Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Just like the last time I was in Mayaguana, i powered out of the harbour before the sun came up bound for the island of Provodinciales. Since we had gone a bit North the night before it was a slightly better angle going across to Provo. We could get some good speed up since we were going across the waves instead of pounding into them. Since we had been eating pure crap for the past two days and hadn't had any breakfast we were like wolves. Don't ever mess with my bro when he hasn't eaten.....I could see the wildness in his eyes and i was worried. Worried that the lunch menu in the marina would not be ready at 11 am after we had cleared in with Customs and Immigration.
While we were filling in the forms he kept looking at the restaurant 150 feet away, so when we burst in there at 11, he was ready for action!!!!
We started with conch fritters which are better in the Turks and Caicos than anywhere on the planet. They even have a conch farm there. Then it was the mandatory chicken wings which we always seem to sample when we are at a new place. I don't remember what I had for a main but remember looking in amazement at the Kobe beef burger that Ali had delivered. It was massive and just what he wanted. The look of pure satisfaction was amuzing. I wonder if he even remembers. We were very tired still and decided to take a day off....after all....it was the NBA finals that night. We got a hotel room in the marina, and as Ali settled in for an afternoon of relaxation and sleep, i went back to see if i could properly fix the gear cable. Since it came undone just before Long Island, i hadn't had time to properly fix it, and had been starting the right engine in forward gear. It was permanently stuck in forward. After 2 hours in the tiny cramped space of the consol I managed to fix it properly with the help of some waterproof tape which held a pin in place locking the cable to the shift lever. You know, i didn’t have to mess with it for 6 months. Nothing in the world like waterproof duct tape. I don't even remember who won the basket ball that night, but know that the next day i was well relaxed and ready for the biggest and most dangerous of our entire journey. Turks and Caicos to San Juan. I knew how much fuel we had been burning up until now and calculated that if we topped up one last time on the outer most island, Grand Turk, we would have enough fuel to get us comfortably to San Juan, Puerto Rico. As usual things never work as you expect them to. We cleared out early that morning and made the fairly long run to Grand Turk where we were immediately told that we had to clear in again to get fuel, and customs was a few miles down the road!!! What!!! They got to be kiddin. Anyway after doing all of that we were once again behind schedule and rushing. Don’t rush!!!
We had to do 300 miles and it was 2pm when we left. This meant we would be at sea at night again. It appeared to be calm though which was cool with me. As the sun set we were passing the famous "Silver Banks" and saw many big fishing boats anchored there. They deployed smaller boats to go and do some sort of fishing and they were scattered over the place. All of the big boats had people on them waving us over. They looked like they were in trouble and were waving and waving, but Ali and i knew better. Here we are out in the middle of nowhere with some of the poorest people in the Caribbean calling us over to their boats. Hmm....we knew they were fine, and we were not as safe as they were. We still had 150 miles to do in the dark.....
Just before it got dark we noticed quite a bit of junk floating in the sea. Bits of branches, coconuts, a big piece of wood, plastic crates. It was as if we had come into some kind of current which passes through the Mona Passage (the channel out of the Caribbean Sean between The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. I became very concerned upon seeing all this crap in the water because it was another way for boats to sink. I remember reading the awesome book "Adrift" about a guy who drifted for 76 days in a life raft after hitting something while sailing. He never saw what he hit and only had time to deploy the life raft and jump in before his boat sank of the Cape Verde islands near Africa's West Coast. Hmm LIFE RAFT..... We didn't have one, and as it got darker so did our mood. I can just hear my mom urging me to get the life raft. Moms always know best!
I have been told that the other blogs were too long soo i will leave this one here. The photo was taken by me as Ali drove the boat during our trip. Enjoy.