Friday, January 22, 2010

Northbound to Roatan

It is midnight and we are trekking at 6-7 knots over 3-8 foot rolling seas. Earlier the seas were 7-14 feet and that gave us quite a crack the whip/toss and drop ride for about 10 hours. Since the moon has set, the stars are our only companion out here 150 miles off the shores of Costa Rica. With no interference from other lights, the stars are bright and clear. Orion's Belt is prominent in the sky as is many planets and satellites. It is still warm enough to be in shorts and barefooted and my watch has started. Our AIS, ship identification program, shows no traffic, our maps show depths of 3-4 thousands of feet, and we have seen only one other large ship out here since leaving San Blas this morning. There was a suspicious "other boat," not lit, and traveling in the shadow of the large boat earlier that we noticed. All is good.
P.S. Another companion turned up-phosphorous looking like fireflies, as densely packed and bright as the Milky Way. They dot the surface of the waves that break upon our hull. Like tiny dancing fairies, they shimmer and disappear from sight as we sail north through the moonless night.

San Blas Islands, last visit for this year…
We waved goodbye to the San Blas Islands on January 18th and must say they should be counted as one of the Wonders of the World. These island number in the hundreds, and the Indians that live out there are gentle, soft spoken, and mild mannered in most cases. They show entrepreneurial skills and a strong work ethic. We spent one week off an island and watched a house being raised in the tradition of barn building in the states. For two or three days the man of the hut worked hard chopping and cutting wood each afternoon. A launched arrived one morning with a work crew of men who hopped out and began to raise timbers for a roof, laced rope into a lattice on the roof braces, and then wove palm fronds into a roof. At the end of the day the building was half done. Every week, every anchorage had a launch make the trip to bring fresh vegetables, eggs, meat, fish, beer, and of course the hand made molas that these islands are famous for creating.
The anchorages are getting crowded now with people from the Arc Rally and from all over Europe who are getting ready to cross over into the Pacific and head further west. Most of the anchorages that had seen 3-5 boats are now 15-30 boat crowded. The flags are mostly Italian, French, and German, but other European countries are in there as well.

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