School Days

Remember in school having to do the dreaded “word” problems in math class.  I hated them, they seemed utterly useless.  In case you’ve forgotten them they went something like this:

QUESTION: A small sailboat is sailing (motoring) straight into the wind that is blowing 13 knots and fighting a 2 foot chop heading toward a safe harbor 23 miles away.  A tropical depression is 160 miles away, also heading toward the same safe harbor from the opposite direction traveling at a speed of 15 knots per hour.  Tropical storm force winds extend 90 miles from the center. Will the small boat or the tropical storm force winds make it to the safe harbor first?

ANSWER: If you are aboard this small sailboat, forget the stupid math problem!  Hoist the anchor and GO!!! NOW!!! (See, useless)

That was pretty much our Monday morning drama.  We knew a tropical LO/depression/storm was forming and knew it would be passing close (and to the East) of us and the anchorage we were in was very suitable for the forecast we had received up until Sunday night when it came across that there was a chance that the storm may roll up on the West Side (or directly over us) in less than 24 hours. Total game changer, all of a sudden the anchorage we were in would provide no protection and we were looking at 40+ knots of wind.  Oh Crap.  At the very first light on Monday we pulled anchor and busted our butts motoring straight into the wind as the storm winds were supposed to reach the area by the afternoon.  We were literally racing tropical storm Kate to Green Turtle.  We figured we could get there by noon and hoped that was sooner than Kate by at least an hour or so.  As we approached we could see the storm’s edge.  We pulled into Green Turtle under blue skies, breathed a sigh of relief, and readied the boat for some wind.  I also took a long shower and put out the rain catchers ready to fill the almost empty water tanks. Then we waited for the winds.  And waited. And waited, all while swatting mosquitos in the hot, windless anchorage. We didn’t have internet but by 7:00pm it was apparent that the storm wasn’t coming our way.  We got nothing more than an hour of grey skies and a rainbow from Kate.  In an ungrateful moment, I began whining. We really needed to catch some water and had been counting on her rain!


^^It might be hard to tell with Keith’s feet propped up and all, but we really were rushing as fast as we could and were a little stressed at the moment.  That is Kate on the horizon looking closer to Green Turtle than we were.  Turns out, the worry was for no reason.

^^we SAW Kate, from a distance.

^^I would have taken the rain over the rainbow if given the choice.

With our unexpected diversion back to Green Turtle, we let go of the idea of getting back up to Double Breasted.  The water is already getting chilly and we are looking at heading South instead of North.  Weather has other plans for us at the moment though.  Kate may have completely missed us but a strong cold front is coming in to sit on us for a week or so and will be here in a few days.  All the boats took these last few good days before the wind to scoot along to where they want to hide out the “blow”.  We wanted to use the calm days for diving instead, so Manjack it is again. We also wanted to meet up with some more friends just arriving to the Bahamas.  Remember how we just got together with two other boats from our dock, well, we just met up with a third! “The Lucky One” is in town too!  Also, our friends from Pushkar arrived.  The last few weeks have almost felt like the first day back at school when you’re catching up with all your friends you haven’t seen for the whole summer.  Only it’s not school, so it’s much more fun. 

We’ve also been meeting new friends, at Manjack we were invited to a New Moon party on the beach by the local home-owners.  Three of the boats in the anchorage all belong to the same neat family.  The parents are on one boat, the daughter and her husband are on another, and the other daughter and girlfriend are on a third boat; they are all cruising together.  It is a musical family and they all brought guitars and harmonicas, other locals brought drums and more guitars, and everyone brought food and drinks. An unforgettable night of good music around a campfire on a beach happened.  I write this blog to help me remember my experiences, but this night I will remember regardless, in fact, I don’t really even know how to capture the night.  It was just one of those, I don’t want to be anywhere but here kind of moments.  Though I will admit, climbing out of the cockpit and stepping over a pile of stripped-off clothes that were caked in sand, soaked with bug spray, and reeking of campfire smoke the next morning was a gentle reminder of why my head felt like it had been used as one of the drums the night before!





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