Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Couple of Loose Screws


And, no, I don't mean Hans and me. If I'd been referring to us I would have used the phrase 'a couple of screws loose', which everyone knows pretty much describes us.

But, before I explain the title of this post, let me back-track a bit.

After a 12 hour crossing from Florida we arrived in the Bahamas a week ago Saturday. We then stayed in a marina in Bimini for three days (2 more than we'd planned but it felt so good to just plain sit and enjoy the fact that we were finally there), before departing for the Exumas. For us this meant we had to cross over the 'banks'; about an 80 mile passage. The banks are basically flooded land with depths averaging around 10 feet or so. "No problem", we said, "all we have to do is drop the hook on the banks for the night and then continue on the next morning." Of course it wasn't quite that easy as we've discovered that even though the water isn't deep, if you aren't protected by a shoal or a land mass, you'll get bounced around by the tide and current. We did luck out though and anchored with another couple we met in Bimini, first near Cat Cay on day one, and then just before the Northwest Channel on day two. Luckily, both nights were very comfortable.

From there we had a decision to make. Our friends, who are trying to cover as much ground water as possible opted to take on the entire Northwest Passage (another full day) which ends up in Nassau, while Hans and I opted to head to Frasier's Hog Cay, just a half day away instead.

At Frasier's Hog Cay we ended up anchoring next to a different set of friends from Bimini (we met them in Marathon and they, too, made the crossing with us from Florida. Even though our cruising guides boasted that Frasier's Hog had a marina and restaurant; they didn't so we spent a quiet night on the hook. This is pretty much the norm here in the Bahamas, some businesses make a go of it and some don't.

The next day it was our turn to take on the Northwest Passage and even though we'd read tons of warnings about it (it's thousands of feet deep and I pointedly told Hans I did not want updates as to our depth), we, along with our friends from Frasier's, found ourselves safely anchored at Rose Island in Nassau a few hours later. We ended up staying another night while our friends moved on.

Getting out of there the next day was very interesting though and with the wind rushing against the tide we hobby horsed through the churning seas around Porgie's Rocks and headed on to Allen's Cay,which to us, is the first real island in the Exumas.


Which brings me back to 'loose screws'.

I'm not kidding when I say we've pounded through more seas during this past week than we have during the entire time we've owned the Knotty Cat. And I mean hours upon hours. We thought once we got here we would be able to primarily use our sails, yet every stinking trip we've made since we've been here has seen us pounding staight into the wind. Just imagine taking off on an extended road trip and then finding yourself hitting a pothole about every 5 seconds and you'll then see what we've been putting up with for over a week now. One-two-three-four-SLAM-one-two-three-four-SLAM-one-two-three-four-SLAM! Twelve hour bouts of this crap might piss me off but imagine what the Knotty Cat thinks. A few days ago we heard a loud ping somewhere in the vicinity of the base of the mast and we just knew something had fallen from above and bounced overboard. And then it happened again. And when it happened for a third time we were pretty worried. The last time, however, we actually found a loose screw lying atop the boat and I immediately recognized it as a one of the screws that holds our radar mount in place (up near the spreaders). Now that I knew what to look for I was alarmed to note that while there were 5 screws visible on the starboard side of the mount, there was only one screw remaining on the port side and it was sticking out which meant it was ready to let loose at any time. Of course I discovered this while we were smashing and bouncing our way toward Allen's Cay. Once we arrived in the incredibly full anchorage at Allen's, Hans hoisted me up the mast lickety-split where I managed to get a total of three screws (all we could find out of the mish mash of hardware we keep on board) into the port side, I then covered them in 5200.

The water was crystal clear and even though I'm afraid of heights I forgot this fear as from atop my perch I watched a fat shark make its way slowly through the anchorage. I also noted that it seemed to be particularly fond of the boat right beside us. No surprise there, as it turns out the people on that boat were divers and they cleaned their catch there every evening. Needless to say that put the kabosh on any swimming off our boat.

We left Allen's Cay two days later only to find ourselves smashing and rolling once again as we headed toward Highbourne Cay. After dropping the hook off of a rocky shore in twelve feet of water and finding ourselves hobby horsing to such a degree we couldn't stand up without hanging on, we gave up and went into Highbourne Marina. We had already planned on coming here for fuel and water so in the end it all worked out. We took on 40 gallons of diesel along with 35 gallons in Bimini so you can see we really are motoring all the time.

I honestly can't even imagine how many other things have been jarred loose during this absolutely smashing trip but I'm sure we'll find out.

Still no pictures. They're all on my iPhone. Don't ask.

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