We left Georgetown early in the morning, anticipating at least one day of good sailing and relatively calm seas. It turned out to be just as predicted. Our first day out we had nice sailing for most of the day and then the wind died and we started the motor in the early afternoon. We continued motoring throughout the night and into the early afternoon the next day. And then just as predicted the wind arrived and it arrived with a fury. We were able to just get into an anchorage in the southern most Bahamian islands. The anchorage was not well protected with only reefs to lessen the waves and nothing blocking the wind. We waited out the worst of the wind and high seas and after two days we made our break to Turks and Caicos. We needed to cover only about 60 miles but those were very tough miles. The seas were nearly 3 meters and the wind was blowing 25-30 knots from the exact direct we were heading. Samadhi and her crew took a beating for nearly 11 hours as we pushed the engine harder than we have ever pushed it just to get out of those conditions. As we got close to the Turks and Caicos the seas began to subside and the day even became pleasant due to the fact that we were now in the lee of the islands.
In our plans Turks and Caicos was just a stepping stone to Puerto Rico. Ranger is not allowed to go to shore there and we were not able to get Samadhi into most of the anchorages due to her deep draft. However, the time that we did spend hiding from high winds and waves was delightful. Despite the strong winds we were able to tuck Samadhi into and amongst the mangroves in one of the only deep channels in the island chain. The water was crystal clear and the marina facility nearby was pleasant and helpful. I was able to take a taxi into the city and do some grocery shopping and the four of us also took a few exploratory dinghy rides. Other than that, we did not see much of the islands before a break in the weather allowed us to finally (after waiting nearly a month) make a break for Puerto Rico!
The leg between Turks and Caicos and Puerto Rico is about 400 nautical miles. 400 miles right into the wind and waves! And in case I have not mentioned it in the past, when the waves and wind are coming from directly in front of you, things can be unpleasant on the boat. If the wind is blowing 10 knots and the seas are 2 feet it is not fun and a minute can seem like an hour. We had 25 knot winds and seas around 6 feet high! That makes us long for “uncomfortable”. For two days we again pushed our engine harder than we have ever pushed it. For two days Samadhi bashed thru the waves and dropped into the troughs. For two days none of the crew felt much like eating and even moving due to the movement and pounding of the boat! I kept telling the kids, and quite frankly myself, that Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Islands beyond will make all this misery worth it. I did not always believe it and to be perfectly honest, a glimmer of doubt entered my mind about why we live on a boat and put ourselves through all of this. But just as I began mentally house shopping and envisioning never having to own another boat, the wind and seas began to ease and the wind shifted to the north. The wind shift allowed us to turn off the engine and begin sailing. Everything is better for our boat and crew when Samadhi is sailing! Our final night of the passage was actually quite enjoyable. It was still less than calm and peaceful but compared to the previous 48 hours we were happy. We dropped the anchor in a beautiful small bay on the west side of Puerto Rico in the early afternoon of our 4th day at sea. We had a nice early dinner and then we all went to sleep exhausted but happy to have that passage behind us.