Sunday, December 29, 2013

Fresh adventures from the Caribbean Sea: Aruba to Jamaica in 75 hours


Dear Friends,

And so we left Aruba… Dora returned from Brazil, we took one day to stock up and get ourselves organized (not well enough as later events would teach us..). Early in the morning, leaving the SurfSide anchorage, and motored to Customs and Immigration for check out procedure and from there we set our course to Jamaica, some 485 miles to go…



Forecasted was an Easterly wind of around 20 knots, but, as usual is the case, it turned out to be stronger and also the waves that kind of came from all directions, but mainly right from the starboard side slaming into Onda Boa. With the main sail in its second reef and a reefed genoa, we were flying (and rocking and rolling) along… Boat speeds of 8-9 knots constantly…. we even managed to board two blue finned tunas…


In the evening and night on top of this stiff breeze, we had a bunch of squalls to deal with as well… Windspeeds picked up to close to 40 knots and at times we clocked 14 knots boat speed… All in all very uncomfortable, and we learned quickly that to prep a boat for a longer passage way, needs some more attention (stowing away items that may, and will fall for instance). After a month on dry land, Dora had yet to return to the swing of things (literaly) and so was not feeling too well. After the first 24 hours, we covered 215 miles, which was a record for us… And the wind actualy in the morning increased in speeds and were close to 30 knots… So, we put the 3rd reef in the main sail and reefed the genoa somewhat more. I was able to download a new weather forecast via the satelite phone, and in our track leading direct to Jamaica, we would have a near gale situation, with like wise wave paterns… Hmmm, didnt like that, so the course was altered to somewhat more northerly in order to get closer to Haiti, as in that region was lesser wind predicted. It would mean more milage, and especialy on the last day less wind (and thus less speed), but that was preferred over putting the boat and ourselves in an even more uncomfortable situation. This tactic worked and we managed to arrive in relatively calmer weather…Adjusting our course again more easterly we actualy had the wind (and waves) comming from our stern and so with only the genoa, we arrived in Port Antonio in the afternoon of the third day.  At first sight, it kind of reminded us of Ilha Grande/IlhaBela (Brazil), lush green slopes ending abruptly in the ocean…

We stayed in the West Habour area, and did our custom red tape thing at the Erol Flynn Marina (First Quarantine check, then customs then immigration) only then are you allowed to leave the Marina, and anchor out in the bay, which still is charged US$ 12 per boat per day..(this detail wasnt mentioned in the guides that we studied). Anyway, a nice shower, some nice food and a very well earned nights sleep was all that we needed. The next day was spent in getting the Onda Boa, clean and organized again.


We walked around in Port Antonio… hustle and bustle, street vendors of all kinds, busy shops, an unexpected colorful street scene…The town appears to be kind of run down, not looked after very well. But hey, No Problem in Jamaica Mon… Respect.


Back on board, and after laundry done at the Marina, we enjoyed a superb Christmas Dinner (Brazilian tradition).


As the next day would be a quiet day on land, we decide to sail further along the northern shorelines of Jamaica. After we enjoyed our Christmas breakfast and had everthing going, it was already around 11 am, and so we were not going to make Ocho Rios as planned. Weather was not good (squalls, rain and still a unsettling swell) we quickly moved into Port Maria, and tried to stay behind Carbarita Island (the swell was still getting to us, but were able to get sleep well.


The next day, sun was out, no wind and so we kind of motor sailed towards Ocho Rios. But, first a stop at the Oracabassa basin (Goldeneye) the place where Mr Ian Flemming used to live and write the James Bond stories. In fact in this bay some footage of Dr No have been filmed.. For all of you that are my age AND James Bond fans (who isnt, i mean me myself once thought that i could be a kind of a 007) was thrilled to be in this location.


Further on to Ocho Rios, touristy, better kept than Port Antonio for example and nice and quiet anchorage (clean water). Our next adventures will be about our stroll into the farmers market, and a visit to the capital Kingston. Stay tuned for more Jamaican fun Mon…

No Problem…


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