A magical end to a crap week

Written by David Townsend

27, August 2006

Position 11°49’661N 061°19’334W

Caribbean Sea.

Hi dear friends, thank you for following my journey. Here is this week’s update.

A magical end to a crap week, I had a cracking nights sail with a large burn up of space debris, phosphorescent out of this world and a sky to match.

Life on board:
The week started ok and was progressing well. I departed Store bay on Tuesday morning on-route to Charlotteville. The plan was to clear immigration and customs then go back to Store bay for the powerboat race. A little illegal for you should leave the country within 24hrs of clearing out but I thought I would chance it, however the following morning I was unable to move, either I had slept funny or I had somehow strained my back.

It was too bad to get in the dinghy but at a push, I could have however the problem would getting out when I hit the beach. Therefore I stayed onboard and just rested as much as possible, that and the painkillers made sure I had at least one good night’s sleep. The following day the food supplies were a little low mainly because I intended to restock at Store bay later. I ended finishing anything and everything in the lockers, well nearly everything, I put off the Christmas pudding, I was very tempted though.

This delayed my return to Store bay until early Saturday morning so by the time I arrived off the bay at 12:00hrs it was very busy, so busy that most of the boats would probably hit each other when the tide turned so I decided to head straight for Grenada.

I had covered 30Nm by 17:00hrs, the plan was to heave too and let the current take me some of the distance then sail a little during the night and once again heave too. I am currently inline with the centre of the island and drifting 268T at 1.8 – 2.0kn. This course should take me to within 15Nm of the port, all I have to do then, at around 23:59hrs today is sail the remaining miles timing my arrival so it would be high tide. The channel is dredged to 2.6mtr and only give me 0.7mtr clearance however at high tide this would be increased to around 1.6mtrs under the keel.

Now, back to the magical night I had a few hours ago. What an amazing sky, so clear, so deep, wow, I wish I could take a photograph.

A little later I had just tacked and was grinding in the starboard Genoa sheet when a flash of light (which lit the sea) on the port side caught my attention. I quickly moved over to see what it was, the biggest ‘shooting star’ (ok, space debris for those with no imagination), I had ever seen travelled right across the whole sky leaving a very wide a bright orange trail.

Next, the phosphorescence, this was the best show I had seen since sailing past North Africa some 10 months ago. Pinta was leaving a trail about a metre wide, phosphorescence ‘bombs’ were rising from beneath her, exploding just below the surface. Thousands and thousands of ‘fairy’ type dust type clouds everywhere followed by hundreds of ‘fairies’ dancing in and out.

Ok, sorry about using a ‘fairy’ to describe it but that’s about the easiest way to explain what it looked like.

The boat:
A slight leak around the cooling water pump seal, I will strip it down when I arrive in port. The screws, which secure the side, are worn and it is hard to tighten them up. I will source some new ones in Grenada.

504 AM EDT SUN AUG 27 2006…AIR FORCE Recon Aircraft indicates
that TS ERNESTO has now reached Hurricane strength..
17.0N 73.1W AT 27/0900Z, 295 DEGREES AT 8 KT, 990 MB

Heads up, smile :-)

Fair winds and calm seas.