Day 1 - 1130 nm to go Once again, it was a flurry of activity as we prepared to up-anchor and head out from Culebra to St Augustine. We woke with the dawn, checked the weather again, and after a cuppa and a few more checks, we were off across Ensenada Honda on an overcast morning and heading back into the Caribbean Sea. We'd rigged the pole and removed the sail cover last night to save ourselves from too much morning activity. 1130 nm to go … the first day out, it always seems that the distance is so long, but experience tells us, it goes by quickly. The days at sea seem to blend as we adjust to the passage and before you know it, we'll be sailing into the St. Augustine Inlet and under the Bridge of Lions. In the meantime …
The overcast skies soon burned off, replaced by warm sunshine and big, puffy, linen-white clouds lazing their way through a baby-blue sky. The weather forecast was calling for more of the same for five days out.
If you want to appreciate how wonderful sailing can be, you should have joined us today. Long period, 3-4'(1m) seas, a constant 12-18 knot wind and we were broad-reaching and downwind sailing. There's not much heel. The sails are full out – wing on wing. It's deliciously warm with enough breeze through the cockpit to be totally comfortable. It was an “oh-my – aren't-we-the-luckiest people on earth!” kind of day. The stuff sailing dreams are made of. Fish jumped; noddies, gulls and frigates soared overhead. We cruised along in the low to mid-6s, like the lazy clouds above.
A thought about Puerto Rico. It has all the amenities of the USA … US phones, ATMs, it's reasonably safe and secure, access to all American goods and supplies … but it's distinctly and delightfully a true Spanish culture in a warm, tropical environment. Looking for a place to escape (but not really, totally escape)? Puerto Rico's the place to visit.
Day 2 - 968 nm to go
Once past the islands, islets and outlying reefs, we set a NW course (315M) which would take us all the way to St. Augustine Inlet, skirting to the north of the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas.
Our first night out was a restless one as usual, trying to get into a sleep pattern of 3 on/3 off. We're tired, but unable to sleep on our off-watch, then sleepy during on-watch. It all passes quickly and we'll be in the swing of things in another day. On a very positive note, no one aboard has been the least bit seasick thanks to benign weather and seas.
Several ships passed during the night, our trusty AIS alerting us to their presence, but none passed closer than 3-4 miles away. The night offered the same constant trade winds from the S/SE and we made good mileage .We're already less than a 1,000 miles to go. At this rate, we should arrive in about a week.
We're traveling with a buttery yellow, waxing moon as our companion. She lights up the sky till about 0200, dousing the brilliance of the stars surrounding her. No matter, I prefer moon glow.
The day was lovely and primarily spent reading and writing. There's limited chatting since one of us always seems to be napping. By tomorrow, it'll be all good and we'll be on a sched again.
Day 3- 826 nm to go
Another good mileage day under ideal sailing conditions. Neptune is looking out for us, for sure. A favorable half knot current and a gentle following sea have definitely helped our cause. The moon continues to wax and outshine the stars ... except for Venus, her constant companion, who seems to maintain her star-glow in spite of her sidekick's brilliance.
Though there are not many ships (3-4 a night), we see lots of jet contrails during the day. As I watch them, I wonder where the people aboard are heading and why. On vacation to the islands maybe? I wonder if the passengers can look down and see the tiny dot of a boat floating in the endless, surrounding seas and are wondering the same about us. Come to think of it, from 40,000' (12,000+m) up, I doubt we are even noticeable.
According to the charts, the depths here are deep, deep, deep – over 26,000' (8,500+m) and we wonder about the terrain below us and the mountain tops that form the Turks & Caicos and the Bahamas, only 60-70 nm south of us. What critters lurk down there?
A big high pressure system prevails, providing us with the fine weather. The GRIBS and Buoy Weather, however, agree that we'll be windless soon. Sigh! We'll be here adrift in the midst of the great, mysterious Bermuda Triangle.
Ah, yes, we are well into the infamous Bermuda Triangle now and are constantly on the lookout for sudden squalls, not to mention Kraken and other great sea monsters, methane bubbles, waterspouts and especially aliens. So far, so good.