We pushed off the dock at around 6:30am. The winds were extremely low and although we made an effort to sail that lasted about three hours but when we were only going 2 knots we decided to turn the engine on. With nothing but rollers in sight, the earlier start, and not much to do, we alternated napping throughout the day. We were also prepping mentally for possibly our first 24hr leg.
Waking up from a nap and seeing the water look like rolling glass is quite strange. With no wind the water was extremely flat right out into the horizon with only the swells to break it up. We putzed along and tried to keep the girls entertained in the cockpit. It was clear that with no wind to help us along we would not be making it to Samana cay before nightfall, and so would not be stopping there. But with the water being so flat we were ok with that. We assumed it would be a leisurely night sail with nothing eventful. At 9pm I had both girls in bed and sent Eben down to nap as he would most would be doing most of the night stretch on his own.
(One thing we realized during our first sailing trip, doing night shifts between parents when you have a co-sleeping nursing child does not work so well. If ever baby wakes up in the night she needs mama to go back to sleep, no matter who is on shift at the time. Also, if both parents are exhausted in the morning following shifts, it makes for a very painful day, because baby will most likely still be on her regular schedule and be looking for parental entertainment because she doesn’t care that you were up half the night. Our compromise to this is to always have a third person sail with us, leaving me to care for the kids in the night. And that’s why we have Jaala, Eben’s little sister, with us who has been a great help.)
Eben got maybe one hour of rest before Ellia woke up looking for mama and him and I had to swap spots. He went to the helm and as we motored into the night the waters went from crystal-flat to huge waves and winds hitting us right on the nose. Being that it was dark we couldn’t see them coming and they played at rocking the boat every which way. Eben came down regularly to give me updates and reassure me that we would survive this, “boats are made to withstand this”. Lets just say that no one got any sleep. Jaala could not sleep in the vberth and so joined Eben outside, and I couldn’t sleep with all the commotion but stayed at my babies sides in case they needed comforting. Arias, our seasoned sailor, didn’t even wake much during the night. The few times she did, she just asked to hold my hand and quickly fell back into her rolling sleep. Ellia chose her comfort spot would be to sleep on top of me for the entire night. She woke up often but as long as she was on my chest she would manage to fall back asleep. As for me, I lay awake wondering what was going on outside and telling myself that it often feels worse inside the boat than what is actually taking place outside. I would randomly grab hold of the bed mattress as the waves’ gforces sent me bouncing around the bed, and delighted in my daydreams of living in a house, on land that doesn’t rock. Outside Eben worried about a lightning storm he could see over Mayaguana and the possibility that maybe a tropical storm had begun forming throughout the day given that our last weather check predicted nothing like this. Luckily at 2am a large motor yatch was off in the distance and Eben radioed them for a radar check/update. They assured him that the storm was not even showing up on their radar and we shouldn’t worry too much about it.
It wasn’t until the sun started rising that I got my first half hour of sleep but then it was 6am and the baby’s regular wake up time. Like a clock she was up. I brought her out to the cockpit and knew that another bought of seasickness was just around the corner for her. Once she was sick she melowed right out and fell asleep on me. Eben and Jaala looked exhausted and wet from the constant wave spray. With me at the helm they could now both take some quick cat naps. The closer we got to Mayaguana the smaller the waves got and we knew rest was soon to be had. Or so we thought. Making the turn around Devil’s point and heading to Abraham Bay took longer than we expected. Once in the bay and maneuvering through all the coral we dropped anchor at 11am. We were all ready for some sleep, except Ellia. We took shifts once again, Eben stayed up with the baby for the first half of nap time and then we switched and I got up so he could get some sleep.
After naps We dropped the dinghy into the water and headed to discover town. Lets just say that we now call Mayaguana the “land of nothing”. We made it through town quickly and ended up at the local drinking hole. The bar had air conditioning which offered a nice break from the humidity, and a large room for the girls to run around in. After a few cold drinks we went back to the boat, made supper, put the boat back together (it’s crazy how messy a boat can get when underway), watched a kids movie and all called it a night at 8pm.
|Mayaguana “the Land of Nothing”|
|at least there were some broken down swings|