Lift out

Dick and Irene Craig
Fri 9 Mar 2012 21:11

Strong winds are blowing and the water in this protected bay, just off Parham, is choppy; not ideal for traveling between boat and land in the rib. However, we experienced much bigger swells last week, during our escapade in the rib, around Great Bird Island.

We ate ashore Friday evening. Lincoln, the owner of King Burger cooked chicken for us on the barbecue. Served with chips and coleslaw as well as drinks, the bill was only £5 per head. Amazing!

On Saturday, our friend Caroline spent the morning ashore; Dick was busy going through, with the would-be purchaser, every external locker on the boat, including the workshop and dive locker, demonstrating the contents and functionality of same. Sunday and Monday the exercise was repeated inside the boat, taking the beds apart and lifting the floors and the floor linings, after moving the storage boxes from beneath the floor, in addition to explaining the navigation equipment.

At 7.30 on the morning of the 28th Dick again collected the interested party; we then raised the anchor and made passage to the Boat yard. It took almost 300litres of water to wash the blue mud from the chain, the anchor and the deck, which had become spattered. Fortunately we can afford this luxury as the water maker can produce 220litres of pure water per hour; we make water each morning and evening, when we switch on the generator to top up the batteries.

We tied up against the outside of the lifting out dock and the surveyor came aboard. It took nearly five hours for him to check out the boat before we commenced the test sail.

The wind continued to blow strongly; too strong to pull out the full main sail but it was necessary for the surveyor to see the sail in its entirety; likewise the genoa.

In total, there were three minor anomalies which need attention at some juncture but all in all the boat is in very good condition. The surveyor was impressed by how well equipped it is.

After lunch the following day, with just Dick, myself and our friend Caroline on board, we left Parham and sailed, just using the foresail, on a broad reach, to Deep Bay where we dropped the anchor. As we approached the sunken wreck, we could see a rib tied to it; a man was standing on the wreck, water to his knees, resting briefly from snorkeling.

As the sun sank below the horizon I was rewarded with a green flash. It looked as if the people on a nearby boat had also just seen it; they were all cheering, shouting, jumping up and down and hugging each other, still facing in the direction of where the sun appeared to have just slipped below the edge of the sea.

The freezer is now quite depleted with sufficient produce for only three more main meals. I could claim that it was all due to perfect planning but that would not be the case. It will make defrosting the freezer a lot easier though.

The wind on Thursday was still quite strong but the water here, without the fetch is not choppy. However, that night the wind decreased and we all slept better for it.

We spotted a turtle on the passage from Deep Bay to Jolly Harbour, where we spent the next two nights. We watched the pelicans as they dove for fish; one of them sat on top of a green marker buoy though it flew away at dusk when the light started flashing.

Despite the strong gusts of wind, Dick was hauled up the mast twice, to enable him to replace the faulty Lopo light.

En-route to Freemans Bay, we spotted a Ray as it jumped from the water,  saw our boat ahead and immediately returned to the rough sea through which were making slow progress against head-on 29knot wind, with water over the fly-bridge. A fitting last passage just in case we might be getting any doubts about missing a life on the ocean wave.

The anchorage was quite full and to stop Tucanon swinging, we put out a stern anchor. It had the desired effect in reducing the movement of the boat but it didn’t make for a very comfortable night.

We went ashore for a farewell supper with our friend Caroline, who was leaving on the morrow. As we climbed onto the dinghy dock we could see a large plastic sheet in the water, between the dinghies and the pontoon. I fished it out and wedged it underneath some heavy ropes to ensure it was no longer a danger to the propellers on an unsuspecting boat. It had been covering part of the wide red carpet which was adorning the pontoon, strictly reserved for super yachts; the carpet was in place we were told, ready for the arrival of  Prince William and Kate who were due to arrive here next morning.

Tuesday 6th, at 8am, the multi decked super yacht Leander was just beyond the reef opposite Fort Berkley Point on its way to Nelson’s Dock yard. As the boat motored into the channel, many of the yachts at anchor sounded their fog horns to welcome the Royal couple.