to starboard, one to port, I piloted us forward, in what

still stands as my most electrifying sailing experience. We managed to just skirt the beach, while maintaining

enough speed to get through the channel. A couple of young boys running along the beach trying to keep up with us

were the first to welcome us.


Once inside the bay, I continued forward toward the opposite shore. The crew anxiously awaited my order to drop

anchor, while I patiently waited for the right moment, knowing that once secured we had no means of propulsion other

than our sails. I needed to allow sufficient swing space if the wind direction changed, but didn't want to be too

far from shore either, as we only had a few cups of gasoline remaining for our outboard that would carry us the last

several hundred yards to the beach.


By contrast, on our first sight of land in the Azores, no one ran along the shore to welcome us. We created our own

welcoming party for ourselves. The first island we came to in the Azores group, Corvo, had steep cliffs with a

relatively flat top, lush with grass from the volcanic soil. A few goats and cows were visible through the

binoculars. It was covered in green life. We could smell the vegetative life. Almost taste it.


In celebration, we spent several hours of the afternoon drifting a few hundred feet off the island. We shared a

collective meditative state, absorbing our first sight of land in 37 days. The change in scenery made a palpable

change in the emotional scenery of the crew. Many expressed a bittersweet feeling as we discussed our impending

landfall at Horta on the island of Faial. The voyage was drawing to an end and that realization suddenly made our

time at sea all the more valuable.

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Voyage from Azores to Tangier, August 14th 2010, day 7 by Claus

22:30 Zulu

41.39'N
16.37'W

Finally at about 15:00 we turned the engine off and and started to sail in about 15 knots from NE - wonderful, we got what we wanted and can take it well from our current position, wind is slowly increasing in strength and just a little before the port beam.
We are heading towards Cabo de Sao Vicente on 125 degrees with up to 4 knots right now. I hope the wind will stay, so far we blew about 1/3 of our fuel.
Feels good and sounds more like a ship with creaking ropes and woodwork now, snoring mates and the ocean splashing along the sides of the hull.

The galley check valve failed and filled up sinks and floor, so did the one of the shower drain on starboard side - German Brazilian team fixed at least the Galley plumbing in no time; the rest has to wait, is to close to the waterline and not to be touched in the middle of the ocean....

Lucky again, we had a giant visitor late afternoon - this time a minke whale circled Heraclitus and resurfaced 5 or 6 times while we all cheered excitedly and smiled.

Otherwise we got spoiled with Zimbo-curry for lunch, Brisbane-beef stew for dinner and Joan is mercilessly giving us the rest with her fantastic baking skills from New York City.

The night is dark, the sky is overcast, dread lock maintenance has just finished in command room and I hear the 8 -12 chatting on the stern but prefer to listen to the wind caressing our sails and rigging while my eyelids are getting heavy - dozing off in paradise central. We are half way today..

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Azores Crew

From left to right: Mo (USA), Iordannis (Greek), Juan (Argentina), Jethro (Australia), Carlos (Honduras), Gilson (Brazil), Abi (USA), Rio (USA), Claus (German), Christine (German), Joan (USA), Lyn-Li (USA), Eddie (Solomon Islands)

Yoyage from Azores to Tangier, Friday the 13th of August 2010, day 7 by Claus

22:50 Zulu

42.25'N
18.24'W

Wind is from ESE and on our nose - that is not exactly what we asked for but life is not perfect, at least not today but maybe tomorrow...
According to the weather forecast the wind should increase in strength become more NNE and then we could finally turn the engine off for a change and travel the seas in the way one should - sailing....

Again plenty opportunities to make wishes last night and I was pleased to see an old companion again after a long time - Orion stood proud in the early morning sky to the east and reminded me of past adventures, promises and romance. Dreaming had worked just fine last night.

I want to pass some knowledge on and felt myself almost getting tense about it during our lunch meeting today when complaining about a lack of questions ???? Or taking either notes or lots of gingko bilboa supplements when I talk about equation of time or meridian passages.

Calma senior...

The sea is gentle, the food is great and the crews mood so far is sweet and light and that is for a change very pleasant indeed...

A light breeze from NE right now and we are steering towards Cabo de Sao Vicente, 540 nautical miles to the SW tip of Portugal and from there another 180 nm to Tangier.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Voyage from Azores to Tangier,August 12 2010,day 6 by Claus

22:00 Zulu

42.42'N
20.10'w

Last night had plenty magic as one could see so many shooting stars and make so many wishes...


Still no wind, the ocean is calm and we are running under engine, straight east - 480 nautical miles until the coast of the Iberian peninsula; 780 until Tangier - North wind we miss you, North wind we love you...come on and play with us....

Today the captain showed of with our Japanese sextant, all were allowed to hold it, know now how to read it and some even managed to shoot the sun.....We learned something!

The drums came out late afternoon and a silent sunset dinner is always a fine thing. We told and enacted some of the short Pleasantries of the Incredible Mullah Nasrudin, had a laugh and welcomed the new moon.

I am tired now and will crawl into my tiny luxurious bunk, read a bit and dream a lot.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Voyage from Azores to Tangier, 11th of august 2010, day 5 by Claus

15:00 Zulu

42.18'N
24.48W

Yesterday was grey until the late afternoon, so we did not stop to go for a dip….
Today it shall be - I promised, and in 30 minutes from now we will stop and go for a swim in over 3500 meters of water. Strongly demanded especially by China-Mo because supposedly only above 40 degrees north this is a manly exercise that might even make your chest hair grow – we will see.
Zuna Port-Moresby already volunteered to be the shark watch of today. His ancestors return as sharks into this world, so maybe he'll be able to put in a word for us in case we have a rare visit.

Last nights birthday dinner for Joan was sweet and plentiful and accompanied by a romantic evening sunset and a little performance of two foolish chevaliers in love, a mean Melanesian palace guardian and an ugly fake boobed queen from Greece.

We just had our dip into 23 degrees warm North Atlantic water – Neither frightening ancestral reincarnations nor gentle giants or other wonderful creatures of this realm came by…..so it was just us and a black ship and the magnificent blue of a deep ocean.

Interesting but also disturbing that, when looking for my misplaced thumb-drive, I have finally found the two credit cards that had disappeared under strange circumstances 4 months ago - under the chart table where we had looked a hundred times before.... . Yes, Dario! for the family...


Headwinds or no winds and the engine has been running almost continuously for the past 4 days and we used up more than a thousand liters of diesel already - C'est la Vie, without our noisy, thirsty friend we would be still drifting somewhere between the islands of Azores.

Compadres are waiting that we do not want to miss and the strong call of a magic land, people and continent is driving us.
Many of us have never been to Africa or Europe, have never visited a Muslim country, have never heard the magic sound of morning and evening prayers that are sung for more than a thousand years….

Heraclitus was visiting Aqaba of Jordan during Ramadan fifteen years ago and we all loved it for many reasons.
This will be also my first time in Morocco, but not the ships! She has seen Tangier before some 30 years ago.

I am getting excited.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

August 10, 2010

August 10, 2010:

Three days at sea now and it's my birthday. On August 8, 2010 it was Abi's. Having a birthday on the Heraclitus is something that is very special and can not be replicated. Tonight the captain will prepare a German meal for the occasion. We will also have Champagne. I'm just getting my sea legs back and most of my stomach……….

The salt air for me is sweet nectar. Something I have been missing for awhile. Heraclitus welcomes you back. No questions asked and happy you are here. Sleeping in bio is wonderful. With every rise and fall of the bow, a gentle rock from port to starboard you are rocked to sleep like a baby in a cradle. The sea lapping at the hull is the lullaby.

Yesterday Claus spotted a sperm whale. I'm not sure if it was a juvenile or a dwarf sperm whale. (I only just learned there are dwarf ones.) Which ever it was it looked like a submarine that had surface but without it's periscope up. Then it dove and with its fluke waved goodbye.

Every day I have seen a sea bird. Flying low over the water, solo. Where did you come from???? Where are you going???

Joan Smith aka Queenie

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Voyage from Azores to Tangier; 9th of august 2010; day 3 by Claus

18:00 Zulu

41.01'N
26.16'W

The skies are blue, not even a cloud over the north eastern horizon and the sea has calmed down in light easterly winds.

First I saw just a blow and got Iordanis who had not seen a whale in 33 years really excited - time for a sighting isn't it....but nothing much happened until maybe half hour later when a group of 4-5 large pilot whales splashed around of port side in maybe 50 meters distance.
Great also when a few hours later I was taking a relaxed leak of the port bow, staring into a beautiful blue nothingness when suddenly, just a ships length away, a large sperm whale popped up to the surface to take a breath and say hello - general excitement on deck and the usual frantic search for cameras....
" I am telling you, the whale is looking at us..." maybe it even smiled before diving down again and waving good bye with its giant grey-green fluke a few minutes later.


Tomorrow if the calm persists we shall go swimming in these rich blue waters, hoping for another visit from our big and gentle friends.

Abi liked her little cat party last night with steak, cake, cocktail and beer and Ramones and Prodigy all served over 2000 meters of Water....

Now we continue under engine to the ENE and are looking forward to a fine dinner on deck on a calming ocean complimented by a long sunset, later to be topped by a clear and moonless night sky.... And I shall marvel at the Polar star while my universe spins around it slowly and dream.

New moon and the beginning of Ramadan in 2 days from now.

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Voyage from Azores to Tangier,Day 2, 8th of August 2010 - by Claus

39.55'N
27.19'W

16:00 Zulu
(...by the way Zulu means GMT or UTC but just sounds much cooler! )

Azores was somehow plain but sweet and honest - quiet and humble people that did not make a fuss about anything.
A powerful volcanic landscape all around and the port of Horta has a small town feel to it - no wonder with a total of only 15000 inhabitants on the island of Faial - strange at first...

Almost shockingly different, especially after almost 6 weeks at sea and most of us got intoxicated more than once on vino, cheese, chorizo or nature....
There was some wonderfully unpretentious hospitality around and a favor, a ride, some free beer or wine or fish seemed to be a most natural thing - nice experience and somehow refreshing.

French Matilda came along side without asking and I wanted to send them away at first but was charmed instantly by a group of very gentle young men and beautiful woman - interesting, talented and sweet - French people can be wonderful too.....
Great to have them for a few days and to enjoy each others company, and we were hanging out and ate and drank and laughed and even climbed the highest peak of Portugal together. They admired Heraclitus and said that they felt the spirit of all continents and oceans breathing from inside our vessel - I liked that.
Good luck to you, especially when rowing across the Atlantic next year.

Pico is the highest volcano of the Azores and also gives the name to its island.
Climbing through the thick clouds to a sunny 2200 meter high peak where one could still feel the heat of the inside of the earth was a splendid challenge - Sailor legs do usually not walk far on a 82 foot sailing junk and my heart was beating fast and happy - makes one feel alive...
We were 6 and sleeping even closer to the stars that night was cold but truly magic. Gilson and Jethro did good and Christine developed a most interesting cowboy walk while descending next morning; waving good bye to Thierry and Severine from our ferry was kind of touching.

The anchor winch is finally working again , the forward mast head light shines bright, tanks are full, so are the freezers and we are out at sea for almost 30 hours now - ready for anything, we hope - I wish....

Weather is still not in our favor.
Tangier is to the ESE but right now we are moving under engine to the NNE, hoping our plan works out - Chinese Junk rig is strong but not made to sail upwind!
The skies are blue and a coolish wind from ENE blows into our face - Temperature is around 23 degrees Celsius.

Today is Abi's birthday and we will be lion punks and shall try something civilized for a change - Rammstein?

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Voyage from Azores to Morocco; 7th of August 2010 by Claus

18:00 Zulu

38.42'N
28.25'W

We have cast off our lines 4 Hours ago at Horta and are now motor sailing to the NE, making 4.5 knots on 1100 rpm.
The E wind is moderate, before the starboard beam and Heraclitus heels with just 5 degrees to port on a gentle North Atlantic and feels steady and strong.
The impressive cliffs of the western tip of Sao Jorge are near and we are hoping for a bite when we pass over shallow water soon.

The weather forecast is not in our favor, so the plan is to cover distance to the NE and reach the center of the high pressure system where the head winds are weak and make good way towards the Iberian Peninsula - the main engine is going to rumble for the next 4 days - DD671 is noisy and thirsty but also wonderfully reliable - 1.06 Euro for a liter of diesel hurts a bit....
The winds will be from the north and should increase in strength the closer we get to the coast of mainland Portugal, and we need to be in higher latitudes to use those to be able to sail towards North Africa in style - this plan good plan I hope....

Christine left today to see family and friends, help to pave our way into Spain and catch our mooring lines when we finally arrive in Morocco.
Gabriella has jumped ship last Tuesday and is together with John somewhere between here and Casablanca - bon voyage !

Joan ,Iordanis and Jethro joined which makes us a fine crew of 12 - 4 women and 8 men from Argentina, Brazil, Honduras, USA, Solomon Islands, Australia, Germany and Greece -Let's see what comes out of that! Neues Spiel neues Glueck....

Azores were beautiful, we made some sweet friends and I love the North star more than ever - but more about that another time.

We are sailing again - 1200 nautical miles to go and a few brilliant men are waiting for the black ship to arrive in the ancient city of Tangier. I am excited and hope for a fast and smooth ride.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Heraclitus docked in Horta, Azores....

We are alongside, most of the crew hanging out on deck and bringing back local wines, olives, cheeses, breads for savouring and enjoying being by land....the first new crew arrived, after we watched his airplane pass over our heads, Iordanis...it's a seapeople's town Horta, a seapeople port with blue water sailors, night is closing in and we rest assured with a gentle breeze knowing where we came from....and night out, night out.... (Christine)

Monday, July 26, 2010

July 26 2010, day 38 by Claus

July 26 2010
23:00 Zulu

39.05'N
29.30'W

Yesterday early morning , when the full moon dove into the sea and just before sunrise we saw land. The islands of Flores and Corvo were to the ESE in about 35 nautical miles distance and very slowly taking shape. Zuna pointed into the right direction first because he knows that islands breathe and it took some time and squinting eyes before their silhouettes could be distinguished from the dark blue streaks of clouds that were embracing them.

Both are extinct volcanoes, up to 700 meters high. We were running under engine while the wind was blowing from the SSE, pushing us towards Corvo and we decided to have a closer look.

The nearer we got the more I felt humbled, almost mesmerized by this truly massive rock. Sheer cliffs, an enormous crater high up in the sky and the different shades of green were confusing my senses after many days at sea. We approached to almost half a mile distance and turned all engines off for about one hour to enjoy this special moment in style…
No trace of human life on the western face of this magnificent rock , only some hooved creatures seemed to graze in very high altitudes. Plenty sea birds, dolphins and even some whales were all around us – the ocean was teaming with life.
These islands are born of fire which gave an extra touch of magic to this wonderful return of mother earth to our realms. Very appropriate.....

Our last onion was chopped up for lunch time today by our Chinese rigger tattoo mistress and we just had a romantic glass of wine on deck to enjoy the last sunset of this voyage. Right now the engine rumbles ,1100 RPM does 4.5 knots in light winds and a smooth sea from SE - Another 50 nautical miles until Faial.
Everyone seems different…...We are hyper, somehow confused and happily excited.
A wonderful nervousness about simple things like standing on firm ground, eating an apple or looking into somebody else's eyes has come over us.

Almost almost there…
I'll have another one!

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 34, July 22, 2010 by Claus

Thursday
22nd of July
40.00'N
34.57'W

23:30 Zulu

Fog has come and gone, so has the sunshine and so have the moods over the past few days. Finally today a decent breeze from SW came up and we are sailing again – feels so much better.
We had turned the engine on several times and ran on just over 1000 RPM since the beginning of the week to cover at least some distance – DD 671 is noisy but does not let us down….

First Mate Zuna turned 33 and celebrated in style with his favorite dance hall reggae tunes and a crew of Rastafarians – at least we tried to be …
Happy Eddie was greeted by two local baby sunfish, drinks were plenty and of good Brazilian origin while the half intoxicated chef did his best to produce some proper chicken, beans and rice - Germaican style!

Another 5 days maybe before we arrive in Faial.
Excitement is growing slowly and people talk about strange things like trees, apples, mountains or grass.
And if the winds behave we might just sail close past the western islands of Corvo or Flores, just as a teaser, to please the eyes with unusual vertical lines, to get a whiff of land, to sense the presence of other terrestrial beings.
Hope we can take it….

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Day 31, July 21, 2010 by Christine

N 40 20
W 36 31

It is still 400 nm. We are sailing, slowly and it's sunny. We are experiencing a strong southerly current. There's a sort of excitement in the air, but nobody openly speaks about arriving in the Azores yet- we are still out here...enjoying each day of this voyage....

And an entry back from July 14- seems weeks ago...
This morning the sky is loaded with clouds, but they keep to the South West horizon. It looks more like one big wallow, rolling over the edge of the sea behind us, slowly growing like puff pastry and catching up with Heraclitus. Is this going to be the wind? We are waiting for wind. Everything is waiting for the action- the bird chatter last night, the dolphins who have been accompanying us for over a week now. Even the turtle who's massive ancient head appears every now and then from beneath the surface in a safe distance, seemingly taking in the image of the 'large floating shell' with lots of noise from the inside, which is us. There are bird feathers floating in the water for days. Small ones- little down feathers and larger ones that may have belonged to a wing. I have never seen anything like this at sea, consistently spread over a few hundred miles.

Since we aren't obviously moving just now, just drifting with 1.6 knots in more or less the right direction, the crew has started to move more busily around the ship, pacing up and down, looking for stuff, sorting thru their belongings. Not short of pointing out details to each other. People are producing what I call extravagant or at least adventurous cuisine.... Much more attention is paid to what comes out of the galley. There is voluntary cooking and especially baking- just for new sensory experience, new tastes, surprises...the usual suspects tinker long after hours in the galley now, while the rest of us hope for the fairy to pass with whatever got produced.

I want to arrive. I am longing for land, foliage. But not for the price of burning fossil fuel and the roaring of the engine. There is a definite relationship between Western timing and Western technics---this said sailing on an Eastern type sailing rig....

The puff pastry turned out to be a patch of fog, which rolled over us and is now rolling away over the other horizon.

I found out more about the bird feathers-- from previous crew member and ornithologist Duarte:
"From your description the feathers that you see on the surface belong to young birds that have left their nests still with down and are now at sea, swimming towards some feeding grounds and replacing their down feathers to proper flight, fully fledged plumage. All petrels and shear waters feed their young up to a certain point then when it is fat and ready, they abandon it and the young chick must make its way down to the water and swim (and fly) out to sea instinctively following its parents to a feeding area. At this time of the year some Northern breeding species have left their nests, so the down feathers, as they fall from the young bird, just float on the surface until eventually get wet and go underwater."

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 30; July 18th, 2010 by Claus

Sunday
18th of July

41.34'N
40.04'W

The wind had been light and from the direction where we want to go – so no sailing for now and we ran under engine yesterday night and again for about 6 hours last night until this morning when we started sailing with winds before the starboard beam in a not too great ENE direction.

Right now the wind has dropped, it is drizzling, the fog came back and visibility is once more down to a few hundred yards - we are drifting.
I feel far away at sea today, almost too far even though Archipelago dos Acores seems so close.
The ocean swell is very different now, much longer and composed and of a graceful elegance – very beautiful to watch but still, that did not prevent myself from falling into a state of profound melancholy. My inner self is grey in grey just like the world outside.
Somehow I expected more from 42 degrees North, somehow I felt especially intolerant towards displays of banality or childishness today, somehow I opened the wrong page of a book and began to miss someone I love – too much…..

Third mate Juan just called me on deck and out of my gloominess with certain urgency "come up quick, check this out boss!" and a 10 to 12 meter long sperm whale was slowly gliding towards us, diving just a few meters past our stern and then bobbing up his head several times as if to have a closer look at the excited little creatures on Heraclitus' deck.
Two more companions could be seen logging on the oceans surface and some huge splashes heard from not too far away.

In the midst of plenty and Jemanja seems compassionate.
I shall get better…
It's not only the birthday of big brother or sweet Brazilian Juju but also of me favorite Solomon Islander tomorrow!
Scotty cheer me up!
We must party!

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 29, July 16, 2010 by Claus

20:00 Zulu

41.55'N
42.12'W

The wind returned in sufficient strength on Wednesday afternoon and we started to sail again - about time as calm and doldrums feeling had its effect on psyche and moral, although not a real challenge yet but after almost 30 days, one at times prefers to not hear every sentence spoken.

Thursday morning, and with grey skies came winds and speed and also some fresh fish on our lure - a good size yellow fin tuna, maybe 15 some pounds and Rio and Lin-ly prepared some yummy Sushi that night, peace of cake to roll the bamboo mat in 30 degree of angle.
The lure was lost to something much bigger later on that day and this time I had carried our sweet little deck garden into safety before the first salty onslaught of the sea....

The wind was pumping with up to 30 knots through the night and squalls came racing past.
In the late afternoon we had a fantastic visit of a very large and unusually cheerful pod of common dolphins and their lovely little baby's, performing happy acrobatics for us on the bow in stormy grey seas. And most of us stood for long in the cold rain and marvelled at their playfulness while Heraclitus was rushing on with up to seven knots producing the kind of foaming frothy bow wave that added to those creature's bliss and actually ours too.

I had another unusual meeting with the animal kingdom in engine room when checking out the propellers stuffing box and a tiny crab came crawling up from the bilge to quickly hide under one of the steel floor plates when realizing that I had spotted it.....little dude, how did you get in? and what are you doing in here all those weeks? what happened to your family? Why are you alone? where is your love? ...Questions ,questions, questions....

The wind subsided suddenly again this morning after taking us another 125 miles closer towards our destination within 24 hours - another 700 to go before we reach the port of Horta on the island of Faial.
Right now the sky is clearing up and we are sailing ESE in light northerly winds making up to 3 knots only - hope the wind will stay some time....

On supplies: the 8-12 watch and especially young unflinching Abi, the woman in charge did brilliant in checking and managing the fresh supplies and all the rest of the stocks.
We hardly threw a thing away, also because it is so much cooler than usual.
We are now down to one crate of onions, one of potatoes, some good amount of garlic and some few hundred eggs of which the first disappointing rotten ones have said hello recently....;the freezers are still packed with meat and frozen veggies and other goodies and we carry enough canned food, rice, beans and flour to make it through till Christmas - we for sure not gonna starve out here.

All other systems are working good or at least good enough and so far we have used approximately 1,500 liters of diesel - a quarter of our total fuel capacity.

We are by far not there yet...

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 26, July 14, 2010 by Claus

12:00 Zulu

42.07'N
46.54'W

The calm and the fog had become faithful companions for the past 5 days , wet and cold and fascinating.
Shortly after dawn when the suns rays started to work their way through the thick mist another divine manifestation of nature could be observed to the west. A defined semi circle of bright white light with only the faintest hint of rainbow colors could be seen just a few hundred yards away - like a vision of a miraculous gate to another realm worth a grand entrance of the winged horse Pegasus or some other mythical creature was natures fine gift to us for a few recent mornings.
We almost solidly refrained from running our main engine not only to save fuel and nerves but also to appreciate these rare manifestations of the planet's grace in appropriate silence and humility.

Fog seems to be prevalent north of 42 degrees north and fog horns could be heard a few times, reminding us that we're not quite alone.
Radar has become so very useful and is to be checked every 20 minutes if the visibility deteriorates.

Question!
What are you actually doing out there?

The term 'Man Time' was coined about 5 years ago by a great Tasmanian sailor friend when cruising the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu. It is the manly display of muscular power, ideally in the mid day sun accompanied by heavy sweating and swearing; simple push ups, pull ups or sit ups that were at least in those fine old days geared at making up for heavy consumption of Kava in the local 'Nakamas' the night before or at getting rid of body fat and waste from eating too much of the horrible instant noodle soups that had become a major part of mine and Eddie's diet. If that was not motivation enough, one could always find some woman or other alpha male to impress....
'Anaerobic' is inspired by a recent meeting in Bahamas with a free dive maniac and old time Heraclitus fan , who had not only witnessed Heraclitus being dreamt up in 1975 in Oakland California but who had also helped many years later to free her after she was dragging anchor in a nasty winter storm onto a sand bank off the coast of Florida.
He was happy to see the ship again in Bahamas after more than 20 years and continued to be a fan and friend and inspiration.

At 42 N/47 W I could not carry rocks across the ocean floor or dare to pet a bull shark on its nose but I can hold my breath in solitude, performing anaerobic 'man time' on the bow - take me down to 120....

My maddening exhales after 50 repetitions must have sounded like a dolphin in distress which might explain why 4 white bellied dudes came flying at me as if to my rescue or savior 2 mornings ago and whistled their sweet clicks to me for more than 20 minutes until sure that I was fine....

The sea is calm and somehow grows ever bigger and makes the ship shrink and being so close to each other more challenging than before....Some of us are getting edgy and little things are blown out of proportion and now we wait for winds and a change of moods and attitude.

Last moonless night adrift again and the silence of the universe was enchanting and interrupted only by the excited trilling of a gang of tiny happy sea birds or the not so distant frequent blows and splashes from whales and dolphins - few ships but lots of life and the strange but welcome feeling of being further away from everything than ever.

Strong winds and rain are forecast in 2 days from now - bring em on ,it is time.....

Now, just now a shark came cruising by and is still hanging out the first mate just remarked - I believe the 4 foot oceanic white tip is looking for some company or just a little hungry, how ever it left the beautiful sun fish, first one i have seen in ages alone.

vive la revolution

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 24, July 12, 2010 by Lyn-Li

Into the Deep

Three weeks into the journey and we are deep within the ocean in every way. How can I explain this?
The smell of the sea penetrates deeper into my nostrils. The dew, and lately the fog, that clings to
my skin and my clothes goes deeper into my pours. In the early morning, there is a desperate quietude
that hangs over everything. I feel like there is community down below us and all around us, but I am
completely foreign to it. I am an observer in this place- roughly a thousand miles from Freeport to the
west and Azores to the east- and I am confined to an 82 foot space. I am grateful for the protection of
this ship, the mama-whale Heraclitus that scoops us up in her belly every night and lets us play, frolic
and work all around her during the day. However, I am also curious about what is out there too. The mass
of four-pronged jellyfish I saw bobbing amongst the glassy swells this morning while leaning over the
starboard side, a pod of pilot whales with dark fins gliding and bodies surfacing- the span of their pod
was from the ship to almost a fourth of a mile away!, the strange, duck-looking birds that fly around us
in the twos and threes- where do all of these creatures come from? There are cities under the ocean, I
imagine. And a watery language human beings can only learn in blips and blops.

The fog these days makes every sense and sound a bit more gentle and the words we use to communicate a bit
more profound. A kindness warms the heart like a fire to a waterlogged soul and, in the same vein, a coarse
word stings even sharper. I have heard that the Heraclitus was designed to enhance interaction between crew
members. I am grateful for this. We have created, by design and by necessity, our own community here on top
of the sea. The way I see it, this community stands for the city, the state, the nation, the world. Whatever
healing amongst its members is done here- out where every word echoes across billions of gallons of sea water,
has an effect on the whole. Every action must, by design, ripple across the miles and be felt on the other side
of the world.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 21, July 10, 2010 by Claus

July 10 2010

41.50'N
50.57'W

Thick fog embraced us for most of yesterday, the 4-8 had even lost sight of the bow for some time before dawn and this created a wonderfully surreal atmosphere and the senses were confused for a moment or it just took some time to realize that ears were more useful than eyes that morning.
Some miraculous force had taken away the horizons and we were in a dreamlike wonderland where, although all seemed calm around us, some distant noises sounded just like water falling; and maybe the edge of the world was somewhere near...

We heard the faint sound of a fog horn before we checked the radar to see a target in 8 nautical miles distance.
Although we had talked to motor tanker 'Spartia' via radio and were assured that we were showing on their radar and that they would keep a safe distance, the slow crescendo of the horn and then the slow increase of engine sounds was exciting and in the end we only saw a distinct long horizontal white line behind a magic curtain some thousand yards away - only the bow wave could be seen but no ship ... huuhuuhuuhh

Heraclitus feels sober, somehow collected and continues to move along in an unusual fashion, almost without a sound in the lightest of winds on a very calm ocean. Cool wind and a hot sun and mist and fog at night - thank you for that....

We have sailed over a deep part of this ocean, the so called Sohm abyssal plain for the past week or so and are soon crossing the Newfoundland Ridge - land 300 miles to port side only.....Canada I love you.

Today is Rio's birthday and we suddenly all turned into wrinkly, ugly, sexy grandmas and are drinking carajillo and sweet liquors on the poop deck and listen to Janis Joplin or play some ourselves and not today but soon too soon I will tell you about anaerobic man time, dolphins, fire holes and the fascinating resurrection of the mint.
The Fog has come in fast just now and I estimate a visibility of not more than a 100 yards. Break break to the music and listen for some horn before dancing on....The sun still there but leaving soon....

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 20, July 8, 2010 by Claus

41.05'N
53.12'W

So our boys failed in Durban against Spain last night - I had to witness this national tragedy on Radio and the expedition chief helped me out with a bottle of white rum from Hispaniola to drown my sorrows. Fascinating that a little leather ball kicked around by some young country man many thousand miles away can turn me into a real German for a moment - I was ready to order the crew to burn guitars and dump chorizos and all olive oil over board but fortunately remembered good times, old friends and sweet lovers from Iberia and that Barcelona will be home to our vessel in just a few months from now - I came to my senses.
Detachment is so difficult for me but the single most important thing I want to accomplish on this journey...

The sea had turned greenish and cold in wise anticipation yesterday morning, we were becalmed and quietly drifting towards the south - not good.
New little orange jelly fish of classical shape hovered around, a gang of four yellow fin tuna cruised by,large dolphins could be observed but stayed distant most of the afternoon.
The clear nights are marvelous out here with no bastard light pollution from anywhere one can see the stars brighter than ever and feels so much closer to the universe and the ocean adds to the magic with a constant increase of bio luminescence over the past few days. Even Carlos who had confessed to me upon arrival in Bahamas his phobia of the seas - welcome aboard sailor...- has by now turned into a solid ocean lover.

At midnight we got weak and turned our main engine on . The weather charts we received are disappointing and Freddy suggestion that we might find better conditions to the North made good sense to me. We continued under engine towards NE until lunch time today and are sailing 60 degrees since then making 2.5 to 3 knots in a gentle breeze from NW and very little swell.

We are getting further away from land every day and it truly starts to feel like that, wild creatures seem to become more curious and want to check us out. An unidentified whale or maybe even whale shark has come close and showed his huge dorsal fin some hours ago and a truly gigantic turtle swam past our stern just now.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 19, July 7, 2010 by Christine

N 40 08
W 53 55
Ah, the sea...le voyage...the space between life and death, where questions arise and also answers- many answers, those before arrival and those after reaching land. These are parallel lives on different planets......after more than two weeks at sea it feels very out there.
A few days ago I looked out of the lady's head porthole while taking a shower and I spotted land. Of course I knew it was impossible, but I fancied the illusion for a few seconds, studying the clouds which formed a perfect skyline of ragged mountains. I imagined lush green valleys with oak forests and rushing streams of fresh water. Was this a surprise by the Captain or fabled Mount Analogue... But no....,it's still over a thousand nautical miles to go...
Then yesterday I spotted a small turtle, again at a glance out of the porthole- which is an amazing coincidence, the ship becoming a laterna magica. Distractions aren't abundant but not absent--there is lots of Sargasso grass floating in the ocean with micro ecosystems of crustaceans and tiny fish swimming underneath. Pods of dolphins (or again and again the same one...) are frolicking in the distance. The water is a deep blue-green color - the temperature has dropped to 23 degrees Celsius from 37 degrees just a few weeks ago. It is almost dead calm now. An ever so slight whiff of wind and sunny. There is giggling and laughter from the galley and from the stern -still from Bahamas we carried a very large yam root, which Gabriella has been making chips from for the past 3 days. She called it 'Albert'...and Albert was devoured today... We will motor after dinner, to keep up the pace, just in case, and to reach higher latitudes where the winds are said to be blowing strong enough to push the ship forward- at least the black arrows on the wind map look a little thicker, though they have promised us a force 4 now and here we are in gentle big swells with little ripples...ah, yes, the sea...
(Captain Claus excuses himself today from the blog, because the German soccer team is out of the tournament....)

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 18, July 6, 2010 by Claus

15:00 Zulu

40.20'N
55.06'W


Blue skies and light winds from the S for almost 2 days now, interrupted only once by a little squall yesterday afternoon and Heraclitus is swaying soft and gently back and forth while the rigging creeks and squeaks a little sweet song of pleasant idleness upon a vast but quiet ocean - sounds almost too romantic,doesn't it.....

Two white lights on top of each other plus a green and a red approaching our starboard stern meant that just before midnight a cargo ship came steaming right towards us. Gilson woke me up, our deck flood lights all on and shining bright, trying to raise attention and one could already hear the sound of their gigantic engines - high time to turn on our DD 671 as there was no reaction from the 10.000 tons of boat that was surprisingly fast closing in from behind. In the end a powerful spotlight that we were flashing right onto their bridge did the job and they finally changed their course to starboard passing us in less 2 cables distance, our eyes glued onto that big wall of steel and no word spoken until their port light disappeared - some extra late night entertainment.

This morning was another beauty, Mahi Mahi still around, obviously not taking it personal that we had killed a few of them; Tuna chasing flying fish to port and what had just floated past was not a plastic bottle but a Portuguese man of war, a somehow graceful jelly fish of fascinating color that can cause extreme pain when accidentally touched - time for a swim stop....

Good wind is forecast for this afternoon, it is time to move and make some way - 1280 miles to Horta in Azores. 2400 miles to Tangier.

18:00 local time, a few hours later and still blue skies but now with a moderate breeze from SW and we are sailing due east on a starboard tack with 4.5 knots.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 17, July 5, 2010 by Claus

11:00 Zulu

40.08'N
55.52'W

It is one of those exceptional mornings, one that makes you feel more alive than usual.
A blue clean sky complemented by a fresh, gentle, cool breeze of air that almost has a taste and the horizon is somehow further away than ever - in one word best described as crisp and best enjoyed in solitude without a single word spoken....

The sun came back yesterday and the wind shifted to a favorable S To SW direction but only for a few hours.
We are hove 2 again since 3 o'clock this night, the Gulf stream got weak or is somewhere else - we are drifting NE with only half a knot, at least we are not loosing ground.
We have not lost our momentum yet and shall just wait now. The weather will change to our advantage one of these days. It is a good day to top up the water tanks, the desalinator does not work well in rough seas.
DD 671 is on holiday and saving fuel seems all worth it these days...

Argentina/Brazil 3 to 1 - that is in fish caught yesterday afternoon and prepared for Sunday night dinner by Juan and Gilson.
The Mahi Mahi family that has faithfully followed Heraclitus to the east got smaller.

At least yesterday I felt for a moment what I did not expect anymore from this crew: Some kind of transformation has taken place; and people that somehow could not before, have started to talk or laugh or just be with each other.
Maybe it is the fresh fish, the fresh air or simply some ancient wisdom of Heraclitus?

Change is the only constant and some white caps can be seen on starboard side.

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Day 16, July 4, 2010 by Claus --- 1,380nm to go

39.49'N
56.58W
Half hour till breakfast.
Rain drops are falling on our deck ......and a grey sphere has now well established itself over the ship for the past 2 days. We are hove 2 under a featureless sky in easterly winds, just tacked a few times to drift in a more favorable direction.
The grey brought with it some tristesse and woolen socks, new hats and sweaters and shoes and the reminder that most of our foul weather gear does not really keep you dry for long and I dearly miss my favorite blanket that I've lost somewhere in America.

Slow progress but at least progress, and an invisible helms man took us about 80 nautical miles to the NE - it is only another few miles before we cross the latitude of 40 degrees N, not a usual hang out for 'Heraclitus tropical' but this is where we planned to be - I am not up for doldrums, not the right crew and not the right time in my life...:
Up here they say we will find more prevalent South westerlies, up here its wet and cold and windy. It is summer time and I shall not complain!

Yesterday the hand of god took possession of my right for a moment and I managed to tune into a fine signal of "Deutsche Welle" on our new but somehow very complicated SSB radio and we listened to Argentina playing against Germany and it was a difficult day for Juan - I felt sorry, not even 1 goal for Argentina !

Inspired by football team Germany's great performance I volunteered to cook together with Rio that night - pork ribs, potatoes and sauerkraut is probably what our Cape town boys were having too. However I could not convince the crew of the importance of including sauerkraut in their diet although even Captain Cook had carried this French/German delicacy on his fantastic voyages some hundred years ago. Our half way party in Synesthesia was sweet while a force 6 with cold rain blew outside until I pulled the plug for many reasons in a sudden attack of grumpiness around 23:00 - maybe I am getting old....did someone just call me party-pooper monster?

So while I am writing this the sky lit up and shows us shapes of clouds and even patches of blue here and there. The wind turned to almost W and we are trying to sail in a light force 3 - just enough or maybe not to keep us going.

The sun might just come back today and a Mahi Mahi family is accompanying us for some time now - they are such fantastically beautiful fish , faithful to their soul mate I think and so very tasty - we are too slow to trawl a line.....

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 15, July 2, 2010 by Abi

I never dreamt I would see mountains in the ocean. Huge walls streaked with white rising up above my head before dropping under the ship and propelling me to their highest peaks. Riding the waves is both exhilarating and alarming. Catch a swell the right way and you glide across the surface of the ocean. Catch one the wrong way and the ship gets flung violently on it's side, water cascading over the deck and through the portholes. My favorite place is on top of a wave, teetering, peering down into the caverns and slopes formed by the wind. From this viewpoint I feel simultaneously gigantic and miniscule. The height produces an illusion of grandeur, while the vastness of the ocean and the knowledge that I can just as easily be under the wave humbles me. Days like this whisper secrets in my ear - I am grateful to the universe for sharing it's wisdom.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 14, July 2, 2010 by Claus

14:20 Zulu

38.54'N
58.27 'W

So we got it all yesterday....
Around 8:00 our time the sky closed to the NW and turned dark blue and grey and the wind increased in speed to a fine gale force and the waves got larger with their crests tumbling and breaking into spindrift, rushing past the ship.
Just on the edge and just before feeling threatened, so it was a great joy to be on the helm or stand on deck and to see and feel the ship being pushed and driven by these great forces of mother ocean.
Xtine happily enjoying the rush of Adrenalin while helming the black lady down hill as if skiing down the Alps; Abi was not really expecting to see mountains out here, I had 3 xtra large salt water showers this morning on deck while Gilson was humbly humming his favorite Daime songs from Brazil- every single one of us was kind of smiling - Just great if nothing goes wrong.....

Shortly after lunch the dark skies had caught up with us and it started to rain heavily and the wind stopped as we were right on the border line, where a strong Northwesterly meets a strong Southwesterly - the sea as if intoxicated performing a dance of sudden madness - Heraclitus being tossed around on a vast confused ocean. We tightened all lines and sheets to stop the fore and mainsail from banging and shaking and jerking around - now hove 2.
The daily ships meeting at 13:00 in command room was a bit special, at least for me as I could announce an unusually impressive days run, that means the distance sailed in the past 24 hours.
We had traveled from 38.16,9'N/63.41,4W at noon on June 30th to the position 39.00,3N/59.48,6W within 24 hours - a brilliant 186 nautical miles - I believe we broke a record there, our own but still a record!


Our diesel stove has an attitude in rough conditions too and started to burn a little hell fire in the afternoon and then smoked out the interior and made us cough and the alarms go off while the outside world had turned wet and cold.
Later around 19:00 the seas had calmed enough and the wind returned from SW and we sailed again with solid determination towards Azores accompanied by interludes of strong gusts and heavy rain.
Since 4:00 this night the wind has dropped and shifted to W and NW and now NE, so we are hove 2 again, drifting with no one on the helm - today is grey, but still we are magically moving with 3.9 knots in 112 degrees - we are doing something right....

Now while waiting for a change in weather, we are cleaning everywhere, scooping up water from under the Synesthesia floor, trying to find the right station to listen to Brazil against Holland, cope with each others presence while in idle, drink Mate, hot chocolate or coffee or tea and get used to the new rhythm of the cold

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 13, July 1, 2010

09:00 zulu

It is the early morning of the first of July.

The severe storm warning of a few days ago by Freddy has fortunately been down graded but we are in for some very heavy rains today.
The HIGH SEAS FORECAST FOR METAREA IV of
NWS OCEAN PREDICTION CENTER WASHINGTON DC
2230 UTC WED JUN 30 2010 is headed by a PAN PAN.
Issued are 2 gale warnings for the Western North Atlantic.
One of those is ours and I am watching the skies of our stern and feel the ocean swells growing bigger, they are the messengers of what is about to come.

We have sailed with an amazing speed and consistency over the past 48 hours in SW winds between 20 to 30 knots.
Heraclitus has never performed like this - at least not in my time.. maybe she knows and is just running, maybe she just wants to please me.
So far the ocean has shown its beautiful face to us and we had fine blue skies and waters,the nights were magic and temperatures very agreeable. The next 24 - 48 hours shall be different.

We put more lashings into the mainsail in case we have to reef and there is always more ship shaping. The watches are 12-4 Zuna and Mo, 4-8 Juan, Carlos and Lindly, 8-12 Gilson, Gabriella, Abi and Rio. xtine and myself are random and jump in when ever we are needed.

The Mizzen sail is down for days now, not strong enough above force 5 anymore. Fore and Main I trust and will stay up until we reach force 9 or until my instinct tells me some thing else.

The crew should be in good nick as most of them got christened in a gale off Hispaniola, when we had lost our steering 4 miles of a leeward shore, just 6 weeks ago.

We will sail with following seas and winds from the starboard quarter, so if the waves start to break and roll they will crash into Heraclitus strong and sexy stern - Helmsman better stay on course today!


Today we might tickle the bull, I am excited.

It is 12:00 Zulu now
We are sailing with 7.5 knots in 070 degrees, the sun is in our face right now, clouds are building slowly of our stern but no rain yet - all looks innocent so far....
Position is:
38.55'N
60.36'W

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 11, June 29, 2010 by Claus

June 29th

23:00 Zulu/1800 LMT

38.05'N
66.02'W

The winds came back early morning, 2 days ago - after we had drifted through the night, preserving fuel and waiting for confused seas to calm down...
We wanted to find the gulf stream again and winds in our favor took us closer to the coordinates of its axis - Freddy thanks for those updates.
The afternoon turned exciting when we finally had a huge Mahi Mahi on the hook of the line we were trawling - very decent fight to bring the mans leg sized fish on the deck - Mo thought someone had a seizure when she heard us screaming and wrestling with the beautiful beast on the stern.
Gilson and Juan paraded the bloody fish below decks before it was even gutted and we ate it all the same night, only the head made a fantastic soup today for lunch. We had sashimi, raw fish Polynesian style and fried steaks and turned all hyper from a mega boost of protein - Jemanja had taken a liking and was not quite done yet..
The moon came up about 2 hours after sunset, we were now getting close to what Freddy had called "the last strong segment of the Gulf stream", the wind increased continuously from SW until we were finally sailing in a near gale on a stbd tack.
I did not sleep that night, not because it was so rough but rather because I was so excited. Heraclitus surfing following seas with swells of up to 3 to 4 or sometimes even 5 meters it seemed - Eddie and me in awe when most marvelous 2 dolphins came shooting out of one wave that was just ready to break while lifting Heraclitus stern effortless towards the night sky. Plenty of water was gushing over the decks that night. Even had a close call with a motor tanker that did not answer the radio at first and crossed our bow in only half mile distance - we had right of way and were possibly for the first time the faster boat.
Clouds were chasing past the moon, all lit in beautiful yellow moon light and the best was what the GPS was telling us: Heraclitus was almost flying tonight with a top speed of 11.3 knots - fuckin' magic!
As far as I know that was breaking the ships speed record.
Today the task is to do the best days run ever which should be somewhere between 170 to 180 nm. Forecast is good...
Zunas birthday will be celebrated in the Azores I said, that is the 19th of July. Ride on.

Wind is still from SW with 25 knots and the gulf stream our friend.
Currently doing 7.5 knots in 075 degrees. The ocean is a Majesty .
Tomorrow is another day.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 8, June 27, 2010

The weather reports show a gale coming in from mainland USA by July 2, so we are hurrying East now to get out of range, with 6.5 knots. Obviously we are back in the gulf stream. It rained yesterday, and the day before- and seems to be getting cooler. The sky also looks different- of course, we are 36 North now...This afternoon, we repaired a few pending jobs on the rigging to get ready for weather. Filled the diesel drums from the deck into our tanks, took some things below deck for ship shaping, Eddie got his warm gear ready...just in case....so we were reminiscing about the North Pacific Crossing, which we did together on Heraclitus many years ago.
I cooked lunch today. Luckily, the fresh food is still holding up, even though most of it got refrigerated before coming onboard. But I have to admit, that I chose the tiny onions and garlic cloves still left from Cuba over the same from the Bahamas, which had been shipped in from mainland US. The fruits and vegetables from Cuba were exquisitely tasty. The produce we have now from Freeport looks unblemished and uniform, but it tastes bland and is going off rapidly.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 6, June 25, 2010 by Christine

Night before last, Eddie's watch, the 12-4 broke the speed record --9.9 knots...I heard Eddie laughing with joy on the helm. Today we are doing 5.2 knots, mostly due to the wind, a force 6 and good sailing with 5 points behind the beam. The 'leano-meter' shows a 10-15 degrees angle. I admit our obsession with speed- of course faster means arriving somewhere earlier or relaxing and swim stops when there is no wind...Yesterday one of the battery chargers and converters stopped working and the SSB fuse blew- Claus and Rio communicated with Freddy and solved the problems. Just a reminder to appreciate technics...
A school of squid squirted past the ship, some landed on deck for potential snacks, small ones, 4-5 cm. Other than that a storm petrel keeps circling us and sargasso grass.
We are slowly going to move out of the center of the gulf stream, to stay with stronger winds-

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 5, June 23, 2010 by Christine

Herclitus is now 110nm East off Charleston. This afternoon we passed a field of wild turbulent water, the sea looked white with spray, as if in a force 6. Amazing, I could even hear the water splashing. Also, huge swells overtaking us from the stern. It is still calm, but now the ship is rocking from side to side, gently tossed about by those hills of water from afar. They probably are a precursor of the good wind which is predicted to arrive tomorrow.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

North Atlantic Crossing

The Day BEFORE departure, June 18, 2010 by Christine

It's time...The crew was really ready to go! This was supposed to be the day of departure from the North American continent to North Africa and finally Europe....but...when Eddie tested the engineering systems, he discovered that our trusted winch had sprung a major hydraulic oil leak at one of the fittings. We could not depart without replacing it.
Across the majestic North Atlantic Ocean, which is where the great history of the expansion of Western Sea People began, with the Vikings and maybe others before.
Claus put all vectors in motion to resolve the problem and was hoping to either find or fix the part the next morning. Greg Howe helped with precious advice. He was running the dockyard in Bradford Marine and had met the Heraclitus when she was built in San Francisco in 1974. And then again in 1989, he helped pull the Heraclitus off a sandbank, when she got swept onshore during a gale in Florida. He is an accomplished free diver and continues to be a great fan of the Heraclitus.
In the evening, Claus and I went with a couple of, hopefully, last Bahamian "Sands" beers to a bottle strewn but nice beach. Overlooking the dark open sea and starry sky and the oil terminals, we shared contemplations about departures, voyages, love, life this that and the other.
A voyage at sea is always a new beginning or an end to something. Only the truly significant remains. The echo of the past grows faint and the future becomes a place to go...the next port, and we become the ship in between, leaving only a quickly disappearing trail.

Day 1, June 19, 2010 by Christine

All night each deck check sprayed WD40 on the fitting that was seized. Before the general wake up call, Claus and Gilson managed to extract the fitting and went off to the shipyard in search of parts. Miraculously, they got an appropriate piece of hose from a neighboring barge and on a back shelf in the depths of the engine room, found a fitting that worked.

Then off we go...

Heraclitus left Freeport at 16:00 hours on June 19th, a quiet Saturday afternoon. Captain Claus skillfully turned the ship
around in the narrow creek, a delicate maneuver because the super yacht Helios had docked very close behind us.
And then.... off to Tangiers/Spain via the Azores, 3,150nm.

Once we passed the fare way buoy, we raised the sails. Once it got dark, we could see the glow of Florida on port - orange
and very bright - a phenomena which will probably accompany us for a while or at least as long as we are so close
to the US East coast. The water is clear and clean, no rubbish in hours, except a large white piece of plastic, and
there are streaks of pine needles from the pine tree plantations of Grand Bahamas floating in patches.

Day 1, June 19, 2010 by Rio
REFLECTIONS ON THE FIRST DAY

Today we commenced the Atlantic Crossing Voyage, the next major leg of the Coral Sea to Mediterranean Sea Expedition. Our trajectory will take us from Freeport in the Bahamas to the Azores, Tangiers, and then to Spain. The crew enthusiastically cast off from our dock at Bradford Marine late in the afternoon. With this journey, we have the opportunity to bask in the blessed simplicity of life at sea. Did the sages who encouraged us to simplify our lives receive their teaching from the early Sea People?

We had been preparing the ship for the voyage for the last ten days, ever since we arrived in the Bahamas from Santiago de Cuba. The hydraulic steering pump was repaired, our emergency steering system was overhauled and made operational again, and numerous other repairs had been made. On Thursday, a truckload of food arrived and a stowing party proceeded for several hours. During the long crossing, we will be traveling on our stomachs with no way to replenish food supplies, other than the luck of our anglers, so care and skill is essential in stowing the food for preservation and finding it for use.

Capt. Claus accompanied his departure meeting with an impassioned speech stating his intention to deliver the Heraclitus intact and all of the crew alive to the Mediterranean. He pointed out that while we may not like all of our crew mates, we owed each other respect, since we all share the responsibility for maintaining a safe and ship-shape vessel.

On our first night at sea, we enjoyed a lively "Saturday night out" informal dinner on deck as twilight turned to the star-studded night that brought some respite from the heat and humidity. Being at sea also gave us relief from the annoying bites of the "no see-ums" that had plagued us on shore.

Our discussion at dinner that night ran the gamete from the significance and meaning of enlightenment to a proposal for "table" dances. Then Lyn-Li, in her casual journalistic style, asked Christine, Claus, and I about our previous experiences with long sea passages. Christine, veteran of a 152-day voyage, recalled that a long time at sea stimulates the welling-up of memories from deep within. I recalled the challenges and stresses of the 36-Day Survival Voyage during the Around the Tropic World Expedition. For that expedition, such a long voyage had not been planned. Every day was a fight for survival, so I personally am looking forward to a long intentional voyage. Claus commented that while a long voyage on the Heraclitus is communal by design, the experience is ultimately individual. He commented that after about two weeks at sea, he begins to feel a oneness with the ocean, a new found and rare freedom, and perhaps most importantly, the enjoyment that comes from spare time for reading and reflection. The Captain said that he enjoys the truly rare luxury of leaving behind the concerns of the land and entering the world and life of Sea People.

We often hear of the challenges that long voyages presented to early sailors, and while we know we may have our fair share, rarely do we hear of the pleasures of long passages- the time it affords one for conversation and companionship, for reading and writing, for reflection and for contemplation of the universe and life. These are pleasures that have all but disappeared from our everyday life, crazy with the latest twits and tweets of the moment, the horrors of the current economic situation, and the never-ending battles of politicians who promise us peace but fail to deliver it. This peace is something that several weeks at sea can magically provide.

After months of discussions by Christine and I with numerous individuals who considered making the historic passage, our crew of eleven lucky persons, settled into our new world. They are: Captain Claus Tober, Germany; Expedition Chief Christine Handte, Germany; Voyage Photographer Rio Hahn, USA; First Mate Eddie Zuna, Solomon Islands; Second Mate Gilson Nagel, Brazil; Third Mate Juan Campos, Argentina; Galley Manager Abi Shapiro, USA; Librarian Gabriella Daris, Greece; Assistant Rigger Mo Yip, USA; and Crew Members Lyn-Li Torres Pugh, USA, Carlos Vindel, Honduras and Expedition Chief Christine Handte, Germany.

Robert "Rio" Hahn is an explorer, photographer and organic farmer who hails from many ports, including the RV Heraclitus and Bonsall, California.

Day 2, June 20, 2010 by Lyn-Li
SETTLING IN

"Each moment is a place you've never been." - Mark Strand

The current eleven-member crew of the RV Heraclitus began our journey to cross the Atlantic two days ago as we motored out of Freeport, Bahamas with 3,150 miles to go until the Azores. Now at the end of this day, we are ninety miles closer to the next time we will see dry land. What exactly does this mean? Six weeks with only the hull of a ferro-cement ship between us and the deep sea is a concept that is hard for the majority of us, who have spent our lives with our feet planted firmly on solid ground, to wrap our heads around. It makes sense, then, that today was a quiet day. There was a collective pensiveness that surrounded us on this second day of the voyage. A veteran to many such journeys once told me that it takes a while for the body to adjust to life at sea. I image the same goes for the mind and the spirit as well. There is a freedom, of course, in being surrounded by all this water. Yet at the same time, it reminds one of how limited and how infinitesimally small one truly is. And so perhaps this is the process we go through as we settle in to our daily routines - the team dynamics of our respective Watches, the at-sea routine of meals, both formal and informal, the maintenance of ourselves and the ship, the endless things that must be taught and learned.

Meanwhile, the elements have been kind to us. The sea was calm as glass through late afternoon and then we were treated to some swell action. Captain Claus let Assistant Rigger Mo and I let out the sails a bit and tack the main sail to starboard side. Tiny puffs of wind made the Heraclitus kick up her heels just a bit, a preface of more to come as we journey north. It seems that when the Heraclitus moves through water powered only by the elements and the sails on its deck is when the magic happens. Even though we were only going about three knots (sometimes four) while under sail, it felt good to finally turn the motor off and, with only the sound of the wind through the flaps, let the ship do its thing.

By evening, Captain gave the orders to "heave to" in preparation for our first "formal" Sunday night dinner at sea (a Heraclitus tradition). The pink sky of twilight was beginning to turn dark as we sat around the carpet up on deck holding tin cups of red wine and giving toasts. "A toast!" First Mate Eddie called out, "to making friends at every port!" And then- the clanking of tin against tin as the toast was acknowledged full circle. One by one, the members of this diverse and dedicated group stood and spoke about their fears, hopes and expectations for the weeks ahead.

. On everybody's mind seemed to be the ship itself- that humble and sturdy vessel that has introduced countless individuals around the world over the last thirty years to life at sea.

Notable Quotables:
"Now I can finally say, 'This is it. There is no turning back.' " - Juan
"I get comfort, sometimes, in the not knowing." - Claus
"When I get back on dry land, I will have sex with the earth." - Carlos
"Working the 12-4 shift makes me appreciate the importance of the stars." - Mo
"I use to be so excited about the idea of going on the crossing. But now that we are doing it, it is no big deal." - Gilson

Day 2, June 20, 2010 by Christine

Since this morning we have been doing 7.8 knots, though motoring, because there is not much wind. Freddy is
sending us weather reports and indications of where the centre of the Gulf Stream is located, so we can sit ourselves
fat in the middle. Today he predicted a stream speed of 2 knots North, almost precisely at our current position of
N 27 58, W 29 39. It's very quiet onboard, except the engine roaring, as everyone is sleeping off the heat and the
last few days of mad departure preparations. Late in the day we quieted the main engine and generator, and once again
enjoyed the rhythmic creaking of the rigging, and a late afternoon light breeze.

Day 3, June 21, 2010 by Christine

It is cloudy all around- low nimbus clouds, waiting to unload. Not much wind. No more pine needles, but now Sargasso grass- orange bushels with tiny grapes on them (I wish...). I remember 24 years ago on one of my first voyages, Duarte Camara cooked Sargasso grass for hours - though I don't remember who ate it, not me, but I tried and...it was very tough. There are not so many ships compared to the traffic of many specific passages in Asia in the past. I would have expected more ships here as supposedly we are sitting in the middle of the gulf stream. Floating along nicely with 1.7 knots just now, no wind and no engine. It's Solstice today, the longest day of the Northern year. Dancing on deck with the late setting sun and under the stars. It was a good one...

Day 4, June 22, 2010 by Christine

Gilson and Eddie are untangling a fishing line. There's a school of Mahi Mahi fish following us, but they don't bite, no matter what hook or what type of line Eddie puts out. In the meantime, the 8 -12 watch, Abi and Carlos are busy inspecting the fresh produce for foul items. It's hot- already in the morning it is too hot to walk on deck, we have to run from one shady place to another or get the soles of our feet seared...
Tonight is the traditional salon evening onboard the R/V Heraclitus and the theme is 'The gulfstream', the biggest river in the world. I observed turbulent areas in the sea today, irregular currents or eddies- just like in a real stream, rough water, white caps. Claus is setting our course according to a printed line on a US navy chart from 1966, which supposedly marks the centre axis of the gulf stream. He is of course meticulously integrating Freddy's reports and updates. We are fast- 6.2 knots. Almost every time I scanned the surface of the water today I saw pieces of rubbish. But also- a pod of a dozen of bottle nose dolphins rode the bow for an hour.

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