eighth birthday is a strong magnet to pull grand parents toward home.
Along with missing our family, we don't want to miss another of Caroline's
birthdays. Charlie wants to get back to the office, as there are a
lot of exciting things happening right now. We decided in Nevis, after
the lobster sandwich, to cut our planned sail a month short and make
a run for Man 'O War Cay in the Bahamas, 1000 miles distant. Although
this is not technically home port, we have kept Sea Gem docked there
so many seasons that every time we round the bend into Man 'O War
Cay we feel like we are coming home. The plans now are to have Sea
Gem hauled and have the bottom painted, a thru hull replaced and a
few minor repairs. We will travel back to the boat as schedules permit
and enjoy one of our favorite places on earth this summer. Then we
will take Sea Gem back to her homeport of Titusville where we will
begin doing some refitting after the very long and at times rough
journey she has accomplished.
Nevis at 11:21 March 24, bound for either St. Croix or Puerto Rico.
Our plans were just to sail and see how we felt and how the weather
was before we made any decisions. As it turned out we had a great
sail with our Genoa poled out by only our boom, and as we approached
St. Croix we decided to just keep on going. On March 26, which incidentally
is the Captain's birthday, we put into Bahia de Boqueron, Puerto Rico,
and dropped our anchor in the large bay, but away from the town area.
We didn't want to go through the check in and out procedures and since
we were remaining on the boat it was not necessary. We were very close
to the US Border Patrol station but as they buzzed back and forth
they ignored us.
Being at anchor in a calm bay I was able to cook an adequate birthday
dinner for the Captain with a menu of his choosing. We had curried
sweet and sour chicken over rice as the main dish, which is a new
favorite since I prepared it on the Atlantic crossing. After dinner
we watched a movie and then retired as the awful smell descended all
around the bay. We still haven't figured out what it was but it was
quite powerful, and from people who used to live with a ranch feedlot,
that is saying a lot
We left on March 27 before daylight, feeling our way out of the harbor
in dead calm conditions. We were ready to get away from the odor and
be on our way. Again we were playing it by ear as to if we would stop
and where (but the Captain planned to go non-stop unless the First
March 28 we had the exhilarating experience of seeing a pod of very
large whales, just off our starboard side. Charlie saw them first
and called me and we stayed nearby for about an hour watching and
marveling at their grace and size. The water is so clear here that
when they sounded and released air you could see the waters go pale
with the bubbles. We have dolphins come to the boat quite often and
we never grow tired of seeing beautiful sea creatures.
Each time we have approached a possible stopping point the time has
been wrong so we just keep pressing on. We will have sailed more than
a thousand miles on this leg.
The weather has
been good, we are still trying to eat our way through all the perishable
provisions before we leave the boat and we are holding up well. By
noon tomorrow we should be nearing our destination after checking
in at Marsh Harbor.
Most of the
time the night watches have not been a problem for the weather has
been good and the traffic is not too heavy. I do accuse the autopilot
of acting up as soon as Charlie goes down for a sleep; I also seem
to get reports of sunken fishing boats and such just to keep up the
interest. Charlie takes the lion's share of the night duty but I do
a watch also. What a blessing, when it is calm enough to sleep.
Of all the wonderful places we have sailed in this incredible, exciting
world, we would put the Caribbean and her islands on the top of our
list. Just steps away from our Florida doorstep are treasures of sea
and multiple cultures awaiting. Until later, more news of the Caribbean
. . .