The Window Opens

The window to go north has opened. In the Caribbean Sea, the weather’s set to be fairly calm with enough south in the wind to push people up the latitude lines. This good weather is forecasted to last until the end of the following week.

After it closes, all things being well, the Christmas winds should begin. These strong ENE trade winds tend to arrive by mid-December and they last – well, by our reckoning, until about Easter. They can make going north (or going anywhere) a bit tricky. We were in them last December, fighting our way to get to the little French islands south of Guadeloupe, Les Saintes, in time for Christmas. Good times they were. Very refreshing!

Now, we have ideal sailing conditions for boats leaving Bonaire. I hadn’t realised until I heard the ‘word’ on the moorings. At least seven boats are leaving in the next few days. That’s a lot of boats for Bonaire!

The Americans in particular, are tending to head up to their own islands; the United States Virgin Islands (next to the British ones) and Puerto Rico. Or they’re sailing back home to the States or nearby to the Bahamas. I forget that it isn’t such a big deal for Americans and even Canadians to go home – especially in these Covid times.

I hadn’t paid much attention to the upcoming weather window either – since we aren’t going anywhere. We hope to stay in Bonaire until the Easter window opens up. Then our plan is to head almost as directly as we can (conditions allowing) to Bermuda. Bermuda is a big chunk of sea away. It’s about a twelve day sail from here, with gnarly conditions likely at some point during the passage. More good times coming.

Why Bermuda? This is because Lu’s IGCSEs are still set to go ahead. We received the news last week. Scotland and our Wales might have cancelled exams, but not England or Northern Ireland. Not surprised about Northern Ireland though. No one is tougher than those guys. But I was expecting to hear Blighty would bail – which meant Lu’s international curriculum would probably follow. But nope, right now England seem to determined to carry on, with contingency measures being put in place.

I read these contingency measures with interest. Basically, if all attempts we make to sail to Bermuda fail, after we’ve signed on with Bermuda High School as her exam centre, Lu should still get a mark. She will get a teacher-assessed grade. I read this on Thursday – and smiled like a loon. Lu is going to be ok. She will get her grades whatever happens.

So we are staying in Bonaire for now – and watching boats around us leave for different places. Our new friends, L’Alchimiste are going too, so it’s a little sad for us. They have been a lot of fun to dive and hang out with. Still, they have their own journey to make. It’s Sailors 101.

Jack helped Francçois inspect his rigging yesterday. He raised his eyebrows as François got out his cruising chute out. The sail designed for very light winds.

‘You reckon you’re going to be able to fly the cruising chute, going north?’

‘Yeah,’ François said, ‘the conditions should be good enough.’

Jack started laughing. Ok. Now the bet is on. Fair winds L’Alchimiste! See you on the flip side.

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