Thursday, October 25, 2007

Southern Bash

Monday, October 22, 2007: Solomon’s Island to Reedville

Today was a beautiful day: blue skies, temperatures in the upper 70’s (upper 20’s in Celsius), and a nice breeze. A perfect day to be on the water, except when you wanted to go south! Then, you got a whole different experience…

The four of us got up at 5:30 am. We had an 8 hour day ahead of us and the later it would get, the harder the wind would blow and the higher the waves would be. After going back and forward for hours, yesterday, about leaving Solomon’s today or not, we made the decision to go for it and beat into the wind. This wind had been blowing from the south for days. Maybe the weathermen were off again and the wind would shift a bit to the east or west, so we could sail. Mmmmmmm. Not so much.

We left our anchorage before seven, and half an hour later, a red sun rose from the water, turning the sky into a painter’s palette of all kinds of bright colors. Once back in the bay, the wind came due from the direction we needed to go. This wasn’t good. We bashed into the waves for an hour. Very uncomfortable, but we didn’t want to turn back at this point. Mark and I decided to get off course, raise the sails, and tack south. The movement of the boat was a bit smoother that way, but… from the moment we left the main channel, we had to deal with tons of crab pots, and after five hours we did find ourselves back on track, but only a third of the way! Time for plan B: motor sailing. We furled the jib in and left the main sail out, while the engines ran full speed. The sail helped us maintain a pretty good speed, even though we had a lot of obstruction from wind and waves. Our foul weather gear kept us warm.

The seas were building in the afternoon. The wind reached speeds of 25 knots. We reefed the main, twice. And, for the next five hours we pounded into the 2-3 foot waves, going up and down. One second I saw the horizon, the next it was gone. This was a good day for motion sickness pills, and Mark was happy that I had thought about that before we left. Kali was feeling stressed and miserable, because the boat kept jerking up and down in these conditions. Still way better than a monohull, though, since we were not heeling at all. Darwin was hanging out in the cockpit, trying to sleep. He’s such a good, mellow boy (at times)! The only moments he got annoyed, was when Kali stepped and sat on him.

Irie took a beating. Constantly, we heard waves banging underneath the salon floor. The emergency exit windows are leaking again, with the new gaskets. Water spouts shot up through the drain holes in the cockpit. We had our own little fountains! The two hulls dipped under the water quite a few times, leaving the whole boat drenched in salt water. We hope it rains soon. The cat dodged more crab pots (what a pain these are), and on the way to our anchorage, we got company from four other sailboats, undergoing the same fate. Around 5pm, the chaos stopped. We found ourselves in a nice, quite, and calm anchorage up Mill Creek, near the smelly town of Reedville. No wind, no waves, no sound, no movement, no warm clothes, close to land, happy crew. We will stay here until the next cold front and storm have passed, before continuing towards Norfolk.

No comments: