Thursday, May 16, 2019

Bounding and Bouncing Along

May 16
14.3N 81.4W

We weighed anchor and departed from Isla Providencia at 0830. We've been bounding along due north with 15-20 knots easterly winds. We've also been bouncing a lot as we push through confused seas. I'm tempted to call it bashing, but since we are sailing, not motoring, I will use the more playful, less violent word. The sky is covered by thin cloud, thin enough to let the sun shine through, turning the water steel blue and providing sufficient solar power for the boat.

The confused seas are not only uncomfortable, they are preventing us from fully enjoying the very favorable winds. We aren't keeping up enough speed to get water flowing smoothly around our stubby keels needed to reduce leeway. We are slipping westward as we sail north, requiring us to compensate for the slipping by steering more upwind. When we do that, we are sailing more into the waves and the bouncing gets worse. Which causes more leeway. Our point of equilibrium is a heading of 23 degrees to sail a course of 0 degrees. What would be a beam reach for a monohull with a deep keel is thus turned into a close reach for us. It isn't pretty, it's bouncy, but it works. We're making good progress towards the Caymans - 60 of the 350 nm passage covered already.

In my last post, I described the island of Providencia, but not its people. That was an oversight, because they are a very interesting mix of Caribbean's of African descent and Latinos, the mix reflected demographically and well as in individual ethnicity. Likewise the languages spoken are an interesting mix of Spanish, English and Creole. The people are very friendly and most seem happy living on their little island in the middle of nowhere. There isn't much of an economy. There is quite a bustle in the main town but the settlements around the island seem lethargic, the people wanting of something to do. Yet, I didn't see any abject poverty and the island seems very safe. The Colombian government appears to invest quite a bit in infrastructure and public works for such a small island with so few people- a nice road, big gymnasiums in little hamlets, a soccer stadium. I'm guessing that it does so to maintain its claim on territory so far from the Colombian mainland and the people's loyalty and identity as Columbians.

Isla Providencia is now behind us, the Cayman Islands are ahead and the boat is going forward, sideways and up and down.