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Published: January 27th 2006
I'll attempt a synopsis of the week that followed:
I awoke to a calm anchorage. Coming up on deck, I noticed a sea turtle floating past in the distance. I had coffee and breakfast, and discussed with the others what possible, leisurely itinerary we could take over the next few days.
These plans would be nixed. Not even an hour later, we noticed the waves increasing and darker clouds looming. Captain then shouted, "We're dragging anchor!!"
Stress, yells, the burn of the motor, the heaving bow as it heads out of the inlet, thrusting up and plunging down (with me on it) as waves and current plow through into the anchorage.
We abandon Slaughter's Harbour, head north an hour, hoist the genoa, tack (turn to the east) and set a course south around the chain of the Berry Islands.
Over the whole day, we fail to find refuge in between any of the numerous isles becasue the gale-force wind simply won't let us.
Night falls. Shit. Not again.
I radio one of the only marinas at the last island in the chain, Chub Cay Marina.
Closed for renovations.
The locals on the radio tell us to anchor east
of Diamond Rocks, a dangerous shoal out on the southern beach of the island. "Too shallow," the Captain surmises. We anchor east of them at 9pm. Wiped out. Plans thrown out the window. Not our fault.
Wake to a placid scene. The storm has passed, the winds have subsided, the sun begins to warm. We've heard about a small marina around the eastern tip of the island, not more than thirty minutes away. Needing to power up and investigate a new engine problem (won't recharge), we motor over through the shallow sandbank entrance of the channel, and arrive at Berry Island Club, on what officially is know as Frazer's Hog Cay.
We dock up and hook up to the paltry supply of resources. (No shower, power only when the club's generator is running, water from rusty pipes.) That night, we enjoy the domino-slammin' action at the club, where all the Black 'n Milds are. Meet the locals, none of whom are from here. They are all working on the renovation at Cub Cay Marina: welders, electricians, drivers, dry wall craftsmen, pilots, concrete layers, and a prostitute.
Mau and I attempt to walk
to the marina, some five miles away. We end up meeting a francophone-expat-American couple who split their time between Haute-Savoie and here on their newly-purchased property under construction. Speaking in French, they invite us to tour the hurricane-ruined structure on the hilltop, affording a 360 degree view of the shallow inner bay and rough channel where we're docked. It's a pristine spot, but doesn't look likely to be finished anytime soon. Almost feels like Greece.
On down the road, we meet a local from neighboring Whale Cay out for a Sunday stroll and a drink or four. Mau tells him she would like to find a store to buy clothes, since her luggage was lost. The kind man shows us where one is.
We make it to the "store" - it's normally closed - where a way-too-friendly Chimmey tries to sell Mau overpriced goods. She fortunately forgot her money. We carry on down the road, until the hot sun and distance ahead of us make us turn around.
We get picked up on the way back in a golf-cart. It's the familiar man from Whale Cay riding with a young construction worker. We zoom back down the long road to
the Club, living one of those moments when you're glad to be traveling.
Woke to find that a plank from the decrepid dock had come loose overnight and was rubbing up against Nautilus's hull. The loose cylindrical rubber fenders didn't help buffer us from the strong current and waves thrusting us up against the dock.
I go to the shallow bay on the other side of the island to collect conch for dinner. I didn't know if the expat American was joking when he said, "watch out for the sharks!" Fortunately, I noticed the thin translucent fins flickering on the water's surface before wading in the foot deep water. No conch tonight!
It had come to the Captain's attention over previous days that the batteries to the engine were not recharging. In trying to fix the problem, the engine malfunctioned and wouldn't even start.
We had to wake up three times in the night to adjust the fenders, as the wind and current were still blindsiding the boat. We aimed to get out as soon as the weather permitted.
Until then Mau and I join Jennifer, robust sister of the local Club owner,
for a ride to Chub Cay Marina so that Mau can call her worrying mother back in Italy. She coasts no more than ten miles per hour over the pothole-laden rocky road to the Marina. It's a massive construction site, with every operation imaginable underway. Over at the pastel "work houses", which has a gulag sound to it, Mau makes her phone call. On the way back to the Club, Jennifer discloses about her family woes and the deadbeat and abusive father of her four kids. As she puts it, "Han'some men are da silent killa!"
Back at Nautilus, Captain was able to use his charm to get another boater to help him out with the intricacies of the wiring in the engine. It the afternoon, she finally started.
A little later, we received an updated weather forecast: weaker winds out of the NE tomorrow.
I get up early to wake the others up. We get ourselves together and set out early enough to make the eight hour passage southeast. It's a fine sail, the boat keeling (or tilting) out a sharp angle. The outline of Nassau appears in mid-afternoon, including the faint pink
mass of the fantastical Atlantis resort. We pull into the harbour without a problem and set the longer and heavier of two anchors in the central waterway between Paradise Island and Nassau.
Tot: 1.517s; Tpl: 0.056s; cc: 12; qc: 58; dbt: 0.0492s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb