I’m sure it didn’t mean anything. Anything at all.
Marc and I motored our sailboat (Alassiel) away from the anchorage that had been our Miami home for the past few days. Our customs gobbledy gook was all figured out. The weather seamed nice enough. Set course for Bimini. Engage!
Two huge work boats were ahead of us, also on their way out the Miami harbour. As it neared the entrance, one of the them suddenly and unexplainably did a u-turn and headed straight back in.
Totally didn’t mean anything. Right?
As we made our way out into the channel, the waves started to look more and more monstrous. The next thing I knew I was clutching the wheel with all my strength, with my legs braced against the side of the cockpit, as one demonic wave after another attempted to drown us in a sea of… well, seawater.
Being a beginner to the whole sailing thing, I hadn’t realized that even though the waves were of manageable size out on the ocean, they had a tendency to push together and become salty towers of doom when approaching a channel.
Inside the boat, things started to crash. We had strapped everything down in preparation for the crossing but not nearly well enough. Dishes magically leaped out of the sink and scattered. Boxes of cereal houdinied out of the cupboards. Not to be outdone, books chased after them.
All mixed in to one glorious mass of junk on Alassiel’s floor.
Not that I was paying the slightest bit of attention at the time. I was too busy having an epic battle with the steering wheel, who did not seem to understand that I wanted to not only head into the waves (and therefore keep our boat from going bottoms up), but to also stay clear of the shallow water areas (and keep the boat from going scrape/bang/smash on the rocky bottom).
In the steering wheel’s defence, those two directions were in complete opposition to each other…
Once, our poor boat leaned so heavily on its side that I thought that was it, we were going to flip over. I started looking around the cockpit for something to grab on to. Nothing looked like it was going to give me a good chance at survival. Inside a resounding crash announced our fridge (that minutes before, had seemed un-toppable) toppling over.
As we motored further away from the harbour at a champion one nautical mile per hour, the sea eventually calmed somewhat.
My shoulders ached. But we had made it! I didn’t know whether I should feel proud for pulling through or just plain sheepish for not being more prepared.
We picked up speed as the conditions improved and arrived in Alice Town, Bimini well before dark. A quick check in with customs and dinner at a local restaurant, sapped the rest of our already severely waning energy.
Time to cuddle up like puppies and not move for a week.
But first we needed to find somewhere to dig in. Turned out anchorages were in short supply in the area, especially for a boat with a massive keel like ours. We ended up spending some time anchored off of Cat Cay, an island that we thought looked pretty friendly.
Key word here: thought.
According to our chart there was a town on the island; Louis Town. It sounded like it could be fun to check out so we got in our dinghy and rowed to shore. Fancy, mansiony houses lined the beach, but there wasn’t a soul in sight.
Guess they were all in town…?
We walked along the beach, searching for an access point to the road and found what appeared to be a beautiful but empty courtyard restaurant. We walked through, not thinking much of it and finally saw someone. A man with a big fat frown on his face watched us from beside the closest building.
Not especially tempted to ask the frown for directions, we kept going.
The road was deserted as well. Yet perfectly manicured tennis courts and gardens and homes surrounded us as we walked, searching for the elusive Louis Town. The emptiness was eerie and I was beginning to highly suspect that some sort of apocalyptic event had taken place. Something that had turned all of the inhabitants except one, into flesh-eating zombie squirrels perhaps…
No wonder the man had looked so grumpy.
My well-thought-out theory was soon proven wrong when we saw a golf cart speeding towards us. This slightly-more-good-natured man turned out to be island security. Apparently Cat Cay was a private island and we were trespassing. We tried to explain to him that we were simply looking for Louis Town, which was clearly marked on our map, but he just looked confused. He’d never heard of it.
Hmm, ghost town mystery…
A mystery that I never had the chance to solve. Mr. Security insisted that we board the golf cart and proceeded to escort us back to the beach. One short dinghy ride later and we had left Cat Cay behind us forever.
We had more adventures during our stay around Bimini but this is getting long so I think I will end it here. Afterwards we took our boat back up to Green Cove Springs, Florida and then went back to Canada to work. A month ago we left on our next adventure. Backpacking/biking in Vietnam!
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