CXCVII – Northwest Shoal to Morgan’s Bluff Andros Island

Tuesday March 3rd, 2015

Ok, Ok, I take full credit and responsibility for the decision to anchor where we did after crossing the Great Bahama Bank. It is 05:00 on Tuesday and the boats stayed where we put them but it did rock a bit. Fracas is old and heavy and rocks less than the stout, heavy and a little shorter Last Mango. It has something to do with physics. The decision was made because I got tired. I’m old as dirt and I got tired. I think I got tired after the shit show we put on leaving Bimini. Sometimes you’re entertained and sometimes you’re the entertainment… I guess yesterday morning was our day to entertain.

Patriot a wise and seasoned sailor from a slip across from us suggested a long line from the stern back to the next slip but I said “I think I got this”. I will never say that again. On an original Whitby reverse is a sensation and a different noise but anything else that happens is random and futile. A Whitby can stop by using reverse. Combine my bad decision making, Fracas inability to back up and a 20 kt wind on the beam as we leave the slip… We did manage a first…I backed into a slip, albeit at the neighboring marina. Luckily there wasn’t a ship in that slip.

Patriot came over and after several attempts and a reaching pole we got a long line on the bow to the upwind slip and managed to entice Fracas’s bow into the wind and as my friend Mike Coomes would say, Bob’s your uncle we were out of there. That 10 minutes from hell took half my energy reserves to deal with. I left Bimini tired…can’t get that back.

A bow thruster would have helped…but bow thrusters mean cutting another big hole in the boat and filling it with three or four thousand bucks. The right thing to have done would have been to drop the anchor as the bow cleared and let the stern swing around by wind…lift the hook and skedaddle. Watch me forget that by the time I need to remember…

Our crossing from Bimini with a target of Chub Cay was relatively uneventful sailing wise. The wind was almost on the nose but stayed in the 8 to 10 range for most of the daylight hours and piped up to 12 to 14 when it got dark. Mango caught three fish. Two small fish and a 3 foot barracuda. All the fish were caught and released. I haven’t tried to fish yet.

Back to Tuesday March 3rd. You know the sensation, you stumble to the mirror, pry open your eyes and survey the damage that is your head…Oh My God! Yesterday was an alcohol free day and it left me ravaged, hair in full rebellion and with wrinkle imprints. I won’t let that happen again.

grouchoWhile I was looking I couldn’t help but notice that my mustache looked like a rabid caterpillar also in full rebellion. It is time to reign in that puppy; comb out the soup remains and trim it up. I think I should wait until the boat steadies first. The last time I tried this in full chop I looked like that fascist pig from Germany on one side and Groucho on the other. Recently I thought I might lose this facial hedge but nay, and like any hedge it must be trimmed.

Not sure yet what the day brings, waiting for the weather report from Mango and Chris Parker.

Update: The weather sounded like trying to move. The wind would be 15 plus from the east, likely pipe up to 20 and veer to the south east by the end of the day. What the heck, we set out a nice downwind run backtracking to go around the North West Shoal of the Berry Islands and then motor through the North west channel. The Great Bahama bank was in ebb tide and the wind was against the water so we had a mini rage on with a wicked crazy chop. We got through that in about half and hour and we were able to motor sail towards the west end of Nassau. Our ETA was 17:10 and that would be in daylight. We plodded on and the wind continued to pick up and veer slightly making motor sailing difficult. Both boats decided that it was tough on crew and equipment and we looked for an out. Mango suggested we look at Morgan’s Bluff…I did and it looked fine for protection out of the east. The only downside was the likelihood of swells…(yes there are).

01e89eab57fb9aa80c17764effc574dbabe2f2769dIf any of you consider coming to Morgan’s Bluff…it shows 5 or six pairs of channel markers on the way in on the charts. They do not exist. There are no markers but the deep water exists where it shows the channel and that is a good thing. It also shows a range from shore…couldn’t see that either. Thank the coast guard at home when you see them. They maintain our channel markers and aids to navigation professionally…here not so much. More markers are missing than exist I think.  When we came around the corner into the harbor harbour (It is refreshing to be back in a commonwealth country where it’s always about ‘u’) it looked perfect. We would be sharing the anchorage with Zig Zag another Whitby we met up with in Marathon and several other boats.

We rowed to shore. That’s the first time I’ve been able to say that. It will likely be the last time it happens as well. While I was rowing ML and the dinghy back to Fracas it appeared to me that FRACAS was moving away at an equal pace. Give me my one pull Yamaha any day. The bar ashore is called Willie’s Water Bar, not to be confused with Willie T’s on Norman Island in the BVI. When we arrived the local clientele was very boisterous but they toned things down. The music was loud and they favored favoured the blues. We had one round of drinks…they were expensive and strong. We decided to eat ashore and the food was ok. Willies is an open air facility for the most part…there is an inner sanctum with a coin operated pool table. No dinghy dock was provided so we tied to a tree.

The most important fact Morgan’s Bluff is named after Henry Morgan the pirate/privateer who is also the namesake of an inferior rum called ‘Captain Morgan’.

More later.



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