Sunday, November 30, 2014

Nov. 4 12:49 am. Up late for a swabby.

This is as good a place to start as any. I have reached the part of the passage where the novelty has worn off.
I am sitting gingerly on my rear, having created a nastbruise across my backside, while tying to move a foot in a heavily heeled cabin in our boat.
She is called Calypso and I expect that this 'boat bite' may be a reminder to take great care in everything I do, since a fraction of a second of losing a grounded footing can mean disaster.
It is a rather foul mood day for me, even the sun is shining and I am 'living the dream', as so many people have reminded. They don't know that you can have your time completely absorbed by the vital necessities of life: eat, sleep, wash face, stand watch. My butt hurts wicked hard, or as they say in Kennebunkport where I lived: 'whikit had'. Pain does wake you up and out of romance and euphoria. The chagrin you feel, being vulnerable like that, can make you hesitant; fortunately, I had already got a 'road bite' or a 'fence bite' while riding a mini-bike and sliding into a fence. That time, the same as this time, I haven't really managed to nurse my wounded psyche, because there is simply not enough time. I can write or I can whine. We will see how long I can manage to do both.
When got into Bemuda from Falmouth Maine, leaving the 24 Oct. 2014, and making it into Ordnance Island to Bermuda Customs by 8 pm November first. There was a severe squall which our other companion boat, the Cimmarron, owned by Captain Rick Smith, got caught in, just 14 miles away north of us. We saw lightening flash--they endured three days of being hove-to in 40 knots wind and waves gusting to 65 feet. Smith said that he had never, in 50 years of sailing, ever seen any waves that high.
The routers failed to mention this to  us.
There were three young adults on board with about the same skill set as I have sailing-wise, and they were a treat to behold when their boat finally came into harbor three nights later. Bob, my beau, spotted them as we were sitting at the White Horse Tavern drinking the requisite 'dark and stormy' they are famous for.
We saw the Dockyard, having biked and then taking the ferry from Hamilton, where we returned later and brought fresh provisions on board from Hamilton's marketplace. Just about twice what things cost state-side, by the way.
We saw a window of time to travel in Bermuda going to Tortola so we left at 1 pm on Nov. 4, as the locals were using their dunking chair to tame a Revolutionary era wench, a  ritual performed continually for the tourists in the town square. We were right on dockside across the sidewalk from the large model of the early ship captained by George Somer; a little walk across the bridge, and there on one side is the tavern and on the other the stocks and stool. Ah, the good old days, when women never misbehaved!
I did met a few other women who were under sail, one of them named Kitty. She had steered 82 straight hours, piloting the boat while her man friend and captain Nigel lay unable to move on the floor of the kitchen, having fallen off the ladder and straight down into the galley--a trick I was soon to repeat. Their boat, Adesso, unlike them, sustained minimal damage, and their owner flew down to Bermuda to ascertain the next step. I found out after we left that he tried to woo our captain away from us with a promise of more money! Which would have left us high and dry in Bermuda.
After sailing all day in following seas, and gaining 65 nautical miles southward, the router warned us that we were heading into peril, in the most uncertain terms. We duly headed back to find this was not necessarily the case. It did give us a chance to get hooked up with Chris Parker, a well-regarded router.
Also, we downloaded a software package called weather net and grib explorer, so that we could get maps by satellite phone that were in compressed files and would be less likely to stop transmitting mid-download. It was complicated to get them but now we have them, I am sure they will prove useful in the future.
We were able to regroup with the Cimarron and we ended up leaving together at noon on November 8. We didn't stay together long as we were more rushed for time at this point, with our crewmate Dennis needing to be back by November 18. Cimarron had less fuel capacity than us and had to be more sparing with it.
It turns out that we had to beat weather most of the way, motoring hard while we did long tacks, not the best weather conditions, and then hit a three day doldrum after having broken our fresh water pump.
This meant we had to avoid using the motor and our battery power, including lights, watermaking and refrigeration, and ended up sailing into Soper's Hole, Tortola, with five minutes only worth of motoring, in the dark. We made landfall at 11:55 pm. It was challenging to make sure we got the mooring the first time so we wouldn't have to remanuever with the engine overheating, but we were okay and clinked many a glass in relief on board that night!

1 comment:

  1. Was great to meet you all in Bermuda. Seems like you continued to have more adventures on your way to Tortola. Glad you arrived safely. Give yourself some time to settle in to the Islands. I imagine the locals get tired of the tourists after awhile. I would.
    Once they see you around for a bit their attitudes will most likely change. Hope you enjoy the islands! I will keep in touch. Ms. Kitty, S/V Falcon currently in Grenada West Indies.