Monday, May 11, 2009

Diving at the dock and sailing a schooner ...

It is May 11, and we are at a berth in Marsh Harbour Marina charging our batteries on shore power, washing the boat down, fueling, and taking long, nice fresh water showers.  It's a break before we start off to the northwest cays of the Abacos on Wednesday or Thursday.

On May 7, we left Lynyard Cay and sailed back to Hope Town, 19.2 nm in a little over 5 hours in winds ranging from 6 to 13 knots.  It was mostly downwind sailing, sometimes wing-on-wing, some times broad reaching, and turned to a close haul when we reached over from Boat Harbour on Abacos to the Turtle Cays just off Hope Town.  It was very, very thin water, and I think our keel slid over sand half the way into the anchorage which was about 5 feet deep. 

Now a word from Penelope:  We had a snack of sushi and a drink after we dropped anchor.  We still haven't perfected the sush rich, as it seems to dry out if we try to cool it, yet we love the sushi.  We then headed in to Hope Town for ice, and pulled in at Cap'n Jack's dinghy dock.  Just as I looked down from the dock to see which piling James wanted me to tie on to, he was throwing the dinhgy key into the drink!  Well, it came off his arm as he was heaving out the stern anchor.  You should have seen the look on his face as he said, "Oh shit!"

"I'll go for the ice," I said, which I did while he peeled down to his skivvies in front of all the waterside diners at Cap'n Jacks.  When I got back with the ice and stepped into the dinghy, he said "Don't step on my glasses down there," and he began to reach for them.  Then the panic look again: "Oh, my god!  I dove in with my glasses on??  I can't see them.  This isn't good!  ... pause ... Oh there they are."  They were in his shoes.  Poor, dripping wet, tired captain!

Next day, May 8, we awoked well rested and decided to sail up to Marsh Harbour, despite the fact that the winds were very light.  The routine is to raise the mainsail at anchor, then weigh anchor just using the engine to power the windlass, and then turn and sail off.  I raised the mainsail, realizing suddenly there was no weight on it.  Omigod!  The shackle had worked itself loose and I raised it almost up to the spreader.  (You were right Rob and Keith, I should have sprung for the bosin's chair in Oriental.)  Well, we motor sailed to Marsh Harbour with the genoa, anchored, and set off to buy a bosin's chair.  Alas, there was not one to be found, so we ultimately stopped by a catamaran anchored near us and borrowed a chair from them. 

Pen volunteered to go up the mast, since she weighs 120 to my 170 lbs., and I rigged the spare halyard back to the genoa sheet winch and lifted her easily with the right-angle drill (which essentially makes the winch electric powered).  It was almost with a mishap, as the line got jammed on the winch just as she reached the lose halyard, but she was able to attach that halyard to the chair and I lowered her on it enough to get slack to relieve the jam.  Then she came down easily with both halyards.  Smiles all around and another challenge met.  When we took the bosin's chair back we also took along an empty propane tank and got it filled up in town.  Then, we called it a day and relaxed until bedtime, with plans to do some shopping and more relaxing on Saturday, the day and night of the full moon.  Lot's of parties around, but we just watched the sky.

May 10, we spent the day as working crew on the schooner William H. Albury, invited do this by her captain Brian Harvey and his wife and first mate Sheree.  This was a Mothers' Day charter for local old-timers in the Abacos, and as an added plus Sheree's mother Sue was visiting from Illinois and crewed as well.  What a fun time, hoisting the sails, trimming, keeping all going well, setting anchor for some swimming and snorkeling, and then weighing it (by hand ... eight of us on the line doing the old heave-ho).  We got well fed by the guests, had a ball meeting people, and getting additional invitations to visit people in the next few weeks. 

Pen and I especially like Phoebe and David Gale who arrived in the Abacos in 1953 as newly weds, leased Turtle Cay from Queen Elizabeth II for 20 pounds a year, made all the improvements required by the lease, and ultimately bought it for almost nothing from the Queen when the Islands became independent.  David has started and runs the Bahamian Lighthouse Preservation Society, and he's written a wonderful book of his experiences in the islands in the early years entitled Ready About.  We are going down to Turtle Cay to visit them on Wednesday.

At the end of the day of sailing, the captain invited us for drinks at Curly Tails in the Conch Inn Marina, and we wound down the day.  That night we were too tired to really cook dinner, so I made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, which Pen said were perfect.  Well, for sure, the day was perfect!!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home