Thar She Blows
20 February 2018 | Bas du Fort Marina, Guadeloupe
The wind guru website tells us we will have a few calmer days for us to travel from Martinique to Dominica and then up to Guadeloupe which will be Sue and Gary’s final destination on Mile High Dream. It looks like we will be having two days of ok weather which will not allow us to do much playing but will get us there.
Off we go. The expected winds from the weather report is 15-18 knots with gusts to 21. That is what we would call great sailing conditions. My crew is not the earliest of risers so by the time we get under way we are definitely at the back of the mass exodus of boats thinking the same as we are. Approximately 25 boats sailed out of Saint Pierre that morning headed to Dominica. Dominica is sponsoring a cruiser’s appreciation week to let sailors know they are back in business after the hurricane. This week long event is going to be strongly supported. We knew that we would not be able to take part in the festivities due to our time commitment to get to Guadeloupe but we are there in spirit.
We are in the Martinique Passage and winds are anything but 15 knots. 20 plus with gusts to 30 are not uncommon so we reef the main sail and reduce how much head sail we have out and off we go sailing at a very fast seven knots. It is a little rough but eight hours and 50 miles later we drop the anchor. We talk about tomorrow and decide to do two short days even though the winds are expected to increase on the second day. After dinner, Sue kicks our butt in every game we play that night. We head to bed early so we can get an 8:30 am start.
Reaching the Dominican passage the winds are again well over 20 knots with gust up to 35 and waves around 6 feet. This is going to be a rough sail so we are glad we are only going 17 miles. Two and one half hours later we finish crossing the Guadeloupe passage and reach Iles Des Saintes our supposed destination. I am ready to be done but that was not going to happen. Every mooring ball is taken and the only place to anchor is in 40 feet of rough bouncing water. We look at each other and decide to keep going another 20 miles. The seas get worse, the tie down on the dingy explodes like a shot out of a gun. The dingy is floppy like a fish out of water and I am flaily around trying to get a line on it to get it back under control. Oh the joys of sailing. I have asked myself more than once why I do this and I have not come up with a very good answer yet.
Gary thinks he sees something strange about a quarter mile behind the boat. All of a sudden a whales flies out of the water and does a full breach in mid air.
“Oh my God. Did you see that? It’s a whale. I have never seen one in my last five years of cruising.” I said
As soon as I said that two more whales breach in tandem. What an amazing sight. Maybe these are those special times that keep me sailing.
We make it to Guadeloupe, drop anchor and settle in for the night. Rough seas, high winds, getting soaked with saltwater and seeing whales, it has been quite a day.