The Rescue – well sorta

This is a very delayed post of events in November 2016. Enjoy.

With the birthday bash behind us, we awoke on Monday to a drizzly day. We had hoped to go to Jost van Dyke but decided to see just what the weather was really going to be like. So we wandered into town with just a hint of rain and decided to track down the rum distillery. Sure enough they were open in a very old building. Actually quite funky but they didn’t want pictures taken inside. Ah well. We discovered they make 4 types of rum but are actively distilling only from March sometime to August when the sugar cane harvest comes in locally. Disappointed, yes, but never fear.

Our host was very energetic. Let me tell you about the 4 types of rum. There is the basic rum (4 year old, quite the bite, you know you have liquor in your mouth), aged rum (10 year old aged in oak casks from Kentucky, remarkably smooth and sophisticated – well maybe that is a bit much to say for rum, so let’s just say on the velvety side with little bite), the “oh you are American, here is a Bacardi style white rum” (where did all the flavor go?) and the “panty” rum. Huh? Whazzat? Well you take your basic rum, bottle it with a piece of cane sugar, and you have your rum aperitif (sweet easy on the mouth) with a bit of a hidden kick, ergo reference to removal of panties after much consumption of same. Got me to thinking in nonsexist terms but jock strap rum, brief rum, undie rum just didn’t roll out quite the same. Lookin’ for some ideas here to help the Callwood distillery with a gender neutral term for drinking too much and ….

Nuff said. Connie, I am afraid I have destroyed your son as we opted for the taste test at the horrendous price of $1 for a sample of all 4 rums (uh, I think it was 9 in the morning – sorry again). But they were really small shots, honest, really (make the communion wine look like flagon thereof [if you don’t know what a flagon is, you shouldn’t be reading this post])! But it was an eye opener and the 10 year rum won out big time, the other 3 trailing badly.

OK, now we have two rummies wandering the town early on a Monday trying to decide what to do for the day. Take Charlie to the beach! What else since it was all of 10 steps away. And what do we find, Charlie’s ball “lost” the day before. Well this is a very honest town to leave the ball on the beach for a whole day for Charlie to go discover it. Some pics of Cane Garden Bay which is mostly destroyed now by Irma:

After a good play and a couple more groceries, we are back at the boat with the rain abating but the wind picking up big time. As I eat breakfast, I notice our too near neighbors reanchoring a ways away. Good on em I think and return to my repast. Finally I note them departing at slow speed with people running about on the deck. Odd, but each to their own. Ten minutes later a wander onto the deck to wash out the coffee filter in salt water and I discover a snorkeler nearby that appears not to be snorkeling. I at first politely ignore him but then curiosity gets the better of me and I ask if he needs assistance as he seems to be hanging about a bit long.

OK, so now it gets interesting. Matt (that’s his name – from NZ) says he is a bit perplexed as his boat with his spouse (NZ) and a bunch of us Canadians appears to have departed without him. We can see it way out yonder towards Jost but they are moving oddly so we worry that they are performing a man overboard search. We invite Matt aboard and the wind picks up to 20 knots so we are trying to decide what to do. We can’t reach his boat on the VHF so …

So the decision? Of course, go out to find (nameless to protect the innocent) The Boat and deliver Matt home – even though we have decided not to go to Jost because the weather is becoming very sketchy (15 to 20 knot forecast, now blowing 25). So we keep sails down and motor out towards the errant boat. Titan does an excellent job hauling anchor in 25 knots sustained. Then a turn north with the winds behind us, we get there fairly quickly although we find ourselves 3/4 of the way to Jost even though we decided not to go there. But the wind gods are truly of the fickle greek/roman nature. As we arrive at The Boat (catamaran) we discover she has neatly wrapped a water toy line bar tight to the starboard prop (what this means to non sailors is The Boat now has only one working engine which tends to turn the boat in circles instead of going in a straight line somewhere). They have a diver in the water trying to cut through the lines but the winds are building and the rough water makes it too dangerous to stay in the water. So now we know they are in distress and can surmise the circumstances as they drifted out of Cane Garden Bay trying not to hit any reefs, mooring balls, or boats on a single engine. So partial relief as we realize they have not abandoned poor Matt (marriage intact) but are trying to protect the boat and hope Matt figures out something (which he did getting himself safely aboard our boat). What to do?

Option 1 – Go to Cane Garden Bay, re-anchor, and wait there for Matt’s boat. Problem. Winds are now 35 knots sustained gusting to 45 – nix on the re-anchor.
Option 2 – Go to Soper’s Hole and hope it is better there (more aligned with the forecast). Problem. Boat in trouble is going east not west to Soper’s Hole.
Option 3 – Matt swims back to his boat. Problem. Have you ever been in the water in high short chop with 45 knot winds? Didn’t think so.

Result: Bad decision, good outcome.

I decide to give Matt the choice and he opts to swim to his boat (maybe we had bad BO). He still has his fins but mask and snorkel departed to King Neptune in a violent gust of wind moments before. The Boat strings out a line with a number of life vests at the end. Blue Sky approaches to windward at speed to maintain control and avoid a collision. Engines cut off, Matt exits Blue Sky off the starboard sugar scoop and is at the life vests moments later but does not don one (oops). He manages to get to the sugar scoop stern of The Boat and grabs on as wave lifts him out of water – safe! Phew! What if, he had lost his grip, the sugar scoop had dropped and bonked him on head with no life vest. Bad scene. Very grateful for the outcome but would decide differently if I had to do it over.

Happy Sailing Matt and spouse and crew of The Boat! We waved goodbye as they hoisted sail to wander about the BVI until the wind died sufficiently to put someone back in the water to cut the prop free. Hope you got the line free shortly and the rest of your vacation was great!

So we turned west and Blue Sky motored into murderous 45 know winds peaking at 50 until the turn into Soper’s Hole at which point the winds subsided to 20-25 which felt calm by contrast. Picking up a mooring ball was still a challenge but Titan did a great job. And of course, Neptune had the last laugh, 10 minutes after securing to the ball the winds plummeted to 10 knots as if to say – What? Were you worried?

So we sank (bad word) back into a quiet evening to regain our composure and rest. Or so we thought. Hadn’t seen Linda and Bill for a while, so off Paul went to reunite Charlie with Zoe (who Charlie absolutely adores) and renew our friendship. Meanwhile Titan was happy to grab a kayak and do a tour of Soper’s Hole including paddling through the gap to the eastern/southern shore (a challenge with the current). Great adventure. All were safe and happily tired as we found our bunks after an eventful day. Just another day in paradise!

PS – a tremendous lack of photos in this post but we were a bit too involved in the events to think photo. Maybe I should buy a dash cam and mount it on the boat somewhere. Hmmmm.

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