We can still remember the numerous times that we had dolphins dancing at the bow, the icy cold beer at sunset, the scores of lobsters we consumed in Haiti and Cuba and swimming with lobsters in French Harbor, Roatan and the dozens of turtles hanging around the boat at West End in Roatan. The spectacular cliffs of the Rio Dulce
Mind you it was not all plain sailing; the most memorable stuck in our minds is when the water-pump broke more than 100 miles off the coast of Jamaica. Our decision to turn around and head back to Jamaica was the right one but then we had on two occasions of no wind at all. That was unsettling as we spent all night drifting with no control just one mile from a shipping lane. Then the bother and expense of fixing the pump which took a month out of our schedule. Now the cutlass bearing, not a simple job.
Sailing has long uncomfortable bits, followed by short exciting bits, lots of hard work and then more long uncomfortable bits. Leonie reckons that it is 5% fear and 95% boredom. On the other hand, it is the most addictive, healthy way of life and an incredible experience. Even the hard work can become fun, like trudging to a distant market for provisions then like pack horses make our way back to the dingy along the way meeting many interesting people in the process.
There are the long night watches, the night sky might be pitch black or the moon could light up the whole sky; there are thunderous nights and stormy nights. The stars are absolutely beautiful; you can see more stars at sea and often with meteor activity. We saw the eclipse of the moon, amazing.
The best feeling was always making land fall after several days at sea, the excitement of spotting a mountain or a palm tree on the horizon. Then stepping on land which is going to be another chapter of our adventure. And the other cruisers we meet along the way most often become good friends.
We sometimes think how nice it would be if we had a different boat to Da Capo, a bigger one with a smaller draft, one with a decent toilet that is easier to operate, one that does not leak when it rains, one with more cupboard space, one that is newer with electric this and electric that.. Da Capo is now 21 years old and we are happy with her.. She performs well and has survived some heavy seas on this chapter of our voyage. I think we will keep her.
We began sailing four and a half years ago in the Caribbean and we have grown to appreciate what the Caribbean has to offer. The quality of sailing, the close proximity of the islands and the overall beauty make it one of the best cruising grounds. This season we decided to go the other way to Cuba. When we finished sailing Cuba we then found it hard to decide if to go to east to Trinidad or west to Rio Dulce, or straight down between the two to Curacao.
Our decision to turn west is so far a good one. This side of the Caribbean is so different to the east side. It is much more interesting. Unlike the eastern side the islands here have differences in that one will be mountainous and the next like a rain-forest. The people are much friendlier and have a brighter more positive outlook on life. Harder working as well.. We think that we will stay on this side for some time to come. The Rio Dulce is absolutely amazing.
Cruising life is addictive, we have caught the bug. We are homeward bound but will be back in November to get our sealegs going again…
Till next time...
PS: We have lots of photos and some movies, if interested let us know.