Passage of the Caribbean sea

South Pacific Familyadventure 2008
Claes Brodin
Tue 26 Feb 2008 15:31
We left Curacao Feb 20,coming out to 25 knots(13 m/s)wind from astern and tropical moonlight.Our Monitor windvane was connected and our Ampair watergenerator,both working very well.We headed north of Aruba to waypoint N12:58 W72:49.Our first 2 days of sailing was enjoyable,but day 3 at sea,the wind increased to 35 knots(17-18 m/s),and very heavy seas(around 15ft/5 m).The mainsail being bottomreefed,and a small jib,we still surfed up to 12 knots,and got "pooped"(filling the cockpit)several times.The conditions were as described in the pilotbooks "some of the worst weather conditions in the Caribbean off cyclone season".Since all the yachts hatches had to be closed,the tropical heat and the noncirculating air inside,made it very uncomfortable inside Tarita.
Day 4 conditions improved though,and we could start fishing and opening up the yacht.A US coastguard Awac-airplane circulated us 4 times,and as we understand,they patrol these waters regularly,looking for suspected "dope runs".Since we had been only 30 Nm from Cartagena,it might have looked like we were coming from Colombia.
Day 5 we came in to Kuna Yala (San Blas) in darkness,and had to heave to for an hour waiting for the sunrise.At sunrise we headed for Banedup,one of the islands in East Hollandeses(San Blas),and were greated by hundreds of dolphins.Once closing up to our anchorplace,a Kuna Indian in his Ulu(canoe)smiled and waved to us.We anchored inside the fringing coralreef,in crystal clear water,and realised that this place must be close to perfection.
I guess this was what we were looking for (but never found)when sailing to the Caribbean 1980.In the evening there was a Barbecue organised by cruisers for cruisers on a little palmisland just inside the reef.