In that story there are no pictures unfortunately, because our camera was broken completely. Although, the microphone was ON...

Have a nice time reading :)


Imagine the news about leaving Bequia we had to withdraw half an hour after its publication!

The evening was warm with a sweet smell of flowers in the air and the black sky was covered with millions of stars... (everything beautiful, so far...) On the way back from the Internet to the boat, we realized that our dinghy had disappeared from the beach... It was obvious now, we were not able to sail out the next day... Well, first we needed to go back to the Internet and withdrew our news and then swam to the yacht. Fortunately, we have the waterproof, floating suitcase for our computer ...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Immediately after the morning coffee, I hitch-hiked someone’s dinghy to take me ashore ;) and went to investigate. After a fruitless search for our dinghy, I began to look for other possibilities… It was not easy to find one for sale in such a small place like Bequia. But fortunately I managed to get a tiny little one, built by hand here – on the island famous for its tradition of building wooden boats and yachts...
Well... the dinghy was neither new, nor watertight. One could say more - she was taking water like hell! If not her displacement chambers, she would certainly rest at the bottom of the bay while left for two hours in the water... But the most important was that she could provide our transportation to and from our anchoring YouYou.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The morning started very busy because of problems with our stern anchor. We were ready to go at sunrise but soon it turned out it wouldn’t be so easy... First, we tried only with Patricia to rise anchor up using our dinghy. It didn’t move at all. Our friends - the crew of Friendship Rose anchoring 50 meters away - noticed our struggles and came with the help soon. Their big dinghy with a powerful engine was the chance for us :) Unfortunately, after several unsuccessful attempts we found out the anchor must have been stocked in something really heavy at the bottom. So we had to dive.

It was a great opportunity to test our new diving equipment (new-old one, as we bought it in St. Martin a year earlier but it had been hanging in the wardrobe and waiting for its day since...) This time, our friend Sasa from Italy came with the help. Sasa is a very nice guy - tired of busy Neapolitan lifestyle, some time ago decided to sell his sound engineering equipment for concerts and invest the money in new home - this time floating one :) His beautiful boat Kshana was also tied from the bow to a palm tree and was lying just a few meters from YouYou. We spent some nice moments together, being neighbours. We never managed to make as good coffee as that divine Espresso he served.

Sasa organized dive cylinder from a diving centre and I dived to pick up our anchor out of his pontoon. Well, one more dive on wonderful Bequia! ;)

The next thing was to clean nearly 300 feet of anchor rode from weed and animals living on it for several weeks. Here the first mate came to action :) Pati demonstrated an extreme patience and super precision - wearing thick rubber gloves she pacified all the creatures. Many coils of rope landed in the cockpit, filling it almost completely.

We were done around midday. Traditionally we rang the ship’s bell 4 times leaving our anchorage. In response, some hands waved to us from different places. Well, see you next time... We glanced at the coast in search of "Sensy", the laughing gull which still was curing her broken wing – only by herself now, somewhere ashore. Hmm... Couldn’t see her, probably she’s resting somewhere in the shade of a palm tree :)

The day was beautiful - like all in Bequia - full of sun and fresh breezes. We motored about 20 minutes through the anchorage and to leave ferry traffic zone.

The only thing we still had to do was raising and fastening our dinghy aboard.

One of the major differences between a dinghy we lost and our wooden little boat was its weight. Previously even one person was able to pull a lightweight inflatable dinghy and put it aboard. Now we use an additional halyard (which was installed on that circumstance) to raise it. The rope is pulled on the winch and run inside the mast to the masthead and back down and its free ending we tie to the holders on our dinghy. We stood in the drift and pulled the dinghy on board. O.K.! Done! We go! ;)

We set full mainsail, genoa and small jib. As soon as we left the sheltered bay, YouYou met with a strong current (typical between Bequia and St. Vincent) and wind 4-5B with a company of short and fairly steep wave. It was not a surprise, as that distance we have sailed earlier, also on Friendship Rose - well, let's say “a slightly larger yacht” ;) Of course, we also have checked the weather before the cruise.

More then one hour later we were on the leeward side of St. Vincent, and the waves calmed down, the current was not so bad anymore and we started an excellent beam reach sailing. For the first time we had the possibility to check our third crew member - wind-steering MONITOR (Jacek, thanks for your help again!).

This is a great device, which is using just the power of wind to keep the set course and leads YouYou for hours. It does not complain and never is hungry ;)
What an amazing difference now! Both we love to steer our tiny ship by hand, and this is how we have been sailing so far. With that wind-vane however, we have more time for ourselves and for our "normal life" while the yacht sails "by herself" :) Of course, we always keep watches! Together or one after another.

We had an excellent sailing till the northern tip of St. Lucia. The average speed on that distance was 6.5 knots and max. even 8.2 knots! We had no idea YouYou can be so fast ;))

Friday, May 1, 2009

With the sun rising, the wind slackened and soon completely died. We started the engine. We didn’t want that journey to Dominica and then St. Martin to take us ages as we rushed to Jamaica!

At 0800 in the morning, we noticed leatherback turtles quite close to the boat - the same turtles we observed while they were laying eggs on beaches in Trinidad. Beautiful, big animals! And shortly thereafter we saw whales, this time in the bigger distance.

The rest of the day was with rather weak winds and slow, peaceful sailing. In the evening we were visited by the dolphins :) No matter how often we meet them, we always enjoy that a lot!

To recharge the batteries and speed up a little, we started the engine in the evening. I was very happy to finally have this opportunity – after the repairs in Bequia.

An interesting fact: for a larger boat (which uses engine if needed) it takes about 3.5 hours to sail the distance from Union Island to Bequia. It took us 23 hours (when we sailed there in the mid march)! The currents in the South Caribbean, North-East direction of the wind and waves from the North – “in the nose” - has made our tacking a struggle for every mile in the direction of the port of destination. OK, YouYou is surely a sailing yacht, but sometimes the engine does such a huge difference...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

At 0100 on the engine gauge panel the red oil pressure light turned on, and we heard an alarm signal... Again! "What’s this time?” We stopped the engine.

There was a deafening silence…

Dark, quiet night. Pure beauty. For a moment I forgot that I was angry because of a failure. Sitting in the cockpit with Patricia we were looking around and enjoying the atmosphere.

The sea was flat and there was complete lack of wind. Behind us in the distance there were barely visible lights of St. Lucia t winkling. Only a few miles ahead of us, the mountainous Dominica's coastline was emerging from the sea, shimmering with thousands of lights. A whole universe stretched above our heads and we were drifting slowly in our tiny little boat to the West, in the direction of Honduras...




I decided to dismantle the engine. I cleared the entire system again and replaced the oil. About 0430 I was ready to start it again. Unfortunately, the pressure control lamp did not turn off. “So we don’t have the engine, the only source of charging our batteries – we have to manage the energy even more efficiently now”.

Around midday we were still in almost the same spot. Well, maybe even a little farther from the Dominica. If we could have run the engine... we could reach one of the southern ports within two hours...

In the afternoon variable wind began to appear from time to time. Each of its new presence was causing a lot of action on board – we tried to quickly adjust the sails. Very slowly we were moving somehow to the North. At one point in front of us we heard the noise of shimmering water... Hmm, interesting...

It turned out to be the sound of strong current - a river in the sea. It flew across our course, to the West. The first time we witnessed such a phenomenon – about 100 meters wide strip of water in a different colour, with clearly cut off edges. As soon as we got into it, we started drifting into the West, in a company of garbage variety, pieces of palm trees, coconuts, etc. In static wind conditions (weak gusts from different directions) we spent the afternoon trying to escape from the clutches of "the sea river".

Evening and night were very silent. Only from time to time empty sails fluttered when the boat was moved by lonely wave... And a delicate current discreetly was taking us farther and farther away from Dominica

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sample entries from the logbook of the morning: "...the wind blew slightly, for a few moments” or “the distance to Dominica still increases, the island is not visible, in the clouds."

On the fourth day of our trip I stopped to get annoyed at the weather though earlier I was angry at it a lot. “What shall we do with the day which began so beautifully?" – I asked. "I dream about swimming, it’s terribly hot already", Pati said. It did not take us much time to change clothes and jump into the water with mask, fins and snorkel :) We did it in turns so that one person was always aboard. Another safety measure was the attachment to the boat with a long rope - it gives the freedom to swim and at the same time it provides a rapid return to the yacht, if needed.

It turned out that plenty of tiny, multicoloured fish was swimming around YouYou’s hull – it seemed they were cleaning the bottom :) ‘Beautiful’ help! Thanks!

The colour of the sea was magnificent, there were over 6500 feet below us. "I wonder what creatures are swimming here now, deep beneath us", we thought. After swim in the sea, we ate breakfast and then we started to look out for signs of Dominica, as well as for the wind...

None of the two. In return, we saw whales! Dominica is famous of Humpback whales coming close to it’s coast annually for breeding. This time we saw only the adults.

At noon we received weather forecast and the storm warning. In the late afternoon we began to have more constant gusts of wind and for a moment we even reached the speed of 5 knots :)) This time in the right direction.

Dominica was already visible and getting closer!

In the evening, just two miles from Portsmouth and a mile from shore, suddenly the wind died completely again. This time the coastal current going to the South began to take us further away from the bay, where we have already seen yachts at anchor... What was worse, we had no control over the boat and we were fairly close to shore... "What if soon forthcoming storms appear and it shoves us ashore?" - such a thought came to my mind and it felt not funny at all. In the end I decided to try the engine again, though I knew it should not be run without proper lubrication even for a longer moment.

This time, after a few seconds pressure light went out! Hurray! Now quickly to get a shelter in the bay!

We put the anchor down in Prince Rupert Bay at 0015, on 4 May. Less than twenty minutes later from the sky showered streams of water, and it was really windy even in the well-sheltered anchorage. But we were already sipping rum with coca-cola and we even danced that evening :))

Mikolaj Westrych