A Caribbean Bound Sailing Adventure
Updated: Jan 23, 2021
Everyday just felt like any other day on board Kuma Too. Maybe it's because Kuma is basically our home or because we sail for a living. Whatever the reason, the overwhelming excitement and happiness didn't set in until the sun was shining on the island of Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands.
The first 5 days sailing to and staying in Key West were like any other trip - busy with boat work mixed with a night out to see friends in town. The journey didn't start until Saturday, January 12 (Day 1) when we pulled out of Key West harbor at 7am. The first 33 hours we motored along the Florida Keys through Hawks Channel dodging crabpots and halfway across the Gulfstream. Days 2 and 3 were spent sailing avoiding all the cruise ships and cargo ships, as we passed through the Bahamas. Just before departing the Bahamas at the Northeast Passage, Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas passed us within a half mile. If you know us, you likely know the significance of that ship in our lives...we sailed on Oasis in it's inaugural season then Joe proposed to me on it in 2011, and we got married on it in 2013. It was a special feeling to be on board Kuma Too taking the same route as Oasis.
As day 4 crept in, the wind fell off and the motor came on. Atlantic dolphins must love the hum of an engine because in the afternoon, we were welcomed into the Atlantic Ocean by a giant pod of dolphins! Well over a hundred dolphins surrounded Kuma, playing in our wake and between our hulls. It was a spectacular sight!!!
Hump day arrived with a bang...the seas had caused some issues with our mainsail set up. After evaluating, we had the topping lift too loose causing the boom to bounce drastically during the rolling seas with minimal wind filling the sail. The main sheet got caught under a solar panel chaffing the sheet to almost a breaking point. While the sheet was caught, too much strain was on the lazy jacks and reefing line causing both to snap. Joe, with the help of the crew, replaced the main sheet and reefing line as day broke. The lazy jacks had to wait until we reached BVI because we had to retrieve the line from the second spreader on the mast. As a quick fix the sailbag was tied back, hiding our newly printed website and making it a hassle to reef the mainsail.
The next two days were uneventful with a mix of motoring, sailing, routine maintenance checks and refueling. The watch schedule has the 6 of us on two hour shifts several hours apart, so we have plenty of time to ourselves and to catch up on sleep.
As the clock turned over at midnight, the crew gathered on deck for a champagne toast as we adjusted course to 180 degrees South. It was the final leg of the trip with less than 400 nautical miles to go to Tortola, BVI. The heading made for great sailing, as the easterly trade winds finally filled in. Saturday morning brought renewed energy for the crew and Kuma Too. We were steaming along at 8 knots in 13 knots of wind most of the day. We even caught a small male mahi mahi, but he was returned to the sea to mature. As night fell, the winds and seas steadily increased making for a challenging final 24 hours.
By the last day, we had to slow the boat down because we didn't want to arrive in the dark. Kuma just wanted to go! We had 2 reefs in the main and only a sliver of the headsail out to keep an average speed of 4.5 knots. At 1am on Monday morning, there was a total lunar eclipse. It was the most amazing night of the trip!! Throwing the shift schedule to the wind, we all watched the blood moon for a full hour and were memorized by the countless stars and milkyway filling the night sky. It was the most stars any of us have ever seen! Absolutely breathtaking!!
As daybreak arrived on Monday, January 21, 2019, we sailed through the green hills of the Virgin Islands. When I looked out my cabin window and saw the sun shining on Jost Van Dyke, my eyes filled with tears and a giant smile covered my face. On a beach in the British Virgin Islands in 2015, Joe and I made a plan to buy a sailboat and sail back to that beach. We did it.
Some Fun Statistics
14 seasick patches and 1 set of sea bands (read about Kuma Too seasick remedies here)
23 shooting stars
1 lunar eclipse
102 pre-made hot meals
321 feet of running rigging replaced
3 days with no ship sightings
180 gallons of water
120 total shifts
240 hours underway
866 nautical miles motoring
554 nautical miles sailing
1420 total nautical miles
175,800,345 hull slaps
I used more sailing terms than usual in this post. If you'd like clarification on something specific, please ask in the comments section below, and I'll be happy to elaborate. To learn about charters on board Kuma Too, visit www.SailingKumaToo.com
Until next week, Happy Sailing!
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