Isla Aves – Don’t run into this island!
Photo source: www.isladeaves.org.ve
The following joke has been making the rounds for years, so I’m guessing that you’ve heard it in one form or another:
Americans: “Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.”
Canadians: “Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.”
Americans: “This is the captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.”
Canadians: “No, I say again, you divert YOUR course.”
Americans: “THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES’ ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH. THAT’S ONE-FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTER MEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.”
Canadians: “This is a lighthouse. Your call.”
While Snopes says that the above is in no way true, it’s still funny.
What’s less amusing is that a sailor who, after rounding the south-western tip of Grenada, sets a course for the USVI, just missing St. Croix’s eastern point, may find himself coming close to a very similar situation. Yes, that is true. Just change Canadians above to Venezuelan!
Don’t hit the island!
Not far off the Grenada-St. Croix rhumb line (<5 NM) lies a relatively tiny patch of sand and rock known as Isla Aves. Once a subject of some dispute, the island is now considered a Caribbean dependency of Venezuela. To learn about the island, Spanish speakers might enjoy visiting this website, while those who don’t habla español may get more out of this site.
For sailors who will be running the passage described above, or any passage for that matter, make sure that you take note of exactly where you have your autopilot programed to take you. For example, when you set an A to B course with the chart plotter set to small scale, before you hit engage, zoom all the way in, and follow the complete course line to ensure that you won’t bump into anything, like an island. Or better yet, take a look at your paper charts, because a tiny spot like Isla Aves won’t even show up at small magnifications on most chart plotters. You don’t want to end up like these guys!
Team Vestas Wind on Cargados Carajos Shoals – Volvo Ocean Race – 2015