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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Caught!

May 28, 2014

We headed out at 9am.  We are hoping for a bit less gusty wind than what we experienced a few days ago.  And indeed the wind is blowing 20 knots but much more steady making for a decent sail.  The waves are 4 foot and sort of sloshing us around, but on the whole it’s not bad sailing.

We were about 30 minutes out when Dave and Mike start to have a conversation about a fishing net that is in front of Wanuskewin.  This is a typical conversation where the guys discuss what flags and buoys they can see and which way to turn to avoid the net.  They conclude that there is one big black flag that probably connects a net to a nearby panga.  Wanuskewin sails past it with no problem.  As we approach Dave says that he can now see a line of white buoys in the water – probably actually recycled milk jugs.  They are small and so Wanuskewin didn’t see them – but we are right next to one and we can see the line in the water.  Dave cuts the throttle so the line won’t wrap around the prop.  We hope to go over it, but alas we snagged it.  Dave tries to pull a U-turn hoping to back off it.  He calls for Melissa to help him jibe fast.  But alas we are twisted up in the line pretty good.  We radioed Wanuskewin our situation and they immediately turn back in case we need their help.

Quickly we roll in the head sail (we didn’t have the main out).  At this point we are being blown towards shore.  Not an immediate crisis as we have a ways to go, but we need to keep a watchful eye in case we need to crank up a sail and move away from the shore since we can’t engage the prop.  We are in 130 feet of water, so putting the anchor down isn’t an option either – and even if we blow closer to shore its rocky here and there is a good chance we would lose our anchor if we tried that.

Dave manages to get ahold of the line with the boat hook.  Turns out it’s a long line type rig, not a net.  This is good news as it means if we have to we can probably cut it away without having to dive on the keel.  But the line is strung with 4 foot clear leaders every few feet.  Each leader has a hook and bait on it.  So if we do have to dive it’s not going to be a happy time with all those hooks.  And even if we do have to cut it away, we aren’t cutting up an expensive fishing net.  Just some thin nylon line.  Dave tries to pull the line around the bow to untangle it, but he can’t get enough line to reach around.

At this point it’s clear the fishing panga is on their way to us.  They’ve started reeling in the line from the black flag towards us.  They get to us and immediately apologize – in English mind you – for hanging us up.  One of the guys speaks fluent English and tells us not to worry that they will help get us off by cutting the line.  He asks us where we are from, and is translating for the other guys aboard the boat.  Eventually we reeled up enough line that we had only 20 foot or so between the boats. 

When they realized that we actually had the line up on deck they asked us to cut it as it’s easier for us to cut it and then they will be able to pull it free.  Melissa grabs the scissors and we snipped the line.  Immediately we can see both ends of the line trailing towards the panga so we know we are free.  And with a wave of gratitude we are off again.

Later it dawns on us that probably the lines sink down a bit between the buoys and that’s why Wanuskewin didn’t get hung up when they crossed over it.  Either that, the little winglets on our keel (that Wanuskewin doesn’t have) got caught in the line.  Any way around it we wished we had been quick enough to ask them how we are supposed to avoid their nets next time!

At one point we see a whole school of flying fish jump in the water.  Melissa could see three 4 foot long mahi mahi’s chasing them!  They were huge.  If only we had our Costa Rica fishing license we would put out our line!

Then as we rounded Point Elena the wind shifted.  It looked calm up ahead so Dave put out more sail.  But there was a big gust that came around the point and funneled through the rocks, and wham!  We rounded up.  Melissa was squealing yet again till Dave got the sails depowered.  And then as quickly as it came on us, the gust was gone and it was so calm we had to take down the sails and motor.

As we went through the Bat Islands in the Santa Rosa National Park the scenery was very beautiful.  We had planned to anchor in the park, but the Bahia Potrero Grande anchorage didn’t look calm for the way the wind and swell was running.  We had wanted to anchor there because there is a point called Ollie’s Point – so named because it’s where Oliver North landed supplies for Nicaragua there and then smuggled them across the border.  We thought it would be interesting to go see.  But not worth a miserable night at anchor, so we continued on to Bahia Huevos and anchored there instead.  We are now only 5 miles from Playa Coco where we will anchor check into the country officially.

We’ve been at anchor so long now that we are starting to run out of fresh supplies.  Dinner tonight was tuna melts.  Holly and Mike invited themselves aboard for cocktails.  This was fine by us because they brought the makings for a super yummy rum punch.  It was a nice sunset.

As we were sitting watching Wanuskewin as the tide went out a rocky reef revealed itself right next to where Wanuskewin anchored.  Fortunately they had put out a stern anchor so they aren’t in danger of swinging into the reef tonight.  But it was a close call that they didn’t hit it while maneuvering.  The guys checked the charts and sure enough the rock is marked – but with an icon that no one recognized.  Apparently that is because it was a user added waypoint that someone using the Navionics charts recommended be added – not an official charting source of information.

 

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