Another day, another awesome down wind sail, and an equally as amazing dolphin sighting!
Let’s get this out there right now. Downwind sailing is really where it’s at. Following seas and gusty 20ish or more knots of wind filling our head sail is definitely a-okay by me. Seriously, I’m loving this sailboat surfy thing we’ve got going on as of late.
Now that we’ve turned around and are sailing back west, it’s back to making miles and sailing on the regular. And it’s a helluva lot easier to have the wind and waves behind us, instead of beating into them like we did for the past twelve months! So far, we’ve speed raced our way from St. Thomas to Culebra, on to Vieques, and then over Salinas.
And all of ^^that^^ took no crazy passages or special weather considerations really at all.
After leaving Salinas last week, we made the 48-mile trek west to Parguera with 25-knot winds and six-foot waves. Thankfully, it was yet another perfect day for downwind sailing! The icing on the cake was the fun little pod of dolphin who came to say hi just off the coast of Parguera!
These playful dolphin surfed the waves all around us, rolled in our wake, and even showed off a little by leaping several feet into the air on a handful of occasions! Seeing them never gets old, I tell ya!
And isn’t it funny that our only dolphin sightings in the Caribbean have occurred coming into or leaving Cayo Enriquee (Parguera)? I mean, there’s gotta be dolphin hanging out in other places, don’t ya think? Our first Caribbean dolphin encounter (way back in November) was in this exact same pretty little spot! …We had such an amazing time that first trip here, so we picked it once again for a quick overnight pitstop on our route back west towards Puerto Real, Cabo Rojo.
Unfortunately, the extra breezy forecast this time around made for not quite as ideal of an anchorage as it was the first time.
Now, windy conditions at anchor are one thing, but having to launch your dinghy with 30-knot gusts in your face is another ballgame altogether. With a few colorful choice words exchanged, Jer and I very tensely launched our dink (which was stowed on deck for the passage), and were second guessing our choice of anchorage like no other.
It gets a little crazy around here when a 150lb. dinghy (that’s a guesstimate btw) is dangling by a halyard and you are desperately trying to lower it into the water without damaging anything or hurting yourself. You cruisers know what I’m talking about. ;))
As usual, the dinghy was successfully launched and we were off motoring Oliver to the tiny coral island nearby just before sunset.
Turns out, the howling winds kept Jer and I on edge all night and I’m pretty certain neither of us enjoyed a good night’s sleep. We each kept a device within arms reach (me taking the iPad and Jer the cell phone) so we could quickly and easily monitor our position during the night.
We had taken one of the Department of Natural Resources mooring balls and had arrived a little too late to dive or check the mooring lines. In this particular anchorage, the conditions are not really ideal for anchoring with respect to water depths and proximity to extremely shallow areas/land. It basically goes from 60 feet deep to 10 feet deep (where the balls are) so your choice is to either anchor in 60 feet of water or pick up a mooring. We chose the latter.
^^A super up close screenshot of our recorded track throughout the night. I must’ve turned on the iPad a minimum of 25 times that night just to make sure that little sailboat icon wasn’t shooting off towards the side. PS – I think we must’ve had a satellite switch and hence the weird random line jutting out.^^
^^And zoomed out on our Garmin app. Clearly, our mooring held firm.^^
^^Even though it was breezy, this spot gave us one heck of a sunset!^^
After an uneventful, yet semi-sleepless night, we set sail early the next morning for Puerto Real, Cabo Rojo our home away from home! You might remember, we spent a good three months waiting out hurricane season here. :))
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