Hello All. Last we left you we were in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia and heading south for hurricane season. Well… a lot has changed since then! We have turned 180° and are now heading north. But, what, why? Well, it all started out as it normally does….It was a bright and sunny day, We were planning our next passage and as Brian always does before we sail off into the blue, he was under Moon cleaning her bottom. Now, I don’t know if you remember but in a previous post we mentioned about all of the sargasso weed that we have been seeing as we’ve sailed through passages from island to island. It just so happens that when we were sailing across to Saint Lucia that Brian felt a vibration coming from under our boat. Thinking that we had caught some of the weed in our prop he stopped the boat and reversed hoping to wash the weed off. He had to do this a few times throughout the passage. So when he was cleaning the bottom he also checked out the prop, shaft and all of the parts down there. That is when he discovered that the cutlass bearing that is attached to the shaft was worn unevenly and that was what was making the vibrations.
Now I am certainly no expert, but when calm, cool, collected Brian says that we might have a issue with our beloved Moon, I listen! Don’t get me wrong he was not all worried like we would be in danger or anything like that but he was concerned that it was a problem that we would need to deal with.
Now it was time to make some decisions. We have met lots of other cruisers in the past few months. Some traveling south and some north for the dreaded hurricane season. Seems that last years big hit had most trying to make hopefully the right choice for their boats. Also it seemed like lots of cruisers were choosing to go south! So we decided instead of going south into unknown territory for us to go with what we knew. Besides we were not sure if we would be able to haul out if we needed to in Grenada since so many boats were already heading that way with reservations in hand.
So north we went. The first three days were quite the blur, at least when they were over. Brian does a great job with his weather forcasting and is usually spot on however here in these islands with the large mountains it can be a bit unpredictable to say the least. This lead to some very intense crossings for us. Here are some exerts from our ships log….
Day one, Crossing from Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia to Saint Pierre, Martinique:
Hauled anchor at 7:30 am set for Saint Pierre, Martinique. Double reefed main sail, winds 18 – 25 knts. Arrived at 3:15 pm, 39 miles, 5.5 knt average.
Day two, Crossing from Saint Pierre, Martinique to Portsmouth, Dominica:
Hauled anchor at 6:15 am set for Portsmouth, Dominica. Set reefed main and jib in light air. Forecast was for 15 -17 knts. Motored on back side for 20 minutes with no wind then wind picked up at northern tip. North of island winds picked up to 18 – 20 knts, seas 6 ft for about an hour. Middle of passage winds picked up 25 – 30 knts seas 7 -8 ft. Made across Dominica/Martinique channel with a 9.1 knt average!!! (We typically have around 6 knt average) Once we were behind Dominica the wind died completely. We did finally see a humpback whale though! We took the reef out of the main sail and were about to raise our genoa (light wind sail), when we noticed white caps in the water ahead. Decided to wait to change sails, then it was full on again. Winds 20 – 25 knts with gusts to over 35 knts! Reefed main sail and got more gusts to over 40 knts! (Thats gale force!) Took all sails down and raised small stay sail. (small forward sail) Sailed in closer to land and into Rupert Bay Dominica where we picked up a mooring ball, strong winds and gusts continued through the night. Arrived at 3:30 pm, 55 miles, 6 knt total average.
If anyone remembers our stories about Dominica then you know that when you arrive anywhere near the entrance to the harbor that the “boat boys” come out fighting for your business. This of course this is how they make their living. There was not a single boat boy in sight as we rounded the corner and we did not see one all night. This says something because we can’t imagine them missing out on making some bucks with a new boat arriving in the harbor, seems that the weather was too crazy for them too!
Day three, Portsmouth, Dominica to Le Saints, Guadeloupe:
Left anchorage at 9:45 am. Set reefed main sail and #1 jib. Sailed in 16 – 18 knts seas 5 -7 ft. Picked up mooring at 1:20 pm. 21 miles, average speed 7 knts.
I may have changed some of the wording and left some of it out but I think that you get the idea of what it was like. It was mostly the sail to Dominica that kicked our buts! When we got to the Saints, one of our favorite towns we took some down time and spent three nights to regroup.
Lots or pics here of some the fun that we had along the way too. Next stop is Deshaies, Guadeloupe. Take care for now all. Wish us fair skies and calm seas for the rest of our travels!
Jennifer and Brian
SV / Moon