Monday, December 27, 2010

Cabo Gracias a Dios

The trip 'around the corner' and down towards Colombia and Panama is not one that we were looking forward to, being 160 nautical miles to windward and then a run through a reefy area off the Mosquito Coast. But eventually the day came where the easterly tradewinds were trumped by the northwest and north winds of an approaching cold front, and it was time to go

We left Guanaja in company with another boat. Well,'travelling with' in the sense that Pluto travels with Mercury - this catamaran arrived half a day before we did. Here's a little video they took of us on our first day out.
Or not, lots of trouble uploading this six-second video clip.

This video is just a little experiment; can anyone see it? You need Flash.

Then, a white smudge that I kept peering at thinking it was a small boat heading our way turned into a waterspout. Luckily, it didn't reach to the clouds until it was past us, and stayed a respectful distance away.
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This part of Nicaragua is the Mosquito Coast, and from what people say about it, it sounds like a last frontier, out beyond the reach of the law. It's not a recommended destination due in part to drug-related activity. Plus the charts are outdated - islands have been reconfigured in recent hurricanes. I've read that it took Christopher Columbus 40 or 50 days (accounts vary) to work his way around this cape, hence the name Gracias a Dios. Good weather windows just aren't that big, he didn't have any charts, and not much windward sailing ability either. But I've also read that he had a fortuitous wind shift. I think Christopher Columbus probably had lots of opportunity to say Gracias a Dios.

Our last night out, approaching Providencia, was disconcertingly dark, like the inside of a coal mine. Shower clouds around the horizon blotted out the starshine; moonrise was about half an hour before sunrise. We were dawdling for daylight, so sailed off the wind under bare poles, drifting at about 1 kt down the west side of Providencia. Sunrise at the sea buoy, on through the channel, and ready for another adventure, after a little nap.

1 comment:

gerry said...

hope the passage went well. yes, we can see the video, no sound though.....