February 24, 2014.
When your a kid you're supposed to learn something new everyday. As you get older you're fortunate if that trend continues. At this point in my life I'm pretty satisfied to learn something new every once in a while. I'm talking about valuable knowledge rather than some superfluous bullshit like Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus actually being the same person. Another issue as we advance in age is the fact that we forget shit. I might have learned something new yesterday but I just forgot. So I've made a conscious effort to listen more than speak and I've even taken a few notes. Of course I immediately forgot where I put the notes so to the best of my recollection here's what I learned in the last 2 weeks....
Two weeks ago I was speaking to a local named Edward. Edward owns Buena Vista Cay. I've heard him described as a hermit by random uniformed tourists. (The locals call the cruising boaters tourists) Edward is as social as his solitary lifestyle allows him to be. If you anchor at Buena Vista Cay you're practically assured of some quality Edward time. His home is a work in progress, he has chickens, a garden and a cay full of goats. He's done prison time in three different countries during the Bahamas wild west style drug running days in the seventies and eighties so his stories are entertaining to say the least.
We talked at the Valentines Day party on Hog Cay. He's 74 years old but appears much younger. He has still got a skip in his step, a twinkle in his eye and wrinkles are few and far between. I was asking him if he had the fountain of youth out on his cay and he replied “ No, I just use a different calendar than the rest of you”. I asked him to explain and this was his reply. “I've only got 3 days in my week. Yesterday. You can't do anything about yesterday, so forget about it. Today. With a little grind of his hips he said, today I'm at a party, dancing and having a great time. Tomorrow. Well, I'll worry about that tomorrow”. Maybe the fountain of youth is just an attitude.
A couple of days ago a Frenadian sailing vessel wound up on a reef on Cuba's north coast. A couple of the boaters here in the Jumentos were trying to get them some help via the SSB. There were various calls made to the US Coast Guard (who in essence replied “we don't DO Cuba”). Other calls were made to international boaters in Cuba, the Cuban authorities and there was an attempt to contact the Canadian Embassy in Cuba. During this episode propagation was evidently pretty shitty. One of the local SSB guys asked on the VHF if everyone in the anchorage would shut down their refrigeration and wind generators to eliminate some of the RF interference.
I assume that all the fridges were shut down for a couple of hours as ours was, and wind generators throughout the anchorage stopped spinning as one. The Cubans finally showed up and the emergency was over. The next morning the same guy asked that we shut down again because propagation was still bad and he couldn't hear the Cruisheimers Net. I was about to comply when somebody said “No, I'm not gonna do that”. The original guy said “but I can't hear the net”. The second guy replied “Yesterday was an emergency, of course everyone did what they could to make it easier. I've got a fridge full of food, Cruisheimers is just social media and I'm not shutting the fridge off for that”. So today I learned that Cruisheimers is just Facebook for Cruisers. I guess I knew it all along, I just never really thought about it.
The mailboat arrived yesterday and I was up sitting in town waiting for one of our propane tanks to get back from Nassau. A woman was making small talk with the ships representative when she said “Isn't today a beautiful day?” He looked at her a long while and replied. “Every day is beautiful. Just because the weather doesn't fit into what you had planned for the day, doesn't make it any less beautiful a day” I think he nailed it. Remember that the next time you're shoveling snow.
I learned that Flamingo Cay has been sold to Americans. Its a beautiful place to visit and it'll be a shame if it too goes “private”. I hope the have a shit ton of money or the place will end up being another financial albatross. I just hope they don't fuck the place up while they lose their shirts....
I happened to be looking out the porthole last night as a dinghy zoomed past. The woman was sitting on the dinks port tube while the man stood with the extended throttle in his hand. Skipping along at 15 knots on flat water just before sunset on yet another beautiful day. And then it kinda all went to shit. His hat blew off and he had the same reaction most people would. He immediately tried to snatch it before it blew off. Unfortunately he used both hands. As soon as his left hand came off the tiller the dink immediately turned HARD to starboard. The wife and their dog ended up in the water when the dink swerved out from under them. The husband took a crazy spin and tumble but stayed in the dink. He soon had them both back aboard and were once again headed home although at a more sedate pace. One minute you're skimming homeward and the next thing you're thanking your lucky stars that you weren't chopped by the prop. A crazy accident, an attempt at making murder look like an accident, bad luck or Karma, I dunno. After I wrote that I thought “Wow, what if he is really tired of her shit and the whole thing was an attempt to get rid of her”. I might be reading too much fiction lately. I did learn to take the dink a little more seriously because you really can get hurt.
The last thing I learned this week was from weather guru, Chris Parker. A boater got a forecast for a short trip from one cay to another. The winds were going to be marginal today but maybe a little better tomorrow. He asked CP if he should wait until tomorrow to go instead. CP came back with “ today is doable, tomorrow might be better, but its just a forecast. If it isn't as good as today, well, you can't leave yesterday” You can't leave yesterday. Hmm.