Sailing to Cayos San Felipe - a story in 17 scenes (eng) 5.4.2011

Wed 6 Apr 2011 03:24
21.57.2196N 83.35.7601W
Cayo Real, Cayos de San Felipe, Cuba

Maria La Gorda is a beautiful peaceful diving spot with great walls, or better, one great wall parallel to the entire coast of the bay of Bahia de los Corrientes.
If anyone of you should be interested in a great diving vacation, you definitely won't get disappointed here. I did two dives with the dive center yesterday and we saw great colourful sponges, corals, worms and reef fish, diving along the wall and through a canyon. The dive masters are nice and friendly and professional and speak pretty good English. Most of the accommodations of this 'resort' face the beach and have aircon. Beach is long and empty, snorkeling just off it wonderful (so I was told). Only big drawback are the ever present no seeums, tiny terrible sand flies, but they can be mastered with the right bug spray.

Anyway, the weather report only showed good wind on Tuesday 5, after that almost a week of calm or wind coming from the wrong direction. As Michael still cannot go diving and apart from that there is not much to see and do here (well, there are some guided hiking tours in the National Park and the beautiful beach), we decided to leave early Tuesday morning.
And we had quite an eventful sail this time. So if anyone ever wondered what happens during a sailing day - here you go:

0720 Oooops, not that early after all. Getting up, doing some yoga and stretches
0800 Michael has to tighten the battens on the main sail, so I take the dingy and go ashore alone.
We have to check out with the Port Captain who was not there anymore yesterday afternoon.
Also, have to pay the National Park anchoring fee at the resort reception.
0845 finally back, put up dingy, set main sail, getting Andromeda ready to sail
0905 weighed anchor and are heading down S/SE along the coast with motors
0920 wind is good, after 4nm (nautical miles = 1 knot = 1.8km) setting Genoa
1010 cleared the point Cabo Corrientes, tacked and now on our course to Cayos de San Felipe, about 60nm ahead;
doing 6-7 knots, apparent wind approx 15-18 knots, bit wavy but still lovely sail
1055 caught a fish! It's a medium sized Barracuda, not bad eating, however, had to free it as they are said to have
ciguanea (a disease) in this area of the Caribbean
1200 I felt a bit off the track this morning, not really bad but somewhat weak; Michael felt similar yesterday when I was out diving.
However, today, he's doing great and didn't only prepare breakfast but also lunch!
1250 wind calmed down a bit, so set the Screecher; first time I'm seeing Andromeda with three sails: main, Genoa, Screecher - what a marvelous sight!
1320 caught another fish! and it's huge, with a big fin and a cut tail; cannot pull it in myself, so gotta wake up Michael from his nap;
he had to slow down Andromeda and then together we made it in the end. We got a big Marlin! Well, apparently, for a Marlin not too big,
as they can weigh up to 1,400 pounds. But this easily weighed 150 pounds. Not bad for eating they say, but far too big for us to and
the freezer doesn't have enough space, so we released this beautiful creature, too
1430 wind died, now doing only 3-5 knots true wind from the East, so are taking Screecher and Gennie in
1525 wind came back up, so set Genoa and Screecher again, however, doesn't seem to be enough wind for both, so take in Genoa again
now smooth sailing with approx 6 knots + 1 knot current with us
1700 wind died again, screecher in, motor on again; ahead of us in the distance, about 7nm ahead and pretty much were we are heading for,
a huge cold front with heavy rain is coming; cautiously starting to close all the hatches and ports
1740 its hitting us, with heavy pounding rain, winds of 30-35 knots right on the bow and swelling seas; the really good thing about it
is that Andromeda is getting a great rinse off of dust and salt and will be shiny and new afterwards
1845 finally reached the Southern shore of Cayo Real; although we had both engines running at 25 hundred rpm, we only did 4-5 knots
against wind, waves and current; unfortunately, the rain has stopped and many salty waves washed over the deck again so will have
to clean her tomorrow; we seem to have found a lovely solitary and well enough sheltered spot for the next 1-3 nights
1930 sun sets late here (and rises late, too! I love it, it's light from 0730-2030 rather than from 0530-0630 :-))
the clouds dissipated slowly and formed beautiful patterns in the sky, bathed in astonishing sunset colours
2045 relaxed dinner with a hamburger from the grill from Michael and sharing leftovers (veggie stir fry and rice)
anchor seems to be holding well and wind is calm, so we should have a relaxed night

You are still wondering what else we did during these almost 10 hours sailing? Well, if the boat is rocking too much (as it was the case for various hours) you cannot do anything on the boat, on the computer or for example sow. So best is to enjoy the ride and the view, read or doze (sailing can be very tiring, seriously!). I also finally had the patience to take the little under water digital camera apart which stopped working a month ago. I had a tiny bit of hope that I'd be able to fix it and was amazed of how many bits 'n pieces and screws this tiny device consists of. Unfortunately, I couldn't finish my work, but if I'd get it going again, I truly doubt I'll be able to put it back together again!
Well, and then there's the blog... Almost midnight, so I'll check if the countless stars are still covering the night sky and then follow Michael to bed.

Buenas noches!

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