Day: April 20, 2016
After leaving Moore Island we continued around to the southern most point of Abacos where it looked like it was extremely shallow. The color variations of water was gorgeous as slightly light blues changed to calypso then turquoise, cobalt and finally a deep blue.
We watched the charts carefully, navigating precisely on point to an area marked for anchoring, but the closer we got the more uneasy we felt. Just as we were turning Tanda Malaika because it didn’t feel right, one of the engines died and we hit bottom. (Even though it was high tide) Regardless of how Danny tried to maneuver our girl, she was not going anywhere. Jude and Mycah jumped overboard with masks to asses the situation while Danny jumped down in the engine compartment and I walked the deck, looking into the water around us trying to figure out an appropriate plan of attack.
The girls surfaced to say that not only were we solidly stuck on our port keel, but the starboard keel would soon hit the same flat rock and even worse, we were surrounded by coral heads.
We checked the tide schedule once again, noting that at 2am high tide would return, but wondered if we’d be able to get out at that point because we’d gotten into this predicament at high tide. We had the twins put the anchor in the dinghy, ride out and drop it into deeper water to see if we could use the windlass to pull ourselves out, but made no progress.
In fact, the anchor got so stuck that Jude and Mycah had to use their super ninja strength to dig it out and then unhook it every few feet as I pulled it back in to Tanda Malaika. After radioing for assistance with no response, Danny took the dinghy around the southern point of Abacos to try find someone to pull us out. While he was gone Tanda Malaika made awful noises as she gently bumped back and forth between the keel and the rudder, and I dove down to check on her underside. There was no way I could dig down because everything under us was solid rock, and the girls were right, coral heads surrounded us in every direction. It was overall deeper off to starboard where as off port was even more shallow, and directly ahead of us was a hole with tall coral heads around the entire circumference. The fiberglass of the keel was slowly getting chipped and damaged.
I finally climbed back aboard, realizing there was nothing I could do but enjoy the scenery, pray the boat is not damaged too badly and get started on dinner. I figured the least I could do was cook a delicious meal for everyone to enjoy in our beautiful surroundings.
After over an hour I saw two power boats speeding around the corner of the island and headed in our direction. Just then the cell phone rang with Danny on the other end telling me to flag them down down. As I stood waving my arms, I spotted Danny in the dinghy in the distance flying across the water at lightening speed. Several local men who worked for a waterspouts business were on board the boats, and tied ropes to Tanda Malaika’s bow to try pull her off. I told them we were sitting too high out of the water at this point and that they were not going to pull us anywhere but they politely smiled and went to work.
Danny soon arrived and also saw that their efforts were getting us no where, and before long they told us they’d be back around 1am and were on their way back to where they’d come from.
We set our alarm for 12:30am, and called everyone up for a sincere prayer asking for safety, guidance and insight. We knew it was still 90 minutes from high tide, but Danny fired up the engines and I stood on the bow with a flash light shining down on the coral heads. My dad came to mind and I wondered if he was watching as Danny pushed the throttle forward on both engines, and without one single scrape or bump we shot forward across the shallow water with Danny calling out, 4 feet, 8 feet, 15 feet, 30 feet….
What a relief it was to be in deep water again. We gathered together once more and gave a prayer of thanks, and when we were done I quietly looked out over the rolling swells and spoke quietly into the wind, ‘and thank you Daddy for your help too.’
Finally have internet again!
Sunday, April 10th
This morning Danny and I were still in bed when there was a soft knock on the door. Jude and Mycah had ordered us breakfast in bed for our Wedding Anniversary and served it to us. What Angels. Danny and I thoroughly enjoyed the delicious coconut french toast with sliced bananas, maple syrup and a tall glass of milk. They thanked us both for being such wonderful parents and thanked Danny especially for the amazing Dad he is (in particular for putting up with Mycah lol). We are so grateful for 11 beautiful individuals to learn from and grow with.
We prepped the boat and checked out of the marina, and several friends stopped by to wish everyone farewell, the creatures friends came and chatted for a while and as we motored out we heard farewells from the hotel balcony and dock from several of the anglers. The Atlantic was restless today. Currents pushed in different directions to the strong winds, causing the rhythm of swells to periodically be interrupted by a dysfunctional wandering wave. Tanda Malaika took it all gracefully like a patient mother, placing her hulls in troughs and swells that moved us forward as comfortably as possible. At times spray would reach as far back as the stern hatches. We couldn’t sail directly on course because the wind was right on our nose so we tacked back and forth and then backtracked for four and a half hours and as a crow flies, only made it about 10 miles down the coast.
Finally Danny and the creatures got us anchored at about 1830, just as I finished cooking fish tacos with the trigger fish that Meli gave us yesterday. I cooked them like the security guard at the marina had suggested and seasoned the fish, garlic, onion and bell peppers with oregano, salt, pepper and lemon juice. I served them with rice and pineapple salsa and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Trigger fish consistency is much like lobster, and quite delicious.
What a fantastic day in a beautiful place. We will continue our journey tomorrow, and according to the weather report, the weather will be far more favorable.
Monday, April 11
The winds turned on us again after looking promising on the report, and to avoid beating into the wind for who knows how many hours, we decided to stay put and leave early in the morning. According to today’s weather (which could change any second), it should take us half the amount of time to reach lower Abacos tomorrow than if we’d left today.
Jude and I took advantage of the time while Danny was doing some route planning and the other 3 creatures were busy on school work, so catch a ride in to the grocery store for more fruit, flour and sugar. It is so much cheaper for me to bake all our bread rather than us buying it – (besides the fact that I love baking bread). We took the dinghy over to the marine police station and a gentleman there named Danny offered to take Jude and I into town and then back again afterward. I know I’ve said this before, but I am so impressed with the Bahamian people. They are some of the happiest, friendliest and most helpful individuals I’ve ever met.
This afternoon we all piled into the dinghy and went over to the abandoned hotel to explore. The actual structure is still very sound, but some of the walls need new sheet rock. I’m sure if any of you would like to open your own hotel you could get a really good deal on this one! When we arrived there the tide was low so we had to climb very high up and out of the dinghy to get onto the dock, and Danny was such a gentleman to let me stand on his leg to do it. He was the last one to climb out and as he began his ascent he fell back right into the water. We all had a good laugh.
After our adventure we returned to Tanda Malaika where I served fresh homemade potato salad, watermelon, corn and lamb chops grilled on the braai (bbq). We goofed around for a while, had prayer together and have now retired to our berths. It’s been another wonderful day.
Tuesday, April 12
The sunrise was gorgeous this morning as we made our way out to sea and raised the sails. At first it appeared that we would have good wind for sailing but very soon after setting out, the air became calm and the only breeze we felt was the apparent wind we were creating. Flying fish raised themselves from the cool clear water, gliding out across the gentle swells and leaving zigzag patterns from their tail fins on the water.
As the day progressed the ocean calmed even more.
While taking my turn at the helm, Mycah came and joined me with her ukulele and sang to me for a while. She has such a beautiful voice. Later after going down below she reached up from the lower deck handing me an apple with a couple bites out of it and told me she had opened it for me!
Last night when I hugged and kissed her goodnight and thanked her for being so wonderful, she looked discouraged and said, ‘Mom, I feel so sorry for my future daughters..actually I feel sorry for every women.’ I was concerned and asked her why, and she replied, ‘because none of them will have as amazing a daughter as me. I’m already born!’ She is such a dingbat!!
Not too far before the main Abacos island we saw a little land mass called Moore Island, and decided to check it out. From a distance it appeared to have very long while sand beaches. After motoring all the way in to drop anchor, we realized that the ‘white sand’ was actually concrete wall and there are no beaches at all. It’s all still so beautiful though and we enjoyed dinner out in the stern salon before coming in. Tomorrow we will continue on…