Saturday morning Karen and Debbie wandered around a little bit, visiting the beach again and finding some coffee and breakfast. Greg made a trip into the business district area of Treasure Cay and found a hose clamp to fix the water hose problem. It worked! We would be able to have running water once more! Greg just needed to refill the 58 gallons of water tanks again and we were ready to head out discover what adventures lie in the week to come.
We left Treasure Cay Marina slightly before noon. It was a calm day on the water. The winds were barely blowing. We could have motored, but we like to sail even in the lightest of winds as long as we can get to where we are going before dark or donâ€™t need to time our arrival with high tide. The boat was steady and it was wondrously peaceful and serene. We put up the cockpit table, spread out the salads I had made the day before and some leftovers from our dinner the previous night, and ate a leisurely lunch while underway. Debbie took the helm for a while and we slowly sailed over to the Fish Cays.
We hadnâ€™t previously visited the Fish Cays, but had read that there was some good snorkeling to be found in the area. We dropped the hook at the most northerly Cay and Debbie and Greg jumped into the water to scout it out. They didnâ€™t find much, so we weighed anchor and motored over to the third Cay from the top. Everyone got in this time.
We found a small reef at the southeastern corner of the Cay and saw many colorful fish. We also encountered a few conch nests. They are quite odd looking, like box spring coils wrapped tightly in a silky white cloth.
Back on Blue Wing we set sail again towards Orchid Bay Marina at Great Guana Cay. The harbor at Great Guana is completely exposed on the south side, which makes it very easy to get into. It was about 4:30 when we arrived and the marina was about to close. We were told that Samson would meet us at the dock to help us tie up. Docking went smoothly. Samson caught few docking lines and then disappeared as quickly as he had appeared.
Once we were settled Debbie went straight to the pool. Karen joined her there. I went and enjoyed the luxury of my third marina shower in three straight days, washing the saltwater off my skin and bathing suit. The restrooms were nice. The showers all seemed to work.
We had pizza on the grill for dinner, before heading to Grabbers for a drink and to watch the sunset. The atmosphere at Grabbers was laid back. We watched some paddle boarders cross Fisherâ€™s Bay and then headed to Nippers.
Along the way to Nippers, we ran into a fellow sailor, Gary, walking a very energetic puppy. We talked to him about the usual sailing stuff as we all headed up the hill to the bar.
Nippers was dead. The most exciting thing happening there was the sight of a giant party boat anchored in the Atlantic Ocean with a three story slide descending from the top. Debbie and Karen visited the beach, we all looked at the pool and then completely underwhelmed by all of the non-excitement, we headed back down the hill to Pirateâ€™s Cove for one last drink before heading back to Blue Wing.
Debbie was worn out and headed straight to bed. Karen wasnâ€™t ready to call it a night, so she, Greg, and I grabbed our left over pizza and walked over to the pool for a little snack and conversation under the stars. When we finally decided to turn in and got back to the boat, we noticed that Blue Wing was in a precarious situation.
Greg will tell you this story:
All the marinas we used in Florida had floating docks. The dock rises and falls with the tide. The deck of the boat is always a higher level than the dock. We had training with dock lines. As you would expect, you want a couple of lines at the bow and a couple at the stern. You can also run a spring line, which has handy uses for docking and leaving dock.
The marinas we have stayed at in the Bahamas have fixed docks. The dock stays put, and your boat rises and falls with the tide. You have to put enough slack in your dock lines to make sure the boat doesn’t hang in the air from them at low tide.
At Orchid Bay we ended up with two bow lines and one stern line (attached by our help). The stern line didn’t actually pull the boat backwards very well. Everything looked fine, though, until we came back to the boat about 11pm. The bow had drifted forward at low tide. Our anchor, which sticks out from the bow on a bow roller, was caught under the dock. We still were not at high tide, but our bow was pinned down and our stern was sticking up about five inches too high.
There was really nothing we could do, but we tried anyway. There was too much pressure to safely release the pin that holds the anchor in place. We couldn’t ‘pry’ the boat away. Running the boat in reverse didn’t work. All we could do was wait to see what gave way first, the anchor pin, the bow roller, or the dock itself.
In a couple of hours the bow roller gave way. It broke with a loud noise before high tide. The anchor was dragged down further, scraping the fiberglass on the bow. There was still plenty of noisy banging around until the tide ebbed enough to push the boat back from the dock at about 3am.
We quickly tied a spring line to hold the bow back from the dock, and tried to get a little sleep. Debbie and Karen said they mostly slept through the night, but I think they were being kind. I don’t think Duwan and I slept at all and we were making plenty of noise. (We will always be using spring lines in the future.)
Back to me:
Although it seems like the lesson here is to always use a spring line when staying in marinas, I think it might actually be something else. Despite the tenuous feeling I get when we are anchored out with Blue Wing, this is where she is meant to be, not tied to a dock. She is designed to move through the water, to rise and fall with the tide, to bob with the waves, and to hang on with chain and rode, nose to the wind, swinging back and forth, freely in open seas.