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

It was a a Dark and Stormy Night

18 May 2019 | Tres Puntas, Guatemala
Alexandra
Don't all really great stories begin with "It was a dark and stormy night?" However, as Banyan passaged overnight, it really, really WAS a dark and stormy night...

***

It's Saturday. I'm sitting in my cockpit. The clock hands are pointing to the 1 and the 30. I've just woken from a nap, and I'm feeling rather wave punched and groggy. I struggle to get my bearings. Where are we?

My iPad tells shows me this,



If you've been following along we've been in Passage Mode, going from Elizabeth Harbour to Conception to Matthewtown to Great Inagua (a combined total of 272.4 nmiles, 45.5 hours), then Great Inagua to Jamaica (231.63 nmiles and 46 hours), Jamaica to Grand Cayman (314.49 nmiles and 54 hours), Grand Cayman to Guanaja (345.90 nmiles and 54 hours), Isla de Guanaja to Isla de Utila (69.53 nmiles and 11 hours)

And the red triangle that's Banyan in the middle of the above photo is presently anchored in Tres Puntas, just across from Livingston (Guatemala), having logged another 123.76 nmiles in 23 hours. Bringing us to a grand total of 1356 nmiles since we left Georgetown, Bahamas about a month ago.

I'm sitting in the cockpit, my eyes unable to process what I'm seeing, my brain unable to process where I am. My body unable to process this unbearable heat.

My backyard view is this:



Can you find the horizon out there?

There's a voluminous depth and a silent nothingness that encompasses everything that I'm seeing. The water is still. The air is still. The skies are still.



And then, occasionally the sound of nature cries out. Birds chirping. Sounds that are not familiar to me, and I wonder what kind of birds they are. Did I just hear the snorting of a boar? Sometimes I hear a fish blurp into the air from its watery home, noticing the ripples extending outwards. I see one ray, and then miraculously? A second one, jump out of the water, their white underbellies twisting in the air, and then flopping back into the water with a resounding and very loud splash. Those ripples eventually reach out towards us. As with all glimpses into something special, I scan the horizon hoping the event will repeat. It doesn't, and all I'm left with is the very special memory of a time and place and splash.

All of this? Mesmerizing.

The heat is even more overwhelming. An impossible blanket of humid warmth has been thrown over me, there is no escape. Skies that are too many hazy shades of greys and off-whites. I record the water temperatures as 34C.

The shoreline around me is different. All sorts of interesting,



a few thatched roof huts,



cleverly hidden in the shades of the palm trees, on the dark sand beaches. Behind them there is a wall of green, the hidden branches in the depths undoubtedly home to the birds i'm hearing.

Below me,



I see a few white sand dollars and a large white starfish.

And I smile as my memories awaken. We'd just spent a couple of days in Utila



instead of just the one night like we'd originally planned.

Our plan was to cross the shallowest of SandBars on the Highest of High Tides happening on Sunday. Then Raul of Servamar confirmed that everything is closed on Sunday. We then had to choose between Saturday or Monday, the difference in tide height between the two days being quite negligible, with just a smidgen of some water more on Monday. We draw 6'4". And the reality is that we will likely need to get tipped. I can't even begin to imagine what that must feel like, but I have visions of rails in the water, contents of my home falling all heater skelter as we tilt sideways on a heel, and in a dooms-day type of scenario, the mast breaks, the keel hits the sand and falls off, and we go sideways into the water with a resounding splash. I shake my head to get rid of the visions, and tell my overactive imagination to Stop It.

Saturday's high tide was scheduled around 6(-ish) a.m. which would have us leaving Tres Puntas 12 nm (approx 2 hours) earlier, so quite the very early start. Our friends on SV Lagniappe were shooting for Monday's tide, and then we heard from our friends Janice and Dave (SV Livin'Life) who were coming to Tres Puntas on Sunday, and also going for Monday's crossing. Monday it was then.

So we enjoyed Arrival Beers and a reunion with SV Lagniappe



another excellent meal ashore,



and a walkabout town, which had us do a double take when we saw these coming at us.



Suddenly it was Friday, and we went ashore for the last time. First it was a stop at the bakery that's off the main road, for four cinnamon buns, deliciously complete with icing. Their bread looked delicious and I held back from buying a loaf {{ remember that fine line between eating down and not buying too much }} yet somehow {{ cue a foreshadowing type of music? }} I knew I would regret it.

We got to the C&I offices for 9, chatted with the Police Officers, and waited around for the office to open, everyone on Island time but us. The Agent eventually showed up not excepting a crowd of 4 waiting for her, but she smiled and greeted us as we handed her our last copies of our Tripulantes {{ crew list }}, Passeportes, and Boat Registry. It didn't take long for her to process us through the computer. Complete with digital fingerprints and a facial photo, technology that seems amiss with the small office with old wooden furniture, and flaking walls of paint, the loud whirring of the air conditioner barely keeping us cool. I notice some cameras on the ceiling in the corners. The cost? $150 Lempiras {{ $3 U.S. each }}

She sent us next door to the Port Authority who required the same copies {{ and we handed over our last ones ! }}. He didn't like the fact that a tiny portion of my Passport copy was cut off, and was going to give me grief, but ended up copying it himself {{phew }}. He filled out the paperwork and issued us our Zarpe for Livingston {{ no cost }}.

Back to the boat, secure Dinghy on Deck and we were weighing anchor by 11:30, with leftover slices of pizza for lunch.

We headed East and North, up around the corner of Utila



and the afternoon passed quickly, uneventful and easy sailing,



every effort winched in trying to capture the slightest breath of wind that was pushing us away from our rhumb line, instead of towards {{ oh well, we could always correct later, right ? }}

We started to lose sight of SV Lagniappe as they stayed closer to their rhumb line.



It wasn't even 5 o'clock and we looked at each other, pangs of hunger making our bellies growl. Or perhaps it was the smells emanating from the galley, wafting through the open companionway, making us drool. No one pot suppers for us on this trip.

What were we having? Turkey with {{ almost }} all the fixin's.

Seriously?

We'd originally bought this Butterball turkey breast in the States during the Great Bahamas Provisioning Spree, in anticipation of having guests over the Christmas Holidays. Turns out our guests cancelled, and turns out we went out for dinner at Lorraine's Cafe for Christmas Day. So it stayed frozen. Then we spent the month of January as Cambridge Cay Park Hosts and who has time to cook when you're on duty all the time?

Then all of sudden we find ourselves with only a couple of weeks left and a frozen turkey in the freezer. The problem now is that it's way too hot to keep the oven on for two hours.

But while on a relatively calm passage? Why not?

The turkey, potatoes, carrots all baked in the gimballed oven while we sailed happily and calmly along, completley unaware of the hot cabin down below. We had a can of cranberry sauce. And had I bought that loaf of bread back at the bakery? We might even had had stuffing as we had some Summer Savoury left onboard to make Dave's famous stuffing.

The sun set on our full bellies, darkness approached and suddenly life in the cockpit became serious We had planned for a rhumb line that kept us at least 20 nm off the coast of Honduras.

I don't know where the magic number of 20 nmiles comes from, because I know I can't see the running lights of a normal sized sailing vessel after about five or six nmiles.

We kept busy on a paranoid level as we both scanned the waters, a full 360 around us, keeping eyes awake and alert, for anything suspicious.

We went silent, both on AIS and running lights. We crossed paths with a few cargo ships, all on AIS, all far enough away, although when we did so, we turned our technology on, just to let them know we were there.

"Dave come look at this pink blob" I said, as the radar pings blipped through. It looked rather like a solid object, compared to the other blips I was seeing, and I needed a second set of eyes and some tracking on this thing. We determined it was moving eastwards, as we were going westwards, sort of parallel to us.

Although we didn't have a visual on it, the pings showed its position. Dave got a fix on it, and then noted it changed course, heading right for us. Really? Oh Shit! That gave my belly a lurch. We watched it intently for a few moments, and then oh so gratefully breathed a sign of relief as it turned back and went back to its previous course. We never did see actual lights, and it never appeared on AIS, so we'll {{ thankfully }} never know.

I was grateful for the full moon that illuminated the seas and area around us as it shone brilliantly all night long. As Dave had predicted, the winds lessend as he napped, and I brought the jib in. We resorted to motor sailing. A light appeared on the horizon, this one familiar. We'd rejoined with SV Lagniappe, our buddy boat. I wanted to call them and chat, but Radio Silence was on.

Heat lightning lit up the skies in the distance around us, ahead of us. It's always impressive to watch. Then the moon disappeared behind clouds, and our night got a little darker. The flashes of light more pronounced now, appearing more often, flashing a little brighter. If the lightning angle was just right, SV Lagniappe's silhouette would appear to emerge out of the darkness for a split second, a black shadow of a sailboat, and then she would disappear again. A little spooky, and perfect images for the ghost movies, if you catch my drift {{ pun intended }}.

I saw a few bolts of lightning strike in the distance, OhOh. The skies ahead of me seemed to grown more blacker than dark. Not Good. Another lightning strike allowed me to see a dark ridge of what was definitely not night skies.

I checked the radar, confirmed what I suspected to be a massive weather system to our port ahead of us. I let it sit for a few moments to see how fast it was moving. It seemed to just sit there. I watched the skies, watched the radar and after about 15 minutes, I woke Dave up.

There were two massive pink blobs of a very large cell, looking rather like a butterfly, now about 12 nm ahead and to our port. Dave ran his checks and sweeps, trying to get a feel for this thing. It was pretty stationery, but the insane ridge of darkness, as the lightning now striking all around us revealed, was worrisome. It wasn't going anywhere fast, but we didn't need to be sailing into any of those lighting strikes, so we slowed ourselves down to a crawl. Maybe it would pass ahead of us?

We turned ourselves into the slight breeze, lowered the main, grateful that the dropped lazy jack lines hadn't impeded the drop like last time. Broke Radio Silence to chat with SV Lagniappe who decided to do the same. And motored slowly into the pitch-blackness, as the lightning flashed and the thunder rumbled all around us, studying the cell as we advanced, hoping to see it dissipate. It still wasn't moving, and it wasn't dissipating, and we still weren't going anywhere.

After about half an hour we chose to outskirt it and outdrive it. We speeded up to normal cruising speeds, veered slightly to starboard, in an attempt to slide by and curve around the edge of the pink blobbed system. It wasn't even ten minutes later that the cold mountain air hit us, as the winds gusted 25+ knots. A smidgen of mist, but no rain. We kept on going. Lighting everywhere. Winds were howling. Thunder rumbling. And still no rain. We were glad we'd lowered the main in the calm conditions.

And then after about an hour, the flashes of light lessened, seemed to be more behind us. The winds lessened. The sounds of silence returning. Radar revealed our track, showing us on the outer top side, the system behind us. The large cell still hadn't move much, but we were now safe and sound on the other side. We turned to a little to port and got ourselves back on course.

What a night!! It was daylight, but the hazy skies of heat offered no relief but light. We finally saw the edges of land that we needed to curve around and knew that our anchorage waited just 'round the bend.



And that's the story of our Dark and Stormy night, of how we came to be anchored here, and how we fell asleep, and woke up, not knowing where we where.

Sunday was a day of work. We pickled the watermaker. Starting to clean and organize and prep Banyan for our departure. Chatted with SV Lagniappe who, tale be told, got totally drenched in the Dark N Stormy night we'd travelled through together.

We watched the parade of boats appear around the corner for signs of a familiar hull.



Hello SV LIvin'Life! What a reunion!!

By the end of the evening we were a total of 13 boats, all here to cross the shallowest of sandbars on the highest of high tides. But that's tomorrow's tale.

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!!