03 August 2011 | Home in Indiana
Arrival in Aruba
22 December 2019 | 12 30.5'N:70 01.8'W, Oranjestad, Aruba
We rounded the southern point of Aruba about an hour before sunrise and worked our way up the west coast. The timing was pretty good because you don�'t want to enter strange ports during the night. Typically one must pass through the reef surrounding the island and they are not always marked very well.
As we were headed for the pass we were hit with another squall. The winds picked up as the visibility decreased. We were already under a partial jib only so didn�'t need to reduce sail. We sailed away from the island for about a half hour as the squall passed. As the weather cleared we headed in to the port where we were supposed to check in with customs and immigration. Since nothing was marked we didn�'t know where to dock the boat to find the offices. So we motored the 4 miles to Oranjestad to see what it looked like. The port authority hailed us on the VHF and directed us back to Haven Barcadera to do the clearance formalities.
We motored back down to the port and upon approaching the dock for the customs we ran aground. We hailed the port authority and he called the coast guard. By the time they showed up we had worked the boat off the bottom and managed to tie up to the bulkhead. We found the offices and checked in without any further issues.
Then we started looking for a place to anchor the boat. The trade winds were blowing 15-22kts today so it made reading the water difficult. The island is surrounded by a barrier reef. Between the reef and the island there is a channel but there is also a lot of shallow water. There are few marked channels except for commercial traffic so one depends on �"reading�" the water for depth. This is something we haven�'t had to experience until now. The anchorage we wanted to use would have us crossing a flat that the cruising guide said would have 6 feet of water if you picked the right trail. We ended up anchoring at a different location in front of a beach near the end of the airport runway. And by the way, the Danforth anchor didn�'t hold in the loose mud and weeds so we grabbed a mooring.
This year we covered 5000 nautical miles since we left Alicante, Spain at the end of September. We used the engine for less than 250 hours. During the ARC+ crossings the engine was used only for battery charging and not propulsion. We confirmed once again that our old boat is a capable cruiser and will get us to our destination safely. We were sometimes awestruck with the things we witnessed along the way. We made a lot of new friends from different parts of the world with a common goal of crossing an ocean in a small boat. I praise the World Cruising Club for their organization and support as we prepared for and made the crossing.
Change of Plans
21 December 2019 | 12 25.5'N:68 43.1'W, north of Curacao
Well, we did it again. We arrived at our way point near the north end of Bonaire and had another discussion. If we go to Curacao we faced an overnight tonight to arrive during daylight tomorrow. We would clear through customs and immigration for a three day stay. We would then need to clear out of Curacao and leave Christmas day for an overnight passage to Aruba. Our appointment for hauling the boat is 07:30 on the 27. We would also need to go through the formalities in Aruba.
So we started a discussion about skipping Curacao and sail directly to Aruba, 95NM. We would make one overnight passage and not have to meet with the Curacao officials. We had both been thinking about this and I�'m glad we talked. We think it will give us more time to relax before starting the layup of the boat.
So our new plan is to arrive in Aruba tomorrow, Sunday, morning. Clear customs and immigration. Anchor in the anchorage near Oranjestad thru Christmas. Have the boat hauled as scheduled. This gives us more than a week to visit the island, shop and relax before coming home.
Martinique to Curacao
21 December 2019 | 12 47.8'N:67 36.2'W, at sea
Had a good night of sailing.
Anchors and Boats
20 December 2019 | 13 18.87'N:66 26.99'W, at sea
Every boat needs an anchor or two but they are not all created equally. Neverland�'s previous owner equipped her with 3 different types of anchors; Delta, CQR type and Danforth. The one that was on the anchor roller was a Delta anchor. They have excellent reviews but the first time we used it we were plowing the soft bottom of the bay. I don�'t know if it doesn�'t like the soft bottom of the Chesapeake Bay or there was simply not enough chain attached to the rope/chain rode. Anyone with anchoring experience will say that the chain part of the rode should be at least as long as the boat and that one wasn�'t.
The boat was also equipped with a Danforth anchor. This type anchor with the two long flukes works well in soft bottoms like the bay. I don�'t recall the last time I saw one on a boat in the Med. We used ours for a short while because it is lighter than the other anchors. We do occasionally deploy the Danforth from the stern if we expect the wind and waves to cross each other.
After we took the boat to the Med we switched to the CQR type anchor which works well in all types of bottoms. I found it hidden under the V-birth one day. We also switched to 75 meters of heavy chain when we came to the Mediterranean and added an electric windlass so we don�'t have to muscle the anchor up. Monica usually does all the anchor handling, she still doesn�'t like driving the boat in close quarters. Anchor handling is a breeze with the 2 foot switches, black is up and red is down. We rarely drag anchor, I can�'t remember the last time. If ever in doubt I always add more chain.
A lot of boaters in the Med use a Bruce type anchor. They look like 3 fingered claws on the bows of the boats. I�'m not sure of their holding capability because I often see boats dragging their anchor along the bottom looking for the place it will hold.
We were anchored in the bay at Martinique for 2 days and the anchor didn�'t budge, even with the high winds. When it came time to raise the anchor, a strong gust came on us and an incoming boat crossed just in front of us, perhaps over the anchor. Monica normally lets out some chain so I can drive past the anchor if it is stuck. This time it didn�'t work and we bent the anchor shank more than 90 degrees. So today was spent swapping the Danforth in place of the CQR while underway. It had been attached to the chain so long that I had to cut the shackle ping to free it. Anyway the Danforth is ready to use in Curacao and Aruba. I think a good mechanic can straighten the shank before we launch the boat again.
Passage Martinique to Curacao
20 December 2019 | 13 36.2'N:65 20.6'W, at sea
This is position at 0600. I am so accustomed to making the boat go as fast as posible it is hard to make it go slow.
Passage Martinique to Curacao
19 December 2019 | 13 38.9'N:64 23.7'W, at sea
Update position at 18:00. We went 151NM from anchorage at noon yesterday to noon today. We accessed our arrrival time and decided we would arrive after dark on Saturday if we continued at the spped we were going. Therefore we dropped the mainsail completely and poled out the jib and still making 5-6 knots. The slower speed will make our arrival during the morning on Sunday. The guides recommend a daytime arrival to avoid the reefs surrounding the island.