Day: December 16, 2015
Our sail to Roatan was a short 6 hour sail. I have been to Roatan on 3 different occasions on dive trips, but had obviously never sailed in, so to come in from sea was really interesting for me to see it from a different angle.
When we got close the girls decided to shave their beautiful crop of leg hair on the stern. They crack me up. Mycah of course, had to come to Danny and I, and proudly show us how incredibly smooth her skin was.
When coming in close to shore, it made us really appreciate our accurate charts, as we were surrounded by extremely shallow reef. At times we made our way through 15 – 20 ft water. It also helps immensely that Danny is a ninja pilot and is really good at reading charts! We radioed in to our friends, Debbie and Steve, who were docked in the marina, and they told us of a couple buoys we’d come across and which side to stay on since it wasn’t marked well.
The water here is incredibly clear. Even as we passed over 30-50ft areas we could clearly see bottom.
The creatures perched themselves out on the bow to help watch for coral heads.
The marina here is interesting in that there isn’t the usual dock layout, but rather a single dock skirting the island. We docked with the help of Debbie, Steve and Aussie Tim, just a couple boats ahead of where ‘Delphinia’ is. (Debbie and Steve’s boat)
After giving our friends big hugs, and Aussie Tim handing everyone cold glasses of Sprite, the creatures set out to find monkeys and cool off in the glorious water. Danny and I had to be responsible parents and get things set up and join everyone on the bus ride to the local grocery store – which only happens once a week. We provisioned well and stowed it all away back on Tanda Malaika. Danny left messages with someone that was suggested to look at our sail drive.
I cooked up steak fajitas which everyone enjoyed, and we watched an amazing sunset off our stern.
Tomorrow it’s going to hard for anyone to get Danny and I out of the water. Aside from having to check in with customs and immigration, we plan on diving, refilling tanks, and diving some more. I can’t wait to show everyone an airplane and a ship wreck close by.
Our first day of passage was amazing. We had fairly rough seas and 20-25 knot winds, which made for some speedy travel, at 9 to 10.5 knots. Tanda Malaika handled the white caps that crashed over her bow so beautifully. She rode high on the swells, then dipped down in troughs ready to rise once more. Water sprayed across the deck through the trampoline as our full sails stood firm in a perfect billow, drawing us to the north. The night was dark as we ran black (every light on the boat turned off) as an added precaution to not be seen by pirates. Danny and Aidan took first watch, Mycah , Jude and Skyler the second, and Jonathan, Emma and I the third. As we each returned to our berths after watches, Tanda Malaika rocked us to sleep.
After traveling the 90 miles to our first waypoint, we tacked north west for another 80 miles to the next waypoint, past the northern parts of Nicaragua and Southern Honduras. Sailing on a run brought us following seas and calm, gentle movement. When on a run, one can hardly feel the wind as it comes from behind, and fills the sails which are set out wide. What a glorious feeling.
On the second day the wind calmed and then became non existent, and we began motor sailing at about 6 knots. Danny had a Dorado on the line but while reeling it in, it broke free. He was pretty disappointed about it. We all took the same watches, and at 12:40am I awoke because of a shuddering feeling from the stern, which was not normal, and wondered why Danny hadn’t woken me for my shift beginning at midnight. I made my way out on deck to find that he had his head down in the starboard engine room, trying to figure out where the shuddering was coming from. He had lowered the sails and had both engines on low RPM’s to keep us nice and straight. While dealing with that, the bilge alarm went off because the new bilge pump Danny installed in the starboard engine room, had failed, and he and Jonathan grabbed the wet/dry vacuum (which happens to be one of the most important items to have on a boat), and sucked up the water. Before long we thought perhaps the shuddering might be a prop problem and not rudder. We decided that in the morning when it’s light we’d dive down to see if anything looked wrong with them. We once again raised the sails, the breeze had increased nicely, and we sailed without shuddering at 6 to 7 knots. I looked at my phone after all this time and was puzzled to see that it was just 12:07am. I told Jonathan that I thought we had found another Bermuda Triangle. It ends up we had crossed a time zone, and were set back an hour. Before Danny retired to his berth, he and I stood together on the bow, looking up at the dark sky which was spread so thick with beautiful bright stars. We watched many falling stars shoot through the sky, and after he’d gone to bed, Jonathan and I continued to see many, many more.
On the third day when we awoke, I put on mask and fins after we had turned into irons to slow the boat down, and dove down to check rudders and props. Aside from seaweed tangled around them, I saw nothing wrong. I used my dive knife which I had firmly strapped to my thigh incase any large creature decided to come after me, and cut the seaweed away. Danny continued his search in the engine rooms for the problem. After a thorough investigation he determined that the port sail drive had lost a seal. This is not good news at all, because we cannot use that engine without the seal. The engine can run but cannot be put in gear. We aren’t certain, but will most likely need to have Tanda Malaika hauled out to fix it. Roatan does have a haul out station so we’ll see what comes.
From the second waypoint, to the third, we had a 177 mile passage to make, and the day was been filled with the usual fun and games and relaxing for everyone. The creatures did their school work, then started reading. As the days pass on a passage, we all get goofier and more creative in amusing ourselves. Mycah became a different creature!
We tossed out overboard a message in a bottle.
Danny did a fantastic job landing a 43” Dorado!!!! Finally! I was supposed to scoop it up in the net but was too busy squealing and trying to get away from it to accomplish that. It was big and flopping all over the place with a ticked off look in its eye. The creatures gathered around to learn again how to fillet a fish.
Due to the fact that we have not entered the Marina at Fantasy Island in Roatan before, and knowing that there are many reefs there, we decided to stop for the night in Guanaja, Honduras, which is an island 30 miles before Roatan. In the morning we will continue on to Roatan in the daylight so we can see the reefs. It’s a really good rule of thumb when cruising, to never enter a marina that you’ve never been to, at night. It prevents colliding with things. A pod of about 20 dolphins escorted us for a while. They were so beautiful as the were bow riding and playing in the wake created by the boat.
Finally we entered the little bay outside Guanaja just at sunset. We passed many homes on stilts, some of which were quite fancy, like the Villa on Dunbar rock, for instance.
We dropped anchor and I got busy preparing a delicious Dorado (Mahi Mahi) dinner just as the sun set.
On Friday night six kids from a neighboring boat called ‘Invincible’ came over and the twelve of them played games under the moon (and boat lights) on the trampoline. They played till almost midnight, laughing and talking and exchanging information. Some people have asked me if, given our lifestyle, the creatures get to interact with anyone. The answer is that with this lifestyle they interact more than when we were on land. The cool part about it is that they have made so many wonderful, long lasting friends from all walks of life and of all ages, rather than just the small clicks of people they surrounded themselves with on land. They have become more open minded, sympathetic and understanding and feel less entitled. It’s so wonderful to watch and experience.
The following morning we awoke to another beautiful day in Providencia. I made up a big potato salad and also coleslaw in preparation for our next crossing.
Since there is no fuel dock here, we had to load all jerry cans into the dinghy, go into town and fill them up, then load them all back in and empty them into Tanda Malaika..then repeat the process till we were all filled up. All the creatures helped Danny with this.
That afternoon Danny and I were going to go for a dive, but Mr Bush radioed us telling us that if we are leaving the next day, we’d have to check out that afternoon since he wouldn’t be there the next day. The time he needed us was not going to allow us time enough to dive, so we met the creatures where they were cliff jumping and we snorkeled. The water was so clear, and our surroundings were beautiful. I went shark hunting, looking in every cave and under ledges, but unfortunately didn’t find any.
When it came time to check out we all went in to town, and after meeting with Mr Bush, who gave us all big hugs when we left, we met with our friends from Invincible and grabbed some pizza. Another cruising couple joined us a little ways into our meal too. We talked about sailing adventures and travel experiences, and all agreed that we love our life on the ocean and are grateful for the opportunity.
Our time in Providencia was so fun. The people are so happy, friendly and helpful. Danny and Mycah went to get diesel cans filled and Mycah was carrying them to the dinghy when two older men stopped their scooter and came to help her. There is no crime there, and everyone is poor so they are one big family helping each other. They keep their island clean, unlike in Panama, and take pride in their surroundings. We really love this place, where everyone rides scooters and small motorbikes, and are quick to smile and wave.
On Saturday we left there and began our approximately 3 day passage to Roatan, Honduras.