We left at 6am on Sunday in the dusky light of morning. I was down below fixing breakfast for everyone and as soon we headed out of the harbor I felt the waves. I popped my head out of the companionway hatch and then caught site of them. "Crap" I thought to myself, "This is gonna be a long ride". The rollers were easily 12 feet and the boat was getting tossed about like a toy in a bathtub. I must have had a look of concern on my face because when I looked at Scott, he looked back at me without the slightest tinge of worry and said, "Cape effect". Cape effect is when waves from the sea wrap around a cape, stack up in the shallows near the shore and then bounce of the land, making for a very confused sea state. I was skeptical, but I hoped he was right. Five to six days in seas like those would have been maddening.
About two hours later the rollers became more rhythmic, the boat found her grove, and we were motor-sailing along at over seven knots. We are now half-way to Jost van Dyke, British Virgin Islands and I don't think we could have asked for a better weather window. While we have had our motor on almost the entire passage thus far, we have also been able to sail with both our jib and main as well. The sea around us is flat save for the lolling rollers that gently raise us up and down, up and down. Right now the wind is almost nill so we are taking advantage of this and heading almost dead east. The weather that was predicted by Chris Parker for us is almost exactly what we are seeing, which is fantastic. Our crew mates have proven themselves not only to be incredibly useful, but great guys as well. We're a good team and having a great time out here on the water.
The meals I pre-made have been fantastic (thank you Boat Galley Cookbook!) and we've been eating well. Since the seas flattened out a bit yesterday, we even began to fish. We caught one beautiful Mahi Mahi but unfortunately for us he wriggled free from the hook just as we were about to gaff him and bring him aboard. Perhaps today we'll have better luck. There is very little traffic out here, so far we have seen only two cargo ships and one cruise ship. Isla has been a little trooper and is proving to be a natural at sea. I found some children's' chewable Dramamine and while it isn't recommended for babies under two, I made the decision to give her a quarter of a tablet every 6-8 hours. It has worked fantastically and she has yet to lose a meal. Hooray for small victories.
Scott, AJ and Brian have been maintaining a 2 hours on 4 hours off watch schedule and the waypoints that AJ and Scott plotted (about one a day) based on 6.5 knots average speed and the weather have coincided almost exactly with our track. Pretty incredible actually. When the wind began to lie down yesterday a couple of us even showered off the back of the boat, which is always a nice treat. After what we had all read about this passage; the accounts of crazy weather, bashing into waves, and fighting currents we were all prepared for the worst. We have all been pleasantly surprised thus far. Of course we have two more days to go but for now, we're just grateful that all is well.
That's about it for now. As I type we're gently motoring along a placid sea covered in tiny cats paws. It's a beautiful day. We will continue our easting in these very light winds, with the hopes of catching the Northeast wind tomorrow to make our turn south and start our downwind sled ride. Our expected arrival in the BVI's is Thursday early afternoon. Thank you for all your well wishes and thoughts, we appreciate them. We are all doing great out here and life is good!
Gotta go...FISH ON!
Okay, I'm back. It's fresh wahoo for lunch. Yum!
Position: 22.10 N 69.01 W
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