February 12, 2011.
Its been a solid week and Danny is still unaccounted for. Things aren’t looking too good for Dannys survival and as his chances dim boats are once again drifting away to other anchorages. As hard as it was for us with Molly’s passing, I can’t imagine what these people are dealing with in not knowing if he’ll show up on the beach the day after they leave.
We sailed down and anchored between Hog Cay and Ragged Island. We wanted to be as close to town as we could because it was Superbowl weekend. Once again Fichael offered to come out into the anchorage and collect boaters who wanted to come in for the game. There wasn’t room enough for everyone in his small fishing boat so several boatloads of us decided to take our own dinks into town.
Normally this wouldn’t be an issue but with the game ending near 2300 hours this meant that we’d be headed home through the narrow mangrove lined channel on a moonless, dark as hell night. I have the route entered into our handheld GPS so I was pretty sure getting home wouldn’t be a problem so “don’t worry honey, we’ll go in ourselves”.
We grabbed our laptops and headed in early to grab a little internet before the game. This allowed us to have ringside seats for the arrival of the rest of the group. While we dinghied all the way into town, Fichael had dropped everyone a mile and a half away at Gun Point. Once there he piled them all in his pick up truck for the ride to his lodge. When they first arrived I thought I was witnessing the arrival of a Bedouin caravan as the back of the truck was packed with 14 riders. That is until the doors popped open and another half dozen grey heads appeared. Then my impression went right to ….clown car.
The Bonefish Lodge is by far the most modern building within a hundred miles. 2 flat screen televisions, stocked bar and nonstop food coming out of the kitchen made this years Superbowl experience special for everyone who attended.
So after an entertaining game and several beers it was time to head home. We fired up the handheld and found that the screen was so bright that it destroyed our night vision. So Christy hunched over the screen and called out directions while I steered to her commands without looking down. The night was literally pitch black so we were relegated to moving out of the harbor at a crawl. This was pretty much as we had expected but an issue came up. F@#king mosquitoes.
There were 2 other dinghies behind us with handhelds also. By the time we had made it the one hundred yards across the harbor the mosquitoes were after us….bigtime. The narrow channel through the mangroves is over a mile long and at a safe pace we would probably be drained of blood before reaching the open water at the far end. So screw the plan honey, we’re gonna improvise.
After 200 yards of negotiating the channel theres a choice to be made. Stick to the channel at this speed and probably die or take the short cut and possibly die. We’ll take Possible Death for two hundred Alex.
The short cut can only be done the few hours before or after high tide. We were an hour after high tide so we were goin’ for it. The short cut is an acquired skill and we’ve done it successfully before but always in daylight. The water in the short cut is hundreds of yards wide but traversed by only a narrow channel of navigable water. On either side of the channel the water is only a few inches deep; certainly not enough for the dink or its outboard. So if you leave the channel you have to get out and push until you refind the deeper water.
The others opted to stay in the mangrove channel while we veered off into the darkness. We had the course in the GPS and I steered as Christy called out “left, left, more, okay straight, right, left, steady, etc.” We were able to double our speed and soon outdistanced the mosquitoes.
After 15 minutes we were in deep water and within sight of the Veranda. An entertaining game, wonderful company, some adventure on the way home and some new teamwork mastered. Another day to be treasured…..