22-24 February: at sea to San El Salvador
The race for the preparation of the boat has been intense. I took only 36 hours between the time of the arrival of my flight and where I went with the boat. I had to spend my dealer to pick up a few pieces of equipment that I had received, making a few stops in hardware stores to retrieve commands and finally, groceries to be in complete autonomy for two to three weeks. The day after my arrival, I realized that the anemometer that I had received was incompatible with my equipment, so I had an emergency all stop other work to find an alternative solution. On a ship, the wind indicator is essential, especially when coupled with the auto-pilot. I lost half a day to find a replacement, to my great relief. The boat wasn’t quite ready when I left, but I had no choice. I had a weather window with winds to carry me far enough towards San El Salvador from Saturday night and I didn’t want to drag me in Florida. I much prefer spending time waiting for a weather window to the Bahamas instead of remain cloistered in a marina. What a relief I experienced from the intracoastal and port Everglades. When the last of the Fairway buoy was months behind, I exclaimed «freedom!» I deployed the wing at my disposal and Jayana found its wings to advance at a brisk pace. On Saturday night, it is also the night when many cruise ships return to Fort Lauderdale to exchange their cargo of travellers. At one point, I was surrounded from all sides by these giants of the seas. Fortunately, thanks to an electronic system known as AIS, my position was communicated to them and I could easily determine where would be the cargo. Not obvious at night when the distances are impossible to decipher. 60 hours of navigation to get to San El Salvador, I have approximately 12 hours of engine. The vast majority of others have been made to the close with Code 0, a very powerful to quickly advance in light winds sailing. I was not really prepared me for the endurance test that would be such an adventure. Lack of sleep, or rather the night interrupted by one hour period, me really tired. I was not leaving in the best context because I had a lot of work to complete for the automation of the House. When San El Salvador appeared to the first glimmerings of the 3rd day, I was very happy to return to a port, even though it was my first maneuvers to dock in solitaire. I had an hour with the opening of the marina, I then took the opportunity to prepare the vessel, inflate new defenses and imagine my technique approach. The conditions were optimal with a very light wind kicking me outside the dock. As there was someone to the ground to assist me, I have integrated the marina without problems and I was very proud of me. It’s not all the same maneuvers in solitaire on a 35′ (my old boat) on a 50′. There is much less margin for manoeuvre for errors! The balance of my first crossing? Stress for the area of cargo (Gulf Stream) but with the AIS, it was like a video game. The wind that has been to the almost all the way to the point that I could walk on the walls, but at least the boat was travelling at 7-8 knots. Not too many case (other than the tangled 0 code), but I had to bring lots of corrections along the way. (addition of rice harvest, solidify the dinghy in high position, etc.). 25 and 26 February: San El Salvador I arrived early and fairly exhausted. I spent my first hours in the entry formalities and as soon as I could, I went to bed to regain strength. For dinner, I didn’t have much interest in undertaking the kitchen, so I decided to take advantage of a dinner at the Club Med for the modest sum of $ 50. I then had an excellent lunch buffet and dance under the theme of Cleopatra. For dinner, I discussed with a new barmaid who arrived in this Club Med for only 2 months. Previously, she worked at one of Puerto Plata. A daughter of Valleyfield who loves so much his employer that it is it tattooed on one arm. His dream is to work at the Club Med in Florida to have the opportunity to exit at South Beach. At the same table, there were a french family that moved again the next day. (Fortunately, because I had the taste of a slightly more substantial conversation!) The next day, I had booked a scuba diving trip, so Sunrise was early to honor departing at 7 am. I did figure of alien arriving by dinghy, but at least I had the chance to have a dive master for me alone. While the others were in a group of 4-6, our group was only two. Daniels was well pleased because she had had difficult clients and unwary all week. Although it’s been some time that I had not dipped, I found reflexes quickly enough. The first dive was the most beautiful and the nail has been having a big grouper following us like a small cat. Daniels even told him a shot of Palm and there continue to stay with us. Too bad that they’re not as docile snorkeling in skin diving! It breached a tiger shark that has been seen by the group behind us. But we saw other sharks, a huge crab and beautiful coral formation. Back, I invited Daniels to the boat so we can share our photos and video. In the afternoon, I took the opportunity to patch up the boat. I defeated the node in code 0, which took me more than an hour. Then I was searched Daniels who stayed an hour and there was enjoy discussing the vagaries of life at the Club Med and it was inspired by our family trip in sailing boat project. She had taken full beautiful underwater photos, I had several videos with the GoPro so it exchanged all. I decided to enjoy another meal at Club Med and I was accompanied by the dive club people at my table. Back to the boat around 9 pm. I immediately began preparations for departure (storage, preparation of the bridge for the night, etc.). I left the marina around 10 pm to go do a few manoeuvres to wind properly the 0 code that had that one hears. At 11 pm, I could put Cape to Samana, in the closely with the Genoa and full great sailing. 27 and 28 February: Samana travel to Samana was uneventful. I went with all the wing deployed, but I so all tight teeth was limit. My stress level decreased when I removed the 0 code to replace it with the Genoese. I lost speed but so much more peaceful. I’m still not in the race! I wanted to get to Samana at noon to enter the mine field of coral with the best visibility. Upon my arrival, André came to join me and it surveyed the past several times by dinghy before that I am treading with Jayana. Everything went well and I spent the afternoon to sleep to recover from my night of navigation. In the evening, André received me on Panorama with a well-watered feast. At 9:30 pm I was so tired that I pulled my reverence to go enjoy a first night at anchor since my departure. This morning was a bit of trekking and apart from a few houses of fishermen, the island is Virgin. Found a path that probably went on the other side, but it turned back mid-term because the island is huge to walk. Subsequently, it was a bit of snorkel next to Propeller Cay, but corals are rather dead and covered with algae. Formerly, it was probably beautiful, but this is the same fate that afflicts most of the coral formations in the Bahamas. In the afternoon, I went back to make underwater exploration in the great Bay, but the low depth of water and global warming were right there to most of the corals. Offshore, it is a little better, but this isn’t really the right corner to fish. And as we leave tomorrow, we will not have time to follow the fishermen to find the best places for diving. In the evening, André came on Jayana for a hearty meal: butternut squash soup, Sesame Chile Bar grilled with its ravioli with cream. A treat! 1 March: to the Planas this morning, we did a last foray sous-marina in Samana. It took the opportunity to explore the past and found beautiful coral formations. I saw a huge grouper as I would have liked to fish but I missed it on the first attempt. At the second, the arrow didn’t have the speed needed to Pierce it. It only touched him and he has taken the magic potion powder. Back, I made a few repairs, as pass a few halyards under the deck of the ship as they were tangled and there was a negative friction for the capstans. Everything repaired, was preparing to reassemble the anchor to leave on the high seas. Samana did not want to see me leave and I was unable to exit the water anchor. The chain was completely wrapped around a small potato of coral and I had to dive twice to understand and help clear all. After half an hour of waffling, Jayana was finally free to start sailing. The journey to the Plana was fast enough with a tail wind but we arrived at the last light of the day in Anchorage with a big swell. André has propose to go across the island, but it was a coral field. So I opted put me along a beautiful beach sand, but with the 3′ of the large swell, I like a plug with a mast which whipped the stars every 5 seconds. Let’s say that I slept not much! March 2: En route to Acklins in the planas, it was supposed wait the noon hour to plunge by 30′ deep and afford a dive in drifting with the current, attached after the tubing connected to the compressor of air installed in the dinghy. Having regard to our physical and mental condition after a night to be brewed as in a washing machine, it was decided to leave immediately for Planas to Acklins. One is left with the first rays of the morning and have arrived at destination around 3 pm. On the way, I took a shortcut on André who gave me some cold sweats. I also had a few breaks on the boat while attempting manoeuvres that Charles Mony showed me on a catamaran. (Bye bye lazy jack port). I imagine that this will not transpose on a monohull. (release a ris by wind back). I also exploded a latte to the mast support during a jibe. I should be much nicer with the boat because I’ll have to coach a big trunk spare next time! Mooring to Acklins was perfect. Calm waters, 12′ deep, near the beach and perfectly wild.