I am “applying myself” by re engaging with and trying to master our anchor, B.P. Please read Florida Coast 2017, February 20, 2017 blog post titled “Back to Long Boat Key” if you are not easily offended and want to know what B.P. stands for. I am re engaging on my own free will as I have set my intention on being a fully capable and competent sailor. I have a vision of myself pulling up to dock Echoes during wind and current hellfire, helming with my toes, while pouring myself a glass of Veuve to the applause of many a handsome dock handlers. You have to dream big and you have to start somewhere, so I am starting with B.P. Suffice it to say, I hate this temperamental anchor with completely opposite but equal passion that I have for wine. You have to get very up close and personal with her scary, rusty, potentially dangerous, naughty parts to get her up or down. She has a habit of jumping her track and running like a banshee desperately trying to return to Kraken country where she belongs. Captain Reallyitsnothing says you have to just grab her running chain and yank her back into submission and return her to the chain gypsy. You also have to lean in the chain locker and move her chain continuously so it does not pile up or she will run again. I do this while mumbling her full given name which I won’t repeat. My arms and back are aching. I am making progress but have a long way to go.
I dropped B.P. in Chub Cay’s anchorage after a long day crossing the banks. We decided to explore Chub the following day. We are at the end of our American proteins, which means we were left with sausage of many yuckified varieties, canned chicken and vacuum sealed, processed ham. There are highs and there are lows.
We read in the cruising guide that there was coin laundry on Chub Key. Our clothes needed some extensive refreshment. We deployed our still nameless dinghy. I told Captain Can’tyouhoistthedinghyFASTER! that we better name that hard, heavy, wobbly boat soon or she will send up with a name like the anchor. We have many names we like but one hasn’t stuck yet: Rub a Dub Dub, Chum Bucket, Dinghy McDingface, No One’s Ark, Fat Bottom Girl, and The Dog House are contenders. Our unbeloved dinghy, Sea Alice, has a new home. He served us well but he was a sensitive, soft bottom, rubber raft in which you had to sit on his pontoons wherever you went. A wave would come and soak your booty leaving you with what sailors call swamp ass, a sea water soaked bum that doesn’t dry well. You end up going to dinner or walking around town looking like you’ve wet yourself. In fact, many a sailor do wet themselves and I don’t like being thought of as one of them.
Captain Researchlikeyourlifedependsonit did his thing. I kid you not; the man does serious research whenever he makes an important purchase. For instance, he created a spreadsheet to cross compare contending heavy cotton shirts he frequently wears in northern climes. The spreadsheet had thread count, price, review ratings, and God knows what else on it. (Shirts from Fleet Farm won and he bought four of them.) Want another example? Oh good, cause I’ve got lots. He ordered 20 motorcycle seats, $2000.00 worth, delivered to our home in the middle of winter when he decided he wanted a new one. He put all twenty on his bike and sat on them, in the heated garage, for hours and hours. It took over a month to pick one. I would go to the garage when I couldn’t find him and there he would be sitting and shifting around on his motorcycle with a beer in hand. He returned the other nineteen. The man does his homework. You learn to say, I’ll have what he’s having. No, he doesn’t read the blog. We started it together years ago but it didn’t go well. You cannot call a Halyard -that ropey thing, he’d say. He begged off so as not to be associated with my poor grammar and technically weak ramblings. It’s so much more fun and therapeutic this way.
So, after extensive research, we have a new, used, Polymer, dinghy. Much to my chagrin, we have the same engine that gave us all kinds of hell last year. Captain Smartass said to me, An old five horse engine is like an old wife. You get to know her. You know what is most likely to break down on her and how to fix it quickly before it creates further havoc. If you get a new one you’ve inevitably got new problems and will have to start all over spending hours of frustration learning her breaking points. It was hard to argue with that.
Where in the world was I going? Oh yes, in the dinghy, with laundry, headed in to Chub Key. We go through a channel and emerge into Posh-dome. The marina was over 95% empty (It’s off season; no one comes in this weather) and the yachts were amazing. There were a few mega yachts and mostly huge, sleek fishing boats. The marina is also a brand new resort. It is gorgeous.
We stood in the lobby blinking like half wits. They tried not to snicker when we asked if there was coin laundry. They did say that housekeeping would be happy to do our laundry for $20.00 since it was quite slow. I enthusiastically threw it at them considering coin laundry was running me about $12.00 for these two loads. Next, I smiled dreamily in anticipation all the way to the ladies room. The bathroom was sparkling, pristine and the toilets were humongous. I momentarily thought about adding some of the lavender scented hand soap to the enormous toilet bowl and taking a bath. But I didn’t want to get kicked out before I got my laundry back. Instead I took a long strand of the soft toilet paper that they folded nicely to a triangle tip and did an interpretive dance around the huge stall with the toilet paper waving behind me. It gets better. Then I went to the bar where a soothing balm to my wind whipped eyes, tall and handsome Tito, chilled my wine glass first with ice, dumped that (what a waste!) and poured me a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. I don’t care that it cost almost as much as my laundry. I did switch to beer for lunch.
The cruising guide warns that this is a private resort and is not for the likes of you sailors. But it appeared sailboats are their biggest customers in off season. Sailors are notoriously cheap but this was the only place to get off the boat and find something to eat. Also, the gratuity was added in for us. We watched our motley brothers come into the lobby and stand there dumbfounded and blinking just like we did. It was comical later that evening to see this upscale restaurant filled with mostly grubby sailors and their dirty backpacks among well coiffed yachtees. We ended the night at the bar chatting with Canadian fishing yacht brokers. Our charming bartender, Brian, told us about living on this quiet, small island with about a hundred and fifty other Bahamians. I asked about the dating pool and he said, As for the ladies, I frequently take the ferry to my hometown of Nassau. The ladies are well seasoned here. He made us a large shot called a shark bite that was not only good for your know when to say when gauge but also tasty. We were gaining so much information from our new friends on where to anchor and not to anchor that we decided to have another drink and pick their brains. Unfortunately, the next day neither of us could remember the specific details.
Prior to dinner, we were visited by some local fisherman and bought about a pound and a half of Nassau grouper for $15.00. They filleted it for us on the spot.