Saturday, April 16, 2011

Daring Rescue at Sea

We have been enjoying our time with George and Deb from Abbotsford.  They almost made it to Marsh Harbour as scheduled and were landing when a vicious squall hit the area.  The plane aborted the landing and returned to Nassau where they spent the night.  We were on the boat, watching the rain, lightning and thunder and strong winds.  The next morning we were able to pick them up and take them up to Treasure Cay.

George and Deb visit OOTMBBITB
We took a couple of days showing them our favorite spots around the sea of Abaco before taking the Whale Cay passage north to Green Turtle Cay.  The “Whale” can be a crazy passage in a blow but our crossing was benign.
Green Turtle Cay has two sounds – White Sound in the north and Black Sound in the south.  The settlement of New Plymouth lies in the south of the island near Black Sound on Settlement Bay.  We had Goombay Smashes at Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar and took a leisurely walk around the community.

Miss Emily's granddaughter


A slightly younger Pam on the right at Miss Emily's a few years ago.
Miss Emily's Blue Bee Bar


Our anchorage in White Sound was fine but the Bluff House Marina was having a special so that if we ate in the restaurant our moorage would be free.  Free is our favorite price so we moved in 50 meters and tied up – and importantly hooked up our power and turned on the air conditioning.  WOW – we have grown accustomed to sleeping in the heat but AC is a great luxury when we can connect to shore power.

Wasabe sesame tuna at the Bluff House at Green Turtle Cay
 From Green Turtle we moved only about 3 miles to Manjack, where we walked across to the Atlantic side and then swam in the harbour.  Nice place!  From there we headed to Allan’s-Pensacola and ran into Pat and Tuttie on Keltic Kat, a Canadian boat.  We’ve bumped into them several times beginning at Indiantown all the way down to Georgetown.  The Atlantic side of Allan’s-Pensacola features the “signing tree,” kind of like BooBoo Hill in the Exumas where cruisers leave their mark by hanging driftwood and flotsam in trees on the shore.  There are ruins from an old US missile tracking system but we couldn’t find anything very interesting.

The Signing Tree - not the Hanging Tree

We’ve heard boats reporting in over the radio from Double Breasted Cay in the north and it offers protection from all directions.  It was on the way and overnight squalls were predicted so it seemed like a good place to anchor.  There is a strong current which required a Bahamian Moor – one anchor upstream and another downstream so the boat alters from pulling on one anchor to the other as the current changes.  It keeps the boat from swinging wildly in a narrow anchorage.  We had never done it before and we say with great humility that we executed it perfectly.  Our night was secure – even as squalls hit us at about 1:30 in the morning.  Pam and George reported that there was incredible lightning, thunder and winds.  Glen slept through it.
Throughout our journey we have been nervous about fishing on the banks because we seem to catch nothing but huge barracudas.  Well, wouldn’t you know it, Fish-Killer Pam got up the nerve and what did we get – huge barracudas.  We think we might have hooked something good like a mahi but Glen screwed it up.
After a small jolt with our fish defibulator, he was as good as new.
On our final day in the Bahamas, crossing the banks, George and Pam spotted a strange apparition off in the distance and we changed course to investigate.  As we came closer we found three young Bahamians on a runabout, anchored in about 15 feet of water.  According to them, they had been fishing and become lost and then ran out of gas.  They had no idea where they were and had been adrift for 3 days.  Our first thought was that they were Somalian pirates starting a Bahamian franchise and we were reluctant to invite them onto the boat.  A radio check with someone in the community of West End confirmed that they were searching for missing fishermen.  So we scooped Manny, Darnell and Van aboard and took their vessel in tow.  After an hour some very relieved rescuers met us in a speed-boat and took our guests back to their family and friends.

Finding the Lost Boys

Grateful search party leaving with our boys
We had expected a heros’ parade and free conch salad when we arrived at the dock at West End – however that somehow eluded us.
We have loved our time in the Bahamas but now that we are heading towards home we are in a hurry to get there.  Soon we will be in Florida – spending time fixing small problems and enjoying civilization.  Then home to family and friends!!!
Heard it snowed at home in Abbotsford yesterday - "Dang, that ain't good!"  Hope it warms up soon.

6 comments:

  1. New respect for the Roger Rescuers. Could be the name for a new film.

    Regarding Abbotsford weather: stay south for as long as you can!

    Not only did it snow, but it was a blizzard out our way, AND on my 50th birthday, to boot! Gosh. I hate driving in blizzards in April!

    Have LOVED LOVED LOVED reading your adventures and seeing your pictures this winter!

    Many hugs!

    m

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  2. Hi guys, sounds very exciting and topping it off with the rescue. loved it all, you'll miss the Bahamas but we'll be glad to have you back. (for awhile).

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  3. Enjoy what time you have left way down south until you head back again next season.

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  4. Loved the posting! Not sure where you are right now (crossing or across now) but we had snow in MI on the 18th. Wow - love the picture of Pam several years ago :) at Miss Em's! Should have posted then and now! If you're still in the process of crossing - hope you have fair winds. If back in the states, hope you have nice weather to put Blue Pearl to rest. Hugs from the Kolibrie crew!

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  5. Mary Clare and AxelApril 21, 2011 at 11:56 PM

    Just checked in with your blog and soooo glad that we did. We'd just finished taking a walk with our dogs across snow covered hills and warmed up with your stories of the Bahamas. Safe sailing if still crossing, and hope "putting your boat to bed" goes smoothly. Wonder where she'll end up in dry storage? wet? We had wild weather in Florida, lots of squalls and got hit one day with 60 mph winds. Hope you have milder weather there than we did. Will check in again for the conclusion to this year's season for Blue Pearl. Hugs from Azaya!

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  6. What a great post with so many interesting aspects. Thank you for the details, the great photos, and an insight into the cruising life in the Bahamas. We cant wait....
    Thanks

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