TOTAL MILES TRAVELED ON SAIL to SEE EXPEDITION:
2420 NM (Nautical Miles)
THE LAST PASSAGE
Miles traveled using SAILS – WIND POWER ONLY: 983 NM
Miles traveled using both SAILS & ENGINES together: 101 NM
Miles traveled using ENGINES – FOSSIL FUELS ONLY: 67 NM
Average Water Temperature: 75 f/24 c
Average Air Temperature: 68 f/20 c
Strongest Wind: 26 Knots (knots are a wind measurement of Nautical Miles per hour)
Coral Sea – Super yacht from Marshall Islands
Pepin Express – Cargo ship from Reo, Tanzania
Lots of Haitian Sailing and Fishing Boats and Dugout Canoes
Atlantic Ocean: Brown Booby, Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Flying Fish, Squid
Plastics Collection: We have tested our Plastic Collecting Trawl. Here is a photo of the trawl in action and also what we picked up in just a short amount of time in the sieve. There were several pieces of polystyrene and a few bits of blue plastic. We will be towing the trawl more regularly soon and will report on what kinds of plastics we find.
VOS Reports Filed: VOS NOAA weather reports to begin soon - stay tuned.
Elcie left Georgetown with a crew of eight sailors. Our first sail took us to sea then across the shallow, blue waters west of Long Island, an island in the south part of the Bahamas. The shadow of our sails moved across the sandy bottom only three feet below our keels. After anchoring, we went ashore and arranged a trip for the next day to go and find the famous Dean’s Blue Hole.
We were up early in the morning and away we set off, with snorkel gear and sandwiches. Dean’s Blue Hole is a 600’ deep hole in the water, surrounded by cliffs and a white sand beach. While swimming over the blue hole, you could look down and see endless water! Some swam down into it and we all had fun jumping off the cliffs. It was really beautiful to see how the earth shaped such a wonder. Ollie made a video about it that you can watch.
On the way home we stopped to swim in a cave called The Shrimp Hole. With the clear water you could see loads of tiny bright red shrimp swimming on the bottom. Unfortunately, we eventually had to leave, so we packed up and headed back to the boat.
The next day, we set sail for another Bahamian Island, Great Inagua. It was only a short stop, long enough to stock up some food for our overnight passage to Haiti. A strong wind carried us through the Windward Passage and by morning, we were approaching Haiti. We arrived to our destination, Ile a Vache, an island off the coast of Haiti, by sunset.
The harbor we stayed in was called Port Morgan surrounded by the village of Cay a Coq. Dugout canoes with young boys and men appeared as we anchored, offering to sell us fruits and fish. This is pretty typical in small Caribbean villages frequented by sailboats. Visiting boats are a good opportunity for these young men to earn some money or trade for things they need. We bartered for services, trading athletic shoes, caps, and snorkel masks and fins.
The next day we went ashore to see the market in a nearby town with our tour guide, a teenage boy named Clivens who we met the previous day in a canoe. He was very helpful as a guide as there were many side tracks to be taken. We passed many houses surrounded by tidy gardens, children watching us shyly. It was Christmas eve but there were no Christmas decorations. Many families did not have the wealth to be able to celebrate Christmas.
Getting closer to the market, we began to pass donkeys and women with baskets on their heads We weren't prepared for the chaotic market scene or the crowds of people. Groups of people moving past mounds of clothes and displays of shoes looked a bit scary but everyone was friendly enough. We traded U.S. bills for the Haitian currency, Gourdes, and started shopping. Together our purchases of fruits and veggies added up to less then five dollars so we then used up the rest of our money on sodas. Soon the captain of Elcie came and picked us up from the docks by the market and off we went back to the boat.
We celebrated a mellow Christmas day with homemade gifts and a day at the beach. Although it was nothing compared to the Christmas back in America, it felt luxurious for Haiti. The day ended with a beautiful sunset and a short walk through the village and back to Elcie. We had someone take a picture of the crew.
On Tuesday morning, Clivens joined us for one more trip ashore to the orphanage called St. Francis D’Assisi Orphanage. We had several bags of picture books, children’s tee shirts and shoes to donate. They were well received by one of the nuns. Once back, we started to get ready for another passage, this one to Panama. We truly enjoyed our brief time at Ile a Vache and everyone that we met and traded with.
The trip to Panama was fast though quite windy, especially on the second day. We caught two yellowfin tuna on the third day and saw land later that afternoon. We spent the first night in Panama at the old town of Portabelo, going ashore in the late afternoon for a walk through town and to find some veggies.
The next day we went to a marina in Panama where we are waiting for our transit of the Panama Canal, scheduled for the 6th of January.
WHERE WE VISITED: HAITI
Official Name: Haiti
Area: 10,714 sq. miles (27,750 km2)
Type of Government: Parliamentary democracy
Language: French, Creole
Highest Point: Chaine de la Selle 8,793 ft (2,680 m)
Climate: tropical, semi-arid
Natural Resources: bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble
Major Exports: manufactures, coffee, oils, cocoa
Natural Hazards: hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, droughts
Interesting Fact: Haiti was the first independent nation in Latin America
The Q (Yellow Flag) flying with our Haiti flag is a Quarantine Flag that tells the officials that we are just arriving in the country.
Did you know that you can spell your name with signal flags? Each letter of the alphabet has a signal flag that represents it.
Look up the flags that represent the different letters below or get more information HERE. The International Code of Signals (ICS) is an international system of signals and codes for use by vessels to communicate important messages regarding safety of navigation and related matters.
We'll see you in a couple of weeks when we hope to be in the Pacific Ocean!