Day 1 - 509 nm to go We were up with the light at 0530, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It was drizzling out and pretty grey as we sipped our cuppas and did all the last minute checks we'd already done the night before. Just before 0700, David cranked up the engine, I threw off the mooring lines and we were puttering through Chaguaramas Harbour. We passed by our friends on Ave del Mar to say goodbye. Betty and Luis were on deck waving, shouting that we'd reunite in Nova Scotia next summer. We slid past all the big, moored fishing boats and tugs and barges and scooted between Grand and Little Gaspar Islands. Seagulls and terns cried overhead. Pelicans were out in great numbers, swooping low over the water or floating in rafts of 10 and 12. They barely acknowledged us at we motored past, obviously well used to passing motor vessels and more intent on catching up on pelican gossip with their neighbors.
We took a hard turn to starboard and caught a big tidal push through the narrow Boca del Monos passage (Monkeys' Mouth) which spit us into the Caribbean Sea once again. It was still misty and we could barely see the Venezuelan coastline, only 11 nm away, on the hazy horizon. David toasted Neptune with the last of our St..Helena White Lion rum. At last, we were on our way again.
There have been several recorded pirate attacks as recently as January 2016 on yachts plying the waters between Trinidad and Grenada. We had filed a float plan with the Trinidadian Coast Guard and weren't feeling overly concerned, but concerned enough. Thankfully, we encountered no pirates, nor did we even see that many other vessels. An occasional ship passed by, but nothing closer than a mile or two. We could see Trinidad's oil platforms in the distance.
The morning mist burned off and the Caribbean welcomed us with 12-15 knot easterly winds and 3-4' (1m) seas. As the day wore on, the wind increased and we zipped along nicely. That uneasy seasick feeling lurked close by, but never manifest itself with more than a bit of nausea.
Our first problem occurred when we tried to furl the jib in anticipation of an approaching squall-line in the late afternoon. The furler fouled and we could not get the jib in. As it turned out, the squall missed us and David was able to make a quick fix to the furler though he reckoned it would require more attention when we arrived in Culebra. Other minor stuff went wrong, nothing critical and we considered it typical of any passage beginning. All were put on “the list” for another day.
We sat and chatted and napped frequently. Evening came and our first night watch passed without a problem. Winds alternated throughout the night between 10 kts and gusts to 25 kts with a few showers to keep us on our toes. After sweating in Chaguaramas, it was a pleasure to pull out a light blanket to take off the chill during the night.
Day 2 - 357 nm to go
Another grey day and the waters were choppier and with it came a touch of seasickness. We nursed ourselves with another dose of Stugeron, dry toast and tea and by late afternoon, we were both feeling better. Nothing broke that we were aware of.
We'd made good time yesterday and were hoping to continue, but we were thwarted by a 1 knot adverse current that kept our distance-made to a minimum, barely over 100 miles. It showered on and off, but the overcast skies and constant breeze kept the temperature very comfortable. By late afternoon, we were both feeling well again. The true test was making and eating dinner and being able to read without being nauseous. We were successful.
Dolphins visited throughout the day and provided some welcome entertainment. We saw a large flock of noddies around dusk, raucously discussing the best fishing possibilities for the area. Flying fish are common, but none have made their way to our scuppers yet. After Bob the Stink, it would be hard to meet another flying fish as loveable.
The overcast skies dissipated and the night was incredibly clear and beautiful. What a show! More stars than you can imagine, twinkling and glittering overhead. The Milky Way was distinctive and bright, millions of stars dazzling me with brilliance cast light years ago. I wondered who else might be out there appreciating this same spectacle.