Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Nov - Dec 13, 2009 - Utila to Lighthouse to Adventura to ?? N20.29 – W087.13 IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT…


I’ve always wanted to use that line…ok, read on…

Here's an excerpt from our latest adventures in the past month..

We were waiting for the immigration officer to arrive in Utila for our check-out and a weather window to leave for the first leg of our trip to Cuba, Lighthouse Reef, Belize.

..We had waited for the right conditions...they were good... winds 15 - 20 SE, swell 5 ft on the starboard quarter...we departed Utila on a beautiful warm day at 3pm with lots of time to head SW around the Cays before turning NW for the 78 mile leg to Lighthouse course 334, anticipated arrival 6 am.

...Kaija's’s 12:02 am,it's a beautiful star lit nite... reef in the main, reef in the headsail, doin 6 1/2 ... PERFECT...i'm down below, asleep...I am awakened by that shrill screaming of my name sending a wave of terror over me as I catapulted into the cockpit...hit by 42 kt squall and 80 degree wind shear up the butt and back in less than a minute.....bout took the rig down...totally out of control double suicide jibe...blew out traveler car, mainsheet...and vang so I had no control of the sail..I tried to start the engine to gain control - the solenoid froze up..sucked out all the power on the boat (did not know it was Solenoid at the time)...lost all power...lights, instruments... ...lost “Otto” (autopilot) dark I couldn't see the sails...flying blind holding the wheel ….that was in the first 60 seconds....the next hour was one hour from the dark side!

We are fine, the boat and rig took a tremendous beating and came out ticking...I’m convinced we could have lost the rig and would have if the boom had made contact with the stays...lucky for us, our beautiful stainless steel boomvang made contact with the corner of the granny rails at the mast and thwarted an almost sure disaster.

We've had a good rest and still loving the life...tho not so sure why in those wee moments of horror... and alas, altho my bones ache, nobody got hurt...the traveler car can be replaced...the vang...has a dogleg bend in it at least 1 1/2 inches, made by Mark Garhauer STILL WORKS......incredible!!!

I checked the rig, and amazingly strong, only needed to pop out a few rivets on the stack pack and a couple off the mainsheet blocks on the boom...but an easy fix today as the wind continues to blow 15-20 SE...perfect to take us north...

They say all's well that ends well and what doesn't kill ya makes you stronger...well, we are well and after the repairs we are stronger. It was the 1% sheer terror that accompanies the 99% sheer boredom...that is if you don't count all the 'fix it' time on the boat......cause it's always something!

Life on the boat is always affording an adventure like the one we shared on US Thankgiving in the company of two other vessels, a turkey with all the trimmings and more deserts than should be allowed at one time. It was another Dark and Stormy night…and with a break in the weather we took off for the turkey and promptly ran out of gas. We were .sittin out a Norther.. it had been blowin like stink all day...white water sideways... along with s/v Knotts Gypsy crew Dave and Nora...English and Scots...funny...anyway...during a wee break in the downpour, we make a run for it...pick them up and head to third boat South of Reality, Byron and Denise, who have the turkey...half way there, the engine quit and the squall returned....the four of us ended up on a deserted small island (Diamond Cay) a private island (for sale 1.3) standing in the water up to our knees, soaked with downpour...doing jumping jacks in a squall trying to signal our friends with the turkey to come save took a while, but what a lot of laughs and fun was had by all…We surely gave Thanks for so many things but especially the good friends we’ve met along the way.

Man o man...what a life!

Meanwhile, after departing Lighthouse Reef we had one of the best sails in our five years afloat. The breeze was fresh at 15 – 20 knots out of the Southeast with a slightly following sea. We left after a hearty breakfast at 10 am in good light to see our way thru the reef, and after the first 70 miles we were on the west side of Chincharro Bank when the current kicked in. For the next 30 miles we got a push of a knot, then it picked up to 2 and we were doing a very comfortable 8 – 9 knots over the bottom…all thru a starlit nite (with sails reefed and a preventer in place) we covered the 200 miles to Puerto Adventura in 27 hrs.

We have had three fun days eating out and watching the dolphins play and shopping in this mega complex of beautiful condos and yachts here in the harbour basin. We are now tucked safely Puerto Adventura, what a place...

We depart here tomorrow and continue our journey to Cuba and all them lobster waiting to come home for dinner :o)

We have been given the chance to live our dream and we are, Life is good, and we give thanks each day to our God in Heaven for his wonderful grace and mercy.

We send along our very Best Wishes to all of you for a Wonderful Christmas Season remembering the greatest gift of all was the gift of His life for ours. May you have a New Year filled with much joy and happiness.


Jerr Dunlap said...

Eek! Just reading about your squall got my heart racing! Glad it turned out well and thanks for the tip about the granny steps and the vang - That's a very useful undocumented feature. I'm a Garhauer dealer and also love their products - Your vang still works 'cause it's just got a spring inside. Thanks for your terrific blog and I can't wait 'till I cast off my docklines and join you!
Merry Christmas!
- Jerr

Tami said...

Holy Cow! I'm so glad you guys are okay. I remember that 1% terror part. Not fun, but you're right you have to focus on the 99% great. Hope to see you out there again one day.

Merry Christmas to you guys.

Tami & Thane
Heart of Gold