Monday, 30 November 2015

Where does the wind come from?

Hi all

One thing a sailing boat like Moondancer needs is wind. But have you ever wondered what wind is and where it comes from? The sun heats the ocean and the heat is released slowly. Heat from the ocean warms the air and warm air rises.

When the warm air rises from above the ocean, cold air rushes in to replace the warm air – that movement makes wind.
In weather prediction terms, cool air produces high pressure and warm air causes low air pressure. 

The wind pushes against the sails and the Moondancer travels through the water. But it’s more complicated than that. You need to put up just the right amount of sail depending on the strength of the wind. 

And there are lots of other complicated maneuvers to learn to be a proper sailor. 

It’s nice and calm today and the crew have let me control the tiller. This is connected to the rudder which is used to help make the vessel turn.

You have to turn the tiller the opposite way that you want to turn. The tiller will also help keep the Moondancer traveling straight, but you have to adjust it slightly as the vessel gets pushed sideways by the waves.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Musical interlude

Hi all

I'm really getting into being part of the crew and that means taking part in the music too. 
 Unfortunately I am bit too small to play a musical instrument but I joined in with all the

'yar la lay’s'

Click the link  Becalmed Feat. The Commodore

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Atlantic Ocean from Spain to Portugal.

Wow, its been a wild ride so far, calm days and sun sets, rough stormy seas and eerie sea mists. There has also been fun, songs and music.

One of the many groups of dolphins we have encountered on our journey. These are bottlenose dolphins.
These are pilot whales lazing at the surface. They are toothed whales, mainly black with a large rounded head. This included the mellon which helps them to echo-locate. That is using sound to find your way around and to locate food. The males are largest, they can be over 6 metres long! They also have much bigger dorsal fins that dolphins.

Click link for a short video of the Atlantic, Spain and Portugal

Monday, 16 November 2015

From Portugal to the End of the World

Hi all

We have now reached Spain and a chance for me to give you a quick update.

A chance for me to share highlights of the leg of our journey from Portugal to Finnisterre in Spain.

The weather conditions have been quite varied so far. We have had some amazing sunsets and sunrises but in our recent stretch we were swallowed up by a huge bank of sea mist. It was very eerie. I have been in fog on land and even up in the mountains of the Canary Islands of Tenerife.
Somehow this eerie feeling is even worst when you are at sea. The feeling that almost anything could be just beyond out view in the swirling mist.

There are many dangers for a small vessel in the fog. A small ship could run aground on rocks or other half hidden objects. Which is why we are traveling safely away from land. There is  an even bigger danger of collision with another vessel. So every now and then one of the crew would sound the foghorn to alert any other sea users as to where we were.
The first two times Captain Casparo sounded the horn it made me jump as the only other sound we could hear was gentle splashing of the water as the Moondancer cut through the waves. 

Sea mist is like being in a cloud as the mist is also made up of tiny water droplets. Sea mist forms when mild air travels over the colder seawater. This causes the moisture in the air to condense into water droplets. Not so scary once you know the science. And as long as you have a great captain and crew to get you safely through.

Eventually out of the mist we see land

We have reached the safe haven of Finisterre, also enshrouded in the sea mist. 
In Ancient Roman times it was believed to be the end of the known world, which was easy to believe when we came up to Finisterre out of the fog.

As you know I have a great interest in maritime history and I was very interested to learn that  This was where the Phoenicians (an ancient trading civilization form the Mediterranean Sea) sailed from here to trade with Bronze Age Britain. Wow we must have traveled a similar route.