Thursday, June 4, 2015

Entertainment at Sea.

Watching greedy pigs being fed on a beach. Very entertaining.

Back when Hans and I were land based in the good old U.S. of A., we were easily entertained thanks to things like; Direct-TV, internet, and cell phone service. But, since we have virtually none of those particular amenities in the pretty much off the beaten path of the Exumas, we've had to find other sources of entertainment.

When we were in Staniel Cay and Blackpoint Cay, we would dinghy ashore daily and meet our fellow cruising friends. When we're anchored near a sandy beach we can take Wilbur ashore and let him burn off some steam.

There are some areas in the Exuma Park Cays with mooring balls scattered in the anchorages. The nice thing about this is, the holding is pretty good so we choose to anchor instead of paying the $20.00 per day fee. However, not everyone wants to anchor and so they choose a mooring ball instead. And that's when things can get pretty entertaining.

A couple of days ago, I witnessed possibly the most bizarre mooring ever attempted, and also discovered that holding a pair of binoculars to your face for over an hour will give you a headache.

This particular crew, after hooking the mooring pennant with their boat hook several times and then dropping it because they had no idea what to do with it, finally figured out they needed lines on the bow of their boat with which to tie it to. But instead of tying a line to a cleat and threading it through the eye of the pennant, one of the men (Man #1) jumped into their dinghy, zoomed around to the bow, tied a line to the mooring and then attempted to toss it up to another man (Man #2) on the deck. For some reason Man #2 on the deck decided to forego using the boat hook and the line kept falling back into the water where it then managed to get wrapped around the propellor of their dinghy motor. Since the dinghy was now rendered useless it got tied to the mooring ball. "What are they doing now?" Hans asked. With my elbows propped on the coaming because my arms were getting tired from holding the binoculars up for so long, I commented that Man #2 was dropping a couple of items down to Man #1. "Oh, my god," I laughed. "He's throwing swim fins down to him." The big boat was still not secure, and now Man #1, who'd been in the dinghy was now in the water. "You won't believe this!" I told Hans, but since I refused to give up the binoculars I had to describe the situation. "The guy in the water is still trying to toss a line up to the guy on the boat, and the guy on the boat is just standing there." "Still no boat hook?" Hans asked. "No boat hook," I confirmed. Of course the big boat drifted away and my heart was in my throat when Man #2 charged back toward the mooring while Man #1 had to fend himself off the hull. Miraculously, Man #2 finally caught the tossed line and secured it to the bow. For awhile we were afraid they were only going to use one line but then Man #2 dropped another line down to Man #1 who then tied it to the mooring and once again went through the agonizing procedure of throwing the other end back up to Man #2.

It's hard to believe these guys were on a motor yacht that's probably worth close to a million dollars. Some people have more money than sense.

The next morning when we went for a dinghy ride I made Hans take us past their boat so I could see exactly what they'd done. They used lines that have a loop in one end. On each line they ran the loop through the eye of the pennant and then ran the line through the loop to the boat so no way in hell could they release it from the mooring without doing it from the water. And as the boat moved with the wind and the current, one line would bear the whole weight of the boat while the other line went slack. They did absolutely nothing right and I felt sorry for the people anchored directly behind them (and earlier those people had moved far away from the rest of us because they thought we were all too close), because if those lines had chafed through, that huge boat would have drifted right down on them.

On to other forms of entertainment.

Even though they may not admit it, all cruisers listen in on other peoples conversations on the VHF. Unfortunately the conversations aren't always interesting but sometimes you can pick up a weather forecast or some good local navigation information.

We used to play a lot of Scrabble but since our games usually tend to run into the wee hours (like 8 PM or so) we would just go to bed expecting to pick up the game the next day. Normally, this would be okay if we lived in a house that didn't move. So until we invest in an expensive 'boat safe' version (meaning it can withstand the resulting wakes from inconsiderate motor-heads), or we delight in figuring out the hieroglyphics of the previous night's game with our morning coffee, we've given that up for now. We did find a backgammon game at a cruiser's library (boat speak for 'the head') at a transient marina and we've played several games during lazy afternoons.

Back when we had TV, Hans and I occasionally enjoyed a movie night on the Knotty Cat. We'd settle down with our drinks and popcorn and spend the evening laughing until we cried while we watched free DVD's from our local library; Spinal Tap (the Stonehenge scene nearly did me in), Waiting for Guffman, Victor Borgia (believe it or not, our generation did not invent humor and Mr. Borgia was a comedic genius), and anything we could find that starred Ben Stiller. But we don't use our TV now and have accidentally rediscovered the ancient art of 'reading aloud'. It happened the other night in the cockpit when Hans felt the need to share a passage from Dave Barry's newest book. Once again we got to laughing and finally had to stop so we could blow our noses. I have a feeling we'll continue this pastime until we get back to the states.

And last but not least. If you find yourself at anchor and have no neighbors to spy upon, you can always take candid cheesecake photos of your dog or cat and then come up with what you believe are hysterically brilliant memes (your Facebook friends may think otherwise). This can be highly entertaining, for a little while anyway, although probably not so much for your pets who would actually prefer you go read to each other in the cockpit and leave them the hell alone.






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