On to the Caribbean
On to the Caribbean
After the leisurely pace of the last four days, it was time to pick up the tempo and make a real push for the islands. Captain Jesse had all hands on deck for an early departure. Given that I was up in the wee hours of the morning (0530) to dinghy our reluctant-to-leave crew member Jen into catch a taxi (she only had a week to spare- Read her story in Pt. 1- Cruising in Fast Forward), they let me sleep in until just after the anchor was secure in the bow roller and we were under way.
The sun was low in the sky as we headed for an east-end exit at 0800. Heading directly into the sun, the glare off the water made spotting coral heads much more difficult. Eye fatigue set in quickly as we strained to scan the horizon for hazards. Jesse decided to take the first exit possible to clear the reef to give us a break. It was a bit dicey but we finally had cleared into deeper water.
After a collective deep breath to relax, we suddenly noticed something dramatic had changed, the windex was no longer pointed straight forward—we could at long last actually sail this fine vessel and guess who just happened to be behind the wheel. Yep, Dave G (me). Up went the sails and we doused the engine. Ah yes, the quiet hum of the hulls skimming through the water. With a freshening breeze in the 17- to 20- knot range, we were soon scooting along at 10 knots. Still in the lee of Long Island, the sea was flat and Jesse leaned over to point out this would probably be the best sailing we’d have. I took that to heart and spent the next four hours trying to sort out a straight line so the old autopilot didn’t bench me.
Our fine young chef Jacob whipped up some sweet breakfast sandwiches. What a glorious day in the making. By noon we had our new watch schedules which would run 24/7 until we made landfall. This is what I had come to experience, a true blue-water run. Although I live in Colorado, I still manage to get four days of sailing in each week but really had an itch to see what offshore passages are all about.
We settled into our daily routines. James and Amanda would take a daily noon sextant reading and then huddle over the table for hours working out the math until the evening reading. Jesse was on a reading spree and burned through six or seven books, pausing only to make yet another snack of some sort—usually involving bacon or butter. Jacob would make his way to the stove to create yet another masterpiece for lunch or dinner. Afterward we would tag-team the dishes. All told each meal took a good two hours or so out of our day. In between eating and watches there is yet another glorious sunset (no green flash though) followed by the full moon rising on the opposite horizon.