Log 8. Chichime, San Blas. 09.35.23N 78.52.91W

David Batten
Mon 25 Jan 2016 12:07
Saturday 24/01/2016.  We need to amend the comments about switching on the engine in the last blog.  Wind came back almost immediately and we then had lovely sailing in a much calmer sea and needless to say, hit the most northern end of the finish line at 23.13 with about 7 hours of darkness ahead of us.  We did, as the night progressed, hear that most of the Rally yachts felt their way into the eastern channel entrance to the Islands, lead by Wishanger who anchored somewhere in 17 meters.  We decided to stay north of the Islands for the night and go direct to Chichime and the Garmin shows a wonderful zigzag course as we spent the night keeping up enough speed to steer while trying to delay our arrival time to 06.30 earliest.  As the sky started to get light from the east and the lovely moon that had kept us company all night set, we started the turn into the channel between the reefs that form the entrance to the anchorage between the Islands of Cayos Chichime.  After a worrying moment because the island marking the starboard reef was reported as having a tree on it and actually, it is a “has been” tree now, we motored nervously between the reefs and anchored in a lucky space between the islands.  This anchorage is good in that there is no swell, but it does get all the wind, good for cooling and today it is blowing 17 to 20 knots from the north, so straight over the reefs.   The screecher, our name for the wind generator is happily screeching away and making lots of electricity, but is a pretty unpleasant racket on a 24/7 basis.
Breakfast on arrival and then, as always seems to be the case, boat in pieces with drawers out, lockers emptied, floor boards up and tools out, this time to try and identify exactly where the water  been coming in in the keel box area.  So lots of bottoms in the air, torches shinning into in-accessible spaces, water bottle aiming at likely holes, heads thrust into little gaps and a real team effort, rewarded by finding a definite flaw in the Sikoflex which, when sprayed with water, produced water in the area above the water tanks where we had been bailing during the first 24 hours of the passage from Santa Marta.   A very happy team set to with drying the offending area and searching for a missing torch, the most useful of course, which had mysteriously grown legs and vanished.   Then Sikoflex was applied via a rubber gloved finger to the hole in the Pullman cabin side of the leak and by the end of the boat hook to the area inside the keel box, while other members of the crew continued to search for the missing torch.  We are going to leave testing the area until tomorrow, partly to let the Siko dry and partly because “Uncle” arrived in the middle of all the chaos, somewhat unexpectedly, the Ship’s Boy having assured us he could not possibly come until Sunday.  “Uncle” is Hywel, a relative of the Kenney-Herberts through their son-in-law, a truly perfect guest who has managed to fit in immediately, in spite of unbelievable chaos on the boat and a crew who were clearly short of sleep and probably not showing off their social skills to best advantage.  After restoring the boat to some sort of order, all the crew apart from Jane and including Uncle, went for a snorkel on what we thought was a reef but turned out to be weed.  Lunch and a late anchor nip on board, now it is time for a much needed siesta.