A Totally Twisted Time

Keith is home from his boys-trip fishing-trip and back hard at work so I will do my best to capture his vacation the best I can from piecing together the excited, fragmented stories (you know how fishing stories go) and the photos.

First let me address the photos. Out of four days in one of the most beautiful places on earth, he brought back fifteen photos. Fifteen. Not one of him, not one of the pretty water, not one of the beaches, not one of a fish. At first I was disappointed; now I find it amusing so I am posting all fifteen-no editing.

Second, for a little background on the trip. Keith went with JJ and James, two of the guys from behind the Totally Twisted brand. Both sailors who have done plenty of cruising in the Bahamas. The boat is a 31ft Jupiter; an open center-console powerboat with a Diesel engine and out drive. Keith may be a sailor, but there is no denying that part of him is most definitely a power-boater. He is always commenting to me about how fast that “power boat there” could be in the Bahamas and he has always wanted to go fishing on one. If he wrote a “bucket list” this trip would have been on it.

So here is the trip as I have pieced it:

Friday-successfully fished while crossing–dolphin I think. But of course I don’t have photo proof of that ;). They cleared in at Grand Cay (instead of Walkers Cay now) and secured a cute little efficiency that included a dock with water. Which seems much nicer than their plan B which was to sleep on the deck of the boat. I do have photos of the efficiency and dock. After clearing in, they ran out to the reefs and spent some time spearfishing.

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Oh, and those bananas on the counter-I packed those. I’m not big into superstitions, but apparently bananas on boats are bad. I may/may not be to be being blamed for the later events. Sorry!

Saturday -apparently the goal was to be in the water as much as possible, and it sounds like they did a good job of it. (Again, no photo proof, though) Lots of diving off of double breasted, and If you have ever talked to Keith for more than fifteen minutes then you know it is his most favorite place in the world so it was a good day. They caught themselves dinner and had the bar cook it up for them.

At some point in the evening Keith discovered that his wallet was missing. Along with every last cent of cash he had on him. I got a very quick phone call Saturday night asking me to cancel all his cards. He believed that it must have fallen out of his pocket while sitting on the edge of the boat. Bummer!

I’m not sure, maybe this photo was taken in the scramble of looking for the lost wallet? I have no idea what it is of. 20140910-191122.jpg

Sunday-they did some diving off Walkers Cay. Keith has always wanted to dive there, but we never make that far out by dinghy. The guys did good tag-teaming and working together, which is good since the sharks seemed to be very “alert” to the spearfishing.

From the stories, another fun filled day.

From the photos, it must have been so fun that they just forgot to take any pictures!

Keith was surprised and maybe saddened by the changes in quiet little Grand. It is exploding with new big houses and motels. The fishing scene that once was Walkers has taken root in Grand. Maybe it’s a good thing for the locals, but Keith said the effects were easy to see on the reefs in just two years. Almost every coral head had boats with hooka rigs on them all day- just harvesting. Keith took a few photos of Grand so I could see the changes. The people were the same happy people though.
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Monday- was head home and offshore fishing day. Until it wasn’t. About sixty some odd miles ENE from Stuart, forty some odd miles WNW of Walkers Cay, and forty some odd miles N of Freeport, things went wrong. The short story is the out drive was, in the most definitive way, broken. They were well north of the usual boat traffic routes to and from Florida and not far enough east to get the traffic up and down the coast. It really was just about the worst spot to break down. (Just to note, VHF range is about 25-30 miles). An open (and damaged) powerboat, with no ability to even keep the boat pointed into the seas on the far side of the Gulfstream is not really a great position to be in.

It took several hours, but through broken and relayed communications between the Coast Guard, Tow Boat US, and another vessel in the area, a tow was arranged. A seventy-four mile tow. Crazy. I didn’t even know they would tow you that far. Crazier, when Keith asked the tow-boat captain how fast they would be going back he thought the captain was joking when he said 18-20 knots. He wasn’t. At times they were going 22 knots. Of course he got pictures of that!.

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The nice captain of the other boat that had assisted in communications for the guys gave me a call when he made into cell phone range of Florida to let me know Keith and they boys were going to be home a bit late.

Late but safe.

JJ had some type of super platinum, unlimited, ultra deluxe towing coverage and there was no charge for the tow and hopefully the boat repairs will be covered by insurance. With that in mind, Keith had a great time. He even brought back two hogfish filets and a few conch to share with me. 🙂

And by the way, guess what I found amongst all the dirty laundry he brought back? A wallet.

A couple of guys “just living life” and enjoying a “totally twisted” trip.

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Update: Thanks JJ for the additional photos!!

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High and Hydrated

If I didn’t know any better, I would believe Keith has a crush on one of the local E.R. nurses because that’s were we spent our day again. What he optimistically hoped was a gas pain this morning is in fact a 5mm kidney stone. It is not his first (his third actually), and apparently once you have experienced that kind of pain you recognize it pretty easily– it is something along the lines of worst type of pain ever-so until he passes this thing he will be drugged up pretty good and I will be forcing water down him.

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The E.R. doc was pretty cool, though, and made sure we have enough meds should this scenario repeat while we are at sea, or at least beyond range of immediate care. We didn’t even bother to go into the fact that we have already been through that exact scenario with his first stone.

Back in 2002, we were anchored in Double Breasted Cay, just south of Walkers Cay, when early in the evening Keith doubled over in excruciating pain-and stayed that way. The rest of that night was the scariest night of my life-and probably his too. The pain and vomiting were relentless. And we had no idea why. My biggest fear was an appendicitis.

Due to the weather there was no way we could get out of the anchorage at night and we couldn’t raise anybody by VHF. (Double Breasted is just an uninhabited spit of sand surrounded by rock and coral heads in the northern most outer islands of the Bahamas.) It wasn’t until the morning when we were able to get a power boater to take us to Grand Cay, the closest inhabited settlement, but there was no healthcare facility there. Fortunately, a U.S. doctor on another boat was found and he came by but he was startled by Keith’s vitals and condition and said he had to get to a hospital fast. There wasn’t anything he could do with out the access to a medical facility. By this point Keith was delirious and I was hysterical but we took another jarring, pounding, slamming, terrifying open power boat ride to Walkers Cay, the next inhabited island. By this time I was pretty sure he didn’t have an appendicitis because that boat ride would have certainly busted it open!! (I mentioned the weather was crap, right) But, thank you still to the kind local who understood the urgency of the situation.

Walkers Cay has an international airport-it’s that red phone booth in the picture below- but an airport still. Unfortunately there are no flights in or out except for private little planes. At this point arrangements were being made with the US Coast Guard for a chopper but there was a delay in it being deployed. I can’t remember why now. But while we were waiting, a private charter plane landed to drop of some guys for a fishing trip. Miraculously, we were able to convince the pilot to take Keith back to Florida with him. I really think the pilot was afraid he was going to die in the plane. He did NOT want to take him- but he did. I’m not sure of all the details but somehow he managed to clear (skip) customs and get deposited by cab in front of a hospital.

In my haste, I hadn’t remembered to put shoes on Keith when we got off the boat that morning. So there he was, delirious and barefoot wandering into the E.R. alone. His home, and wife, still in the Bahamas. He was treated for severe dehydration, a kidney stone and kidney infection. Good friends picked him up from the hospital and gave him a place to stay and nursed him until he was able to charter a plane and fly back into Walkers a week later where I picked him up.

So, yeah, been there done that. Don’t want to do do it again. Let’s hope this stone passes on its own soon, if not we are going to have to take care of it quick-we only have a few more weeks before I will lose our health insurance. I guess it’s a good thing we are behind schedule.

20140331-070048.jpg2002. Walkers Cay airport

20140331-070138.jpg2002. Keith returning from the states all fixed up and sporting a new pair of shoes.

Where were we ONE year ago: Score!