Friday, September 30, 2011

Sailing, sailing over the ocean blue

Once again, ten days have flashed past without an update from yours truly.  This cruising lifestyle definitely messes with your concept of time; whereas life was once divided into hourly chunks, it has telescoped into monthly pieces.  Not necessarily a bad thing, I suppose.  What I really wanted to write about was Here I Am In The Back Of A Colombian Police Van, but I think I'll have to leave that topic for another day.

We’ve just completed our longest passage to date, a 550 mile jaunt from Providencia (off the coast of Nicaragua) to Cartagena.

Stylish has the best deal going in the cockpit
The first day nearly ended our trip.  And I mean, Erik and I were both ready to get to Cartagena and never sail anywhere ever again, not a day’s sail, not an hour’s.  It was that bad.

The first problem was that we needed to travel southeast, but couldn't actually progress east.  If you look at our tracker, you can see that we made a sad series of tight zigzags north and south.  To move at all easterly meant pinching into the wind and constantly jockeying the sails to eke even a tiny bit more out of them.

Lines of unhappiness.
Winds were light when favorable and strong when not.  We blew the head of our spinnaker and dumped the whole sail in the water.  And even though I was wearing my friend the itchy scopolamine patch, it wasn’t enough that first day.  My functionality could be rated as poor-to-dreadful.

Amy is inert and non-functional.  Erik can't believe it.
Amy has no useful grasp on reality.  Erik is reaching the end of his short tether.
Having to single-hand the boat while getting absolutely nowhere was a mite stressful for my dear husband.  Even trying to remember how to put peanut butter on bread was a challenge for me.

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Somehow, we came out the other side.  The patch kicked in, I became more useful, we reluctantly decided to turn on the engine*, the winds cooperated now and again, and three days later, we reached Cartagena.  Happiness returned to Papillon and her crew.

This is one of the more curious harbours we have visited.  We are right in the middle of town - apartments buildings to the right, navy warships to the left, the old town in front, a container port behind, and sailboats anchored everywhere.

Looking one way...
...and another
A new neighbour approaches

After so many months alone in the hurricane belt, it is delightful to see other boats.  Even better, we have found another kid.  For some reason, the great majority of kids we have met have been solitary boys aged 8-11, and Stylish's newest friend is no different.  Not that cruising kids care - any reasonably equivalent other child will do.

So here we are, in the centre of more hustle-and-bustle than Papillon has seen since approximately Anapolis.  We look forward to exploring the town, and expect our first visitor in a mere ten days.  I'll do my best to keep a handle on the time, and provide more frequent updates.  Plus, my trip with the police.

*Erik asks me to clarify that the wind had dropped to 3 knots at this point.  I would hate to leave you with the impression that we are somehow soft here on Papillon.  Rest assured, we run around half-naked, carrying knives in our teeth, walking barefoot across splintered wood and threatening each other with broken bottles when appropriate.  Chest hair all around!

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