Posted by: catamarantwooceans | November 15, 2015

Providencia to Guanaja

Finally we reached “Internet Planet” and can update the blog. Note that there are two more new posts below.

11.11.15 – Wednesday – Since we reached Providencia on Sunday, the days became a blur of activity. First day was dedicated to rest plus another repair of the mainsail’s upper cars; the second to shopping, snorkeling the reef near Morgan’s head and a walk along the Santa Catalina shore. We heard about a place called Crab Cay, to which one could take the dinghy but not the yacht and on Tuesday walked along the shore opposite it to take a look. A traditional looking motor-yacht, “Fairweather” had its dinghy release itself and swept away by 15 knots wind, the skipper trying to overtake it swimming as fast as he could but not fast enough; I rushed to the rescue with our dinghy and brought the runaway back to its owner. 

Evening brought heavy rain; we had the water-catcher ready and collected about 20 gallons of rainwater into our port tank. During the night the wind blew strongly but yours truly was sound asleep, totally unaware of it. Luckily the anchor held. Next day, in a meeting with Mr. Bush, I asked him about staying in Cayos Vivorillos on the way to Guanaja, the eastern island in the Honduras Bay of Islands group and his recommendation was: “Stay there only during daytime, not at night”. I stayed there in 2008 with no problem but decided to make a round of the yachts in the bay to gather information. A nice Panamanian couple on an Amel ketch called Babushka said they met people who spent time there with no problems. “Stay near the fishermen and get friendly with them” was their advice. Another couple on a boat from Florida had similar views. We’ll get there and see how it goes.

The rain was incessant, accompanied by moderate winds. At some point a squall hit the bay and the wind shrieked up to 32 knots. a Manta 42 catamaran, “Summer Wind”, whose crew went ashore, dragged anchor quite fast in the direction of the shoaling reef close to the southern tip of Santa Catalina island. The guy from Babushka was first to rush over, I did too and so did Scott off the the Lagoon 44, Yollata.

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I motored ashore to look for the crew in town while the other guys succeeded in starting the cat’s engines and went on to re-anchor her safely. The boat’s crew came back later and it took them awhile to discover that their boat had made an unplanned voyage.

Next job – getting water; according to Mr. Bush you couldn’t get water on the town’s pier due to some contamination. The other option – being your jerry-cans ashore. Trouble is we only have two 20 liters ones. Bernardo Bush gave us five 5 gallons containers which we filled from a rainwater tank he has at home. A truck belonging to the local Electricity department was enlisted to carry all of those to the dinghy dock and we had enough water for our trip to Guanaja.

12.11.15 – Thursday – We woke up just before six a.m to a heavy rain and overcast skies. Not feeling happy with the forecast I took the day before, I called a friend in Israel and asked him to check that there was no major weather system that would influence our passage. Even before his text message arrived there was a lull in the wind and rain. “Let’s go!” I said and we went out with one reef in both sails.

Most of the day was miserably wet; I had a feeling as if Poseidon is making fun of me. An example: the wind went down a bit and I wanted to open more sail area. In seconds it shrieked up to 32 knots, necessitating the second reef. It rained on and on, big clouds issued lightning and thunder, my old oilskins were not up to the job and I was soaking wet all the time. Slowly, as the day progressed, conditions became better. We passed the Media Luna group of reefs at night and had the wind stabilize at around 15 knots from the northeast.

13.11.15 – Friday – Past midnight it became drier; no so much inside the boat but one could stay in the cockpit without being lashed by showers. We passed Pigeon cays and nine miles to Vivorillos we could see specks of land on the horizon. As we got closer I used the binoculars to look for vessels, fishing boats or yachts, anchoring there. What I saw was an armada of fishing boats! When we came into the anchorage I counted more than twenty.

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We anchored behind Grand Vivorillos, also known as Boga cay and took the dinghy ashore. A cloud of frigate birds was hovering over the island and many of them were perching on trees. Danny took the following close-up of a couple and an envious male at there side.

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Last time I was here I walked around the island easily; now, as we walked from the derelict Boga house counterclockwise around the island, it became clear that in the last eight years the local jungle conquered every available piece of land. I showed Gili and Danny the inland lake and we continued walking on rocks in the surf and through thick, bug infested vegetation.

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                                               Survival     pic by Danny

Back at the boat, wet from salt spray and tired Gili said:” I’m not sure I want to stay the night here”. We all shared the same sentiment; the strong wind made the anchorage unpleasant, we had seen what there was to see in that place. “Let’s continue to Guanaja”.

I envisioned a fast ride with the wind at our stern, reaching Guanaja in 20-22 hours; I did not expect the skies to darken, to have heavy rain all night and squalls of up to 40 knots of wind.

14.11.15 – Saturday – Yes, this was a bad night, during which we worked like slaves, reefing and un-reefing, putting the pole for the jib, jibing left and right and bailing the dinghy which was quickly filled with rain water adding weight to our boat. Around 0200 the wind died down. When I came on watch at 0500, we had an engine running; I saw we still had 71 miles to go. We were making 5 knots, having been deserted by the favorable current. Simple arithmetic – we are not going to get there during daylight unless conditions change drastically! Immediately I started the other engine, giving us better speed and an ETA of 1600.

As lunchtime three things happened simultaneously: yet another big cloud was overtaking us producing wind of 32 knots with a deluge of biblical proportions. Danny and I were busy with the sails when we noticed that a fish was caught and at the same time Gili announced that the pizza was ready. That last item had to wait a while until the fight with the Mahi Mahi was concluded. Those fish lose their luminescent blue-green color to become a sort of colorless grey. The one we now took became silver with light blue dots – amazing!

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Even more amazing was the fact that after a few minutes it reverted to original colors.

All this took part some 17 miles to Guanaja. After having our pizzas and dealing with the fish I called Guanaja port and got their instructions to come up to the western side of Bonnaca, or Sheen Cay, as it appears on C-Maps. Very quickly two port agents came over, checked our papers, filled a form and invited me to join them to their nearby office where they prepared the cruising permit. As I was leaving the boat, a woman, seemingly also Yatista, approached and told me she and her husband were following my blog for the last two years. That was a nice surprise. They were Fay and Mike from Canada on a 40 foot Lavezzi catamaran called “My Love”.

We’ll stay here probably until Wednesday and then leave for Cozumel, Mexico.

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