Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Goodbye South America - Hello Caribbean

Checking out our washing machine 

We left Suriname on October 24th with our friends on Argosea, Tony and Anne.  It was a bittersweet departure as we felt comfortable and welcome in Suriname.  We have to send out a special thank you to Noel, owner and developer of Waterland Marina and Resort for being the best host one could imagine.  

Beautiful Waterland Marina
His warmth and care for us as guests went so far beyond anything we have ever experienced.  To say farewell, Noel and his wife Rika prepared two pots of delicious local crabs, spiced to perfection.  By 8:00 AM the tide/current of the Suriname River was ebbing and flow was in our favor.  We rode the tide 35 miles to the Atlantic and began our four day sail north back to the Caribbean. 

It is hard to describe what passage making is like in a 44-foot sailboat.  The idea of it seems a bit romantic.  

In fact it is challenging even in the best of conditions.  Long hours with watch changes every 4 hours.  When or if you are able to sleep, it is only for four hours and then it is your turn to take another watch.  Someone is ALWAYS on duty. You might think that there is nothing to watch for when you’re 100 miles off shore in the middle of the night.  You would be mistaken.  One night at about 3:30 we were contacted by three ships doing seismic research asking us to alter our course and stay 6 miles off to their east.  You cross paths with tankers and cargo ships and yes, occasionally another yacht. The boat has to be run and sails adjusted in the dark so safely becomes a primary concern.  We wear life jackets at night and “tie in” whenever we leave the cockpit.  It’s a rule that no one leaves the cockpit at night without someone else having eyes on them.  

Drinks on the deck at Waterland

People do like to play dominos in this part of the world

Sunday Brunch with our friends from S/V Argosea

Kay and Elaine

Richard and Don

Dinner to be - thanks Noel

Rika and Noel prepared a great crab fest for our goodbye dinner

Our trip north found mild winds and moderate seas.  At times there was not enough wind to steady the boat from waves coming in on the beam.  This resulted in some hours with excessive rolling and an uncomfortable ride.  We sailed offshore about 75 miles to where the sea reaches a depth of 300 feet to in order to maximize any benefit from the equatorial current.  This moved us along nicely as we passed Suriname, British Guyana, Venezuela, and finally Trinidad.  We rounded the north shore of Trinidad and headed for the NW corner to enter a 5-mile Boca and enter our final port of call at sunrise.

After four days of 4-hour watches, we were tired.  When the boat is tossing about, everything is a challenge:  spending time below deck can wreck havoc with a queasy stomach. Cooking with food sliding across the counter, showering while keeping your balance, and even brushing your teeth is a trial. There is great beauty in the open sea and plenty to occupy your mind, but it is not the same as a weekend cruise to a favorite cove.  It is, however, one of those life experiences we wouldn’t trade. 
The plan is to stay in Trinidad for a few weeks, haul the boat and head back to the States for a month of family and visits.  

We will post again in 2015 when we are once again on the move - to where we do not know.

Richard and Kay

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