Last week my dad joined me for another adventure (our last one was a month riding the Trans-Siberian Train) as we sailed across the Caribbean Sea.
Geographically the Caribbean is an elongated (east-west) oval with South and Central America forming the southern and western borders. The northern border is formed by the Greater Antilles of Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico, while the eastern border is the Caribbean islands forming the Leeward and Windward islands. When people talk about cruising the Caribbean they are usually talking about the eastern islands and most boats sail up and down the island chain.
I tell you all the above to paint a picture and explain how most cruisers would get from Grenada to Puerto Rico, which was my father and my beginning and end points. The difference is that most cruising boats have the time to sail from island to island and I needed to get the boat to Puerto Rico in order to pick up a charter.
With that said, we sailed straight across the Caribbean Sea on a north-northwest course. It took us 57.5 hours to complete the 425 mile crossing and we averaged 7.4 knots….or as my friend said when we arrived “you were bringing in the mail” 😊. We had the wind on the beam or slightly aft and saw 15-20 knots during the crossing. Since it was just to two of us, I went ahead and double reefed the mail, which is not called for until you hit 30 knots of wind. I did this for several reasons. First, it gave us more control over the boat., second a double reef does not slow the boat down that much, and finally this way we would be covered if a squall hit, which we did have a few. One of the squalls blasted us with 30-35 knots for 10 minutes before settling down.
Given the description I gave of the Caribbean Sea you would think the middle of it is completely empty and you would be right…..except for a tiny little sandbar called Aves Island that was only 15-20 miles off our course. I told my dad about Aves Island and he was just like me, excited to see it since most people do not even know it exist. In two days, on Friday, I will tell you all about this amazing little island (you can just see it over the grill in the cover photo).