Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ile a Vache Haiti to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Mid -Atlantic sunrise

Battery Point, entrance to Lunenburg harbor
 2017 miles in 24 days was a little slower and longer than planned, but that happens when voyaging under sail.  Nomad enjoyed a fast sail to Cape Tiburon with the trades blowing from astern. Once the turn north was made in the Windward Passage the wind became light in the lee of Haiti and it took nearly two days of motorsailing to get back in the wind north of the island. An interesting feature of the weather here is a steady stream of thunderstorms all night moving west off of the island.  Once clear of the traffic lanes off the east end of Cuba, the course was made for Mayaguana Passage, passing just to the west of Great Inagua. From there I sailed straight north for two days, slowly as the wind diminished rapidly north of the Bahamas, the plan being to motorsail northwest and pick up the Gulfstream....but it did not happen according to plan. The evening weather fax showed a low off of Florida tagged with the words "tropical cyclone development likely". It did develop into an early season hurricane they named Arthur.Not knowing where it was going to track, I held my north bound heading for two more days until the weather fax showed its predicted path. It followed roughly my intended route and I was nearly at the same latitude as it was. Time for plan B!  Course was set for 090 degrees, motored for twelve hours and sailed for two more days to get some sea room in case the storm turned my way unexpectedly. This put me much closer to the Azores high, an area of light and no wind known as the horse latitudes. Turned northeast at 69W  and sailed at 1-3 knots, carefully monitoring the hurricane's track to ensure that I stayed south of it. This went on for some time,lazy sailing, baking bread, reading etc. About the time Bermuda was 75 miles due east, the storm had moves east of Newfoundland and the wind began to return. After that it was smooth sailing except for a cold front that hit just after I got north of the Gulf Stream. Talked with a ship the next morning, they said it was gusting 60 knots in the squalls. There were numerous squalls embedded in that front, and each one would turn the boat up into the wind and then back south as it passed leaving an area with no wind behind it. After this happened several times, I had enough sail handling for one night and hove to and let her ride until the weather settled. The next morning was much more agreeable and sailing with the wind off the port quarter resumed, headed directly for Lunenburg. There was a major change in weather as I crossed the continental shelf; the water and air temperature dropped into the 50'sF and dense fog formed. It remained so until I turned the corner into Lunenburg harbor, the fog lifting as I approached Battery Point lighthouse.

Ile a Vache, again

Main street, Caille Coq
 After deciding to exit the Caribbean via the Windward Passage a short visit to Haiti was easily worked into the voyage plan. Topped of fuel, oil, and rum supplies and  had lobster dinner at Jean Jean's. The second time around was much easier as the local people recognized the boat when I came in to anchor. I found my crew from last time and recruited them to get supplies from Les Cayes for me and a couple more pieces of bamboo to pole out the jib for down wind sailing. Had Corby and friends clean the bottom  and I  de-barnacled the propeller and transducers for the long upcoming passage. It was an all too brief four day visit, but with hurricane season inexorably progressing, it was time to head north for the season.

Cooking lessons, how to make fried breadfruit
The table is set for dinner at Jean Jean's for dinner