Friday, May 11, 2007

Monday 7th May

At sea

All good things must come to an end, I thought about jumping ship and staying at the hotel but as I’d left my credit card on the boat I had to return there and once on board Gerry wouldn’t let me off again! Gerry went down to the boat early in the morning to run the fridge and check that everything was OK, he also checked us out which I found out on his return to the hotel room. I’d been planning our day – a tour to see the island, lunch somewhere nice, a bit of duty free shopping – huh, my planning was blown to kingdom come because Gerry had listened to Chris Parker’s weather report and decided that today was going to be the day to leave for Cartagena. We made the most of the shower, I doubt that there was enough water for any one else by the time we had finished and packed our bag. We stopped for breakfast at one of the cafés and then walked back to our boat; we had about an hour before the immigration man was coming to the boat to clear us out. We spent the hour getting stuff locked down and preparing sandwiches and food for at least the next couple of meals, the trip to Cartagena was to be at least 3 days – if the weather was true to the forecast. Immigration arrived at 12.30 hrs and stamped our papers then it was time to throw off the lines and head westwards. We hoisted the main sail as soon as we were clear of the channel markers and set sail, moving along fairly well with the wind almost square behind us and seas that were rolly but with reasonable intervals. I threw the fishing line in the water hoping for something fresh for dinner. The forecast had us expecting winds of 20 knots of wind and 6-7 foot seas, the reality check was winds of 6 knots (sometimes less!) and seas of 2-3 feet and decreasing, it got to the point that we decided maybe we should try to fly the spinnaker – it was ideal conditions to fiddle around with it and we knew that putting it up for the first time would be traumatic and stressful. We agreed to try and be calm and proceeded to haul the spinnaker bag out onto deck, attach lines, block, halyard and prepare the sail for christening. As anyone who has ever put up an asymmetrical spinnaker with a sock bag will know it is not always (ever?) a simple task. The sock raising lines tangled and twisted, the spinnaker tried to wrap around the forestay, something flew out of the spinnaker bag and vanished into the water – we still don’t know what it was (did you leave a reel of thread in the bag Tom?), the language deteriorated and the spinnaker itself was revealed to be born out of wedlock! But we overcame! Eventually we got the thing up, filled with wind and flying. I quickly snapped photos incase it’s the last time it ever sees the light of day, it sure looked pretty. Of course you will have guessed by now that the “fish on line” alarm went off whilst we were in the middle of trying to raise the spinnaker. Once we were happy that the spinnaker was OK we turned our attention to the fishing line, I began to reel it in thinking that the fish would have long since wriggled off the hook. As the lure came into view so did the pretty blue and yellow of a mahi – mahi, yippee fish for dinner! The fish was just big enough for dinner for 2 – perfect! I reeled it in, gaffed it, slid the hook out of it and handed the gaff to Gerry to hold whilst I turned around to grab the knife to pith and bleed it. I only have Gerry’s word as to what happened next – he said that it gave a huge wriggle and managed to leap off the gaff and back into the water; I was not a happy camper! All I know is that it must have been a giant leap as I had gaffed it through both sides of its body – so there is my tale of the one that got away, thank goodness we had spag.bol, ready just in case! We took the spinnaker down before it got dark as we didn’t want any hassle doing it – it went away like a dream. As night crowded in we began watches, doing 3 hours on and 3 sleeping – or trying to. It was too rolly to begin with but as the wind and swell dropped even further overnight we both managed to sleep for a bit.



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