Dark Apples, Dark Waves and Abacos III
Ladies and Gentlemen, you are in for a treat. You are the first people (after Ann) to read about a theory of oceanography that will revolutionize the field. You must feel like Einstein’s editor when he published his first paper on relativity, right? Ok, here goes.Many of you have heard about the theory of Dark Matter. Basically, physicists have measured all the matter in the known universe and determined its gravitational pull. They then compared that pull to the gravitational forces that must exist so the universe doesn’t fly apart. Guess what. They have determined that there is not enough matter in the universe to hold it together. Now that could be a problem unless you posit the existence of matter that we cannot see – and call it “Dark Matter.” You see theories of physics and the calculations of physicists cannot be wrong because … well … they are physicists … and physicists cannot be wrong. It must be, then, that reality is wrong.
Let me explain this mathematically. When I was a kid, my teacher would ask me “Mikey, what it 2+2?” Sometimes, I would answer “5.” She would tell me that I was wrong and prove it by going through the apple proof. “See, Mikey,” she would say. “When I take two apples and add two more apples, how many apples do we have? Let’s count: 1 … 2 … 3 … 4.” My teacher, brilliant though she might have been, never saw … (wait for it) … the “Dark Apple.” I was not wrong. I could not be wrong, because I am … well … me. There just had to be a dark apple.
I know you can see where this is going, but let me explain it anyway. We have all been there. We have been waiting for a weather window to cross between two pieces of land. Finally, the forecasters tell us the waves are going to be between 2 and 3 feet so we head out. Of course, when we get to the water, we find the waves are at least 3-4 feet. When they tell us to expect 3-4 feet, we more often than not see waves of between 5’ and 7’, and on it goes. Previously we mariners have had the audacity to believe that these well paid and comfortable meteorologists were wrong. Now we know the truth. The difference between the model output and reality was “Dark Waves.” Now, you know why weather forecasters can keep their job even though they are so often wrong. It is the “Dark Wave” phenomenon. I know, right? How simple, yet so elegant. Maybe, just maybe THIS will get me the Nobel Prize
Okay, back to boating. After Dave and Joan left, Ann and I hung around Marsh Harbor for a few days before we started meandering home. We had to accomplish two tasks before we left Marsh. First, we needed to visit the Jib Room.
|Here it is ... a BLT with home made onion rings |
and a Kalik on the side. According to Ann,
life can't get much better.
After the Jib Room we just had to visit the most secret of grocery stores – a place called Skaggs. Skaggs is located at the southern tip of Marsh Harbor and is co-located with a fish processing facility. Skaggs appears to specialize in two things: fresh fish, which they get from next door, and bulk items that you might find stateside in a place like Costco’s. The reason we go there is so we can buy mass quantities of lobster. This year we bought 10 pounds of Bahamian spiny lobster tails for $166. Now that is a chunk of change, but these were good sized lobster tails. Year-before-last we bought 10 pounds and there were 33 of them. This year there were only 20 because we deliberately bought bigger tails. Mmmmmmmmm we are looking forward to lobster of all kinds in the coming weeks and months.Since we had arrived in the Abacos, Ann had wanted to go to a special ceramics store located at Treasure Cay. Although we had been to Treasure twice this trip for a couple of days each, we had always been there on a weekend or a holiday and the store hasn’t been open. After Dave and Joan left, we decided to go to Treasure one more time so we could get to the ceramics store. There we spent a couple of nights on a mooring ball and we bicycled to the ceramics store which was only a couple of miles down the road. Now, Ann had told me that she was looking for a specific dish, but when we got there, we got the specific dish she was looking for, and a nice butter dish, and this dish and that dish and pretty soon I was afraid we were going to buy the store out! We made it back to the boat and continued our trip north.
We had already set a tentative date for our arrival back in the States. In fact, we had already made an appointment with Marine Plumbing Services to fix our heads. (No, not those heads, our BATHROOM heads – Jeez, you people. Since we had a few days before we needed to head back, we decided we would meander back through the northern Abacos where we have actually spent very little time in years past. The first order of business was to go to Foxtown.
|Our signature from our visit in January 2012.|
I ordered cracked conch and a Kalik beer. It is still the best cracked conch in the Bahamas. It is cracked perfectly, it is battered to perfection, fried just right and seasoned like nowhere else. Mmmmmmmm My mouth is watering just writing about it.
Next, we wanted to go to a restaurant called “Rosie’s” on Grand Cay in the northern Abacos. We had heard mixed reviews and weren’t sure what to expect, but we wanted to go because … well, because it was there. The problem was that there were not many good anchorages near Rosie’s. Moreover, we expected wind was from the west, which means there was really only one anchorage we could use – the anchorage at Double Breasted Cays. Now, I am a red-blooded American boy at heart. Of course, I wanted to go to Double Breasted Cays, who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, there was one very shallow area through which we needed to pass at high tide. And, this time of year, high tide was very early in the morning and a little after midday during daylight. We needed a lot more flexibility than that and had to forego our trip to Rosie’s. (Deep wistful sigh) Maybe next year.
Instead we went to an anchorage we had not seen before and from the looks of it, not many other people had been here either. It is in the Bight of Abaco and is one of the most isolated set of anchorages we have ever seen. We knew also that it would provide excellent protection from the west and the south, where the winds were supposed to come from. How isolated was it? Well, after we turned into the Bight we saw only one house. It was on the southern side of Little Abaco and was maybe two miles away. As we grew closer to the anchorage, however, we lost sight of that house and all vestiges of civilization save one; we could see Foxtown’s cell tower several miles in the distance – which meant that we still had an internet connection. We really wanted to take the dinghy ashore and explore the islands and their beaches a little, but we had been having a few problems with the dinghy. And I wasn’t sure this was the place we wanted it to fail us when we were, for example, on the shore of an island 500 meters from the boat. It would be a long swim. So we just enjoyed the protection and the splendid isolation the anchorage provided. All was right with the world.
|The weather closing in on us at West End. |
We are the little boat in the middle.
The next day we faced a conundrum. We still needed protection from the south and west, but this time it wasn’t just wind, there were thunderstorms predicted for later that afternoon. We hemmed and hawed and hawed and hemmed and eventually decided that we would head on into the Old Bahama Bay Marina at West End and wait for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream. We would be at Old Bahama Bay on Tuesday and would probably leave Thursday or Friday.
As it turned out, we arrived at Old Bahama Bay about an hour before a major thunderstorm hit the marina. We could see the dark clouds rolling towards us and the marina and, so we made sure Traveling Soul was well tied down and that our fenders and all other equipment was properly deployed. When the storm hit, man there was a lot of wind! Some people, whose timing was less fortuitous than ours, actually tried to dock during the storm. We didn’t see any boats get seriously damaged, but we saw a lot of close calls and we heard some near panic on the radio. In fact, one sailboat anchored in the turning basin – normally a no-no – so he didn’t have to dock in a slip.
We had hoped to leave on Friday, but the weather kept evolving – and the dark waves kept getting bigger – so we didn’t depart until Saturday. To be honest, I was expecting a bit of a bumpy crossing, but it turned out much better than I had feared. In fact, on an “A – F” scale, Ann and I both gave it a solid B. Even Spot was not too upset. Although she spent much of her time under the pillows, she did venture out a little to get some food. Then, at about 1600 on Saturday 14 April, our 2018 Bahama adventure ended in Lake Worth, near North Palm Beach, Florida.
Ann’s Notes: I think Michael has been watching too many episodes of the Big Bang Theory on TV or DVD. I often wonder what is going on in his head, now you know why I don’t ask some times. Dark Matter, Fractals and Chaos Theory is on his mind, I think about more practical things, like what is for dinner, are the heads clean and are the freezer and fridge doors locked down so all the food does not fall out , in case a sudden dark wave should suddenly appear and rock the boat. Just saying…Mars vs Venus way of thinking.
We did enjoy our last few weeks in the Bahamas. Michael was looking forward to the cracked conch in Foxtown as much as I did the BLT and onion rings at the jib room. It is good when the food is as good as you remember it.
It seems every time we return from one of our Bahama adventures, we have a few things that stop working properly. This year it was our middle head and our dinghy motor. Our dinghy is like our car when we are on the water and have to go to shore, so not having it puts a stop to going out and exploring. The good part of these breakdowns is that they are sorta minor fixes compared to last year when we had to buy a new $$$$ generator$$$$. Our bank account is still recovering from that one.
I think next year we are going to have two inflatable kayaks to play and explore with, that will be great exercise and we will have much more flexibility to explore little mangrove rivers on some of the out islands. That will be a lot of fun, much easier to deploy than the larger, heavy, fishing kayak we have on board now and only one person can use at a time.
I am glad to be back in the USA, the land of plenty and working our way North once more.
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