Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Damn Them All

Sorry for the delay, but we didn’t have the connectivity I though, so I am writing this not knowing when you will receive it. Sooooo…..

God Damn them all, I was told
We’d cruise the seas for American gold
We’d fire no guns Shed no tears
Now I’m a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett’s privateers

Instead the brave crew of the Halifax shop “Antelope” were treated to 6 years in prison for having tried to capture an American prize. If you are interested in figuring out just what the hell I am talking about, you should find the lyrics for Stan Rogers’ “Barretts Privateers”. In fact, just try to find some Stan Rogers music to appreciate some sea chanteys; and if our experience is any indication, they should be enjoyed under an nearly full moon with rum punch followed by smuggled beef and root vegetables with christophene, a Caribbean vegetable delight.

That was our dinner song tonight, and quite a song it is. I think we need to learn all of the words by the end of the cruise. Not everyone agrees, but if I persist singing it all of the time, I think they will learn through osmosis, unless they just toss me overboard.

Our cruise is going quite a lot better than the sailors of the Antelope’s did. We headed off from St Vincent to Bequia in the company of Unabated, Alan’s boat, and a sister ship to Madness in fact and in spirit.

Bequia was very quiet and low key. We went ashore for provisions; mainly beer. We did some lovely snorkelling that featured golden spotted eels, which are really just snakes that live underwater, according to Dana. We also spotted some Moray eels that elicited pretty much the same response.

The next morning we headed over to Tobago Keys, the first kiting spot on the itinerary.
There is a saying among sailors that whenever two boats ply the same water there is a race. Our trip across from Bequia to the Tobago Keys was no exception, except that there is a strange variation on the usual theme. Each of the contestants is completely and utterly convinced that the other won the contest. Alan has a pretty convincing photo of the stern of Cat Tails, but we have not yet resolved the dispute.

I was conflicted during the “not a race” not knowing whether to cheer for the boat that I was the helming or the sister shop to my own boat. I thought that we had a good view of the stern of “Unabated” the entire trip, but while we will talk about it for years or even generations, we don’t have the ambition to determine the real answer.

One thing we know for sure, that if we eventually stumble on some fact that establishes “Unabated” as the winner, Cat Tails has the excuse that we caught a perfectly delectable Bigeye Tuna’ and had to engage in the ritual of thrashing about taking in sail, reeling in the fish, landing and bleeding him. He made a fine dinner for all.

Also, Unabated suffered a mechanical failure that might in some circles mean that she failed the contest, but as we are sailors, we do not hold this against her. It did make for some excitement when her auxiliary engine did not propel the boat forward as intended, and she had to be short tacked up a relatively narrow passage to the Tobago Keys. Alan sailed her to anchor with me running alongside in Cat Tales’ dinghy in case she needed assistance. (She did NOT), We spent a few hours sorting out the failure of a driveshaft coupling. I think this may have been frustrating for Alan, but it was good fun for me rigging a Spanish windlass to force the propeller shaft back into the boat. It was a good swim and as good as any other way to pass the time.

More about the Tobago Keys tomorrow.