Carlisle Bay, Bridgetown, Barbados
Position: 13:05.57N 59:36.99W
Date: Sunday 20th January 2013
It’s now a week since we completed the crossing, Brian & Phil have gone back to their homes, I’ve moved the boat from Port St Charles down to Carlisle Bay, Bridgetown and Eileen has flown out to be with me.
A word of explanation about the brevity of the later log messages may be worthwhile. Earlier messages had been typed up on my computer, which was then linked to the satellite phone and the message sent as an email. For reasons yet unexplained this link failed a couple of days out of Cape Verde and I was forced to fall back upon simple text messages sent directly from the phone. This limited the message to less than 160 characters, which meant that posted log entries were short and sometimes a little cryptic. Also to overcome interface problems between my phone and the blog web server the messages had to be relayed through an intermediary (my son Paul).
The weather we experienced was a little stronger than I had expected given what I had read about the Atlantic at the latitude and time of year we made the crossing. The winds were always from behind the boat, but they blew at strength force 6 for at least 70% of the time, force 7 around 10% of the time, and force 5 or less for the rest of the time. There was lots of sunshine, and the sea temperature warmed as we continued westwards (reaching 28 deg C, 82 deg F by the time we reached Barbados). We had quartering seas which were sometimes quite rough which made life on board at times rather uncomfortable.
For the last 4 or 5 days we also had quite a lot of cloud cover with associated squally conditions. As the squalls approached there would be a rapid increase of wind to around 40 knots followed by rain, before the wind would settle back to its normal strength. During the daytime you could see the squalls approaching so it was always possible to reef before we were hit by the stronger gusts. At night it was not so straightforward. Sometimes the radar would show an approaching squall, but not always. Consequently it was safer to proceed with reduced sail throughout the night which reduced our speed but made life a lot easier.
All told what we experienced was always comfortably within the range of what was manageable and thankfully considerably below what the Atlantic is capable of when it does turns nasty.
With regard to marine life, we saw very little. Most mornings there was a sad delegation of flying fish stranded and stiffening on the deck, but they made excellent eating. We saw no other fish, no turtles and apart from one occasion as we approached Barbados no dolphins or other cetaceans. (Perhaps this was fortunate as one of the boats we sailed close to, just a couple of days before Barbados, had actually hit a whale. It was quite a shock for them but I guess a bigger surprise for the whale).
We saw petrels all of the way across, skimming the wave tops and sometimes paddling across the water surface. There were fulmars and a few tropic birds as we got closer to the Caribbean. We tried to fish and we had several strikes but all of our lures were either bitten through or broken. Clearly there was something big in the ocean but we never saw it.
There was also very little marine traffic. We actually saw two or three merchant ships and picked up maybe three or four others on our radar. We saw one other yacht, and spoke to two others on the radio, all as we got close to Barbados.
I’d like to offer special thanks to a couple of people who helped us on our journey. First of all Dick Guymer who sent us daily weather forecasts which were very helpful, especially after the satphone connection had stopped working. And also my son Paul who relayed the daily log entries that appeared on the blog.