Adina is, as we write, 140 nautical miles from crossing her outbound track of her round the world adventure. The North Atlantic has not exactly shone kindly on us. Well, we did have one day where we sailed 195 miles and thought to ourselves, this is good! The next twenty-four hours we found ourselves being lambasted by squall after squall after squall. These bring strong winds, choppy seas and showers. They suck out all the wind from the surrounding area so you are then left rolling in a stirred-up sea state, no wind to power your sails. That night we put on our heavy weather kit as the showers continued and we sat on deck on night-watch. The waves were beam on and from time-to-time one would pop into the back of the cockpit as we rolled on. To add insult to injury we had adverse current; Adina might be speeding along at 8 knots but our speed over the ground was just 5.5 knots. Adina kept on going as we tried to keep our energy levels up, we kept trying to motivate ourselves, wishing away any thoughts of the end, focusing on the here-and-now; you have no choice, you have to keep fighting and pushing on. And for fun, the forecast was showing the winds and seas were due to pick up further.
When we left Fernando de Nornoha, Susie’s parents had booked a few nights in a hotel in Grenada to await our arrival. They wanted to be on the pontoon to welcome us in. With more wind than forecast we were now looking like we were going to beat them there. Many a sailor will tell you never set a schedule, and it is true, it is practically impossible to predict an arrival day well in advance as you are so at the mercy of mother nature, but we always try our best to meet visitors. So we started to scout for ideas to pull in and wait so they could greet us coming in. All this against the background that we were tired and the sea was taking its toll on the merry crew of Adina. Kindly Susie’s parents sent an email to say that while the romantic notion of being there to welcome us was a good one, we need to be safe and get in. Good eggs those Senior Plumes!
Come Wednesday the winds picked up, blowing 25-32 knots and with a growing sea state to match. We soldiered on nicely and kept going, rolling with the big waves. Downstairs we have set up a host of pillows against the hull in the fore-cabin berth and we literally sleep on those against the side of the hull as the waves roll through.
With less than twenty-four hours to go, we still have strong winds, the seas are big and we have one more challenge. Between Tobago and Grenada is some strong current flowing west. A friend told us he failed to sail to Prickly Bay from Tobago as the current swept him past. So now we are steering a bit more north and east to try to compensate for this in advance.
Good friends Donal and Sarah who live in Grenada have kindly emailed and said they are going to be ready whatever time, day or night, to get us onto a mooring buoy. It’s very nice to know that there are welcoming arms ahead.
As I write, looking out to starboard the waves continue to go up and down on our beam, towering up and then letting us go over and down again to look up at the next big wave. If there is one thing we have learnt on this trip it is that mother-nature is to be respected.