On Sunday, we worked out a plan with our new captain, Pietro, for our sail across the Bay of Biscay! We checked the weather, and it seems the best time to leave is Tuesday morning. By the time this reaches your inbox, we will already be sailing away from France!  After nearly four weeks here, we are definitely ready and excited to leave. Since we’ve been here so long and it seemed like this day would never come, I’ve been really anxious and running around frantically trying to prepare to leave!

There’s a LOT to do to get ready to sail away! Bob and Pietro have been working on prepping the boat: equipment needed, spare items to carry, safety setup, and route planning for two days.  They also worked out several points along the coast where we can stop if unexpected bad weather comes our way. Hopefully, we are able to sail across the bay in just a few days. But the Bay of Biscay is notorious for bad weather, especially in fall. Right now, the sky is dark and cloudy, and it’s been super windy all day – so hopefully that weather passes quickly overnight.  Knowing the bay’s reputation, and our lack of sailing experience, this has me pretty nervous. Bob has sailed much more than I have, but collectively, I don’t think most people attempt what we’re doing, the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic Rally without a LOT more experience.  We’re putting a lot of faith in our ability to learn, and in captain to get us across safely.  Being a control freak, this is just a bit challenging, haha!

My primary job to prepare for this trip was food provisioning.  Since we don’t have a car and things are very spread out in Les Sables d’Olonne, this is a pretty exhausting job with all the walking and hauling.  You can only haul so much in each trip, even with my fancy cart.  I resisted this cart at first, not wanting to spend extra money on things we may not need all the time, but it only took me about a week in France hauling things in a backpack and bags to break down and spend 20 Euro on this fantastic contraption.

I think we’ve mentioned our South African friends, Paul and Tracy, a few times now.  They recently took delivery of their new Lagoon and we met them on the dock.  It was SO nice to find some other fluent English speakers here in France!  It’s such a rarity to hear English here.  They’re quite like us and so much fun, so we’ve spent a lot of time with them in the last two weeks since we met.  Fortunately, Paul’s cousin came to visit him for an extended weekend and he had a rental car – jackpot!  Chris took Tracy around to a bunch of local stores to do provisioning and I was able to hitch a ride! Thank you, Chris!! Although Paul and Tracy have changed their departure plan and are now staying until Sunday, Tracy and I did our shopping together – it was way more fun to have a shopping buddy!! I think we spent about eight total hours shopping in the last two days.  Primarily, we purchased food, but we also needed household supplies and water.

(Click the first image to enlarge and then you can arrow through to the right!)

Both our boats are equipped with water makers, but it’s important to have bottled water available in case of an emergency.  For reference, I’ve been told that you should allow 1.5 to 2 liters per person per day. If we estimate on the low side, that would mean we would need about 45 liters to get us from Les Sables d’Olonne to the Canaries (in the best case scenario sailing weather).  We currently have about 56 liters stashed away and plan to make at least two stops, so we are good there! I think we’re pretty well stocked – what do you think? To add context, our fresh water tank is 300L and we can make 105L per hour with our water maker.

(Apparently this is the only photo I took – just know that there are two cupboards in the saloon sofa and two small floor storage spaces crammed full of non-perishable goods, all in addition to the three regular cupboards!)

After drinks with our friends Paul and Tracy, we’re sitting around discussing how much power we can use and how often I can use my hair dryer. Since it’s still pretty cold up here, I really need to dry my hair instead of letting it air dry – especially if I’m going to be out on watch. The struggle is real! It might seem like a trivial thing, drying your hair, but in windy conditions out on the ocean, it’s just not ideal to have wet hair.  I get very cold very easily – numb fingers and toes – and it’s super painful.  To me, it’s very important to always stay as warm as possible.  This means, lots of dry layers and dry hair!  Never in my life have I had to consider water and electricity consumption, as they’ve always been unlimited resources in the U.S.  This is a steep learning curve, especially in a colder climate. Heading south and across the Atlantic will definitely help that!

Tonight, I made some fresh bread in the bread maker, and honestly, it’s the most important thing I’ve done all day. Comfort food – tastes of home – those will save us on this voyage.  Now it’s finally time to do some reading to relax my mind and get some rest. Big day tomorrow; HUGE day! Time to get some real sailing in! Stay tuned to Instagram and Facebook for updates!  We will be sailing for a few days before we make any stops, so I’m not sure what internet capabilities will be like, but we’ll share as much as we can as soon as we can!