May 28, 2013: from Little Cayman to Cayman Brac, Caveman Islands (map)
Normally, this short hop wouldn’t deserve a mention. But, the trip was to weather (the wind was from the S or SE) and we wanted to go NE and sail. I’m always dismayed at what a dreadful tacking angle On Delay has. We sailed 30 miles to cover what would have been 15 miles had we been able to go direct. Nevertheless, it was fun to have arrived without resorting to diesel.
May 21-22, 2013: from Grand Cayman to Little Cayman, Caveman Islands (map)
Tony and Jane did this passage overnight. It was about 75 nautical miles as the crow flies but a good 100 miles through the water with the 1 knot of current against us. (BTW, we now know that our knot meter is accurate to 2%; Tony did a measured mile thrice on our way out of the North Sound in Grand Cayman.) We would have liked to stay a few days longer in Grand Cayman but the “grib” files made it quite clear that Tuesday was the best night for the crossing.
We motored (or motor sailed) for the first six hours. After that, the wind moved towards the south and we were able to sail close-hauled. Even so, we used a good half a tank of fuel on the port side. The starboard engine has more hours than the port side, so Tony is trying to even them up by preferentially running the port engine. With our fresh bottom paint, we are able to motor comfortably at 6+ knots on just one engine.
It is also of note that we ate turtle stew for dinner underway. Grand Cayman has a turtle farm and some of the turtles are sold for meat. On our last afternoon in George Town, Grand Cayman, we picked up a takeaway package of turtle stew (with classic sides of breadfruit, plantains, mac & cheese, rice & beans). I can now understand why sailors 200 years ago were happy to encounter turtles and enjoy their tasty fresh meat. I also read that crews would keep turtles alive in boat, with the turtles lying on their backs — not humane, of course but nor were the conditions for sailors back then.
May 4-6, 2013: from Isla Mujeres, Mexico to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (map)
Pete and Gayle helped Jane and Tony with all the pre-passage prep work (thank you) and then stepped off at the gas dock with luggage for their trip to NJ. Tony and Pete had been watching for a good weather window for the crossing from the Yucatan to the Cayman Islands; they found a good one. Tony and Jane sailed downwind the whole passage — the first half with double-reefs and the second half with all the canvas, resorting to some motor sailing around dawn on the last day. (325 nautical miles — as the crow flies — in < 49 hours.)