Sunday, April 26, 2009

John Travolta and me

Having other boats around us for “comfort,” we sat around dreaming of places other than West End. West End, Bahamas is a great place to lose your momentum. High dollar power boats, John Travolta mansions, fake sand, and angry locals working for even angrier Caucasian’s. 9:00am, I never thought I’d be able to see two men and a fake breasted – 44DD’s that faded into legs – wearing solid gold chains, hammering Coors’ Lights while yelling at a local about how bad “Yerz Inglish” is. The icing on the cake is 50 knot winds. 


            We sat watching clouds manufacture themselves over and over again. To this day,  I have never seen clouds move so fast and become so gloomy. Alaina and I became anxious and stowed everything away; all I could remember is our uncle C.J. talking about squalls and how you needed goggles otherwise the rain would tear through your eyes. I didn’t hesitate to grab my snorkel and mask - I am glad I remembered that little gem, thanks C.J.

            As soon as we situated everything on the boat a huge blast of rain came down cleaning everything off of our boat. The New Yorker I left in the dinghy was immediately maimed, castrated, then turned into a Star weekly. Absolute trash. We watched perched in front of our hatch, as the rain grew stronger and stronger. Out of nowhere, 50 knots of wind came without warning and tipped our boat over 30 degrees and threw us back dislodging one of our anchors. The wind held strong and I glanced out with my mask to see how close we were to our neighboring boats just to be met with rain cutting against my face. This was one of the most mesmerizing acts of nature I have ever seen. I was ready to run out and start the engine to motor away from the other boats in case our 2nd anchor slipped, but I didn’t know what good that would do; I literally could not see 10 feet in front of me. We sat white knuckled, ready to jump towards the helm for the next 15 minutes, and after that, blue skies. 


Squalls are entertaining; this is a terrible word choice. They last 10-20 minutes and make you and everyone around you pee their pants. They are sneak previews of hurricanes and slaps in the face. Luckily, for the rest of the night we didn’t see any other squalls, what we did see was a series of small thunderstorms all strong enough just to keep us up all night. When we awoke the next morning with baggy eyed headaches, we were pretty much done with West End. We packed up and headed out to the Abacos looking in every direction for our next squall.


It’s been almost 1 week since that experience and we are still anxiously pointing out every semi-dark cloud asking “is that going to destroy us?”


From West End we sojourned at Mangrove Key. As we approached the 15 knot westerly vanished into nothing. The surface of the sea was impeccably still. Not a ripple. You could make out the subtle features of the ocean floor up to fifteen feet below. After dropping anchors, all of us (Pat, Jen, their two dogs, Patrick and I) jumped into the water and swam until the sun tucked into the horizon. That evening we feasted on a freshly caught mackerel thanks to Pat and Jen, and sipped our cocktails while observing a spectacular lightning storm developing some twenty miles south of us. It was a rewarding night after the monotony of West End.


Currently, we are still in the Abacos awaiting our next weather window to pass back into the States. The people here seem to think Alaina and I are from Miami and have kiddy pools of money that we frequently swim in. It’s a lose lose situation. On a brighter note, the Abacos are beautiful and the snorkeling is amazing. Two other couples we met have been sailing around with us for the past week now; Pat and Jenn, and Paul and Piper. They are all amazing people and it has been a real treat getting to know all of them; their hospitality has been astonishing.


Right now we’re off to Grand Cay, Abacos.


  1. Just wanted to let you guys know that I am still reading and loving the stories. This will make an excellent book once your journeys are complete. These pictures are stunning. Sometimes I wonder if you're still holed up in some apartment in Denver and just really, really good at photoshop. Scenes this beautiful don't exist, do they? :) Love and miss you guys.


  2. Jeff, we miss you as well! And believe me, we can't believe our experiences are real either. We plan on visiting denver in June or July, and I hope to see you then. Be well!

  3. Well, I just finished writing a letter to my host mom in Costa Rica to tell her the address I left her to contact me will be wrong in a matter of weeks after walking to the library for a "How to Sail" book. I was feeling pretty impressive when I realized I'm writing letters in Spanish and making diagrams in my journal to remember boat terminology for the upcoming move... but then I read this and I don't feel nearly so impressive anymore... can't wait till I'm helping you write these!!