Friday, February 7, 2014

Superbowl possible death ride

February 6, 2014.

We once again attended the Superbowl in Duncantown. The wind was blowing 20 out of the east and to take the dinghies across the cut and into town wasn't in the cards. In circumstances like this Fichael usually picks us all up in his huge center console. Unfortunately his boat is broken so that left us getting a ride into town on one of the small local fishing skiffs.

All the cruisers gathered on 2 of the anchored boats while awaiting the pick up. Raphael and a crewman showed up in his 18ish foot open skiff powered by a 110 horse Yamaha. All 10 of us on the Lucky Touch clambered aboard the small skiff. Raphael firewalled the throttle and was unable to get us all up on plane. We pulled up alongside Discovery and dropped off 3 of our passengers leaving them with 14 people waiting for the ride to town.

With a total of 9 souls aboard the skiff we were able to get up on plane. This wasn't without some redistribution of the weight. All the guys sat on the foredeck facing aft with their legs dangling into the cockpit. While the women packed themselves onto the one small bench seat.

I found myself facing aft while roaring along across the calm waters in the lee of Hog Cay. We had to round 2 points of land before heading out into the unprotected rough water of the cut. Since I was facing backwards I didn't realize just how close Raphael was going to cut it when he rounded the points of land. The maniacal look in his eyes should have been a clue. Imagine my surprise when I looked over and the shear razor sharp wall of ironshore was whizzing past at 25 knots and only a foot away.

Once we rounded the second point we bounded straight into close set 3 footers. The little boat stayed on plane and the ride wasn't too bad until we neared the breakwater at the government dock. The seas were a little more “piled up” and we twice found ourselves airborne as we launched off rolling 5 footers. Having survived the trip to the dock I had to chuckle to myself over the knowledge of what the trip over was going to be like for the others back in the anchorage who were patiently awaiting pick up. The next leg of the trip involved a 2 mile ride in the back of an open pick up truck. I felt like a Haitian day laborer being smuggled in by small boat and then carted off to the fields.

Once everyone arrived there were 21 cruisers present and at least 20 locals.
The locals are usually fashionably late
As always the rooting was random but loud. The mailboat happened to be in town and the skipper decided to hang around so he and the crew could watch the game with us. As always the food, drink and boisterous crowd was loads of fun but we still had to get back to the boats.

The Mailboat was leaving as soon as the game ended and the Captain graciously offered to bring us all out to the anchorage where we could be ferried back to our boats. Sounded like a plan. We jumped in the first pick up truck back to the dock and decided to tour the mailboat while awaiting the others arrival.
The M/V Captain C

The mailboat is the source of everything the people down here need. Food, gasoline, building materials, parts, anything. They also take passengers. There are 6 “staterooms” each containing 6 bunk beds.
6 bunks per stateroom
For the measly fee of 70 dollars you can board the mailboat in Nassau and visit several islands as they make their way south.
The bridge
The trip to Duncantown takes 2 days and stops at various ports such as Staniel Cay, Black Point and Little Farmers Cay.

Once everyone arrived at the mailboat it became apparent that the crew still had to load a pick up truck onto the boat. (The alternator was bad so they were sending the entire truck up to Nassau to be repaired. I dunno, don't ask)
Yes, its starting to rain
All Aboard!!
Rather than wait for the mailboat to load the truck we decided to once again hop aboard the small fishing skiff for the ride home. On the plus side we would have the wind and waves behind us, the ride should be smoother and we would probably be in bed before the mailboat left the dock. The negatives that we considered.....Raphael, the captain of the fishing skiff just spent 4 hours “Superbowling” and was lightly toasted, the moon had already set and there was an overcast that covered every star. So its absolutely pitch black and the boat has no instruments.  Local knowledge and luck, do you really need anything more?

So we barreled off into the darkness like Helen Keller running full tilt through a strange room. Raphael proved to be as skilled a waterman as you could find anywhere. We never slowed, never veered and there, 20 yards of our starboard side was the first point of land. I don't know how he did it. You couldn't see anything, he just knew. 20 minutes later we were safely tucked in our bunk with visions of the Superbowl dancing in our heads. (credit for all the mailboat pics goes to Steve from Fine Lion whose blog you can read here Fine Lions Blog)

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