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Monday, February 3, 2014

Price of Impatience: Crystalline Kisses

cruising life bahamas
At the Berry Islands Club, we enjoyed an excellent gin and tonic.
Howard, the bartender/dockmaster, came by our boat the next day
to bring us the $10 he realized he overcharged us.  We appreciate
his honesty and effort; we were his only customers that night.
Or -- Slap Us Silly
We get antsy.  We’re ready.  The wind has other ideas.  We wait.  Sometimes not long enough….

WindGuru forecast the winds would be lightest of several days, moving East, no longer SouthEast.  That was good; Southeast was in our face (directly opposite the way we wanted to go); East meant we could sail, at least part of the way. 

We waited a day before heading to Nassau. Sat on our butts the whole day.  Unwilling to tackle a windy dinghy ride to Berry Islands Club, kayak.  Freshly showered after two days without, we weren't about to spoil it with a saltwater snorkel.
cruising life frazer hog cay
Not much happening on the main road in Frazer, Hog Key.

Sunrise the next morning, we poked our heads outside.  Hmmm.  No less windy.  Still in our face. The wind will shift, we figured.  Motor on.  Anchor up, and away.

The wind never did shift, not in the 36 miles from Frazer Hog Key to Nassau.  We got rocked and rolled by up to 4 ½ foot waves, just a few seconds apart from each other.  Periodically waves slapping up, over the top of our bow and all the way back to the cockpit splooshed through our dodger viewhole opening.  Up until the last 8 or so miles when Nassau’s New Providence Island blissfully broke the relentlessly rude Tongue of the Ocean wind waves, we felt like crap and were bored, bored, bored. 

dinghy issues sailing to nassau - more boat repair
Dinghy side handle tear; temporary fix in place.
When the ride’s that rough, you don’t want to read.  There’s not much visual variety.  There’s no relaxing while simply trying to hold onto your position inside the boat you endure the Atlantic’s version of an ongoing isometric workout. You definitely do not want to go below unless absolutely necessary, and then for the shortest possible time … for 9 hours.  Bottom line?  It’s not dangerous, just dull as hell. Bored as we were, with virtually no traffic or dangerous obstacles to avoid, we let the autopilot do the work.

passage making sailing bahamas from berry islands
We’re not much for this level of “civilization” but Nassau’s
calm harbor was most welcome after our rough ride.
There were two unfortunate boredom-breaking exceptions…. 

One of the lines whose purpose was to minimize our dinghy’s swinging on our davits nearly sawed through our rear starboard side dinghy handle.  We quickly devised and implemented the en route temporary solutions.  While not ideal, it did prevent further damage, and we stopped snapping at each other once the dinghy destruction abated.

sailing issues berry islands to bahamas more boat maintenance

Salty result of Wayne’s finger test across
our companionway hatch cover.
One of our jerry cans of outboard motor gas lost its cap.  Every time we got bucked particularly badly, it was followed by a whiff of gas, wandering over the side decks of our boat.  Ugh, nothing like snootfuls of gas fumes on an already queasy stomach.  At least Wayne now has a filter to separate the seawater out so the remaining filtered gas is usable, and he found the cap in our seacock (drain) and was able to retrieve it.

cruisiing destinations nassau bahamas more boat maintenance and repair

Our salt-scrubbed bow.  Only a little seagrass
was intrepid enough to remain after its drubbing.
“Hey, with all this water washing over the bow, it’s probably finally clean!” Wayne joked, hopefully.  He was referring to the nasties our anchor chain deposited there and we’d yet to fully remove.

Seriously, compared to last year’s cruising, we weathered this well.  Our autopilot worked perfectly.  No steering shutdown.  No engine issues.  No blown out sails.  No blown chow (yes, we felt crappy, but not that bad). While in the heat of the moment, violent seas do not always foster flawless communication, mutual understanding and forgiveness now follows quickly.

Okay, so we motored the whole way and our boat got a thorough salt facial.  It’s not all bad.  And we’re here, in Nassau, the perfect place for post-shakeout boat improvements in the Bahamas.  Time to come up with a better solution for securing our dinghy before another passage.

Thanks to crystalline kisses, heavy dewfall and a scrub, we’re much prettier now for whatever our next adventure brings.

Location, Location
Feb 3, 2014. BAHAMAS. We're  in Nassau.  Next stop:  tomorrow, Palm Cay Marina, Nassau for some dinghy repair work,  then Exumas (probably Highborn Cay).  Likely leaving later this week.