Sunday, 20 March 2016

Caribbean Inbound Day 27

Hi everyone,
We are currently in position 06 49N 051 38W, saillng at 6 knots on a course of 330M. Our ground speed is 6.5-7.0 knots so we are back in the current. The wind is NE at 18-22 knots with a 1.5m sea and 2m N swell. We are sailing under double-reefed main and double-furled yankee. Broken cumulus clouds. Our day's run was 148nm, our DMG was 137nm and we have 712nm to go.

Yesterday we decided on our initial landfall in the Caribbean. We intend to stop at Rodney Bay marina in St Lucia. We called them on the satphone (Iridium Go!) to check they'll have room for us, and they said they will. This explains the sudden reduction in our distance to go above - St Lucia is about 125nm closer than Antigua. We plan to spend Easter in St Lucia before sailing north to Antigua and then westward to the BVIs.

Yesterday afternoon the wind held in at 18-22 knots ENE until 1800 when a rain squall came over with winds up to 28 knots. We swapped to the staysail again which works very well, getting the power down low.  After the squall passed we went back to the yankee again and stayed with it all night.

The night was mostly clear, with small banks of cloud coming over occasionally. Happily they didn't bring much more wind with them. Several ships passed in the night, none coming close. We found the current in the early hours of the morning and as it increased the sea state improved. It was nice to leave the messy seas behind. Based on the day's run and DMG above we may have had had current against us overall. The moon only set a couple of hours before sunrise so we had good light for most of the night.

After the moon set we started to see green lights all around. They were startlingly bright and in the water - the brightest bioluminescence we've ever seen. It was like green party lights going past underwater. When one went under the boat we could see the light emerging all around the boat. Surreal.

On the HF net last night two boats reported close encounters (of the no contact kind) with separate pods of whales. That had us a little on-edge for the night, not that there's much one can do to avoid them. One tries to remember the odds are in favour of missing them! :^| We didn't see any sign of them.

This morning we've had a couple more rain squalls requiring us to swap to the staysail for a short time for each. The weather seems to be clearing up at present so hopefully we won't see any more of them today. Rain squalls do seem to like the late afternoons around here.

Our water supplies are lasting well and we have no doubt they will get us to St Lucia comfortably Likewise food supplies are lasting well, although fresh veg is just about gone. Those St Helena potatoes were marvellous. Snacks and chocolate are however in short supply. We need to increase our provisioning of these items in future. Comfort food is important for those on whale watch!

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