Monday, July 30, 2007

Samana Cay to Acklins Island, Bahamas

27.3 knots
Wind: E 5 knots, dying to calm
Latitude: 22°43.25’N
Longitude: 073°52.80’W
Maximum speed: 4.4 knots
Maximum speed under sail: 3.7 knots
Average speed: 1.9 knots

Karl was right, I guess. Secret needs a break. Now our sails and our engine is defunct, and we still have 300 miles to beat to windward if we want to make Hispaniola, including what is supposed to be a hellacious offshore passage. So the Bahamas it is for a while, unless we can figure out one or both of our problems.

Today was another of those recovery days from the exhausting ordeal of yesterday. Last night, the wind died when we were two miles offshore. It made the whole day even worse--Karl was on watch, and there was absolutely nothing we could do. The boat was just drifting, and we had no means of propulsion. The shore was two miles away, but it might as well have been 200. When I woke up, Karl had started pumping the tiller to try to row us to shore, but even then we were barely going a knot. I always worry, though, when he does that, that we’ll wear out our rudder and tiller connection. It seems to put too much stress on everything.

Anyway, finally, Karl bled the engine one more time, and we motored the two miles into shore. We decided not to risk the coral-strewn entrance at one o’clock in the morning, so just pulled up to the thirty-foot line and anchored in clear sand. There was no wind, so there was really nothing to worry about. Then, when I woke up to do the weather at 5:45, Karl woke up to and we motored, bleary-eyed, into the harbor under the rising sun. We collapsed gratefully back into our berths until about noon, only rising when the afternoon sun started beating down through the forward hatch.

It feels good just to be here. It’s a perfect harbor, even if the Gentleman’s Guide, calls it a “death trap” in northerlies. We’ll just get out if the wind threatens to move to the north. We’re protected from all directions except the north, and the whole anchorage is ringed with white beach and scrub, not a house in sight. Karl started playing around the roller furler today, but I didn’t have energy for anything. We’re both sunburned from yesterday, too. So we’ll see what we can do with our sails and our engine tomorrow, and maybe we can limp out of here to somewhere where we can get some parts.

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