We are on the way, Finally!
After waiting for nearly 2 weeks at Guanaja for the weather to turn, we are super happy to be able to move again! Mats has a flight from Panama on the morning of the 10th, so for a good while it did not look like he would be able to make the flight at all. Now, it looks like he just might be able to make it. we will se, it is a race against the clock right now…
The Cabo Falso area and the Gorda bank outside the border between Honduras and Nicaragua is known to be a piracy area. therefore we have teamed up with another Norwegian boat called Vega, and we are sailing together for safety. They have a Lagoon 42, and could outrun us in just about any weather, but they are kind enough to match our speed until we have passed the piracy danger. We have been sailing for a little more than two days now, It started with about 10-15 kts headwind and waves and 0,7kts current, but we managed to keep the average speed up to about 4,5kts as we were able to motorsail for a while. We are still using the engine, poor thing… It has been going on high revs for two days straight now, to get us out of this area as soon as possible, and to make sure we can make Mats’s flight.
Last night (third night) when I was writing the text above, we were suddenly approached by an unknown ship, pobably a fishing vessel. It appeared on our starboard side, It was approaching fast directly towards us, with no visible navigation lights, only a bright searchlight and some deck lights. It came close enough for us to see the bow wave and a person walking on the deck in the blackness of the night. It then turned to Port and turned around again when it was in our wake. It then started to follow us closely. Sy Vega made a Pan Pan notice on the VHF radio to all vessels in the vicinity, but there was no reply. We agreed with Vega to turn off all lights on the sailboats. Vega made a Mayday call on the radio, informing all vessels in the proximity of a possible pirate attack, and that we were requesting help. We had agreed on going straight to a mayday call if we were being approached by a possible pirate vessel. As they are a familly of five, we are not willing to take any chances. Still no one replied. Mats had found the flaregun I purchased in Rio Dulce, and I was ready to fire several flares in the vessels direction to scare them off if they came any closer. Vega made several Mayday calls. There was a spanish reply on the Radio, we were not able to pick up what they were saying. But the ship following us slowed down. and appeared to give up the chase. We continued on into the night without any navigation lights. sy Vega was using their Radar to track us, and informed us of our position relative to eachother via the VHF radio. It was a moonles night, almost pitch dark, I could barely make out the horizon in the dark. Later that night a new vessel appeared in the horizon, with similar lights as the one who was following us earlier. We altered course to stay away from it, but it appeared to follow us for a while. At a distance of about 3-4nm. Almost like it was looking for us… When we were out on deep sea at 1am we finally turned on the Nav lights again. Now we were able to see sy Vega several miles in front of us.
We have now passed Isla de Providencia, and are outside the pirate area. It feels good to only have to think about the sailing part, and not having to worry about seeing 6-7 small motorboats approaching at full speed at any moment with desperate fishermen seing their oppurtunity to make some cash…
The episode was quite unpleasant, But we do not know the intentions of the vessel following us, it might have been a friendly ship. However, In either way it was behaving in a very odd way. The vessel was between 15-25meters long, and could easily have runned us over.
Sy Vega got full sails up now and are leading the race to Panama. We are following as fast as we can to make up for lost time motoring against the current the past two days. We have sailing wind, but we are still motorsailing to make sure we have a chance at making Mats’s flight on the 10th.
We hope to be in Panama in a couple of days from now.
Cheers from the Gravningsbåtens
We are on the way, Finally!