What's new around here? Lots of inquiring minds are asking, "Where are you," and, "How are you," and, "When are we going to see you!?" So here is the scoop. We have not been lounging around on the beach or kicking back sipping cocktails. We've been moving Rode Trip, day by day, northbound toward the Chesapeake. It's been a long trip back to the United States from Panama!
After returning to Bocas del Toro, Panama we spent a grand total of two days cleaning the boat inside and out and preparing to depart. From Bocas we sailed an unforgiving, upwind passage. It all started smoothly as we motored east through light winds, trying to make as much east as possible prior to the trades building. Then the wind built and we changed our course to north. This was one of my worst passages as I was terribly seasick! I spent most of my watches bent over the railing, hurling whatever remained of my insides over the side. I simply could not adjust to the motion of sailing upwind; with 20-25 knots of north-northeast wind against us Rode Trip made slow progress slamming into stalling waves though she tried with a reefed main and jib. The motion was jolting, and the crashing waves were loud against the hull. My biggest challenge was to stay hydrated. Brian kept water at the ready and I sipped now and then. I managed to keep down about four pretzel rods and some applesauce. After four days, I was never so happy to reach Providencia!
We spent one week in Provodencia to rest and recover from our trip. Providencia was just as fabulous as it had been during our first visit. The dry season had ended, all the flora was lush and green. The days were hot and the nights cooled just enough for a comfortable sleep. The east winds funneled through the boat like an industrial fan, steady 25-ish knots for days. And when the rains came they were short lived. We reconnected with people we'd met during our first visit to the island. Soon enough, it was time to leave once again.
From Providencia we sailed directly to Key West, Florida. During the first 36 hours we faced the treacherous upwind, but this time the wind was lighter, 15 knots, and we added the staysail to our powerhouse sail plan. I only threw up twice, which was a vast improvement! The remainder of the passage was lovely; we spent a total of eight days on the water. Taking six-hour shifts at watch we were each well rested, but still stifling hot! Most nights we marveled (I marveled, Brian looked out tentatively) at lightening shows from nearby thunderstorms. During the days we lounged about the boat cooking and tidying, reading, and trying to keep cool by dousing ourselves with sea water and fresh water rinsing at the end of the day. Arriving at Key West marked the end of passage-making as we know it with Rode Trip. From there, it would be Intracoastal Waterway and short hops on the outside as we'd continue north along the east coast...
We are still cruising, although treating it like our job to deliver our boat to the Chesapeake. Aside from short visits in areas where we have friends we've been moving every day...at a steady 4.5 knots. We hoped outside from Key West to Lake Worth, FL and then slogged through the state along the ICW. We made another hop from Amelia Island at Fernandina Beach, FL to Wrightsville Beach, NC. That was a fabulous downwind sail for two days with one long 24 hours of motoring on a glassy ocean to complete the trip. Most recently from Wrightsville Beach, NC we hopped outside for a long, 70nm day to Beaufort, NC where will continue north from this morning. Our final destination is Deltaville, VA where we have found very affordable yard storage for Rode Trip. But we really would rather see her sell while she is well maintained and sailing. A yard is simply no place for a boat!