The Promised Land

Me at the helm

On December 29th, 2019 Vesna left Gran Canaria to set off across the Atlantic and arrive in Speightstown Barbados. The crew were excited after being in the Med for over three years. From the way the Caribbean was described, it was the promised land. Everything the Med lacked, the Caribbean had. You wish there were more fish when you went diving? Go to the Caribbean. Want sandy beaches? Go to the Caribbean. We stuffed Vesna full of cans of food and Mum went to the shops just before we left to get some last-minute fresh foods. We were buddying up with two other boats, Otoka and Avanti, we all left within 15 minutes of each other and started motoring out to sea.

            The passage took 18 nights and I did a night watch for 17 of them. At first I was doing a three hour shift from 22:00 to 1:00 but later I moved to a four hour shift, from 22:00 to 2:00. Following my watch, Mum did hers, followed by Dad. During the day the watches were a bit scattered and mainly consisted of us setting a timer for ten minutes and looking around every time it went off. The main thing we had to watch out for in the Atlantic was squalls which would form behind us and then overtake us, bringing wind and sometimes rain. The clouds were annoying at first because they produced lightning, and getting struck by lightning wasn’t something we wanted to happen. Losing all our electronics halfway through the crossing would not have been fun. I once spent an entire four-hour watch staring at a menacing cloud that we were slowly creeping up on. After hours of staring it down, I finally woke up Dad to make a sail change so we could avoid it. We were still sceptical of whether or not the cloud was doing anything, then as we were watching, a lightning bolt struck the water and we were glad we had turned.

            Towards the end of the passage our watches got easier because we sat and simply poked our heads out every 15 minutes or so. The clouds didn’t produce lightning anymore so the only thing we had to look out for was the wind speed and direction and how close we were to Otoka.

            Entertaining ourselves on the passage was hard. All of my video games except one broke by the second day so I had to resort to playing Minecraft pocket edition. I made a farm in survival mode. By Minecraft standards, it was a gargantuan farm yielding multiple stacks of wheat and beetroots per harvest, I also started a much smaller sugarcane farm and made myself a small abode surrounded by double stacked cobblestone wall. The property was fully lit it up so no mobs could spawn inside. Building all this took me many days, but when I was finished, I got bored again. Luckily for me I had a brother, Rainbow Six Siege, and a LAN network. Reuben and I played countless 1v1s in siege and I won all but two. There wasn’t much else to do but watch movies with Ivy, who for some reason only wanted to watch animated movies like Mickey Mouse.

            We ate well on the crossing, especially in the first two weeks. By the end it was mainly baked beans and two-minute noodles for dinner every night. Not that this was particularly bad, I like two minutes noodles and baked beans a lot, but it wasn’t the same as the dinners mum had been making the previous two weeks. We caught two fish during the passage, we could have caught more but we didn’t put the rod in that much. We caught a mahi mahi and a tuna. My favourite was the tuna but the mahi mahi was also good. The same day we caught the tuna, Mum had already made chicken curry, so we feasted on tuna and chicken curry. It was easily my favourite dinner of the whole crossing. The only problem was that the best dinners usually made the most dishes, and dishes were not an easy thing to do while in big swells. A lot of the time we had to use a bucket to stack the dishes in to make room, and one person’s job was to just hold all the dishes so that they didn’t fall and smash.

            On the last day of the crossing everything went a bit south, we had kept our cool at each other for the whole passage but on the last day everyone was arguing and yelling at each other the whole day. We were scheduled to arrive during my watch, so dad took over instead and I went to sleep. The next day I woke up at ten the next morning. There was something very different on the boat but lying in my bed I couldn’t quite figure out what. And then I realized, the boat had stopped rocking. I looked out the window and saw pristine beaches, we had arrived. We were in the promised land.

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