OCC RoRC Report from the Caribbean

OCC RoRC Report from the Caribbean

Good morning from Rodney Bay, St Lucia.

By David Bridges - 27/04/2019

We returned to Lanzarote in January where we enjoyed touring the volcanic landscape at Timanfaya and the creative genius of César Manrique represented everywhere on the island. Finally we headed to Las Palmas and were warmly welcomed by the Port Officer Agustin Martin and his mate, Sonja Schroyens, that so kindly drove from Pasito Blanco to take us to a wonderful Canarian lunch. What enthusiastic hospitality and assistance...the very essence and definition of a Port Officer.

We enjoyed car touring Gran Canaria to see the contrasts in green landscapes of the north versus barren sunbaked earth in the south. Sailing south to Pasito Blanco we anchored out, which was a welcomed change from marinas. Again Agustin and Sonja entertained us including lunch complete with the "dancing octopus".

While awaiting the weather we sailed the SW coast to Porto Mogán and also enjoyed the company of Geoff and Eileen Mander of OCEAN GEM. After a week the weather fell into place and off we went toward the Cape Verdes. We motorsailed out of the wind shadow to find ourselves in the more boisterous acceleration zone with swells from the lows further north.

The genoa poled out to starboard was to remain there for the next 20 days and 3000 nm. The main was used intermittently and there were even long periods of all sails flying including the staysail. We hit predicted 9+ foot seas and 25+ knot winds for two days near the Cape Verdes and decided to turn to the Windward Islands instead.

Afterwards the remainder of the trip was the stuff of dreams. Favorable current pushed us with the NE trade winds that were between the low teens to lower 20s. The windvane followed the shifts so we could rest, read and enjoy long conversations in the cockpit basking in the afternoon sun. As often happens at sea, sunrises and sunsets were magical times. We did not see much sea life other than flying fish and sargasso weed.

For us this was an old school voyage of relative isolation - no radio nets and no weather reports once we left. We did have InReach for texting & tracking. Only 2 ships were seen. All in all it was pretty much a storybook passage. The Caribbean OCC Net warmly welcomed us a few days out from landfall. We'd had no rain since January; that changed abruptly in the moonless dark as we approached Pigeon Island in a driving squall! Welcome to St Lucia! After an excellent wash down we dropped anchor, shared a glass of wine and quite contentedly hit the sack for some uninterrupted sleep.

Clearing in at Rodney Bay Marina, we spent the next 10 days there regrouping. Long time fellow member friends on MOONLIGHT SERENADE, LOON and PETRONELLA sailed in to see us. Those connections are some of the best parts of this great organization of sailors!

More immediate plans include sailing north to homebase in Virginia in May. Beyond that, it's a mystery like a lot of cruising! Have a wonderful Spring.

Cheers!
David Bridges, OCC Roving Rear Commodore

Photo: Ken Smith on LOON, Marilyn Doughty & me from BLUE YONDER, celebrating with Martin & Tina Hirst on PETRONELLA in Rodney Bay, St Lucia


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