Thanks to Captain Joe and George (our autopilot) we arrived wind and sea soaked, bruised but stronger and more confident in ourselves and Amoray.
Here are a few clips from my log that may capture the essence of the trip
2pm off we set with high hopes for calm winds and seas
2:30pm – I take to the bow to scrub the weeds and slime from Napa II
3pm UP goes the jib sail and we make a decent 5knots
4pm “Not what I signed up” for I say to Glen as we leave the shelter of the BVI’s and head into open ocean
5pm winds pick up and seas are higher so our speed slows as we pound our way through – on goes the motor which we now rely on for the remainder. Joe admits that he wasn’t expecting the seas and winds to be this strong.
6pm – Oh MY! Trying to prepare supper is absolutely crazy! The gimballed stove gets tested to its max as I try and heat the chili. At one point the stove is swinging at least 45 degrees both ways. It is all we can do to eat on deck grasping one bowl – everything goes it – chili, garlic toast and ‘tossed’ salad – ha. Clean up proves to be equally daunting.
7pm The sun has set – 5 hours in – maybe 1/3 of the way…. If there was a way off I’d take it. Glen goes below to take a nap for the next watch. I try and read below but the groans, bangs, squeaks and (yes, water) prove to be too much to take so I join Joe on deck.
10pm We hit about the halfway mark and whilst staring into the dark seas, carpet of stars and the nothingness all around I ponder our tiny, tiny presence in this great big world. I also come to a number of realizations:
- There is a rhythm to the slams – do you know know many times I can count to 10? – slam – 10 -slam & with the 7th intermittent one being a SLAM
- I am thankful beyond measure for our decision to not do this passage alone
- Our boat is made for this and it will hold together through the bashing
- I CAN do this
Glen reappears and Joe goes for a rest. …clouds roll in, wind shifts, seas grow and we make it until 10:45 before sighting our first ship in the vast darkness….it appears to be closing and right in our line – below I go to ask Joe for advice… we get our next lesson
12am Tuesday March 13 – the clouds clear a little and the moon rises creating an incredible path to follow. On the very distant horizon I am sure I can see the slight glow of St. Martin which keeps my spirits up.
3am – we must take in the jib so we can make a more northerly course – this means heading more directly into the waves too….. A few more bruises as I body slam my way around below deck for snacks. I figure this is great training if I ever want to compete in the bronco riding event at the IPE
4am – I can now make out the distinct lights on St. Martin – hooooray – but of course those last few hours seem to take forever.
6 am a beautiful sunrise and I am at peace with the sea. George (our trusty autopilot) gives up the ghost – and like me says “enough already”.
7am – into the fuel dock at Mairgot Bay, St. Martin – I jump ashore – tie us up and can’t get the smile off my face. I take off my runners and do the “happy dance” on the dock and then proceed to drop my runner overboard…. So a quick dip is the final piece of welcome to the island.