Saturday, April 28, 2012

At the crack of dawn

Just by coincidence the night before, while I was cooking, I played the CD of the storyteller Donald Davis: “All about aunt Laura, and the crack of dawn”. I know hearing the crack of dawn was a gift his aunt left him when she died, but we literally woke up with the sound of a big crack!!! That very first morning in Bequia. It was like a hammer, a giant one, right on the head. I jumped up scared to death, Jim ran “butt naked” and in less than 3 seconds he was up in the bow of the boat pushing off this 80 foot long Catamaran that broke loose from one of African's moorings about 500 feet away, drifted and hit us on the bow-pulpit, smashing it so it looked like a pretzel.

I ran after Jim with his bathing suit in my hand, knowing he'll need it, and watched that incident (not quite awake yet) like a surrealistic movie. “What happened? What has just happened?” I kept asking. Next thing I realized was that we had also broken loose off our mooring, but Jim jumped into the cockpit, grabbed the steering wheel, started the engine and got us away from the drifting catamaran. In the meanwhile, the big catamaran; that had the line of our mooring wrapped around one of it propellers and both rudders; couldn't steer. It was spinning around and around and hitting other boats: 2 forty foot charter catamarans and a 42 mono-hull. This “boat eating monster” got his second propeller caught in the mooring of the last catamaran, parting the line and towing it away like a toy.

We follow the boat until he was anchored in the other side of Admiralty Bay. African was out on his boat within 5 minutes, nicely dressed with his big gold chain around his fat neck. “I'm the man!” he seemed to say. He talk to us. “Don't worry, I talk to him, he'll pay, let me get you back on your mooring”. And in less 20 minutes he had all the damaged boats back on his moorings.

Not too long after that, the owner of the catamaran comes over in his dinghy, takes pictures of all the damages, gives his contact information and offers his apologies. “It seemed so easy”, he said, “the boat boy just handed me the line... it seemed so easy, that was stupid of me. My boat was much too big to be on a small mooring. I'll pay for everything”. And for sure, Jim got an estimated from the "fix-it man", the only stainless steel shop on the island; gave the Swiss man his bank account information and in two days he had wire transferred the money . And I wrote this little song:

Old man, nice Swiss gentleman,
sent to England his crew and captain,
thinking “this week-end is just for fun”
took his 80 foot boat to the Windward,
and gave Salty Shores a Crack of dawn.

Jim will be talking about this story forever.



I think this day by day journal might look like a “chickflic”, especially coming from a “free Cuban bird” like some of my friends already call me.

Well this free bird got beat up by the 18-22 knots winds sailing from St. Lucia to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. So, as usual, I travelled upside down. But that morning our Captain said: “this is going to be a brisk sail”. After a definition class of the word “brisk”, I agreed it was.

Now, I love having Archie on board, he is always cheerful; that gave me my courage back. It took us 8 hours to get to Port Elizabeth in Bequia. I found it colorful and very alive. With about two miles of coastline in the bay there were coffee shops, bars, restaurants, fruits stands and more, that really gives you plenty of things to do and places to explore.

There were at least 75 boats in the bay moored or anchored. As soon as we entered the bay, the boat boy, African, came along side Salty Shores, to rent us one of his moorings. In the beginning Jim didn't want to pick up a mooring, since we only draft 4 feet, we can anchor in shallow water easily. But by coincidence our friends from Nova Scotia, Joanne and Gene were on a mooring just a few boat ahead. “We are looking for Ely Blue” he said to African, who immediately yelled “Gene is on one of my moorings!” Then Jim said: "OK, I'll take one of your moorings".

Well, 15 dollars (US) later we were all set up and Joanne and Gene were coming by to say hello and make a get-together-plan for next morning.

The anchorage was calm and we were very sure it will be a nice sleep night, so we all went to bed right after dinner, about nine o' clock.