April 26, 2014

A Beautiful Groove

When I take a deep breath of salty air,
I realize there's nothing I cannot bear.

When I'm out awalkin' high on a hill,
My feet do the talking, and I dream at will.

I let go all my worries, I have nothing to prove,
What once was a rut, is now a beautiful groove.


NOTE:  I returned to the states on April 25 for family medical issues.  I left Glory Days resting on a mooring ball in Hopetown, Abacos.  Here are some postings that I've been a bit behind on reporting… Still others to follow.

April 17, 2014.  

This day ended with an unexpected surprise and a touch of danger after a day of great sailing.

Light Southeasterly winds as I departed Black Point this morn made for a leisurely pace... My destination was Shroud Cay, the northernmost boundary for Exuma Land and Sea Park… Winds would soon increase.

 FYI…. When you are sailing a boat straight downwind, as I was on this day, it often requires the use of a spinnaker pole to hold the headsail (Genoa) out in front of the boat... It's basically a rigid spar that attaches one end on to the front side of the mast and the other end on the clew of the headsail....the purpose of the pole is to secure the headsail in a fixed place and to stop the sail from flapping in light winds … Me no want flapping head sail… This allows this captain to have more peace and harmony while drifting down the lee side of the Exuma Sound. 

Then there's the mainsail which is splayed out on the opposing side of the boat….In this case the port side. See photo below...

 Going straight downwind with a sail expanded on each side of the bow can be a little flukey if the mainsail catches wind on the wrong side causing the boom to suddenly go flying across the boat without warning .... not good… heads beware if this occurs...you don't want to get clobbered… 

That is why I have started to employ the use of a "preventer" line... this line is tied to the base of the boom and onto the opposing deck cleat amidships, and it secures and "prevents" the boom from suddenly getting loose and flying across the boat... Neat idea, but it has its own issues that can occur as you will soon hear. It's a tricky thing, that boom.

"I'm being followed by a main shadow"

This leisurely sail soon picked up and became quite a frisky one as the wind shifted a bit from the east which provided a much better angle to scoot me across the water... It is such a pleasure to cover great distances soley by harnessing the wind... Plus the fuel tank remains full and less hours are put on the engine… 

It's a win win when wind wins… :)
The Fine Print…. Always heed messages like this when seen on the chart… It is a warning, and means exactly what it says, and you'd be wise to time your entrance into one of the narrow cuts from the sea according to slack tide times or light winds… in other words, "They be dragons here."

Next, along this route I had urge to deviate and dart into Cambridge Cay, because I had heard it was so beautiful there.... I was not disappointed, as I snared a mooring ball and had a two hour lunch break

The water color at Cambridge was phenomenal as these photos below will attest... Mesmerizing it was...
It was laundry day for this cruising couple… things dry fast in a sunny breeze like this.
This water looks edible.
I came across this sweet little island as I was leaving the south side of Norman's Cay… It reminded me of the classic stereotypical "shipwreck island" that I've seen depicted in various comic strips all my life… not a bad place to be marooned I suppose… there was even a chair someone placed under the palm tree!
 Barracudas seem to have a way of "lurking" as seen below…
I continued on making excellent speed of 6-7 knots north to Shroud Cay... It was a 50 mile day, and I was so wishing for a shoulder and neck massage by the end of the day… That didn't happen.

The wind was still high at 15-20 knots, and I was worn down from a full day on the sun... But in order to relax for the evening, there was still that business of clearing the point, dodging the reefs, and getting the sails down as the sun was beginning to set... So "in I go" to the back side of Shroud Cay after dropping the mainsail… should be a piece of cake, right?

I planned to drop the hook on the lee side on Shroud Cay… But even on the lee side, the wind was still whipping pretty good. After dropping the mainsail, I was balancing myself on top of the deck while wrapping the mainsail around the boom… I was literally hanging on as the boat rolled to and fro with the wind… 

Then, unbeknownst to me the little metal shackle that secures the boom to the deck had broken loose somehow... Not good. And at the very moment I was stretched out over the boom tieing down the mainsail, the boom suddenly swings out over the boat with me holding on!   This was not a good place to be... There I was swinging out over the water while hugging the boom!

  ... This all happened in a matter of seconds, and thankfully, I was able to reach down with my bare foot and grab the lifeline of the boat to pull me back onto the deck and secure everything... A close call. Whew. Sails wrapped, anchor down, deep breath, and a rush of adrenalin finally subsides.

The next morning at Shroud Cay, I motored the dink up a lovely little creek that connects the bay side with the open sea.  I motored against a strong current for about a mile, and I was soon rewarded with a view of this great little spot.
This was a lovely little trip in the dinghy up a mangrove creek early in the morning, April 18, 2014.

Mangroves like these lined the entire passage way from the bay side to the sea… an interested study in plant adaptation.
Believe it or not, there are actually private individuals who own ships like this… mega yachts.  I spotted this one miles and miles away and thought it was a battle ship…
The trip back north continues…. solo sailing along this stretch has been so ideal… It becomes a way of life after a while… Days start out with a nice cup of coffee at sunrise and end with a night view of the galaxies above...sun up, sun down, sun down, sun up, sun down

It occurred to me that I haven't been inside a house, slept in a bed,  seen a tv, been in a car, or hardly worn much clothes now for over four months… I don't miss any of those things, so coming back home could be a challenge in adaptation… there could be worse things to face I suppose.

The next stretch of sailing will soon take me north to Highborn Cay, one of my old stomping grounds, and on to Spanish Wells in a few days… I'm slowly making my way back… so much to see … so much to feel… so much to be thankful for.

What a beautiful groove 
What a beautiful groove 
What a beautiful groove 
What a beautiful groove 

1 comment:

  1. Joe - beautiful photos of a gorgeous place - Hope all goes well stateside, we have y'all in our prayers.