After setting some blog entries to posts over the next few days, I walk back to the boat. We leave tomorrow for the Bahamas. It’s 9:30 pm and I’m hoping we will get good sleep tonight. I arrive at the boat and can’t quite make sense of what I’m seeing. Our boat is in its slip in the usual spot but it looks as if a boat is parked behind it. Imagine your car in a parking lot with another car parked perpendicular behind it so there’s no way you can get out. I can’t figure out what’s going on and wonder if some idiot has anchored there. It turns out it’s a boat that went out for a day sail and, coming back, couldn’t get into their slip and got pushed against the pilings by the current, nearly ramming the stern of our boat. Matt was down below putting the boys to bed and heard the commotion. He told them to tie up to the pilings and wait for the current to shift rather than attempt to maneuver near the boats. He could tell they had no idea what they were doing. They’re French and it looks like they’re hanging out having a little cockpit party about 10 feet off our stern. The current finally shifts at 10:30 pm and a gang of us have been waiting on the dock to help them get into a slip (and to make sure they don’t ram our boats). They
begin to pull in and we’re all yelling for them to throw us lines. They don’t have lines or bumpers ready and Matt shakes his head in frustration, “They’ve had four hours to figure this out!” Getting them into their slip is an exercise in patience and humor. Some of the other experienced sailor couples on the dock are frustrated, but these are the kinds of things you remember later as being funny. It’s after midnight when we finally get to bed. So much for a good night’s sleep.
On Saturday, Matt and I wake up before 6 am, hoping to leave with the Norwegian couple at 7 am. They (Trond & Karolina) are also heading to the Bahamas with the first stop being the island of Mayaguana. We leave together at 7:20 am. There are only 5-10 knots of wind and it’s a full day’s sail so we motor-sail most of the way. The seas are calm, with long gentle 5-foot waves. It’s a peaceful sail and Malachi does great. We get into Abraham’s Bay at dinner time, set the anchor and Matt and I jump off the boat. We are the only two boats in the entire anchorage. The sandy bottom is scattered with starfish and sand dollars. Matt picks one up to show the boys and then brings it safely back down to the bottom. That night, as he is on deck looking at the charts, a large nurse shark comes nosing around the boat. Despite being beautiful, the anchorage is rolly and neither of us gets much sleep.
Although the original plan was one day of sailing and two days off, Matt wants to keep going while we have calm seas. We leave at 7:05 am on Sunday and head for Atwood Harbor in the Crooked Acklins Islands. It’s a similar sail to yesterday. By the end of the day, the boys are going a little ballistic with pent-up energy. Once we anchor, Matt and I insist they get off the boat. They swim a little and then we get the kayak down and they head to shore to explore. Matt and I swim to meet them but there isn’t that much to see in the cove. After
dinner, everyone collapses into their berths to sleep. The next morning, the boys and I kayak to shore. We see what look like trilobite fossils in the lava rock, hundreds of tiny snails, and one huge crab (easily 16 inches across). While in Providenciales, a fellow sailor told us about a place to see here. It’s too much trouble to hoist our dinghy down for just one day so the Norwegians let us use theirs. We head around the corner of the
island to a place behind a large volcanic cliff. It’s an inlet into the island with absolutely pristine and stunning crystal-clear water. I tell Matt that this kind of trip is a lot of hardship and discomfort punctuated by many moments of brilliance. This is one of those moments.
Although today was supposed to be a day of rest, we have a weather window and Matt and Trond want to head out again and do an overnight. I agree because we haven’t checked into customs yet (so technically we are not allowed on land) and the next port has customs. Although I’ve vowed not to do any more overnights, sailing is kind of like childbirth. You forget the really horrible moments and, at some point, willingly agree to
do it again. Plus, at least we’ll make progress while the boys sleep. They are in bed before 8 pm and we leave the anchorage at Crooked Acklins at 9 pm to begin another overnight. Once we are out and Matt is settled, I sleep from 9:30 to 1:30 am and then take over for Matt. If I’ve been making a mental list of things I won’t miss (e.g., living shoulder-to-wing with mosquitos, doing without modern appliances and a real bathroom, etc.), I’ve also been keeping a list of things I will miss. High on that list are the stars at night. Tonight, it’s just layer upon layer of them in the sky and phosphorescence in the water below. At 4 am, they feel like two sets of little glowing friends keeping me company. This makes sense only in the way that things do that late at night. Matt comes up at 5:15 am and I sleep until the boys get up at 7 am. It’s an uneventful trip with almost no wind so we motor the whole way. The boys wake up shortly before we arrive.