The Adventures of Alexandra and David

Who: David & Alexandra
Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
We're always Somewhere South of Somewhere.

The Banyan Love is Growing.

http://www.hitwebcounter.com/htmltutorial.php
WebPage Visits

We're on Facebook

Sailing Banyan

Instagram: #banyantravels

but we're not Tweeting.

Our friends Paul and Sheryl Shard, of Distant Shores, are incredible producers of their very own TV Show.

If you haven't already, check them out.

Their DVD's are informative and fun to watch as they travel to all four corners of the world.

You might even find Banyan in some of them!!
30 May 2019 | Catamaran Marina
20 May 2019 | Shallow Sandbar by Livingston, Guatemala
18 May 2019 | Tres Puntas, Guatemala
14 May 2019 | Isla Guanaja to Isla Utila
11 May 2019 | Grand Cayman to Isla de Guanaja, Honduras
03 May 2019 | Grand Cayman
25 April 2019 | Errol Flyn Marina, Port Antonio, Jamaica
18 April 2019 | Matthewtown, Great Inagua, Bahamas
14 April 2019 | Clarencetown, Long Island, Bahamas
10 April 2019 | To New Horizons... and Beyond!
05 April 2019 | Exumas, Bahamas
02 March 2019 | Staniel Cay, Cat Island, Bahamas
07 February 2019 | Cambridge Cay, Exumas, Bahamas
25 August 2018 | Halifax, NS
28 November 2017 | Somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean
20 November 2017 | Somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean

Follow that Liquid Red Line

03 May 2019 | Grand Cayman
David & Alexandra | Effin Hot!
It's Oh So easy to draw a red line on the chart from Point A to Point B. In our case, it's basically how we showed ourselves getting from Port Antonio, Jamaica to Grand Cayman: as we sent our float plan to our family and friends.

Realistically though our actual sailing rhumb line had us going one way, then another, back and forth, see-sawing with the winds and currents. There was nothing straight about it at all {{ and if you remember my Last Blog Post, nothing much "fun" about being on long passages, except the thrill of being out here when all is well, and the idea we're going places !! }}

We followed the beautiful mountainous Jamaican coastline as we moved along that invisible red line. Staying just far enough away from land to avoid the rains that were descending over the mountains, yet close enough to still use up the remaining data we had on our cell to check weather. {{ Smart, huh? }}



Lunch {{ sandwiches }} on one tack. And the dolphins coming out to play on another. We were surrounded for the better part of an hour by hundreds of them. Amazing. But Oh So hard to grab a photo! They were teasing us with their spiralling jumps and splashes.



Dinner {{ remember my one pot hash? Leftover Chicken, rice and a can of peas }} as the sun disappeared behind the clouds. I spot a straight line in the skies, blue skies on one side and the yellow tinges of sunset on the other.



Gybed back towards land, where the lights of Jamaica come alive at night, creating another line, this time the coast that we're paralleling. Back within Cell service range provides the weather update, and all is looking good, except {{ sigh }} the winds are now even less, OhOh. Maybe the Diurnal Winds off Cuba will speed us along?

We'd checked out of Port Antonio that morning. As the officer handed us our departure clearance certificate, he reminded us that we have 24 hours grace. Which means that although we were cleared out, we could technically anchor in any of the bays if we felt we wanted to, or needed to within a 24 hour period. Nice to know there's bailout options {{ for whatever reasons we don't want to think about, right? }}.

We had a WONDERFUL time in Jamaica, completely loved the vibe, the look, the people, just... Everything! Did a bit of walking around town and the beaches. Although there were many activities to choose from, things to see and do, we chose the Rio Grande River raft tour.

{{ You can always visit our Facebook Page for more photos and details and even a video ! }}

The toughest part about being here, now, is that we're really in passage mode. Not visiting, and not on vacation. All different modes of travel, spending and being.

And what's that they say about owning a boat and fixing it in exotic places? We'd done some research prior to arriving, and Google told us that there was a battery place in Kingston that had the batteries we wanted {{ Rolls Surrette lead acid, deep cycle 6 volt, 428 amp hours }} similar to Canadian prices, eh!

Although not a necessary fix {{ yet }} our present batteries having lasted 7 years, still in good shape, but showing signs of wear. However, we knew resources would be limited where we were going...so we bought them, had them delivered, and spent a full day getting the old ones removed, and new ones installed {{ man those suckers are heavy! }} And then all day getting them charged.



Thank goodness we had the filming of the next James Bond movie going on all around us as we were boat bound.

The boat in the slip next to us will definitely make an appearance.



A Cessna was completely remodeled to look "old" and spent hours flying overhead, landing and taking off in the channel and made us feel like we were in a time warp.

Billboards and new trawlers made to look old.



Time flies when you're having fun.

Before we knew it, our time was soon going to be up. The Capt'N noticed a wee weather window to Grand Cayman appear. Our options? Take that, or stay here for another week. Either in the marina or hopping down the coast. We didn't have the time/weather to hop down the coast, and some of the anchorages were reported to be sketchy, with safety concerns. Besides, our dinghy is tied on deck, so a PITA to release, get rigged up, outboard on, go explore, and repeat in reverse, if you're only arriving mid afternoon and leaving the next morning. We'd have to clear-out here, permission to travel down the coast, then get our out-clearance from Mo-Bay {{ within business hours or you're paying overtime}}.

Passaging is a frame of mind. We're trying to get ourselves to Roatan, where all's we have left is one overnight to get to the entrance of the Rio Dulce {{ phew }} that needs to happen, for us, on May 19th, as we draw 6'4", and that's the highest of high tides. All in an effort to cross the sandbar there. Thats three long 2-4 day hops: from Bahamas to Jamaica, Jamaica to Grand Cayman, and Cayman to Roatan }}. Hops where all sorts of things can happen. We both knew we'd be resting easier the closer we got.

So with that in mind, we contacted Barcadere Marina in Grand Cayman for reservations, and enquired as to whether there was Customs & Immigration available there to clear us in? The time to order an {{ ice cold, man it's hot here !}} Red Stripe and {{ best ever }} Mojito from Marybelles, the little tiki bar at the Port Antonio marina, during sundowner and WiFi time?



Is the time it took for us to receive their reply. Whoa, impressive {{ that rarely happens on Island Time }}.

They could and would take our reservations for our arrival, but first, we had to read and comply with a few paragraphs of rules and regulations.

{{ Paragraphs? }} I think the Capt'N needed a second Red Stripe as I read all the detailed instructions out loud.

Customary procedures is to hail the Cayman Island Port Authority once your vessel is within 12 miles of land, or in their waters, and introduce your presence and arrival. Since we had made reservations at the marina, they were going to forward our info and act on our behalf if we responded to their questions, emailed our passport photos to them, 48 hours or more before our arrival, we {{ might }} get permission to come straight in, and not have to go to Georgetown, anchor in the Bay with the cruise ships, get dinghy off deck, rig her up, go ashore to clear customs, come back... {{ pant, pant }}. Not something we relished having to do, if we could make it all easy at the Marina, right?

We estimated {{ approx}} 300 nm from Port Antonio to Grand Cayman, another {{ approx }} 50 hour run. Checked the weather one last time, confirmed the reservations with the Marina, as we replied to the email with the required information and attached passport photos et al, informing them our arrival was to be around mid-day in two days time.

Night One of passage. It's always a little unnerving as the sun sets. Why? {{ sea monsters, dontcha know ? }}



With the sense of sight removed, everything else is magnified, the seas seem louder and bigger. Every little noise is cause for pre-emptive concern. But to offset? Shooting stars, bioluminescence intermingled with exploding jellyfish mating rituals. Dark squally patches blog out the stars, making darkness even darker. Squall? A wee one, but there's no rain, no added wind, and no moon. Just the line of the clock ticking it's seconds into minutes into hours all culminating with nautical miles counting down to our destination.

The next morning melded into early afternoon. The good news was that we were sailing. The not so good news was that the winds were much less than predicted, as we're going downwind, forcing us to keep our speed by heading more North. And current? Pushing us even further North. We knew this might happen and hoped for the diurnal winds of Cuba to speed us along, in the right direction, would be helpful.

This being our second long passage in a week, we get into the watch rhythm a little faster that the last time. Long passages are always tough, for many, many reasons. External factors? Predictability of accurate weather patterns holding, diminishes. Every hour added increases concern for boat wear and tear. One of us is technically always on watch, but realistically, we're both *on*, keenly aware. Of everything. All the time.

Physically the motion of the ocean rocks your body into a tired, weak, mess of aching muscles and fizzy brains. No matter how seasoned you are, there's the golden rule: One Hand for the boat, and One Hand for you. Always! We try and sleep our allotted hours, but sleep evades me, my hearing acutely aware of the bow slicing through the waters. And I head back out to relieve my Capt'n so at least one of us can get some sleep.

The dark night brings a few cruise ships and a few tankers that parallel our line. Heat lightning off the coast of Cuba? Impressive to watch. And the Southern Cross ? As plain to see as the nose on your face. It's hard to move around as the lifejacket feels like an anchor on our weary shoulders, and we're seatbelted in on the hard points of the cockpit. Sometimes i wonder just how smart that is, cause if we were to go down, man, it'd be tough to get unhooked. No need to be thinking about those types of situations, right ?

Somewhere in the middle of the night the wind died, and I brought in the jib in, resorting to motor sailing. Minimal revs on the engine, conserving fuel. I tried to sleep again, without any luck. In the wee hours of morning, the main was asking for a break so in she came as well. {{ sigh }} The rising sun had us now using the Iron Jenny to motor in a straight line to our target {{ sigh }}. A little sooner than expected, but we were now under the 100 mile mark, so acceptable {{ I guess }}.



Everything is damp. Everything feels salty and dirty and UGH. Including me. Patience runs thin. It's hot. Hot like a fire blanket thrown over everything. I've drank so much water I can't no more... ! I'm not hungry, but I eat anyways. Sick of Sandwiches. And One Pot Hash meals. The can of pickles in the fridge, has turned over, and I now have pickle juice everywhere. Damn. I dream of an ice cream, chocolate please. The Fresh Sorrel and Ginger Juice {{ with ice }} we got in Jamaica refreshes even better.

We store the Sailing Lines so we don't trip over them. We have a shower {{ yes !! }} and then filled our water tanks full up.

Find a dead flying fish on deck, and return him to his watery home.



Capt'N removes the colourful Jamaica Flag, and hoists the Yellow Q-flag.



It's not always Romantic Rainbows in the skies.



It's being together 24/7 in the confines of the cockpit. We're tired. Sweaty. Hot. Thirsty. Sore. Grunting watch reports at each other, because that's all that's new. But then there's excitement and chit-chatter about summer plans ahead. We're nowhere even close to being there, but the miles are counting down, slower when you watch them. In all honesty? It's all sorts of good, and we're getting closer...

One casualty on the trip, the hatch to the heads? That we'd fixed 7 years ago? Broke off again. Thank goodness we didn't lose it overboard during the night sometime.

It's never good to be on a schedule, so the stress on this trip was all about timing our arrival, requesting and obtaining permission from the Port Authority, then getting through the complicated reef entrance in daylight hours, then getting cleared in with C&I during those hours {{ so as not to pay OverTime }}, then getting to our slip in the marina. All after how many hours at sea?

We felt pretty confident. We'd done as much research as we could research. The rest was out of our hands.

Is it when you start seeing faces in the clouds that you know you've lost it?



Do you see him? Shall we call him The Ghost of Flat Faced Wilson?

Speaking of Flat, Grand Cayman is a flat island, so calling Land Ho took a few tries {{ already missing the mountainous lush vegetation of Jamaica }}, but I have to concede that the Capt'N won. But then, he was cheating with binoculars.



Our third attempt at calling Port Authority finally got us within range and an answer. We asked for, waited for, and finally were granted permission to come in at The Barcadere Marina It *may* have had something to do with the fact that arriving in Georgetown would've been after sunset. Either way, we were grateful for the permission.

The marina had sent us the waypoints for the entrance through the reef,



and we followed those in, very carefully, watching for dive buoys, the crashing surf, shallow depths and water colour around us. And {{ phew }} made it through.



Then still another hour of motoring ahead of us to get to the marina breakwater, where the marina still wasn't responding to our hails.



The view of the Lighthouse that guided us in.



But the C&I folks? Standing there waiting for us. Grabbed our lines as we came alongside. And with a smile, handed us our paperwork and welcomed us To Grand Cayman. How's that for a welcome?

Completing the paperwork the usual blurry bombardment of questions. Nothing formal about the procedure at all, given what we were anticipating with the seriously worded do's and don't's we had read in those paragraphs just days ago. They asked about weapons. They asked if we had pets. Never asked about food. And didn't even look at our boat. And no cost to clear in {{unless you're outside their working hours }}

We checked in with Denise at the marina office, and then Chad, the dockhand helped us to our slip.

And then? 314 nm later? Arrival Beers!



I can't event tell you how good they tasted!



Cheers! Cheers To a safe, hot and long 54 hours. Cheers to dolphins and rainbows and faces in the clouds. Cheers to plenty fuel. Cheers to research done before the passages. Cheers to successful and easy passages.

Cheers to Each Other. Can't believe we're in Grand Cayman!
Comments
Vessel Name: Banyan
Vessel Make/Model: Jeanneau 40 Sun Odyssey
Hailing Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Crew: David & Alexandra
About:
Welcome Aboard. I'm Alexandra, and if I'm not out Adventuring with Camera in Hand, or cheffing up a storm in my galley, I'm looking to pirate some WiFi to upload our latest tales (with way too many photos) about our most recent adventures. [...]
Extra: CHART YOUR COURSE: Our destiny is shaped by our thoughts and actions. We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.
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The Adventures of Alexandra and David

Who: David & Alexandra
Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
We're always Somewhere South of Somewhere.

The Banyan Love is Growing.

http://www.hitwebcounter.com/htmltutorial.php
WebPage Visits

We're on Facebook

Sailing Banyan

Instagram: #banyantravels

but we're not Tweeting.

Our friends Paul and Sheryl Shard, of Distant Shores, are incredible producers of their very own TV Show.

If you haven't already, check them out.

Their DVD's are informative and fun to watch as they travel to all four corners of the world.

You might even find Banyan in some of them!!