Apr 7-9, 2017
The morning of our departure for a 24 hour Atlantic trek to Great Inagua graced us with becalmed, flat seas in the leeward of the island. The boat swung around 180 degrees in the middle of the night. Angie was glad we stayed away from the rocks that Mark originally wanted to anchor us by. (I don’t know why he gets upset when I veto his anchoring spots. It always works out for the best.) (Except for the sleepless nights from surge and digital range finders don’t lie – Mark) You could see the anchor and our friendly barracuda in the 10 ft of water as we hoisted anchor.
We had waited about 3 weeks and the weather window was perfect for flat seas, but not so much for sailing. We did our 4 hour shifts, motoring all the way. Angie was uncomfortable due to nursing a sore throat. Our starboard engine has produced a different vibration/noise that didn’t change tone with rpm changes. Last time it was a piece of debris caught on a prop, but the previous was a saildrive gear ripping itself apart. So, the engine was shut down and we used the port engine for the rest of the trip. I don’t know why, but these things always seem to happen when Angie is on watch.
Throughout the day, we would see multiple schools of water birds just floating along in the middle of the ocean, and too many flying fish scurrying across the water to count, evading our bow. At night we had a few cargo ships pass by. One, Mark maneuvered around, and one decided to go around us, passing within a half a mile. Those things are ominous when you encounter them at night! It’s not as disconcerting to Angie now as before, recognizing which way they are heading, and realizing that a half a mile away is still quite a distance. Our AIS antennae connections need to be cleaned up and need to have some dielectric grease applied. The cargo ship data is slow to load onto our chartplotter. It is always fun too, to watch the bioluminescence in our toilet bowls while we are pumping and flushing at night in the dark. Fluorescent green sparkles swirled around and around, for 20 pumps. Better than watching blue toilet bowl cleaner!
Mark was on the 3-7 AM watch and witnessed the sunrise over the white, pristine salt mountains on the North end of Great Inagua at the Morton salt plant. We anchored by the airport at 8:05 AM, anticipating hiking there to check out with customs and immigration when we needed to depart. There were a couple of other boats already anchored in the area and coral chunks were spread around. We tried anchoring multiple times, but the anchor never really dug in. It just rumpled over the hard bottom when Mark backed down on it. It was tiresome, but after 5 tries, we finally found a spot that felt better, as we dumped 100 ft of chain. Mark dove on the anchor to make sure it was snug. It wasn’t great, but he felt comfortable with its set. Of course, when the winds picked up, we swung around and felt uncomfortably close to another Lagoon. So, we up anchored again, moved further away, and after 2 more tries, the anchor felt solid. Again, Mark dove on it to make sure.
Great Inagua is the first island where we really needed to use our newly modified magnet held closed door bug screens, and they worked out quite nicely. Flies were everywhere and blanketed the dinghy sitting behind the boat on a painter. Angie tried to work on the computer and do blog posts, but the roley-poley had her stomach churning. There was a lot of surge ripping around. The creaky boat noises and boat movement at night pretty much sent Angie over the edge due to lack of sleep.