Friday, May 13, 2011

The Mona Passage

Several of you have asked about our passage across the Mona. Before I begin, I would urge you strongly to follow our Facebook page as well - as it is supplemental to the blog, there are pictures, miniature updates and more. I wrote a bit about our crossing there, but I will expand here...

As I mentioned before, the Mona Passage is not to be taken lightly and is one of the most difficult passages in the Caribbean due to currents, shoals and frequent storms spinning off the mountains of Puerto Rico. To say I am relieved it is behind us would be an understatement.  Our crossing was, by all accounts, uneventful, thanks to a great forecast by Chris Parker.

Our strategy was to leave Samana at night fall to sail along the coast of DR in the “night lee” (this is when a land mass causes a sort of bubble of calm weather around itself). As we exited the Bay of Samana, seas had built to about 6 feet and we rolled along the coast with our main reefed.

Due to the north east wind, we headed offshore just north of Cabo Engano to get around the hour glass shoals. We watched as a line of squalls passed to the North - and had to make one tack completely out of our way to avoid them. However, as Bruce van Sant so often says in his book; “sometimes you gotta go north to get south”.

The seas were large for our first 24 hours - so much that it made cooking down below a very unpleasant prospect - so we dined on saltine crackers and lollipops. By 36 hours the seas had calmed and our last 12 hours was spent enjoying a beautiful sail in the lee of Puerto Rico.

One thing that made our passage so wonderful was the fact that we had Scott’s godfather, Al, with us. He’s a former sailor who has been with us before and knowing that we had someone at the helm we could trust for a shift was a huge gift. We maintained a watch schedule of three hours on, six hours off which meant that all of us were fresh and well rested. Any significantly long passages we do from here on out will have at least three aboard, it makes a huge difference.

All in all - it was completely uneventful and - other than this incident - not very interesting which is why I didn’t blog about it. 

Hopefully this satisfies those of you who wondered!

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