Posted by: catamarantwooceans | April 2, 2014

The final Stretch–Sailing to Grenada

30.3.14 – Sunday – The tide turned as high water was reached conveniently at 0730. We released our mooring lines and motored with the ebbing tide towards the Surinam river entrance. Passing Paramaribo I glanced back and saw a monohull behind us. Is that "Haven"? I called on the VHF and it was Kerry and Bruce going out to Trinidad. At the point where the Comewijne and the Surinam rivers became one we turned into the wind, raised the main and opened the jib. On the river’s flat water our speed jumped to 11 knots.

Reaching the river entrance a dilemma surfaced; should we head straight to our first waypoint near the Trinidad oilfields, a course that will take us over few shallow locations, the minimum of which was 1.5 meters or take a safer course, follow the ship channel north about 3 to 5 miles and get to 4 meters deep area? The latter would have been into the teeth of the wind and waves and so we decided to trust the chart and chose the first option.

This was one of the most stressful departures I ever did; going out of the Turks and Caicos, way back in 2007, my crew at the time, also named Dany, took a picture of the boat’s instruments as we were sailing at 7 knots in 1.7 meters. Dany Lanis did the same.

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Note the small arrow below the H in "depth", it means the bottom is going up some more, in that case to a minimum of 1.6. The big difference between Turks and Caicos and Surinam was that there the sea was translucent blue and here it is opaque Cocoa colored river water.

At that point I saw Haven following us and called them on the radio to advise them about the depth. With their 2 meters deep keel they would have gotten into trouble over there.

Shallow water stayed with us for quite a long time, with the addition of ugly waves at the area the sea swell met the river outflow. That was bad for Gili, who after a few days in the river lost her sea-legs and became very seasick.

As we got into deeper waters the northwest going current showed itself; the wind came from 60 degrees off our bows and the going was rough. As evening fell we were reefed once and then, as it became "washing machine" ride – the second reef was effected. We were still going fast, 8-9 knots; my plan of reaching Grenada on April 3rd now looked ridiculously conservative, the 2nd was much more likely.

31.3.14 – Monday – 24 hours run showed 205 miles; that’s fast! At times, as the boat hit 10 knots the plotter would show ETA on April 1st! In the afternoon the sea became smoother, sails back to first reef. The idea of an early arrival is very appealing, especially with Gili   feeling as bad as she does.

Dany and I split the night watches to 4 hours each, starting 2200. Wind veered and now it is on our starboard quarter. Main back to second reef to reduce slamming and enable the crew to get some sleep. When I came on at ten p.m Dany informed me that the current was gone; so now we were going at 8 knots plus "only". He formulated a theory by which the less canvas you carry the greater the boat’s speed. Testing the skipper’s sense of humour, no doubt.

1.4.14 – Tuesday – Rough and fast continued; slowly the sea state became calmer. At 1100 we saw we passed 207 miles in the last 24 hours. In the early afternoon we reached the waypoint near Trinidad’s oilfields and turned towards Grenada. Our track was to pass near Tobago, intersecting a line I sailed on between the T&T islands in 2007 and meaning the actual END OF MY CIRCUMNAVIGATION!

Dany took our pics as we waited to cross the line.

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It happened at 1553 and he was quick to snap a shot.

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He got a hug for his contribution to the voyage, Gili succeeded in taking a good picture of it.

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I prepared a sort of speech for the celebration and Dany made a video of it which I will try and upload to YouTube; I’ll advise whenever it’s ready. I’ll also add some thoughts on the whole project but this will take some time.

Once the emotional moment was behind us we continued sailing towards Grenada. The wind became lighter and instead of the current pushing us along we now had a counter-current reducing our speed by one knot. Consequently our arrival into Prickly bay did not happen on the calendar day of April 1st, but a few ours later. Anchor was dropped at 0345 which we had to adjust for the local time, taking the clock back to 0245.

It was a fast trip, on the whole we bettered 8 knots average, reaching our destination more than a full day ahead of our plan; I need to do better planning!

2.4.14 – Wednesday – Morning revealed Prickly bay packed with a multitude of boats at anchor, moored and in the marina, which was where we went.

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"Two Oceans" will stay here for about 5 weeks while we do a pit stop at home. And then – the ABC – Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Cartagena Columbia and Panama; that’s as far as our plans go.

Until then – Adios from Gili, Dany and Miki on Two Oceans!

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Responses

  1. Well Done !!
    Congrats to Skipper & Crew.

    We share your delight. …

    Miri & Zulu

  2. Congratulations on the circumnavigation!

  3. This time congratulations are indeed due.
    Well done.

  4. Many congrats from me too, for mikl, gili and danny!
    Keep safe as you do very well, and
    Have fair winds!

    zvika

    .

  5. congratulations and celebrations from Malley & Boaz

  6. Congratulations on a memorable achievement. It was very nice to meet you all in South Africa. Shlomit and Tony.


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