Lanzarote to Grenada, day 21

Stravaig'n the Blue
Sat 30 Jan 2021 14:29
End of day 21 position: 11:57.0 N 061:34.1 W
Position timestamp: Saturday 30 Jan 2021 12:00 UTC-4
Distance travelled last 24 hours: 162 NM
Reduction in distance to destination last 24 hours: 150 NM
Distance travelled total: 3156 NM
Average speed since departure: 6.2 knots
Shortest distance to destination: 26 NM
ETA: late afternoon, Saturday 30 January (just over 21 days in total)

Almost there, just 26 miles to go.

Things didn’t go exactly to plan yesterday afternoon and overnight.

On the fishing front I failed to catch a tuna but did catch another mahi mahi; at 2.4kg it was 0.5 kg heavier than Monday’s. The interesting thing about this catch was that I actually saw it happen. I was reeling in the lure to check it for weed. The lure was a cedar plug, a 150 mm length of cedar, shaped like a torpedo, painted to look like a fish, big eyes and all, with a hole down the centre for the line and hook. As Stravaig was lifted by a wave I could see the lure being lifted on the next wave, about 20 metres behind. As the lure reached the top of the wave, there was a flash of green as the mahi mahi came in at speed from the side and just swallowed the lure.

Disappointed at having a lump of cedar, rather than a succulent flying fish, in its mouth the mahi mahi jumped high in the air a couple of times to try to dislodge the lure but to no avail. I reeled it in without too much of a struggle, Linda doing the last few metres of reeling while I lifted it out of the water using a gaff hook so that we could spray the gills with Bombay Sapphire gin (we are out of cheap rum) to dispatch it quickly. After a cup of tea, Linda gutted and expertly filleted the fish before cutting it into meal-sized portions and packing them all away in the freezer!?! So we had chicken with tomato and beluga lentil salad for supper.

The second thing that didn’t go quite according to plan was the wind. We had been expecting 16 knots by late afternoon but there was only 11-12 at sunset. This is sufficient for a sedate sail but was going to be insufficient to get us to the anchorage in daylight. We unfurled the Blue Water Runner, switched off the engine, looked forward to a peaceful night and resigned ourselves to anchoring by moonlight the following evening.

As we sailed west into the night, large ominous low dark clouds started building behind us and slowly caught up on us, slightly to the north. On my 8-11pm watch, the wind got up into the high teens for half an hour as a squall passed and on Linda’s 11pm-2am watch a squall passed much closer bringing with it a good drenching, the first rain of note since we left Lanzarote. And very welcome and timely it was too. The decks and the cockpit had become very grubby, caked in salt and littered with flying fish scales. We’d been wondering when we’d be able to give them a hose down but now there’s no need.

Towards the end of my 2-5am watch, the wind increased again, into the high teens, low twenties, and stayed that way for the next three hours. On the relatively flat water we flew along at between 9 and 11 knots, up to 8.5 knots of boat speed plus 2.5 knots of Equatorial current that was running in the same direction as us. A Nantucket sleigh-ride without the whale.

Just after breakfast, and with Grenada visible on the horizon, we furled the Blue Water Runner for the last time on this passage. It has proved itself to be a very useful and flexible sail. The mainsail is up again for the first time in weeks and, together with our regular headsail, is drawing us along at 7 knots towards Point Salines at the extreme south west corner of Grenada. From there it is only 6 miles in a north easterly direction to the quarantine anchorage at Saint George’s. We should be at anchor by 4pm. 

All is well.