Ocean Planet report, 1430 UTC March 26, 2002 Position: 17 49N 73 49W (just south of Haiti). Trying to get east, and of course the wind is 20 from the east….
Been out of touch for a few days, it’s hard to type upwind. Today is Tuesday, right? Let me back up a bit.
Sunday night we sailed right up to the lights of Kingston, Jamaica before tacking away. It was weird to see so many lights of a big city after no land for several days. A few miles before we snagged a low budget small fishing float assembly. I stopped the boat and drifted sideways while George was able to pick up the string end that had two small plastic water bottles. He walked the line forward and was able to pull up the other end which had a styrofoam float. The float now has a new identity as Marley, our new temporary mascot (and pal for Wilson) for the trip. By the time the sun came up, we couldn’t see the land so no official “land ho” until last night (Monday night), when we went by a strange unnamed (on our charts anyway) island. The island is about 30 miles west of Haiti, and is about 2 miles long. I told George I’d sell him the island if he would build us a nice dock there, he’s thinkin about it. Besides, he needs a new home for Marley…
Well, got close enough to sort of see the island (a couple miles) at night so that was our first land sighting since Panama. Then the fun really started. We tracked a couple slow moving freighters on radar that apparently couldn’t see us (we were right next to the island, after all) that kept getting closer and closer. One (the big one of course) was headed right for us and wouldn’t respond on VHF. It was getting pretty scary so I announced on the radio that we were taking evasive action by heading straight west (the ship was going south). The ship must have heard me and gotten confused since HE then turned hard west and was still heading right at us! It seemed like he was hunting us down…but we did a 180 and headed east and watched him go right by us. Very eerie.
Anyway, the plan was to sort of get in the lee of Haiti for a respite from the waves for a while. This worked, except of course the wind also quit which left us powering through sloppy rollers (we were powering during the dance with the freighter) much of the night. This morning the wind and waves (bigger than ever) are back, and we are working our way around the southwest side of Haiti. Saw two big Orcas (“killer whales”) earlier, very impressive but we missed with the camera.
We hope to cut in closer to shore today (behind a point to the east) and hope to get smoother water. Right now this plan may be backfiring as the waves are pretty cruddy. When we pound down it sounds like we are going to destroy everything, but the only thing really hurting is the silly humans in this rocket.
Humans from the Ocean Planet, Wilson, and Marley.