|The Adventures of
"Where did the time go?"©
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(Occasionally, editorial comments from Don of S/V Destiny Calls, host of this web site and southern waters frequenter, will appear in green italic)
Well our adventure has finally come to an end. We left Fort Lauderdale in November and travelled to th Bahamas and came back to Ft. Lauderdale. We spent 12 days in Nassau waiting for a weather window. Someday we would get a glimmer of hope that the wind and sea conditions would be right. We were on a schedule since our flight was on the 15th of May. A schedule is a bad thing to have as it puts pressure on you to be somewhere at a specific time. Our original plan was to be in Florida on the 8th of May so that we would have 6 days to prepare the boat and see friends. We did not leave Nassau till the 9th of May.
Herb, the weather god from Burlington Ontario, said there was a two day window for any boats wanting to cross the gulf stream. So on the May 9th, Janette and I set out for a 32 hour trip that we had originally wanted to do over 3 days. Herb had called for 15 to 20 knots from the north east with moderate swells. At 08:30 we exited Nassau harbour and set sail for the Northwest Channel Light in 8 to 10 foot swells. We rode up and down these large waves in relative comfort and prepared ourselves for the long haul. The trip itself was uneventful as Herb was right and the passage was easy. Our average speed was around 6 knots and we lost the swells about 2 hours into the trip and encountered 2 to 4 foot seas, which gave us a very enjoyable sail. This is the same route that we took to get to Nassau, and I wanted to get onto the Bahama Banks in daylight just as a precaution. We had to sail because the bolt for the secondary fuel filter which was letting air in the fuel line was tightened to the point that it was stripped and no longer holding. Fuel was coming out like a pressure water tape turned on. This happened 1/2 hour out of Nassau harbour. So we had to sail. Jim did a temporary repair with rubber gasket and plumbers tape because we needed the engine to enter the port in Florida and the waterways to Fort Lauderdale.
We buddy boated with two other sail boats until they changed course for Great Isaac light which was to the north of our destination.
Another adventure happened two days before we left Nassau.One of the boats Inti II, had tried to leave a couple of days before ,with no success. Jim ,the solo sailor on Inti II came back to Nassau harbour, after pounding into the seas and taking on water. Jims boat is also engineless, having broken 2 crankshafts.( Note: we are not the only ones with engine problems.) He sailed his 38 foot boat back through the busy Nassau harbour and dropped his anchor a little to close to ours. Being alone he had to scurry to the foredeck and drop the anchor,at which time the wind caught his sail and gave him a burst of speed . His bow came very close to our boat and as he sailed by his anchor caught onto my anchor line.This jerked Janette aboard the boat violently around. Now not only is the secondary 22 lb anchor holding Borean ( 7 tons) but it is also holding Inti II which weighs 10 tons.In total the my one 22 lb anchor was holding 17 tons one anchor!!! We (that is 3 helpful sailors from Cuzco and Halo and Penina) sorted it all out and everyone was anchored safely again for the time in front of Club Med on Paradise Island.,
As the evening encroached during our crossing the stars began appearing along with an almost full moon. There is little that can describe sailing across the open waters with no other sound than the hull slicing through the water, a canopy of bright stars for a ceiling and the moon illuminating the waters for as far as you can see. It truly was a magical and wonderful ending to our sailing adventure.
We reached the shores of Florida at 14:00 on May 10th and navigated our way through the cut at Port Everglades to Fort Lauderdale and made our way to Cooleys Landing in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. We were exhausted and somewhat cranky from lack of sleep (Janette sat one 3 hour watch). It took 3 tries to get into a slip at the marina fighting the current. Once docked we had a shower and used all the water we needed to wash our hair and tired bodies. We had not had a decent shower sinc Clarencetown at the Flying Fish Marina. We did a few chores went out to supper with Judy from Nomad (soon to be called Kristine). She is a chef and a licensed boat captain. We had a very restful sleep despite the city noises of cars and all the lights.
The next day we began tearing the boat apart to get it ready for shipping by truck to Canada. We took off the sails off,took down the wind generator,and tried to pack everything in an orderly fashion. Here is where it struck us that it was really over. There were no tears as one would suspect,but there was a sense of accomplishment. Although we never made it as far as we had planned (British Virgin Islands), we are still very happy with the trip in spite all the problems that we encountered. I guess the voyage turned out to be a test of some sort to see if we could handle all the situations we found. We took up every challenge thrown at us and succeeded in overcoming each one...I guess you could say we are SURVIVORS of sorts.
During the past 61/2 months we experienced every emotion from sheer delight to terror.The delight was the dolphins swimming off the bow of the boat during a crossing to Conception Island to the terror of the butane fire explosion in the galley on Christmas eve.. The stunning sunsets with no clouds and being alone in a quiet anchorage were some of the things we will miss the most. Janette and I became alot closer to each other. Enjoying each others company, in the cockpit having a sun downer, getting a chance to exchange may thoughts, something that did not seem possible in our hectic lives on land back home. This perhaps became the true meaning of the odyssey. Some people grow tired of each other and a trip like this puts a strain on their relationship, but ours grew every day as we shared our responsibilities and faced the challenges thrown at us. Coping and resolving each one to some degree of satisfaction. We also learned an awful lot about ourselves. How we ended up doing something or making a repair we thought was beyond us. Being alone at times with nothing but your wits can be a great teacher.All that we experienced and saw will stay with us for many years to come. Traveling this way really heightens your senses. The good times and the friends we made along the way far outweigh the bad things that happened to us during the trip.
THOUGHTS FOR THE NEXT TIME
Some things that I would put on the boat for our next trip are a solar panel and a water maker. As someone told me you can buy an awful lot of water for 3000.00$, but the convenience of having lots of water appeals to me. An array of solar panels would also help. There were some windless days,and a combination of sun and wind power, would fulfill all energy needs. A windlass for the anchor chain is now indispensable.We did not have one and I regret it, as we have an all chain rode on the main anchor....hauling in 150 feet of chain in 15 feet of water is not my idea of fun. A radar would be nice. A rigid bottom dinghy....dont leave home without it, with the biggest outboard it can handle.
There were also a few household items that were very useful. Baby wipes (Wet Ones) came in very handy when you wanted to cool down . Wipe them across your face or the back of your neck ,and it was very refreshing. An orange based hand cleaner degreaser did the job after I worked on something greasy or oily like the engine. An antibacterial soap (waterless) was useful in the galley....germs grow quickly in a hot environment. And vinegar and bleach are basic neccesities.
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