After much measuring, figuring, drawing, and discussion, we gave up on the idea of using the golf cart tops for a hard Bimini awning and they are now going to be used as lobster habitat in the Sea of Abaco. So they will increase the lobster population generally and some of the lobsters will feed local folks. This is still better than throwing them back into the local dump. Tonight the smokey fire from the dump is blowing through the anchorage and I am grateful that the plastic golf cart top is not up there burning too. On a small island, you always remember that you can never really "throw things away". Actually anything just gets dumped somewhere when its useful life is over no matter where you live. Finding a second useful life for things delays that process and maybe even prevents buying something else that eventually ends up in the dump.
But now Nev is measuring, figuring, and drawing another design for a solid Bimini awning to be constructed over the summer in Rhode Island. More details later.
We left Green Turtle on Feb 28 and made 7, 8, and 9 knots easily before the wind gave out at Great Sale Cay. A peaceful night at anchor was followed by motorsailing in light airs the next day so I put out the fishing line with the favorite "lucky lure" our friend Piero gave us. It was a warm and sunny, peaceful sort of day until the barricuda bit that lure.
At first we just got all excited about catching such a big fish. So the first mistake happened when we did not clearly identify the couda. We got him aboard with difficulty, but then he went ballistic - leaping 3 feet high and thrashing and snapping those big jaws which are fitted with teeth like a Doberman. He caught my foot and clamped down with his sickle shaped teeth so I jumped and fell in my efforts to get outa the way. I landed hard and scraped my butt which hurt a little but I was more concerned about the foot which was bleeding medium fast.
Luckily the boat was on self steering, so Nev handed me a roll of paper towels and watched the fish from a safe distance while I made bloody tracks as I went onto the foredeck. I sat down over the slatted foredeck to let the blood flow in order to clean the wound before attempting to stop it. Then that took a while longer than I expected even with steady pressure. Finally Nev brought out our bandage box and I used antibiotic ointment before putting on the dressing and finished it off with a good layer of masking tape to keep it clean and protected the way we always did with cuts when boat building. The skin on my butt was scraped but not bleeding so I just spread a thin layer of antibiotic ointment on it and left it alone. At the time, I was not worried about it. That was another mistake...
Now the foot is doing fine with daily dressings, but the bruise on the butt is huge, right across the port side butt and half way down the thigh with a fist sized swelling that is quite tender making most sitting positions uncomfortable. I guess it is just my turn to have the injury. Seems like we get one injury for each 10,000 miles.
Lessons learned: No live barracudas will be allowed aboard. If we catch another one, he will have his head lifted outa the water and be given a squirt or two of rum for anesthesia and the lure removed only when he is quiet. He will be released from the stern before being brought aboard. No barricuda over 1 foot long can be eaten anyway because they contain poison which is concentrated from all the fish they eat. I guess if they don't getcha one way, they try another!
The wind direction is right to head north offshore and thanks to Bill Tait in Palm Coast, we have restocked and prepared the boat for the trip to Norfolk. We hope to haul and paint the bottom while there and then head north again to Rhode Island in time for Nev's greencard interview sometime after May 1.
Later. Leaving St Augustine Inlet I feel again the sudden release from shoreside tension. We can still see the beach away in the distance, but we have all the rest for ourselves. Free! It's a little cold so I am wearing my down jacket, but the sky is clear, white caps are glistening in the sun, and Peace is slow dancing with the ocean doing a happy 7 or 8 knots under jib and foremain. She could take more sail, but then it would not be so dreamy. We are only cruising and life does not get better than this, so why hurry?
The Monitor wind vane self steering is working fine and takes very little electrics with the air paddle replaced by a stub of ply attached to a long pole, attached to a small tiller pilot so we keep a compass course. Peace tries to round up in the stronger gusts, but the Monitor keeps her on course. Waves are getting up, but we have used this system on the trans Atlantic and other long passages, and it works so well, we both trust it. If we did not accelerate so fast, we would not need the tiller pilot with it, but sometimes Peace gets moving so quickly, she brings the apparent wind forward and that causes her to swerve around too much with only the mechanical Monitor.
We got into Charleston after dark using normal piloting skills plus the new chart plotter. The plotter was extremely helpful and took all the worry out. After another restful sleep, we set out using the last of the ebb tide and motorsailed with all up for the first couple of hours. Then things picked up nicely and we sailed in small seas that day, all night, and the next day with occasional help from one engine.
We had thought of going up the Cape Fear River and I phoned to let my daughter know our passage plans. Poor girl. She just steadily repeated "The Cape FEAR River..." and left it at that. I guess her old mother is kinda getting outa hand. Jessica stays in Rhode Island and has a peaceful life. But I remember her youthful wild years. So what goes around, comes around, my dear.
We anchored in Beaufort, NC and in the morning I phoned Cliff Thompson who is building a Tiki 46 like ours. He immediately drove 4 hours and brought his friend and joined us for the sail up to the Neuse River. The friend, Al, is a delivery skipper and compared the Tiki 46 to other similar sized charter catamarans he regularly delivers offshore. Peace got extremely high marks for speed, comfort, and safety as we enjoyed downwinding under jib alone doing around 5 and 6 knots. My bruise hurt lots on the 4 hr drive to Cliff's house. More on that next letter.
Love, Ann and Nev
© Anne and Neville Clement, 2006