Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Goodbye to George Town

So on May 2nd we decided to pull anchor and say goodbye to George Town and head to Emerald Bay Marina. There was weather coming in and we wanted to move on so that we wouldn’t get stuck for another week there as Dirk’s mom was on board and we wanted to travel and island hop with her. We radioed ahead to another boat that we knew had left that morning to ask about the winds and the sea state as you must travel the Exuma Sound up to a cut into the much more protected banks. He stated that getting out of the cut was a bit rough but once you get out there it was very doable. We prepped the boat and headed out prepared for a short trip north with fishing lines at the ready. We prepared Anke that the cut we would be heading through would be rough but it was okay and not to be frightened. I asked if she would like a Dramamine and she said no she would be fine. We headed to the cut and indeed it got rough with water coming over the bow and the boat rocking and bucking giving everyone a rocky ride. Once we raised the sails and set our course Dirk put the fishing lines out to see if he couldn’t catch dinner. It was only to be a short ride up so we hoped we wouldn’t scare Anke too much as it was a bit rougher than even we like but we would not let on to that fact. It took us a bit to set the sails to get the smoothest roughest ride in the 15 knot winds and 5 to 6 foot seas. Uummmm, not fun but we kept the smiles going for mom’s sake. The seas were too rough for the auto pilot to keep up with it so one of us had to hand steer at all times. While Dirk was on the wheel two lines snapped at the same time signaling fish on. I took over and Dirk ran to the one hand line and began pulling it in as I tried to keep the boat under control, keep mom sitting down and try to keep me standing up. The other line would just have to wait. Dirk managed to get the fish which turned out to be a Mahi Mahi up to the boat but he needed my assistance to get it aboard as he was doing all he could to maintain his balance. I asked his mom to take over the wheel and finally convinced her all she had to do was to hold the wheel in one position and not allow it to go the other direction as the seas and wind were trying to bring us around windward. After trying several times to net the fish in we gave up and tried the gaff again. Our gaff is a bit too short to reach way over the boat and down to the waterline and you don’t want to try and haul the fish on board as we find Mahi are notorious for shaking loose and getting free. Finally after many attempts Dirk was able to gaff it and get it on board wrap it in a shower curtain to try and keep the blood from getting everywhere as I sprayed Brandy into its gills. Finally Anke said, “please take the wheel” So I took over once again as I told Dirk it was time to get the lines in so we could get into the marina and out of this mess. While the battle with the fish was going on the other fish had his opportunity and took it to leave the scene. Just as well at this point I’m thinking. As Dirk is pulling in the lines we realize that we have a line under the boat snagged. It’s not budging and we fear that it is wrapped in the prop. Usually as we catch a fish I will put the boat in neutral till it’s all over before continuing on. Somehow though this one line was in the prop and Dirk needed to go below and cut it free. He went below and changed his shorts as mom says “what is he doing?” I looked at her and said “You don’t want to know” When she saw him tying the line around his waist to keep him attached to the boat I saw her face and she was not a happy camper but there was nothing we could do. It had to be done. I had turned the boat into the wind to stop the forward motion as the sails were still up but in this position we were beating into the waves and it was incredibly uncomfortable so I turned the boat but then we were going too fast for Dirk to be under the boat. I thought we needed to drop the sails but Dirk decided against it so I ended up turning back into the wind and the boat once again began beating into the waves. Now I had to worry about Dirk getting beat in the head by the hull while he was cutting the line off the prop in water over 1000 feet deep. My fun meter is pegged as I’m trying to make sure the boat is under control, mom stays seated and Dirk stays safe. After a couple tries of unwrapping Dirk finally just cut the line loose and climbed back on board. By this time Anke was so stressed she was feeling queasy and ended up losing breakfast. It was time to get the heck outta dodge and get into a sheltered marina. Soon we were tied to a dock and I was trying to give mom a glass of wine to calm her nerves. Once we got settled in Dirk took the fish to the cleaning station and packaged it up for the freezer leaving enough out for dinner as Anke and I hit the showers. Ah, a real shower once again…..Back at the boat Dirk prepared dinner with fresh Mahi and we finally settled mom down with a glass of wine. Mother and son with the catch of the day as she is smiling to be on land once again.

Perhaps she wouldn’t recall this day being so bad for her come time to leave and head further north. We would have to travel on the outside one more day before entering the banks and calmer waters. The following day was laundry, shopping, and a nice dinner out in the evening sitting by the pool and overlooking the sound from a restaurant close to the marina. The trip up to Galliot Cay the following day went a lot better as the waves had decreased and Anke could relax a bit. From there we stayed on the inside till we made it to Staniel Cay. That evening at the yacht club there was to be a Cinco de Mayo party so we decided to get dressed and head to town. We ran into several boaters we have met along our travels and enjoyed a buffet of Mexican style dishes. Actually the chips, guacamole, and salsa were the best things to be had that evening but oh well, I didn’t leave hungry. Of course we took mom to see the pigs at Big Majors and actually beached the dinghy this time to get close and personal to them. Here we gave them some food scraps I had been saving for them and as usual they made a pig of themselves……We also took her to snorkel Thunderball Grotto and when she found she had to swim in a cave she was a bit iffy about it. I swear she thinks that Dirk and I are going to kill her yet before she makes it back to Germany. Once Dirk got her into the cave she held onto the wall as she fed the fish boiled rice and had them swimming around her. We both think she had a great time even though snorkeling is a bit rough for her to do seeing as this is only the second time she has done this in her life. Once we got back to the boat we threw the floaties off the boat, tied them to the davits and floated in the calm water reviewing the day’s events. Mornings start early and bed, well bed comes early when you try and fit so much into one day but it’s nice to have your eyes drop before your head hits the pillow. We would take off for points further north the following days but those events will wait until the next decent internet connection which could be who knows when. Seems the blog is getting further and further behind due to internet connections. Could be too that I have gotten a bit lazy but I'm claiming bad internet.That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


  1. hey guys, looks like you are up to your old tricks!! We miss you lots, and have tried playing cards but its just not the same!! We are in Lauderdale, it is stinking hot, and will be leaving on Saturday to head north.

    Looks like you had a wild time with Mom!! Hopefully she will be back for another dose of cruising next year!!


    Chris & Irina

  2. Well since I love reading your blog and don't want you to get too far behind...If you go online to Windows (Or depending on your computer brand and date it may already have it) and download Windows Live Writer. You can write a blog without internet and then post it when your able. It works great, especially since you don't know when you can get internet or if it is going to be good enough to write a blog and post it withour the whole thing disappearing midway. (Much like this comment has three times now. So if you get them all sorry.)
    It is also great because you can write on something and save it then add to it later before posting.

    Happy sailing and keep the blogs coming.


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