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  • Katharine Hesmer

DAY 31 | January 13, 2022

Shroud Cay back to Norman's Cay, Exumas, Bahamas

Last night's heavy downpour revealed a leak in the ceiling of the pilot house, meaning it’s coming from the fly bridge. Ron's theory is that the source is a formerly-bolted-down captain's chair that he removed last summer to give him more workable space upstairs. The leak is nothing outrageous . . . just some drips I feel confident we'll be able to stop. But it was good that they've been uncovered; I'm just surprised they haven't shown themselves before now. They also gave us a chance to channel our very best hillbilly instincts as we had to put out a bungee laundry line again to dry a comforter cover that had been in the target zone of said leak.

Actual footage of our comforter cover hanging out to dry. And if that's not riveting enough, here it is from the other side. Today's blog post is shaping up to be a doozie. Buckle up.

Yesterday we'd made the decision to move from our anchorage to a mooring ball because we anticipated a change in the wind that could have landed us too close to shore. This choice turned out to be advantageous for another reason: it was raining so hard this morning that we couldn’t see where we were in relation to other boats.

On a mooring ball, you’ve got more assurance that your position is stable (although there’s never a guarantee that a mooring ball is well set, it’s a usually a pretty safe assumption). When you’re anchored and there’s no visibility, it’s hard to tell whether or not the anchor is holding, especially if the bad weather is making you swing around at all. It can be really difficult to get your bearings.

When things had cleared up a bit, we took the dinghy over to a nearby beach to stretch our legs, and as soon as we got there, the skies suddenly looked more threatening than they had before, so we did a u-turn and headed right back to the boat. I’m sure Steve felt like we had totally misled him. As we approached KORKZcrew in all of its Beverly Hillbillies glory, Ron said “Look at this little hobo hut.”😂Many people know us from our Christmas cards as the Ho Ho Hesmers. It looks like from here forward we should officially be crowned the Hobo Hesmers. Kinda fits.

We can't seem to fight the conditions today. The swells and wind are going in opposite directions, so KORKZcrew is consistently bobbing from front to back (hobby horsing) and side to side (rolling). The hobby horsing is a lot easier to take than the rolling, so Ron came up with a way to point the bow into the waves by tying us up to the mooring ball using the front starboard quarter of the boat rather than the usual technique of tying up directly off of the bow. He had to get in the dinghy to pull off this feat, and in spite of his best efforts, we continued to bob around enough that we got uncomfortable and decided to move.

Once again, our best option was to go north . . . BACK to Norman's Cay, and this was fine with everyone on board as we were anxious for a break from the rockin' and rollin'. A good number of boaters apparently had the very same idea as we landed right back at the southernmost part of Norman's near the sunken drug plane. I'm guessing there were at least 20 other boats anchored there too, which again told us we'd probably be escaping wind and chop as best as we reasonably could.

It was still incredibly windy at Norman's, but definitely flatter, and that came as a big relief. At one point this afternoon, we had the nicest surprise when a friendly couple came over to KORKZcrew in their dinghy just to say hello and introduce themselves. They have a handsome Grand Banks trawler anchored nearby. They’ve traveled from Annapolis with a 10- and 13-year-old they had dropped off at a nearby beach, and with their dog who was very happy to meet Steve — and the feeling was mutual! This is their second year trying the liveaboard lifestyle, so they were super helpful with suggestions for places to anchor as we make our way south, and explained that the weather gets far better and more predictable the farther south you go. They also let us know that Staniel Cay (where we plan to stop eventually) has Covid cases hovering around 50%, so they advised us to wear our N95's and to be careful.

They were both so decent and kind that it restored my faith a tad. I couldn't help but think about how closed off I've become in recent years because people seem either so hateful and cruel themselves, or alarmingly comfortable with people who are. But! I continually try to remind myself that just because outrageousness and toxicity rule the airwaves, that doesn't mean they are the predominant sentiments among our fellow humans. I still believe in kindness, even if it's not "newsworthy", and hope that I'm right to believe that the vast majority of people have good hearts. I admire this couple for opening themselves up like this, because they knew zero about us, and just took a chance and said hello. I hope it inspires me to not be quite so withdrawn, and while I'm not proud to "say it" out loud, I still don't see myself ever going up to a random boat and introducing myself. So . . . more power to 'em! You never know 'til you try, and with their open and friendly approach they'll expose themselves to so many more possibilities and adventures than my anti-social self can imagine. 😑

Night night, Norman's. Once again!

.75 hour underway; 5 nautical miles traveled

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