Well what do you know, once we decided we would be happy no matter where we ended up this year, the weather gods opened a window and we made it all way to the Dominican Republic in one shot. That one shot amounted to the longest time out at sea so far: four days and three nights.
Before setting out we took advantage of our week waiting for weather at Salt Pond, Long Island to re-provision with food, water, and diesel. Salt Pond turned out to be a very enjoyable stop with friendly people, a bona fide marine supply store, and free wifi fast enough to further our Game of Thronesaddiction. Because our stop there coincided with the annual cruising rally from Georgetown, we also took part in some of the planned activities, like two school bus rides to one of the bars down the road where we ate our fill of appetizers and I became kind-of-a-big-deal with the local karaoke scene. (Apparently when you see the same three guys singing the same ten songs week after week, fresh blood is pretty exciting.) We couldn’t possibly leave without checking out the nearby cave, and for the first time we attempted to do our laundry ourselves using some well water and our clean dinghy. We asked around about locating a used outboard engine with no luck, so for now we’re still rowing.
|In case you weren’t sure what this photo is about, it’s Jon drinking a beer on a school bus, complete with a few children.|
|Now we’re the cruisers who air their laundry on the boat.|
After a month of nothing but trade winds, the forecast called for a slow moving cold front bringing light northeast winds for several days. It seemed it was now or never. The day before our window was expected we sailed up to the northern tip of Long Island to spend a third night at the convenient stop-over anchorage of Calabash Bay. In the morning we were off, encountering wind primarily from the east. We made a few long tacks and found ourselves near Rum Cay once again, floating along while waiting for the sun to disappear over the horizon and the wind to back a few more ticks to the North.
|We caught another fish on our way back to Calabash Bay, but we didn’t want to eat a barracuda, however small, for fear of getting ciguatera so after carefully removing the hook from his sharp-toothed mouth, he is now free to live another day.|
This time we had better luck, and as predicted the wind backed far enough north to get us going in the right direction. Amazingly, the Monitor steered for the majority of our passage, for which we were extremely grateful. We just adjusted it as the wind changed and then went back under the dodger to hide from the blazing hot sun. For the first time I enjoyed my night watches more than being out during the day, partly because it wasn’t as hot but also because I felt a little less woozy when I couldn’t see the waves. We weren’t sure how long the favorable weather would last, so after Rum Cay we headed toward the island of Mayaguana. The weather was still cooperating so we set our sights for the Turks and Caicos. As we found ourselves nearing the T&C everything was still going smoothly, so we decided we could make it to the Dominican Republic and save ourselves the hassle of checking into another country.
Things continued to go well until the last 20 miles out of 375, when the wind and waves increased against us and each wave we bashed against had water pouring down onto our bed through the leaky forward hatch. We decided enough was enough, and instead of continuing toward our planned port of Luperon, we would aim for the bay ten miles to the west where we could anchor behind a point for the night to get some sleep before clearing into the DR in the morning.
|It was pretty amazing to sail toward the beautiful high mountains of the DR after two months of low coral islands in the Bahamas.|