Alex Beal + Emma Garschagen, from the harbor in Marstrand, Sweden
“It is the smallest of moments which make a difficult and sometimes tedious journey worthwhile”
Journal Entry #1
August 21, 2021 // 11:37 // 51°41′ N 008° 31′ W // Wind SW 20-25 kts
Leaving Ireland — The Irish county side has been beautiful—full of character and unrefined landscapes which appear both lush and jarring from the healthy amount of rainfall and harsh southerly wind. You can see these characteristics in many of the locals faces—the Fishermans sharp eyes and weathered wrinkles from wind, sun, and salt. There is a keen sense of cheer despite the cloud cover and rain—a good sense humor seems vital. Pushing off for Sweden this afternoon! Mixed feelings of anticipation and excitement and we plot our path through the Irish Sea, past the Scottish Isles and across the North Sea.
Journal Entry #2
August 23, 2021 // 20:00 // 56°02′ N 006° 36′ W // Wind calm, NW 4kts
Pushing North to Scotland.
We pushed forward through the Irish Sea, heading North towards Scotland. I had the 0400-0800 watch, for which we had smooth and constant wind. By the afternoon we had hot a thick fog which engulfed our vessel as we looked to the chart for navigation between the islands of Islay and Jura. Crew seem uneasy with the low visibility. As the sun beat down it began to spread the thick fog thin, revealing the Scottish county side on either side—Islay to our port, Jura to our starboard. This, to date, has been the most exciting and encouraging day on the water.
Journal Entry #3
August 24, 2021 // 09:00 // 56°46′ N 007° 06′ W // Wind calm, glassy water
Isle Of Skye
Motoring up the the little Minch SW of Isle of Skye. Stunning serene morning—the sunrise was a slow burn, salmon sky behind jagged islands/all colors painted onto low fog and high alto cumulus clouds. Crew in good spirits. Next time I am in these waters I will make an effort to stop and explore these islands—the mountaineering and potential for hunting look promising.
Journal Entry #4
August 26, 2021 // 20:10 // 58°21′ N 004° 21′ W // Wind calm, N 20-35kts
Across the North Sea // “Scary Fun”
Rowdy night last night in the North Sea—weaving between the shipping lanes and rigs in 3+ meter seas and a howling 25-30kts. We were on a reach and the passing swell would often crash right into the cockpit filling up like a salty bathtub. I hardly slept before I went up above—hearing the wind howl and feeling the hull crash down off the seas, my back pressed hard against the bookshelf behind me. Despite the lack of sleep, the night was awe-some. In the early hours I went forward with one of the crew to rig the preventer and put the 3rd reef in. The crew member described it as “scary fun” — I agreed; like rock climbing when you’re so highly and singularly focused everything else becomes irrelevant. Then the day broke in pinks and shrouds of light bathing the boat and rigs around us—resembling an oil painting of some distant cathedral. Or an ocean realm where settlements exist out at sea—rich fortresses—while we howl by in our tiny ship—powered only by the wind!? Crazy. The day eased off into a sunny bluebird one—the wind slowly easing. We lazily released the reefs and added sail, enjoying life at a less ridiculous tilt.
Journal Entry #5
August 29, 2021 // 11:17 // 57°42′ N 011° 55′ W // Docked
On the morning of August 29th we sailed into port in Marstrand, Sweden. After two days of hard wind and high seas, the crew—some more than others—were glad to be on firm ground. For those of us who had found a slice of bliss, it was a bittersweet ending to a long seven days at sea. We celebrated a safe passage with a bottle of Champagne and retold moments from the past week. Upon jumping on the dock it was immediately noticeable how my “sea legs” now needed a thorough realignment, as the motion of the sea still coursed through my muscle memory. A fellow crew member admitted to bracing against the wall in the restroom despite now being on land. Amazing what a week at sea can do to the body and mind. Just as soon as we had begun, it was now over—which I’m learning appears to be the case with many of this adventures. All the more reason to take note of those small of moments which make a difficult and sometimes tedious journey worthwhile.