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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Journal - 12/14/10 - Epic Sail

So I've decided to resurrect the travel/gambling blog. Much has happened since my last entry, most notably a trip to Australia, and some long poker hours in NYC, but here's a quick play by play of the last Month.

I didn't touch land from Indian Harbour Beach to Spanish Cay, minus a 15 minute refuel in Palm Springs (two weeks and over 200 miles). I took the Northern route over Grand Bahama to get to the Abacoes. Electricity and bathroom fully functional… So much easier with a little bit of experience from last trip.

No weather reports for a week once I got to the Bahamas. Did a decent job reading the clouds and predicting the wind direction to shift clockwise with a faster transition from S to NW.

Tried to sail into a 25mph head wind from Mango Cay to Grand Sail Cay and had to turn around. Made the distance hallway in eight hours and made the return trip in two hours just before sunset. My bow'lin knot came undone on the jib and I had to control the wildly flapping sail in 4-6 ft waves open water and quickly retie the knot without falling overboard. A bit scary but nothing serious.

Was anchoring just outside of Fox Town when the water went from calm to 4-6 ft in a half hour as a strong NW front rolled in (30mph range). My anchorage had no protection from the NW so I trusted my depth sounder and almost beached myself intentionally behind some small rocks, the Parrot Cays I think. The plan was to let the Anchor line out if the tide went in or it got to shallow as the wind would push me into deeper water. I dropped both anchors and survived the night relatively comfortably, low tide with less than a foot under the keel (depth sounder read 0.0). Never touched bottom though.

Finally found land at Spanish Cay. Had a warm shower, Kalik beer at the Bar, and a good meal with some good people. Met the crew of the Innovation from Alabama. Serious vertigo in the shower after being on the water for so long.

Went through 'the Whale' in order to get to Guana Cay to meet Cat and Liz. If I waited the passage was only getting worse for the entire next week. It looked a bit hazardous but I was going to give the passage a try knowing I could always turn around. Put that 6 feet of keel to work. The passage had some 'rage' as the locals call it… 6-8 ft rollers with occasional 10ft-ers… 4-6ft swell… big breakers but only close to shore which I avoided.

This leg got somewhat worrisome, but turned out to be ok. The waves were bigger than anything I had been in before, including the swell, but the sail itself actually became enjoyable after I realized the boat was ok.

A fully geared crew on a Catamaran caught up with me towards the end of the passage. I thought it'd be funny if I took out a book and pretended to be reading as they passed me--considering the conditions were really rough. As they passed I looked up from my book trying to act somewhat surprised. "Hey!" with a friendly wave. Just leisurely enjoying my book and going for a pleasure daysail.

Made it to Guana Cay, met up with Cat and Liz, and was sipping Goombay Smash and other frozen rum drinks before sunset… after the roughest sailing I'd ever been in… crazy day.

The visit was great. Cat, Liz and I found some amazing beaches on Guana Cay. Played in a Bacci ball tournament with a crew of retirees--there was a friendly amount of trash talk. Went for a great daysail around the sea of Abaco. Failed at fishing. Got a tour of Guana Cay from the golf cart of essentially the Mayor of Guana Cay. I got the pleasure of swimming with a four foot Barracuda, which supposedly are OK to swim with as long as you don't wear anything shiny. I did have a shiny spear, but it was a spear, so up the ante a bit. Drank a lot of rum drinks, ate lots of grouper, dolphin (fish), conch, lobster and fresh produce which we found around the Cays (coconuts and the best limes I've ever had).

Unfortunately, I left my camera battery charger at home and Liz fell into the marina with her camera (but her arm isn't broken!)… so no pictures which is too bad. Oh, well.

And now I'm holed up at Man O' War Cay. Nice protected anchorage, internet, showers and cheap mooring. I've been playing poker for a couple days getting ready for the PCA at Atlantis in early January. Doing well so far.

For entertainment I downloaded and starting playing the new World of Warcraft, Cataclysm from the boat. The first few levels are all Ocean themed and I was playing during a Gale (30-40mph winds) in a rocking sailboat.

So much fun on a boat,

Capt. Redbeard


Appelbaum said...

You are a beast amongst men. Awesome read. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Captain red beard? eeeew... I Balls!!

"worrisome", classic.

LOVE how you fully entertain yourself, I can just imagine you with the book! Great move!

I'm going south beginning of jan to beginning of march now if you want to join, i'll give you exact dates soon!

Miss you HEAPS! Merry Christmas!

MaryG said...

I can't wait to read more - and see pictures of the balmy Bahamas if Mason remembered your camera battery charger.
Miss you!