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  • Katharine Hesmer

DAY 23 | January 5, 2022

Updated: Jan 14, 2022

Chub Cay, Bahamas to Palm Cay Marina, Nassau, Bahamas

Yesterday afternoon we worked on getting our dinghy ready for this morning's trip to Nassau. On long passages, we have to remove the motor and mount it on the railing on the back of KORKZcrew. The motor weighs around 100 pounds, and would cause the dinghy to drag too much and plough through the water if we left it attached. ⁣⁣

The Great Harbour N37 comes with a crane whose intended purpose is to lift and store the dinghy on the top deck. When we were reworking the boat last summer, we opted to keep the crane, but tow the dinghy behind us instead to give us more usable space on the flybridge. So in our case, the crane comes in handy for the task of removing the outboard motor, for mounting it on the railing, and for doing the reverse when we reach our destination. ⁣⁣

When we left Chub Cay around 7:00 am, we were in 6 feet of water, and by 8:20, we were in seas that were 8,000 feet deep. Yes, that’s THREE zeros. 😳

The ride was not as smooth as we had hoped, but not terrible, with some hobby horsing, as Ron calls it, and some rolling from side-to-side which is harder to take from a 🤢standpoint. It got uncomfortable enough that we went 10 degrees off course just to roll less, which will add time to our trip but it’s totally worth it to reduce the rolling. We're hoping that once we pass the squalls on our port side the seas will flatten out a bit. This rainbow was a great distraction from all the rockin' and rollin'.

I worked on the blog from inside the bobbing pilot house which I don’t recommend, but it gave me something to do to pass the time. It also meant I needed to stop a drawer from banging because its locking hardware has decided to no longer lock, and it seemed like just the job for some rolls of paper towels, as Ron’s usually successful bungee cord fix had failed to outsmart the rolling seas. Just call us the Hillbilly Hesmers. We have no shame.

Ron was driving the boat from the flybridge upstairs, but the radio was also on in the pilot house, where I could hear an interesting call from the Coast Guard on Channel 16. Around 9:45, the coast guard said something about reports of a possible downed aircraft 2 nautical miles north of Chub, where we had just left. They were asking for any captains who might be willing to help with the search and rescue of a downed aircraft. I called to Skeet to come listen, and we both were wishing we’d still been at Chub so we could’ve helped somehow. I was fascinated to hear not only the professionalism of the Coast Guard, who were flying overhead, but also the willingness of boats “on the ground” to offer assistance. I could only hear the Coast Guard’s side of each transmission, but it went something like this:

“Confirming the aircraft has been located, with zero-two persons on board.”

(Someone was getting hoisted out of water onto a vessel - you could hear the Coast Guard trying to get in contact with vessel)

"Captain hailing Coast Guard, this is Coast Guard one-seven-one-six . . . and can you confirm that that is the only passengers on board of the downed aircraft, zero-two persons, over." (you can listen — I hope 😳— to part of the transmission here 👇🏽)

“Captain, confirming: zero-one of the passengers require medical assistance, the other one is stable.”

“Captain, can you say again the injuries of the passenger.”

“Roger that Captain, a head injury, bleeding from the head area.”

“One seven one six, can you let us know what harbor you will be going to at this time.”

“Roger that Captain, Chub Cay Marina, and we’ll be standing by on this channel, flying overhead.”

“Passengers have been recovered; no further action required on the part of nearby vessels. Thank you all for your quick response. We’ll be standing by on channel 16. Out.”

Here’s a story about the accident, published the next day. How amazing that both passengers survived, with only one person injured. Here’s hoping they’re making or have made a full recovery.

After that dramatic exchange, we went back to hobby horsing, lost cell signal for a stretch, and then at around 10:30, we could see Nassau on the horizon.

KORKZcrew arrived in Nassau around 12:30, traveling by Atlantis and the nearby ginormous floating petri dishes I mean cruise ships. 😱🦠😷

Seeing Atlantis made me miss Whitney and Greta, because we spent one of our most memorable and FUN family trips there in September of 2012. We aren’t usually big fans of overcrowded amusement parks, which I guess makes us sound like (A) a bunch of duds, like (B) the Grinch, or (C) all of the above, but this vacation was during hurricane season, so the resort was virtually empty, and we had all the water slides and water park essentially to ourselves. It was SUCH a blast, and so convenient to ride the shuttle from our hotel to the casino and waterpark. And SUCH a bargain buster . . . our room that could accommodate all 5 of us was $99 a night because of the unappealing time for travel. All I can remember is laughing our heads off and acting silly the majority of the time. Which I guess is not that out of character. If you can swing a trip in the off season, give it a whirl. I'd love to go back one day.

Continued on to Palm Cay Marina, where we’d chartered a boat in April of 2019 with the Reddins, which made me now miss THEM — everything looked super familiar and made me SMILE thinking back on that awesome voyage to the Exumas we'd taken with them on a 40’ Bali catamaran. Pretty sure we passed that same boat in the marina, but with all of the charter boats that are based here, it’s hard to say. Here's Skeet radioing the dock master before our arrival:

And here's Steve enjoying the view. I think he's anticipating land-ho, and is pretty happy that he won't have to use his fake green grass mat for once in his life! (But side note — we're pretty lucky he's caught on to that routine. He uses it like a champ when we can't get to land.)

A really nice dockhand showed the way to our slip, which was plenty big for our 16’ wide boat, but as he said, it was a “tight squeeze” getting between the boats already in slips in the passageway we had to go through to get to it. The owner of one of these boats, a catamaran sailboat like most of the boats here seem to be, came out on his bow to help us negotiate the turn and said “a 25’ wide cat just made it through so you should be fine.” It was still a tad stressful, but Ron pulled it off without a hitch. Skeet took a lookout post on the stern to be sure we were clear on both sides as Ron backed in, and I looked out from the bow and untied the dinghy from the stern, walking it up to the bow so we wouldn’t run over it.

The dockhand helped us tie up, and when we were close to being settled, Ron noticed he was wearing a KORKZ, and said “nice sunglass holder!” (KORKZ is Ron's company where he designs and sells custom floating eyewear retainers featuring laser-engraved wine corks). The man kept looking down to continue tying us off, and said, “a guy just GAVE us these a couple of years ago!” And Skeet and I said, THIS IS THE GUY!!! Sizzla introduced himself with the cutest expression of disbelief on his face, looked up at the KORKZ Ron was holding out that he’d just taken off his neck, and gave Ron a big fist bump. It was the greatest exchange.

As part of our slip fee, we have access to a REALLY nice pool and restaurant that are right on the beach. It was amazing to get off the boat and just hang out at a pool for a few hours, enjoying appetizers, drinks and that VIEW!

We came back to KORKZcrew around 5:00 p.m. and met a fellow cruiser, Tim Geisler, in a nearby slip who was incredibly friendly. As it turns out, he owns a business called Nautilus Sailing. Their business model is to take clients out for one week on a catamaran and get them up-to-speed on everything you need to know to charter a boat. By the time the week is over, participants in their program are qualified to accomplish this goal on their own. So smart! He told us that Nautilus Sailing has satellite locations in Spain, Croatia, Mexico, Tahiti, Exumas, and here in Nassau. If any of you "out there" are curious about chartering a boat, this might be just the ticket for you. Pretty great way to get your sea legs!

We had an amazing dinner at the restaurant by the pool — Pink Octopus. The pool area which looks pretty spectacular during the day takes it up another notch at night!

Pink Octopus was HEAVENLY, especially because I didn't have to cook, AND because I could enjoy my first salad and actual VEGETABLES in who knows how long. Almost inhaled every last bite. Delicious!

Night night, Nassau!

5.5 hours underway / 41 nautical miles

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