Salinas, Puerto Rico to Grenada

We left Salinas, Puerto Rico at 5:30 AM with good intentions of sailing east toward St. Thomas. The only reason to sail to St. Thomas was to get a bit more east so when we headed south down the Caribbean chain we would have a better point of sail to make it to Martinique or our destination Grenada to hold out for the hurricane season. When we came out of Salinas the winds were favorable to head south, so we took it. 4 days and 3 nights of rough seas, squally nights and 20-degree healing with the rails in the water for most of the passage…we arrived in Grenada.

When Preparations for a Rough Passage Count

Because we hadn’t initially planned on heading south on this passage we found ourselves getting “ready” under way. Martin was trying to insert the next set of charts for the SE Caribbean into the Garmin electronic chart plotter when the wee little chip no larger than a thumb nail slipped from his fingers and precariously bounced against the helm and as murphy would have it dropped directly between the grated cockpit floor directly down the cockpit drain making a straight path to the bottom of the sea. As most traumatic life events it happened in slow motion. The only saving grace was our backup charts on the iPad in which we ended up using to navigate with for the next 4 days.
Furthermore, we hadn’t provisioned for a multi-day passage so, I didn’t have any prepared meals or the usual snacks you could eat when the weather was to rough to cook. Which was exactly the case; at a 20-degree angle we didn’t want to cook on the stove nor did we have an appetite to eat much of anything that couldn’t be eaten “hand to mouth”. We ended up sustaining on a diet of apples, oranges and bananas for the entire passage. I did manage to make roast beef and mashed potatoes (canned and instant) on the 4th day which was quite yummy, or we were just starving?

Navigational Hazards

We had the usual navigational hazards as we left Puerto Rico; hundreds of lobster pots marked by buoys dotting the coast that we had to keep a close eye out for and dodge. Coming into Grenada at night via the AIS we found ourselves between 7 fishing vessels within a 3-mile vicinity; bright flashing strobes encircled us, and we weren’t sure if they were marking long lines or fishing nets and praying not to snag one with our keel or prop. The most bizarre and scariest navigational hazard was a Rhino Horn. OK it probably wasn’t an actual Rhino Horn, but it looked just like one. It was 10 feet high above the water; who knows what was under the water! It had a bird perched on top of it and was only 300 feet off our port as we were careening down waves at 8 knots. Pretty sure the rhino horn would have given us a disabling punch should we have connected with it. We think it was a root, the tree stump below the water.

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A Sailor’s Memory
Thank goodness for a sailor’s memory, it goes something like this…
Rough 4 days being knocked around, exhausted from the endless 3-hour watch schedule because its not like you really get any sleep when your “off” watch in conditions so turbulent and being hungry on top of everything. Wondering the entire time what the hell we are doing this for?
Then we arrive to a glorious sunrise, calm conditions and brilliant anchorage thinking to yourself “This is OK”
Followed by getting the anchor down and tiding up from the aftermath “This is Nice”
On to getting ashore to clear in with customs and immigration; the people are friendly the island is gorgeous “This is pretty Cool”
Finally, by the time you make it to the local sailors watering hole and asked by how the passage was your like…” It wasn’t that bad”
I am grateful to have a sailor’s memory.

 

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