We woke up yesterday, looked at the weather and decided to move on. Our break at Mayaguana was nice to catch up on some sleep and a few boat chores, but the weather was settling down, and we were feeling eager to make a move. We decided to head to Georgetown in the Exumas. Georgetown is a very popular spot with cruising yachts, and we expect we will be able to accomplish some things we need to do - check in with the authorities, buy diesel, buy fresh provisions and get a SIM card for our phone so we have internet. Most importantly, we will be meeting up with our friends Heather & Jon (s.v. Evergreen) who sailed down from North Carolina to meet us - can't wait to see those good friends!! We sailed the first six hours of our passage yesterday, and have been motoring since 5 p.m. last night, but are hopeful that we may still get some favorable sailing winds today. Our ETA into Georgetown is about 1700 today. All is well aboard.
We moved from the west anchorage to the east anchorage in Abraham's Bay on Mayaguana Island late yesterday morning once the sun was higher in the sky and we could more easily read the water. The wind was blowing strong and the bay is quite shallow with a few reefs/rocks to avoid, so it was a stressful hour getting from one end of the bay to the other, and we were quite relieved to drop the hook again. We are anchored behind a reef, so it gets a little bouncy at high tide, but overall it's a pretty comfortable spot. We have not yet attempted to get the outboard on the dinghy because the high winds and wind chop make it a bit of a challenge. The weather is expected to be blustery today and tomorrow and settle down on Monday, so it may be Monday before we get ashore. We arrived here just as a strong storm system moved off the east coast, and it's expected to hit the northern Bahamas today, so that's the reason for our blustery weather. But, we have plenty to do on Slip Away - change the genset oil, run the watermaker, defrost the fridge, and general cleanup after our long passage. We celebrated our arrival with a couple of beers yesterday, but we've got a bottle of bubbly in the fridge for tonight. :-) We expect we will be here until early next week, waiting for the weather to improve and getting ashore to check in. All is well aboard.
Anchored the west anchorage at Mayaguana Island in the Southern Bahamas at 0930 local time. 4600 miles, 34 days + 5 1/2 hours after departing St. Helena Island! As expected, this anchorage is a little bouncy in the SE winds, so we're planning to move closer to the town when the sun is higher in the sky and visibility through the water is better - shallow with coral heads. We're hoping that the town anchorage will be a little less bouncy, but even so, it's quite tolerable. All is well! Very thrilled to be here!
Day 34 underway to the Bahamas. Beautiful sailing conditions this morning. Winds were a little light yesterday evening, so we motored for a bit to keep our speed up. Winds are expected to build today, so we should be able to sail the rest of the way. Enjoying the full moon on our night watches. ETA Mayaguana tomorrow. All is well. 140 miles to go!
Day 33 underway to the Bahamas. Winds have lightened up, so our speed has dropped a bit, but we're still plugging along. ETA Mayaguana on Friday, and if necessary, will apply horsepower to make sure we get in before dark. 2 more night watches - the moon is beautiful right now. All is well. 273 miles to go.
Day 32 underway to the Bahamas. Not much to report. Sailing along nicely and we still have a 1/2 knot of favorable current. Seeing more cargo ships on AIS. Spoke yesterday on the radio to the watch person on a 333-meter tanker headed for Korea - that's a really long way to go!! All is well aboard. 397 miles to go to Mayaguana Island.
Day 31 underway to Bahamas. Sailing conditions have been excellent the past couple of days. We are continuing to make good progress, and Slip Away is starting to smell the barn. At this point, barring anything unforeseen, we expect to reach the Bahamas without stopping in the Caribbean. We had picked out several potential stops in the Caribbean if needed for fuel, weather, boat issues or crew fatigue, but we've already sailed past most of those stops by now. We've been looking at our Bahamas Cruising Guides and have picked out the anchorage where we intend to make landfall - Abrahams Bay on the island of Mayaguana, which is one of the southernmost islands in the Bahamian archipelago. When we initially planned our route, we had plotted our final waypoint further north near San Salvador Island, but we've now adjusted our route to end at Mayaguana and have 115 less miles to go. 547 miles to go to Mayaguana. We expect to be in by the weekend, and are very excited about that!
Day 30 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. After a frustrating morning of squalls yesterday, the skies cleared about mid-day and we've been having beautiful sailing conditions ever since. We're enjoying the return of the moon on our night watch, and the stars were beautiful last night too. All is well aboard. 809 miles to go.
Day 29 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. We had very nice sailing conditions yesterday, but not so much today. Squalls, wind shifts, and rough seas. Crew is getting restless. 957 miles to go to the Bahamas - under 1000 miles now!
Day 28 underway to the Caribbean/Bahamas. Not much to report. Conditions are good. All is well aboard. 1107 miles to go to the Bahamas.
Day 27 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. We're continuing to make good time, and covered 160 nautical miles in the past 24 hours, so our average speed was 6.7, which is fast for Slip Away. The wind is more easterly (vs. northeasterly a few days ago), so we're now sailing wing-and-wing. The wind and seas are on our starboard quarter, which is a more comfortable than on the beam, but it's still pretty lively. All is well. 1260 miles to go to the Bahamas.
Day 26 underway to the Caribbean/Bahamas. Plugging along. Another 150-mile day, so happy with progress. We are abeam of the Caribbean now, so that feels good! Wind has become more easterly instead of northeasterly, so will be changing sail plan to wing-and-wing after sending in this report. All is well aboard. 1420 miles to the Bahamas.
Day 25 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. Lively conditions again today. Slip Away seems to be enjoying it and has delivered two days of 150+ nautical miles. The crew is busy just holding on. All is well aboard. 1572 miles to go to the Bahamas.
Day 24 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. Winds are good. Seas still a little lumpy but not too bad. Slip Away is sailing along very nicely in these conditions. All is well. 1730 miles to go to the Bahamas.
Day 23 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. Conditions have moderated and are definitely better, although it would be nice if the seas were a bit less jerky. We unreefed the headsail yesterday and shook the first reef out of the main this morning, trying to keep our speed up around 6 knots. All is well aboard. 1885 miles to go to the Bahamas - very happy to be under 2000 miles!
Day 22 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. Conditions continue to be lively. Wind is quite manageable, seas are very lumpy and uncomfortable. We are expecting winds and seas to moderate in the next couple of days. Slip Away and crew would really appreciate that! All is well aboard. 2024 miles to go to the Bahamas.
Day 21 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. Conditions are rough again this morning, but we did have several hours of pleasant sailing yesterday afternoon and evening - it's amazing how much nicer 15-20 knots of wind is compared to 20-25. All is well aboard. 2148 miles to go to the Bahamas.
Day 20 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. Boisterous conditions, uncomfortable, but doing OK. Looks like we have a couple more days of this courtesy of a high pressure system north of us. Last night, we passed the half-way point in our passage from St. Helena to the Bahamas - yay! 2294 miles to go to the Bahamas.
Day 18 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. The Atlantic Ocean is not showing us her "kinder and gentler" side at the moment. With these winds and seas on our beam, it's pretty darn rough. We have reefed the sails and adjusted course to make it as comfortable as possible. If we could put the wind and seas behind us, it would be much better, but then we would be heading for the Amazon River, which is not where we want to go. As it is, we are headed more for the Caribbean than the Bahamas, but hopefully this is just a temporary adjustment. All is well aboard.
Day 18 underway to the Caribbean/Bahamas. Good sailing winds and a helpful 1 knot current. Would be more comfortable if the winds and seas were on our stern instead of our beam, but we're happy to have good wind and to be making good progress. All is well aboard. 2547 miles to the Bahamas!
Day 17 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. Sorry there was no report yesterday. Winlink changed servers, and we were unable to send/receive email, but have that sorted now. We picked up sailing winds about 48 hours ago, and were very happy about that. Seas were quite rough and confused for a while, but they are settling down now, so we're more comfortable. They sky is still grey, but it appears we are now getting beyond the squalls associated with the ITCZ. All is well. 2684 miles to the Bahamas.
Day 15 underway to the Caribbean/Bahamas. After reviewing yesterday's weather forecast, we decided our best option was to get north of the equator as quickly as possible, and here we are! We crossed into the northern hemisphere at 0640 UTC today. The last 24 hours have been pretty rough - lots of squalls with lots of rain and very little wind, which is constantly changing direction. Worst of all, the seas are really lumpy. How can the seas be so rough when there is so little wind?! We are still motoring. We hope to find the tradewinds soon, and really hope that the seas settle down and become more comfortable! (That would make the crew less grumpy!) 2973 miles to the Bahamas, so we're under 3000 miles to go now!
Day 14 underway to the Caribbean/Bahamas. We are continuing to motor through the ITCZ / doldrums. Our weather files indicate that we should start getting northeasterly winds today which should enable us to sail, and we are eagerly awaiting their arrival. The ocean swell is coming from the northeast now, indicating that those winds are out there - just a bit further down the road. This morning, we transferred 120 liters (32 gallons) of diesel from jerry jugs on deck into Slip Away's fuel tank, and we have enough fuel to motor all the way to the equator, although we would of course prefer to start sailing sooner than that. All is well aboard. 184 miles to the equator, 3036 miles to the Bahamas.
Day 13 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. We have continued to mostly motor through the doldrums, although we received a gift of 7 hours of wind yesterday afternoon/evening. It was so nice to turn off the engine and sail for a while! Looked at the weather information yesterday and saw no great advantage to turning due north, so we are continuing on our original course - at least for now. Will look again today. 326 miles to the equator on our current heading, so at our current speed, we should get there late Saturday afternoon (UTC time). 3178 miles to the Bahamas, so we are 1/3 of the way to our final destination! All is well aboard.
Day 12 underway to the Caribbean/Bahamas. We are deep into the doldrums with no wind, so we are motoring and it's hotter than stink. We had a number of squalls dancing around us last night, but none of them hit us directly. We could use a bit of a rain shower to wash some bird poop off our mizzen. We've had some hitchhikers sitting on top of the mizzen sail cover the past several nights, and they left some residue. Will be downloading a weather forecast covering a larger area today to see if it makes sense for us to continue on this course or possibly turn due north to cross over the ITCZ and reach tradewinds more quickly. All is well aboard. 3337 miles to go to the Bahamas.
Day 11 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. We've gotten into the doldrums, and winds are light, so we are motoring for now. We've got just over 600 miles to get to the equator, and hope we don't have to motor all that way, but we have sufficient fuel on board to do so if necessary. Hopefully we won't have to get too far north of the equator before we get decent sailing winds again. It's very hot and humid, and with the engine running, the boat is like an oven. Are we having fun yet? All is well aboard. 3472 miles to the Bahamas.
Day 10 on passage to Caribbean/Bahamas. Back to light winds and slow sailing, but making forward progress. Had a good sailing breeze yesterday afternoon, but motored for a few hours overnight because the wind died out. All is well aboard. 3583 miles to go to the Bahamas.
Day 9 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. Sailing along nicely today. Had a few squalls yesterday evening, but only one was significant - nothing too much in terms of increased wind, but heavy rain. Also, the wind direction changed dramatically, and after the squall passed, the wind died out totally for about 30 minutes, and eventually came back from the direction it was originally coming from. So, there was lots of scrambling around to change sail configurations. Yesterday was the first day we've had any squalls since leaving Cape Town, which is a pretty long run. As we get closer to the equator, we can expect more squalls. All is well aboard. 3693 miles to go to the Bahamas.
Day 8 on passage to Caribbean/Bahamas. At 0800 UTC today, we completed our first week at sea. Our total distance "made good" toward our waypoint in the Bahamas was 866 nautical miles, so our average speed was 5.2 knots. Although we'd like to go faster, we're pretty happy with that given the light winds we had and some zig-zagging we've done to keep the sails filled. Our total time motored in the past week was just 4 hours (and 2 hours of that was at the very start of our passage when we motored away from the anchorage and then continued motor-sailing to charge the batteries), so all the rest was under sail power. We had an awesome day of sailing yesterday, with 15-20 knots of wind, and our speed was in the high 6's for a good part of the day. Winds are lighter today, and there are a few squalls in the area. We just had a squall pass near to us, and the winds picked up to 20 knots, but after it passed, the winds died down to 10. All is well aboard. 3818 miles to go to the Bahamas.
Day 7 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. More wind today and faster speed, but of course the seas are up a bit too, so it's less comfortable. But, we're quite happy with this amount of wind, and the discomfort is quite tolerable. Happy Birthday to Jan's Dad who watches over us from above - he would have been 90 today. 3958 miles to go - we're under 4000 now - woo hoo! All is well.
Day 6 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. We are having good sailing winds again today, so feel like we're making better progress. The wind died out for a bit last night, so we motored for a couple of hours, but that was a good opportunity to charge the batteries and run new water through the engine. We ate our last fresh tomato yesterday and will eat the last bit of lettuce today. Cabbage salads will be on the menu for the next several days. 4095 miles to go. All is well aboard.
Day 5 on passage to Caribbean/Bahamas. We're supposed to get a bit more wind today, so fingers are crossed for that. Other than that, "same same" - just plodding along and making progress toward our goal. All is well. 4232 miles to go to the Bahamas.
Day 4 underway to the Caribbean/Bahamas. Beautiful day. Winds are a bit up and down - earlier this morning, we had 15 knots and were sailing along quite nicely at 6 knots, but now it's back down to 8-10 and our speed has dropped into the high 4's. Saw a fishing boat just before dawn this morning. It was not transmitting AIS, but it was well lit, put out a good radar hit and passed about 2 miles off our port beam. That was the first boat we've seen in 4 days. Also saw a shooting star which is always nice. All is well aboard. 4346 miles to go to the Bahamas.
Day 3 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. We're not setting any speed records (117 miles in the past 24 hours), but conditions are very pleasant and we're making progress in the right direction. Nothing much to report. Running the watermaker this morning. All is well aboard. 4468 miles to the Bahamas.
Day 2 underway to Caribbean/Bahamas. The wind has been up and down and moving around over the past 24 hours. It's great when it gets above 10 knots and goes a bit east (on the beam). It slows us down and makes the sails slat around when it gets below 10 knots and moves further south (behind us). We averaged 5 knots of speed over ground our first 24 hours, which isn't too bad, but we of course would like to go faster. Seas are pretty gentle, which has been nice. We are in radio contact every evening with 6 other boats - 5 of which left St. Helena a few days ahead of us, and 1 which left just about a half hour after us, so it's nice to have some other folks to talk to and commiserate with. All of us would like a bit more wind, but as someone cautioned last night "Be careful what you wish for!" All is well aboard. 4580 miles to the Bahamas!
Day 1 on passage to the Caribbean/Bahamas. Beautiful day, ideal conditions. Sailing wing-and-wing. All is well. 4700 miles to go to San Salvador, Bahamas.
We've been at St. Helena Island for a week today, and we've enjoyed our visit. We climbed Jacob's Ladder, went on an island tour and saw the "Napoleon" sites and more of the island interior, and today was the highlight - we swam with whale sharks! The boat operator told us he counted a total of 10 whale sharks swimming about the area. There were only 5 of us on the tour swimming in the water with them. Awesome experience!! We're planning to check out with the officials tomorrow and depart St. Helena heading for the Caribbean/Bahamas on Saturday morning.
Moored at James Bay, St. Helena Island - Yay! All is well. We'll probably stay here for about a week before moving on.
Day 12 on passage to St. Helena. We expect to arrive this afternoon - Yay! Our passage has still been going well, but the wind has been up and down. We motored some and sailed some yesterday, and finally made a decision late yesterday afternoon to just motor sail the rest of the way so that we could arrive in daylight hours. We really prefer to avoid arriving in a new harbor after dark, and we're also eager to get there. All is well aboard. 38 miles to go.
Day 11 on passage to St. Helena. All is well aboard except that the wind died during the night and so we are motoring. We started the engine early this morning when the winds dropped to 6-8 knots and we were barely making 3 knots SOG. Given that we were making some headway, we would have just carried on slowly, except that rolling seas were making the sails snap - not good for the sails and rigging, and the off-watch crew was getting no sleep. We're hoping that the wind will pick up enough for us to go back to sailing today, and if so, our arrival at St. Helena will likely be Friday morning. If the wind stays away, we'll continue under motor and arrive tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon. We know we can buy more diesel at St. Helena, but the price is not very appealing - about $2 USD a liter, so just under $8 USD a gallon! 182 miles to go.
Day 10 on passage to St. Helena. Yesterday afternoon, we crossed into the Western Hemisphere! Slip Away was last in the Western Hemisphere in July 2013 in Taveuni, Fiji. Nothing much to report. Winds are a little lighter, and we are trying to keep our speed up to reach St. Helena in daylight hours on Thursday. We had a couple of small squalls this morning - winds never got above 20 knots in the squalls and we appreciated the wind that they brought. All is well. 308 miles to go.
Day 9 on passage to St. Helena. Winds were up during the night last night - upper teens, lower 20's - so the seas kicked up a bit, but it was all very manageable and still pretty comfortable, and our speed was quite good, averaging 6.5 knots SOG on Jan's midnight to 6 a.m. watch. All is well aboard. 450 miles to go. ETA Thursday. :-)
Day 8 on passage to St. Helena. As they say in Malaysia - "same, same". Sailing along nicely in good conditions. All is well aboard. 597 miles to go.
Day 7 on passage to St. Helena. It's hard to believe that we left Cape Town a week ago! We passed the half-way mark yesterday - yay! Conditions continue to be good - good winds, reasonable seas. The only complaint we can come up with is that there's not much moon right now, and the last couple of nights have been cloudy, so the night watches are VERY dark. That's very minor, but it would be nice to see some stars. All is well. 737 miles to go to St. Helena.
Day 5 on passage to St. Helena. Plugging along. Not much to report. Nice sailing winds. Seas are a little lumpy, but not bad and better than yesterday. Keeping in touch daily via the SSB radio with four other boats also headed to St. Helena, but they all left from Namibia, so are about 500 miles ahead of us. 1029 miles to St. Helena.
Day 4 on passage to St. Helena. The high pressure system settled into place yesterday, giving us good sailing winds. We shut the engine down late yesterday afternoon, and have been sailing wing-and-wing since then. Seas have gotten a little lumpy, but they are tolerable. All is well aboard. 1174 miles to go.
Day #3 underway to St. Helena. Another calm day. We had some wind last night - light (6-10 knots), but on the beam, and with the calm seas we had a very nice sail for over 13 hours. But the winds died this morning, and the iron genny is back at it. We are expecting a high pressure system to move into place later today or early tomorrow to give us more reliable sailing winds. It's gotten warmer every day, and it's quite pleasant now. The sea temp when we left Cape Town was 54F (about 12C) and it's now 70F (about 21C). 1315 miles to St. Helena. All is well on board.
Day 2 from Cape Town to St. Helena. Not much to report. Very little wind, so we are motoring. Seas are nice. The air and seas are getting warmer as we head north. Last night was much warmer than our first night out. We've seen a few big ships on AIS, but all passed a few miles away. All is well.
We departed Cape Town yesterday (Saturday) at 1600 local time, so have been underway for 17 1/2 hours now. It was sunny in the harbor at Cape Town when we left, but at 3 miles out, we ran into a thick fog bank - and the shipping lanes! Our AIS transponder and radar kept us out of trouble - we love both of those instruments! We had the magnetron replaced in our radar in Simon's Town, and it is working well again. :-) The fog lifted about 1900 last evening, and we had nice sailing winds - 10-15 knots on the beam - until about midnight. The winds starting dropping after midnight, but we managed to sail until 0415. We've been motoring since then and expect to motor in light winds all of today and possibly much of tomorrow, but the tradewinds should establish by Wednesday. We have about a meter of ocean swell, but it has a long period between the peaks, so it's very gentle and pleasant (i.e. only a slight roll on the boat). Both of us slept pretty well on our off-watch last night. All is well aboard!
Today is the day we'll be starting our Atlantic Ocean crossing. We'll be leaving Cape Town this afternoon headed for St. Helena Island, a passage of about 1800 miles, which we expect will take us 12-14 days. We're excited to be starting this ocean passage, but we are sad to leave South Africa behind. We've had an awesome time in this country.
Berthed at V&A Marina in Cape Town. Rounded the Cape of Good Hope this morning with grey skies but light winds and only slightly lumpy seas, so happy that we were treated well by Mother Nature and King Neptune at the "Cape of Storms". Greeted by a number of familiar and friendly faces when we arrived at the marina. :-) Had a visit from a boat gremlin on the trip, so we have another item added to our to-do list. We expect to be here for probably a couple of weeks before starting our voyage across the Atlantic.
Left the dock at Simon's Town marina and anchored out in the bay in anticipation of an early departure tomorrow morning for Cape Town. We expect to arrive at V&A Marina late tomorrow afternoon. This will be our first (and only) day-sail in South Africa!
Arrived and anchored at Simonstown early this morning. Rounded Cape Agulhas yesterday afternoon at 2:15 pm and crossed into the Atlantic Ocean. Yay!!! Will be hauled out into the boatyard at False Bay Yacht Club this afternoon for a few days of maintenance on Slip Away.
Left Mossel Bay yesterday at about 1900. Motored through the night with no wind. Motor-sailing now to keep our speed above 6 knots. 27 miles to Cape Agulhas and the Atlantic Ocean - yahoo! ETA Simonstown tomorrow morning. All is well aboard.
We anticipate leaving Mossel Bay in a few hours - waiting for the contrary winds to die down - and we'll be headed for Simonstown. Looking forward to a good moon on this passage. Weather forecast looks good. We're ready to get there!
Anchored outside Mossel Bay harbor. We had quite a lively sail yesterday with 25-30 knots of wind, gusting 35 for most of the afternoon. Fortunately the wind and seas were on our stern, but it was a rough ride and we're glad that's over! Conditions started abating early evening which was great because both of us slept well when we were off watch. All is well! Making progress towards Cape Town.
Departed Port Elizabeth shortly after 6 pm last night. Motored for a while but the wind came up and we started sailing at about 0245 this morning. Wind conditions are about perfect. Just wish the seas weren't so darn lumpy! 132 miles to Mossel Bay. All is well aboard.
We've been patiently waiting in Port Elizabeth for a weather window to move on, and it's finally arrived. It's a short window, but it's enough for us to get to Mossel Bay (190 miles, 36 hours). We'll be shoving off late this afternoon to arrive there early on Thursday morning. Will update with our progress tomorrow.
Docked in Port Elizabeth and will likely be here until Monday. We motor-sailed all night last night in light winds, and seas were very pleasant. The bioluminescence in the water last night was beautiful! All is well. :-) Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad
All is well aboard the good ship Slip Away. Had a few hours of fantastic sailing early yesterday evening with 25 knots of wind from our stern, flat seas, and great current. Slip Away's speed over ground (SOG) reached 11 knots! Then, at about 10 pm, it was like King Neptune turned the washing machine on the "agitator" cycle, making it virtually impossible to get any sleep. Ugh! This lasted for about 8 hours - not unsafe, but very uncomfortable. The "Wild Coast" lives up to its reputation! This morning, the wind died down so we're motor-sailing, seas are much better and we're taking turns napping. We are making good progress and expect to reach Port Elizabeth by tomorrow afternoon.
Left Durban shortly after 5 this morning. Motored for several hours at the start. Wind filled in enough to sail shortly after lunch. Sailing with headsail only, poled out. Great ride in the Agulhas current. Seas are a bit lumpy but tolerable (and typical for the Indian Ocean!). Good trip so far. All is well.
We had a great trip to Cape Town - a road trip on the Garden Route, wine tasting in Franschhoek, and lots of sightseeing in and around Cape Town. We flew back to Durban early Friday morning, and when the plane landed and we turned on our phone, we received an email from our local weather guy that there was a weather window for departing Durban late Sunday/early Monday. We completed paperwork with Durban port officials on Friday afternoon, did some grocery shopping and are making final preparations to leave very early tomorrow morning. It looks like we will get to either East London or Port Elizabeth on this window, and hopefully that will be a short stop to wait for a passing weather system, and then we'll continue on toward Simonstown. We plan to haul out Slip Away in Simonstown for bottom paint, hull polishing and a few other chores. Our fun is over - time to get to work!
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