Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday afternoon cruise

We decided to drive down to the marina yesterday to take a look at some hardware on the boat. The hull is fourteen years old, and has the odd hinge and doodad that needs replacing. Nothing critical, mostly cosmetic. Once we got there I decided to start her up. Just warm up the engine,so to speak. See if I can figure out this rough idle. I think I need to change the plugs. Well, it kinda made sense to just take her out of the slip and putt around a little...and one thing led to another, and before we knew it...we seem to have been blasting through the channel up at Leeward about seven miles away:

I know I mentioned earlier that our friend Roosie on Pine Cay had told us there were still some boats wrecked on the beach from Hurricane Hannah. Preacher's brother Joe had also been talking about all the people who lost their boats during that surprise hurricane. So, we thought that was a good excuse to run the new boat, get some experience with it. We ran through Leeward and hung a left down toward the Grace Bay area. Sure enough,only a few hundred yards from the cut we spotted this hull upside down, battered by the storm, more than half buried in the sand. A total loss:

We idled on down the beach, staying out a couple hundred yards, to see if we could find any more wrecks. Dooley has decided that the seat in front of the console is now his spot, and he was keeping an eye on the beach. I think he had heard us talking about a Hobie Cat we had been watching. While a little unclear on the Hobie concept, 'cat' is definitely a word in is vocabulary.

Another few hundred yards down the beach we saw yet another poor boat, once again, a total loss:

This is pretty depressing stuff for a boat owner. When people first started telling me we were lucky to have been able to retrieve 'Cay Lime', I didn't understand what they were talking about. Now, of course, I realize that a lot of the boats taken by hurricane Hanna were smashed beyond repair. And what I think would be even worse are all the boats that have not been seen again. And there are dozens. Just gone. No trace of them found at all.

I imagine those owners will always wonder if perhaps their boat survived, and is still floating or up on a remote beach. Maybe just around some corner, or hidden in some mangrove swamp, or even just drifting at sea. I think in that case, you would always be keeping an eye out for your boat. And every boat you saw that looked somewhat like yours would make you wonder, and want a closer look. I think it's better to know what happened to the boat, even if it's bad news. That way you can quit looking around like it might show up, and just get on with life.

We really did not get a lot of photos yesterday. La Gringa took a few of Dooley. And she took a bunch of photos of me driving the boat...but who wants to look at those. (Heck, I don't.) But I will post one that includes both Dooley and yours truly..

The thing without the sunglasses is actually a compass.

After looking at the wrecked boats on Grace Bay, we went back though Leeward headed home. We noticed a fairly nice little dingy tied up at the Nikki Beach dock:

We would have laughed and pointed fingers and made disparaging comments since that boat is obviously not set up very well for fishing...but we were in a hurry. So we spared them our ridicule....this time.

We have posted photos before of the old freighter that sits a couple miles out of Leeward on the Caicos Bank. Since the storms of September, I have looked at it several times through binoculars from the house because something looks different about it. It's been shifted by the storms, and that's obvious, but under certain light I could see something on the side of it. At one point I wondered if it had developed a crack or had been torn in two. But the silhouette was mostly unchanged, and I ruled that out. But, we were curious and since it was not that far out of our way headed home, we decided to run out there and check it out.

It definitely has changed it's heading since the last time we saw it up close. I am not sure whether it was the bow, or the stern that moved but it now points more to the west than it did before. I am surprised it's still in one piece, actually:

And the mystery of what I was seeing on the side of it from our house, some 4.3 miles away, became obvious now. Someone has draped some cargo netting over the side of the hull.

That would sure make it easy to climb aboard to scavenge some portholes. This is something I have been thinking of for some time. But I was not sure whether or not I should be taking anything off of it. There are all sorts of light fixtures and deck equipment there, plus whatever is still below decks and inside.

Well, I have discovered that I am not the only one who has thought about removing some of this junk before it rots away. And when we got home last night I found some photos of this derelict that we took back in 2005/06. And it's obvious that things are disappearing.

This photo was taken yesterday afternoon:

And this is from the winter of 2005, just three years ago:

While the angle is different, you can see that an entire deck crane is gone. Along with a number of antennas, and other equipment. So somebody has been busy. Hey, there are still plenty of portholes there, though. Most of them still have glass in them. Now if I could just figure out a use for them.

After that we decided to head on back to the marina. What started out as a quick trip to measure hardware on the boat ended up turning into a 25 mile journey. Well there are certainly worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.

We even managed to get a new angle on the sunset:

See that little opening there between the boats, where the sun is shining on the water? Thats the path we take to and from our new slip. It's a little tricky , yet, but I got into the slip on the first pass this second time coming in here with the new boat. La Gringa is pretty danged good at lassoing a dock cleat with a bow line, too. She's saved more than one missed approach where the Captain screwed it up.

And navigating that little path should become second nature to us as we get more experienced at it. We have fish to catch and islands still to explore. There are reefs to be photographed. There are shipwrecks in that direction that have been sitting undisturbed for several hundreds of years. A lot of small adventures will start with that path.

Oh yeah, we hope to get real familiar with that little stretch of water.


Anonymous said...

"Hey, there are still plenty of portholes there, though. Most of them still have glass in them. Now if I could just figure out a use for them." LOL.
I love these posts. Gives my Stay-at-home mom life a little adventure. :)

Anonymous said...

Gidday once again Gringos. Now, I know you love a challenge and may wish to take up this one. The final photo in today's post shows a sweet looking catamaran. This is a Turissimo, designed by (the late) Kiwi designer Malcolm Tennant and would have been built in New Zealand. How the heck did it get all the way to your neck of the woods? It's highly unlikely to have sailed there because these are lightweight high performance cats - definitely not the sort of thing you would sail half way the world in one. Fantastic they are - if you want an exciting sail, hit the owner up for a blat in it.

Anonymous said...

Good to see your getting out again guys, weather sure looks good. Enjoy and keep up the photos.

Cheers Ken

Anonymous said...

Hello Bender. How's your summer going?

We have seen that catamaran many times. It is definitely fast. It's even fast under power. They have some kind of center pod propulsion system, and it moves right along.

I spoke with the owners about a year or so ago. They were puzzling over some damage to one of the rudders. I had seen an inexperienced PWC driver on a rental bash into it, and told them what caused the dings in the fiberglass.

It's a distinctive boat, next time we see it under sail I will try to get some photos.

You know me....I'll take ANY excuse for a photo.

Anonymous said...

I skip looking at the blog for a few days because posts had slowed down and all of a sudden you are posting practically every day.

Fine looking new boat. So happy to hear it fired right up and almost everything works. I can't believe you towed it more than a few hundred feet with that mini suv you drive. Lucky there aren't any hills in the Turks & Caicos to speak of.

I await your verdict about handling and seakindliness. The Contender should be much softer riding than Cay Lime, but I'll be interested to hear what you think. The 300 should make the Contender zip right along -- I run an ancient, heavy, deep-V Mako 25 with a single 250 and it it gets me where I want to go quick enough.

Envy builds as I see the gossamer clear water around you versus the cold, slate-colored water around my island in Narragansett Bay, RI. Temperatures hovered in the 30's here today, with a snapping cold wind.

Glad you're back on the water, in style no less.

Anonymous said...

We have only had the Contender out twice so far, but have travelled about fifty miles on those two trips, so we are very aware of how different it is than the panga "Cay Lime". We are a little nervous about some of the shallow spots we used to zip over, because we know we only had inches of clearance. We will have to stay in slightly deeper water now, but that only matters in a very few places. The ride and handling are very different now, even at slow speeds when approaching the dock. But a few more hours experience should find us right at home with the new deadrise. The increased length overall (about six and a half feet) and wider beam are also very obvious when wriggling in and out of the slip. I have to keep looking behind me in reverse to make sure that prop doesn't eat something it shouldn't.

Broke But Still Drinking said...

There is no way in hell your life can be better than mine. I sit here in my tiny-ass apartment and dream of venturing outdoors. The snow has barricaded the front door and I'm almost out of peanut butter. You wouldn't happen to be looking for a housekeeper?