Friday, December 4, 2015

Three years later and I'm in Marsh Harbour - Great Abaco Island, Bahamas


MoondancerX’s Big Adventure
 

 
Resumed after a 3 year hiatus in St. Vincent.  Since our arrival here in May 2012
many changes have taken place, the biggest of which of course is that Tony and I
are no longer married. 
We’d been working for 3 years with Barefoot Offshore Sailing School as Sailing
Instructors – separately and fairly constantly.  Tony has gone to live in Nova Scotia
with his new family and after 1 year on my own in St. Vincent it came time to move
on.
MoondancerX has sat so quietly on her mooring ball with very little input from me,
other than my attempts to keep her brightwork looking half decent and  some attention
to her canvasses.
So – preparation for my journey to the Bahamas, why here – I’ll get to that.

 

The date I’m writing this is December 4th 2015

The decision to move on was difficult to make – to start anew in a totally foreign
(to me) country where until I made friends I would be completely alone.  But  it
was time – and of course I’m never alone, I’ve always got my ‘significant other’,
MoondancerX who keeps me on my toes by shocking me into the reality of having to
fix yet another thing I don’t know how to fix but will have to learn.
We are a couple of old girls who are wearing out, but fighting it all the way.  And she
can’t fight very well for herself, she's a boat - so I will do it for her because I still love her.

 
I finished up my last job in St. Vincent skippering a charter on a brand new Fountaine
Pajot Helia 44 with a lovely family from East Germany, they were such a calm,
un-demanding family,  I took them to all of the places that I know in St. Vincent’s
Grenadines and felt like I was on holiday in luxury with lovely people who just
wanted me to enjoy being with them, and I did, thoroughly.

 
MoondancerX was sitting at anchor in Bequia awaiting my return.  I left her in the
hands of an ex-Brit mechanic to get some last minute jobs done before I took off
to St. Lucia to pick up my valiant crew, Debra Irizarry and Adam Lamond, both
past students I had taught up to bareboat skipper.  To find crew I approached those
students I knew could do the job and who had flexible time – as its kinda impossible
to say how long a journey will take – exactly – just roughly.  There will always
be ‘unexpected variables’ – well there has been in most of my sailing journeys
whichever boat I was on – new or old.

 
I took off from Bequia late afternoon April 13th for St. Lucia.  I wanted to arrive
at Rodney Bay in the morning and felt comfortable to do this trip alone.  After I
left I remembered that I had broken one very important rule from the safety
section of the ASA Course –  To file my itinerary with somebody.  Once out there
and sailing past St. Vincent I realized that nobody knew where I was.  What if
something happened to me – so I phoned my friend John West and told him what
I’d done and that I would check in with him when I arrived.  Now I felt much
safer.  Funny thing passing La Soufrier at night, a pitch dark night actually, I kept
seeing lights flash on and off at various levels on the mountain, and very fast speed
boats coming in and leaving, zooming past me, and then I remembered what goes
on on ‘the mountain’.  Everyone know that the biggest cash crop of St. Vincent is
marijuana, most of it grown on the side of the volcano.

 
So I figured I’d be able to stay awake all night, and it was open water most of the way until  early morning, but when it was dawn and I looked at my watch I definitely had some blank spots with no memory – Mmm  must have been asleep.  If you don’t want to sleep don’t lie down – I did.  Nevertheless I got there safe and sound and anchored out in Rodney Bay. 

 

I had a lot to accomplish before my crew arrived on the 20th,  get the life raft and fire extinguishers serviced and find a new to me dinghy that held air. The monstrous 12 footer I’d been lugging around for the past year deflated every time I looked at it.  And  I had unfortunately arrived during a national holiday where all businesses were closed for 3 days – Ugh.

When Debra and Adam arrived we all had work to do, my genoa’s sun strip had detached and needed repair which was the beginning of a headache which haunted us for the entire journey to Abaco.  Debra helped me make the repair, all was good, but as we attempted to pull the sail back up the foil/forestay the splice in the jib halyard separated (I did not make that splice) and the sail fell down.  Not a problem, except that now someone had to climb the main mast to re-set the halyard over the sheave at the top.  And I didn’t like the look of the existing  line either,  so
off we went to buy new line for the halyard.

 
Now – when one removes the jib or genoa from a furling system it is VERY IMPORTANT to tie the top drum of the roller furler to the bottom drum, so that it will not twist independently.

 

Well because I was freaked out and pissed off I didn’t and we paid for that mistake forever after. I think its fixed now, but as I haven’t unfurled the genoa since being back in the water I’ve yet to find out.

 
It took a few days to get what we needed and our next destination was to be the BVI’s, the wind direction at time of planning looked right.  We’d had a few days to get to know each other, learn what each others skills were – thank God we had a climber in Adam, not to mention a builder and a mechanic.  Debra was excellent at navigation and keeping tabs on everything – also very good helmsperson, which became vital as the trip went on and Adam and I were up on deck reefing and un-reefing.  MoondancerX really doesn’t have any helpful systems in that department.  Its all done at the mast.  I knew how to do it and was grateful for Adam’s strength  when mine failed.
Its also very helpful when re-setting the self steering system – Mr. Chubbs, wonderful Mr. Chubbs.  He just keeps going and going using the power of the wind, weak or strong to keep us on course.

 
We didn’t make BVI’s – we were constantly set eastward, so change of plan – Sint Maarten.  I’d been there before and knew they were an excellent source of all of the supplies and spares we needed aswell as fuel – FUEL!  That’ll be the next post.

2 comments:

Ed Horton said...

Love the story

Ed Horton said...

Can you hurry up and get to the part about the diesel fuel??