Distance run 158 nautical miles. Miles to Grenada 237. Over 2000 nautical miles sailed since Mindelo!
After the excitement of the previous evening, a leisurely bimble along in light airs was a welcome opportunity to relax a little. At dusk, we were treated to an incredible sunset which even had Captain Grumpy ooohing and aaahing as a two tone sky developed; pink to starboard and teal blue to port, eerily separated by an almost vertical line - most unusual!
With relatively settled weather, and a low risk of squalls, we started the night watches expecting a stress free overnighter. It is a foolish sailor who doesn’t expect the unexpected however! At 0300 in the morning, lights began to appear all around what was, only a short time ago, an empty horizon with no Automated Identification System (AIS) transmitted data to help our situational awareness! A confused James had the binos out to try and make sense of the somewhat random set of white lights, some constant and some sporadic in their appearance; no reds or greens were visible to give any further clues to direction of these bogey targets. Our best analysis is that we had a mix of traffic; a couple of yachts merrily going their way, like us, to the Caribbean, and a few fishing vessels who are notorious for hiding their positions from rival boats!
As dawn broke, next to the golden horizon to the east emerged a somewhat frightening, and most definitely threatening, storm cell. We were at one point positioned right on its edge, but fortunately our course seemed to be taking us away from this potential squall-laden deliverer of doom. Over the next 2 hours, we instigated a series of taking in, then shaking out, reefs to the mainsail and the genoa; too much canvas and we could be dangerously overpowered, too little sail and we could more easily be caught by the weather system tracking us! Good morning aerobics!!
Eventually considering ourselves clear of storm danger, we again thought it safe to relax. ‘Look at this odd AIS target! Bev said… ‘it’s only half a mile away’’! Impossible said the boys, as we began to question the integrity of Falcon’s electronics suite. Then we saw it; a small flag with an orange buoy. We moved to starboard to avoid it, but there was another. And another! We had sailed ourselves into a line of drift trawler nets set in 3000 metres of ocean! We aimed to pass as close to the middle of one pair of the buoys in the hope that we would not snag our keel on the evil nets lurking below the surface!
We now find ourselves ever closer to our destination; we are a mere 80 nautical miles from Barbados, and a short distance beyond that lies Grenada. We three aboard have used the last 2000 miles to look deep inside ourselves and contemplate our very existence; Bev has found inner peace and harmony, James has found a renewed wanderlust for the oceans, and Ade… hmmm, well Ade has mostly found the biscuits and chocolate!
The end is in sight, but we have not taken our eyes off the ball…image1