Sunday, February 20, 2011

Enroute Bonaire to St Maarten


Report from the Caribean Sea, the place I thought always to be windy... Well, except when I'm sailing around I suppose.

I finally left Bonaire monday 14th and the first 3 days were nice sailing with plenty of wind, 20-30+ knots, but also slow parts but fith full moon, so very light at night. I had a nice Angus steak with Irish Coffey as desert on my birthday and at 2200 a visit of a realy mother focking big tanker.
While passing close in front of me.

The guy on the bridge must have thought that everybody was sound asleep onboard, because I heard on the VHF:
'Sailboat, you can continue on your course..'
But I had seen what happened, but I had no wind, nothing I could do and everything went ok, so I immediate replied:
'This is the Condor, I see You, good evening. And by the way, I do not see you on the AIS, I suppose that is my problem?'

I could realy hear him fall from his chair, and some other lafther in the backround.
'You have AIS he asked'? (With AIS I can see from once even 90 miles all things of a vessel, name, call sign, speed and direction, size, where it is going).
'Yes, I have AIS and you do not show'.
'Yes, he awnsered, it is your problem'. .... OK, so be it, but I know mine works so I leave it at that.

'And I have very little wind down here'. ... He is standing very high above me on his bridge, 20m or may be even higher, so he does not have good feeling for wind etc.
'Ah, what is your speed' he asks
'1.7 knots' I awnser, and btw he is doing 20 knots I think, I can not see, since his tanker still does not show.

Now he understands there was not much I could have done, and i saw it was close but ok. Other people would have tripped, I showed a cool cuwcumber or something like that. I also wanted to ad that as a petroleum engineer I aleays like to stay close to the murchendice but I left that out.

I ended with: 'OK, thank you and have a nice trip' and he reacted the same but with a different tone.
I understand that he with his 400 or 500m of very big ship can not do to much..

BTW, I could have called him on the VHF to warn him of my precense, and or start my engin (6 knots speed) but I did not.

Sailing up to Puerto Rico took 3 days, 100 nm a day and then the wind was finished, so I mototed untill the tank was empty. I had a last 20 liter in a jerrycan and that is what is in the tank now, enough for 4 hours or 20 miles, so sail the last 90nm upwind.

But wind never showed, even now, 3 days later, and 75 nm south east of St Croix (where I drifted around for 1 day).
Finaly now since 3 hours I have 8 knots, slowly moving, but I still have to tack after 40 more miles and then 70nm up to SXM.

Life on board is good btw, plenty of things in the fridge, plenty water, 13146 songs on the I-POD which I can all hear now over the peakers, and plenty of movies.
On top of that I'm not in a hurry, the weather is perfect and the moon full, no problems. The generator uses little diesel.

I hope to get to SXM in 2 days with this wind, we will see...


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