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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

It was a dark and stormy night

June 17, 2014

After another sleepless night for Melissa, she was ready to head for the next bay in hopes of finding somewhere not so rocky and rolly.  Dave somehow managed to sleep like a log.  This is a good thing as we face an overnight passage to the next anchorage.  Tamarindo was supposed to be the “happening place” but truthfully we liked San Juan Del Sur in Nicaragua better.

Dave had put out a stern anchor yesterday in hopes of keeping us turned into the swell.  Obviously it didn’t work very well.  And worse yet, we managed to drag the stern anchor around and get it twisted up in the main anchor.  So when Dave went to pull the stern anchor out with the dingy, he couldn’t raise it.  So he had to come back aboard Apsaras, pull up the main anchor, reset the main, and then pull up the stern.  It was still pretty stubborn.  And at 75 lbs of anchor + chain, it’s heavy any way around it.  Dave muttered something about “there’s gotta be a better way” which is usually the indication that Dave has put in a call to MacGyver to think the situation over and see what he can come up with.

While underway we crossed over the 10th parallel.  That means we are into single digit latitudes now.  The northernmost parallel we hit in Alaska was almost to 57.  We’ve now gone 6216 nautical miles (7100 standard miles).  Wow.  It’s likely that we will hit 10,000 nautical miles (11,500 standard miles) before this trip is over!

Here is a picture we took of Wanuskewin as they crossed, along with a picture they took of us.

Dave had mentioned earlier in the day that we should celebrate the crossing by maybe hopping off the boats for a swim.  But by the time we crossed, the swell was big, making Melissa nervous.  But Mike and Holly decided to go for it.  They stretched a long rope with a fender tied to it behind the boat.  So that they could jump in, swim back, and catch the boat before it sailed away without them.  Presumably, they never would have done this both at once had we not been there along side them!

At around 4:30pm the skies started to look dark and ominous and we started to reef in our sails.  At 5pm we took all the sails down to protect us from the big squall we were entering.  Fortunately the winds weren’t that bad (30 knots max), but it poured 1 to 2 inches of rain over the next 4 hours.  Holly and Mike on Wanuskewin don’t have much cockpit protection and had to sit in the rain that whole time.  Dave put up the side windows on our cockpit so he was a bit better off.  That is till the waterproofing in the ceiling panel of the cockpit failed and it started dripping inside the cockpit.  Ug.

This is a picture Wanuskewin took of us sailing into the storm.  We were supper glad to be buddy boating through this one!

The lightening inside the storm was spectacular.  There was no hope of any “night vision” because the flashes went off so frequently (several times per minute) that your eyes could barely adjust between flashes.  Getting hit is a nightmare because all shipboard electronics will fry, so while the show was the most lightning we’ve ever seen, it was nerve-wracking.

The seas stayed relatively calm so we weren’t being tossed about much.  Though Melissa spent much of the storm sitting on the floor of the cockpit anyway.  At one point Dave realized that the fabric cover on the aft hatch had blown lose.  That hatch is directly over the master bed and leaks.  We believe the leaks are actually in the hatch hinges which have been tweaked.  We have replacements but haven’t installed them because it isn’t clear it would do any good because of the twisting of the hatch itself.  A year ago we figured out that if we just snapped down a piece of fabric over the hatch that totally stops the leaking.  You wouldn’t think that a piece of fabric that gets soaked would stop the leaking, but apparently it diverts the flow of the water enough that the hatch stays dry.  Anyway, the fabric had blown lose.  So Dave crawled out on his hands and knees to snap it down.  Melissa happened to poke her head in the cockpit at that very moment and had a complete conniption.  Dave had broken one of our very few rules on Apsaras – that no one goes on deck at night unless (1) harnessed in, and (2) there is someone else in the cockpit watching.  Yeah, it was only a couple of seconds.  But still it was storm conditions!

A short while later Dave realized that the dingy was filling with water.  This is a bad thing because if it fills completely with water it might get heavy enough to damage the arch where it hangs off the back deck.  We should have lashed it down on the front deck the way we do for long passages, but hey this should have been just quick overnighter in calm conditions.  Ah, should be.  The most dangerous words in the English language.  Anyway, now Dave has to go on deck to deal with that.  So he dons his life jacket and harness, and Melissa puts on her life jacket too.  No reason other than just cuz.  Turns out the dingy drain was just plugged with some debris, so Dave clears it out and the dingy starts pouring out water.

The storm let up about 10:30pm, and the rest of the night passed without further incident.  Melissa got more sleep underway than she had at anchor the previous two nights!  At 6am we pulled into Bahia Ballena.  It’s a quiet little bay with a few restaurants and a grocery.

After Dave caught a few hours sleep, we headed into the small town for lunch.  Dave was WIPED OUT after standing in the cockpit through most of the storm the night before.  So we called it a night early.

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