Day 290, Year 5 Thinking of Jennifer
Date: Thursday, August 12, 2010
Weather: Beautiful Day but Mixed and Strong Wind
Location: Paradise Hole near Berangomaina Point, NW Madagascar

My niece Jennifer is having breast cancer surgery today and we send our hopes for a speedy and complete cancer-free recovery her way. I know Jennifer will have lots of support from family but I miss being able to be there to be a support to my sister Patsy and to Jennifer. So Jennifer, just know that we are thinking of you and with you in spirit.

Today was a MOST interesting sailing day. For weeks now we have had 10 knot winds coming from the land in the morning and from the sea in the afternoon and evenings. Land breeze, sea breeze, moderate winds-that’s been our pattern for Madagascar sailing. We get GRIB files and talk to the South African Mobile Maritime Net to get weather a few days a week, but weather has just not been an issue. Well, today was a different matter. We left completely protected Baramahamay Bay at 6 am and we motored for the first hour and a quarter. Then we had 10 knots of wind from the south but we still needed a motor assist. By 7:30 pm we had 15 knots, still from the south, and we sailed along beautifully all morning even though we had a big westerly swell. We had expected the wind to come from the southeast instead of due south, so we did adjust our course to sail with the wind. And we expected the wind to die sometime between 11 am and 1 pm-it always does. But today it waited until 1:30 pm to die down, but then all of a sudden we had 20 knots of wind hitting us right on the nose from the south. NOT what we expected. So we had to beat into 20-25 knot winds all afternoon, running the motor hard, and still barely got to an anchorage before sundown.

The seas were big and sloppy today and we knew anchoring out at Nosy Kalakajoro would be untenable. So we changed our destination to a bay called Paradise Hole on the mainland. This is the cruiser name for the little bay and it doesn’t have another name on any of the charts. The winds are still blowing 15-25 knots as we sit here. We are bouncing a bit, but basically we think it will be fine even in these strong winds. If the south winds are still blowing strong tomorrow morning, we will probably stay here for another day. And seeing as how tomorrow is Friday the 13th, sitting still is fine with me. There is a tiny village here and lots of low, dry hills we could climb. So that might be tomorrow’s activity.