The Maiden Factor Blog

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Whales, tales, and dishes, Tis the life of a Maiden

By Molly Lapointe

Hello there!

I’m writing this from 21 degrees south and nearly 25 degrees west, sailing with the full main and Jib topsail, making 9 knots. The sun is strong as is the breeze today, at least for a few more hours! We’re trying to make as much progress as we can before the wind is meant to drop later today, and we might need to use the dreaded whispers motor (aka Diesel Sail)…

Sarah and Hadley have just made lovely quesadillas for lunch. Nqobile is at the helm. Heather is doing the washing up. And the rest are peacefully sleeping.

I can’t believe it’s only a week until Christmas! We’re all trying to get in the spirit by decorating the boat a bit. Heather and I got crafty and made everyone a stocking out of the ripped A2 with the boat’s sewing machine, and they are hanging in front of the “fireplace” that Ami constructed out of tape on the engine bay wall. There’s magic in the air! Or wait, that’s a bit of sea spray… But still!

This has been such a pleasant passage compared to some others that we have done lately. It’s nearly double the length of time as our transatlantic was, but it feels like a breeze in comparison; we’re not soaked every watch with rain and waves and battling upwind in 50 knots, quite the contrary, in fact. We’ve had blue skies, steady (ish) breeze, warm weather, and wildlife! The other evening, right at golden hour, we had a pod of False Killer Whales come and swim and play in our wake. They were acting just as dolphins often do, talking and leaping and playing, curious about our boat and the Maidens shrieking with glee on the deck! There were two, then three, then four, and then six of these long majestic creatures dipping in and out of our wake, seemingly close enough to reach out and touch. I have never seen whales behave or interact with a boat like that. It is surely a moment I will never forget.

Once we do start motoring later today or tomorrow, there’s a large work list we are going to try to chip away at. It’s easier to get things done when the boat is flatter, of course, so it includes things such as an aloft rig check, calibrating our instruments, thorough cleanings of the boat (bilges, galley, etc.), and perhaps even personal laundry 🧺

We’re all getting excited brainstorming about what to do for fun in Cape Town once we get there. If you have any must dos/eats/sees, let us know!

I will leave you with a haiku:

Whales, tales, and dishes
Tis the life of a Maiden
Sail fast! Sail faster!