Monday, September 19, 2016


We played a more traditional game with our approach to Grenada. Would the wind qet us there in daylight?

The night before the wind was a whisper and I was fatalistic. What would be, etc. Then the day a perfect palace of light - the tropical sun's thousand-fold brilliance, making objects either glow or burning them back to some essence that can't be revealed by more temperate light. The only "object" around us the occasional ship. Everything else being either ethereal - the towering thunderheads of squally weather brewing - or liquid - the marble-blue sea.

Not wanting to either glow or be burned back to our essence, we Galactics huddled in the shade.

A squall came sweeping through at lunch time. Here's us, half a jib and no main, making 8 knots. Nothing could be finer.

And then after the squall, the wind settled in to do its tradewind business. We boomed along, Grenada firmly in the bag.

But then! Who expected zephyrs by evening? The wind died and died as we closed the shore. The current that has been helping us along since before the equator did its final bit.

Through binoculars we marveled at the thickets of yachts crammed into every anchorage. We have heard about such things, of course, but never had seen the absolute numbers before on display.

As we made the final turn into our chosen bay the wind left us completely for a long long moment while the current kept rocking us along. If it stayed like that we dasn't approach the shore. The sun now was frankly closing the horizon.

The wind rallied, and just enough of a breeze saw us shooting in towards the floating condo field that is a Caribbean anchorage almost safe from hurricanes during the season. I laughed at the thought that a couple hours before we had been discussing whether we should sail in with one reef or two.

A quick assessment of the scene - look, there's a channel marked through the anchorage - look, there's some room behind that black hull just behind the cat - then a luff, followed by a tack and a short board and another luff and, "let it go now"!

Followed by the inevitable reply from crew to captain, that age-old response that is carven in the salt-stained oak of nautical tradition: "let it go now?"

"Yes, now!"

And, we cold-cocked it. Easiest thing in the world, really, if you're happy with the outermost spot in a very open bay. After we had settled down against the wind an attempt to set the anchor revealed that we now have neither forward gear nor reverse.

And so now we've crossed the Atlantic twice. In one year, mind, which makes 2016 a great capper to our year spent in the south. Twenty days out of Ascension, and 45 out of South Africa. Thirty-eight or 39 days at sea all up.

We had cheese and olives and drinks in the cockpit while a very spectacular sunset played itself out. I allowed myself a second beer, even though I knew the risk in terms of migraine, and sure enough paid the price this morning. If this were fiction I could be someone's uncle, exasperatingly predictable in their less respectable behaviors.

And now! Once more into the marine engineering breach, this time re. the gear box.

(Pelagic, if you see this and are nearby, we're the outermost boat in Prickly Bay. Would be great to meet you!)

This post was sent via our high-frequency radio as we're far from internet range. Pictures to follow when we reach internet again. We can't respond to comments for now, though we do see them all!


  1. Mike,

    We happen to still be in Prickly. Leaving late this week (we think). We would love to catch up with you. We will look for you, but if you are headed in, we are one of the closest boats to the beach. Look forward to meeting up with you at some point. Amy on Pelagic

  2. Hooray, you made it over and I am nowhere as far. On the Angola border, heading south now to Swakop again. Excellent photo shoots of the tribal people. I have great memories of Grenada from 1995!