Saturday, March 25, 2017

Mackie Shoals to Chubb Cay


Chubb Cay, Berry Islands

Our 45 mile run from Mackie Shoals to Chubb Cay in the Berry Islands was pretty uneventful. We started with all sails up and motor at about 60% and stayed that way all day long. There was more boat traffic and it was amazing to see the big yachts towing their full-sized fishing boats behind them. It was incredible to watch our depth sounder go from 12 feet to --- as it couldn't read the 800 foot depths of the Northwest Providence Channel. Chubb Cay took a direct hit from Hurricane Matthew and the entrance to the harbor is still chained off. We arrived at the anchorage on the west end of Chubb Cay at about 5:00, nine hours after leaving Mackie Shoals. We dropped our anchor on the west side of the channel in 10 feet of water. We were tired, but managed a hot tuna casserole and blueberry muffins for dinner. Mike took a "shower" in the water and serenaded us with a conch song at sunset followed again by Amazing Grace. We took a couple of post card pictures of Island Tyme with the sun setting behind it.

Island Tyme

By 8:00 all three boats were gently rocking their passengers into a peaceful sleep. We planned on leaving the next morning for West Bay on New Providence.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Bimini to Mackie Shoals.

Bimini, to us, is the gateway to the Bahamas. But to get there you have to let go. It was hard to leave, and we did manage to eke out an extra day in our nice private marina, but we begrudgingly threw off the dock lines and all three boats headed toward Mackie Shoals. The Shoals are about half way between Bimini and the Berry Islands in about 10 feet of water. This is the place to drop anchor, grab a good night's sleep and continue on in the morning. At least in theory. We pulled out of the marina at slack tide and headed into the anticipated chop. The north waves breaking against the entry wall were impressive. We knew this chop awaited us, but would only last a couple hours until we rounded North Rock and angled off toward Mackie Shoals. In theory. Mike was worried about Brenda's arm getting bounced, but with a pillow in her lap, she was fine. She even took her turn at the wheel with no problem. As we rounded North Rock we had a good, rambunctious 45 mile motor sail pinching into the northeast wind. With all sails out and our motors powered back we made our way to the Shoals. As we continued on, the waves settled into a more gentle back and forth, up and down motion (think Door County, Joni). You can't imagine the beautiful clear blue waters with the bright white splash off of our bow. And we were only in 12-15 feet of water for miles and miles. We saw a couple of boats, but mostly it was just the three of us. Our GPS led us right to Mackie Shoals, which is basically a lump of sand, and set our anchors. Conch blowing, Amazing Grace, dinner and sleep. In theory. The waves were supposed to settle down, but that never happened. Mike "slept" in the cockpit to avoid the sounds of the water drains bubbling and the chain pulling. Brenda cuddled into the corner settee to try and keep from falling on the floor. The waves never did let up. At 7:30 am we were on the vhf with Island Tyme and Amata Marie. "Let's get out of here!" And we were off to Chubb Cay.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

One fish, two fish, blue fish.....where's Brenda?

So we made the Gulf Stream crossing and docked our boat quite expertly if we say so ourselves. We have to brag about our good dockings, because other times it ain't so pretty. Everything is coming up roses. Then the next morning Brenda decides to point out two beautiful blue fish swimming near our dock to Don and I. In her excitement she quickly tries to take the stairs to the lower dock level. The only problem was there were no steps. Ouch! One very sore left arm and wrist are the result.

We iced her arm down and wrapped it up in an Ace Bandage. The next day she was still too sore to use the arm, so we pulled out an arm sling from our first aid kit. This seems to help a little as she toughs it out for two days of exploring Bimini. The cruising community offers all kinds of help and advice including where to seek medical assistance. Well, in Bimini there is a local clinic that does have an x-ray machine, but they don't know how to use it. We go to see the doctor there anyway and come away feeling pretty good about the diagnosis. No major damage. A sprain or maybe a minor crack in a small bone.

The next morning Brenda is still not really improving which means we really need to get professional medical advice including an x-ray. Most of the locals said we would have to fly back to the U.S. Finally we found out that Cat Cay provided volunteer doctors for transient boaters. They even had an x-ray machine. One couple, Dieter and Maya made numerous calls arranging the clinic visit and transportation to the island.

On Friday we hopped aboard Orlando's power boat for the 11 mile ride to the private Cat Cay club. We arrived about noon and knocked on the volunteer doctor's residence door. After several minutes a disheveled young lady answered the door in flip flops, shorts and a wrinkled t-shirt. "Hi, I am the doctor on call." she announced. As we entered the clinic the young doctor explained that she had never done an x-ray before, so bear with her. She looked over the colored picture cheat sheet explaining the machine's operation as she chatted with us. Her husband then walked in dressed just like her except he had a nice cool drink in his hand. Well this is going to be a first. Two doctors in flip flops, shorts, t-shirts and one carrying a drink. Welcome to the islands mon.

The two doctors reviewed the quick start guide to x-ray machine operations and then announced they were ready to give it a go. They stood around the corner of the x-ray booth and pushed the button. "Did anything flash?" they asked. Brenda replies, "No, but it did beep." Believe it or not they did actually produce 3 good x-rays in the end. The bad news - one broken arm just above the wrist. The good news - no surgery needed. The two doctors worked together and after two tries ended up getting Brenda set up with a hard splint.

We will need to change our itinerary now as we need to get to Nassau to find a doctor who can properly cast Brenda's arm. Our buddy boat readily agreed to our change of plans and we hope to get to Nassau by March 25th to make the arrangements. The boat ride back to our marina in South Bimini was really bouncy and the captain's boat started overheating a couple of times as we crossed. It sure was good to get back to Wrinkles.

The adventure continues.