Bonaire to San Blas

Mon 12 Apr 2010 21:37
9.33.375n 78.56.912w
The weather was horrible for the first day and a half. We saw no sunlight and had light winds with very strong gusts making the sailing difficult. Plus the seas around Aruba are generally rough and although not steep we again felt like we were in a washing machine. So a very slow unpleasant start, plus we were buzzed by the Coastguard spotter plane. When they want to speak to you they fly very low with full lights on straight at you.They asked us 'Are you having difficulty sailing back to to Curacao?' - We didn't think we looked that bad! Had a radio interrogation and they left. Going past Aruba they spotted us again and flew by, but couldn't think of anything to ask us this time.
We made 2000m and reached calmer seas, but couldn't steer a sensible course with the wind directly behind and ended up back in shallower rougher seas. We did have the advantage of some current with us and made a speed of 6-8knots. But still had some difficult areas to pass. We were hoping for a good journey as we waited for a favourable forecast for the Colombian coast. We had lots of rain from various squalls, but rather hilariously (in Caroline's opinion) every single one hit the boat during Murray's helm. Caroline thought the boat was going to end up festooned with wet hanging underpants and swimming shorts.
Only injuries so far: bruises on Caroline as a result of a direct hit by a flying fish, though she was reassured that her scream brought an immediate response from Murray, with an almost as instant return to bed on learning of the nature of the incident, leaving Caroline to chase the damn wing flapping fish round the cockpit.
Checked the forecast every day during the passage and we weren't due to have any bad weather in the tricky area. T the start of the night helms the waves built and built. Neither of us had seen so much white water since rafting down the Zambeze. We had waves breaking all around us, on the boat and into the cockpit. We reduced sail down to just the working jib and carried on. We had 8-11 feet high waves (some even higher) with wind gusts up to 35 knots and 50 knots a couple of times.
We spent two days in the main cabin with the hatches shut, unfortunately the bedding had already taken a direct hit and was soaked. With the hydrovane steering the boat coped very well, unlike the humans who barely slept.
Sailed most of the way to San Blas with just the small jib, ironically, on the very last half day the wind died and we had three lots of canvas up, getting slower and slower before motoring for the last three hours.