The picture on the left is of the anchorage at Ship Channel Cay, but each anchorage was prettier than the one before. We were alone here, except for a boat anchored in the distance and the visitors to the Powerboat Adventures spot.
We had a great sail when we left this anchorage. In Allens Cay, of course we visited the iguanas, who ran out eagerly to snatch up our discarded lettuce leaves. Our boats are visible across the anchorage, and Richard is visiting with some other cruisers in the above picture.
When we arrived, the anchorage was empty and we anchored with two anchors. This ensures no dragging in the very strong current that reverses direction four times every 24 hours. Before we left 8 days later, there were as many as 15 boats in this small anchorage with the big sandbar in the middle. A big front went through and lasted several days. Boats dragged and went aground when their single anchor failed to flip over and reanchor. Other boats let out extremely long scopes and let the currents take them over long distances, sometimes surprising themselves and other boats to which they came way too close. Some just didn’t get the reason for two anchors in a small anchorage.
We hiked and swam, and I painted a picture, trying to capture the magic colours of the water. We checked out the palm tree Richard planted many years ago on Southwest Allens Cay. It has made it into the cruising guides as a landmark. But the termites have found it too. We were glad to see it before it dies. We made friends with other boaters and Richard and Jim (from Morning Star) organized the burning of the garbage on the little beach near our boat. It turned into a cocktail party, and we met two couples from the trawlers Hullabaloo and Partners. We transported them to the beach and back because neither could get their dinghies into the water – mechanical problems. Jim fixed the motor on one the next day.
The wind got up over 20 knots at times, and on two nights the boat rocked enough to make sleep difficult.
Richard’s back was really hurting, perhaps from pulling me into the dinghy when I was snorkelling beside it in Ships’ Channel. Now we keep the dinghy ladder in the dinghy if we are contemplating swimming.
In Allens Cay we were closer to the Batelco tower on Highborn Cay. I could talk to my family and didn’t feel quite so isolated. I learned that I had another grand-nephew, the eighteenth grand. I have asked for a picture. Niece Dana is engaged and there is a wedding date. My sister Vonny even called me.
You may remember that their boat was hit by lightning in No Name Harbor in May, last year. After several weeks of backing and forthing, Commandeur agreed to the necessary repairs and sent them about half of the agreed upon sum ($8000), less the deductible (about $5000). Since then all of the work has been done and the boat shipped back to Canada, all at Vonny and Ray’s expense. They are still waiting for the other $8000 (more or less). Commandeur has been ready with the usual litany of excuses – the person who issues the cheques was away for several weeks, etc. etc. Of course they don’t add interest for their delays. They are starting to sound very much like Northern Reef, the insurance company I had when I hit the bridge. They collected policy payments, but didn’t come through with money for claims. Monty Python had a skit about that, but it isn’t very funny if you happen to be the innocent victim who thought you had insurance. I’ll keep you posted.
We reconnected with Anne and Mike on Nimue, whom we had met at the home of Richard’s friends Blanca and Ben in January. They invited us and Jim and Lynda for supper on their boat, where we met Cherie and Joe of Narsilion and Lisa and Val of Rising Star. Both couples bought both of my books and I was thrilled. It encourages me to keep writing.
Richard became the white knight of Allens Cay. Shortly after a big sailboat arrived and anchored, one of the crew jumped overboard for a swim. The rapidly outgoing tide was sweeping him to sea when Richard noticed and jumped into our dinghy to rescue him. He was extremely glad to be able to get on board. When Richard returned him to his boat, all of his buddies were drinking beer and no one aboard had even noticed he was missing. Another boat went aground in low tide at night, then floated off and regrounded themselves. The next day the wind was up to 20 to 30 plus knots, when Jim and Richard dinghied over and helped them place a second anchor to which they could pull over when the tide rose again. They finally floated free and, now on two anchors, they didn’t reground themselves. When the wind was highest he noticed a dinghy drifting quickly by all alone. We jumped in our dinghy, chased the loose one, got a line tied to it and returned it to Joe and Cherie on Narsilion. Hmm, maybe that’s why they bought both books. For two or three days the boat rocked and rolled and it was very uncomfortable. I asked Richard to put out the surge line. He asked, “Which anchor will I put it on?” We had three down and a surge line would just tangle them up. Oh, well.
Finally, the wind eased and we got a good night’s sleep. The next morning, March 5, it was time to go south again.
More to come. From Sharon and Richard on Lucky