Saturday, 23 April 2016

Puerto Rico -> (via Turks and Caicos) Bahamas

17 April

Nordic Belle (Torstein, Michelle and Matts) arrived in the morning, they went to fuel dock in preparation for the trip. After they had settled  down we discussed the route and weather for the upcoming trip. We had an early dinner ashore and then back to the boats for final preparations. This was going to be my first solo longish distance sail.
The track we followed to Turks and Caicos
A short 50NM to Myaguana
While at Porto real I did a bit of exploring of their fine establishments and this one had  really cool name..

Had a pint at this fine establishment 

At Anchor in Porto Real(couldn't get any closer because of my draft)

18 April
We set off at 0600 in the morning, just as the sun was rising. We motored the first 3 hours or so as the wind was a bit low for sailing. Torstein was bored so he let out some hooks - I looked back to see his fish flying out of the water some distance behind Nordic Belle - I thought I should call to congratulate him, but figured he was a bit busy.. The fish a marlin put on a bit of a show, but then took the hook, the line broke.. A rather excited Torstein called me to let me know of he one that got away...

The wind then picked up to a nice 10-15kts, and stayed like that for pretty much up till 1700. We had a couple of rain showers later in the afternoon. At that time I reefed my main and genoa(as usual as I would prefer a comfortable night's sleep) and had my dinner. I could see nothing on radar, but noticed some really dark clouds with no rain. The sea had become choppy with the occasional hull smack (which was not nice).. My initial reaction was to reef some more. I checked in with Nordic Belle and then then went down below for my first nap.. I came up an hour or so later and the wind had picked up some more was now in high teens, I checked in and went below for my second nap. When I woke up again, the wind was now in the low 20s so I reefed in the genoa a bit more boat was now going 7-8kts, on a broad reach. I went down for my nap again, by the time I got up again, the wind was now mid 20s, so I put in another reef in the main and reduced the Genoa to 4 reefs, the boat was still doing 6-9kts, I stayed up for a few hours to keep an eye on things.. At about 0300, I went down below and continued the catnaps.. Our average speed on that day went up from 5ks/hr up till 20h00, from then till 0600 the following day went up to 6..
Sunrise Porto Real
On our way..
Under way..
Did Ricky Bobby proud (me not happy) - I should have gone with my instinct to reef early (winds got up to 29kts)..

19 April
The rest of  the day, the wind was mid 20's and we were going quite well, the swell wasn't too bad, but compared to the previous night was quite pleasant.. We were averaging 6.5 for the entire day, which was a nice speed, we covered some good ground..  That night, was nice and boring, which was *AWESOME*
Nordic Belle under way
20 April
The night went on quite pleasantly and the catnaps were quite good.. The wind had died down to a nice 15kts and he sea had calmed down. Since we were making good distance, we were hoping o go straight to MyIguana (and skip Turks and Caicos - lots of the areas are too shallow for me to get into). So we continued.  At about 16h00 I went for a shower, put the pizza in the oven, checked the weather again.  I called to Nordic Belle that we were in for some 20kts (which meant gusts of up to 30) winds later that evening and we both decided to reduce canvas for the night. I scoffed my pizza shortly after 1800.  The wind as predicted picked up as we had about 60NM and were trying to slow the boats down(for an easy night, and  too approach the anchorage during daylight).  By 19h00, it was obvious that we were not going to be able to slow the boats down. The sea also became a little more excited (although we were pretty close to shallow waters), after a few salty dog washes, we decided we would head to Turks and Caicos, anchor for the night and then move on to MyIguana.. After a bit of a fun ride(foul weather gear on), we reached the west Caicos island and by 2200, we were attached to mother earth and had a *GREAT* uninterrupted sleep..

Sunrise after a great night's rest 

Nordic Belle swanning on

21 April
We got up early and decided that we would push on to MyIguana as the anchorage is sheltered (this on was not in this wind). So we set off on a broad reach, with the waves were off the beam. I had two reefs in the main and genoa and I was doing 6-9ks.. We covered the distance quite quickly (7hrs, 50NM) and were at anchorage by 1500. We are anchored in a lagoon, which in calmer winds would be spectacular. We took Nordic Belle's tender to cover the 2NM - I can't get any closer as the lagoon shallows to 3m and less if we move any further east.. We got there a bit wet (a hell of a lot drier had we taken the ducky and a *LOT* quicker).  We tried to clear customs, but were informed that as hey were having problems with their air conditioning  their hours were restricted to 0900-1300.  We did a small walkabout of the settlement(the island only has 500 residents)
View from the customs dock (2NM from boats)

Sundowners on Nordic Belle

Moon rising over Nordic Belle

After another great night's sleep sunrise

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