Wednesday, 18 February 2015

On to Luperon at last.

The trip to Luperon went swimmingly. We set off at dawn is very little wind, but the wind was up to F5-6 by the time we got to the Mona Passage, where we had to tack for 12 miles north. We raced a large ketch going the same way, and were pleased to find we were leaving it behind. We tacked through not much more than 90 degrees, and I kept a little too much sail up to power through the waves. The forecast was for more wind, and I wanted to be round the corner and to be able to free up the sheets before then.

The forecast was entirely accurate, and after our shaking about in the Mona Passage, we had good speed all day in diminishing wind and dying waves. At dawn we were at the entrance to Luperon and were down to 2 knots, so I fired up an engine. The entrance is mostly sheltered, but there is a narrow section between shoals with breaking waves on each side. This is where the engine died. Completely died, as in seized up, and never to run again. I tried firing up the other engine, but it wasn't having it. The engine could sense we were in dire need of it, and refused to work. It has a history of only running when we don't need it much.

The wind had died to a whisper, and gone round to dead ahead. We could have just about dropped anchor there, but we'd have blocked the passage, and I'd have to try to repair the engines in the swell. So we paddled, one on each side with an oar each, and one steering. We barely made headway, but it was enough to keep the boat pointing the right way, so that we could make use of whatever tiny puffs of wind that were from anywhere but dead ahead. In the narrowest part, a big German catamaran squeezed by, the skipper too busy taking photographs to offer assistance. A big Danke for that.

We'd just about got through the narrow section when another boat came by, Odyssey from the UK, and they had no hesitation in taking a line and towing us through. It may have been that they were hoping for some navigational information in exchange, but it turned out I was no better informed than them. We were both going by the charts we had on our phones. Once in the harbour, we spent a fruitless half hour looking for the bottle of champagne we believed we had stashed, as a reward Odyssey. Oh well, a couple of beers when we meet at the sailor's bar then.

With one engine dead (cylinder head I believe - oil and salt water is all over the place!) I have many spare parts for the other, and I spent the first day here swapping parts about, hoping to make one half-decent engine for our planned trip through the Bahamas.

The harbour at least is just great. The water isn't clear, but it is only contaminated with mud (I dropped a part, and had to dive into the murk to look for it) and we are surrounded by mangroves. No swell comes in here, and there is no man-made noise at all. We can hear the far off surf, and the constant clicking of shrimp claws, and that is all, and for that, we are all very pleased indeed.

If the engine part swapping has succeeded, we can continue down the channel at dawn, and then start preparing the boat and loading up with food in anticipation of the relative isolation and high prices of the Bahamas.

So here's another blog entry without photos. But I expect there'll be some photos of us on a certain German blog. Maybe do a search on 'catamaran Luperon Deutsch'?

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