Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Land Ho!

We arrived at Maria La Gorda yesterday morning and were immediately captivated by Cuba.

Everything we had read about the crystal clear waters is true! Turquoise, shimmering and the clearest I have ever seen. Even TBH, who can be a bit picky about these things, had to admit he was impressed!

The passage went well once we really got underway. It was certainly the right thing to do , to wait for decent weather, if a little tedious! Our first day out was tough going. Winds on the nose and of course our own lack of practice! Eight foot short seas are not ideal for the direction we wanted to go in but that's sailing right! But it all got a whole lot easier after 36 hours when the seas subsided and we had the perfect winds for a close-hauled ideal sail. 10-15 knots and a flat ocean, oh my. Watch making is always hard to establish but by night two we were in to our stride. We follow an informal 4 on and 4 off system. I try and take midnight to 4am as TBH finds those hours really hard and he responds by taking the dusk to midnight watch. I particularly hate the sail changes that always seem to happen at sundown or soon after. Anyway it works for us. We try and have meals together so that we have some conversation but usually if one is awake the other is asleep - some might say that could make for the perfect marriage...!

By the end of night 4 we had run out of wind and the ocean was so flat it was oily so we motored the rest of the way. We sailed as long as we could and our boat kept up 3 knots in about 3 knots of wind! She is amazing! The Monitor self steering gear did her job, Kitty to her mates, as well as ever. Just a bit of chaffing on one of the lines that we need to change. And then the first sight of Cuba!

Flat and non-descript from 20 miles out I still find the sight of land after an offshore passage a very emotional moment! I am known to blub very easily. But yesterday it was a calm self- assurance that we had sailed well especially after so long tied to the dock! We were arriving in good shape. Well fed, tidy and under control. We are usually lacking in at least one of those categories!

So more later, right now we need some sleep to recover from the onslaught of Cuban officials and to prepare for the arrival of our family... I am so excited!

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1 comment:

Second Summit said...

I am so jealous!

Not only are you seeing Cuba, which we US-folks won't ... but you've had a fine close-hauled ideal sail!

We, in contrast, are not even on the water. I'm back in New Jersey, Bill's in a room near the Fronteras bridge and Second Summit's had masts and most of her interior removed and is well on her way to recovery.

So ... I'm enjoying reading your blog instead.