SEA GEM LOG:March 24 - April 1, 2002. The Homeward Run.

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A granddaughter's 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.

We left 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 Mate objected).

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 . . .