Approached at Sea,100 Miles From Land!
Being approached at sea is a nerve wracking experience. Our hearts pound and our imaginations sink to dark depths. There are endless possibilities of what’s headed our way. The unknown consequences, good or bad, bring nothing but apprehension to the surface. Fear can settle in deep if we let it.
Hellen Keller was a remarkable human and her writings about fear and danger are spot on.
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. God Himself is not secure, having given man dominion over his works! Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Faith alone defends. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.”
With the “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing” motto in mind, hit the play button.
Hello Ecuador! It really was a good passage that tested our nerves, courage and imaginations just enough. It was also a chill out, hang out, be at one with nature experience too. We had long spells of calm weather and seas which made for a lot of tranquility.
Safety and Security At Sea
There were some tense moments but nothing threatening. We’re more likely to encounter a mugging on the streets than we are a robbery on the high seas. And don’t even get me started on the statistics for getting into a car accident. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t do our homework and prepare ourselves. WE DO!
Safety and security at sea is a huge subject of its own. In general, encounters at sea are rarely life threatening. And they’re far and few between. Especially ones involving any real pirates. In general, pirates and other lawless sea scoundrels tend to go for the big commercial ships with lots of cargo to steal. But, it’s always important to know what dangers lie in whichever route we choose. And, depending on the dangers, we can alter our route. Just like our choice to skip the Pacific side of Columbia. (Caribbean side of Columbia is very different and worthy of a visit.)
Here are some of the sources with info, tips, reports and general safety advice we use.
- Caribbean Safety and Security Net (Caribbean only) – https://safetyandsecuritynet.org/
- Noonsite (Country and Individual Port Info) – http://www.noonsite.com/Countries
- Lonely Planet Guides
- Individual Country Tourism/Customs Websites
- Local Marinas – Still not sure about safety and security at a port? Contact a local marina by email and ask.
(Pirate) Encounters At Sea
The first time I ever read about sailors getting approached or followed at sea was back in our dreaming days reading Bumfuzzle’s book. Now that we’re sailing we’ve heard (and read) lots of stories just like ours. Granted it’s not often 100 miles from land, but the plot is the same: Sailboat moves at 5-8 knots. Fishermen spots a boat on the horizon. Small fishing boat moves at 20+ knots and decides to ‘check it out’. Sometimes it’s a friendly wave, sometimes they ask for food, cigarettes or booze. In most cases it’s simply curiosity.
I like to consider it from their perspective: You’re in the middle of the sea, all alone. You see something on the horizon. It might be nice to see a friendly face and check out what kind of boat they’re in. Or perhaps, that looks like a nice boat, I wonder if they have any cookies?
Crossing The Equator
I know, I know, how could we muck up the line crossing ceremony! When we were looking at routes and ports of entry we were originally thinking Esmeralda’s, which is before the equator. Then, we decided on Bahia De Caraquez instead because I read it was a slightly bigger town with a little more to do. Then, in all the chaos of trying to get out of Panama it never hit us that we would be getting awfully close to the Equator. Good thing we’re not superstitious people, sheesh. Oh well, there will be other opportunities coming up to get silly, possibly naked and partake in old Navy traditions.
We’ve always stuck to a no alcohol while sailing policy. And we still keep that policy while coastal sailing. Then we read this book about heavy weather sailing where the author provides a good case at why one should have a Captain’s hour during passage. Literally blew my mind! How could this guy, talking about sailing in horrible sea conditions, think it’s OK to have a cocktail?!?
The author writes “I encourage a glass of wine, rum, or beer at Captain’s Hour, to help people relax and sleep. A few days without sleep can be debilitating and can not only ruin your enjoyment of the passage but also impair your ability to make sound decisions when conditions deteriorate.”
After some consideration, we decided it was a great idea for passage making aboard Curiosity. This sail from Panama to Ecuador was our first test and I’m happy to report it was an overwhelming success! We didn’t do it every day but Captain’s Hour brings everyone on board together, to relax and discuss the days events. We prep a small half-shot (.5oz) cocktail, share a beer, or half a glass of wine. We think it’s a grand idea and it gives everyone an extra reason to look forward to the sun dropping below the horizon.
Sailing Report – Las Perlas, Panama to Bahia De Caraquez, Ecuador
To see our full map with interactive pins, click here: gonewiththewynns.com/map
- Sail Started January 16, 2018 12:36pm
- Dropped Anchor January 22, 2018 7:45am
- Nautical Miles Sailed – 680
- Average True Wind Speed – 10 knots
- Averaged Boat Speed – 5 knots
- Gallons of Fuel Used – 45
Gear Used In This Video
- iPad Pro http://amzn.to/2d9Oopf With These Sailing Apps:
- Iridium Go and Predict Wind for weather and communications: bit.ly/PredictWindIridium
- Red Gels Used on Lights: https://amzn.to/2IRPCWT
- Full Review Of All Our Camera Gear: gonewiththewynns.com/camera-gear-review-2017
- All our fave gadgets and gear can be found in Our Gear store: gonewiththewynns.com/store
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Curious About Kate
Kate is a salty sailor hailing from South Africa (we introduce her here). You can snoop around on Kate’s blog abrandnewlife.co.za/ and poke around on her Instagram account instagram.com/a.brand.new.life/ and while you are there, give us a follow if you haven’t already: instagram.com/the_wynns/
We have a 90 day visa in Ecuador. We will apply (and wait) for our long stay French Polynesia Visas. We have some killer plans in store to explore this country, so I hope you’re ready for some adventures!
And, Because the question keeps rolling in…
I can’t tell you how many people in the comments (especially YouTube) ask if we have a gun on board. This is an extremely opinionated topic and one I have zero desire to dive into. But purely from a practical stance, it doesn’t make sense for us.
We are travelers, asking permission to enter a foreign country. Once we’re allowed in, we’re bound to their laws and any consequences should we break the law.
You must declare guns on entry in a new country. Most countries will take them from you until you clear out. Trying to lie or hide guns is always a terrible idea. Gun laws are drastically different from country to country. The penalties for not declaring firearms are steep and could involve anything from heavy fines, prison time or at worst, death. For us, at this point in our lives, it’s just not worth it.