Thursday, February 27, 2014

I don't think we are in Kansas anymore

Hello, this is Barbara and her Big Dog, Reggie, here in the Land of Bahama. We have traveled for many days in hopes of speaking to the Great Customs Officer and ask him to allow us to travel and play in this amazing land and sea.  We arrived in the Lank of Bahama as the sun set. Our first travel here was done with a blindfold over our eyes, so we had to trust our guiding GPS. (It was extremely dark with no moon and no lights, just water.) As you know it is difficult to just relax and trust your guide completely, so I pushed some buttons, thinking that I could help GPS out just a little bit. GPS did not appreciate my interference. I could not get back to the right screen. Without the help of our Guide, I was lost. “Reggie, Reggie, I don’t know where I’m going!” He sweet talked GPS into going back to the correct screen. On my own I had turned 180 degrees and headed back to Memory rock. Reggie then dimmed the light on GPS and gently suggested that I not punch any more buttons and let GPS do the guiding. Humbled, I did just that and all was fine for the rest of my shift. Around 10 or 10:30 GPS had led us to an area protected and shallow enough to drop anchor.

In the morning we headed to Great Sale Cay, as Green Turtle Cay was still too far away. We met the Good Witch of the Wind. She was gentle and warm. In late morning we noticed some clouds building, but they were of no concern. However, we were soon to meet the Wicked Witch of the Wind. She introduced herself by throwing some lightning bolts, but her thundering roar was more disconcerting. By around noon we were becoming well acquainted. She had been just teasing us with the first several bolts of lightning. Now she was directing them right at us and the wind was fierce, the rain did not come down. The rain was horizontal. “Reggie, Reggie,” I shouted from inside the cabin, “please come inside! I’m afraid we are going to get hit by lightning. One of those bolts threw up sparks when it hit the water! Come here, Reggie.” The lion inside of me was praying for courage. The wind was finally too much for him and he shut of the engine and came inside. I had already put our electronics in the oven, so they wouldn’t fry. We turned off all of the breakers and held on. “Please leave us alone, Wicked Witch of the Wind!” After she had her fun, she laughed and rolled away. The rest of the trip to Great Sale Cay was uneventful, but we were happy to drop anchor and rest. Tomorrow we expect to arrive at Green Turtle Cay and meet with the Great Customs Officer.

There was only a little wind, so we motored out of the anchorage. Two other sailboats had departed just ahead of us. The Big Dog was at the helm. I was below doing dishes, when he barked, “Looks like a small boat with a couple people on board are in trouble. One of them is waving a large white flag.” Reggie radioed one of the other boats, but they had not noticed the distress flag. We headed towards the small boat and the other sailboats stood by in case they could be of assistance. “Are you in trouble?”

“Yes, our battery blew up. We stuck here.” We have met our very own ‘tin men’.


“Our battery blew up. See it have a big hole.”

“Do you have another one?”

“Yes, but when dis one blew up, it keel da udder one.”

“Can you start it by hand?”

“No, sir, I tried, but it not start.”

“OK, I’ll come along side and give you a battery for you to use to start your engine, and then you can get your battery charged.”

“Thank you, sir. Yes.”

We eased up beside them and passed over the battery.

“Do you like stone crab claws?”

“We don’t know. We’ve never had them, but I bet we would. We don’t know what to do with them, though.”

They handed over 3 large claws out of a large barrel. “Just boil dem ‘til dey turn red.”

Their motor started. They returned our battery. We waved good bye with “Thank you and Good Luck” in both directions.

Besides the stone crab claws, we were rewarded for our good deed by the Good Witch of the Wind. We were soon motor sailing, then sailing with jib only, then with slightly furled jib. I’m loving the Land of Bahama.

One of the sailboats that left Great Sale Cay with us reported that there were expected thunder storms and showers starting later this afternoon and through the next day or two. The clouds are building again. They do not look as ominous as they did yesterday, but we need to keep our speed up to get to Green Turtle Cay before they hit and before dark. We need to furl in the jib a little further as the wind picks up. The Wicked Witch of the Wind as retuned. She is teasing us. “Ha, Ha, Ha, Do you remember yesterday, my little pretties?”

We do and take steps to be better prepared. The Bimini, which we were sure we were going to lose yesterday, came down. Sail completely furled.  “Bring it on,” says our lion. “We’re not afraid. We’ll take you with one hand tied behind our back.” She would blow a little harder for a while and then back off. As we were approaching the narrow channel, the Wicked Witch of the Wind boiled up her cauldron of brew, just enough to remind us she is watching us.

We are now on a mooring ball and quite secure. She is throwing a temper tantrum, blowing and raining, but we don’t care. We are eating stone crab claw salad and drinking wine. Tomorrow, the Big Dog will meet with the Great Customs Officer.

This morning there is much to do to prepare for the meeting with the Great Customs Officer. Official papers to present with our request for entry must be gathered.  (Only the Big Dog is allowed to leave the boat to see the Great Customs Officer.)  The dingy must be unleashed from the bow and cast overboard. It must be loaded with safety gear and loaded with motor and battery and loaded with oars and boy do you need a lot of stuff to go 100 yards!

The Wicked Witch of the Wind is having her fun. Every time Reggie would climb into the dingy to load something or hook up the battery to our electric dinghy motor, or whatever, she would send another downpour and he would return to the cabin. “A-ha,” whispered his Scarecrow, “I’ll just get cleaned up in your shower!” He washed his hair, too. All dressed up and no rain, he is off.

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