The rain has stopped and weather forecast improved a
little. Today the wind is still strong and the waves are high, but we decided to
go north through the narrow passage between the mainland and Curtis Island,
drying at low tide called simply “The Narrows”.
If we go this way we will be able to make more headway
north without having to fight the sea.
Gonzie bought Noel Patrick’s “Curtis Coast”
book which has quite detailed instructions for how the crossing should be done
and local sailors at the marina convinced us it is possible even for yachts with
2.5 m keel.
Sounds like it can be done, just need to time the passage
with the tides well.
Having left the marina at 2 pm we arrived to Black Swan
Island at 4:30 – the tide is at least 3.5m (2 meters at the drying section) now
and it should be enough water for our 1.7 m keel to pass.
The high tide today is at 17:55, but we want to clear the
drying part just before the tide is in its highest point, so if we do run
aground, we don’t have to lay on the side in the mud for a day waiting for the
next high tide (there will be another early in the morning but it won’t be high
Each red and green beacon in a chart is numbered and the
book has maps with a dotted line showing the safe passage between them, it also
tells you how many meters you should be away from mangrove shoreline. Gonzie is
steering and I’m standing next to him with the chart and the book and having to
read the instruction telling him which way to go. The passage from green
starboard beacon No5 to red port beacon No10 is relatively long and it is a
curve, not a straight line. We took slightly wrong curve and ran aground digging
20 cm of the keel into the mud (that we found out later when we saw the marks on
the keel underwater). After moving back and forward a few times we set free.
We however passed the most shallow part between green
markers No 7 and No 9 without any problems (we tried to be more careful) and
then followed the leading triangles out the deeper channel. It is all done and
we are on the northern side of the Narrows!
For the night we anchored in Mosquito Creek, still well
protected from the swell of the ocean (and by the way does not have any more
mosquitoes than the other nearby creeks, it’s a mystery why they called it