Monday, April 09, 2007


...our flag was still there...

Tattered and torn, our flag on the back of the boat survived the perils of our travel these past 35 hours. We encountered heavy seas and a stiff headwind that gusted to over 20 knots. The forecast was for light winds and no swell. NOT! So much for forecasts.

We left the lovely Isla Ixtapa at 4am with our cruising buddies on the sailing vessel Cyclades bound for the tiny anchorage of Caleta de Campos - a one day sail. At first, the weather was calm, too calm for sailing, and we motored along. I worked on my Grass Creek Vest and marvelled at how the river in my knitting was the exact colors of the blue seas around us! See the calm ocean too?

I set up my fishing pole and trolled for fish. But, I only caught 2 Bonitos which are too gamey (dark meat) for our tastes. We entered the harbor at Caleta de Campos and found it packed with Easter Week Mexican tourists. Okay. There were the usual inflatable banana rides being towed around the area and lots of folks swimming in the water. We motored in and dropped anchor. Then we noticed the swells. Big swells rolled into the anchorage. By the time Cyclades entered the harbor the swells - and the breaking waves on the beach close at hand - were giant! Like surfing movie giant! We could hear the anchor chain being pulled along the sandy bottom of the harbor. No way could we get any sleep here as we were worried that we'd drag onto the beach. The tough decision was made to head back out to sea and continue north. This meant that we would have to travel overnight.

As the afternoon deepened, the winds started to build. By dusk, they were gusting to over 20 knots and coming straight at us! The swells were large and the waves were breaking over the bow of the Niki Wiki. Usually the afternoon winds diminish within an hour of the sun setting. Not this time though. They howled through the night. Jonesy was wound up too tight to get any sleep. I crawled below into our berth to get some sleep so that I would be fresh for my night watch. WTF?? I was rudely awakened by cold saltwater pouring onto my face! A wave had crashed over the bow (front pointy end) of the boat and had washed clear back to the stern (back) avoiding all the drains and had come into the open hatch. The bed and I were drenched! We had closed all the ports and forward hatches, but hadn't closed the stern hatch as we had never needed to - until that night.

At 3 am I got up and made Jonesy go lie down on the dry end of the bed and try to get some sleep. I sat by myself in the cockpit, knitting more socks by the light of my Petzel headlamp, watching the engine gauges, and waiting for Jonesy's beady little brown eyes to peer up the companionway (he doesn't sleep well when we're underway). I like to have some simple, production knitting such as socks to work on during my watches to help make the time pass more quickly. At one point I looked back up at our flag - so sadly tattered from the wind, illuminated by our aft running light, and that phrase "..and our flag was still there..." from our national anthem came to mind.

Dawn finally came and the winds calmed down somewhat. We managed to sail the final leg into Manzanillo harbor by 3 pm - 35 hours underway - and collapsed in exhaustion. I made an herbed chicken and gravy over mashed potatoes meal for us and we both sat on the stern of the boat and relished the calm anchorage.

We'll be here for several days, relaxing and enjoying Santiago and Las Hadas before we head out again to continue north.

Hmmm...That sounds maybe a little too exciting for my tastes. Not to mention the whole motion sick thing.

Glad you're safe and getting a well deserved rest.
Scary.... I would of not been able to knit socks even. Good to know its over.
Thanks for sharing your adventures!! Knitting and sailing... I find both refreshing!!!
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