Salinas to Curacao
15 June 2010 | Spanish Waters
SALINAS TO CURACAO
3rd June 2010 Thursday
We left Salinas 12.30pm for Curacao, also Netherland Antilles island, on a journey of 394 nautical miles, crossing the Caribbean Sea. It was slow going for the afternoon and Passat pulled away from us, as usual, making us play the catch up game again.
Fairly calm sea, full main and genoa out. Did a little motor sailing in the afternoon and during the early hours of the morning of the 4th the wind picked up and we were doing up to 7.5 knots and caught up with Passat a little. Nice sailing at this point. Our first 24 hours we did slightly less than 100 miles which was disappointing. The rest of the day was spent just keeping watch and Vossie trying to catch up on a little sleep. Managed to make supper before dark and with the swell beginning to increase settled in for another night trip. The moon rise was around midnight so up to then we sail in darkness which takes a little getting used to for me. However the phosphorescence as we cut through the water is amazing. Like someone throwing handfuls of stars around the boat. I spent my watch hours at night sitting on the back of Talacam mesmerized by this sight. Clear night with stars above as well as below. For the most part we have averaged 6 knots and have been fairly comfortable in the boat, even though the gunnel is almost in the water.
Morning of the 5th the swell has picked up considerably and sailing along at 6 knots. At about 11.00am we had a school of about 50 dolphins playing around the boat, surfing on our bow wake and chattering in their enjoyment. I tried very hard to take some photos but with great difficulty holding on with one arm and balancing as we rolled over the swells. They stayed with us for about an hour racing around the back of the boat, and back to play in the bow wave. It was such a simple pleasure to enjoy watching these graceful , trusting creatures.
As the wind had died a little we put up the staysail as well hoping to pick up speed and to make landfall in the day time on Sunday. Wind started to pick up a little again as we settled in for the 3rd night with swell maintaining 6 ft-7 ft.
Went down to rest for a few hours and lying in the saloon could feel Talacam shuddering as the wind picked up even more. Our speed increasing to a manageable 7-8 knots. Wonderful we will make landfall in the daylight! Everyone happy, exhilarating sail!! Well, that was all ok until Talacam got it into her head that the old bones having been thoroughly shook up and the 11 year old cobwebs swept away in the wind, would show Daddy, who had been exhorting her to greater heights, that she would show just what she could do and increased her speed to 10knot plus. VERY SCARY business. Two big bundles of nerves screaming through the darkness in a boat which would not be stopped. We waited very impatiently for daybreak and with Bob's advice on how to get a reef back into the main the easiest way, managed to bring her down to a more sedate 6-7 knots, but still wanting to hit 8.
We have made good time and landfall will be mid afternoon and we look forward to not having to go through another night ride. True to form though, on our last 6 miles to approach Spanish Waters a few more incidents to rattle the already stretched nerves. A line of 5 squalls , one particularly menacing one. So bobbed around uncomfortably waiting for it to pass by and decided the others were mainly rain so started up again very slowly waiting for the visibility to clear so we could get into anchorage. Just about ready to do all this when the autopilot decided its job was done and he gave up. So around in circles we went trying to find the very narrow entrance and get the right bearings to enter. Nervous breakdown was now eminent and with me on the tiller we came in with Vossie checking the GPS to keep me on course.
Finally............. anchor down at 2.30pm, engine off and cold beer out. What an experience! But we are safely in Spanish Waters anchorage in Curacao, which promises to be very interesting.
After relaxing for a while and early supper we get ourselves ready for much needed sleep. I put my head down at 5.30 and asleep by 5.31pm. Vossie then does the unthinkable after 3 1/2 days rolling around at sea and safely in harbor, he tries to close the hatch while climbing down the companionway, falls down onto his back with his whole weight onto the corner of the galley top and has most definitely cracked at least one rib. Since he won't go for an x-ray we cannot be sure. Of all of this I am unaware until 3 in the morning when I wake up to find him in the saloon in pain with bruises on both sides of his face and a cut on the forehead. Was surely a hard fall! He is not going to enjoy recovering from this one!