Plans, What Plans?
24 January 2011 | Sunrise Marina, Lucaya, Grand Bahama
We set out at first light as planned. However, it was low tide and another boater in here said they measured the inlet at 5 feet at low tide at the end of the inlet where it met the open water. (Commonly inlets are shallowest at their outer limit, as that's where sediment is deposited.) I wasn't sure if that was a reliable figure, but it had me worried. So we carefully started out with me on the bow looking for the channel. There was a clear channel that seemed quite deep until we got to the end of the shorter of the two jetties. Then I saw the whole inlet get shallower with no deep channel. I told Bud I thought it was all getting too shallow and I was afraid we wouldn't make it. So Bud backed the boat all the way back to the basin, about a quarter mile. We backed right up and put the boat in the same spot along the dock, only now it's facing out. This takes the record for the shortest day's sail!
When we got back I started looking at weather, charts and tides. Bud went and talked to the marina guy about using the kayak they had, he wanted to sound the channel. We both agreed that we'd missed the weather window and couldn't get to another safe harbor before the storm predicted for Wednesday, so we're staying here for now. We took our big magnet out to use as a weight to sound the channel, but by the time we kayaked out there, the tide was really running and the magnet wasn't heavy enough to sink straight. We were going to head back, but Bud wanted to try just one sounding where we were by letting the kayak move with the current. I dropped the magnet over, Bud asked me if it was on the bottom, I couldn't see, I pulled the line up, and the second piece of line with the magnet on it had come undone. Now we need to go snorkeling to try to retrieve our magnet.
We probably had a better day than the nice folks in Windragon. Two couples from Argentina were leaving their boat here and flying home. They were cleaning up the boat and getting ready to leave it. First, the pump out station in the basin here wasn't working; the next one is several miles away so they had no choice but to leave the holding tanks partly full. Ugh, that will be nasty in 6 months! Next they found out that the marina wanted them to move the boat. Of course the wind started to blow; it's a rule of boating, whenever you need to make docking maneuvers the wind blows. There also seemed to be some misunderstanding between them and the marina guy. I don't think the captain realized until he got over to the new slip that the marina guy wanted the sailboat backed in. I have to try to describe this "slip". There is a long dock running along the side of the marina. About 25 feet in front of the dock is a line of pilings running parallel to it. These pilings are about 20 feet apart. Each "slip" is the space between two pilings and the front of the slip is the dock. There are no side docks at all. So the poor captain had to back a sailboat in the wind between two pilings, getting lines around the pilings to hold the front of the boat in place, and then tie the stern off to the dock. In 15+ knot winds. It didn't work. The owners of the trawlers at the end of marina had to fend him off as he blew into their boats. Another boat owner got out his dinghy and ended up towing him into place. By time they were done, they had to quickly tie off and leave to catch their plane. They were new boaters and they left with just four lines to hold the boat for 6 months. Hopefully it will be OK.
After all that excitement, we had to rest. In true Bahama fashion we pretty much blew off the rest of the day. We did get to know some of our other marina residents (all 6 of them) and went to the impromptu happy hour in the game room. We learned some things, as we always do when we talk to other boaters, so I guess it wasn't a misspent day.