Cruising Santa Magdalena

25 January 2014 | Pelican Cays, Belize
18 March 2012 | Central Caribbean
23 May 2011 | North Atlantic
12 May 2011 | North Atlantic
06 May 2011 | South Atlantic
15 April 2011 | South Atlantic
14 April 2011 | South Atlantic
13 April 2011 | South Atlantic
20 February 2011 | South Atlantic
11 February 2011 | South Atlantic
07 February 2011 | South Atlantic
04 February 2011 | South Atlantic
27 January 2011 | South Atlantic
26 January 2011 | South Atlantic
21 January 2011 | South Atlantic
19 January 2011 | South Atlantic
17 January 2011 | South Atlantic
16 January 2011 | South Atlantic
15 January 2011 | South Atlantic
14 January 2011 | South Atlantic

Cold fronts in the tropics

25 January 2014 | Pelican Cays, Belize
Not that we are complaining too much about 70 degrees, but we have had cold front after cold from here in Belize since we arrived. Actually its a very nice temperature to live on a boat in, but if it were a little warmer it would make the swimming and snorkeling more enjoyable. We have spent the past few days here at the Pelican cays where some friends of ours, Dustin and Kim, live on a small mangrove island and operate a guest house and restaurant. Their island is called Hideaway Cay, check it out on the internet. They have a daughter, Ama, who is 6 weeks older then Reed. Jamie has been spending time with Kim and the kids ashore, while Dustin and I have gone spear fishing. Ama has taught Reed how to walk. Thats right, he gets up by himself now and stumbles around unassisted.

The weather is going to be better for the next few days, so we will head out the to the reef tomorrow to fish and swim.

Week one St Lucia to Belize

18 March 2012 | Central Caribbean
The last sailblog I wrote was last year a week before we arrived in Grenada. I didn't write a final blog to say that we made it or how the last part of the trip was because after 9000 miles I was sick of sailing. Anyway we did make it back to Grenada last May where we left the boat for the hurricane season. We returned this year on new years eve and put the boat back in the water about 5 days later. We spent a few weeks being lazy around Grenada , seeing old friends and meeting new ones. We then had a few weeks of visitors who came and sailed with us as we move north from Grenada to St Vincent and then to St Lucia. We had a great time with our guests and Jamie and I enjoyed the islands of the Eastern Caribbean together after having seen them on separate boats 7 years before. The islands do seem more crowded now than 7 years ago and along with wanting the boat closer to the US we have decided to head for the western Caribbean.

Here we are one week into our trip from St Lucia to Belize. We havent seen another sailboat since we left, a few ships, but here in the middle of the Caribbean it is pretty quiet. The sailing has been great as we are entering the moderate season for the trade winds. Before we left St. Lucia, the trades were often blowing from the ENE at 20-25 kts and more. Just since we left the whole area has seen a moderation in the wind and I would say our average wind has been 15-18 kts with only 2 squalls that were just over 20 kts with a little rain. The best part of this trip however has been the current. I might have mentioned last year that as we sailed up the coast of South America offshore of Brazil and the Guyanas we were searching for the famed Guyana current and its 2 knot stream what could have given us fantastic daily runs. We never really found it. However, when that same Guyana current and the North Equatorial current meet around the area of the Eastern Caribbean Windward Islands the two become the Equatorial current. This one we found. Last night on Jamie's watch with the wind blowing a mere 12- 14 knots we were making 8.5- 9 knots over the ground. Several days we have made over 140 miles with yesterday's run of 160 miles. Thats 7 miles off the Magdalena's all time longest 24 hour run of 167 miles. In fact our daily runs for this week add up to 1002 miles. I must say its not miles made good (MMG) as we are only 985 miles from St Lucia by the GPS, but I think if I take another week looking back from tomorrow we will probably have a 1000 MMG week. Respectable I think for a 35 foot cruising boat and two people. So now we are about to pass south of Jamaica and on toward the Yucatan. I hope the fishing gets better.

Week one stats 985 Miles made good 1002 miles sailed 604 miles to go 125 worst day 160 best day 143 miles average sailed per day strongest wind 24 kts lightest 8 kts average wind 15-18 kts ENE 4 hours engine running to charge batteries 2 fish hooked, 0 landed

Week 3, and the Doldrums

23 May 2011 | North Atlantic
We seem to be out of the ITCZ now...we hope. It has been a tricky piece of sailing this past week. As we approached the equator we had been watching the weather charts to try and identify the narrowest band of light wind so we could motor across"the doldrums" and into the NE trade winds. We could see that the narrow part was in fact where it was suggested to be by one of our books on world sailing routes, so we made for the equator and 031 degrees west. When the wind died we started the engine and headed NW to where the forecast in 48 hours time showed there to be 15 kts of wind from the NE. We had our equator party and continued motoring the 240 miles we thought would see us across the doldrums except when we made the 240 miles there still wasnt any wind. Hum... We were getting low on fuel. We have fuel capacity aboard to motor about 500 miles, but since we also run the engine regularly to keep the batteries charged and we always reserve a certain amount of fuel in case of emergency and for getting into port, I figured we didnt want to use any more. So we sat around for half a day not really going anywhere. The next afternoon after looking at weather charts again and convincing ourselves that the wind must be just ahead of us we gave it another 6 hours of "Iron Jenny". Still nothing. After another day of floating around in nothing but whispers of wind the dark clouds that signaled the presents of the ITCZ and doldrums conditions started to disappear. First a puff, then a breeze, and a few hours later we were making way, 6 kts on course! One day, 150 miles, the next 148, we were really in it now. But then those dark clouds reappeared and with them went the steady wind. "Is it following us?" the crew asked the captain. "By the looks of the weather fax, Im afraid so my dear" the captain replied. The next three days were a steady procession of squalls and rain with intermittent wind. Not that we werent able to make some headway, but not what we had hoped from the NE trades. So when the dark clouds disappeared again yesterday we were happy to see the return of steady wind. We have made use of the plentiful rain in the doldrums however. With a bucket tied to the mast below the sail, every time a good soaker comes along (if not inspired to go out and shower in it directly), water from the sail funnels to the bucket and we have free fresh water for bathing at the end of the hot tropical day.

And the Week 3 Stats 745 miles made good 106 average best day 150 worst day 45 54 hours motoring 110 liters fuel used 50 liters fuel remaining 0 fish caught

Day 14, week 2 and equator crossing

12 May 2011 | North Atlantic
Three years and 5 days after crossing the equator southbound, we have crossed it again to return to the northern hemisphere. We celebrated this afternoon at 16:42 where we crossed the line at longitude 031 degrees west with a champagne toast. We were motoring (still are) as we are currently in the doldrums and there is no wind. The doldrums are a funny place. Also know as the ITCZ (inter tropical convergence zone), it is where the global weather systems of the northern and southern hemispheres meet and since they cant decide which way the wind should blow, it just rains. Wow, by the buckets! So great to have a shower just as you would at home standing on deck. Then a few minutes later the sun is back. The clouds are also amazing. Sometimes you can look out and see almost every type of cloud there is with a scan of the horizon. Blue sky here, a rain squall over there, upper level cirrus, with massive cumulonimbus below and puffy cumulus mixed in. We are hoping to get across this windless area by motoring for 48 hours to the NW where wind is predicted to fill in from the NE about 100 miles north of the equator. From there with any luck we will stay in the NE trade winds for the rest of the trip to Grenada.

Stats from the second week. 1990 miles to go 844 miles made good average 120 miles per day, 5 kts avg speed best day 140, worst 107 Engine time 24 hours 0 fish, from 5 days fishing.

The fishing has been a little disappointing lately. During the beginning of the trip we didnt fish much because the freezer was full of meat and there would be no room to keep any extra. But just before St Helena we decide to give it a try, and within one hour, there was one fish. Now the freezer is much less occupied and we have had the line out each day with nothing. We also haven't seen any fishing boats around in several day...maybe there is a connection. Im sure in the next two weeks something will bite.

St Helena and north

06 May 2011 | South Atlantic
Again I'm falling behind on the updates. First the trip from Capetown to St Helena.

As we have been hearing from other for some years now, our trip north from Capetown north was really amazing. For all the changing weather we had on the first leg (good bad or indifferent) from Falklands to Capetown, the leg to St Helena could not have been any different. After about 4 hours of motoring to clear the wind shadow of table mountain, we found a gentle 15 kt breeze from the SE. And that was what it was like for the rest of the 1700 miles of the trip. Really. We had 14-18 kts for about 95% of the time, maybe a short squall where we would see 25, 30 at the max but always from the SE. Since we were heading NW, the wind was directly behind us the whole time. Now sailors are pretty particular about their wind you know. Not too strong, or too light now. Not from ahead, or mixed with water or snow please. And to tell the truth most sailor prefer not to go dead down wind. The sails are spread out wide, and the spinnaker pole is needed to hold the jib out and keep it from filling and collapsing with every roll of the boat. And roll she does. The worst part of going dead down wind is rolling. We figured out some ways to minimize the rolling, but mostly we just got used to it. The weather and the wind being so nice we figured it was a small price to pay. Day after day were the same. 1700 mile in 13.5 days. 126 miles per day, 5,24 kt average. We even set the fishing line out one day and caught one fish. A perfect size dorado for dinner for 2.

St Helena

Wow what an island. We spent a week, but could have easily spent months. There is no airport on the island so everyone and everything that is there was brought by sea. Very friendly locals, and great hikes. It is an island of contrast, where the eastern windswept volcanic hills are baron and cactus covered while the higher peaks are lush and fern covered. There are an amazing number of endemic species of insects and plants (those found no where else) and other plants that were imported hundreds of years ago that remain the same as they were with out the effects of cross pollination. We meet several other boater and found a nice community of like minded sailors stopping off in the mid ocean on their way to somewhere. We wish we could have stayed longer, but hurricane season is coming, and we need to start thinking about going back to work.

North to Grenada

One week after leaving St Helena we are finding much the same weather. The only difference is it is getting hotter! Yes it is hard to believe we started the season at 53 degrees south where it was cold, and we are now about to cross the equator. We had hoped to stop along the way, but now think we might be better to cross the doldrums in a different place and make directly for Grenada. Our first week we made 900 miles, with a 5.3 kt average. Currently we have 2690 miles to go. With any luck we might find the Guyana current which could boost our speed by 2 kts of we are lucky. We hope to be in Grenada by the end of the month.

First week stats

15 April 2011 | South Atlantic
First week stats are looking quite good in fact. Since leaving Cape Town we had to motor a few hours to get out of the wind shadow of Table mountain, and since then we have been down wind sailing the whole way. We reached the trade winds on the second day and have had the spinnaker pole holding the jib out to one side, with the main on the other (called "wing on wing") ever since. A few short rain squalls have helped wash the last of the Cape Town dirt off, but other wise the decks have been mostly dry.

First week: 857 miles, best day 143, worst day 107, average daily run 122 miles, average speed 5.1 kts. Strongest wind 30 kts, average wind speed 18 kts, all from the S to SE direction.

The total distance from CT to St Helena is 1700 miles, so we are more then half way there, and if the wind holds should arrive by the 21st of april. A birthday and prime meridian crossing to celebrate in the way. Should be fun.
Vessel Name: Santa Magdalena
Vessel Make/Model: Baba 35
Hailing Port: Wilson WY
Crew: Casey and Jamie
About: Casey has been sailing the Santa Magdalena since 2003, starting from Annapolis, MD, through the Caribbean where he met Jamie in 2006 in Bonaire. Together, we have covered much of South America and Panama by land and by sea. And, the adventure continues...!
Santa Magdalena's Photos - Main
Our trip around Cape Horn with
16 Photos
Created 28 May 2009
Assortment of picts form the channels between Chiloe and Puerto Williams, the southernmost town in the world
26 Photos
Created 26 April 2009
A few quick picts from souther chile
8 Photos
Created 20 January 2009

Who: Casey and Jamie
Port: Wilson WY