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royalld | all galleries >> Sailing Vessel Shibumi >> Shibumi's 2007 Winter Cruise >> Eleuthera - A Hasty Departure >
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Our trip is winding down. We are working our way back home. It has been a fantastic voyage so far. We have had our ups and downs, but most of the trip was spectacular. I wish I would have done a better job of keeping this journal current. But life is what it is and so goes this journal.


We left Rock Sound, Eleuthera, rather hurriedly late on a Thursday morning. We received a weather forecast that sounded ominous. There is very little protection from strong westerly winds along the east coast of Eleuthera. A STRONG cold front was projected to arrive on Sunday. That gave us only two and a half days to make the two day sail to find protection from the wind in the Abacos. Part of that trip involved passing through Currrent Cut. We had to pass through Current Cut by mid-day Friday to avoid nasty conditions created by wind opposing a rising tide. It was too far to make it to cut if left Rock Sound on Friday morning, so a hasty departure on Thursday was the solution. We anchored Thursday evening in Alabaster Bay.
Alabaster Bay is very interesting spot in settled conditions. However, two hours after we set anchor a squall rumbled through the area and treated us to peak winds of 39 knots and heavy rain for about an hour. There some of you out there you understand what force there is in 39 knots of wind on the water. This was the third time Jill and I rode out winds of that magnitude during this trip. For those of you who have no idea what those winds are like on the water, I will describe it this way, "Your arms are too short to box with God". Shibumi is a great vessel. Her anchor held and she gave us a very reasonable motion throughout the storm.
The next morning we rose early to get a good start toward Current Cut. About 40 minutes after we pulled anchor we caught the line of a fisherman's net on our rudder. It brought Shibumi to a dead stop in the water. We were snared tight. Current Cut now seemed farther and farther away. The only solution was to dive beneath the boat and cut the line. Jill being the better swimmer of the two of us, donned her wet suit, mask, snorkel and fins and went overboard. I was in the dinghy securing the line we tied around her waist to insure her safe return. When she went below she found the fouled line was so tight on Shibumi's rudder that she had to cut up on it. She was to bouyant in the water to cut down. She took a deep breath and ducked back into the sea. With on grand up-stroke she severed the line on the starboard side of the rudder and also cut an incision into her left hand that she had used to secure her position in the water. When she surfaced there was a lot of blood. As our eyes met, I yelled,"Get out of the water!" I didn't have to say it twice. We had both recently read a book that featured sharks attacking bleeding humans. With one great 'dolphin kick' Jill propelled herself straight up and I pulled her safely into the dinghy. We inspected her hand. It was painful, but a clean cut. Jill went aboard Shibumi to dress the wound. I remained below to free the line from the port side of the rudder. Because Jill took most of the tension off of the line it was easier for me to cut the other side and set Shibumi free. It fact I had to catch up with Shibumi in the dinghy as she floated happily away from the severed web. By the time I got back onboard and raised the dinghy on to the davits (that was the first time I had to do that in open water), Jill had cleaned her wound, stopped the bleeding and was about to faint because she does not like the sight of blood, particularly her own. Needless to say, Jill was relieved of all duties for several days (that happened two weeks prior to this writing - she is fully recovered now).
And what about Current Cut? We arrived a full hour before slack tide. Shibumi was the first of a fleet of six other boats to go through the cut. We anchored that night in the small harbor of Royal Island and prepared for the next day's 10 hour crossing of the 13,000 foot Northeast Providence Channel.

I'll address that crossing and our search for a good hiding place during the bad weather in my next entry.



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