We woke up this morning after a night of howling wind on anchor in Staniel Cay and decided we were ready to make the turn around. Last night as we gathered on the beach with cocktails in hand, everyone telling stories about places they had been and places there were headed; we came back to the boat and had a talk. Andy wants to see it all! He has this “get it all in” mentality. If we continued onto Georgetown, we needed a good weather day. The Garmin charts takes us out to the eastern sea, away from the protection of the banks. The waves and conditions SUCK!!!! Like big time. I have been on the ocean in California for the last 12 years, but here I have had a few rough times that send me straight into heart pumping adrenaline panic, NOTHING compares to this ocean. A simple 2-3 foot wave means we are rolling side to side with shit flying everywhere. I HATE IT!!!! We had to decide, stay here and let the weather pass. It could be 3-4 more days, or go to Georgetown and wait out the weather, which could be a long while. There is soooooo much to see and soooooo many places to anchor and explore. I felt that if we kept going south, we were getting further and further away from the states, and it would take us so long to work our way back up. We mutually called it! Time to turn around. We felt we could save Georgetown for a return trip. If Andy wears me out now, then he will never be able to come back. I want to see places in the Abacos. Moving to Georgetown just takes us further away. A LONG way. We are not talking a few miles. Today we would have had to travel 60 miles in a rough ocean to get there. OK, GOOD DECISION.
We came up just 10 miles to Compass Cay Marina today. We are the only ones here in this little marina at the moment, beside 2 mega yahats. One is a 76 ft blue hulled Nordhavan who stay here for 4 months. WHY???? No idea. It’s beautiful place but nothing going on here except tour boats that stop in the pet the nurse sharks. The tour boats come zipping in here, music blasting and full of foreigners. They let everyone off and the guides make conch (salad) ceviche. They then load up and go to feed the pigs on Pig Beach. (We had anchored right by that beach and watched the other half of this tour). People are so stupid. We watched boat after boat of tourist screaming and hollering like they were on an episode of shark week. Ridiculous. The guides throw fish in to water and they all screamed as the sharks thrashed around them. The guides egg them on by throwing pieces of fish into the water and then saying “watch your hands!” As the girls and kids scream. I watched in total amusement. These sharks have been tamed by their environment and being fed. It is better then watching them in an aquarium, at least they choose to be here and can swim away at their own free will.
After lunch Andy said “OK, we are going for a short dingy ride (5 miles) to a placed called the Aquarium.” Well that sounds fun. I put our gear in the dingy and put my wet suit on half way, because I knew we would be splashed. What I didn’t expect, 5 miles in a dingy, bouncing thru big waves is NOT a picnic. I yelled back at Andy, “Why don’t we have our life jackets on??? We found the spot but I was ready to vomit. My body had gotten pounded as we crashed our way thru big waves. My heart dropped into my feet with every wave. We tied up to a mooring ball a Andy jumped in the check it out. I was on the boat bobbing like a cork, nausoues and ready to lose it. He convinced me to get in, that it was worth it. I could not forget about the tough crossing. I just kept thinking “how are going to get back? Then I decided to be in the moment and enjoy this place and worry about that later.” It was wonderful. The best reef we have seen. Lots of fish and a wall with corals and fish. Ok, here’s were it gets hairy. We eventually had to get back. All 5 miles. Sounds short, right! I knew that we had come through those open ocean passes but…It was easy to put on our life jackets for the ride back. We put on our life jackets. We did not talk much and I prayed.
I will tell you we almost died. The boat could have easily flipped in a few of these huge waves. It was the closet I ever felt to near death. When you are on a 10 ft dingy and the waves are at least 8 ft, you start praying that you will survive and not get tossed into the turbulent water. I could have easily been catapulted right out of the inflated tubes as they crashed with each wave. I hung on for dear life and crouched low in the boat and prayed the waves would not capsize our little boat. It was like a few moment of pure panic. But Captain ANDY motored our way thru each swell and we stayed upright, we got thru the channel and to the marina opening. Then I said, “you son of a bitch!” Once I was on the boat I went straight to the vodka bottle and took a shot. After I showered I made a really strong cocktail that required ginger ale to settle my stomach, I relaxed. The reality of the moment has stayed with me. I know this all sounds very dramatic, but it was a serious situation, that by the grace of god we sailed right thru. The dingy and I are now getting a divorce, or maybe a separation for a while.
I was busy calming my nerves with a strong drink while Andy hadn’t had enough adventure for the day. He got his scooter out and jumped into the shark infested water. I decided not to watch. He had the whole marina to himself and he wondered all over it all alone. The tourists were gone. He came back happy as a clam. The nurse sharks moved around him as he scootered up to them. Poor sharks had to deal with screaming tourists and then some crazy man chasing them in a scooter. It’s a tough life for them, but they get fed everyday. It’s the price they have to pay. He saw a bunch of fish and a huge spotted eagle ray. I’m glad he seized his moment, but me, I just wanted a few moments of quiet. As I was making dinner, I threw food into the water and I had my own private show. The battery on the GoPro died at the end, darn it! At this point, I was a little drunk and in a much better mood.
Then we had full on Thanksgiving Dinner. Roasted turkey with gravy, homemade mashed potatoes with sour cream, cream cheese and chives, canned green beans and cranberries. It almost felt like a ceremonial dinner after the day I had. We finished off with carmel brownies. Now I am going to sleep because we are tied up to a dock. The boat is quiet, not creaking and rocking. I am full and I am happy to be alive!!! Goodnight! 😴