If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Mon 25 Dec 2006 13:15

DAY 20 – Saturday 23 December 2006


This was supposed to be a rest day, but as I am nearly there I had a few things to do.  Last time to mop up in the transom and the bilges.  Then I put everything back into the transom, tied the plastic water bottles up and hung them from the window and put the fenders outside.  Amazing I can now move in the back cabin.  I then had to move the dinghy, oars, ropes and the spare genoa so that I could get to the engine and the throttle cable.  I can t see anything obviously wrong with the throttle cable, I just hope it will be ok.  I can t check the other end without dismantling the binnacle and the instruments on it and I always seal that back up, so that will have to wait too.  There just doesn t seem to be the oomph there should be.  The engine is on at 1000 rpm and the throttle has to be all the way forward and nothing happens and then it will go to 1900 rpm, but it doesn t seem right.


I put the engine back on at 2:30 and was just about to settle down with a well deserved cup of tea when I saw the dolphins, so I turned the engine back off.  There were lots of them, but did they have to leave it this long before appearing.  I took a short film of them as best I could and was trying to download it onto the computer so that I could take some more photos, but the computer totally gridlocked.  In the end I ripped its battery out a couple of times to show it who was boss, but I did not see much more of the dolphins.


I am sailing with the autopilot because then I can turn the engine on and off as necessary, rather than have to deal with Horatio as well.  Unfortunately Nemo cannot gybe on his own and I seem to be incapable of working out which buttons to press while trying to sort the ropes.  I always struggle a bit with the wind behind, on which way to go, but I am now too tired to work it out.  Motor sailing this close to downwind is not fun, I get there in the end, but I will probably revert to motoring just to save time.  With Horatio I could change tack within seconds, but with Nemo I am having to take it off autopilot, steer by hand and then put it back on.   The wind is up and down and it is silly to be motoring when the wind is stronger, but I cannot afford to lose the time when the wind drops off.  This is really just last day desperation.  I don t think I could bear it if I just missed getting in tomorrow.


I was doing so well with the chocolate, I had some in hand, but after the aggravations of today, I am now in arrears by about 20 miles.  Steve tells me that running out of chocolate is not on the list of emergencies that you can set your EPIRB off for; just goes to show a man wrote that list.  I don’t need to be rescued, just a fly over and a drop would be fine.  Perhaps there is a business there, the Flying Chocolatier.


I motored from about 5pm onwards, having not the strength or the inclination to keep sailing in such conditions.  In the evening I just shut the companionway up and watched the squalls on the radar.  Was it just my tiredness, or was this the worst swell ever.


At midnight UT I changed the clocks back to –4 and gained my 4 hours.  In the morning I was in 25 knot winds with a swell that was so big I took some time to actually notice the land. 


Day 21 – Sunday, 24 December 2006


10 am I was all tidy and in respectable clothes and ready to go in to Port St Charles.  There was a yacht on the radio trying to raise them and they and I had to go on to to Bridgetown.  I was told to berth behind the cruise liner, I asked if there was a big wall and told no.  What may not be a big wall to a cruiser and the tankers is a big wall to me.  I managed to berth on the wall at right angles to the cruiser, but was told to move as that was under construction.  I tried again further out in the port and the swell was more there.  I don t know how I was really supposed to achieve this.  I was too short to span the big wall fenders which were about 8 feet square and structures rather than soft squashy fenders.    I just managed to get in between two structures and had one huge bollard several feet up on top of the wall.  I tried to throw ropes round the bollard from each end of the boat.  I was rather disappointed to have some guys walk past and say how hard I was working and not even offer to help with a rope.  In the end I had to settle for the back rope to the bollard and the front rope round the structure with all 7 of my fenders doing their best to keep me off the wall.  Unfortunately at one point the front did get pushed into the wall and the navigation light sticks out, well it did, doesn t any more.  I may have been able to save it, but I just watched it and accepted it as a small sacrifice for arriving safely.  I had to stand on the top of my stanchion to just be able to throw myself on the top of the wall.  I think I would have been squashed by my own boat if I had fallen into the water, so much for the clean clothes. 


I went through the formalities.

Port authority – easy.   I did not know when or where I was going next, so I left it blank.


Immigration, no have to go to Port Health first, who said I should have gone to Immigration first, but we just fixed an arrival time of 13:30.  I did not say that that was not the time I had given to the Port Authority.  How many people on the boat had infectious diseases or had died since the last port.  I could have said they all died and I buried them at sea, but I thought that as I was on my own they might take it seriously and delay my entry.   I had to say when and where I was going next, so I gave it a shot at 2 weeks and Tobago.


Customs, who phoned Health to find out what arrival time they had used.  I declared my small bottle of Mateus Rose and my half bottle of Baileys.  They were very laid back, I cannot see these people spotting drug dealers.  They did specifically ask if I had any weapons, like they expected me to have some.  Again I put 2 weeks and Tobago.


Immigration, who phoned to find out what arrival time had been used.  I put 2 weeks and Tobago for next port, but said I did not know.  Evidently it doesn t seem to matter as long as you are consistent throughout the departments.

Passport stamped and that was it, I was officially in Barbados.


I went round to Carlisle Bay and anchored.  It is really not busy, I am sure there were more boats in Cape Verdes than are here.  I have not seen any boats that I know, maybe a Scandinavian from Las Palmas recognised me.  I anchored with plenty of space for now.  I have a wreck site behind me, but I am outside the buoys.  I might take the dinghy and see in a few days, or I might just move later.


I was too tired to eat, so at 4pm I went to bed.  I briefly woke up at 8pm to the very noisy music from the beach cafes, got cotton wool for ear plugs and went back to bed.  I was up at 6am, too tired to do much, but have to take it slowly.



The weather info here is great, every hour.  It was raining, but I put the sprayhood up and that keeps it out of the saloon.  There is a small craft advisory, because high winds and over-average swell is expected.  I don t know if that means the anchorage will be rolly, but so far it is lovely and only a gentle swell.

I will probably accept a rolly anchorage now as ok, having experienced SWELL.


I have the local radio which after over a month with very little communication from the outside world is very welcome.  All the Xmas songs and messages from the important people.  Giving thanks for no hurricanes and the abolition of slavery is a bit different to the Queen s speech.


I inflated the dinghy in the cockpit, which left me shaking with the effort.  I have left it there because I cannot get it out of the cockpit without taking the sprayhood down.  I wasn t planning on going as far as land for a day or so.


My mobile does not accept outgoing calls, but I seem to be able to text ok.  My sat phone is working.


My daughter complained that she has only read up to Day 16, and about the lack of spacing, etc.  Well sorry most of this has not been written under the best of conditions and I can t seem to use ‘.  The purpose of these messages was just to say where I was and give some idea that I was safe and reasonably sane.  I dont know how much sense they actually made.  I will try to get to land internet soon, but my mail {CHANGE TO AT} sail e-mail works fine.  Write guys.