In Search of Cell Service
17 April 2017
We weighed anchor at 7:30 and started out into the banks headed to Staniel. The winds were in the high teens and there was a considerable chop on the banks. We hauled out the jib to calm us down some and it was fine for the first couple of hours. Our speed was pitiful with us working to get to 3 knots. The current was against us and the wind had developed a southerly component that we had not expected. It was definitely not a good day to head south. Still it had been nine days since we had any contact with family and I was sure they would be worried so we pressed on. When we made the adjustment in course to head to Staniel the wind was right on the nose. We reluctantly pulled in the jib and pounded into the waves under power SLOOOOOWLY. It was a hard slog and an uncomfortable ride. The waves poured across the bow. Several times we pounded so hard the entire boat shuddered. Our progress was painfully slow. I couldn't help but notice that all the other boats we met were traveling North. Another of those things that makes you question your sanity.
We were hailed by Brave Heart a little before 9:00 AM as they were passing us headed Northbound. Seems that we had been reported missing! I thanked them for the information told them we were fine had just been out of cell range. Oh damn I knew Jess would be getting nervous, but I hadn't thought she'd call the Coast Guard. We had reported into Cruisheimers net a couple of times and been in touch with Chris Parker regarding our plans to sail to Staniel. Of course none of that information would have reached the landlubbers who worry about us. We had been keeping in touch with Sue and Roger daily on the SSB so when we spoke I asked if they would phone her. Roger graciously said he would call her and tell her we were fine. They had been getting cell where they were up in the berries.
We wouldn't be able to make contact until we were in range of a tower. That didn't happen until quite late in the day. Our trip that under favorable conditions would have been 6 to 7 hours turned into a painful bashing of 9. We were only able to sail a total of about 4 of the 9 because the winds were not in our favor. We were able to pick up cell signal about an hour out from Staniel and called Jess. After assuring her we were fine we pulled into the anchorage and set the hook.
It was a long day and we were exhausted. But Hey we had cell signal and boy did we have a few pending messages. After reassuring our daughter we were fine we had to let the BASRA (Bahamian Air Sea Rescue Association) know we were safe. Their response was funny, "please tell family no news is good news". Yes folks there are lots and lots of boats out here and we have VHF and SSB communication to call for help should we need. Please don't worry if we don't get in touch by modern methods. With our travel being weather dependent we might get stuck somewhere out of range for several days.
After getting our communications squared, we quickly put the boat together and collapsed. It was all we could do to stay awake until the sun went down. I think both of us were asleep before our heads hit the pillow.
These little piggies probably do eat roast beef.