4/23/2017What a different passage this one was compared to our first two! Despite a couple thunderstorms within the first 3 hours of leaving Swan Island, the entire 280 mile passage was calm, little to no wind, and almost flat seas. Because of these conditions no one was sick, I was not scared, and I was able to do every single one my watches! We did have to motor almost the entire passage, which is loud and somewhat unenjoyable, but the calm conditions, happy crew, and awesomely long off-watches made up for the noise of the motor. Because I was able to do my watches, we fell into this consistent rhythm and I hardly even noticed the 3 days it took us to get here. My watches were everyday from 11am-2pm and again at 11pm-2am; Kyle’s 5am-8am and again, 5pm-8pm.Therefore we all had 9 hours off between each shift, and because of the consistency of the times of my shift, I fell into a rhythm of sleep, eating, and other activities such as watching movies, reading, and cooking meals. Audiobooks became my best friend during my night watches, helping keep me awake and causing the 3 hours to pass quickly. The stars shining their full strength with no light pollution were wonderful companions, dancing gently in the sky above.
Yesterday during my 11am shift Kyle was sitting in the cock-pit with me when suddenly dolphins, so many dolphins, began jumping and swimming with the boat. Being obsessed with dolphins I was jumping up and down and freaking out, causing the boat to get a little off course- haha oops! Kyle took the wheel for me as I ran to the bow of the boat. At least 16 dolphin were swimming in our bow wave, so close to the surface and the boat that when I leaned off the bow I could have touched them. They were having so much fun, jumping, diving, spinning, and swirling all around. A baby dolphin, about as long as my arm kept jumping at least 2 feet in the air before gracefully diving back down. It was spectacular and my cheeks hurt from giggling and smiling so much. This lasted for about 20 minutes, but the high it gave me lingered well into the hours left of my shift. The day before I had spotted a giant sea turtle, lounging on the water’s surface- I felt so grateful for the presence of the sea life on this journey.
The dolphin and sea turtles weren’t our only companions on this trip- little birds at least 3 or 4 started to become real comfortable with High Climber. In fact, one kept going down below! First it perched above the chart table, and eventually it made it way into mine and Kyle’s bedroom in the v-birth. I went to grab my headlamp off my shelf and instead grabbed a soft, squishy, little body. Squealing I ran into the cockpit and begged Kyle to go get the bird out of our room. Laughing at me he removed the bird. This happened two more times. He was pretty set on moving into the v-birth. Other little birds spent their days perched on the deck or on the life-lines.
As the day was turning into dusk yesterday Kyle and I were reading down below when we heard Max yell “Land Ho!!” Poking our head out of the hatch sure enough 15 miles ahead of us was a small land mass, so faded that it almost looked like a low lying cloud. Even from 15 miles out I could make out the various mountain peaks that make up the Island. The last 3-4 hours of the journey we motored towards the towering mountains protruding from the clear ocean water. Around 8:30pm we arrived just outside of the channel into the main anchorage of Providencia. Not wanting to risk coming into the channel at night due to shallow reefs and a ship wreck 5 feet below the surface, we chose to anchor out in deeper water, outside of the channel, until the sun came up the following morning. The island looked small at night, various lights showing a little village and a couple lights marking the tops of peaks for airplanes. Exhausted sleep came fast and due to the light wind the sea was calm, causing the boat to be rather steady.
Around 7am sun rays danced on my sleeping face, causing my sleepy eyes to open with a smile. Instantly I poked my head out of the hatch and gasped. Dense green mountains, rising and falling, a small village, and tiny homes scattered on the mountain’s face. Crystal clear water, the bottom showing even 30 feet down. When we arrived the darkness of night hid the magnificence of what was in front of us. But the sun introduced the most spectacular view I have ever woken up to. I was so excited and giddy that the hours it took for everyone else to wake up seemed to last forever- I just wanted everyone to see how amazing the island was! After some coffee and quick breakfast we tidied up the deck, referred to our cursing guide and Navionics, before raising the anchor and heading toward the channel leading to the main anchorage. Kyle climbed up the mast and sat on the first spreader, using his height and binoculars to guide Max through reefs and safely into the channel. The closer we got to the island I began seeing caves at the base of the mountains, palm trees looking more tropical than any I had ever seen, tree covered mountain faces, and colorful buildings and houses lining the shore. Dropping anchor near all the other sailboats and as close to the dinghy dock as we could get, Max hailed the port captain on the radio. He informed us that Max could row ashore at 2pm to begin the check-in process. The beauty of the towering mountains and the anticipation of hiking and exploring them caused me to be giddy as I made rice, beans, and tomatoes for lunch for everyone.
As I write I am sitting in the cockpit, using the cockpit table to write with my keyboard. My headphones in I dance in my seat, joyful of my surroundings. Kyle and Max sit across from me reading, while Mark reads down below. In about an hour Max will row over to meet with Mr. Busch, the agent who helps us check in. We are really hoping we will be allowed on land tonight, as my dad has offered to buy as a celebratory dinner and we are looking forward to a sit down dinner and maybe some cold beer 🙂 Kyle and I are feeling like we need a break from the boat, and are going to get a hotel for a couple nights which I am really looking forward to. We have about 5 days here before we need to take off towards Colon, which is where we will transit the Panama Canal. As of now our plans are to hike, rent a golf cart, explore the island, and resupply on food, water, and fuel. I am real excited and will post an update soon with some photos and stories of exploring this pretty island.