Gui Castelão

Personal website

email github twitter scholar orcid

Mar 16, 2015

The Right Woman

One knows that one was chosen by the right woman every time that one realizes that both share the same values and excitement for the same things.

It was less than two minutes to finish the bidding time on eBay, and Bia entered in my office. I was so excited that couldn't help myself: "Darling! Look at this, we're about to get a replacement for the sonar transducer!" Her answer!?! "Yes, that's fabulous!! Let me see! It's actually a good price." I don't think most of the sailors around experience the same.

The transducer was probably the major weakness in Harmony (our sailboat) today. The last time we could sail together, on the return to Trinidad, we lost the sonar. It showed some numbers but it was completely unreliable. I decided to do not take Scotland's bay channel since it's quite narrow and surrounded by big rock walls. I mean big, way taller than the mast. If you miss the channel, you would have the waves and wind pushing you against those walls. I didn't like that vision, and we went for what would be a safer entrance, a way larger channel few miles west of that. I couldn't remember its name at that time, which partially explained my decision.

Few miles away I was already getting relaxed, with the felling of another safe passage. As we get closer, the waves were getting bigger and bigger. I thought in two possibilities, the waves where converging on the center of the channel, or I was heading for shallow waters.

I knew that there was a nice channel there, but I wasn't sure if I could trust those nautical charts. It could be easy 100m to the side, and I didn't like the idea.

We tried to turn around, but the waves were too big. I drove for few minutes while looking backward, until a smaller wave came, that was the chance to turn around. That wave was smaller, not small, so I was glad to have chosen a good one to turn while hearing everything downstairs flying to the floor and watching Bia holding tight on the deck. I made a big mistake earlier. I lowered the main sail a couple of miles from land and thinking that crossing was done. Sailboats are not meant to move only on the engine, and we barely could make progress banging the waves. Those were respectable waves, with whitecaps on the top that wash the deck. Poor Bia, I don't think she ever experienced that before. Looking back, I don't think there were real chances to roll a 31 ft full keel under those conditions, but the perspective from inside the boat was quite different. At sea, the shit is a blink away, and a slow response can allow keeping going worse. It wouldn't be easy to keep that route to clear deep waters again and then we would still need to make the other narrow channel. We turned it back between sets. Bia got the tiller and I raised the main. One hand to the boat, the other one to avoid flying away. If we hit the bottom, our only chance would be with the main up, and another problem, it should be full, no reef, to have enough power to take us off.

Now we have a big main, big waves, no sonar, and quite tired after a full night sailing. I'm now back driving while Bia was looking the sonar, since I have the hope that if it got too shallow, it would return a solid strong signal, while I surfed the waves. Did I mention how big the waves were? I think that was the moment that I felt most out of control on my boat.

After that, arrive at PowerBoats was a relief. The boat was a big mess, and all that we could do was to clear some space to crash and sleep for several hours. I remember once Eric saying that if he needed to choose, he would take the sonar instead of the GPS. That didn't sound reasonable to me, until I experienced the Dragon's Mouth. Yes, that was the name of the entrance that I chose for an easy and safe arrival!

Mar 04, 2013

It's not what do you think it is!

Today on the radio while I was making some coffee: "Boat blue hull in the Secret Harbor Bay, boat blue hull ..., the buoy that you're trying to pick it up is not a mooring buoy, but a wreck buoy!" O_o

Sometimes we look for comfort and expect safety in the wrong place. I'm finally finding some time to write, cook, and organize the boat. A quite pleasant time.

The view from my "office":