if you have a plan something can go wrong
16 May 2012 | Rincon Peuto Rico
We had another false start from Sousa. Am I becoming a timid or smarter sailer? I hope the latter. We upped anchor in relative calm at 8pm and motored out of the very dark harbour...dodging unlit boats and mooring balls. Half an hour in and knowing that I have a double reefed main with a huge rip just under the reef, I was cautious.
Two storm cells lingering from the afternoon came closer, lightening flashed close and so I aborted the sail. An hour latter we had Ooroo tucked back up in the harbour. Mark and I agreed to wake after midnight for the third attempt. Oli, with a stomach bug slept.
While drifting into a two hour sleep, I realized what caused Oli's bug. The only thing he ate that no one else had was his fingernails! We keep a clean boat but it did make me think about the filth around us. We are constantly walking in dirty streets and then picking up our shoes and stowing them, we gut fish, we anchor in harbours were who knows what floats by, grime ends up on a boat and in your cloths even when surrounded by the cleanest of water. Eating a finger nail....is a combination of all of the above. With that discovery he decided to take antibiotics and kick this lingering illness over board.....but aside from that......and earlier that day....
Time on board was running out for Dakota, and Charlotte didn't want to spend her last 4 days with him feeling sick. They departed Ooroo to fly to Puerto Rico. Oli has his surfing mate, Jen meeting us in Rincon as well. He would have loved to go but stayed to help with the passage.
We departed at 1am for Samana Bay. I had first watch until 5am and watched as lingering cells danced around the mountains and 12nm out to sea. They kept me entertained with the radar as I made sure none came to close. The moon appeared at about 3. Finally we had the conditions we needed to motor sail east. I hate having the motors on but we had a schedule.
I like the saying..."if you have a plan, something can go wrong". Plans and schedules are the same. We have continually had deadlines and I don't like them at all. Pick ups and drop offs. I never guarantee we will be were we want to be on time however it doesn't stop the pressure from being applied by the fact that all on board want these schedules to work.
So as we sail to Samana, we have Jen to meet in PR and Dakota needs to get his luggage off before he flys back to Oz. We decided to take advantage of the fact that we had finally broken away from the land and had fair weather, light winds, sea slight, a dodgy mainsail, no sea sick people on board and a full tank of fuel.....we bee line for PR while we can. We haven't checked out from Customs in DR?
That in itself may create an issue. The truth of the matter is that I made my decision because of the sail...not the schedule. PR has more infrastructure for fixing it or indeed the space to rig the spare if indeed she doesn't fly with the double reef. We will soon find out if customs in PR has issue with our decision.
Now 24 hours latter we are motor sailing SE in a constant 15 knot breeze doing between 4 and 6 knots. We are close to entering the Mona Passage, separating DR from PR. We have perfect conditions....that is unless we wanted to sail the whole way.
Our line to PR takes us north of the unseen but infamous shoals. They are one reason for the Mona Passage being respected by seafarers for centuries. These shoals are 50 to 100 meters deep but they deflect currents coming from and astounding 10,888 meters (according to my Navionics Charts). The Puerto Rico Trench to our north is the second deepest spot on earth. The ocean is deeper than Everest is high, by about 2000 meters. As Mark pointed out, we know more about the moon than what is below the keel. The ocean below us right now is deeper than the highest Australian mountain.
So far the plan is working.
It's 1am, 48 hours now since we departed Sousa and we have bought Ooroo to an almost standstill. We are only 12 nm off Mayaguez, our check in port to PR. We are early. The last 20 hours have been fabulous sailing. The morning stared with with motors still running and two Mahi Mahi caught. We showered by soaping up and then being dragged behind Ooroo on a mooring line.
As the day progressed, the 15 knott wind backed to a point were the engines could have a well deserved rest. We sailed at 7 plus knots, up from the 4-5 we had been getting from engines alone. Our ETA improved. The sailing was smooth. Marine traffic was light but we kept an eye out for trees. We have seen 3 that would be big enough to hole the boat....imagine the insurance claim "I hit a tree".
I'm still trying to wake up. I had a deep dreamy sleep helped by the fact that Oli donated an hour to my slumber. A thank you, I think from him having the night off due to his flu (he's back to his old self now). I had dreamt that all the people I have met on yachts were all neighbors in real life. It was a little like Rum Cay all over again. Swapping food, cooking together and being sad to say goodbye.
Looking at the twinkling lights of Mayaguez I'm hoping it's an omen for our time here. Certainly with Rincon only a few hours further away we will have Charlotte, Dakota and now also Jen to be family again. We just have to find them.
We pulled into the deserted customs dock at 6am only to be told by the security officer that a ferry has priority over us to clear customs. We may have to wait until tomorrow. Mark asked if we can head to Rincon and come over via bus tomorrow....."no problemo"
So I'm sailing just two hours up the coast....we anchored at Rincon at 8.30am to find Charlotte, Dakota and Jen on the beach....it's lovely here...the water is glass glass. We are technically here illegally. Oh well, beers and BBQ Mahi tonight. We will worry about customs latter.
No more plans or schedules for us. At least for a while.