Fiu in Adriatic
Isla Barlovento (Venezuela) to Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles
Tuesday June 8, 2004 - After a slow start where we spent time clearing up the boat and “battening down the hatches” in preparation for today’s sail to Bonaire, we left at 10.15am to do the 55 – 60 miles to Kralendijk on Bonaire’s leeward side. Ivo had his creative moment and fixed the conch shells and corals on a plate to decorate the bathroom as well as fixing the bamboo pencil holder on the chart table (yesterday’s rough seas had thrown about all loose objects).
Wind speed this morning is about 20 -28 knts and we are sailing at 7.5 – 8 knts. As soon as we left the shelf of the atoll we caught a fish, unfortunately it was a barracuda so it went back into the sea.
Arrived at 6pm at Kralendijk and took a mooring. Susan had been feeling sick after lunch – but this did not stop everyone from going ashore to have a good meal and several cold beers.
June 9, 2004 - Staying in Bonaire for a couple of days – we have several things to do including trying to repair the fridge. Susan not feeling well and out of action for the day. Ivo and Peter did the clearing in & paid for mooring as well as visiting the local chandlery.
So Dutch this place! Everything neat and orderly, very civilized. Except for their music. One of the beach front restaurants had a South American singer and band from 10pm till 1am – then very loudly they finished off with karaoke sessions! Until 3am.
The backstays need to be put pack in place and the mainsail needs changing to the normal one before we leave for Panama.
June 10, 2004 - Bonaire – fixing fridge, fixing web, fixing running back stays .. problems, problems … dinner onshore in a nice restaurant, courtesy of Peter
Backstays put in place but, we discover yet another mistake by Horizon Yacht Charters. The pins had not been put back in place when they removed the back-stays for charter! So we have to find a temporary solution and the stays are up now with 6mm pins rather than 8mm.
Friday, 11 June 2004 Bonaire to Curacao
At 8:10 am we set sail to Curacao. Engine hrs: 1220.0 log: 11135 NM
.. nice weather, wind 10-15 E increased to 20-30 knots .. arrived close to Curacao as planned at 12:30pm. Speed 7-8-9 to 10 knots. We entered Spanish Bay on the Southwestern side of Curacao through a long narrow channel. How interesting to find that behind this rather uniform coast line there lies a large bay with several small marinas and many beautiful houses/castles on the hill side. We sailed straight down to the Southeastern side to Santa Barbara marina (actually called Seru Boca marina email (firstname.lastname@example.org) where, it turned out, is the only place we could get water anyway – very lucky! So we topped up with water – 5 US cents per gallon (very cheap comparing to what we will be paying in Galapagos, 50 US cents/gallon!!). After hesitating a little we decided to continue looking around in the bay, also to see if we could get cooking gas somewhere. Within the bay it is blowing considerably, as usual, some might say by now – not less than 25knts, so hold on to your hats!
Spanish Bay on the Southwestern side of Curacao has an interesting entrance - a long narrow channel.
Saturday, 12 June 2004 - Peter and Ivo went into Willemstad in the morning to visit. Came back with good photos and overall a positive impression of this town and island. Again with much Dutch architecture, could be Holland except for the lively colours used to paint the facades. Big refinery industry here.
Curacao is much drier than anywhere else we’ve been – humidity 66%, the lowest we’ve seen for a long time. Makes the evening feel chilly – well nearly. Reminds us of Arizona or Mexico with the dry vegetation.
A couple of hills on this islands – only a couple of hundred meters, but the population seem intent on creating the same flat countryside as back in Holland because the biggest hills we can see is being quarried out. So if you come back here in twenty years there probably will be no hillside left.
Leaving Curacao at 14:30 - Changed main sail in the channel – near the beach resort – Ivo dived to remove the small baby barnacles that started growing on the hull – most likely while in the marina in Isla Margarita – thousands of them – 5-6 mm in diameter, most of them near the stern.
Changed mainsail too since this place is so sheltered. Very hot and tiring exercise in full sun.
During the previous night we had anchored in front of a small yachtie bar/restaurant/dinghy dock - very nice and safe anchorage. Had dinner last night in the restaurant – again – this time Ivo’s treat – Susan and Peter had a go in Kralendijk, Bonaire.
Course: 300 – very nice sailing – wind 18 to 22 kn , sped 8-9-10 kn. We have to make approx 660 nm to San Blas … hope to be able to do it in 3-4-5 days??
Saturday, 12 June 2004, 9 pm – beautiful night, Susan’s watch from 9 to midnight. 10 pm wind increasing too 28-32 kn, speeding 9-10 kn… max 12.4 kn.
Sunday, 13 June 2004, 12:00 trip 64.3 nm Ivo taking over.
2:58 AM trip 89.6, log 11272.3 nm made approx 27nm in 3 h = avg speed 9 kn! At 2 am came close to a slow moving freighter – thought for a moment they are stopped and tried to go in front of them but when very close (200 m) realised they are moving and turned behind them. They noticed us as well and used the spotlight to illuminate their ship – on the chart below, the close encounter happened where the small kink on our trace is. At 3 am Susan taking over.
6:00 am Peter’s watch, on the safe distance from the land and decided to gybe at 6:15 am – now sailing to the true W –SW (approx 260). Log 11309, trip 126 nm.
Approx 50 nm from the Peninsula de la Guajira – will try to keep that distance from the land to have steady trade winds – closer to the land trade winds tend to be weaker – according to our weather charts.
10:13 AM – Wind on increase – Susan just recorded another record, 40+ knots of wind and 14.2 hull speed! Thinking of reducing the area of the genoa – with the current configuration we are using approx 70% of genoa and still flying 3rd reef.
12:01 PM – our noon position – log 11351, trip -169 nm since 16:30 yesterday
Just had lunch – Susan’s super soup with bread and butter! Delicious! At dish washing Peter demonstrates his cleaning up skills and when asked to throw overboard the left over tomato paste in one of our really nice Tupperware containers, he takes the request literally and throws everything overboard, tomato paste and container. So from now on we make sure we make very precise requests when we ask Peter to throw something overboard!
Ivo’s watch from 12 to 3 pm.
16.30 pm 24 hour run is 206 miles (in the water), according to the GPS our day-run is 212 nm! Our absolute record so far.
Started goose winging – fixed 70% of genoa 1 to the port with the spinnaker pole and main with the 3rd reef on the starboard – still making very good progress – flying with 9 to 12 kn – sea is high, 3-4-5 m, wind continues to be E-NE 20 to 30 knots, weather is still good.
Keeping away from the land – weather there must be very stormy and variable as practically since we entered Venezuela (some two weeks ago) we could see stormy clouds and occasional lighting. Also, according the weather-charts trade wind is much more stable on the open sea.
Monday, 14 June 2004, 8:10 AM - Still carried by wonderful trade winds with 7-10 knots in W-SW direction – feels like being on a conveyer belt which is taking us, free of charge, towards our destination.
Unfortunately we’ll have to leave this ‘conveyer belt’ soon and take a SW turn towards Panama – trade wind belt continues NW along the coast of Costa- Rica and Mexico. We shall be also changing the climate – within one day from a dry season dominating with the constant E trade winds we shall enter the Southern part of the Columbian basin where there is currently rainy season with variable winds.
Our weather fax is promising good winds away from the mainland but forecasting variable and week winds in the vicinity of Panama!? Is this forecast Right or Wrong??
Log 11523, trip 341 - still 300 nm to go to san Blas. – wind still 20 to 25 kn and our speed over 8-9 kn
Still over 300 miles to go!
Monday, 14 June 2004, 4:14 PM – Our 2nd daily average is 204 nm as shown by the log and 220 nm by GPS. Enough of goose winging – wind is dropping and dark clouds piling up in the west – is this our first tropical storm approaching? Shook off the third reef and set up the second reef – sailing on starboard tack – course W – to keep us out on the open seas and hopefully away from the storm…
Tuesday June 15, Back to goosewinging – the storm never materialized, the menacing clouds appear to only generate slight wind shift, not even wind decrease or increase. Racing downwind – all day and night and contrary to all established weather patterns for this region we still have a very healthy trade wind – right up to the San Blas Islands, and always in the right direction. How lucky we are!
Susan re-installed the running lifelines on Fiu – so we can now clip on up on the front deck if needed.
Ivo had a bad day yesterday and today – caught a BIG dorado and we managed to bring it right up to the stern, but then the line snapped! Again! So we lost the biggest catch so far that we actually could see before losing it. How disappointing.
Then Ivo’s PC crashed – in fact at the very same moment we called Fish! – and all data (including the unfinished More article) seemed lost since backup had been thought of, but not yet executed. So Ivo is ready to quit. Loses sight of all the positive and lucky things in life and just wants to lie down and give up. Atmosphere in Fiu is that of a funeral. However, Ivo is lucky as usual even if he doesn’t want to admit it right now, and he manages to restart the PC again after taking it apart and cleaning it, so now has complete backup of data before pushing his luck and this time pour coffee all over the PC. Ivo is upset again and surprised that the PC this time gives up completely (until next time). But now we can only laugh because of the silliness of the situation. Even Ivo cannot help but smile. So from now on Peter and Susan are constantly checking to make sure that Ivo’s absentmindedness does not cause further incidents, and move cups away from the chart table every time we find one back there!
Next, San Blas