Whrrr! The reel went Whrrr! is the sound for which fishermen everywhere live and die. Whrrr! “My God that fish is taking out line,” I said to myself. He probably had 300 feet by the time I made the twenty foot sprint from the helm to the aft deck. I could tell he was big, maybe even huge, just by the feel. Whrrr! the reel sounded and the line went out. “Okay,” I told myself, “just let him run.”Whrrr! “man, he is taking out line.” I looked down and he already had well over half of my 30# test and he showed no sign of slowing down. The reel was getting warm to the touch. “I have to do something,” I thought, “or he’ll have all of my line.” Ever so slightly I increased the drag. But I swear it didn’t make a whit of difference in the speed with which the line was zipping off the reel. “Ok, just a little more drag, I told myself.”
“Oh my God, was that him that jumped out there 500 feet away?” He was still taking line. Ann was at the helm and I told her to put it in neutral and come back to watch the show. The fish, at least five feet long and maybe more, leapt out of the water showing off his magnificent colors, gold on the sides and bright blues, greens and yellows on his back. Again and again he jumped, at least three or four times. He then began a series of lateral leaps kind of like a dolphin, almost skimming across the water. And then … Oops I’m getting ahead of myself. I was going to tell you about the crossing from Grand Bahama to Great Harbor. I’ll come back to the TRUE fish story.
Before leaving the Grand Bahama Yacht Club Harbor we met Kyle and Kathy who arrived a day or two after we did on their boat Now and Zen. In the last blog entry, you may recall, I vented about how unfriendly the majority of the Yacht Club members were. Kyle and Kathy were exactly the opposite. They were cruisers like us. They live in Fort Lauderdale and had just bought a second house with a 50’ dock in beautiful Beaufort, SC, right along the Waterway. They came over for drinks one evening and before any of us knew it, it was 10 PM. We really enjoyed their company and wish they had come a day or two earlier. We also briefly met Jerry and Billie who arrived aboard their boat Miss Liberty. They, too were on the way to Great Harbor and we spent a lot of time with them there. They will pop up frequently through this entry.
Anyway, we departed Grand Bahama at about 0745. For the first fifteen – twenty minutes, it looked as though the cruise was going to be a little sloppy. Spot retreated to her carrier, which is now her hidey-hole of choice. However, after we got far enough away from the island the water smoothed out and we had a very comfortable trip to Great Harbor. It was also very peaceful, that is until that huge mahi took the hook. The end of the story is kind of sad. When a fish has 500’ of line and shakes his head, he creates slack in the line. From there it is only a split second until he is gone. And that is what happened to me. Oh well. That is why they call it fishing, not catching. Maybe next time.
The night we arrived the marina staff had arranged a “chill and grill” for all the cruisers. Again, even though the weather had been beautiful, Ann and I were still a bit tired from the trip and we were both ready for a quick meal and bed. We met Billie and Jerry from Miss Liberty at the marina. They were planning to go the chill and grill so we decided to go too. Ann and I both had ribs, and they were well pretty well cooked (not as good as mine, of course). The problem was that at about 5:30 the noseeums came out. Both Ann and Billie were getting eaten alive so we all adjourned to Miss Liberty to finish our meals. You would think that would be it, and we would go to bed, but noooo. The gazebo where the chill and grill was held was about 50 feet from our boat. And what, besides food, do you need at a Chill and Grill? Apparently you need loud Bahamian music.
|to keep them straight, the staff |
put faces on them. The decaf,
needless to say, had the frowny face.
|At Carriearl Ann and I both ordered a|
cup of coffee for dessert. Ann ordered
decaf and I ordered regular ...
The following day, Sunday, was the reason we had come to Great Harbor in the first place – the SUPERBOWL. Now I don’t have a dog in this particular fight. I am not a New England fan and I really don’t care for the Philadelphia Eagles. But I am a football fan and football fans like to watch the Superbowl. Although we don’t have satellite TV on Traveling Soul, Jerry and Billie (one of the couples we met at Grand Bahama) have it on their boat. They invited us and a couple we had met the evening before, Rema and Chris, to watch the game on Miss Liberty. Well, we would have had a grand time even if the Eagles did not win. Billie and Jerry were excellent hosts, cooking a meal and providing coffee and desert for all. Yes, we provided some appetizers and Rema and Chris made a salad, bit the hospitality that Billie and Jerry demonstrated that evening was some of the best I have seen among cruisers. If you are reading this, Billie and Jerry, thank you so much for a wonderful time.
The next morning, we were on our way south. The seas were fairly calm and I fished almost all the way (no, again I did not catch anything). Our destination was an anchorage we had used the previous year, Alder’s Island. It is very picturesque and was about half way towards our next destination, the Berry Islands Club. The anchorage was a little more rolly than we remembered it ad we did not have a particularly good night’s sleep. Still, it did provide protection until we got going the next day.
|Spot curled up into a ball of fur so she can't see the sea state.|
|This rainbow kept growing and adding colors as we watched it. |
First it added blue, then violet.
Chubb Cay was a little rolly, but overall a nice anchorage. We downloaded our dinghy to take a look at the marina, which charges an (almost) exorbitant $3 per foot. The facilities are nice – actually it is kind of a swanky place – there is a Club House that we could have used, but didn’t, and according to reports, a small chandlery. But at $3 per foot we weren’t going to use the place and from the number of empty slips, we weren’t the only ones with that attitude.
|The fancy-schmancy Chubb Island Marina. |
It was too ritzy for us!
The best thing about Palm Cay, however was the people we met. Fran and Frank aboard their boat At Last, Shep and Deb on High ZZs and Chris and Robin from Cerulean were all wonderful folks and we had a blast with all of them. By the time we left, all had departed except Chris and Robin who were instrumental in helping us get out of that damned slip. Without our wonderful deck crew (Ann) and Cerulean’s crew we night still be in Palm Cay. We hope we see you all down island!
So, here we are at Highbourne Cay in the Exuma Island Group. Ater we leave Highbourne and head south, we will not be very well connected. We’ll try to update our blog as often as we can, but it might be a few extra days.
Ann’s Notes: Michael is correct in telling you that we have had some pretty bumpy rides, and Spot will second that notion. I, however, like to be rocked to sleep, if that is what a baby feels being rocked in a cradle, I understand why it is so soothing and will sign up for that sensation any night.
We have done more exploring in the dinghy this trip and that is fun. The reason for more dinghy rides is because Michael is having some back issues and cannot walk long distances without a lot of discomfort. He spend a good part of last summer trying to isolate the cause of the pain, found a good neurologist, who gave him a serious of back injections with little or no relief, plus different medications. That being said, we are exploring the islands from a water view and not walking the beaches or making our way through low scratchy bushes. We will be able to explore once again by foot once Michael is fixed. We hope.
I have to say that we have meet some very nice people, Michael and I are not really joiners of groups, but we decided to make an extra effort this year to be more outgoing and meet more cruisers than in the past. So far this has been a good plan, we have had many wonderful conversations, I have a few more friends on Facebook, and have a few more appetizer recipes.
The dinner at Carriearls was so nice, we went with Billie and Jerry. While waiting for our ride to the restaurant we met another couple that was also waiting. That is when we meet Rema and Chris, they had a very interesting story to tell about how they met and are now cruising together. For a younger couple they blended right into the older generation group. Their sense of humor was wonderful and kept us laughing with their commentary during the superbowl.
I have learned that while cruising you need to mix it up sometimes and explore new places. Sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes not so much. In the case of going to a new marina in Nassau, the “not so much” applies. The marina is lovely, the staff friendly and helpful, but the dock master needs to rethink where he is going to dock a fifty-two foot boat before he assigns the slip. The marina has pretty much been taken over by a condo association and they just want money to keep the land portion out of the red column in the budget book. Their solution, I fear, is to make the cruisers pay, pay for water at 35 cents per gallon; we hold 200 gallons in our tanks. Even worse is the $15 per person for a three day pass to use the pool or go on their small beach. That just pissed me off and we did not pay that price, I did however go to the pool as a guest from my newly made friend Robin. They do have good WiFi, for free at the Café but the signal did not reach our horrible slip, so far away. They did have a courtesy car with a two hour limit, that was very nice. I wish we had a video showing us, literally wiggling out of our slip. Three dock hands, plus Robin and Chris got us out. Thank heaven for a great Captain, Michael, head sets for clear communication, and my line skills. That adventure made my heart race , but we did it together and I got a compliment from Michael that did not involve my cooking and food preparation.
All and All it has been a fun – sometimes more exciting than it had to be – adventure.