Here to View the Entire Ship's
last night the goblins and ghouls; like can only be seen on south beach
patrolled Ocean Drive till the wee hours. The costumes are tending more
towards maximum female exposure, so what's not to like.
I was getting ready see the Halloween sights when I noticed nearby, a
bit of a commotion on the waters surface. I was curious enough to jump
in the dink. I see many things which are usually just the nature and
manner of fish; no need to investigate. This was different and I wanted
approached with care less I frighten it away or hurt whatever it was; to
my surprise I saw the mouth and eyes of an inverted adolescent ray. Ok
they are never on their backs. We all heard about the adventurer who was
killed by the barb of a ray a few weeks ago. You may also have heard of
the 82 year old Floridian who was in a boat last week and was struck
near the heart by a ray, of all things it leapt into the boat.
things were on my mind but I know from first hand experience that these
are gentle beings, I have touched them and they press back as if to say,
"More I like it".
was a Florida spotted ray that somehow had managed to get itself on its
back and try as it did it could not get right side up.
the Ray in its survival mode wouldn't be wise so I decided to put the
boat on a plane and turn abruptly close by him to cause a big wake that
he might use to flip over. Nice plan but it didn't work.
was beginning to worry that the Ray might become exhausted, suffocate or
maybe a shark might happen along. I put the boat back up on a plane and
sped to Stray Cat and got a long handled deck brush than went back to
the Ray. He was still struggling but not as vigorously. I tried gently
to flip him but gentle was not the answer; I was also concerned about
his tail and barb since I was so close. The next try would have to be
with plenty of power.
put the brush under him, actually his top side which would be the side
we usually see as they are swimming, the side that is black with almost
iridescent small white dots from which it gets its name. I pulled up as
hard as I could but it did not lift him very much. I was about to give
up and rethink this whole approach when he managed a wiggle, just right
to catch some water and flip.
stood there in the boat looking down at him for what seemed a long time;
it was not moving, happily it got itself together and swam off.
adrenalin was flowing but I felt good.
I'm on the Bahamas bank which is a large body of water that is about 14'
deep on average and about eighty miles long. Yesterday afternoon there was
no wind at all, the water was like glass, and actually the surface was
velvet like. I could clearly see sponges, purple fan coral and various
fish in a multitude of colors as the boat glided along in this crystal
the day went by I came upon a 50' sports fishing boat that had run out of
fuel and was stranded. I have the vessel in tow and will take them to Cat
Cay about forty miles west of here.
night was spectacular, it was the equinox, the moon was closer to the
earth than at any other time of the year and it was completely full. The
moon rose out of the water fiery red as the sun set into the water to the
west; I set in the trampoline with a glass of red wine and watched
nature's finest performance. As the moon made its trek across the sky its
illumination continued to allow me to see the sea bottom clearly.
the 50,000 pound behemoth has slowed me down to a mere 4.8 kts so it's
four more hours to Cat than seven hours to cross the Gulf Stream to Miami
arriving late tonight, back to reality.
Sosua about 5 am on the next leg. We were really struck by the beautiful
homes and resorts nestled into the cliffs and hills along the coast. This
area is really impressive with its hills and mountains tumbling down to
the seashore. I'm finally getting used to seeing palm trees on mountain
tops. Large stretches are uninhabited and it is really nice to see beauty
like this where every square inch has not been built on. Benign trip to
Rio San Juan, a small town about 30 miles up the coast where we arrive as
planned before the Trades set in against us. Stayed on the boat and rested
as we wanted to leave around midnight for Escondido about 55 miles further
Rio San Juan about midnight and, because this part of the route left us
crossing a significant stretch of open sea, immediately began taking the
Trades and accompanying seas on the bow. Not as bad as our approach to the
Turks and Caicos, but not the way to spend an evening. About 2 am I go
below for some rest/sleep, but only manage to rest as I have not learned
to sleep while being levitated in the bed. Of course, our berths are in
the forward part of the boat where the action is the most pronounced.
About 5 am I relieve Mark. Mark is truly amazing, not only does he sleep
under these conditions, but so deeply that it is hard to wake him later.
For the most part, we have, to date, only traveled for a day or 2 at most
and then settled down for a few before moving again, so our schedule has
been relatively normal. Now, we are moving for several consecutive days
and at odd hours. Being someone who has spent his whole life in a fairly
regular routine, I have yet to adapt to the non-schedule, whereas Mark can
sleep or eat whenever the opportunity arises.
arrive Escondido early morning. The entire coast here is mountainous and
if it weren't for the palm trees, the entrance to the small anchorage
could be a fjord in Norway. Truly striking. At the back of the anchorage
is a lovely beach with about 5 palm huts and about the same number of
small fishing boats pulled up on the beach. These boats are the size and
construction of what we would term rowboats, yet we see these fishermen
out every night several miles offshore in the Trades and accompanying
seas. You couldn't get me to go along with one of these guys for a single
night for anything in the world. Here we are, not terribly comfortable, in
a 45 ft. catamaran and they are out in these tiny boats every night. No
we anchor, one of the fishermen is rowing his boat to shore and lets us
know that a couple of the huts are 'restaurants' (I use the term loosely)
and that we should come for a meal. We tell him 'in the afternoon' as we
are both ready for some zzzzz's. We put the dinghy down and go ashore
about 2 pm, where 2 women from apparently competing 'restaurants' try to
convince us to sample their wares. Since one of them tells us she is the
sister of the guy we met in the morning, we feel we practically have a
reservation at her place. There is, of course, no menu, but fresh fish is
available and what we both crave. There is no electricity and all the food
and drinks are in a cooler with a big block of ice. We settle down with a
Presidente and wait for the meal which takes about an hour to prepare.
Meanwhile a couple of young local guys sit down near us and we begin our
Spanglish thing. They are very interested in our journey and what we have
thought of the DR. We, in turn, learn that they mostly live right here in
the palm huts and just enjoy the peace and tranquility available. We enjoy
the dialogue and, once again, value the opportunity to interact with local
people in their environment. There is a small dirt road that comes down to
the beach and, in fact, tourists come here from nearby Samana (our next
destination) for the beach and beautiful scenery. There are actually a
group of Italians enjoying themselves nearby. The meal turns out to be
fried whole snapper, rice and peas and plantains. The Dominicans have a
way of frying things where there is not a bit of grease left and even the
fish skin is crisp and delicious. The fish is sauced with onions and
tomatoes, cooked perfectly and would do any restaurant proud. Back to the
boat for some more sleep, then a 1 am departure for Samana, the last port
at the end of the island.