Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On Island Time

Sunday night was a pretty interesting and heart stopping for me, I went out to Arden to get some things to throw in for the barbeque we were having at the marina, and when I got out to the boat, I wasn’t on board for 5 minutes before something just seemed out of place and I looked out of the companionway, only to see the shoreline going by at an alarming rate. I first thought I was just swinging on the anchor, but, I wasn’t, I was drifting on the anchor and fast. Up into the cockpit I went, started the engine and got her in gear, and then proceded to haul in the anchor rode. The chain on the rode had tangled in the flukes of the anchor, and had pulled it free. Even though it scared the heck out of me, it could not have happened with better timing, as just a few minutes prior I was ashore and in the marina. Arden would have grounded for sure, and I would have been in some very dire straights, but good fortune smiled on me once again. I got her back in position, and put out both anchors, and called in to say I would be skipping dinner ashore. I spent the rest of the evening aboard, monitoring the GPS very closely, but she did not budge and seemed to be holding quite well. I am actually really fortunate that things worked out as they did, because later in the night the winds picked up and blew us all over, and had I drug anchor while sleeping, the result could have been very bad indeed.

Daylight savings time has come, and as usual my internal clock is all messed up. It seems to me it was not long ago that we changed the clocks in the fall, and I remember complaining to a friend of mine just how messed up the time changes get me, it takes me a good while to adapt to the new time, and she and I were both down about how the days were getting shorter and winter was fast approaching. Now it is some months later, and spring is finally on the way, so it is not nearly as traumatic a time change, but it does kind of underscore for me just how long I have been out and about on this trip of mine.

I have spent the past few days doing odd boat work jobs, the day before yesterday I helped Matt straighten out an electrical problem on his Beneteau 285, and today I worked with David on his refrigeration and fuel system. It is really a good feeling being able to help them out with their problems, Matt has had electrical issues for some time on his boat, and it really boiled down to the fact that some time ago some one put a redundant wire in there that bypassed all of his battery switches, and his batteries were constantly dying. I found the problem, eliminated it, and then went through his electrical system and made sure everything was ok. He was truly relieved to have this problem resolved, it has plagued his boat for some time, and it would strand him at the most inopportune times. Afterwards, he took me to breakfast at Capt Ron’s, a near by breakfast stop that is a a favorite of the locals and tourists alike, and I saw pictures on the wall of a distant relative of mine, Ernest Hemingway. More about that later.

Yesterday I helped David get the fan for the refrigeration on Journey repaired, it started as a fairly straight forward job, we were going to simply replace the fan with a spare he had, but true to my inquisitive nature, I had to disassemble the fan to see why it wasn’t working. Come to find out, there was a wire that had come off a circuit board on the inside of the fan, and as the spare was not quite as large as the original, we repaired the broken one, and reinstalled it. I also helped David change his fuel filters, and went over how to properly bleed his fuel system after a filter change, or, if for some reason the boat ran low on fuel or had a fuel problem. I think this gave Dave a much better understanding of how the engine worked, and will potentially help him out down the road.

Afterwards I went for a swim, and snorkeled a bit in the marina, there are all kinds of tropical fish right around the pilings and under the boats, and it was much like dropping into the saltwater reef fish tank that I had many years ago. There were Damsel fish, and Tangs, a few Wrasse, and there are Amberjacks all over. Matt went spear fishing not long after and he spent a good few hours in the water, and pretty much came up empty handed, he hit a few, but the type of spear he was using requires the user to be very close to the prey, and it just didn’t turn out to be his day. He did manage to spear what he thought was a skate, but it turned out to be a small stingray, so when he got up to the dock I got it off the spear and let it go. The last few nights we have seen Bull Sharks swim in to check out if there are any scraps from the fish cleaning tables, it seems these same 3 sharks do this every evening, they have become accustomed to having a free meal in the evenings, and we have had the pleasure of watching them cruise for dinner.

Last night we had another boater get together at the marina, it was the last night that all of the group that we have formed will be together, today many of the boats here will set sail for islands further east, and those of us that are heading back west will be leaving tomorrow. I will say goodbye to David and Peg shortly, they have been very kind to me, and I will miss their company. I am sure we will bump into one another again, no matter where on the east coast I end up, they will be passing my way on their way back to Annapolis. Matt is leaving as well, and I will miss his company too, he is a very interesting guy, and a good sailing partner, and I will certainly moss his fresh out look on things. There is a couple here from Oriental, NC, Larry and Roberta, and I think it is only our 2 boats that will stay until Wednesday, when we will begin our journey back to more northern reaches. It is the current plan for us to sail out together, but as they are on a catamaran, I am sure they will out pace me very shortly, but, we will have radio contact, and I think our initial goal of Palm Beach is the same.

As`for Ernest Hemingway, somewhere down the family tree, there is a branch that goes over to the Hemingway family. I know that my great aunt Mary was related someway, somehow, and I know that my mother could clear that up for me and set me straight on just how related we are. But the connection is there, and I am now in one of his more favored haunts, he spent quite a good deal of time here in Bimini fishing, and appearantly drinking as well. The marina we are based out of is across from the remains of the Complete Angler, a famous restaurant that he was known to frequent, and his picture is in the restaurant where Matt and I had breakfast just the other day.

So here we go, some of us are continuing our journeys and adventures, and some of us are starting that trek back home. I am certainly glad to have met the folks I have, and to have made such fast friends, but it will be bittersweet as well, leaving these friends behind as I return to the real world here shortly.

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