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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A good plan today is better that a great plan tomorrow

Hammerhead Shark, Bahamian Fisherman simply call it " The Man Eater"

Reef Marker , similar to the one near South Cat Cay
After meeting Mr. Stubbs   our  morale was at an all time low ,   That nights dinner was only white rice  and warm water.  The next morning  at sunrise Mr. Stubbs  was at my stern unloading the motor , I told him it might be a couple days before we could depart for Chub I was waiting on a check in the mail, and could he help me out with  $15-$20, ?  He finished loading the motor and started his outboard and drove away..  Completely ignoring  me ..         In a strange way it helped us , we were all now very focused , and more determined than ever  ,   We  now wanted to leave the Bahamas..    On the walk to to post office we discussed options plan B and C  both  involved  committing  felonies in a foreign country . We arrived at the post office...........  no letter,  and  tomorrow was Saturday and Monday was a holiday . The only thing I can tell you was  plan C was to sell  Mr. Stubbs outboard ,We settled on plan B , even 29 years later Its not in my best interest to give exact details; So Lets "fast forward" and skip the details of committing a felony in a foreign country shall we,  to having small fortune  $100 !!                       Priority was Gas, water , vodka, cigarettes , beer and  food and more Vodka.      We bought and carried  every thing to save money on cab fare.  our meager supplies   would leave no room for error   , 8 hours to Chub Cay  and overnight, 12 hours to South Cat Cay and overnight  10-11 hour to Miami  Hopefully land in Coconut Grove and hit  Monty Trainer ( my old boss)  for Money .  We left the next morning at day break ,  As we motored towards the Harbor entrance we saw a dinghy floating, I was temped to grab it . I cut the engine and drifted up next to it  its was a expensive custom made  with a brass name plate, likely from a Luxury Yacht.  Circling under the dinghy was a Hammerhead Shark  as big as a car,   its an image I'll never forget , at the time  I wondered if it was an bad omen, but I said nothing  .                                           As we passed the light house and out past the breakwater it would be choppy & bumpy ride    "Mary grab me a cold one" at sun up we drank a toast or two to a safe trip  , The sail up to Chub was wet with sea spray, but quick because the boat  was significantly lighter due to no supplies or equipment,when you have nothing, you have nothing to lose.. we arrived at Chub early afternoon. We went right in the anchorage and right up to DD's boat . He was very grateful and could not thank us enough  . He invited us to dinner . That night  we ate on his boat, I could see he was out of supplies but  he had fresh fish and Rum. We did not ask for money as it was obvious he had nothing .                                The next Morning before sunrise we motored out of the anchorage ,  this would be our longest  leg of the trip. 70 miles over the Great Bahama Banks, "The Banks" are famous for boat wrecks , the average depth is 15-18 ft and huge coral heads of unknown depth are every where,  when a storm blows up the waves get huge because of the shallow water , sailboats that draw 6 ft or more are at risk .  We made great time with the wind at our back I throttled down to save fuel , by early  afternoon we all were optimistic about  making it to the Bimini chain.                         By late afternoon  its normal for the wind to drop as it did on that day ,we estimated we were on coarse as "The Banks"don't  have not much current .  By sundown the wind was very light , we could not see land,  no problem  in an hour it would be at dark,  we would no doubt see a light house or radio tower,   we stayed on coarse  and motored at slow speed ,   after a few hours  we saw a bright light  and determined it was small light house  we headed strait for it .                   We were all  uneasy about it, John started reading the Bahama Guide  by candlelight ,  we determined  it was  a light marking a reef , and the instructions in the guide were to go North , it marked a dangerous reef and shallow water , however we were already too close ,under  the bright light and full moon  we could see white water,   that's when the  cable from the steering wheel to tiller broke. we lost control be continued ..... ( The letter was "Returned to Sender", it had fallen behind a table at the post office and found 90 days later)

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