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Got to Make Deshaies While the Sun Shines
18-Feb-2009, Pigeon Island Anchorage, Guadeloupe

CURRENT LOCATION: Anchored off the mainland near Pigeon Island, Guadeloupe, adjacent to the Cousteau Underwater Park
16 10.382' N, 061 46.897' W

My father was a banker by profession, but secretly dreamed of living off the land. Evidence supporting this fact can be found by examining my pre-teen home life, where you would find both a well-stocked chicken coop and a tractor, complete with a four bottom plow, in our back yard. His farmer-like aspirations became apparent whenever there was a big weekend project at hand. He would wake me early on a Saturday morning and exclaim, "We've got to make hay while the sun shines." This may seem like a subject which is entirely tangential to a sailing blog; however, I beg with you stick with me a moment longer. You see, the title of this blog is intended as a pun. However, in order to 'get' the pun, you must understand two things:

1. First, the common colloquialism about hay and sunshine (quoted above) which was stated so often by my father during my formative years as to still echo in my mind today.

2. Second, the fact that the town of Deshaies, Guadeloupe, is pronounced (Day Hay).
Now, read the blog title again. Get it? I know, long way to go for a bad pun.

Well, now back to the task at hand. Let me tell you about our passage from Antigua to Guadeloupe. I'll start from the point where our last blog entry left off. We were staged in Carlisle Bay, Antigua. That night, the sunset was absolutely spectacular. We just so happened to drop our anchor in the exact spot that gave us a view of the sun setting between palm trees set into a low spot along the southwestern edge of the bay:

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As predicted, the winds came around to the north while we slept, and our bow was pointed at the beach as we raised anchor. The first dregs of morning light began to pour over the mountain to our east as we motored away from Carlisle Bay.

Since we were on the leeward side of the island, the initial light winds were not surprising. We had to motor for over an hour, though, to finally see the winds fill in. Eventually, we turned off the motor and were under sail. The point of sail was a broad reach. We have been sailing close hauled for so long that entertaining a broad reach was like greeting a long lost friend. The morning hours melted away as we got to know each other again. We reveled in the ability to sail so easily and comfortably and fast. The average speeds throughout the morning hours were better than 5 knots.

The winds built slightly as we approached the northwest corner of Guadeloupe. Sheryl was at the helm and efficiently turned 14 knots of apparent wind into 6-7 knots of speed through the water for her entire two-hour shift.

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Due to the fantastic progress we were making, we made Deshaies (while the sun shined), and kept right on going. It was my turn at the helm, and I was determined to try to match Sheryl's incredible speeds. That is when the first of many fish pot floats appeared.

I already told you, during our last passage, about the headache that fish pot floats can generate. In order to dodge these mines, I had to keep turning further off the wind. Eventually, the main blanketed the genoa and we rolled it up. Even with the main alone, I was averaging 5 knots. I am not certain if it is this long-lost point of sail or the very clean bottom with new paint (likely a combination of both), but I really like a boat that can do these kinds of speeds.

Ten nautical miles further down the coast past Deshaies, we turned into an anchorage just past the Cousteau Underwater Park. We had to drop the anchor in 26-feet of water, and it is a little rolly, but a full night's sleep is always better than staying underway through the hours of darkness. So, we sit here, under the Q-flag, resting and preparing for tomorrow's continued journey to The Saints.

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