Monday, 07 April 2008

Cat Island : Fernandez’s gifts and revenge

The skipper with the mutton snapper

It may seem we mention the word resort quite often but as a sailor it does fulfil its purpose when you are in need of some comforting and this normally coincides with the mood after a day of bad weather. Such was the fate of the Double O crew in Fernandez Bay north of the Cat Bight. We had been experiencing good weather for days in succession. We should have suspected that something was afoot. Dear Reader, if you ever have a chance to find your Atlas, find Cat Island in the eastern Bahamas and you will see it is completely exposed to the west, which is of course, true to Murphy’s Law, the wind blew a good 25 Knots straight from the Exuma Sound, the least desirable direction, leaving us all wondering when it will change direction. The wind did change direction and we were even sorrier. After two days of a howling westerly, the wind shift came upon us swiftly and demanded attention. That was the first time I heard so much traffic on the radio since our arrival on Cat Island. In 5 minutes, the wind had moved from west to true north and this shift is unfortunately not favourable for sail boats that are exposed. It was the first time I experienced the feeling of being ín a washing machine. Everything moved violently about for a few minutes and then ’settled’ to a rhythmn of a gentler, still rocking move which persisted for a day. The following morning, with dry eyes from lack of sleep, we sheepishly summoned courage and decided to brave it to the restaurant at the resort overlooking the bay. Needless to mention, we had a protracted breakfast. Muffins have never tasted nicer. It is comic to think that bars and restaurants in ships caught in bad weather make a killing as long as the undesirable weather persists (this is a trade secret, I was told by a reputable skipper of a large ferry operating in western Florida). Following copious amounts of coffee, we managed a swim and back to the boat to clean up the previous night’s remnants from a dancing boat. We ended up putting a swell bridle which in simple terms meaning you force the boat to face the direction of the swell instead of the wind. This calmed us considerably not to mention our heads and stomach acids.
Two days later we went fishing and caught us a sizeable Mutton Snapper, a fish of excellent food value. By that time we had already forgotten the havoc visited upon us by the seas. The snapper was indeed delicious and it fed us for a good three days.

No comments: