Thursday, April 7, 2011

Providencia, Columbia

We said goodbye to our friends at Shelter Bay and shoved off. The waves were nothing like they’d been a week earlier, but they were still pretty serious compared to what we’d experienced in the Pacific. (They don’t call it “the Pacific” for nothing.) Andrew and I felt fine (thanks to some Dramamine for me) but John and Kitty were down for the count – which is unusual for both of them.

Despite the rolling seas we had some awesome wind. We flew all three sails on a beam reach to the island of Providencia and made about 7 knots. We can only make about 5 to 6 knots motoring with our current prop. To harness a consistent wind and move faster than you can with an engine is pure pleasure. When the engine isn't running all you hear is the sibilance of the wind, the splatter of the waves on the bow, the slush of the water moving past the hull, and the occasional ruffling of the sails. If only sailing were always like this!

It took two full days to get to Providencia. We anchored early in the morning and then immediately crashed for a three-hour nap. Sailing is much more fun than motoring, but it is also much more work. Managing the sail trim all night is exhausting.

Land Ho!

Having recharged our batteries, we hopped into the new hard-bottomed dinghy with 15hp outboard motor we picked up while we were in Shelter Bay. It is a big step up from our little inflatable and 8hp outboard and has totally transformed the dinghy experience.

Check out our wake!

We went to town to find an internet café, but the connection was so slow that it was in effect unusable. Wandering through the dusty little town we found it to be surprisingly bustling for such a remote Caribbean island. Navigational hazards included mopeds zipping about the narrow streets with notable speed, stray dogs lurking around with unknown levels of aggression, and the occasional rogue horse gone walkabout.

Having failed in our search for an internet connection that moved at anything more than a glacial pace, we gave up looking for a link to the outside world and went snorkeling instead.

Early the next morning we weighed anchor and set off for a four day crossing to the Rio Dulce in Guatemala.

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