So close and yet so far

Gudrun V
Axel Busch
Thu 9 Jun 2011 16:03
Thursday, 09.06.2011, 12:00 local (16:00 UTC), 11:18.1N, 074:14.4W (3,6nm north of Santa Marta, Colombia).
The Parasailor is up and we're sailing towards Santa Marta. Slowly at first, 2kn, then towards evening ever faster. 3kn. 4kn. 5kn. Wow, finally some decent speed. We watch (another) beautiful sunset to the west. To the south the view is not so pretty. Thunderclouds are forming again. But none to the north or behind us, so we should be safe tonight.
Liz watches the lightning in awe. It is pretty spectacular. But I'm done with lightning, there were too many close encounters this week. If I have to see no more for the rest of my life I'll be the happier for it. We sail westwards, parallel to the moving thunderclouds. But eventually we have to turn south torwards Santa Marta. We go faster. 6kn, 7kn. I'm worried that we're going to fast and won't be able to turn south in a safe distance behind the thunderclouds. But it's so nice to go fast again, after days of just drifting about.
After midnight the wind stops suddenly. Force 4 to 0 in three minutes. Interesting. The boat rolls and bangs like crazy. I can find no sleep. I move to the bow of the boat. I don't mind the wet mattress from where the hatch leaked, I just want to get away from the sound of the waves banging against the stern as much as possible. But the is no refuge, tonight the sea beats on Gudrun like a drummer gone mad.
In the morning I study the maps closer and find out why. The wind dropped us right on the start of the continental shelf, where the sea floor rises up sharply. The waves always pile up there, and we're sitting there for five hours with no chance of getting away.
With the sun the wind comes back, and we start sailing again. The wind increases steadily. Force 1, 2, 3, 4. Nice, this is grat sailing. The Colombian coast rises out of the mist. South America. Finally! We laugh and sing. Colombia, we're coming! The wind increases still more. Force 5, force 6 in gusts. This is a little more than hoped for. I'm wondering how we're going to anchor in that wind. But beggers can't be choosers, I'm glad we're off that ridge. And the wind should drop to something reasonable in the shelter of the mountain. But we're not of the hook yet.
As we approach the Cabo de la Aguya, the wind drops completely. Again. My, this is getting tiresome. At least we are still moving, even if at less then a knot. So much for getting to Santa Marta for a nice lunch. On the other hand we won't have any problems anchoring under sails or pulling the boat into the marina with the dinghy. And dinner is much more fun than lunch anyway.