I used to love night sailing on the San Francisco
Then we started fulltime cruising and headed south through Mexico
and Central America
. That is when night sailing became work!
All of these countries, have fishermen running around in 25 boats (Pangas) in the middle of the night, most without any navigation
lights, except Costa Rica
, were they would usually have a small white solid or flashing light about the sie of a pen light.
We had one near miss with a panga off the coast of Guatamala... My wife was on watch and there was no moon... She was adjusting the main sheet when she saw a black spot on the water
.... She turned the boat just in time to see a panga float down the port side with three sleeping fisherman inside. She missed them by about 6 feet.
Also since Nicaruaga, we have been sailing in the rainny season down here... Because of the heavy down pours, the rivers flush everything into the ocean. We have seen 40 foot trees with root balls floating in the water
, as well as barrels, docks and other garbage.
Off Costa Rica
, at 0200 hrs I struck something and as it passed and I swore it was an upside down panga. I did a reciprical course looking for survivors and discovered a 20 foot log with a 4 foot long branch, resembling an upside down outbord motor
. No damage to our boat, but I surely didn't need any more coffee as the adrenaline kept me wide awake the rest of the night.