To Bonaire

I never thought I’d say it. We are on the way to the little dive paradise island of Bonaire. Just about 480nm from Martinique. Part of the ABC islands; the Dutch Antilles north of Venezuela and Colombia. We have wanted to sail here four years ago. We didn’t then. Almost didn’t now.

It’s going to be potentially challenging when we get there. After the 3-4 day sail, we have to quarantine for the first two weeks in the marina. These are the conditions set by Bonaire for yachties. No getting off the boat. No swimming around Quest (I imagine since it’s a marina). We wouldn’t do this sort of restraint, even possible prison-like conditions – for any old island.

We are heading dead west right now with a curved, southerly course in the day or so. Right now the wind is behind us. We have set the preventer line from the boom accidentally gybing and being damaged. The preventer ropes are holding the boom steady.

Four-and-a-half years since we last used the genoa pole for something besides a flopper-stopper or to swing off at anchor, there has been some remembering how to set the goose-wing rig. I’m speaking for myself, of course. Is that plenty husband-wife diplomatic enough? Hope so.

It took a good couple of hours to get the right angle for the goose-wing. Pole up, pole down. Line in, line out. Genoa furled in, genoa furled out. We had to remember how to set it so nothing can chafe against the shrouds.

Eventually we got there. Of course, straight afterwards, the wind died down. I went down and cooked Sunday lunch. Creole black pudding, sautéed leftover potatoes, fried green pepper, onion and garlic. Bernaise sauce from a jar. French of course.

In the lull of the wind, the girls asked Jack to turn the engine on. This is because we don’t often sail slow. Even though it’s my dream to amble along at nature’s pace – this has long been laughed at by the Ormerods.

I was surprised when Jack refused to turn the engine on. The girls, lying on each cockpit bench and assuming their usual positions as backseat sailors, asked again.

‘Nope,’ the voice came back from the helm. Jack’s position, feet up, legs stretched up along back bench. ‘I want to get used to going slowly.’

We all felt the shock.

There is something about sailing in brand new seas.

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