Monday, July 24, 2017

Fear and seasickness

July 9, 2017
at Allens-Pensacola Cay

lunch underway

 The combination of fear and a rolling, topsy-turvy boat is a guaranteed recipe for seasickness for me. Said seasickness precipitated our five mile, high speed (well, 20 mph is definitely high speed for our boat) boat ride at sunset. Boating in reef-strewn, unfamiliar waters at dark is certainly not recommended, but spending a night seasick at anchor because the anchorage is barely tenable is also not recommended. But let me back up a bit.

We left Double-Breasted Cays in the morning. The tide was rushing out and the current was swift, to say the least. In order to leave the anchorage, Hans had to drive the boat around a hair pin turn - sandbar on one side, craggy limestone rocks on the other and an outgoing tide that was trying its hardest to pull us into the rocks. Two days prior we saw a boat similar to ours in the same place, hard aground a few feet from the rocks. The owner feared a bent prop. Hans piloted us around that hairpin turn but it was scary to say the least. The current first pushed our bow out, Hans compensated for that just in time for the current to kick our stern out. It was white knuckle boating. Once we were out of the current, I unclenched my hand from a handhold, sat down and realized I was shaking all over. We were in control, sort of, but it was easy to see how our boat could be up on the rocks and our trip over in a few seconds.

The rest of the day was easy and calm. Straightforward motoring across the Banks looking for dolphins. Our initial plan was Allens-Pensacola, but halfway through we decided to try Moraine Cay. Our guidebook advertised a reef anchorage offering protection from every direction but the southeast with unobstructed ocean views. Our ideal anchorage and all true. The girls played on the beach; Hans and I went snorkeling. I played with Matilda on the beach; Hans and Freja went snorkeling. Back to the boat for dinner and the tide was coming in. We were losing our reef protection and the swell was coming from the southeast. 

the anchorage at Moraine Cay. Hello Atlantic Ocean!

Life aboard was uncomfortable to say the least. I was still feeling on edge from earlier and the rolling of the boat was making me downright miserable. I love being alone at anchorages and anchoring off undeveloped islands, but sometimes I like the security and camaraderie of other boats. After our close call with the current in the morning, I needed a protected anchorage with other boaters. I didn’t put that in words, rather just got sullen and decided we’d have to tough it out.

beautiful sunset, but you can see the swell entering the anchorage.
We were rocking from beam to beam.
As the sun was setting, Hans looked at me and said, “Let’s go. You’re miserable. This anchorage sucks. No one will sleep tonight.” The approach to the nearest anchorage was clear and deep so we weighed anchor after sunset, cranked on both engines, and burned down to Allens-Pensacola. It was thrilling to go so fast on the boat. It’s a heavy boat and with both engines at stop speed it just pushed the waves out of the way. I ran up to the vee-berth to check on the girls (they’d already gone to bed for the night) and they were shrieking with excitement. It was a like their own personal nighttime roller coaster. 

We entered the anchorage slowly and carefully, using GPS coordinates and visual cues and had the anchor down in flat calm water. I immediately felt better - buoyed in physical health and spirit. And also wishing I didn’t have such a stiff upper lip sometimes and thankful for a partner who can see through my stoicism.

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