April 25, 2012
What a gift!!! The winds, so unusual for this area from the north and west, served us such a benefit in our trip to Providencia. What we estimated would take about 72 hours, give or take, took us only about 52 hours. We left Guanaja about noon and arrived here about 4. Actually, it was 5 local time as we traveled east and lost one hour. The first half of the trip was a bit rougher than the second half as we had pretty high ( up to 8 foot swells) coming just aft of the beam. That means from toward the back of the side of the boat. The winds were in a good sailing condition and we sailed only (no motor) during that time making 163 miles in the first 24 hrs. That is really moving for a sail boat! The second 24 hours, we did 173 miles After turning the corner south, we used one engine, not so much for speed but because the wind and water were more behind us and the engine gave the boat some stability in that position so that we didn’t jibe. Jibing is when the sail is back winded and moves too quickly from one side to the other, often times damaging the boat if it is not controlled. As it was, the jib kept jibing but it was not so serious. What happened though is that it did snap the jack lines and they became tangled in a terrible mess which Rob is now trying to sort out. The jack lines make a holder for the sail as it is put down so that it stays stacked on itself.
The entire passage from start to stop averaged 7.1 knots. For you land people that is close to 8 miles an hour. Drive that in your car and it seems painfully slow but on a sail boat under wind power, we feel like we are really moving along! If we had waited for calm weather to motor the whole way, we would probably still be out there!
I do think the extra motor time helped make us keep speed when the wind dropped a little but by in large, could never have moved us at this pace. It is so nice to be writing to you upon our arrival, still with plenty of time before sunset. We had expected another 18 hours at sea at least! All in all though, we got used to being out there and it wasn’t so bad. We will have another 48 hours to our final destination but plan to stay here for probably about a week, depending on what the weather has in store for us. We thought about bypassing but we have a habit of saying we will do it next time and then we miss out. Everyone we speak with thinks this is a wonderful place to be but when you ask them why, they can’t really pin it down. They mention good people, secure and peaceful. There is a local bar here where the boaters meet each evening at 5 for happy hour and they will give you free internet on a stick while you enjoy your beverage. We will go in and do that tomorrow and that is why this publication won’t match the date it was written.
You may wish to follow our course at http://www.winlink.org/dotnet/maps/PositionReportsDetail.aspx?callsign=KG4QFO .
At the turn, we pass through an area of small reef islands where a lot of people stop to rest and enjoy the underwater life and they should look very pretty via satellite. Just scan out a little. We may catch them on the way back but we will see. This was not a good weather time to stop there anyway. If you pan way out, you might be able to see the shallow shelf that pushes out a long way from the coast of Nicaragua and is the main reason we have to make such a wide circle to get here rather than hugging the coast.
This island is off the coast of Nicaragua but is owned by Colombia. There is a sister island of San Andres, less than a day sail south of here also owned by Colombia. San Andres is more touristy and commercial (we were there on our boat several years ago) but Providencia seems to be more peaceful and laid back. Cruisers like it much better and people from Colombia come for vacation and consider it the best place on earth. We will let you know if we agree!
Tomorrow we need to go and check in with the authorities and we will check the place out. We just wanted you to know that we and the boat are fine and happy to be snug in our anchorage with about a dozen other vessels. We may end up heading south with some of them although others are heading north.
Fair Winds, (it actually happens now and then!)
Sue and Rob
In Providencia, Colombia