All of our passages in the last few months (including our Atlantic crossing) have been with very little moon, so when we decided to do a three day passage to Colombia with an almost full moon and moonrise/set times to coincide with the light hours I was ecstatic. Day one was all champagne sailing (a new term I learned from a friend, I guess it means the kind of sailing you expect in the brochure), very light winds, but just enough to ghost along with on a flat ocean. Very enjoyable. In fact, we were expecting to motor much of this passage so any wind not on the nose was appreciated. We deliberately picked a low wind period to get around the Peninsula of Guajira, which can be a nasty cape to pass if the winds are big. There is the cape effect, in addition to strong Caribbean Easterlies, throw in some swirly currents and it is one of those spots you really want to plan well to go around. Anyway, since we have a motor, we often chose to motor these finicky capes. Anyway, Day one was lovely, night rolls around and I was on watch, waiting for the moon to come up. I waited, waited some more, but no moon appeared and it was pitch black. And then the 10 knots of wind we were having, within about a minute, changed direction and intensity to gale strength. The darkness was huge blackened storm clouds that I could not see. Out of no where a huge squall blows down on us. We turned the radar on and it was massive. Squalls generally don't last that long, but we appeared to be traveling with it and not getting out of it at any rapid speed. Squalls are also not a big deal if you don't have a bunch of canvas up, or preventers out, but this one came with intense sheet lightening. It was blinding and once we were in it, it lit up the whole sky. No need for the moon after that! It was so bright you couldn't look at it. I was tempted to wear sunglasses to protect my corneas. In the end it was just a squall and after a few hours the wind completely died back and we were back to motoring.
Day two brought more light winds and we pulled out the bosun's chair and rigged it up to the spinnaker halyard and took turns swinging off the side with just our toes dangling in the bow wake. It was a lazy day on the water.
Day three was much of the same. Flat seas and just wisps of wind. We found a floating log and the kids dove into the water and snorkeled around it. Hundreds of fish found refuge under the shade and protection of this temporary home. We also had some luck fishing, so black fin tuna sushi was for lunch.
In the end I did get to sail several shifts with an almost full moon. Zander continues to take the early 5-7am watch while either Mike or I sleep in the cockpit and that little bit of extra sleep really helps. Porter has been sick with an ear infection and taking care of a sick kid and staying up half the night makes the watches a little harder than usual. Fortunately after we passed Aruba by we saw very little traffic. Curacao has the largest oil refinery in the world, so there are multiple tankers heading in and away from the Dutch Antilles from Venezuela that made watches a little more exciting. This part of Colombia is quiet and the relatively easy watches are welcome.
At the moment the water is cobalt blue and it looks like we are sailing in sapphire seas. In the distance we can see the snow capped peaks (OK, maybe that is fog on the mountains, but in the winter they are snow capped) of the Santa Marta Mountains.
We are all looking forward to our first mainland Colombian port (last year we stopped in San Andreas, off the coast of Honduras, but Colombian islands). We should be there just before dark this evening.
The following pages chronicle the journey of the sailing vessel Pelagic and her crew. We are a family of 5; Michael, Amy, Zander, Porter and Anakena, taking our 42' Hallberg Rassy as far as we can comfortably go in three years. We left Oregon in September 2014, participated in the 2014 Baja Haha, continued on through the Panama Canal, into the Caribbean, up the coast of the US to Maritime Canada and from there crossed the Atlantic. After an arrival in Ireland we toured Scotland, then sailed down to France, Portugal and on to Morocco. In January of 2016 we slowed down considerably and enrolled the kids in a local Spanish school in Sanlucar de Guadiana for a few months. In the spring of 2016 we crossed the Atlantic towards the Caribbean. We are now in the Pacific, officially on our way home, albeit via a very circuitous path. We are currently in French Polynesia and looking at weather windows to Hawaii before finally making landfall back in the Pacific Northwest.
Currently our exact location is not available. Our spot coverage will pick us back up in Hawaii towards the end of May, 2017.
Our favorite sailing quote:
"If anythings gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there boss!" Captain Ron