We spent our last night putting into our new dinghy replacement items for those things that had been stolen, such as life jackets, anchor, etc. I double checked the contents of our ever present Ditch Bag. For you non-boaters, this brightly colored bag is full of life saving items and can be grabbed in a second if one is forced to abandon ship....a frightful thought.
|Our stuffed Ditch Bat|
Pulling out at 6:22 AM, we topped off our tanks (1,100 gallons in total via the 4 tanks on board) for the 400+ mile trip to the Turks & Caicos from Puerto Rico. Note to Boaters: This marina has good fuel prices $4.19 a gallon - when others are over $5 and is a high volume marina. (News flash: Fuel in Turks & Caicos is $6.36 a gallon due to their high taxation!)
Ugh, a rainy day, with following seas surfing us along all day after we left Puerto del Ray Marina in Farjado til we dropped the hook off Isla Caja de Muertos, known as Coffin Island in English. This island, resembling a coffin (duh!) from the air, was once home to a small rum manufacturing plant, producing only a case or two a month - but, legend has it that the rum was fabulous - better than DonQ, Puerto Rico’s national drink. An uneventful night & an early to bed (no problem after a long long day at sea) in preparation for another early start in the morning.
|Puerto Rico on the right up to Turks & Caicos, top left|
Pulling anchor at barely first light, we headed off for what would become a 54 hour, non-stop cruise to Provinciales, Turks & Caicos. Do the math - that is two nights underway at sea, another first for us! Andy is a bit apprehensive as he needs more sleep than I and he’s worried he’ll be ‘fuzzy’ at the wrong moment. We are, however, in agreement that we’ll save potentially a couple of weeks of cruising by drawing a line straight form Puerto Rico to the Turks & Caicos, bypassing the Dominica Republic and missing the most treacherous part of the dreaded Mona Passage.
|A welcome sunrise|
|Squalls followed us|
A bit nervous, as we could not see the waves coming at us, we held on....every so often in a pattern of one, two, three, four, five, SIX -- Bang The Big One, would hit us. Disconcerting not to see it coming. I do have one long, black bruise on my leg for missing the count, getting out of my helm chair at the wrong moment, being thrown into the table and then falling onto the port seating area. Ouch. Without the fancy expensive stabilizers we added just for our cruise through the Caribbean and the long ocean passages, I can’t image how bad this night might have been!
He slept much of the night (thanks Patch) while I, the Night Owl, kept watch. I did, however, clip my little tiny kitchen timer to my shirt - setting it every 20 minutes. It would “beep beep beep beep” on schedule, waking me up should I inadvertently doze off.
|Former photo - not this trip|
|Photo taken prior to our crossing - not our headings|
It also means keeping your eye on the radar and on the seas, meaning Watch the Ocean for Something Coming Your Way. Other boats, tankers & the like are running with lights on, as are we. It's those Things That Go Bump In The Night with NO lights that worry us. We could be sunk - literally and figuratively - if we hit a container off a ship or some other such object bobbing around in the ocean waters! With two nights at sea, we saw only ONE tanker and did alter course, getting out of his path....Saw and Heard Nothing the entire 54 hours! Amazing. A sober reminder of how small the world is....we were certainly a dot in the vast blue ocean.
|Caught a fish & ate him for dinner as we cruised|
I finally got to see bioluminescence, watching the tiny bits of microscopic plankton (called dinoflagellates) , disturbed by our hull cutting through the water, light up & sparkle as it flipped and flopped over our bow and stern waves during the dark of night. Beautiful. The sight kept me occupied for hours.
We listened to a book on tape -- would you believe this book, "11/22/63" by Stephen King has 30 discs! This is a long long story about time travel and the Kennedy assassination and is all tangled up with numerous side stories. In our two days (we didn’t listen at night as one would be napping), we only made it to Tape #14! I told Andy we needed some more long long passages so we could finish ‘the book’. He’d didn’t even crack a smile. Sometimes I think he'd like to hammer me! grin.
|Bob's dog standing watch on the roof as we pulled in|