Family, Travel and Adventure

Open water crossing

The time had finally come and our summer adventure was about to begin…

Once the boat, ‘Secret Oasis’ our Voyage 58 Cat was back in from its last charter of the season, she needed to be cleaned and maintained before we left the dock.

It had taken Gavin and I three days to get the boat packed up and ready for our sail down island to Grenada. Gavin was in charge of provisioning, watersports and boating equipment, I was responsible for everything else. I must admit I may have gone a little overboard with the packing, however after hurricane Irma hit last season, I wasn’t taking any chances when it came to losing our belongings. I packed almost everything we owned.

The three of us moved onto the boat the night before we left so Léna could get used to her surroundings before we took her on a 3 day sail. She was so excited and absolutely loved the boat. She was exploring the galley, the cockpit, helping us unpack and loved playing with the winches.

On Wednesday 8th August we did our final preparations. The boat was re-fueled, topped up with water and had all it’s final checks. We had two other crew members joining us on the sail, Tim and Miky. They arrived and got themselves settled onto the boat and by lunchtime we were ready to depart.

At 1pm we said our goodbyes to our co-workers and departed from Sopers Hole marina in the BVI.

Our weather window was looking pretty good for the next 3 days, we should have enough wind to sail and the seas looked reasonably smooth. The guys decided on a route and planned to head in a straight line, direct to Grenada.

Everybody was so excited and couldn’t wait for our sail South. Gavin has been sailing for over 10 years and has done many ocean crossings in his time, however for the rest of us this 3 day sail was a completely new experience and we weren’t sure what to expect.

Our first day went extremely well, with calm seas and light winds, we were well on our way by sunset passing St. Croix on our starboard side. While my watch was constantly focused on Léna and attending to her every need, the other 3 rotated watches every 3-4 hours to make sure we didn’t run into any other ships, lobsters traps or fishing nets. I had prepared dinner for us earlier that day so nobody had to be in the galley whilst underway. We enjoyed a bite to eat, then Léna and I called it a night.

The winds picked up a lot through the night and I must admit it was a little nerve wracking being thrashed around from side to side in your cabin in the pitch dark. Gavin kept coming into check on us both to make sure we were doing alright. I told him I felt like we were in a washing machine and I couldn’t wait for the morning, but he just kept reassuring me that the seas were good and there was nothing to worry about. Both Léna and I eventually managed to sleep through and it was a great feeling to wake up to smoother seas.

The following morning everybody was in good spirits. We were happy to have got through our first night and were ready for the next 24 hours. Gavin put out his fishing lines and we waited in hope for some dinner. We mostly lazed around reading books, taking the odd snooze here and there, made lunch and listened to music. I was very surprised at the lack of sea life there was around us. All we managed to see were a few flying fish, a couple of which we found dead on the deck in the morning and a lot of sargasm floating around, most of which we caught on the fishing lines. It was a wonderful yet daunting feeling to know we were hundreds of miles from civilisation, however I was so happy I was able to experience this ride, especially with my little family.

As Gavin and I sat down for lunch that day, we looked out to sea to find a fish being dragged behind the boat. Finally we had caught something. Gavin jumped up with a huge smile on his face and ran to the back of the boat to reel it in. He had caught a Mahi Mahi and was very happy we could have fresh fish for dinner. After lunch he gutted, filleted and placed it in the freezer ready to be cooked later that evening.

The wind had died down a lot today so we ended up motor sailing with one engine.

The 3 crew on watch were filling in the log book every hour recording the time, coordinates, wind direction, wind speed, the coarse we were heading and the boat speed.

Later that afternoon both myself and Tim were feeling a little worse for wear. Mild sea sickness had set in and we were feeling a little dodgy. Everyone was taking it easy, resting, sleeping and I was trying to keep Léna entertained with as little movement as possible on my part.

By mid afternoon we passed by an island called Isla Aves meaning Island of Birds in Spanish. This small island of Venezuelan dependency was pretty creepy looking. Mostly sand, some scrubby vegetation and an outpost set on stilts. The island is barely 50m wide and stretches 400m and is only 3ft high at low tide. This island can catch many sailors out and needs to be watched on the GPS as you approach the area.

For dinner Gavin cooked up the freshly caught fish and fed the crew. Unfortunately I never managed to taste it that evening as my head was stuck in the kitchen sink (not the most hygienic, however it was the closest place I could run to) throwing up all over the place. To be honest I wish it had come sooner as it made the world of difference and I felt great afterwards. Gavin on the other hand was not impressed as he cleaned up my vomit. What I wonderful husband I have!!

Later that evening Gavin noticed we had water in the bilges due to a bilge pump failure so had to divert the shower pump to pump the water out.

Léna and I went to bed for yet another fairly rough night at sea whilst Gavin, Tim and Miky rotated night watches again for the final evening.

We woke up with only 100 NM to go and everybody was so excited that we would be in Grenada that evening. The seas were smooth once again and we ended up have to use the engine as the winds were barely moving us 5 knots.

Around 4pm that evening Gavin had taken Léna up onto the bow for some fresh air when we heard him call out ‘land ahoy’!! We all rushed to the bow to check it out and were so excited. It was such a great feeling to know we were almost there and we had made it in one piece. We all celebrated with a drink as we gazed out and took in our last few hours of open sea. We watched as Gavin prepared and hoisted the flags for our approach into Grenada.

We approached Grenada at approximately 9pm. We located the leading lights and made our way into the anchorage in St Georges. We found our friend, Maurizios boat in the bay and anchored close by so we could greet him in the morning.

We woke up in the bay after a nice calm evening and everybody managed to get a good nights rest. The views were incredible and the island looked so lush and green. I couldn’t wait for my feet to touch land and start to explore this Caribbean island.

The trip was a fairly easy one for us all, minus the sea sickness on my part and I couldn’t believe how well Léna had coped. She had taken it in her stride and was amazing. She is fast becoming the little sailor her daddy wants her to be.

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