Sirena left Cartagena, Colombia bound for Kingstown, Jamaica on April 11, 2017 with sunny, clear sky and light wind. I was sad to say goodbye to this city that had been so welcoming to us, but looking forward to being on the move again!
DAY 1 Caribbean Sea Crossing
We exited Cartagena Bay and almost immediately felt the effect of the ever present wind. Just a week prior a sailboat from our marina had been lost at sea and the Captian drowned. This was going to be a rough crossing and we knew it. No matter how carefully you choose the weather window, the area just north of Cartagena is infamous for wind, waves, and lots of current. We sailed in wind 25 knots gusting to 28 knots and 9-12 ft seas.
Around 15:30 we passed a drifting 472 ft cargo ship that was transmitting AIS but status listed as "Not Under Command" and it appeared abandoned. The name POLESTAR was on the side. Kinda scary thinking of something that large just floating around out here. It reminds us why there is always someone on watch!
We brought along one crew member, Ryan, a backpacker we met in Cartagena, to help keep watch. Unfortunately he was so sea sick he was not much help! Chris took the majority of the watch during the day and we rotated at night with someone always staying with Ryan because he was inexperienced. The sea and wind were rough the first day and night. We had constant waves crashing over the dodger and washing the deck. Wind tracked from 45 degrees to about 60 degrees as we progressed North, but the 25 knots remained almost constant. We sailed as close to the wind as possible to gain enough easting prior to hitting the adverse current on day two. My log notes from watch that night were simply, "hellish night".
Day 2-3 Caribbean Sea Crossing
The wind calmed a bit and we sailed for two days at 7.5 knots with sunny skies and a dolphin escort. Everyone was feeling a little better by the second day. Wind was 16-18 knots at 60-65 degrees true. Adverse current did not effect us as much as anticipated but it was good that we had the easting as it put us on line for calmer weather overnight.
Day 4 Arrival in Jamaica April 14
We sailed slowly through the second night so as to arrive at Kingston Harbor in full daylight. Officials greeted us at the Royal Jamaica Yacht Club and entry was uneventful. I had been concerned about bringing Ninja, but the officials did not seem interested so long as he remained on the boat.
The Royal Jamaican Yacht Club
Royal Jamaican Yacht Club Contact info 2017
Royal Jamaican Yacht Club dates from 1901
We had to stay at the fuel dock here because the slips are mostly for smaller vessels. The bar and restaurant and swimming pool were very nice (although expensive) but the marina was shallow and electricity was iffy. Laundry facilities were the worst we had encountered to date with one dilapidated machine and no dryer. These days, RJYC is a yacht club mostly for local fishing boats and a few smaller sailboats. The occasional cruiser who finds themselves on this side of the island will have to make due. The marina staff is helpful and we were driven into the town by a trustworthy taxi driver who accompanied us to the local grocery and KFC. Entry in and out was accomplished with little trouble and so long as our cat stayed aboard there were no issues with him either. It was a relaxing stopover on our way North.
View of Kingston Harbor from Royal Jamaican Yacht Club Bar
Royal Jamaican Yacht Club Pool
RJYC Clubhouse with awards dating back to early 1900's