June 1, Caleta Morgane (again!)

We had an early start today, leaving at 8am, as soon as the sun broke through the darkness. At 11.30am we were anchored, back at the exact same spot we had left only a few hours ago. I’d call that a short sailing day. Although we didn’t make any progress but quite the opposite by going back to the caleta we choose to call it an adventure instead of a wasted day. And here is what happened…
There was a gail. A storm. We left with perfect weather, there was even a very favourable breeze coming from behind us but that only lasted for about 5min. It then picked up but from the wrong direction. We were still happy because although it was not coming directly behind us we could still tack well and make quite a bit of progress. It was raining quite a lot when we left, and then it subsided, before it picked up again. We were on a tack when Ian asked me how close we were to the shore but I could hardly tell him because I couldn’t see much. Everything was grey and the shore was only a grey shade in the distance.
Then all of a sudden the wind picked up to an incredible speed and started pushing us around. The boat was tilting so much to the right that the edge of the deck was underwater. That is when I got really excited and started having a lot of fun. I was struggling to stay awake up until then. I was so bored because not much was happening. Where did that wind come from we don’t know – it was so unexpected!
We reduced both the genoa and the main sail and the wind was still too strong. We wondered how far up the next caleta was and I went in to check. In the cabin everything was flying around, apples falling from their spot on top of a cupboard. Maps scattered on the floor, etc. I consulted the book, found out the GPS position and located it on the map. It was seven miles away. I also tried to contact Bob and warn him to stay where he was and not go out sailing. Back in the cockpit I told Ian about the caleta and expressed my opinion that we should try to make it there instead of going back the five miles we had covered. We tried it for a bit but according to Ian it really wasn’t possible to make any progress against such strong winds. ‘We are going back.’ Ian said. But first we had to wind the genoa. Ian was at the steering wheel, Mario at the winch, and I was releasing the rope from the other winch. We normally just let the rope completely lose as to facilitate the process and this is what I did but it was the wrong thing to do. The wind was blowing so hard that the whole rope got away and only stopped when it got stuck on its end knot. The genoa started flapping like crazy while Mario was trying to put it away. ‘Wow’ Ian exclaimed. ‘Shit!’ I followed and tried to pull up the rope and stop the genoa from flapping so violently as quickly as I could. Mario was winding like crazy and in no time we had it safely secured. Mario did a great job!
We turned back and this time the wind was directly behind us blowing the rain inside the cockpit and onto our backs. We all got soaked, and the guys even more so since they had to go out on deck and reduce the main sail in the middle of the gail. Again a job great done! ‘Be very careful’ Ian told Mario, ‘it is very slippery!’. Ian normally doesn’t say things like that unless absolutely necessary.
At last we made it back to the caleta, aided by the strong wind coming directly behind us this time. Even the waters of the caleta weren’t calm and we had to tie up the shore lines. The first one wasn’t a problem, but the second took a while because we couldn’t find a suitable tree. We went to the shore, covered in thick vegetation thinking there was a tree just as usual but there really wasn’t one. I saw a good one to our left and suggested we went there but there was a log between us and the tree floating close to the surface making it impossible for us to row over it. We lost a lot of time rowing over the log in vain. Mario then spotted another tree almost completely submerged under water and we decided to go for it. While I held the dinghy clutching to some bushes, Mario fought with the rope until it was nicely secured. Despite all the action we still had a moment or two to appreciate the beauty of the location. We were completely covered by the leaves of the trees and there was a little waterfall coming down into the little cave-like area, making it all rather enchanting.
We finally got back onto the boat, soaked through to our underwear (for the guys that is!). We took off our dripping clothes and hung them over the stove to dry. Mario dried the floor, Ian lit the stove, and I lay on the couch, reading my book. And that is where I stayed for the remainder of the day. Mario is sitting next to me as I am typing pointing out the fact that I haven’t done anything all day and making sure I don’t forget to make it all public. I read for a couple of hours, we played some backgammon, and then at about 4pm, shortly after I took my pill I thought I’d have a nap.
I took my sleeping bag out of the front cabin (that now serves as a storage room), warmed up my feet over the heater and settled for a nice sleep. I couldn’t fall asleep though as the guys were making noise (they sat across the table from me and Ian was teaching Mario some mean Russian chess tricks) and my feet were cold. I also heard them talking to Bob on the radio. It turned out that despite our failed attempts to warn him he hadn’t gone anywhere and remained in the safety of his caleta. All due to a hangover, from a heavy grog intake the night before. He had found another Australian boat in his caleta and they had invited him for dinner. The rest is history. I then thought I would tuck my feet under my knees and it must have done the trick because I have no idea when I’d actually fallen asleep.
I woke up just before 7pm, well rested and happy. I remained under the covers for a while, snacking on cookies and Fanta, until it was dinner time. Ian cooked a nice steak dinner with mashed potatoes and cream sauce for us and Mario told us all about his crazy days at the trading firm, his unique streak of luck at a Las Vegas casino, and his views on the future of trading.
It is now 10.30pm and the guys have gone to bed. After all that napping I don’t feel tired yet and I think I will just stay up, reading until 12am when I have to take my pill. Let’s see what tomorrow brings…

PS Today is also the international day of the child – so to all of you still feeling that way (hopefully!) ‘Happy kid’s day!’. May you always feel that way.


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