Wednesday, August 5, 2009

We'll be fine once we've past The Cut

So basically, I thought I was going on a nice easy sail - the boys said approx 27 hours to get there, no probs. It was one of the scariest nights of my life, I spent a lot of time in the foetal position hoping to get there intact. It was rough, things broke and it sounded like the boat was going to split in two. We made it safe and sound. If you want the longer "Dickens" blah blah blah version of this little sailing trip, go past the photos

My backpack waiting to go on its next adventure
The arrival of the Twice as Nice
Captain Peter, looking slightly tired but very official nonetheless
Mike not catching fish - that's what happens when you tie your knots after having consumed vast quantities of rum
Doing officially boaty stuff
Me - still unaware of impending doom
Surfing dolphins - were they trying to warn us?
Choppy sea
More dolphins - I obviously misunderstood their cries of "don't go, these two blokes are nutters"
Setting sun - sea still only slightly choppy - all day it's been about 20ish knots
Unable to pee let alone take photos during the scary bit - here are the boys when all is said and done - happy to be alive. Wet but OK
Mike wiped out
Dry and tired Peter - arriving in Utila
Some flavour of pie hill - Pumpkin hill? Blueberry hill? Cherry hill?
That's mainland Honduras in the distance - La Ceiba to be precise
Mike playing with rope - we told him about doing that before - THINGS BREAK!
Mike admiring the view and scratching his bum
Me in shock
Me in shock and happy
Bay of Utila

Looking for somewhere to park - no multi-story boat parks here
La Ceiba in the distance

Safe and sound

And here's the bloody long boring blah blah blah version.

I apologise now for not knowing the right terms about boats - if I make a mistake about describing something or give it the wrong name - bite me.

I stand on the end of the pier full of excitement, I can see the Twice As Nice in the distance coming towards me to pick me up. It's a little choppy - the boys have a little trouble getting close to me.
A dolphin is two feet away from me - I'm completely ecstatic. Mike holds his hand out for me to grab and I jump aboard. It's pretty rough on board but Peter assures me that once we've past the Cut we'll be plain sailing for the rest of the trip - no types of weather anywhere to be found - it's been checked and double checked. He even phoned Graham so that he could keep an eye out too (remind me to slap Graham when he gets back).
For some reason, I have pretty good "sea legs" I just have a tendency to lose my balance once I'm back on land. Just as the sun is starting to go down, we see a really big pod of dolphins, they are surfing and playing round the boat, I'm so happy I completely forget how bumpy the ride is. The day turned to night, the movement of 'lurch left, lurch right, up, down, smash' became normal. Mike made us sandwiches - I ended up wearing mine. All is pretty good, we've had a couple of beers. So far I cannot go inside the boat for longer than 3 minutes without feeling queasy (thanks again Mike for feeding me every couple of hours) so I'm outside all trip, until I finally give in and try to lie down round the centre table - this works OK and I fall asleep. Mike and I are trying to sleep for little stretches of time. I am of course of no use on a boat as I have no idea what is what and how anything works. Peter and I sit up for 4 hours before the moon sets and he explains the instruments, auto-pilot, GPS system etc to me - the moon is out and everything seems pretty OK. Still bumpy though - around 20-24 knots of wind.
The moon sets, not a cloud in the sky, I can see stars and even though there is quite a strong wind, everything seems ok. I go back to lie down and sleep some more. I wake up to chaos. I cannot help the boys. I'm scared. I hide under my airline blanket listening to everything going on outside.
Here is our scenario - we're about 25 miles away from Utila - it's about 3'sh in the morning and Peter has been sailing non-stop for 22 hours. The rubber bump strip that goes round the whole boat came lose during the day - we thought we'd sorted that out but obviously not.
The heavens open, thunder, lightning, driving rain, 40 knot gusts of wind and something is blocking the propeller. Then lightning wipes out the electronics - no more GPS or auto-pilot and cannot get the engine to move due to the strangled propeller, we are going round in circles and the boys are trying to remove whatever is round the propeller. They are getting drenched and Mike is so cold he can no longer feel his hands and his teeth are chattering.
Panic, panic, panic (that's me) - the boys are just dealing with everything and I'm in the foetal position on the sofa.
Having decided with no instruments or motor the best thing to do is stay where we are until first light - which we guess is about 45 minutes away. I black out again. They cut the huge white thing off the propeller that turned out to be the huge black rubber bump strip - steered out of the storm, the instruments came back - we are still alive and on the boat. At this time, I didn't think we'd be either - I know I'm being melodramatic, but remember, it's my first boat trip! I black out again, this time I wake up and Peter is asleep on the next part of the sofa, just this makes me feel that all is safe as he refused to leave the wheel at all for over 24 hours as the sea was so rough.
It's still raining and we' re approaching Utila. I can see it. LAND! I'm so very very happy.
Enough of dramatics, we arrive in the little bay of Utilla, have a beer, clean ourselves up and head to shore in the dinghy for some well deserved breakfast. and lots and lots of beer. that's when the real surprises started :-)

No comments: