Monday, May 30, 2011

It ain't a crossing without a puking!

And I surely hope this doesn't become a tradition!

Back in March when we crossed over to the Bahamas in choppy seas, we were about seven miles from Bimini's shore when I finally gave in to the nausea I'd been fighting for a couple of hours and puked. I'm just thankful I got that little issue out of the way before very scary 52 knot winds hit us and I had to concentrate on other minor things like surviving.

So on our way back from West End, Bahamas to Florida I wasn't too terribly surprised when after rolling along for hours in three to five foot seas (at least they were following seas and we weren't pounding into them), I lost my lunch. Hans hadn't realized that I wasn't feeling well (I thought if I didn't say anything it would go away) and was more than a bit startled when he came up into the cockpit after a visit to the head, to find me manning the helm with my head thrust into my puke bucket, which was firmly wedged between me and the wheel. I'm just glad that this whole puking thing wasn't a portent for 52 knot winds which I'm glad to say did not happen during this crossing.

Why were we crossing in 'seas' and not waiting for a more reasonable weather window?

Because we were once again on a dreaded schedule (youngest daughter's college graduation) and Mother Nature loves to play games, that's why.

Hans shows Wilbur his 'crossing' plan.

Wilbur begs to disagree and shows Hans his 'crossing' plan.

I think Hans should listen to Wilbur more often.

We arrived at West End (our starting point for the trip home) in the Bahamas but with heavy east winds we couldn't anchor and were at the mercy of the only and very expensive marina there, so needless to say we really needed some good weather news.

What we were getting were forecasts of continuing and unrelenting East winds at 20+ knots which were resulting in 6 foot seas, and I don't do 6 foot seas! But after two days of expensive dockage we finally decided to head on back to the states with a forecast of East winds of 15 to 20 knots and three to five foot seas.

So the next morning we were up bright and early and along with a couple of other cruisers we headed back to the states. We had really hoped to sail most of the way and with the wind firmly on our stern we attempted to sail wing and wing (jib all the way out on one side, and the main all the way out on the other), but the winds actually started dying down and the damned seas kept knocking the wind out of our sails and we had to constantly regroup. Finally a little over half way across we gave up on the whole sail idea and started motoring.

And motoring.

We'd hoped to make the trip to Lake Worth, FL in eight hours, ten max, but the strong Gulf Stream Current, which according to NOAA (aka: Never On At All in my book) was supposed to cease and desist four miles off the U.S. coast (which would then allow us to actually move along at faster than two and a half knots), stubbornly clung to within one mile of the shore line like a cheap date.

It was at the ten hour mark that I puked and started wondering if we were caught in our own Twilight Zone because the cute little red boat icon on my computer was not moving at all, and then Hans informed me that perhaps we wouldn't be arriving during day light hours after all.

Just go ahead and tell me there isn't a Santa Claus why don't you!

The sun went down, our running lights went on, and Wilbur (the smart one) said, "The hell with you two, I'm going down below." And there he stayed for the duration of the trip, resting his tender pitty body on his comfy Steeler pillow.

For the next three hours the seas picked up even more, the skies grew dark, and I didn't care one bit that I'd wiped my pukey mouth all over a shirt of Hans' that I was wearing. Moving about the cockpit was very difficult and couldn't be accomplished in a normal manner and involved scuttling sideways on bended knees.

I felt just like a crab.

Since Hans is not the most graceful person in the world; when he expressed a desire to visit the head I wouldn't let him go (if you think Mother Nature is scary, you don't want to mess with me in rolling seas!) as I was not about to have him take a tumble on his way down below.

It was close to 9 PM (note: 14 hours at sea and not the 8 to 10 I'd been promised) when we finally entered the Lake Worth channel and made our way into calmer waters where we found our way to the closest anchorage. We proceeded to weave our way around the many anchored boats while I tried to find a vacant spot. And for some strange reason while I can hear Hans perfectly while I'm at the bow, he can't hear me at all.

Me (up at the bow with the search light): OVER THERE!

Hans (not going over there): I think I'll go over here.

Me (gesturing wildly): THAT'S TOO CLOSE TO A DOCK!! OVER THERE!!

Hans (still not going over there): I can't hear you, can you read what's on that white marker? How about back there?

Me (waving like an hysterical cockroach): I SAID OVER THERE!!! OVER THERE!!

Hans finally motored OVER THERE and we blessedly dropped anchor.

Due to the heavy seas we weren't able to do any fishing at all on the way back but I have to tell you I don't think fresh Mahi could have tasted any better than the wonderfully hot Tuna Helper I dished up an hour later.

I kid you not.


  1. Always so funny...So the puke-bucket sounds like it is within arms reach at all times. I love the meeting between Wilbur and Hans (I hope the pics can be 'resized' as we do love hearing about all your journeys and tips).

  2. Well, we're glad to hear you didn't have to fight 52 knot winds! And yes, sometimes a hot meal of tuna helper can be pretty tasty. =)

  3. Two Pitties, some women have a little black dress, I have a big blue puke bucket, and yes it's always close by!
    Cheryl, Anything tastes good after a long day at sea!

  4. Laura: This was a great post--you're a very good writer. I remember the anchorage at Lake Worth--calm, protected, with plenty of stuff to watch.

  5. Greg, thank you! The anchorage was indeed nice and calm. Much better than the last time we were there and anchored on the other side of the bridge (near the sherrif's dept) where we were 'waked' constantly.