Imagine living in a washing machine for 4 days and 4 nights: preparing the main meals, managing the navigation, adjusting the sails, making electronic correspondence, setting the course according to wind and sea conditions, but also writing a logbook, reading and conversing with the crew, playing the guitar, being a night watchman, going to the bathroom. Here, all this inside a washing machine in operation that makes you roll from one side to the other in a continuous movement. This is more or less what happens when you cross the Caribbean Sea for more than 800 miles from the Antilles to Colombia with 4 meters of wave and an average of 25 knots of wind.
We have sailed the entire passage with the wind coming from the aft and with the genoa goose-winged with a reduced mainsail with one or two reefs. Both day and night we have had numerous squalls: you see them coming behind you like black and threatening clouds, they look like big cats chasing you and with a leap they jump on you and swallow you in a mouthful to unload on you gusts of wind and copious rain showers. During the day you can use them to take a shower and get the salt off you, but at night they are annoying and if you have the misfortune to run into them during a night guard you get completely drenched. But all these difficulties are nothing compared to the experience of navigating this sea which at certain times of the day takes on an emerald color and its waves chase each other like horses that run in a large prairie. Dolphins often come to visit us jumping happily at our side for a long time and it is wonderful to see the bow of Milanto entering the hollow of these big waves and leaving it surfing while keeping the course with an average of 8.5 knots. We reached speeds of almost 13 knots on certain occasions, when the wind strengthened above 30 knots off the Peninsula de la Guajaira, after leaving the islands of Boanire, Curacao and Aruba, just before the Gulf of Venezuela and the bay of Maracaibo.
The nights are accompanied by a large moon that illuminates the waves and gives us visibility that does not need our personal torches for maneuvers on the deck and in the cockpit. At these latitudes we sail constantly under the light of the starboard polar and the southern cross on the left, in addition to the other millions of stars and constellations that illuminate the sky and will accompany our route for this just begun world tour.
The coast of Colombia appeared to us on the morning of the 15th, a wild and majestic day, but also restless because we were caught by a strong wind of almost 40 knots that forced us to reduce the sails and be careful for the last few miles that remained before arrival. Incredible to say but as soon as we arrived at the entrance to the bay of Santa Marta the wind dropped completely and we had to look for a gust of wind to push us over the finish line between the island of Morro and Morro Chico in front of the entrance of the Marina di Santa Marta.
It was a nice navigation and a nice baptism for our crew who have already trained in demanding conditions. We passed the finish line in overall second place and first in our category of monohull boats. And now? The adventure has just begun, the next stage will not be a regatta, but the discovery of the Guna natives on the San Blas islands!