Last the Maggie crew and we took a taxi across Panama City in search of a Whole-Foods-like store someone had described to Tim. No luck. But we saw a “gourmet delicatessen” along the way, and a nice-looking restaurant next to it. So that’s where we went, and we had a delightful dinner, and then bought cold cuts, cheese, chocolate and other goodies. We don’t have much in the fruits and veggies department; oh well.
Got underway this morning. Sunny, hot and no wind. Motored for about three hours until a little breeze came up directly behind us. Put up the big spinnaker and had a delightful day of sailing. Mid-afternoon the wind picked up and we started zipping along at nine knots. Almost immediately we got a bite on the fishing lure we were trailing. It ran all the line out of our reel before we got to it. Luckily the fish pulled free of the hook rather than taking our gear.
Within minutes we had another strike. This time we reeled it in and gaffed it, but it got free before we could get it safely aboard and sedate it with some rum. It was a big one — two feet long, at least, and probably ten pounds.
Not to worry… within minutes we had another strike, and this time we successfully landed a small tuna. Maybe twenty inches long and five pounds. Tim and I sampled the sashimi as we filleted it. Very good! We made nori rolls with sticky rice, plus empanadas and salsa on the side. Lots of tuna left over for another meal.
It was a beautiful evening, blowing a comfortable (for going downwind) twenty knots, and we continued to fly the spinnaker into the night. Bad idea… Though the night was beautiful, the wind gradually increased, and with it the waves began to build, and by the middle of my watch (Bill and I switched watches, so I have 7 to 11 now) things were getting hairy. Top wind speed reached 28 knots. Top boat speed hit 17 knots, surfing on the waves. We were hitting 15 knots regularly as we surfed. We were overpowered, but I didn’t want to wake the others (if they were able to sleep in the mayhem), so I tried to wait it out. But the waves were pushing the boat off course faster than the autopilot could adjust, and the spinnaker would occasionally collapse as we headed up too far, and then collapse the other way as we would bear off too far. We were risking breaking something (probably the spinnaker), so finally I called, “All hands,” and we got it down. Now we are ambling along under jib alone, at about 6 knots. MUCH more peaceful! I think I’ll be able to sleep in my berth in the bow.
Wonderful day. Glorious night. I know I’m repeating myself, but I’m SO happy to be moving again.
A day of just the sun and the ocean and a few pelagic birds and us. Vast emptiness. Profound aloneness.