Saturday, May 2, 2009

Toward Lighthouse Reef

To get there, we needed a pass through the coastal reef. So it was that we found ourselves back in the waters between Tobacco Range and Tobacco Cay, scene of our close encounter with sandbar in February. We carefully, very carefully, since we still couldn’t really see it, went around it, and out the pass at Tobacco Cay, and then back in again, all to create an electronic track we could follow out the next morning with the sun rising in our eyes.

Then we sailed down to the anchorage at the end of the island, single digits on the depth sounder. We ran aground again on our way there. I was actually perched in the rigging and had just said to Doug “It all looks the same to me” when we hit, sand and grass again. “I hate this $%^* place” was his reply. Now we know that there’s deeper water nearer the reef.

This time we weren’t so hard aground, and within the hour had kedged ourselves free, being only a boat-length from good water (good, meaning 3” extra). And then into the anchorage, to find that the bilge pump kept cycling on. We tracked down a hose blown off the water heater, fixed that, then slept, until the wind died and every hungry mosquito and no-see-um within miles arrived. It was awful. I could just about see me clawing myself to death, like a moose in black fly season. Finally I found my collection of mosquito coils from China – whatever is in them works so well it can’t be healthy!

An incoming cold front (still! At the end of April!)took most of the wind, so we motored the thirty miles to the reef, hoping to arrive with good light to illuminate the sketchy chart. Instead we got showers. Putting our faith again into someone else’s waypoints, we carefully maneuvered through some pretty esoteric course changes on the strings of our unknown puppet master until we got to 11 feet and said “Good enough”.

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