"He had me throw a rope over for him to grab, but we decided if it happened again we'd tie a rope around him. That dangling line would have done no good if he drifted away or got a knock on the noggin!"
"I was petrified I'd do something wrong and chop him to pieces, and when I asked why he didn't turn off the motor, he said he was afraid it wouldn't start again."
We'd spent the previous week preparing to leave George Town.
January 26, 1998
"After putting the mast back together, including the lights, we look like a trawler again. Rented a room in the motel next to the Two Turtles along with 8 others to watch last night's Super Bowl. The game was good: Denver 24, Green Bay 17. The electricity kept going off but we saw most of it. Tomorrow we get gas and move to Red Shanks."
"We parked near Lady Margaret, a trawler from Canada, and went for cocktails last night. Colin's a carpenter and their boat was lovely. Cap, inspired, tore apart one of the settees for the ice maker. I cut down the cushions and it's looking good. Cap was so excited because he found a 'secret drawer' behind the ice maker containing 4 extra wooden doors."
Cap always intended to build a cabinet and include space for the charts we inherited, but it became our media center instead.
As luck would have it, we'd heard negative things about cruising with Mike: that he couldn't handle Dragonfly and could become a liability. After reading cruising-guru Bruce Van Sant's, A Gentleman's Guide to Passages South, a book most of us owned, Mike purchased an identical clipper ketch to Van Sant's Jalan Jalan. The trouble was it was too large a boat for an inexperienced single-hander, but who were we to ridicule?
Tom in particular was concerned for our well-being, since he and Pam frequented George Town annually but never ventured further south. He kept a vigil near his radio for weather forecasts from Herb, broadcasting from Canada, and the best weather-window suggested for trawlers. We didn't own a single-sideband (SSB) radio, but Mike did.
Tall, heavy-set with white whiskers and retired, Mike was on the lookout for a female companion to join him along his cruise. The Vegetable Lady was sweet on him but she was too old, he said. We assumed he'd be sailing and therefore wouldn't see him too often, but soon discovered he intended to motor most of the way, behind us.
"We were supposed to leave on Saturday, then suddenly it became yesterday, because of the weather. We were like a Chinese fire drill -- returned the quilt book to Fran on Aire Lock, said goodbye to Tom and Pam, Jolly Roger and Smokin, turned around just short of town for my shoes left on Tomboy, back to town for Cap to meet his 'buddy', and one last provisioning trip.
WHERE? Florida, Oregon or 'Jersey; and how to get it in the middle of the ocean?
"I freaked, used my VISA for a cash advance and sent Hill a check from Wells Fargo for $1000 to cover us. Anyway, off we went - leaving George Town behind. Mike followed some sailboats out a different cut and couldn't find us but caught up. The sea was calm when we left at 11 am, but close to Calabash we were rockin'-n-rollin'!! The first anchorage was terrible - no protection, and the second not much better. Just short of the anchorage Czar decided to 'dump' on the foredeck, on the ropes, around the anchors, lots of fun (useless mutt!)"
"Why?" always questioning, but obeying.
"It'll act like a scoop. You're lucky the rope didn't slice your hands."
I thought of the dinghy flipping over in Florida, filling like a scoop and shearing off the davit. Why didn't I think of things like that?
"We rocked all night, even with 3 anchors. We called Gyra in Conception for the weather because we didn't trust Mike, and decided to head for Clarence Town today. It was an 8 hour trip and the 1st hour was rough, but then, as predicted, the water calmed and we were having a good trip."Until the fishing buoys. Shortly after all that, the left anchor fell out of its bracket on the bow and went over before I could stop it, but Cap was watching and put us in neutral in time.
Finally, we anchored in Clarence Town. Cruising didn't seem to be getting any easier.
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To read from Chapter 1: A Rough Start