Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Crashing & Bashing

The trip from Curaçao to Bonaire is dead upwind, and into the teeth of the waves.  Its also a long enough journey that you can't afford to dawdle.  So its always a long day.  Especially when its your first sail of the season.

We left as soon as it was light enough, before 06:30.  The channel that divides Willemstad is a famous relic, a pedestrian bridge that rides on pontoons.  It uses two electric motors, like outboards, to swing out of the way.  You call the harbor master to arrange for the bridge to open.

We dutifully called, and were told to proceed to the bridge and it would open when we arrived.  Well, we arrived, but the bridge didn't open.  Calls to the harbor master went unanswered.  We circled slowly in front of the Willemstad frontage for 30 minutes, until two pilot boats approached --  then the bridge finally opened and we were free.  So much for an early start.

The conditions were exactly as predicted, wind and sea on the nose.  The waves weren't too bad, maybe 4-5 feet, but they still slowed us down a lot. 

We had intended to put two reefs into the mainsail for our motorsail to Bonaire, but discovered that David had rigged the reefing lines drastically incorrectly.  The sea was really too rough to sort it out on the way, so we raised the full main and charged ahead.  Fortunately, the winds weren't too strong and it worked out fine.

About half-way across, a wave over the bow knocked loose one of the straps tying our dinghy to the foredeck.  David went forward and reset it without much problem, but came back more than a little green at the gills (seasick). 

Luckily, with the full main and a slight southerly windshift, we started getting some push from the sail as well as the engine.  That sped us up to 7+ knots, so we arrived in good time, about 14:30.  We had heard rumors that the mooring field at Bonaire was very full.  It was, but there were 4 or so still available to choose from.  We had one of our best, least dramatic, pick-up of the mooring ball.

Happy to be here, and looking forward to some relaxing snorkeling, hiking, and soon some diving.

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