Mocha Island Trip - Day 2

Because the Mocha Island is dangerous and it is never a good idea to arrive at an unknown place in the dark, I had to arrive there and to anchor with the daylight. And the sun was going down at 19:40. So to be able to make it on time, I set the alarm clock of the cellphone to 4:00, so that at 4:30 next morning I was already navigating under engine. The wind died, there was thick fog with a visibility of no more than 300 meters, and although there was a moon, it could not penetrate the thick fog, so it was pitch dark. The next 15 hours were a race against time to make it to the Mocha Island before nightfall. All the time at full engine power and mostly under full sails. The weather improved after the daybreak, even with occasional sunshine.

At one point I have seen a rather strange phenomenon on the water – some brown “ears” were flapping and then disappearing under water when the boat was approaching them! And these “ears” were big, some 30 to 40 cm. in diameter.

The strange "ears" are the Squids.

Then, I saw a half a dozen tentacles following the “ears”… These were squids resting on the surface! I estimate that they were slightly bigger than 1 meter, maybe up to 150 cm., but what impressed me more was the sheer number of them. There was a field of these squids at least 500 meters long, and probably close to a kilometer. Thousands and thousands of squids sunbathing on the surface! I crossed two such fields, and it was really an impressive experience.

There go the tentacles!

When only 25 nautical miles were left to island, I began to worry, because there was no wind shift in sight. And if you have northern wind, you can not anchor in front of the island, because it is too dangerous. So on the one hand I was quite happy that the wind was helping me, but also quite worried about the prospect of it not turning. There was a soft, gentle swell of about 3 meters from the southwest onto which the wind waves from the north were superimposed. These waves were slowly growing in height and reached about 1.5 meters, some even more. At around 16:00 when 20 miles were left to the island, I really began to worry. The wind was blowing steadily from the north, at about 15, sometimes 20 knots, and with 2.0+ meter waves this was definitively not the conditions for anchoring in front of the island. I began to think about plan B (anchoring at the other side of the island), plan C (drifting close to the island till morning), and D (returning immediately). Neither prospect was very positive.

First Sight of Land! Mocha Island.

According to the forecast, the wind should have turned a while ago, but so far there was not the slightest hint of this turn. Then, quite suddenly, a black wall of clouds appeared on the horizon, approaching quickly, in 15 minutes rain began to fall, and then, very quickly, within 5 minutes, the wind shifted by more than 90 degrees to the west. Finally, I was relieved because now the prospect of a nice sleep was almost guaranteed.

Getting closer!

When I arrived at the island, I anchored some 400 meters away from the shore in 10 meter deep water. It was safe, but extremely bumpy, because now I had three wave systems acting on me and my stomach: the gentle swell from a storm from southwest, the waves which were generated during the day by the northern wind, and the new, small waves from the west generated by the wind which shifted. Together, they made sure that I had an unbelievable night experience…

Wind shifted.
Near Sunset.
The sun is almost down, but I made it in time!