Our plan when returning to Amara at the end of July was to get lots of projects done to prepare for our January departure with the world ARC rally, then set sail in early September for Bonaire leaving lots of time to play. We worked hard and got a lot done. I also started a new business as a Compassionate Entrepreneur with Trades of Hope. I needed to do some online training. Having a high speed internet connection on the boat at Port Louis Marina (something a lot of land dwellers take for granted with high speed internet in their home) was something I did not want to give up too soon. We were told on Bonaire we would need to be in coffee shops to get low speed internet. So it is not the easiest way to spend my time, but I was so excited about the mission of the Trades of Hope that I wanted to get started. You can check it out more at www.mytradesofhope.com/brendalangille. Sorry, all my non-American friends, Trades of Hope can only ship in the US at this point, but maybe when we are done sailing we can help them change that.
Rick was more motivated then me to get going to Bonaire, but the weather co-operated more with my wishes and we set sail on Thursday morning, Sept. 7, Caleb’s 26th birthday.
As with all trip planning, we watched the weather forecasts carefully – this time maybe even more carefully as we knew hurricane Irma was going north and José was not supposed to come our way. Maria was nothing but an un-named disturbance in the Atlantic. With the intensity of Irma pulling all the wind to her, little was left where we were. So, for our journey, the winds were mostly light, initially from the south, which was perfect. Rick is so cute, he was so excited about his new toy, the “Code Zero”, then he too scared to use it. For those of you who are not sailors, his fear was completely understandable. As we all know, winds can change speed and direction quickly especially if you get caught in a storm; the fact is too high winds could ruin the sail in minutes. The sky was a sort of funky hazy. So we double-checked the forecast, together this time, only light winds were predicted, we double-checked the wind angle and velocity,… perfect. So I encouraged him to go for it. It did great, and increased our boat speed by around 2 knots.
Long before nightfall we put it away as there were thunderstorms with lightening on the horizon. There had been some sprinkles during the day, but nothing big. The wind started to change direction, but by the second day it died almost completely. This was so far one of our longest passages with just the two of us. The best part for us was that both of us were able to get about 6 hours of sleep in shifts – a first for us to feel relaxed enough to sleep while it was just the two of us sailing.
We caught a Barricuda with our rod and reel (we double-checked with the locals that it was safe to eat). Amara did her own fishing, we awoke the second morning to about a dozen flying fish on deck, plus one squid on the aft deck. That is just the strangest thing to wake up to, or better yet, to have happen while you are on watch! You are looking all around and thinking you are keeping an eye out then in the morning light you find all these fishies on the deck. You thought you were paying attention, but you didn’t see them come aboard, and we are talking a deck at least 4 feet above the water. Then the fact that a squid can get to the middle of the aft deck, many feet above the water, just makes me wonder how they do it. We were able to watch dolphins two different times; two large ones the second day and three smaller ones on the third.
On the third day at sea, we had some crazy wind shifts causing us to zig zag and lose time. This meant we were coming into a strange anchorage at dusk. Not at all ideal, in fact, we almost never take moorings after dark, and never in new places. This made us all the more happy about the successful installation our Iridium GO! With it we had kept in touch with our friends, Kim and Zim, on Someday. They had already been in the mooring field a week or two before us. Since we had texted them on our way, they were looking for us and had a plan in place even before we were in VHF range. It was nearly dusk when the mooring field was in site. As we approached, we could see some boats and the lights of Kralendjik were starting to show. Soon all we could see was the big spot light Zim was pointing our way. He used it to guide us safely to the available ball. He then assisted us in tying onto it. It is always good to have friends, but especially good to have friends at times like this. We were so happy to be in Bonaire and especially happy to get a good night’s sleep after 55 hours of sailing.