Friday, 3 April 2015

Never trust a sailor

After a long day of sailing yesterday, we are now in... Baharona. Now, if you were paying attention to the blog, you'd know that this isn't where we set out to go.

Up at the crack of dawn yesterday, the anchor was up at Isla Beata and we had the sails out and engine off within thirty minutes. We had an awesome sail through the channel between the island and the mainland, due to the flat water (it was only 5 to 10 meters deep in most places) and nice breeze so we only had to make one tack. The deeper swell at the outlet of the channel was a bit of a pain, but we cut ourselves some slack - sea will get choppy when you force five hundred meters of water up into twenty meters - and the afternoon saw a favourable wind shift sending us straight to Las Salinas. The Captain was deep into a Dick Francis novel when the seas started to pick up at about 7:00 in the evening. Although he said later that he resented not being able to finish his book, we shortened sail. To not much avail. The waves grew and the wind strengthened. We brought in more sail and eased off the main to de-power the boat, but we were still heeling too much. To give you an idea, I had most of my weight on my feet while "sitting" in the cockpit; my feet were braced against the other side.

Finally an executive decision was made (forced on us?) to give up on Las Salinas, which would have required a close haul over nearly insurmountable swell, and to make for Barahona, which was mercifully downwind, running with the waves, and about 15 miles closer. The Captain will tell you that he thought we should go to Barahona all along, but I know that when we had light wind and were making course, he was just as pleased to go to Las Salinas as I was.

For the non-sailors who are reading, think of it this way - we could continue going to the right, had the boat on its side (which it is designed to do, but this was a bit much), and not go in the right direction to a destination that was further away, OR we could go left, stand the boat up, and go to a closer destination that was much easier on the way. Duh.

Although heading downwind in 25-30 knots of wind with 3 meter swells wasn't exactly easy. We hand-piloted in fifteen minutes shifts, and I was very disappointed when I asked how much longer my shift was to discover I'd only been on the wheel for three minutes!

All's well that ends well, as they say. Here we sit in a pleasant anchorage in Baharona. Items of note include that our immigration official who cleared us in to the DR this morning would also like to sell us a tour to see an inland salt water lake complete with crocodiles (we're not going), there is a five foot section in the grocery store just dedicated to olives-yay, and we have to move the boat out of this cosy little anchorage at 6 am tomorrow morning so a commercial ship can come into the dock, but we can come back in again once it is docked.

We've been told the commercial ship is staying for a few days, and I think we might too. Happy Easter!

If you'd like to follow along,we are at: N18 12.869  W71 5.280
Copy the GPS location above, click through to and paste the coordinates in the box in the upper left hand corner.  Push the 'Convert and map' button and you will see where we are. On the upper right hand side is an option to toggle map vs satellite view.

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