Arrival in Barbados

Trip Start Nov 02, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2008

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Flag of Barbados  ,
Thursday, December 13, 2007

After 22 days of sailing, we live to tell the tale. If I have to sum up the whole trip, it would be a voyage that consists of long periods of boredom, stoccatoed with bouts of excitement trigerred by anything except the big blue sea, which includes seeing a bird hundreds of miles from any land known, a boat , a ship, a plane, a fish or a rainy cloud. If the trip was a heartbeat, it would be like that of a person who suffered a cardiac arrest, fell into coma and suddenly bolted into life.

Gusty winds of 40 knotts and tsunamic waves greeted us as we left Mindelo port. Sailing in a 40 feet (12 metres) long sailboat, it was hard not to feel seasick, especially inside the boat. Cooking was almost impossible. Water would be spilling all over. As we left, Greg and I was almost overwhelmed with regret. What have we got ourselves into? Greg was white as pale from the stress and fear of capsizing. I was just plain seasick, so much so I only managed a meal a day. Even the captain was starting to fear for the damage to his boat.

With just a quarter of the sail up, we were sailing at 5-6 miles per hour... that's as much as the boat can handle. Despite having 3 autopilots, we had to handsteer all the way. The main one was not working properly, the small one was not strong enough and the new wind vane was still under test and was not reliable enough. Nightwatches lapped over to daywatches. We would wake up every 3 hours to take the wheel (not that we could even sleep properly). After a while, the routine felt so robotic. Wake up, Steer, Sleep, etc.

The ordeal lasted about 4 days. When the winds had calmed down, we started catching fishes, though not without having to lose 20 odd lures before. Big tunas, Dolphin fishes, and other big fishes would jump before our eyes, as if mocking at our ridiculously-looking lures. However, from time to time, we would have flying fishes jumping into the boat due to miscalculation. They tasted like sweet like sardines. Other rarities we've caught was a Dolphin fish and a Rainbow runner.

Soon, we were met with the other extreme condition : No wind! Before you start thinking that it's comfortable, it's not. The boat would rock in all directions. The wood would creak so loudly, the pots and pans clanking against each other noisily. Tired of waiting, we would put the engine on and the running of it would join in the orchestra.

Faced with extreme boredom, we tried all sorts of activities to keep ourselves sane : reading, playing cards, watch dvds when we have absolutely no wind, I-spy games, cheering at every degree and every 100 miles passed, chatting, doing spanish exercises (that's me), writing diaries, snacking, staring into nothingness, swimming in the sea.

Approaching Barbados, we had non-stop squalls and strong winds and 12-feet high waves. Again, this lasted another 4 days. When we finally arrived at Barbados, we were simply exhausted. The sailboats that left after us from Barbados had arrived a week before us... on average we arrived a week later than the other people, but they would come in with broken sails or engine. All in all, it was a memorable experience but I guess we won't be sailing again for a long while.
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