The famous “Christmas winds” have arrived. We’ve been hearing tales about these really strong winds that come around Christmas and stay for weeks at a time (me, Isabel, dreading the idea of them and hoping we may be able to somehow avoid them this year). But oh no, we didn’t..They are here, it’s blowing out there, probably 25 to 30 knots but luckily we are comfy inside Ondular and I must admit that in the last few months on the boat, I’ve gotten used to “stronger” winds and they don’t seem that daunting anymore. What I haven’t gotten used to though, and probably never will is the swinging of the boat and rolly anchorages and the sleepless nights that come with them.
We had one of those nights a few days ago. We were anchored at Marina Cay, a very popular spot with plenty of other boats there, and the winds started picking up that afternoon turning our safe anchorage into a completely exposed one. Our anchor performed quite well holding its ground, but the waves together with wind gusts were making our boat swing like crazy making it feel like we were sailing although we were safely anchored! That feeling lasted all night so we were on constant watch not being able to get much sleep at all.
Finally when the darkness of the night started changing to light, we decided to lift the anchor and use the engine to get us to a more protected place until the winds subsided. We motored all the way to Gorda Sound in Virgin Gorda. We ended up anchoring in the lee of Prickly Pear and although there’s no complete protection from the wind it’s much better than our last anchorage.
These last two months on the boat have served us to learn a great deal and we are feeling more confident with our anchoring skills, having mastered our own “technique” and not to mention the mooring balls; they are now my personal friends and I no longer see them as scary or challenging but as good friends that easily come to my hook and let themselves be lifted and grabbed by us. I’m proud to say, that since the last time I wrote about them, we haven’t missed one mooring ball.
There have been lots of lessons learned already and I’m sure plenty more to come. We close 2014 feeling grateful for all the amazing moments we’ve had not only onboard Ondular but throughout the year. We celebrated New Year’s Eve at Trellis Bay, which is a bay a short dinghy ride from Marina Cay. It has a few bars along the beach, so we walked around going from one bar to the next, Mick tasting all the different ways to make the famous local cocktail called “painkiller” and talking to different people.
The plan was to stay up until 12 so we could see the famous “fire sculptures”. A local artist called Aragorn, makes these beautiful metal sculptures and lights them up during their famous full moon parties and of course New Year’s Eve. But we didn’t quite make it till 12. This lifestyle of going to bed every night at 9pm and waking up early is really getting a hold on us, so by 11:00 we had enough and decided to dinghy back to Ondular where I managed to stay up, while Mick was half awake half passed out on the couch (due to the “painkillers” hahaha).
As I have mentioned on a previous post (probably back in January 2014) we have a lot of traditions in Ecuador about how to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Although this year, I had a more constricted space, I did manage to continue with some of my traditions like eating the 12 grapes for good wishes for each month of the new year and burning on a piece of paper all the things that I would like to let go of from the previous year ( bad habits, bad memories, things that I no longer need, etc).
From my mum, who loves everything about Brazil, we have adopted the tradition of wearing white during New Year’s Eve and also if we are spending the night near the beach, we jump over 7 waves at 12 o’clock for good luck (these traditions had all to do with honouring Yemanja, the goddess of the oceans and fishermen in Brazil). This year, because we are actually living surrounded by the sea, I decided to go a step further and made an offering for Yemanja with things that I found on the beach (a coconut, filled with flowers and corals) and I placed it on the ocean and let it go right at 12.
The following morning we sailed to a nearby island to go snorkelling and on our way there, we had two dolphins appearing near our boat and swimming right next to us for a while, going from one side of the boat to the other. This was a magical moment for me, because I’ve been wanting to see dolphins ever since we started sailing on Ondular and this was the first time we were finally seeing them and they were right next to our boat. It seemed like Yemanja had liked my offering. What a great way to start the new year!
We are hopefully on our last days here on the BVI, and I don’t say “hopefully” because I don’t like it here but because we ended up staying much longer than what we ever thought we would. In total it’s been more than 4 months just leaving for two and a bit weeks when we went to the USVI and Culebra Island last month.
We are ready to continue our journey and see the rest of the islands. We are continually watching the weather now and waiting for our weather window to do the 80 NM crossing to Sint Maarten. The famous “Christmas winds” should subside in the next few days and I’m sure that with Yemanja’s blessing we’ll get there safe and sound. I would like to wish all of you an amazing 2015. I hope all your goals come true and that this New Year is full of happy moments, health, abundance and lots of love.