After nearly a week at Two Rocks waiting for southerly winds and for the swell to be down enough to negotiate the narrow exit from the marina into the Indian Ocean, it finally looked like escape day. We trudged to the top of the hill before 0700 to see how things looked. Much improved from the huge waves of the past two days, but still every once in awhile a breaker of some import made its way to our exit path. Time's a'wasting. We decided to go for it.
Easier said, than done. After yesterday's torrential downpours and 40 knot winds, we had a lot to do this morning before departure. We'd put out extra lines. The sail cover was sopping wet. And before we could leave the tiny harbor everything needed to be stowed securely … all the lines, fenders, fender board … or we were afraid we'd lose them overboard.
There's always a strategy to getting off the boat off the dock unscathed. In this case, the wind was blowing us off the dock which was good, but there wasn't much room for maneuvering. The bow was facing into the fuel jetty and turning the bow into the wind is not easily accomplished in tight quarters. We sprung off with a bow line, let the stern swing out and around and the bow came into the wind nicely. I hauled in the spring line as we passed the dock and then began tidying up lines. David did circles in the harbor while I coiled lines and stowed fenders. We couldn't procrastinate any longer. We headed for the exit. I said a silent prayer to Neptune to hold off on any breakers until we were clear.
David revved up the engine and we shot out … about as fast as a sailboat can go. There was no turning back and as I peeked around the corner and saw a breaker coming, I held my breath. We made it around the corner in time to take the wave on the bow. David kept us into the waves and managed to keep Cups on our incoming track with the leading lines aligned behind us. It was only 3.5 nm over the reefs to open ocean, but we were barely making 3 knots … it was a long, exhilarating hour and we were both queasy by the time we got through. The sky was grey. The sea was grey. The day was grey. In fact, our faces were a bit grey, come to think of it.
Because we'd spent so long waiting for weather in Two Rocks, we gave up on our plan to day-hop up the coast and instead, decided to do an overnight to Port Denison to save a little time. The winds were forecast to be light and we thought we might have to motor yet again. In fact, we had fickle winds which fluctuated between 6 and 16 knots which meant we were either lolling along at 3 knots or making miles at 7 knots. It was so pleasant to be sailing again, we decided we'd ride the winds as long as we could. Every once in awhile, a bit of blue sky peeked through the grey, but more often the scattered showers, showered on us.
We saw several whales … humpbacks, we think … making their way south. We could see the spouts from a long distance and only caught a couple of pix where the whale is actually almost discernible.
Day turned into night and the winds stayed with us. We were still feeling queasy and though I'd made a chicken-rice passage soup, neither of us was interested in eating. A cup of tea and a granola bar sufficed for lunch and dinner. We started our watch schedule early. Sleep seemed to be the best thing to overcome feeling crappy. A long, cold night lay ahead, but the sky cleared and a sliver of waxing crescent moon shone brightly midst a million stars. We saw only one ship during the night … 11 miles away … just a light on the horizon and a blip on the radar screen.
Morning dawned sunny. Having each been up half the night, we were sleepy, but feeling much better. Still, tea and granola bar seemed the only palatable breakfast. We counted 15 different whale sightings during the day. Wow! (but still no good photos!). The wind left us mid-morning and we cranked on the engine, arriving in Port Denison by late afternoon – just before dark. The tiny harbor is well-protected by a breakwater and filled with moorings and pens. It was calm and inviting. It's a lobster fishing port, but there was room for us on the jetty. Hallelujah! We're going to sleep well tonight.