History Log: Season 2004
Amida travels from Toronto to Trinidad.
Our first years adventure.
Log 9: Turks and Caicos
March 24th: Amida is now in the Turks and Caicos
It has been quite a long time (Feb 21st) since I last put pen to paper… (isn’t that an anachronism! Maybe I should write instead
“finger to keyboard”).
We’ve moved quite far south from Warderick Wells, in the Exumas and are anchored in Sapadillo Bay, expecting heavy winds,
25-30, gusts up to 40, for a few days. The weather has been really poor, with high winds pretty much constant since we arrived
in the Exumas. This makes life hard as, in these conditions, you just don’t feel like taking the dinghy into shore and doing
touristy things, or getting the snorkel stuff out. So, we spend a lot of time on Amida, reading, and vegging.
Let’s go back in time, however, to where I finished off the last Log…
We had initially intended to stay in Warderick for just a few days, but ended up being there for eight. The anchorage, being in
the Exumas Park, has a mere 22 mooring balls, at a charge of $15/night. You can, however, volunteer to work on various
projects and that gives you a free night. I decided to do this one day and showed up with perhaps 8 or 9 other volunteers at the
Park Office to receive a project assignment. A few of the folks had been there the previous day and were sent off to finish those
projects. When my turn came along, I was asked about my background. My first response, of “brain surgeon” caused a bit of a
surprise, so I quickly amended that to “manager at IBM”. This also proved to be problematic as they really needed engineers
and ditch diggers. After a few moments of thought, the Warden took me to the back office, handed me a box containing MS
Office and told me to go and install it. My first reaction is to look for Bryan Sacks, to whom I could delegate this very difficult
task, after all, I had been a Manager, and we all know that Managers can’t actually do anything. Bryan, however, was nowhere
in sight, so I gritted my teeth, sat down at the keyboard, and managed to accomplish the installation trouble free. As a bonus, I
signed on to the BBC World Sports website to check up on the Man Utd news and results. Needing to put in some 4 hours of
work to get the freebie mooring, I went back to the Warden, declared success, and asked for my next job. This one was even
more daunting as he told me the Park was in dire need of a Procedures Manual. This I had not bargained for! After some
discussion as to what was the problem they were trying to solve and what the objectives of such a Manual might be, I told him
the best I could do was to do some internet research (Man Utd site) and come up with the outline, ie Index, for the Manual,
which future volunteers could flesh out. Indeed, this is what I did for the remainder of that morning and the next… It was a little
surreal, sitting in an office in the Bahamas, writing up an Office Procedures Manual… they definitely don’t write about that in the
We met up again with Odelia, the 56ft power boat from Normans. Recalling their huge plasma TV set and knowing that there was
a soccer game one afternoon, I asked Rick if he would mind if I came over to watch it. No problem, he responded. So the next
day, I dinghied over full of eager anticipation that there was a 1 in 4 chance that I’d get to see Man Utd. You won’t believe my
lousy luck. Of all the stations he received on his mega-antenna, the ESPN2 channel that was showing the game was not able to
be received! The screen showed the odd few pixels, and I actually saw the ball a couple of times, but the sound was off. I think I
was actually thankful that it was not the Man Utd match, as that would have been unbearable. I drowned my sorrows in a few
Every Saturday evening, the Park Office hosts a Happy Hour event, to which one brings an appetizer for communal sharing and
your own booze. It was a great opportunity to meet the other boaters. To our great surprise, one couple, whose boat was
moored near Amida, had purchased her from Brian Stewart from the NYC! What a coincidence!!!! Several of the vessels were
from Canada. In fact, a rough approximation was that in each anchorage, some 25 to 33% of the boats are Canadian.
Next day, the mooring ball next to us became free and was then taken by “La Gitana” (The Gipsy, in Spanish) sailed by a couple
in their mid-thirties, Brett and Tess. They created quite a stir with their entrance, as Tess was in a thong bikini. Not only the
dress code was impressive, but from the neck down, if you catch my drift, Tess looks like Raquel Welch! Somehow, that made
the ritual of observing their arrival and mooring all the more pleasurable… The boat on our other side was Concerto, a Seaward
48 designed by Sparkman & Stevens, and owned by a delightful couple, Geoff and June, with whom we quickly made friends.
Close by was Liberty, a Morgan 46, owned by Ty and Suzanne. We spent a few evenings together, alternating venues, and
swopping tall tales. During one of these get-togethers we started singing, and all of a sudden, I see everyone their hands to
their faces in what seemed a rather strange way. It turns out the song was “Junior Birdsman” and the gestures were
pantomimes of the hat and goggles that Junior apparently wore. Of course, you had to have spent your childhood in NA to
understand this. Nevertheless, it was a great hoot!
One day, we heard on the VHF that a sailboat had been spotted foundering on the rocks of an adjacent Cay. There was no one
on board, no dinghy attached, the main sail was up and the genoa on the deck… Consternation… The Warden took off on a
search, all boats in the area were on lookout, and the Rescue helicopter was deployed. After a few days of searching, the effort
was called off. So sad. It turned out the owner had been a single male, in his early sixties. This was the third Man Overboard
situation we had heard about in a single months and was quite, quite sobering. Marilyn’s speculation was that the dinghy had
come off the stern and he had rushed forward to take down sails, and after getting the genoa down, was knocked over by the
boom during an accidental jibe.
The wind was now blowing strongly and despite wanting to leave to head towards Georgetown, where we were expecting our
guest, Lorraine, to arrive on March 5th, we could not. We were stuck… but better here than on the Don Valley Parkway!
One afternoon, sitting aboard Concerto, rain suddenly started to pelt down and M realized our hatches had been left open. She
jumped into the dinghy and motored off, much to the surprise of Jeff, Rick, and Ty, who turned to me and asked how come that
wasn’t me in the dinghy??? It’s great that Marilyn is so capable. On many other boats, the males do all the boat work and the
women cook and clean. On Amida, M does both of those (except breakfast, which is my responsibility)… and boat stuff!!! Lucky
An hour or so after she returned, we saw Brett (from La Gitana) roaring over in his dinghy with a distinctly worried look on his
face. He called over to ask if any of us had a dinghy with a more powerful engine than his 8 HP as a friend was out assisting with
the MOB search and rescue and her boat was dragging its anchor, heading towards the rocks! Adrenalin and testosterone levels
surged and we leapt into action. Odelia’s tender had an 85HP engine so Rick, Brett, and Ty took off at high speed. Geoff and I
followed a few minutes later in Geoff’s comparatively piddly 15HP dinghy. The waves were choppy and we were soaking wet
within minutes. The anchorage to which we were heading was quite a distance away, light was failing, and we discovered that
the fuel tank was not exactly full… in fact, it was much nearer empty than full, so, not wanting to become the subject of yet
another rescue situation, we turned back. Of course, the propeller now decided it was time for a Bahamian vacation and refused
to turn except at low revs… of course, it was quite dark now… of course, to get back to Concerto we had to navigate past a
couple of shoals and get through a narrow cut! As a result we arrived, safely, but with adrenalin levels still stratospheric.
It turned out our help had not been needed as there were enough people to save the vessel from foundering. All in all, quite an
(Marilyn writes: imagine the state of affairs aboard Concerto, four ladies worried about their guys, who went storming out into
the dark, in small dinghies is 25 knots of wind. In fact, when I went back to Amida earlier to close the hatches I barely made it
back to Concerto in all the wind…testosterone!)
We eventually left Warderick on Feb 28th and had a nice, nice sail to Fowl Cay, which has a huge bay and several nice beaches,
and offered perfect protection against the wind, which was forecast to climb, yet again. One of the small Cays just to the north,
Fowl Cay, is privately owned, and has three rental villas. The guests have access to a fourth villa which contains the pool, dining
room, and pub complete with billiard table and dart board. The dining room has a couple of additional tables for the boaters, but
reservations had to be made quite far in advance.
We were now getting worried that we wouldn’t make Georgetown in time for Lorraine’s arrival and started to make contingency
plans. One of these was that she fly from Nassau to Staniel Cay, just south of Fowl, instead of to Georgetown. We took Amida to
Staniel to fill up with diesel and water, take a shower, do some grocery shopping, and see if we could arrange the flight. To our
dismay, the marina did not have any showers, but did have a rather nice bar and restaurant, with great rum punches. A couple
of hours after we arrived, we saw La Gitana, with Brett and Tess, dock right next to us and we spent that evening having far too
many rum punches before, during, and after our dinner. They invited us for a nightcap, and poured us each a copious amount of
Tequila, from a water jug which had originally been filled with eleven bottles, and which was now just half-full. The high point of
the evening was when Brett pulled out a mirrored disco-ball, shone his flashlight on it and we danced in the cockpit to the mellow
voice of Marc Anthony!
We’ve visited a few boat in the 46-48 ft LOA range and I’ve decide this is the “right” size… big enough to afford spacious
accommodation below and have an engine room large enough to provide easy access to the engine, room for a large battery
bank, and a separate diesel generator to run the inverter and air-conditioning…
I think I’ve previously recounted how many interesting people we have met, many of whom come from backgrounds completely
different from ours.
Examples: Tess is a Vet, whose father passed away recently leaving her a house in Salzburg, while Brett was a top notch skier
who almost made the American national team… Ty and Suzanne are both retired from the US Navy, where he had been the
Captain of a destroyer and she the Assistant to the Joint Chief of Staff of the entire US military… Geoff headed up Prime
Computer’s Far East division and June is an artist… Rick spent twenty some years in the US Army, then worked as a civilian
contractor during Desert Storm and Tsipy was a ballet teacher in Israel.
I asked Ty to help us through the Byzantine process of taking a sun sight with our virgin sextant and going through the tables of
reductions etc to come up with a position. He tentatively agreed, telling us that it had been quite a few years since he had done
this himself . We eventually muddled our way through the process
and determined our position to be a mere 200 mile away from where the GPS put us (my vote went to the GPS). In our defence,
however, we used Marilyn’s watch which had not been synchronized to UTC and there was no real horizon as the sun was over
the cay, not water… hence we declared success! Nick, your class at NYC was excellent in teaching us the basics… all we need
now is more, and more, and more, practice.
Staniel Cay has a village with a couple of groceries, a library, and a store selling beach stuff (where I bought myself a sarong,
aka a skirt, to complement my feminine side… the breeze it allows through it quite delightful, if you know what I mean!) a few
ramshackle huts where the locals live, and a few rental villas . One of the groceries had conch shells for sale. I had wanted to
get one so I could partake in the custom of blowing through it, like a trumpet, to celebrate the setting of the sun. I picked one up
to check it out more closely and discovered that sitting underneath was a monster cockroach! Needless to say, I didn’t buy it,
fearing there were a million eggs, all about ready to hatch, inside.
We discovered that there were a number of options to get Lorraine over from Nassau. One was to charter a plane, for a mere
$250. The other was to get her a seat on “Harry’s” plane, for a mere $80, which we did. Harry, however, seemed a tad too laid
back, so we told him we’d phone on the day of her arrival just to make sure he had not forgotten. To his credit, he didn’t and
Lorraine arrived safely. We had asked her to bring a few items from Toronto… a bunch of steaks, cold cuts from Loblaws, cigs,
mail, my repaired Ham Radio, etc, etc, etc. Consequently, her luggage was somewhat heavy and the mile long walk from the
airport “terminal” (a 15’ * 15’ roof with a few benches under it) to the boat seemed at least an order of magnitude longer.
Luckily, as often happens here, a lady driving past took pity and gave us a ride in her golf-cart, which is a common mode of
The next night we had dinner reservations at the Fowl Cay Resort. It was magnificent. Pre-dinner cocktails and horses-doovers,
dinner (steak or Lobster Newburgh) with all the wine you wanted to drink, ending with as many liqueurs as your heart desired
was a mere US$50 per person… and their tender picked us and took us back afterwards. The owners were a very, very
charming couple who had sold their 80ft Hatteras trawler and spend three years getting the various approvals before
construction could even start. We also discovered that the three villas had been rented for the week, at a total cost of over
US$25K (plus air-fares) by seven couples who were celebrating a 40th birthday! Probably stock brokers, or lawyers, or brain
surgeons… certainly not IBMers!
The next day we took the dinghy to Thunderball Grotto, where some of the James Bond movie of the same name had been
filmed. The Grotto is quite amazing as you swim into a miniature mountain in which is a cave with a hole in its roof. You can get
inside on the surface only at low tide, otherwise you need to dive under. The fish life us wonderful and, as many visitors bring
fish food, as soon as you are in the water, a shoal approaches you for a handout. Luckily these are little guys, not sharks or
barracudas. The current, however, is amazingly strong. I discovered, to my great satisfaction, that my mask and fins were
becoming more and more comfortable, and I no longer feel like a fish out of water.
We were finally able to leave the anchorage on March 7th and sail down to Farmers Cay, a staging location for the next day’s leg
to Georgetown. At Farmers we met up again with Carylar, whom we had initially met in Green Turtle. The anchorage there is
mostly mooring balls and we had a bit of trouble with ours. We approached the ball heading into the wind and, somehow, the 1”
line got itself under the starb’d side of the hull, around the back end of the fin keel, then down to the sea bed on the port side.
The combination of wind and current worked such that it wouldn’t free itself of its own accord so we turned the engine on to
assist the disentanglement. I put on snorkel mask and fins to check the line out more closely and to direct Marilyn to steer
forward, till the line dropped under the keel.
Strangely, our initial inclination had been to reverse to accomplish the same goal. The bad news was that I discovered that the
nylon line had rubbed against the back end of the keel and had already gouged out an indentation in the space of 10 – 20
minutes. Had we not noticed the problem, half the keel could have been sawn off! Mind you had it come off completely, our draft
would have been shallower and crossing shoals become easier!
Next day we sailed to Georgetown… another major milestone in the trip. Georgetown is the Bahamas sailing Mecca, hosting up to
400-500 boats at peak. In March, they host the annual regatta, with races, volleyball tournaments, and a host of other social
activities. We got there just in time to pick up Gail, who was flying in from Trinidad for Marilyn’s 50th Birthday. So now, I’m the
only male on Amida, with three females for company. Eat your hearts out, guys!
The winds were still strong, which meant a dinghy ride guaranteed a wet bum, and more. The trip to the town dock was of some
25 minutes duration and I took a few large garbage bags with me when I went to collect Gail, so her luggage wouldn’t get
soaked. She came on board Amida to a tearful welcome from M, as the two are “best” friends of some 25 years.
For M’s 50th, I arranged dinner at the best restaurant in town. As Lorraine was leaving at the crack of dawn the next day, it took
a while to figure out how we would get us all from Amida to town and back, then Lorraine to the dock the next morning. The
problem was solved by the decision to take Amida to the marina, where we could fill up with diesel and water, and take a
shower, and do some walking and shopping in town. Unfortunately, this marina is probably the worst one we have come across
so far. The “help” when we docked was non-existent and the showers absolutely filthy.
Dinner was great! The restaurant was quite small and cozy, with perhaps only another 16 other diners. We toasted Marilyn’s
health and well-being, took some photos, and then Gail took over the floor, announced the Birthday and her long friendship, and
the whole ensemble sang, Happy Birthday, as the staff brought over a slice of cake. This is a cool way to get a free desert!
Lorraine departed next morning and, when it came time to fill up with water and fuel, the dockmaster was nowhere in sight. We
waited over an hour till he returned, filled up, and left the dock. The tide was now approaching its low. The previous day, a
monster powerboat had grounded approaching the marina (apparently without any damage), so I was a little wary of the shoal
and paid close attention to the chart, which indicated we should not have a problem. The marina staff had told us both the
entrance channel and the slips could handle a draft of 6’6” yet, the previous night at the dock, we had bounced the keel off the
bottom several times, so I had my doubts the charts and staff pronunciations were accurate. This indeed proved to be the case
as some 80ft off the dock, we touched bottom. Getting off was easy, so we tried again in a different direct, with the same
result… and again, and again, and again! Deciding we could not get away, we returned to the marina and tied up to an outside
slip, awaiting the high timed of the next morning.
That night, at around midnight, I started to hear the rather annoying sound of metal slapping against wood. It appeared to be
coming from an adjacent slip and not from Amida, so I went back to sleep, but kept being woken as the frequency of the slaps
increased. Finally, I went out to investigate and discovered that the aluminum tender of an adjacent boat was caught under the
dock planking and the waves would bounce it up against them, making a racket. I retied the tender where it would clear the
dock and went back to sleep wondering why I had awoken rather than the owner! Then I heard a tap, tap, tap, on the hull. It
seemed like someone was knocking on it, but that seemed hardly likely at 2:00am. Then again, tap, tap, tap. Cursing, I went
out to the cockpit and saw, to my surprise, that there indeed was someone trying to attract my attention… a local. His story was
that he had been working on one of the marina pumps and could not reach the owner on the phone, but needed $27 to buy a
part, and could I lend him the money, which the marina would repay me in the morning. I gave him 10 / 10 for creativity, but
0/10 for thinking I’d fall for it, and sent him packing! In the morning, I told the tender owner that I’d had to retie his boat and
about my visitor. He then told me that, a month earlier, still at the same slip, he’d awoken in the morning to find that someone
had come on board in the night and had gone through the wallet which had been in his short’s pocket, and had taken out all the
cash. Now there’s a heavy, heavy sleeper! He now keeps a machete by his bunk! Scary story!
Another scary story came from a sailing magazine which Gail had brought with her. Apparently, off the coast of Venezuela, but
in an area that had been thought safe, so far at least, a sailboat was approached by a small fishing vessel and was asked for
water. It was then boarded and a gun appeared along with a not so polite request for cash. The owner tried to go below, where
he perhaps had a weapon, and was shot in the head, and killed. Piracy… this doesn’t happen often, but even a single incident
makes you shudder.
Other scary incidents revolved around dinghies. While in Georgetown, two or three got loose from their host vessels. This had
also happened further north in the Exumas. I guess too many owners don’t know how to tie a decent knot! Some were retrieved
by other vessels, some disappeared over the horizon… Even scarier were two incidents involving dinghies under power from
their outboards. In one case, the owner who was driving it, fell overboard and was run over by the prop… all over his face. He
ended up being air-lifted to Nassau to have his wounds stitched up and his broken jaw reset. Another incident involved a dog
standing on the bow, as dogs do to feel the wind blowing past their faces, and also fell off, and was also run over by the prop…
probably not the kind of grooming he’d had in mind.
We were finally able to leave Georgetown on March 16th and had a fabulous sail to Conception Island, where there is a
magnificent beach. The wind was off the nose at 16-22 knots and the waves 8-12ft (depending on who was observing). Amida
felt absolutely great. We were now in the company of Carylar and Khaya Manzi, a Tartan 41sailed by Stephan and Karola.
Stephan has over 10,000 nm under his belt as delivery crew, so has welcome experience, and K M is, by far, the fastest boat in
our little fleet. He arrived at the Conception anchorage first, with us not too far behind as we’d made up time when Karola
caught a dolphin (not of the Flipper type) which needed to be landed (20 minutes) then cut up and prepared for eating. We put
down the anchor in front of the beach, had a sun-downer and went over to K M for the fish dinner, and looked forward to the
next day’s plans of resting, relaxing, and exploring the beaches.
Unfortunately, that plan was never realized as the next morning’s weather forecast from Chris Parker (whom we actually met in
Georgetown) indicated that day was a good one to travel south to Mayaguana. Up came the anchors, in a hurry, and off we
went. Except this time, there was not much wind and we ended up doing a lot of power-sailing, arriving just before noon the next
day. Just after leaving Conception, and also approaching Mayaguana, we came across some nasty looking clouds. It was not
easy to determine if they had wind-squalls within them, but we either slowed or changed course a little to try and avoid them.
Those by Mayaguana were to the east of Amida, just about where K M and Carylar were sailing, and we saw them disappear into
a deluge of rain a few times. This was actually good news for Carylar as they are able to, easily, collect rainwater to replenish
their fresh water tanks.
Mayaguana has a couple of anchorages on its south side. One is a traditional bay while the other is inside a reef where you can
just see the waves breaking over the coral. We put down the hooks in the bay. Our CQR dragged, then caught, then dragged,
then caught… so we decided to try again. Unfortunately, the last time it caught, it had done so under a rock, or piece of coral,
and it was a struggle to extricate it. It took three attempts before we were happy with the set, only to find that the wind was
shifting so that we would be too exposed and we decided all decided to go into the reef protected anchorage. The holding there
was much better, but the chop was quite ugly. Also, we were a long, long distance from the settlement, and also from shore. We
ended up being stuck there for four night, without a single trip onto shore, with winds over 20 knots and finally departed for the
Turks just before sunset on March 21st. While the distance was some 50nm, the “bible” for these waters (Van Sant’s book)
suggests leaving in the evening with arrival in the Turks the next morning, before the wind picks up again. This leg was done
mostly under sail, though we took a bit of a pounding as we were close-hauled in 15-20 knot winds, with a choppy sea as the
wind clocked. Amida sailed with a double reef and as much genoa out as was comfortable. In Conception we had been joined by
several other boats and were now a fleet of eight…
We’ve now been anchored in Sapodillo Bay, on the south side of Provo, for four nights, with likely three more yet to come
before winds die enough to let us depart. We were running low on water and diesel, so went over to the nearest marina that
could take our draft, a distance of some 6 miles. The trip was quite exciting! We first discovered that the route suggested by one
of the guidebooks took us over coral heads. Again, not knowing if these were a few inches off the sea bottom or a few inches
below the surface, we sailed around them, with M standing by the bow, giving me directions on where to steer. We called the
marina from a mile away, but they did not respond on VHF 16. Luckily, a boat that was docked there heard us and went in
search of the marina staff, who guided us in, saying that 6ft was fine… but we no longer believe these kinds of stories, despite
the charts and guidebooks also saying the same. It was actually easy to get into the marina, despite the 20-25 kn wind, though
still dodging coral heads, but once inside the breakwall, the water was like glass. We filled up with RO (Reverse Osmosis… ie
good) water, rinsed off the decks a little, and took on diesel. The bill came to almost US$100… with the water meter showed us
having used 172 gallons, which was clearly preposterous as our tanks are 100g and the rinsing was brief. At 15c a gallon, it was
not worth making a fuss over this and we left. Of course, by now, the tide was lower and we ended up bumping the channel
bottom five or six times… so much for the 6ft of clearance, yet again. Now, the sun was in our eyes as we headed back, which
made the coral head dodging much more challenging. We ended up motor-tacking from side to side, to get a better viewing
angle, for the next 40 minutes. Stressful to say the least, but successfully accomplished. How that we have left the Bahamas, we
can proudly write that not once did we ground Amida, other than in the Marina, which doesn’t count in this particular metric. The
Turks, however, are still a potential source of danger, as there are many coral heads on the Banks…
So far, the Turks have been a disappointment. For boaters, Sapadillo is a great anchorage, but is very inconveniently situated as
there is absolutely nothing within reasonable walking distance, except the Customs Office where we had to do our check-in. This
means you either have to walk an unreasonable distance, call a cab (on VHF), rent a car, or hitch-hike. Hitch-hiking is an
approved mode of transportation so that’s what we did yesterday. The first vehicle we thumbed, a half-ton truck, stopped and
took us into ‘downtown’. It turned out that our driver was also the owner of a local take-away there and on the way he was
amazingly frank about this business, its revenue stream, leasing costs, and how many thousands of lbs of chicken, ribs, potatoes
etc they went through! It was quite unbelievable to hear that his revenue had peaked at US$750K, but had fallen as his
competition adapted, ie copied his format. The place is, quite frankly, a dump… a shack of some 10 x 20 feet with two takeout
windows. No place to sit, no washrooms… the food, however, was good, plentiful and quite cheap, as we discovered over lunch.
He also told us that you can by half acre lots, with ocean view, and can double your money by building then selling. Unless my
math is way out, this implies you buy two lots, build two houses, sell one, and the other becomes a freebie! Somehow, that
sounds too good to be true!
From there we walked to the marine store, grocery, an internet café, a couple of building supply stores, a local art and craft
store, and a bakery. The building supplies store was amazing, just like Home Depot, but with a large furniture section. The
stores were not in close proximity to each other… nothing on Provo appears to be close to anything else! The main highway is
being reconstructed so there was dust everywhere. Apparently, the north beach is long and spectacular, so we may yet rent a
car to do some exploring.
For the last three days the wind has been mostly from the NE at 20 -25, with gusts to over 30 knots, so we are hunkered down
again, reading a lot. Sitting in the cockpit one time, I happened to glance over to K M and saw Stephan starting his exercise
regimen. I was amazed… awestruck, actually, as he proceeded to do some 100 sit-ups and 40 or 50 push-ups! I thought for a
while that I too should do something similar, but then reached over to get another cookie. By the way, my favourite cookies,
oatmeal and raisin, are really hard to find. The grocery in Georgetown had a half-sized packet for which they were asking
Writing about a ‘health’ topic reminded me that I’ve had a couple of incidents that, luckily, turned out well. The first was when we
discovered a chunk of my Polish sausage whose existence had been forgotten for a week, consequently, it had hardened to the
texture of set concrete. Those of you who are familiar with either my love of Polish sausage (Krakowska) or my occasional
thriftiness will not be surprised to learn that I started to chew on the chunk, breaking off small portions at a time. It was hard
work and when my jaw started to get sore (better exercise than sit-ups, I think!) I reluctantly threw the rest away so the fishes
could expand their culinary experiences. I then started on the cold-cut sandwich which M had prepared and after a few bites,
came across something really hard, which I assumed was a piece of bone. Images of suing Loblaws for millions immediately
flashed by as I spat it out, only to discover that the hard object was actually a piece of my own molar, which had broken off.
Momentary panic set in as I evaluated the options… Perhaps a do-it-yourself fix could be accomplished with my Dremel tool and
a dental bit I had picked up in a Florida flea-market? Now that would be the ultimate tale to be able to later recount! Perhaps I
could go to a local dentist and get a gold filling, which the locals here appear to like? Perhaps I’d need to fly to Nassau, or even
Ft Lauderdale to get it fixed? I waited for the pain to set in and help in the decision making… and it never arrived! Talk about
dodging the bullet. This means I can wait till we get back to Toronto and have it fixed by my own dentist, and have IBM pay for
at least some of the costs.
The second incident was more serious, and a result of my own loss of concentration. We were raising the anchor and I needed
to get the safety lever undone on the Lofrans windlass. Stupidly, I kept hold of the chain with one hand and pressed the “up”
button, watching the safety lever, until my fingers got caught between the gypsy and the chain. That immediately caught my
attention and the “down” button was pressed in a major hurry! I looked at my fingers and they were still all attached… so
continued retrieving the hook up. When it was safely stowed, I had a more careful look and was most relieved to see that there
was only a mild loss of skin, virtually no blood, no break, and later on, not even a bruise. Lucky, lucky, lucky! Without an
operational right-hand, M would have not only to cook and clean, but do ALL of the boat work for a while, which might lead to
mutiny. And how could a mutiny be quelled without an operational right hand? Suffice it to say that I am more careful now.
Almost finished, readers… I suspect only the die-hards are still at it, the rest having gone off for a coffee break or back to the TV
set, or watching paint dry as a higher source of excitement.
The only thing left to report is that a couple of boat problems have shown up. We have somehow managed to break two of our
four main sail battens. One, old, delaminated and was replaced by a spare. The other, the top one, was brand new and it
punctured and ripped the batten pocket. It’s too windy to fix now, but has to be done before we set off on the next leg. The
second problem is that we’ve discovered that three of the six chain-plates leak. This is quite annoying as I had had a long
conversation with the guys who did our deck repairs back in Toronto as to how to seal them adequately and was “guaranteed”
they would not leak for years to come. These too need fixing as water coming in will eventually rot the bulkhead to which they
are attached and then we’ll be in real trouble.
We had a recurrence of an old problem… the hose from the hot water tank fell off while under power, despite being double
clamped to a barb fitting. Luckily, M heard the bilge pump going on (she has the nose and smell of a dog), so we didn’t lose all
the water in the tank… it could have been worse. My remedy was to turn the barbed fitting from the vertical (hose comes up to
meet it) to horizontal, and tighten the clamps when the hose was hot… let’s see if that works. We’ve seen boats with a bilge
pump light placed in the cockpit (ours is on the electrical panel), which is a great idea for a future project.
Speaking of problems, we heard a story about an Air Marine wind generator whose blades broke off and one of them came into
the cockpit, stabbing itself through the cockpit table. Luckily no one was sitting and obstructing its trajectory! Now, that would be
a game of Russian roulette… will it, won’t it? No such stories about our KISS… yet…
Yesterday, March 28th, we decided to play tourist and visit the beaches on the north side of the island, using our thumbs as the
mode of transportation… which we did with some trepidation as it was Sunday, and we expected traffic to be sparse. No
problem! The second or third vehicle that was traveling in our intended direction stopped, picked us up, and took us to Turtle
Cove Marina, on the western side of the long stretch of beach. Walking around this marina, we spotted a Beneteau sitting rather
forlornly at its slip, sans mast and boom. Actually, there was a stub of a mast sticking out of the deck, and it became apparent
that this boat had been dismasted, in an unplanned manner as the stanchions and lifelines were bent and broken. The thought of
taking a photo for the archives was put aside in case it was a way of tempting fate! There are a few restaurants and bars in that
area and we stopped for lunch. Then it was time to put the thumb out again for the three mile trip to the next area of interest.
The first car stopped, despite its being occupied by two adults, two young children, and two dogs! The family turned out to be
from Calgary, visiting relatives on Provo, and took us out of their way to drop us off at the beach. Not only that, but they gave
us their phone number with instructions to call if we ever got stuck without a ride! Nice, nice people!!!
The stretch of beach by Grace Bay is beautiful. There is a reef offshore which breaks up the swells and provides, apparently,
superb diving and snorkelling. The development is tasteful, with no building higher than 5 stories. Many are condos, with a
“rental” program. They aren’t either cheap to buy nor rent, costing over $700K and $4K per week respectively, but some of
them are outstanding in their architecture. One of them, the Grace Bay Club, had a beach bar under a thatched roof, where we
stopped for a Pina Colada. Their restaurant was also facing the beach, but unfortunately, they were full already for dinner.
Walking further, we passed the Club Med, and arrived at the Ocean Club, whose restaurant was able to accommodate us for a
6:30 sitting. As we had an hour to kill, we walked to the end of the beach, where there was an absolutely outstanding villa for
sale, doubtless with an asking price of several mill, then back again to Ocean Club’s beach bar for a sundowner. Dinner was
superb! Tables outside, under the trees, live music, great food (lobster), dancing…We decided to take a cab back as it was dark
already and the distance quite long. The price came to $25, plus tip.
This turned out to be an expensive day, but a quick analysis of our budget had indicated that we were now spending less than
C$2000 a month, and catching up from the excesses of Oct to Jan. This pattern will continue, as the DR is cheap, cheap, cheap.
So, in summary, the Turks would be a great place to come for a vacation, when you might be in a resort/hotel/condo for the
week, without needing much transportation around the island. For boaters, getting in to the marina on the north shore would put
them closer to the attractions and stores, but our comments as to the “inconvenience” for those anchored on the south side,
however, still stand.
The next leg is to Luperon, in the Dominican Republic, a three day trip. The first two days are over the Turks & Caicos bank with
anchorages each night. The third section is across deep, deep water. The weather forecast indicates we can leave on Monday,
by which time the swells will be 5ft rather than the 8-12 that are out there right now, and the wind will be from N or NE at less
than 15 knots. We’re looking forward to getting to Luperon, having heard so many tales about it and about how cheap the DR is.
Apparently, you can eat dinner for $1! The downside, there’s always one of these to a bargain, is that the local microbes and
bacteria are very different to the ones to which our anatomies are accustomed. We heard from a boater, who’d been there for
nine months, that amoeba infections (?) are not uncommon, and that one boater actually died as a result…
Cruising is NOT for wimps! So, if you don’t get an email, soon, telling you that the next Log is up for viewing then:
1. We were not able to even upload this one because the internet café in Provo was closed…
2. I made a mistake entering a waypoint and we hit a reef…
3. We made it safely to the DR but cannot get the next Log uploaded because we can’t walk further than to the head…
4. The KISS blades shattered and impaled both of us to the cockpit table and we’re sailing in circles, somewhere out there…
5. My broken tooth suddenly went berserk and I jumped overboard, being crazed by the pain…
Anyone care to join us in the DR???