The wind in the SW North Atlantic north of the Caribbean remains elusive. I discussed it with Chris Parker of Marine Weather Center last week. Together we came up with three options:
I was having morning coffee and lounging in the cockpit chatting on the phone with Gayle. I could see the rain coming…a lot of rain. I signed off and sure enough it was a real gullywasher.
The day before yesterday the stars were finally back out at dusk. I was able to shoot Sirius and Procyon from the fantail of the Far Reach. I recorded the precise time for each shot.
My good friend Colonel Steve Davis USMC was the first person I ever heard say “the main thing….” He was a terrific leader and had a unique gift for preventing his unit from getting distracted. He never lost sight of the mission and knew how to keep the team focused like a laser-beam.
I learned celestial nav a long long long time ago, as in way before anyone ever heard of satnav. But I was a youngster and never got proficient. And though we don’t have a chart plotter on the Far Reach, I, like most of the modern world, have come to rely on GPS because it’s quick, simple, and accurate. But…using GPS always leaves me feeling…unsatisfied. Like I cheated. It’s just too easy. There is no reward.
It was a sad day to see Gayle fly home. We had a great time together. But the kids have to declare their college selection by 1 May. She needed to assist them with another round of campus visits so they can make a wise choice. So we divided our combat power into two elements, each with missions to accomplish.
With fresh provisions on board we slipped the mooring in Elephant Bay, St Thomas on 12 March with only a basic plan—sail towards St John and proceed somewhere from there.
After a wonderful week in Culebra it was time to head back to St Thomas. Unfortunately, St Thomas is about 20nm dead upwind against the powerful Caribbean trades. We prepared the afternoon before by stowing gear and stripping the sun awnings and sail covers. We hauled Sweet Pea up and inverted her on the cabin top and snugged her down securely in her teak chocks.
For the last month or so it’s been pretty easy living. The Far Reach and I have mostly remained here in Elephant Bay, St Thomas until Gayle could join us. The pace of living has been slow and relaxed. There has been plenty of time to read, sleep, swim, eat, study the sky, think, and meet new people.
I slipped out of Jost Van Dyke early on 30 December. The anchorage was already getting crowded in anticipation of the big New Years Eve bash. The night before I left, while I was ashore helping Baba, a 62’ private charter cat anchored way too close on the starboard side of the Far Reach…exactly the reason I wanted to get out of Great Harbor.