CHANGE OF COURSE
If you look at our yellow-brick transmissions, we look a bit dazed and confused. Winds were all over the place our first night, and on the second night they were coming from the wrong direction. We had to try to “follow the wind” by going SW. Then, we got word from Meteorologist Chris Parker—a storm was brewing…
Ariana and I standing watch:
We were getting our weather outlook each day from Chris Parker (Florida) and on Friday, we learned that a low pressure/tropical storm was developing either just north of the Bahamas or down near Martinique, starting on Monday. Given that we had not yet traveled too far east, Chris recommended that if we had enough fuel, we should head to the Bahamas in case this storm turned ugly—and get there before Monday morning. Of course, we would never have gotten that information if it hadn’t been for a woman on “Aloha” who was kind enough to relay our position and Chris Parker’s response. Our HF transmission was TERRIBLE that night and we are so grateful to her for being willing to be our go between.
This flying fish (“Fish Stick” as Ariana adoringly calls him) didn’t make it. He got caught in our trampoline:
With this new information in hand, we changed course and hightailed it toward the Bahamas, which we reached on Sunday late afternoon after motor sailing the whole way. Of course, that was not without issue. Once again, one of the control panel buttons does not work on our Raymarine Radar, and we are unable to dim our screen and unable to use radar in all the ways we usually can (we do still have radar, however). Also, after a day of motoring, our starboard engine gave us a warning light and alarm and we had to shut her off.
Sunrise Day 2
That being said, generally, our seas were good, except that we were upwind the whole time (close-hauled for a catamaran). Sunday night, we had some “sea confusion.” It was a bit rough and the night passage was very dark. I liken a night passage with no moon to a ride on Space Mountain. You can’t see where you’re going. You just sit in a seat that you are clipped to via your PFD and tethers, and you hang on for the ride. Sometimes, you rock to the right, sometimes to the left, sometimes you get jolted when your bow digs into a trough, and sometimes you lose your stomach slightly riding a wave down on a big roller. I think that is why I love the moon so much out here. When she is present, you hold the erroneous belief that being able to see a horizon in any way actually affects how you sail the boat at night. But in all seriousness, when the moon does show up, you can’t help but feel like she is your friend. I sound a little like Tom Hanks with his love of Wilson the volleyball…
So here we are sitting in Spanish Cay, Bahamas, a far cry from Virgin Gorda where we were supposed to still be sailing to right now! But, once again, we can’t relax. We are the ONLY boat in this marina now, and the man who runs it informed us it is not safe for the impending storm, and that our best bet is to travel to Green Turtle Cay and duck into a hurricane hole. Dan is changing the oil on the starboard engine that was giving us trouble on the way here and we are leaving once again. No relaxation yet!
Dan changing the starboard engine oil:
Do Over is back at home in clear waters!
Spanish Cay bull shark hangs out here…
The marina buildings
ON-BOARD DYNAMICS AND DAILY LIFE
I was only seasick the first night! Can you believe that? Well, it sure was rough. I was in my stateroom trying to sleep and I really thought the boat was going to fall apart at any moment. At least, that is what it felt like down below when it was that rough. I was lying down there thinking that the Jolly Green Giant was picking up our boat and slamming it down on concrete. I then thought, I should make green beans tonight to appease the giant vegetable sea God “Jolly Green.” I thought he was jolly but when he is out to sea, he is pissed! And yes, you tend to have strange thoughts when you’re on the high seas…
The whole trip so far, I have alternated taking Bonine and Stugeron (I think this works better even though it isn’t approved in the U.S.) every eight hours, and it seems to be working fairly well. When I wake up in my stateroom, I hurry to get ready for watch so that I can get upstairs pretty quickly where it is less bouncy. This generally works for me.
Ryan on evening watch–with the IPod.
The kids are doing well too. They both felt a bit sick the first night, but they did great after that. They have been wonderful about standing watch on their own during the day, but they know that if they see a ship, they should call us rather than decide how to handle it on their own (at least until they have a lot more experience). They have also stayed up with us for a few night watches, and they are good about that too, but Dan and I don’t mind solo watches (with coffee/tea and music) so I think most of the time, we will let them sleep through the night. When they handle some of the day watches, it really gives Dan and me a break. I can nap in the cockpit and Ariana/Ryan can wake me if something comes on the radar or AIS. I am proud of how well they are adjusting to life at sea.
Now we are off to Green Turtle Cay…
By the way, if you have any questions about what it’s like onboard cruising, please ask away!