Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dinghy Dongs

We’re in the Turks and Caicos – arrived early yesterday morning and waited most of the day for customs and immigration to arrive and clear us in. They work grudgingly on the weekends and after hours during the week, but we pay extra to clear in during those hours.

After leaving Georgetown, we made two stops on our way to the T&C – first Calabash Bay in Long Island, where we anchored overnight at this beautiful beach.

We did a bunch of work in the morning, checking the boat over before heading offshore. I pulled Skip up the mast and he checked all the rigging, added running back stays and made our SSB (single side band) cable permanent. We'd earned a break and couldn't pass up a walk on this powdery beach, so we went ashore. We pulled the dinghy up on the beach and gave it a few big heaves to pull it up on the sand. We walked about a mile down the beach and came across a private home tucked back in the scrubby overgrowth. The landscaping was incredible – palms and tropical flowering plants of every kind. The gardeners were there and invited us to walk around. I didn’t photograph the private grounds but this was the entry.

We spent more time there than we’d expected and when we got back out to the beach we saw our dinghy waaaaaaaay out in the water. Not good. We took off running but I was out off breath long before Skip was. Once he got close enough he jumped in the water and started swimming towards it. The incoming tide had floated the dinghy off the beach but the wind was blowing it away from the beach and us almost faster than Skip could swim out to it. There was one other dinghy on the beach whose owner was just walking towards it. As I watched Skip start to struggle I ran towards the beached dinghy waving my arms and shouting like a crazy person to get the owner’s attention. Without hesitation he got in the dinghy, started the outboard, pulled me in and sped out to where Skip was. By the time we got there Skip had managed to pull himself into the dinghy but couldn't talk and was barely able to catch his breath. It was pretty scary and quite possibly the dumbest thing we’ve done so far. We had a perfectly good anchor in the dinghy that we didn’t stick in the sand, thinking we wouldn’t be gone long. One more lesson learned. 
This is where the dinghy started.... it ended up a tiny speck halfway between the boat and the far shore.
We got the dinghy back to the boat, and took our time prepping to go offshore. This means getting everything out of the dinghy, taking off the outboard and securing it to the rail on Saralane, hoisting the small boat up onto the foredeck and tying it down. We lashed down the jugs of fuel and water we carry on deck, stowed everything down below, pulled up the anchor and got under way by mid-afternoon. 

Sunset with cruise ship - on our way toward Mayaguana
The runaway dinghy episode set us back a bit, but we made good time sailing overnight and decided to make a stop at Mayaguana for a few hours rest before continuing on the second night.

How to tell where the land is when you're out in the middle of the water - look for the clouds!
Things are looking up in the fishing department! We caught a small tuna shortly before we arrived at Mayaguana – we had some of him for dinner and the rest of him joined our mahi mahi in the freezer. 

The camera always lies.... 
The tuna looks bigger when I'm holding him!
We usually troll with two lines out – one is a hand line and the other is a rod and reel. We’ve only caught fish on our simple hand line so far. So much for sophisticated equipment.

Our fancy rig - shock cord and 80  test line on the cleat
The frayed half-taped ends of the shock cord really make this rig work!
We’ll spend a little time checking out the Turks and Caicos and keeping an eye on the weather for an opportunity to head farther south.

1 comment:

miles said...

jeez you guys. Scary story about the runaway dimgy. Happy ending. Now that we've seen the human end of your fishing rig, let's see the business end. Tilling the garden today!