Honestly, over nighters are not on my list of favorite things to do. They are just something I am willing to do because, well, because I am a cruiser on the ocean in a sailboat, and that is just what we do. We make overnight passages, depriving ourselves of sleep, showers, and clean clothes in order to reach the next new, exciting, and usually beautiful anchorage or for most people, a dream vacation sight.
This overnighter would start in the anchorage of Manzanillo. The provisioning, cleaning, and other preparations (like making pizza crust for our traditional "underway meal") were done the day before. So, at daybreak on Monday, February 16, 2015, we would pull up anchor and head south for Zihuatanejo. We were awake at 05:00, had coffee, yogurt, fruit and cereal, then sat around for a half an hour or so for a bit of daylight. The sun peaked it's head over the hill at around 07:00. We fired up the engine, pulled the anchor up, and were underway with our mainsail up at 07:15. We were fishing for dinner by 07:40. We had one pole with a cedar plug lure and two hand lines with colorful squid like lures trailing behind us. Shortly after dropping the lines in the water we caught a tuna….too small to be sacrificed for a meal….threw it back, six more, about the same size, were hooked, reeled in, and released.
We had pizza for lunch and dinner.
At four o'clock we started shifts. Scott took the 4-8 shift, then went below for a rest. I was on from 8-11. I always enjoy the night shift even when I am complaining about sleep deprivation. The shifts from 8 o'clock at night until 8 o'clock in the morning are the most peaceful and awe-inspiring shifts. This night was more so than any of the others I have experienced thus far.
It was a moon-less night and the sky was so thickly veiled with clouds that not even the light from the brightest star could penetrate mother natures evening cloak. Black was the sky and black was the ocean there was a fine line of contrast defining the separation of air and water. The boat was gliding along at 6 knots with her sails filled with a gentle wind (10-15 knts) from the south-west. Life was quiet and peaceful on Velvet Sky. Surrounded by darkness the sounds of the night were enchanting. I could hear an occasional leap of a fish or some sea creature that had found the bravery to jump out into a world unknown. Then, a surprising spout that I recognized, that of passing porpoises playing in the wake. Thanks to the new crew member (CPT) I was able to stand at the life lines and witness the greatest light show I may ever see. Because the night was so dark, the phosphorescent plankton was like a moving milky way of stars in the ocean. The dolphins were trailed by white streaks of bubbling light streaming through the blackest of the black sea. Bucket and I call the phosphorescence "pixie dust." This was a magical show. The streaks of tiny glittering stars trailed about 20 or 30 feet behind each dolphin as they performed their breath taking ballet.
Suddenly I became a fan of the overnight passage. I had experienced a piece of heaven on earth.
We dropped anchor in the bay at Isla Grande at 12:39 in the afternoon on Tuesday, February 18th. We had dinner of homemade tacos with rice and pintos and went to bed at 18:00. Wednesday was a fun filled day of snorkeling and swimming and another early night to bed.
We left Isla Grande on Thursady and tied up to the dock at Marina Ixtapa and spent the day laboring. We washed the boat, changed the oil, had haircuts on the dock, took care of business with the boat insurance company, filled the fresh water tank and water bottles, and had TWO yes TWO showers and pulled out of the marina by 13:00 on Friday the 20th.
Now we are here in Zihuatanejo waiting for the favorable weather window in which we will continue south to El Salvador. We will make three stops in Mexico before we get to the Mexico-Guatamala border where we will check out of South America and into Central America. Three loooong hops, that means overnighters……I am good to go, as is the good ship, Captain, and Bucket crew. Not far behind will be our traveling buddies, Seahorse V and crew.
Oceans of Love to All!