We are currently anchored snuggly behind a reef, next to small island that is the only other thing in the sea for as far as we can see. We sailed two nights under a full moon to get here and it feels so good to be on solid ground. For our first 24 hours we were still beating to weather, but fortunately we had an almost two knot current with us, so although it was hard, it was fast and we were all comforted by the fact that we would get to our destination quickly. By now the kids have become immune to getting seasick and they find their favorite places to hang out. Into our second day we rounded a reef and were able to angle about 45 degrees more to the west and our beating to weather became a run off the stern quarter and that made all the difference in the world. It was smooth and dare I say, enjoyable. The first time I've said that since we've entered the Atlantic.
When the sailing is comfortable so many other things can be appreciated. Before the moon rises the stars are brilliant and looking for shooting stars has become one of Ana's favorite things to do when her brothers start to drift off to sleep. She stays awake with the person on watch and it becomes her special time. She chats up a storm and I think she really enjoys that quiet time when everyone else is asleep. She can recognize a few of the constellations and last night noticed that the southern cross was very low on the horizon. We are officially leaving the Southern skies when we can no longer see that iconic constellation.
We sailed through several squalls, something we didn't experience in the Pacific. The clear skies almost immediately become dark, the winds pick up and within a few minutes the skies open and all of a sudden we are racing through a small storm. But almost as soon as it starts it ends and things calm back down. We have had the most consistent winds here in the Caribbean, about 15 knots from the East for the last 9 days. It is so different from the West Coast with its light variable winds that change directions with the warming of the land and often the non existent winds that we experienced for most of our run down Mexico and Central America. Last night we had the first squall that actually sucked all the wind away. We were sailing with the normal winds, a squall hit us, we got drenched, we had 10 minutes of racing along at 8 or 9 knots, trying to reef our sails as quickly as possible, and then all of a sudden it was still. The wind completely dropped off and it was a very eerie calm. Even when there is nothing else out here, the ocean never fails to show us how dramatic it can be.
We spent the day exploring the isolated small island, only a couple of hundred meters long, swimming and snorkeling and we ended the night with a huge bonfire on the beach. There is not another boat for miles and miles, and the low lying island barely rises above the horizon. It feels like we are anchored on the edge of the earth with the waves breaking on the reef to protects us. On the other side of the reef are large rollers, but we are nestled only 100 meters away in relatively calm water.
Tomorrow we will make the 150 mile run to the more populated Bay Islands of Honduras. We look forward to some diving and lots of snorkeling. The water here in the Atlantic is amazingly clear and we are loving it!