Day 79: Blockade Runnin’

20.03.09: The entire day at sea, we continued on our painfully slow march towards Cuba. I kept watch for US coastguard boats appearing out of nowhere and asking us what we were up to, but nobody came. Let's RUN this blockade, baby!! The wind was so weak we were truckin' along at a rather underwhelming three miles per hour, so Captain Johnny got out a ‘spinnaker' sail, which is like the ones you see on proper racing yachts. It worked a bit like a kite and it looked really cool blowing out at the front of the boat. It managed to get us up to a more respectable eight miles per hour, but by now it was obvious I wouldn't be getting to Cuba until Sunday at the earliest. Captain Johnny is the same age as me. He's on his way to Fiji, so this is…

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Day 81: The Forbidden Isle

22.03.09: After helming the nightwatch, I got a few hours kip before Johnny called me up on deck - he'd been chatting on the CB with a passing yacht that had just left Maria del Gorda. A yacht called The Mariposa... The very Mariposa that rescued me from Antigua!! Kerri and Andrew! Woo!!! They were on their way to Cancun in Mexico. I told Kerri that I'd try to meet up with them after we hop into Cuba. Johnny and I swung into the sleepy little bay of Maria del Gorda just before noon. It was a gloriously sunny morning, but now the storm clouds were approaching. There was no port to speak of, just some mooring buoys off the shore. Just two other boats beside ours. Johnny put up the US flag and the yellow Quarantine flag and we spoke to the port attendant on…

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Day 82: Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

23.03.09: The madness of leaving at night, drunk and without a weather window slowly dawned on us - looking to port and looking to starboard, electrical storms cackled like mischievous witches in the heavens. I mean, sitting in the middle of the ocean inside what is effectively a large lightning conductor has got to test the judgment of even the most illogical earthlings. So we dropped the sails and threw out the sea anchor - but this is the Gulf Stream - it's like the bit in Finding Nemo with the surf dude turtles - you can't fight the flow baby. Even with no sail, no engine and a sea anchor deployed, we were still doing four knots toward Mexico - four knots towards instant fried crackly doom. Captain Johnny laughed at me for hurriedly putting my gloves on. You think that a tiny bit of…

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