"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Captain's Blog, April 29

>> Saturday, May 1, 2010

Belize toward Fernandina Beach Fla.

Belize turned into a very nice stop, even if there was some initial trouble with the Belize Customs Official in Placencia. Clearing immigration—no problem. Agriculture? No problem there. Port authority? Easy. Customs, however, said we were “complaining.” So we had to wait overnight and arrange for a water taxi to bring out the customs guy in the morning. Worried about our wayward feline, we hid the cat in the lazarrete and I made Ian (our singer/songwriter) sit on the Laz hatch and play his guitar and sing to cover the sound of her yowling. It wasn’t, ahh, successful. She was so loud you could hear her on the other end of the ship!

Anyway after some money changed hands we were in… no problem. The students were off on high adventure to Mayan ruins and Jaguar preserves.

A few days earlier JB had her head whacked by a preventer block and was still suffering headaches, but was a trooper about it, even during the Garinagu drumming session the students had aboard. We got her to a clinic where the Doc gave her the thumbs up to continue the voyage.

And finally underway bound for Fernandina Fla., some 1000 plus nautical miles away and the longest passage of this whole voyage. The students, now in the Junior Watch Officer (JWO) faze of the trip, plan and navigate Gamage themselves. We make it out of the barrier reef without any trouble, as they are really on their game. Three bearing fixes and radar ranges: challenging navigation, but they take it in stride.

All our time in Belize the wind blew at least 15 kts out of the east or just north of east I was thinking: “Record Passage!” Oh no you don’t, Cap. At the bottom or the reef the wind just died out and we were in for a very challenging sail indeed. You see, we have to balance distance, fuel (for motoring, electricity and cooking), water, and provisions. The cook has only so much food, even if I had him get extra just in case.

No wind day after day, or a very light contrary wind from the North and Northeast. We worked our way oh so slowly up the Yucatan Pennisula with an eye constantly on the wind. For me it was another lesson in how it used to be and how it still is for some folks—it is what I love about the work. There is no one to bail you out, you are on your own. No gas station, no grocery store, and a thousand miles to go.

Well, in the end we still are not in Fernandina and had to stop in Key West for fuel and provisions. The weather just wouldn’t listen to my pleas… “come on just a little fair breeze?”
Now we are just 100 nm from port (Fernandina) and the students and crew are on tender hooks for all the things only land can provide: ice cream, showers, cheeseburgers…

Fair winds Captain Flansburg


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