January 5th, 2016 (-5 on UTC)
Dear Friends and Family (yes, midnight has just arrived as I write!) Happy Birthday Laurie Robertson, wherever you may be!
I last left you in 22 knots of wind, sailing West toward \”PGA\” having departed the island of Guanaja in the Bay of Islands, Honduras.
We had a lovely 6 hour sail and just before dark, Nikki was sure that the rain in front of us, was coming our way. Umm, that\’s strange I thought. So with lots of wind right behind us, why would the rain in front of us be coming toward us? Of course I have an answer!
When we had studied our weather files, I noted that the winds would shift to the north, then northeast around 6-9 p.m.
What we were seeing in the back of my mind was the interface where this shift would take place. Very often, the wind shifts around fronts or in the trade winds in general will be associated with rain squalls. I said to Nikki, lets be safe and put away the sails, the wind is dropping and we\’ll motor into the light stuff. The first problem was, I didn\’t adjust the boom angle correctly and when we took the mainsail down, I pulled it out of it\’s feeder. That will be tomorrow\’s boat project, to replace it. Once is all you get with this lovely piece of plastic. I\’ve 3 spares! Think this has happened before? It\’s always my fault and always seems to happen at the beginning of a sailing season when we haven\’t used the mainsail in months. As the French say, \”Les plus change, les plus meme-chose\”. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The good news was, my hunch was correct and 10 minutes after we furled sail, the wind shifted back to on our nose. Nikki would not have liked dealing with that with me just going off watch. So as I write, we are at the Northeast tip of Honduras, about 20 miles off the coast and about to enter a 120 mile long shallow bank. The depths are 25-100 feet, which may sound like a lot too you, but in the pitch black, we\’d of course prefer to see what\’s ahead. The charts are great and there are no obstructions till daylight, so not too worry. If I were Columbus, this might have been terrifying in the middle of the night. When they used their \”Lead Lines\” to take depths, not being able to see what was ahead could have been disastrous. Many a ship has been lost under such conditions before the advent of modern navigational charts and GPS systems. Thanks to all who have sailed before us.
We\’re 51 miles from our next waypoint, the Vivarillos Cays. These cays are really just two small pieces of flat land in the middle of nowhere. Often fisherman will use them as a wind break to stay out of strong trade winds, but that\’s about it. The diving might be pretty good as well as the fishing, but we\’re on a mission. After the Cays, we\’ll be only another 40 miles or so from being abeam of Punta Gracias Adios and heading south to Isla Providencia!
Columbus Crew, after 3 months of trying – and upon \”escaping\” – the Gulf of Honduras, seeing the last point they had to clear before heading south to Panama – exclaimed, Gracias Adios! (Thank God) and so the border of Honduras and Nicaragua is located at Punta Gracias Adios! (Point Thank God).
We should be around tomorrow afternoon, with predicted 7-12 knots from the NEast, all should be good.
Scott and Nikki