Monday, November 12, 2012

At Last, Sailing (actually motoring) Away

Friday morning rain or shine, we decided to take off. Early in the morning we got ready, studied the chart, and made the route. I wrote down all the bearings on the turns, and the mileage, which reduces my anxiety, and Al opened the sail bag and got the sails ready, and fired up the engines at 8:15 am. I tended to the ropes, and shortly thereafter we started. 

The bay is facing south and quite narrow because of high reefs at both sides, but the path is well marked. While Al was steering, I was busy coiling the lines and collecting the fenders. The wind was quite strong, and we started hitting the waves, which were almost perpendicular on our port side. Then something flew off and came crashing down the fore-deck, odd shaped aluminum shards and broken pieces of the plastic cylinder got strewn around. Al declared that it was one of the radar reflectors, tied above the spreader. I thought it was not a good omen to have a mishap at the very beginning of our trip, but hey, we moved on.

We had to go about a mile south in order to clear the many fingers of small hills reaching down into the ocean, creating deep bays along the southern coast, where most of the marinas are located. The points closer to the western edge are longer, so our route was slightly south-west. After turning towards west, we got the wind on our back, which significantly improved our comfort. But the waves were relentless, and the sky dark as can be during the day, with storm cells forming occasionally.  Al thought of setting the sails, but I was not up to it. We have six more months to try the new halyard.

I was concerned with the twin peaks of rocks just above the water level, a little south of Prickly point, which are called The Porpoises on our way, so our route came down to its south, and then turned north west towards Pointe Saline, the westernmost point, turning around the Glover Island to its south, rather than cutting through the channel.
Of course Al humours me when I make my ultra conservative routes, then sometimes cuts corners, relying on the two GPS equipment and his smart phone.  This time, when we approached the island, he suggested taking the channel, cautioning me that I should not get excited when I saw 12 feet of water under us. Since the weather was not co-operating, I did not want to lengthen the trip by insisting on the longer route, so we cut across, but went as far west as the way point given in the chart to clear the hazards for the entrance to Martin’s Bay at the mouth of the St George’s harbour.

After reaching the lee of the island, coming to the bay was a breeze. I prepared the anchor, and we set it at 19 ft., among 25-30 boats already there. I spotted some heads (swimmers!) in the water around the boats, a good sign about the quality of water. In all marinas, and some crowded bays, people do not swim close to the boats, since holding tanks are not heard of.  We are located at the west side of the island, close to the north end of  large bay with small protrusions at the south and north edges.  I hope this place will be protected from the Christmas winds in the dead of winter.

 Other than that, it is open sea as far away as eyes can see! Sun tumbles into water directly in front of us. My favorite sight. I prefer the calm of early evenings, and love to watch the sun-set, and the awesome colors it creates. One of these days I want to paint one such sight.

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