Sixty two days
22 July 2010 | 10 deg 09 N 79 deg 05 min W
Tom and Crew
We have been at sea for sixty two days now and are just on day away from
perhaps the most significant part of our voyage, namely the transition of
the Panama Canal. A man made waterway cut through Panama to allow ships to
pass between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
On our way here we have traveled six thousand nine hundred nautical miles
and experienced much. It may not be out of place to look back at some of the
most significant features of the voyage so far. The incredible blue open ocean that I love so much is not everywhere as expected. Three hundred and fifty miles off the coast of Brazil the beautiful blue water suddenly went a brown, green colour. This was the effect of the mighty Amazon River pushing its effect far out into the open ocean. This darker water was to stay with us for several hundred miles more on our way to the Caribbean. Not only the colour was affected but it also gave us the worst adverse current that I have ever experienced. At up to four knots against us it was as vicious as the infamous Perana fish found in the Amazon. It slowed us incredibly and it was hard work to get through it.
We have also found out that all flying fish are not the same. I suppose that
this is natural as all species have variations but this voyage it has been
most significant. During my last voyage I spoke of large schools of flying
fish taking to the air around the boat, this time however we have not had
those large numbers. In fact there have only been small groups of just a few
fish at a time or mostly single ones. After St. Helena there were very few
to be seen but shortly thereafter we were finding the tiniest specimens on
board, no more than a few millimeters long. naturally thew have to spawn at
some time but I had not seen such tiny ones before. They were washed aboard
by the waves and we even scooped them up in the bucket when washing the boat in the morning. It was most interesting to see them as tiny as that taking
to the air like insects. As we approached Brazil the shape of the flying
fish changed to a more robust type. Mostly the flying fish leap out of the
water and more or less glide away from whatever has frightened them. These bigger bodied chaps come out of the water and virtually "tail walk" while they get
going and actually achieve lift and then fly much further than the slimmer
"gliders" using the speed that they have achieved in the water prior to
exiting. Here in the Eastern Caribbean Sea we are back to an even smaller
Our traverse across the Caribbean Sea has consisted of two parts. Leaving
St. Vincent we had very favourable easterly winds which sped us along under
our twin head-sails in real cruising mode. Turning south-west the wind
seemed to run out on us and for the second half of this leg we have limped
along with very little wind and even a small amount of current against us.
At least we have had an easy passage without any storms or adverse weather,
something to be thankful for. With all the water rushing westwards down the
center of the Caribbean Sea it has to turn back somewhere resulting in the
counter current now experienced as we approach Colon and The Panama Canal.
We should arrive in Colon Wednesday morning our time, which is now seven
hours away from South African time. I have already engaged an agent to
handle our transit details. Formalities of customs, emigration, boat
measurement and so on will most likely take two or three days. This means
that we possibly will start the transit on Friday afternoon our time. There
are webcams on the locks which are able to be viewed on the internet. Should
you wish to try and see us in the locks it will mean watching late at night
SA time. Once I have more information I will try and get it circulated as
soon as possible.
This is an exciting time for us and a big part of the adventure which I am
sure we will enjoy and remember for a long time to come.
At present we are at 10 deg 09 North and 79 deg 05 min West enjoying the
late afternoon sun on a calm sea.
Cheers from all on board.