Hey there everyone. First off let me apologize for deleting like 20 of your guys’ last comments, it was a mistake that can’t be undone, so keep em coming and I’ll try not to do that one again. Second, be sure to check the December 1969 Archive as all our Sat phone posts get put in there for some weird reason and I’ll try to post one every day of our passage. I tried for hours yesterday to resolve this, but only succeed in using up my pricey Sat phone minutes with no successful results.
We pushed back our departure from Antigua for 1 day to get some last minute details sorted and do a test sail. The rhumb line to Panama is DDW (dead down wind) and as most of our voyaging so far has been up wind, we needed to set the spinnaker and do some down wind sailing with the Commonwealth Kidz.
The breeze was perfect, SE 15knots with little 3 foot waves in the sapphire blue waters off of Antigua. We sailed a bit upwind before setting the screecher, which had us reaching in the 12 knots of boat speed range and then set our big black kite without a pole, as you can guy it to the bows on a catamaran since they are so far apart. This set us on an almost DDW course sailing at about 9 knots and just cruising. It was perfect the air 85, water 83, flying fish jumping everywhere and just absolutely gorgeous out. We sailed downwind into the returning fleet of Antiguan Race Week boats and watched in amazement as the big ocean crossing trimarans blasted by at probably close to 25 knots straight up wind. The rest of the fleet soon followed and we sailed back up wind with them, keeping pace with the Swan 70’s and 80′ and a few other racing machines.
We then did a reefing drill and some more practice which all went smoothly before heading into the dock to take on the last bit of fuel and do some more laundry. Kahlil is taking to the First Mate position quite handily and I feel like I have full confidence in him and know he has got my back. This should translate to the lubber as “I might get some sleep when I’m off watch.”
So, its Natty M’s last night in the Caribbean Islands and I have to say this place has been one hell of an experience. Too much fun to be had and great people seem to abound on every island. Each Island is different and unique, but they all share one common ground. Partying, the Caribbean people seem to party like no other place on earth. I know at times it seemed like that’s all we were doing and it is just how this place is. Everything is shut down on the weekends, supermarkets, gas stations, you name it and the locals just lime the day and night away. Every weekend on beaches and parks everywhere giant stacks of speakers are fired up, pumping out reggaeton or carib rap at unbelievable decibel levels, BBQ’s stands are fired up. Selling tasty Ribs and Chicken with some good tangy sauce and they all typically have a full bar. Its absolutely classic, the shindigs start off slowly at first and then just get going full speed as the crowds get more and more lit off the rum and ganja and everyone dances well into the early morning hours.
No one seems to stress too much down here or work too hard, people are happy and enjoying life and each other’s company everywhere you look. Laughing and smiling abound and the violence you see in America with people fighting as they get drunker as the evening progresses just seems to be nonexistent down here, bouncers don’t have to work nearly as hard.
Leaving the Caribbean will be bittersweet indeed, you could spend years cruising all the islands, sampling all their unique cultures, foods and landscapes. But the season is coming to the end and its Mother Nature who makes the final decision. Stay and risk hurricanes and windless sweltering heat or escape to safer waters and new adventures. The surf is basically flat now and the wind much lighter and it will only get smaller and lighter, so were leaving. Headed for the shortcut to the great Pacific ocean and new lands, cultures and adventure.
Its funny when I left on this adventure I still felt like a kid, I don’t anymore. The Sea has ways of shaping and molding you into something different, something tougher and stronger. It might break you down for a while, but you come back harder and tougher with a perspective most people who spend their lives on land just will never have.
I’m truly thankful to all the people who helped make this adventure happen for us. There is no way I could have ever done this with out all the love, support and sharing of wisdom, from so many people in my life. Some people I have known forever and some I just met on this voyage, but you have all played a role in my life and helped shape and mold me into the person I am today and I can’t say thanks enough to all of you. Love, Thanks and Respect to all of you! See ya soon in Panama, were out. Cheers – Kyber