At some point, you just have to leave….There will always be one more thing to order, unpack, repack, stow, organize, and test. I think our friend Carlos had it right in saying that the “hardest part will be casting off the lines”
As with any major passage, weather tends to be the driving factor of when to leave. We were waiting for the winds to shift around from the North, which allowed us to stay in Ocean Reef for President’s Weekend & Valentine’s Day. The Smith’s hosted a fabulous impromptu cocktail party dockside. The boat was buzzing with kids crawling everywhere like yellow jackets on fried dough at the Five County Fair. Late night moved to the Burgee Bar where Guyon continued to talk and dance the plan to the many well-wishers at Ocean Reef.
Saturday and Sunday were left for final food provisioning. The USAA fraud alert department only called twice. At one point I thought, “If one more person looks at my grocery cart and says ‘Wow, you must be hungry’, I’m going to punch them in the throat.” Being the friendly well-mannered person that I am, I just smiled and replied that I am the cook in an orphanage. Because of the weather delay, my sister and I had one last overlap visit – so she was able to help to unpack and repack groceries into an already full boat. You are mind-reader KK!
The final dockside departure on Monday 16 Feb 2015 (also Kim Jung Ill’s birthday) was quite heartfelt and a little teary. We were surrounded by friends and family in a final hail and farewell. The McHugh Men and Guy Manos gave us a fantastic escort out through Angelfish Channel into confused seas, the wind blowing straight in our face. Thanks Guys!
Now the fun begins…. some highlights from the log. (note: names and details may have been changed to protect the guilty and/or innocent)
So, the wind wasn’t really cooperating with where we wanted to go and we spend the first few hours as we crossed the Gulf Stream beating into wind and waves. Sleepy boys began to turn green, and finally…Boom! Gramma Sheesh’s bacon & eggs (and I think I saw some grapefruit sections) were seen again all over the outside cockpit floor and cushions. I tried rinsing it off with a couple pails of water…Luckily the slight heel of the boat trapped all the puke water into a nice smelly puddle. As I attempted to time the waves and sweep the barf soup off the deck, I was not immune. Luckily my aim was a little better than William’s, as I managed to launch lunch onto the aft deck.
The highlight of that first day was not in fact the vomiting crew members, but the wily wahoo landed by Gordon and Guyon as we steamed across the Stream. She was very tasty.
The only other notable events of this first passage besides surviving without tears or additional vomit, were caused the gnarly weather conditions. Day three (after beautiful sailing down the Exumas Chain) began with our entrance back to “the outside” as we made our way through Dotham Cut. No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more junior varsity. We are talking serious conditions. Throughout the day we were in winds consistently blowing at 30 knots, gusting to 35. The waves were confused with rollers starting at 8-10 feet, and increasing throughout the day. At one point we clocked WIDAGO hitting 15.5 knots as we surfed down a swell. Our favorite pilot, “Auto”, performed beautifully, except for when he can’t see the confused breaking rollers coming. We were slammed sideways, port abeam, with the wave breaking over the canopy at helm height. “Oh F*%K!”, I think was Ahab’s sentiment. For a split second I mused, “So…this is how it ends…” Alas , the boat handled it fine. The boys were all seated at the galley table which was to their benefit, as the drawers filled with silverware, cutlery, and an assortment of snacks projected like a North Korean torpedo across the saloon, down the starboard stairwell, reorganizing their contents along the sole. The only casualty was a sliding drawer in the galley. I have found several ball bearings – but the last few have yet to reveal themselves. Taunting me, playing rolling hide-n-seek, click, click, click, ever elusive. So the next time someone asks me what I’m going to do if a rouge wave is upon us – I’ll make sure Guyon has installed additional latches on the sliders in the galley.
Leaving Turks later today. Next Stop, Tortola (and we mean this time, maybe, assuming the weather wants to cooperate).