Hi Everyone Azura will be crossing at the end of 2019 or beginning of 2020 to probably Antigua and then cruising the Caribbean before heading towards Central America , Columbia and finally Belize. This will be my 18th Transatlantic and I am very much looking forward to it and building a crew of like minded individuals who will contribute to the fun aboard. So what's it like on the open ocean? For those of you who have not experienced this its hard to describe but let me have a go. The first few days are always a little uneasy as you settle into the boat and the boat settles in to you. You bump into stuff get a few bruises and generally find out where you fit! The ocean seems troubled and uneasy and not quite in a rhythm . You're eating patterns are a little off and you feel somewhat unsettled. We always set off with a god forecast so this is not a problem of the weather. It is your body and soul adapting to a different life , a different way of being. You go to check your phone and realise there is no internet. What is happening in the world? Does it matter?. The first night is always a bit daunting for new crew, sailing into blackness and the unfamiliar sounds of the ocean as waves cross or follow astern. ( We don't leave anywhere into a headwind!). Sleep comes and you feel weary, your body and muscles have been moving and adapting to new situations. You wake feeling like only a few minutes have passed as your fellow watch leader hands you a cuppa and says 10 minutes on deck for the watch. You're on 4- 8 and will see your first dawn at sea today. The light creeps up from a grey aura until suddenly it is bright sun . Unknowingly you hav found your place in teh cockpit, wedged and settled a little salt spray on your face. You remove some gear as the sun comes up and its warm, nope hot! After three days your body has acclimatised and now moves with the ocean and the boat. You feel surrounded by nature and without knowing it probably better than you have in years. Each day is governed by teh weather, by what you will eat, by the fish you catch and by the companionship of those you're with. You live in the moment and its so different to life ashore its profound. Days move forward and nights as we cross. You start to notice the procession of stars across the sky and how they change as we wend our way. You sense when something needs tuning in the sails or your fellow crew. You grow closer to each other and the ocean. You start to look forward to a night watch an seeing the stars and moon arc through the mast as you watch. A phosphorescent trail streams from the yacht behind. Soon we are celebrating half way and soon your feeling a little excited for landfall and sad that it marks the end of a passage. You learn to shoot the sun and plot your position from the stars. You meet our fellow travellers as they spout alongside... You cope with reefing in a blow and are so proud of what you have become an ocean sailor with the confidence to cross oceans afloat. Your first Ocean voyage is very special and its something you will never forget. It is a gem in a lifetime and a time to unplug and engage with the world spiritually and emotionally whatever you're beliefs in a way that is so hard to do . Then Landfall; A strange bird perhaps an odd fragrance on the breeze, some cross swells. Then a cloud high and isolate on the horizon. Suddenly under the cloud you see a grey shadow of a mountain. You pick up local radio on FM. Reggae floods the cockpit. You spin the radio and the dipole tells you you're on course.... ( Ok so you have a GPS, but why not enjoy the skills off seamanship and navigation!) You make port together , clear in and then head for the first rum punch, quaffed and enjoyed , hug and enjoy the feeling of ground beneath you feet as you look back at the yacht riding at anchor. Great to be ashore and get some fresh salads, meet new people and share stories. A part of you though is sad the voyage is over. The same part iOS already thinking of the next voyage, yearning for the open ocean and freedom which is our birthright. The sea now runs in your veins and if its for you then you will never be parted again. An ocean crossing is a very special thing to do and one you will never forget. Safe sailing, Fair winds and clam seas Capt Nigel