Location: Underway to Barbados in the Atlantic Ocean
As of 1000 this morning, we were underway to Barbados. The passage is approximately 630 nautical miles and is estimated to take four days. Relative to the rest of our passages, this one is a baby. It also differs in a number of other ways. First, it’s the calmest passage we’ve been on in a while. Our last passage from Fortaleza to Isle de Salut was particularly rough, comparable to the experience of your typical garment in the drying machine. Today, however, our tilt is averaging less than 10 degrees. We’ve been in anchorages that were worse than that. Second, the color of the water. If, when you imagine your children on Argo, you envision them sailing on gin-clear water, normally you’d be right. Today, however, it’s closer to chocolate milk. Two factors are responsible. First, we’re located between two of the largest river systems in South America, the Amazon to our south and the Orinoco to our north. It’s also incredibly shallow. Right now, we’re 30 miles offshore, and the water is only 120 feet deep. Again, we’ve been in anchorages deeper than that. Combine the influences of these two, and it’s no wonder that water visibility is less than a foot and the color of dirty dishwater. The third distinction has everything to do with the Guiana Current. Look at any chart for this part of the world, and you will notice that each devotes a small section to a discussion on the Guiana Current. Prudent mariners who read these notes would know that the current travels in a northwesterly direction at 1-4 knots. This is described in nautical terms as not slow. Luckily, it’s traveling in the same direction as us and aids our progress towards Barbados. So much so that we actually have to worry about going too fast. In previous passages, we’ve done everything we could just to make 6 knots. Today we’re actively working to make less than 9. The point here, if there is one, is how diverse our experience is. Thus far on this trip, we’ve sailed over 5000 nautical miles. We’ve spent 30 days, a whole month, at sea. And despite all that time on the ocean, we still get passages that surprise us.