Saturday, July 16, 2011

Towards Coral Bay. The north’s tropical paradise....

We were expecting quite strong winds for our next leg towards Coral Bay so we thought we would try just flying the jib alone. Big mistake. At first it was wonderful. The sun was shining; the water flat, as was the boat, and all was right with the world. Rob and I said, “Why don’t we do this more often, rather than getting up the big main all the time? This is great! We should make life easier for ourselves.” Ha! Once out of the lee (protection) of the land the seas picked up together with the wind. Rather than floating on a nice stable platform the boat started to yaw from side to side so much so that it felt like we were in a washing machine. For the first time the books, normally stacked securely on their shelves, guided by an on board poltergeist, leapt out and onto the floor in a heap. We persevered and just hung on, as putting up the main in those conditions would have been really hard. At last the wind and the seas eased a bit and we had Maud’s Landing, the anchorage at Coral Bay well within out sites, only 5 miles away. Did I mention the big bank of black clouds that had been sitting on the horizon to our north? No? Kokomo ahead of us said that they had just had a big wind change and they were getting 30 knots of wind right on the nose. Great. We weren’t home free yet. The massive bank of black cloud enveloped both boats and before we knew it we had the motor on and we were crawling forward at a snail’s pace, making hardly any head way. Kokomo to add to their grief was having engine trouble and reported that they may not be able to make it in to the anchorage at all. After crawling along at a measly 1-2 knots, we gave the engine everything it had and were able to make forward progress at about 3-4 knots. The waves kicked up by the strong head wind stood up like brick garden walls and stopped the boat in its tracks. It seemed to take hours to inch our way around the reef and into the bay. To add to our predicament, the wind was strongly from the north east making the bay unprotected from the wind, with nowhere to get shelter. The moorings that I had organized for the two boats were right at the end of the bay and offered no protection. We tried to find a place to anchor but there were numerous shallow patches and each idea was thwarted. We were losing light and with Kokomo hard on our stern and worried about their motor that might conk out at any time, we dropped anchor right where we were in the middle of nowhere. At least the anchor dropped into good holding sand and we had enough water under the keel. What a day! After early misgivings about our choice of anchoring spot (I wanted to persevere to find something better) the wind dropped out and we had a reasonable night.
Approaching Coral Bay

Nerves were somewhat frayed on both boats and we needed a day or two to recover from our ordeal.  I don’t know about the others but I had a few things going through my mind. Why don’t we have rum on board? Why are we doing this? Is there a plane out of Coral Bay?
So many questions and so few right answers.

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