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Bonaire Tracks

At this zoom level, this map shows you our tracks around Bonaire as we moved the boat around on some of our further dives. If you zoom out, way way out, you’ll see our passage to Cartagena.

View 2009 Bonaire in a larger map

One that got away

Dave and Jacquie arrived aboard Dignity last night to say goodbye just as I was sending yesterday evenings blog. One reason to come aboard was to see how email over SSB works so they know what to look for as they try to make theirs work. They brought wine, beer and nibbles as a thank you for taking them out diving a couple of times. Normally we don’t like to drink the night before a long sail but how could we refuse?

As planned we left Bonaire at 6am this morning. We set off on a port tack with main and jib to assess wind speed and direction away from the island. We soon concluded it was coming from the ESE and around 12 knots, less than the 15-20 knots forecast. So out came the Code Zero and we had it up and the main/jib down just west of Klein Bonaire.

Since then we’ve made reasonably good progress albeit with the winds slightly lower than we’d hoped. We’re currently 12nm north of Curacao. It’s quite misty so we’re not getting a great deal out of the solar panels but the regen is covering everything and some.

We’ve decided on a 3 hour shift system :

8-11: Helen
11-2: Steve
2-5: Helen
5-8: Steve

and then repeated. We’ll see how this goes.

Shortly after our last change Helen decided to go down below to get some sleep. I called her back straight away as we had a fish on the port line. Unfortunately it escaped before we hauled it in. It was not the same as any fish we’d caught before. Strong hints of yellow and blue. Perhaps it was a mahi mahi or a yellow fin tuna. I was already imagining this evenings dinner before it got away. Next time.

The wind has moved a little more to the south pushing our course a little more northerly unless we want to jibe the Code Zero (which we don’t). This is along the lines of our plans anyway to get into the stronger winds between 12N and 13N. It remains to be seen what we’ll do overnight.

At 11/13/2009 15:53 (utc) our position was 12°20.20’N 068°47.33’W

Ready to go

All our chores our done.

We’ve cleaned the boat, put things away, performed all our checks, provisioned for the trip, done the washing, made water, charged all the batteries, cleared out, raised the quarantine flag, retrieved our deposit for the dinghy dock key, dropped off trash, removed the outboard from the dinghy, raised and tied the dinghy, checked weather forecasts and sharpened the fish hooks.

We’re just about ready.  Jacksters are popping over shortly for a quick email over SSB demonstration coinciding with our ‘Au Revoir’. Then we’ll eat and probably go to bed early. We’ll be off in the morning between 5am and 6am local time I expect. The forecast (to the extend you can trust them) are pretty favourable. Winds are forecast 15-20 knots along our route. Not all the time but quite fortunately about the time we’ll be at each spot. Chances are it won’t work out like that. Our ETA is Tuesday. If we have exceptional weather we’ll arrive Monday evening. If it turns out rubbish we’ll arrive later in the week.
At 11/10/2009 21:26 (utc) our position was 12°09.40’N 068°16.82’W

Night Dive

Wednesday was not the most action packed. I did go to the dive school to pick up the second hand BCD I’ve been after. A few days ago I was originally shown an extra large BCD which looked pretty good for the price of $120 discussed. I was since informed that they had large ones as well which would be a better fit. I picked up the large BCD in the morning and handed over the dosh. In the afternoon I tested out the BCD. Very quickly I realized it was nothing like the first BCD I was shown being significantly inferior. Partly my fault as I should have checked it more thoroughly. Fortunately the dive school refunded my money when I returned it.

In the evening we had our last dive here in Bonaire. Accompanied again by the Jacksters we dived off the back of our boats after dark. Night diving is quite different in that the animal life can be quite different and the overall feeling of diving at night is quite surreal. We immediately saw a swimming spotted eel as we descended but that turned out to be the highlight of the dive. It seems most of the fish had packed it in and gone elsewhere. Nevertheless, it was worth it. When we switch our lights off the photo plankton were quite dense giving a magical effect to all our movements. My torch died almost straight away but fortunately we had one backup and no others failed.

Weather forecasts continue to look ok for our planned Friday morning dawn departure for Cartagena. Today we’ll be focused on boat prep, provisioning and tying up loose ends.

Wind Gen in Bonaire

Our wind gen is finally in Bonaire. There is a teeny weeny problem though. It’s in Bonaire, Trinidad, along with the genset parts for Jackster. Bugger. The dealer has admitted the mistake but we now need to revise our plans. We’ve decided to have the wind gen shipped to Cartagena and the genset parts to Curacao. This means we’re free to go whenever. Weather permitting we’ve decided to use Thursday to prep the boat and leave at first light on Friday. This sets us up for a Tuesday arrival in Cartagena. That’s Cartagena, Colombia.