DAY 42 ETA: MAY 22 AIMING FOR 10-11 AM. very little wind, nice and sunny 120 miles to go
20 May 2012 | En route to Riviera Beach, Florida
THE PARTY After one leaves the Turks and Caicos Islands in the south, one must travel over 400 miles north before it is possible to turn left to the US mainland and points west. There, between Eleuthera and the tip of Great Abaco Island , aptly named "Hole in the Wall", is the NE Providence Channel. That channel at its narrowest point is barely 18 miles wide. Well, last night, it seemed everybody needed to turn left there, cross there, turn right there or...maybe simply be there. Shearwater and me amongst that throng. From the magnificently lit cruise ships, to the endless line of supertankers, to small private yachts, we almost stood in line to get through that 'hole in the wall' and, all in the black of night. My radar alarm clanged constantly, with my usual 12 mile radius of safety changing to 10 then to 8 and finally forcing me to accept barely a 1 mile radius of protection. The VHF radio was in hot use by all, with one boat consulting, bargaining with another as to how and who is to navigate when and where: 'Ok, I will cross your stern, if you point slightly more north and reduce your speed'... 'ok Roger that...but you slightly turn west.' Imagine! It was a veritable party out here.
Well, dawn finally came and after my one hour sleep, I came up the companionway expecting to see the all the revelers of last night. NOTHING - not a ship, not a tanker, not a yacht...all gone...leaving only the quiet, windless expanse of empty ocean. Where on earth had they all disappeared to? Well, I guess the party was over.
And, Im wondering if there's another party tonight!
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