January 19, 2013 by Last Star blog
The One(s) that got away….
So last night we got some brisk winds and a bit of rain; as predicted. Hatches were closed I only had to reach up and close the last hatch above our heads and we were good to go for some more sleep. The joys and still heart of the mooring ball. We awoke well rested to a cloudy morning with thoughts of leaving Spanish Wells after 3 days. We got the boat ready, I went ashore to get some milk, bananas, ginger beer (new drink thanks to Sip-Sip), lobster, grouper, and a tomato. The lobster were late adds as the port does such a strong fish trade. We wanted to push out at 1100 AM to hit the high tide at Current Cut. We also wanted to top off the diesel and water before the Bo Hengy ferry came and blocked the harbor so it would be a busy morning. Everything went as planned; the tying up at the fuel dock was a bit of a clown act but no blood was shed nor were there any additional scratches. We got our fuel and water, kept the cats aboard, and got off before the Ferry was ready to push out.
We cleared the channel out of Spanish Wells, hoisted the head sail (jib) and were pulling an easy 5 knots plus to Current Cut and would be about 20 minutes early. It was still cloudy but no rain. All was well. The way we see it for each hour the engine is NOT running we are getting one Kalik Bahamian Beer back in return. Beer is about $5 here and that is what we burn at diesel prices in an hour. Now Current Cut is nothing to sneeze at, as the name implies there is a current there and you need to deal with it. If you can’t get through the cut you must go an additional 10 miles south and that was not our plan. We were heading NE to the “Glass Window”. The goal is to hit Current Cut at high tide (slack water, good depth) and avoid a “Mr. Toads wild ride”. According to the books the tide is about 30 minutes after Nassau tides so we were close on the timing. As we approached the cut there was a bit of a challenge with the fishing but more on that later. There were two other boats in route to the cut so there was a bit of radio chatter on who would go first. Well Nose Position is everything and since we would be there first we would go first? What go into holding? I think not. We hit the cut at about 6.5 knots on the diesel with sails stowed. We picked up an additional 4 knots so were sliding through at 10.4 knots with a hard right turn to make too. This was about 40 minutes before high tide? It is said you can get 10 knots through there so if you are going against the tide in a sailboat you will go backwards–hard to steer. Or with the current you could see upwards of 15 knots and tight turns–all not good. If you look at the photo below you can see the still water a bit beyond us touching the mixed up water getting “the business” from the tidal flow.
We did fine, passed the info to the two trailing boats and were now off to the Glass Window. Out came the sails and we had the angles and speed (7ish knots) to get there plenty early. Kaliks were being banked as we cut off the engine.
Here is the Glass Window ; is is known here as the narrowest place on earth. IF you can read the information panel it says that a bridge replaced the original stone arch. When the wind is out of the east and strong the waves will build up and supposedly when the waves hit the rocks it can shoot up to 100 feet in the air and hence the “window”. The wind was from the north today and the sea from teh Atlantic was relatively calm. The bridge is a bit sketchy and could use a bit of repair. I peeked over the south side and they wedged a block of wood under some cracked concrete for support. Hey, it was pressure treated wood so good to go I’m thinking.
Here’s an approach to the bridge and you can see where the wooden railing has been compromised.
Fortunately the BDOT solved the issue by putting a cable to catch any other unfortunates. They also hung some nice reflectors on the cable to let you see it….see it if you are maybe making a low approach from the east over the road. In a car? Not so much gonna see the reflectors.
But look closely, do you see how the cable is attached? Well it is not really cable, it is electrical wire, aluminum and coated in plastic. But you can’t fasten real cable like this was done.
The cable is nailed, yes nailed into the old post and for additional safety they “bent” the nails to really hold them in. Like I used to bend nails in my failed tree-house construction as a kid. It’s betta in the Bahamas….’cept maybe road safety.
But what they lack in road safety they made up in underwater cables. Well mostly. This cable was obvious on the approach to the beach. We don’t know what it does but were not too keen to explore to closely. Getting your anchor caught on one of these is very bad, normally the charts are marked. Not this time
OK, the fishing (not catching today). SO we are trying to get lunch eaten before the Current Cut and Patricia has made sweet sandwiches with chicken salad and the following sea made that a bit of a challenge but lunch is now ready–we have about 20 minutes to eat before the sails come down. I go below for some pringles and just as I clear the ladder the rod lets out a really good zzzzziiiiiippppp and we know game is ON!! OK, no sandwich for now, grab singing fishing rod, negotiate the pitching deck, get drag set, start bringing in unfortunate fish. It is a bit of a challenge but after a few minutes he’s getting a bit tired. You see a fish hits a lure and thinks all is well, right up until he hits it. His day goes from good to bad in a heartbeat–or whatever fish have to move blood. He’s now got a huge hook in his mouth/palette/throat etc. All is not good for him. But here his day can go from bad to worse even faster. I get the fish coming towards me and ziiiinnnnng it goes again. I’ thinking this is NOT the same fish. And it’s not. I am now in a tug of war with another fish for my hooked fish. I see (in clear water like this you can see the fish coming) this bad boy come back twice more and he is easily 4 feet. My hope is that he’ll get the hook too. Looks like a wahoo and they are good eating. Each time he takes a good bite of my ex-fish (now sorta live bait) and he and I fight over the left overs. Well we’re still heading towards the cut at 5 knots, my lunch is getting dried out and this jackass is screwing with my dinner.
Here’s what’ left
The other fish really had to tug and saw to cut this fish. As you can see the first fish’s day went from bad to worse in less than two minutes. It’s scary how predatory a fish’s life can be. One sign of weakness, some twitching, some blood and you are now going from predator to prey. Bad day.
Well after the cut we got the main sail and jib out and tried the fishing again–sans live bait. We were doing better than 6.5 knots and that is a bit fast but what the heck. Well half an hour into it ZIIIIIINNNNGGGGG, here we go again. I hop up and grab the pole and we start the life and death battle (mostly for them) and I can tell this is a really big one. So big in fact that I have the drag at max, 40 lbs test and no one is winning. Well about 50 seconds into it my knot failed and I lost the lure!! Damn. I didn’t know this at first but found out about 4 minutes later when I brought in the line. NOT happy. Lures about 15 dollars over here. Need to tie better knots. Well that was two nice fish lost today. Thank goodness I bought grouper this morning at Spanish Wells. Patricia fixed the grouper in a white wine reduction with some grilled onions and garlic and served it with Brussel Sprouts–yes even here she tries to feed me healthy. Tonight I study fish tying knots and tomorrow I try again.