checkin' in for my dose.
checkin' in for my dose.
Hey! It's MY Hughniverse!
We anxiously await the next installment....
It is a pleasure to spend time with your very well written and most interesting short stories. Will print out the thread when the series ends. Reminds me when we had the company of John Smith on the forum.
Don't we have another aspiring writer around here from your neck of the woods?
Hi Abe, Good to see you check in here. I thought you would be still digging out. Get lots of paper. I'm a long way from the end.
Senior Ole Salt # 650
I have printed this link out and will be providing some extra surprise reading material to the misses as she sinks slowly down on the side bench tommorrow while underway.
The boat is rock solid, but needs work.
Wonderful accounts JD ....
Keep it up please
Several blasts of a ship’s horn jolted me awake. Fearing a collision I made for the deck to see a ship off the port bow maybe about 600 feet away. It appeared to be going slow as its bow wave seemed small. It was too close for me and I thought “Why didn’t the radar alarm go off?” A look through the binoculars revealed his radar was not rotating. Sheech, what happened? I called on CH 13, identified myself and asked “What ship is that?” No reply . I repeated my inquiry. Still no answer. She picked up speed. I trained my binoculars on the stern. No flag. She moved on getting smaller all the time. This was a disaster for me. Contrary to international law, here was at least one ship that didn’t comply in the use of its radar. Questions raced thru my mind. Was it broken down? Does it save money to have it off.? Were they just lazy not wanting to gaze into it? Did a bolt of last night’s lightening knock it out? Why didn’t they answer my hail? Puzzled, I shook out the reefs, bent on a full jib, and made a little breakfast. There was too much overcast take a sight and I didn’t have the patience to sit with sextant in hand to snatch an opening in the clouds. The shock of not having a lookout rattled me. The compass showed we were going in the right direction. I recorded the log miles traveled and direction sailed to get some kind of DR plot. Then took a look around to see if all was all right and nothing was about to break or wear out. Then I spotted Old Glory on the leech, a bit tattered from the squall. That was the sound I couldn’t figure out. Back in the cockpit I stripped naked and basked in what little sun was out. This gave a little chance to dry out my soaked clothes. I got the boat in order below and still pondered my situation with the apparent loss of ship detection. This got me more nervous than last night’s blow. I felt I could deal with that. But going blindly on and another ship doing the same was a bit disconcerting to say the least.. It meant sound sleep that I thought possible now became impossible. Then I thought: this is just one ship. It’s still a big ocean and the chances of getting hit by one is still remote but not as remote as before. Then my Inner Voice whispered, “Calm down and do your best.” Janet, my meditation lady, strongly believed in listening to the Inner Voice . “It will guide you”, she often said to me. I wish she was here, I thought.
Typical ship sighting. They never answered my hail.
07/09/86 12:00 The loran read 37o 57 87 N 70o58 73 W. Plotting it I was just about on my pre drawn rhumb line. The noon to noon run was 115 N miles. Kitchen Shoals beacon 451 N miles away. I adjusted the sails and wind vane to get to the S of this line, thinking, no sense in getting right in the way of Bermuda/NY cruise ships. I’ll allow a little for the set of the Gulf stream. I’m sure I’m in it now as the water is a richer blue and there is Sargasso weed all around. I had seen the weed before on my previous Bermuda passage with Bill aboard his 36' ketch. About this time I spotted a flying fish aboard. He was in the lee scuppers and quite dead.. Only about 6" or so across the wings. The most curious thing about him was a kind of cancerous growth on his underside. It reminded me of warts we sometimes get. I wondered if this was his demise, blindly coming aboard out of his element . I saw a porpoise now and then and liked to think that they were attracted by my harmonica playing. They would drop back from my bow wave and follow my wake taking care to avoid the taffrail log. They seemed to like the Battle Hymn of the Republic. I’m going bonkers.
For just about the whole passage I saw frequent flocks of small birds, I don’t know what kind. They would drop into the troughs looking for something to eat . I never saw any of them alight on the water. During last year’s passage one of my shipmates trolled for fish. We caught a sea bird. It was agony for us and the bird to extract the hook without harming it. It seemed we failed as when returning the creature to the water it didn’t take off, but rather remained afloat till out of sight. I vowed never to troll again while on ocean passages unless there’s nary a bird in sight and even then keep an eye aloft or at least on the lure.
The wind piped up again so I single reefed the main and changed to full jib as I estimated the wind to be 25 Kts plus. The seas built up as expected. The distance between crests increased and the Sargasso weed was prevalent. A bit rough but no sea sickness. I was moving along nicely and in the right direction. The sun broke out here and there but no real opportunity for a decent observation. I didn’t have the determination to try to snatch a sight as I had become a bit lethargic. It seemed that the sleep I did get was not deep enough. My Dr plot and Loran fixes would have to suffice for now. When I get closer to Bermuda I’ll be a bit more diligent in my celestial fixes to verify the electronic positioning. Right now I’d like to hear the sound of the radar detector to alleviate my concerns in that regard. The wind continued to blow from the SW at 25 kts Time to snuggle up in the lee of the cockpit and snatch a bit of sleep.
Next A yarn from a previous Bermuda passage
Senior Ole Salt # 650
OK, OK, WHERE IS IT. CMON, CMON.
GET YER FINGER OUT JD.
PATIENCE IS NOT ONE OF MY VIRTUES.
Ok Ok Hang in there I'll post the next episode this morning.
Got a good one later on concerning the America's cup and Aussies.
Senior Ole Salt # 650
Going off.. to sleep . I remembered my last visit to Bermuda.......... It was good to stretch out legs after a week at sea. We walked into town from Ordinance Island, then up a hill to Fort St Catharine and somehow found our way along the beach. I guess we just couldn’t keep getting too far from the water. We were a bit bedraggled, both needing a shave and a shower. A hair cut would’ve helped. our overall appearance. I guess “beachcombers” best described us. We took off our Topsiders, tied them together, and slung them over our shoulders. The wet sand felt good on our toes as we stumbled along with the crash of surf in our ears. Off in the distance we could see a group ... A volley ball game. Our pace quickened. as we could see mixed couples busily engaged in the game. All of the girls focused on the ball seemed well endowed. They were adorned with beads, looking like natives, I thought. Our eyes were on the girls. From nowhere, a voice.
“Are you gentlemen from Club Med ?” We turned and towering over us was a black Adonis. The midday sun reflected off his bald head. Beneath his white shirt, muscles bulged. He could be the envy of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime. There was no malice on his smiling face . Why should there be? He could have taken the two of us easily.. He knew damn well we weren’t members. But courtesy prevailed here on the island and good manners come first.
“Why, no”, I replied.
“Then you gentlemen will have to leave. This section of the beach is reserved for members of Club Med” .
We nodded. He added, “A short cut back will be along that path”
. His shiny thick muscled arm pointed the way.
“Good day, gentlemen” He turned away knowing full well we beach birds would beat a hasty retreat. Bill and I were hot, sweaty, and thirsty as we started along the path up the hill. A hut came into view. Getting closer we could see two figures behind a counter. It was a snack bar. We sauntered up to the bar and were greeted by a beaming face under a wide brimmed straw hat.
“Good afternoon” he said. By this time our stomachs confirmed it was well past noon. I looked at Bill, he looked at me, and we both sat down and answered
“Good afternoon”. On the fancy Club Med menu there was the usual short order stuff but liquor as well.
Hmmm, looks good, I thought. “I’ll have a hamburger with the works, a big glass of water and a gin and tonic”, I said.
Bill got the same but ordered a beer. In a jiffy our orders were in front of us. We were the only customers. Bill and I chatted a bit and consumed our refreshments reveling in our luck in stumbling into this oasis. Facing our waiter Bill said,
“Time to go. How much do we owe?”
“Lets see”, our waiter replied, and after a brief pause announced, “175 beads”. Bill and exchanged glances and both repeated
to the perplexed looking waiter.
“No, I mean how much in US cash?” I blurted out. Looking more puzzled and mumbling he called his partner who maybe had a better command of what was going on. Out he came from behind the beaded curtain. I spoke up and said,
“We have no beads, but US cash”. I could see beads of perspiration glissen on his downcast face. It seemed beads were in the air and dominated our thoughts and transactions. Composing himself he announced he could only accept beads and to pay our bill we would have to go up to the hotel and see Andre. He seemed relieved as we exchanged courtesies. His responsibility had ended, but he still had a worried look on his face. Refreshed, our climb up the hill to the hotel was short. We had our Topsiders back on and when gaining the lobby we could easily see we were out of our element. Uniformed bell boys were going to and from pushing carts loaded with fancy luggage. Buses pulled up dropping off and picking up well dressed tourists all with cameras draped from tanned necks. The desk was busy as some were checking in and out. Youth and the jet set dominated the scene Hardly anybody saw us. A break in the desk activity gave us the chance to address the clerk. Bill said
,“Can we see Andre?” The clerk looked up with an expression that said, “Who the F**k are these two?” but composed himself, replying,
“Good afternoon”, probably thinking to himself, why take a chance, even Howard Hughes was eccentric.
“Andre will not be back here until 6 PM” he added. Stepping back from the counter I whispered to Bill, “Lets get the hell out of here.”
Former Club Med
Bill and I walked along this beach and had a free meal & drinks.
This hotel was to be my landfall.
Next Landfall Bermuda ( more pix this time)
Last edited by J. Dillon; 03-05-2007 at 11:19 AM. Reason: Addition to text
Senior Ole Salt # 650
Jack's overdueNext Landfall Bermuda ( more pix this time)
A demanding audience, this!
Knowledge: Tomatoes are fruit.
Wisdom: Tomatoes do not belong in fruit salad.
I' m dreaming dreaming a long time asleep waking up threre dead ahead.....
A gross navigational error, too deep a sleep, but unmistakeable Cape Horn. What have I done must check the math again.
Maybe this will wake some of the lurkers to post.
Seriously , Bermuda Landfall today
Senior Ole Salt # 650
Well, this lurker has to go out of town for a few days, but I look forward to the next installment when I get back. Great stuff, JD.
Off to the Kitchen to make my "packed lunch" when I get back, I expect to see Kitchen Shoals. Or I'll turn to St George (through the cut)
When half the people are happy half the time...is it still Democracy?
People's opinions are like a map, once expressed, everyone knows where they stand.
J. Dillon,Maybe this will wake some of the lurkers to post.
The problem is that you are such a good writer and the story is so compelling that many of us don't want to interrupt - like being with a great storyteller sitting in front of the fireplace. It would be rude to have conversations going on in the middle of the story.
Comments would be more forthcoming if you were clearly asking for them with each installment - "anybody been there recently?" or "something like this ever happen to you?"
Me - I'm a lurker with few comments, other than mentioning that I learned to sail in Greenwich/Stamford and know the area well. Great to see mention again. Thanks
Good stuff, we are waiting...
Better than a book. I just sat here for 45 minutes and couldn't stop reading. I don't know what my favorite part was, the sailing or meditation lady
Thanks, and keep posting please.
I'm enjoying it.....but one of my problems is that when I got divorced the majority of my pictures and stuff, letters, etc disappeared, and according to my son, got trashed. For the first two trips I didn't have much of a camera, just an old 20 dollar EXA and most everything was shot with ektachrome.....but some of my sketches and drawingsremained at my mothers house. .....plus you are a much better story teller than I, I think most of mine would read like a dry logbook....keep it up....
Wakan Tanka Kici Un
..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
"If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."
Over 2800 views now.
I'll encourage you tommorrow,
AFTER the next episode of the story.
07/09/86 14:20 The boat had straightened up a bit . The wind diminished to about 15 kts. I shook out the reef and got the full main up. I had consumed the last bit of trail mix that Janet made so it was into what ever snack stuff I had aboard. A bit of cheese and crackers filled the bill this time but tonight, spaghetti.
07/09/86 15:00 Loran reads 37o 46 78 N 70o37 42. I did about 20 N miles from noon position. That’s about 7 kts. Good. There may be some push from the Gulf Stream. The wind started to die again and soon dropped altogether. It was back to slatting around again with boom crashing back and forth jolting everything. I feared the boom could break, arrested so abruptly. This kind of strain on everything must be more damaging then some heavy winds. In about an hour the wind shifted again to the NW at about 10 kts which got me going again. I adjusted the wind vane and enjoyed the ride. But, could this be a repeat of the other night of rain & wind squalls?
Time to do a little maintenance on the engine. I checked the oil. OK, it groaned a bit when trying to start. It seemed the battery was down. I don’t know why. Three bulbs draw can’t be much. So it’s time to look at the battery. It’s a pain to get at as the whole engine box has to be removed, put aside, then I have to reach across the engine and see. The battery terminals were corroded, some bilge water got up there and deposited the green crud familiar to all. I cleaned them all off, checked the battery with a hydrometer. It read just in the good range. I ran the engine for an hour.
That night I only had to get up twice. The wind shifted back again to the SW at 10 kts. By dawn the wind had picked up to about 15 kts.. I had a reasonably restful sleep and felt good.
07/10/86 12:00 The wind held steady from the SW at 15. Loran reads 36o 40 17 N, 69o45 0 W. Almost 100 miles Noon to Noon. I found boat movement and high sun combine to make swinging the arc tricky when taking noon altitudes for latitude. So I forgo this traditional sight.
The weather continued changeable for the next few days. The ship’s log shows frequent sail changes and reefing the norm. Thunderstorms that hit at night were more bearable as I got used to their certainty and reefed before turning in for sleep. The radar detector sounded off again assuring me it was on the job. A ship came into sight and was gone astern. No answer of any hail. It’s something how you can be your worst enemy. The detector not sounding before had indeed rattled me. But now, reassured, I took what came and carried on for Bermuda.
Before the wind again
07/12/86 10:54 Loran fix reads 34o 06 74 N 67o 00 58 W 149. 2 to North Rock light, Bermuda. This was to be my last reliable electronic fix as subsequent readings blinked. It’s all DR and celestial fixes from here to Bermuda.
07/10/86 14:25 Observed LL sun and plotted LOP
07/12/86 15:05 About this time two emissaries came out to greet me circling above my mast. They were two Bermuda Long Tail birds. Both seemed to be attempting to land on my mast head, continuously dropping down to try, but with VHF antennas and wind indicators it was impossible. They eventually gave up and left straight ahead. I felt this was a good omen. My welcoming party would probably be snug in their nests tonight. This prompted me to pull out the Radio Direction finder and I tuned it to the 323 KHz, the frequency of St David’s radio beacon. I donned the primitive head phones and listened . Nothing, but maybe something. I got a signal but nothing discernable.
Bermuda long tails come out to greet me
07/12/86 17:46 Navigation manuals always exclaim, “Get a good cut” urging you to have 2 LOP intersecting at 90 o In reality this is not always possible but you take what you can get. Weather, clouds, circumstances get in the way. I advanced my 14:25 sun sight to my 17:40 sun sight to get a running fix which put me at 33o 47' N 66o 19' W.. Seven miles S of my rhumb line and 111 NM to North Rock light, Bermuda. With the Loran blinking, it’s time to do some serious DR work and think about a landfall. Of course, other ships from different directions might well be converging on the island as well. So maintaining a lookout beside the radar detector might also be a good idea. The wind settled in now at about 15 to 20 kts and pretty steady out of the SW . As I get closer I’ll aim more for Kitchen Shoals beacon. This will keep me well clear of the shoals around North Rock light. With a little luck I’ll be in Bermuda on the 13th.
Ill have to press on and carry full sail during the night if I am to expect a landfall on Sunday. Should I throw caution to the winds, full sail or play it safe and shorten sail? I’m alone, so caution is the best compromise. I’ll tie one reef in the main. If it comes up to blow and I’m overwhelmed, I can get down the jib easy enough. I had a stew supper.
07/12/86 20:15 I check the taffrail log. It reads 597.2 SM = 518.9 NM. Darkness closes in and the stars blink out. I take a good look around and go to sleep.............. anxious.
07/13/86 02:00 Nature calls. I check the Taffrail log it reads 623.7 SM = 541 NM. I sailed 23 miles . That’s only 4 kts.. If I want a meal at the White Horse Tavern in St Georges I’ll have to shake out the reef. A few rumbles off in the distance behind me but ahead I can see stars low down near the sea. So I take a look all around and go back to sleep.
Moving along all sail set
Waves cresting astern
07/13/86 06:59 Obtained a sun sight and plotted and combined with a DR. I get an EP. Which puts me at 33o 05' N and 64o 57' W. 80 NM. So I averaged 6 kts since 17:40 last night. I’m about 38 miles from North. Rock light. The RDF unit was near by so I donned the head set again and listened... unmistakable this time... dah dit dit dit dit dit dit dah dit dit Again and again B, S, D, in Morse, dead ahead. The sun seemed brighter, the wind fairer, the sea smoother. It’s funny how relieved one feels when confirmed by electronics but nevertheless I did. Bermuda is almost here. I can taste the gin and tonic. The wind was on the beam at 15 kts or so. I had all sail up, jib, staysail and full main. I was plotting the DR. by the hour via the course and log. All was right with the world. The day was glorious.
07/13/86 13:06 Took a sun sight and plotted it as a running fix from the earlier 06:59 - 13:06 LOP . It was a lousy cut but something to do beside getting up by the mast and peering for a sight of Bermuda still well below the horizon. It put me at 32o 11.5' N 64o 41'W about 17 miles N of Kitchen Shoals. I could be closer so I continue to look . The lousy cut and an advanced LOP doesn’t give a good position so vigilance is the key here. I could just as well be heading for the shoals all around the north of Bermuda. Nary a ship in sight anywhere. With a little more luck I’ll be anchored before nightfall. Perhaps approaching land at night is better, as light signals from Nav aids are distinct and can be positively identified from a distance, whereas day time land falls can be ambiguous. Especially when the intended landfall has no distinct characteristics. Bermuda might fall into this category from some directions. In this case however, there is a distinct hotel on the hill near Fort Catherine. It’s white and above where Bill and I walked the beach a year ago, kicked out by black Adonis. The sun was out and should be shining on it, making it unmistakable in appearance. Sighted a sail off the Stb bow. If he knows where he is then I’m well to the E of the shoals to the N. of Bermuda. I carefully looked at the sail and it was a ketch outbound. By now I’m getting excited straining through the binoculars at the haze ahead... nothing.
Kitchen Shoals beacon
07/13/07 15:09 Sighted Club Med Hotel just off the Stb. bow. It appeared all of a sudden as some of the mist surrounding the island lifted. from under the clouds over the island Now to pick up Kitchen Shoals Beacon. At this point not seeing it I relied more on the radio signals coming from St. David’s B. S. D. in Morse. I was listening and looked for almost an hour. Finally I spotted that spindly beacon just about dead ahead passing it at 17:00. By 18:30 I was anchored in St Georges harbor. Elated. I slept soundly that night.
position plotting sheet Bermuda
Next Liberty ashore and theft
Last edited by J. Dillon; 03-07-2007 at 06:40 PM. Reason: addition to text
Senior Ole Salt # 650
Looking NE from Great Guana, Abacos ............
and if I squint I can barely make out something that could be you on your approach to Bermuda.
Thanks again and I hope you keep the stories coming. It's a joy and an inspiration.
Thank you JD,
These yarns are one of the best aspects of this forum.
Thanks, Tom W, Hwyl, E Michaels, JTA, Eric, Uncle Duke, Sawmillbrook, Steven, George R., Rufustr
It's good to get some kind of feed back. Kind of like a cheering section athletes or actors enjoy. I guess I need strokes sometimes just like JCSOH. In this INTERNET age it's a novelty for on line writers as the norm is someone isolated on a island pecking away. This cheering section as you go can be enjoyed. If you ask for it. I'm asking.
Writing is a labor. I type poorly, spell worse and still cannot size pix correctly. I failed High school English.. An apology for the above. But I do have a pretty good editor that corrects some of the mistakes I make. Thanks Johanna.
Chuck, It is a shame to lose all in a divorce dispute. But your memories are still there. That along with drawings and sketches your thoughts can be put and into words , one step at a time. Maybe the Forum can enjoy some of your many adventures. Just work on one , the most vivid,
One step at a time.
Senior Ole Salt # 650
LOL. well here's some stroking for you. This is one of my favorite threads ever. I didn't know what I was in for when I pushed you into this, but its been awesome, and everyday when its coffee break time, I check here first to see if there's been an update. You tell your story very well and I hope it motivates me to get out there too.I guess I need strokes sometimes just like JCSOH.
I never learned from a man who agreed with me.
JD, I'm one of the lurkers that has throughly enjoyed this thread from the begining. Very inspirational and surely many of us can relate to your trials and tribulations on many levels. I'm not much of a navigator, so it's interesting to read about how you're doing it. I think with GPS's us new guys probably don't learn enough about navigating. Keep up the great work. I am one that looks forward to the instalments as much as anyone.
Enjoying this tale immensely. Thank you.
Thanks ...that was great reading and very inspirational....These are some of the threads I enjoy most as a forum member.
I appreciate your support and interest. I'll try to get out something today.
Senior Ole Salt # 650
This is great. Thanks.
It never fails, everyday when I go to view your latest chapter my boss walks into my office and catches me. He doesn't stop me from coming back for more. Thanks again for this thread and please keep the chapters coming.
Just sitting here, quietly enjoying. If cheering helps produce more, though, Cheer! Cheer! Cheer! Cheer!
St Georges from Shaula
7/14/86 07:00 anchored. The sound of a distant fire truck awoke me . A typical sound of land. I got up and looked around. I’m really in the St. George’s Harbor with few boats around. One just ahead. It’s sunny, a light wind stirs the scent of flowers in the air. I placed my US flag in its socket astern and raised the Bermuda flag to the stb. spreader, took down the reflector from the port spreader and ran up the Q flag. Bermuda likes things tidy and by the book. I’m now in foreign waters and subject to British authority, all the way to the Queen herself. I must correct my “ugly American” image that I had slipped into the previous year.
I readied myself, a shave, a sponge bath, donned decent looking non moldy clothes and combed my hair, etc. Breakfast was leisurely, no rolls and pitches with anxious casts on the weather and barometer. I studied the shore line houses. Serene and beautiful. I’ll explore it all. As I sipped my coffee I reflected back these past 7 days. I got off easily this time. Who knows what the return passage would be like? .Not to think about, enjoy the moment. Meeting different people, making new friends and seeing fresh sights was now on the agenda. Things were stirring ashore, time for me to do the same. I could hear land sounds, not wind and waves. Below I laid out my arsenal with all ammo near at hand as they would have to be surrendered for my duration ashore. I pocketed my ship’s papers and passport . Then contacted harbor radio requesting clearance. They advised to proceed to Ordinance Island. I started up the engine and weighed anchor. On the way, a fellow cruiser waved from his small sloop.. At the island two other boats, one a gaff schooner, were secured with no signs of life aboard. Just open hatches .Fenders hung from the outboard one. Mine from the port side. It was just after nine. I made fast as quietly as I could and gingerly crossed both and stepped on dry land. It felt solid and not yielding a bit. At the door of the customs shack I saw a crisp uniform at parade rest. A hatless man was inside it. He had been watching me. His trouser and shirt creases were sharp, just the opposite of mine - wrinkly, but clean. His badge just caught the rising sun.
“Good morning “ he said. I cracked out the same greeting just realizing I hadn’t spoken to a live human being in 7 days. I had my ship papers in hand. We both ducked into the tiny office, with hardly a desk to be seen.
“Good passage?“ he asked.
“Yes”, I said not daring to elaborate more till my voice returned. He extended his hand.
“Papers?” I handed him my puny CT state registration “document” and passport. He took them in hand made a few notes on a clip board and leafed through the passport. Looking up he said
“I see you were here last year”.
Yes” I said , still a little croaky, and then he inquired as to the health of my crew.
“I’m alone”. With nary a glance he continued moving a ballpoint pen.. Used to this kind of thing I thought. He glanced up and said:
“Cargo?” I had that question before in the British Virgin islands so was prepared.
“In ballast “ I replied. I guess it just was a formality one has to do regardless of tonnage.
“Do you have anything to declare” He asked.
“Yes” I replied adding, “Two rifles”
.“Bring them here please” he said. He took them and the ammo and gave me a receipt,
stamped my passport and a few papers, handed me some, smiled and said, “Welcome to Bermuda, enjoy your stay.”
Turning, he walked briskly away. In a few seconds his motor scooter disappeared across the bridge.
That was easy I thought. I hadn’t spent more than 15 minutes with him. I’m now officially in Bermuda. and subject to the Queen and all authority delegated by her.
Returning to my boat, I noticed the St. Andrews cross hanging limply from the stern of the schooner. I crossed over her and the steel sloop that displayed the Stars & Stripes.
Back aboard I examined the papers the customs officer gave me and they told of the dockage regs and notes about various laws of the Island. Rafting at the customs dock could not exceed three boats and you could only tie up for three consecutive days The rest had to do where you could fuel and water up, etc. Ordinance Island is connected to St. George’s by a permanent bridge. Well for now I just saluter over to the public rest room directly opposite the rafted boats, wash up and use the facilities with a motionless bowl under me. No showers here (but possible if ya know where & how.) Water in Bermuda is not like at home; it’s hard to come by . I think at the time Bermuda had two desalinators. All the buildings have cisterns to collect rain water.
Shaula rafted up St Georges Gaff Schooner behind.
To be continued Adventures ashore
Last edited by J. Dillon; 03-11-2007 at 09:19 PM.
Senior Ole Salt # 650
I thiink I know where this picture was taken from. I had a personal wake for Ian Wright in there, and ended up chatting to a very nice young woman (I hope he would have approved).
Since nobody seems to be up here in the raft, I’ll move out, anchor and dingy in. This gives room for any arriving vessels.. Back aboard, I struck the Q flag. My folding Prout dinghy is a beaut. I’ve had it 20 years and it shows signs of wear. A new canvas wouldn’t hurt either. It’ll get me ashore and back easily and any willing petite guest I might encounter. With ice breaker hat doffed, sunglasses rigged, a few bucks in my pocket, camera slung and face slathered with sun block, I could be mistaken for a tourist. A cruise ship was on the way in to berth. She seemed to dwarf the island I just left. Once ashore I’d mix with the bunch and merge. By the time I got the dinghy set up and rowed ashore, the cruise ship was docked and disgorging its cargo. Oh, you might be wondering what’s an ice breaker hat? Fair question. Well, you could also call it a conversation starter. The USN now dons hats that declare to the world the ship or station the wearer is from. A lot of former sailors like me have taken a fancy to wearing one. The marines boast : “There’s no such thing as a ex marine,” adding, “Once a marine, always a marine”. We “ex” sailors need no long winded declaration. It’s just understood.. With my USS Coral Sea hat crowning my head, I have been often been approached by someone and generally the dialogue goes like this :
Inquirer: “Did you serve aboard that ship?”
Me: “Yea, from ‘49 to ‘52".
Inquirer typical response: “My brother, father, uncle, friend, husband, was on that ship.” and some times one would say.
“I served aboard her too.” Then off we’d go in a lively conversation, sometimes exchanging addresses.
I also have a auto bumper stickers fore and aft declaring the same affiliation. Besides having notes slipped under my wipers declaring the above, I ‘ve been approached by inquirers in all sorts of places except in the men’s room. I think I would not respond in that case.
So once ashore I squared my “ice breaker” and commenced a good brisk walk. I felt and walked wobbly. Only 7 days of not walking and maintaining balance aboard at sea had affected my stride. My legs are long so a nice stretch and work out will be needed . The tourists are too slow for me.
Deliverence re planking
But first let’s take a look at the replanking restoration of the ship Deliverance. If there are no cruise ships docked on Ordinance Is .you can’t miss her. She is quite prominent after passing Government Cut, the entrance to St Georges. I couldn’t get close as a fence all around barred the way. I guess nosy tourists could thwart progress and get in the way. I guess I don’t look anything like the tourists from the cruise ship. They of course have Bermuda shorts on. I cover my spindly, sun wary legs and shield as much as the rest of me as I can. Following the Duke of York. I found a shop where I could make a call home to let family know I arrived safely street then continued exploring little alleys here and there is my forte
The walk up hill. View of Ordinance Island. You can see the bridge connecting to St Georges
Somehow I passed the Dinghy Club with bright colored hulls up on the green grass. The view showed some larger yachts tied up in the water. All were attended by feverish workers maintaining them. But this scene was remarkably different than in the states. The crew and owners of these boats were all black. I hope I don’t sound like a racist but I have never seen large numbers of blacks working on their own boats in one place back home. Perhaps I have to get around more. I noticed a distinct sense of pride here in Bermuda displayed by blacks in themselves, homes, boats, vehicles and what ever they do or are in contact with. Same in the British Virgin Islands. There’s a negative difference in the American Virgin Islands. Perhaps it has something to do with British rule or subjects. Well, that was 20 years ago. Today?
I seemed out of place for now so I came about and headed back to the center of town. My stomach was growling by this time and shadows on the ground short. Just by coincidence the White Horse tavern hove into sight. There was a group of tourists already there. So I mingled, and invited myself to an empty spot at a table on a shaded terrace over the water. The waiter came by and all ordered. In these circumstances my ice breaker wasn’t needed as sitting hip to hip promotes a free exchange of words. My fellow diners were all from the states and assumed I came off the same ship. I let it ride for now and just exchanged the usual pleasantries as I sipped my gin & tonic with real ice. When we finished our sea food repast our waiter came to clear the table. Now that’s a unique event at this tavern. He simply scrapes the uneaten food into the water. An explosion occurs. The waiting fish devour it all. Recycling at its primitive best. I paid my fair share of the bill, weighed anchor, said good bye, and left. I wanted to get back to the raft on Ordinance Island and see if the other boat owners were up and about They were, and so I introduced myself to the gaff schooner people busy aboard. They turned out to be the Peers family from Nova Scotia. Their boat was called “Peer’s Fancy”. She came in the day before me on Sat.
Captain & crew of the "Peers Fancy "
Next Theives strike "Shaula"
Senior Ole Salt # 650
Thanks JD, my boss is off today so I was able to read todays chapter in peace.
J -- great piece. I check this string first every day hoping to hear about your adventures. In this busy day and age, it's nice to hear a well said (as opposed to written because the story "speaks to me") story about a guy who sails alone and does what he wants and happens to be nice to others along the way. All laced with humor thank God.
As others have noted, there is a book in there - and you don't have to look very far. JK Rowling (Harry Potter) wrote her first book in a coffee shop. My lawyer buddy wrote his first book during his commute to work in Boston...
Thanks and best, Andrew
Thanks Clancy and Andrew. Im having fun getting it down on "paper" and I'm gald to be holding your interest. Got a lot more to tell.
Senior Ole Salt # 650
They were readying themselves for a short cruise around the harbor and invited me aboard. Delighted, I helped cast off lines. The general talk was about the passage down here and they experienced the same weather I encountered. We snorkeled off one of the islands in the harbor. It was here I noticed square drive screws. One of the Peers was making some repairs aboard. I’ve never seen them before . He replied they’ve been around in Canada for a while now.
Coming back we tied back up to the steel sloop still there and I looked to check my Prout dinghy. A pair of scrawny diminutive looking individuals were giving it the once over. I came up to them and asked if they would like a better look. They seemed to understand and stumbled some broken English. I pulled it out of the water and gave a demonstration how it is easily folded for storage and again set up. They were delighted. “Merci , Merci,” profusely. They seemed to be taking measurements with their hands and arms while looking at each other gibbering away in French. The pair had just come in, cleared customs and were back on the hook. A passing boat had given them a lift here where they spotted my dink. To promote good international relations I told them to try it out. I could see the dink could easily take the pair. “Meci, Meci”, and by gestures and broken English they made clear to me that one wanted to row out to their boat and come back with my dink in tow. Gingerly the taller, more sun burned one was off and back in less then 30 minutes to tie along side the schooner. Their boat was hard chined of plywood and smaller then mine. I wondered how the two of them lived in it.
That evening the Peers family and I dined at the White Horse Tavern. I rowed back, to sleep aboard and swing from the hook. . The next day I decided to see more of the island. I rowed in and secured the dink out of the way from any traffic the raft might encounter, then walked to where the bus stop was. I had the schedule and soon enough the bus arrived. The door opened I stepped in side.
Looking at the neatly uniformed driver I asked, “Does this bus go into Hamiliton ?”
“Good Morning, sir” was the reply.
I repeated my inquiry.“Does this bus go to Hamiliton ?”
“GOOD MORNING SIR !” he exclaimed..
I immediately saw my breach of etiquette
I said, “Good morning!” with as much genuine warmth on face and voice as I could muster and added, “I apologize for my rudeness.” He beamed a friendly smile in return, and said “Yes, we go to Hamilton.” I sat behind him and had a chance to see the other passengers, all locals with broad grins on their faces. Not at the put down the driver achieved but the feeling a teacher has correcting an errant child.
Cruise ship in Hamiliton, notice the side cleaners touching up the hause pipe
An off street flower alley in Hamiliton
Hamiliton was busy, hot, crowded as two cruise ships were tied up and the passengers flooded into open doorways. The ships had their side cleaners over busily painting any hint of rust on the gleaming white topsides. Street traffic puttered along. I noticed some bollards were cannon barrels, their muzzles angled deep into concrete. Never to blast a ship again, but rather to secure them safely in port. My ice breaker hat caught never an inquiring glance. With camera to eye I looked just like everybody else. Back aboard the bus to St Georges I had a better chance to look around .My fellow passengers for the most part were locals, some probably going home. All were chattering away with smiling faces. Different, I thought, than NYC bus or subway passengers. Eye contact is a no no. Leaving the bus I turned to the driver and said:
“Thank you driver, have a good evening.”
He replied “The same to you, sir”
I was learning.
Meandering back down to Ordinance Island I saw the French boat gone. I thought to myself, this is a good opportunity to come alongside the “Peers Fancy”. They were about and could crank me up the mast to trouble shoot the new bulb in my mast head light. It seemed to flicker on and off while at sea. I rowed out and brought “Shaula” along side, my dink astern. A light sanding of the terminal post and socket seemed to solve the problem. In a few minutes the French boat came back in and tied alongside me..
Any island is subject to whims of weather. Bermuda is no different. An approaching squall was apparent from the mast head and the Frenchmen must have seen it coming from wherever they’d been. . I was down in plenty of time as it came thru. The wind blew and the rain pelted. We even rocked a bit as the rafted boats rolled to different tunes. In a few minutes we were all loose and swinging 90o. Bows were now facing the public rest rooms that were formerly abeam of us all. Someone in the raft didn’t secure his bow line properly. Only a spring and stern lines held us all in this precarious position. In an instant we were all up, the Frenchmen crying madly in almost perfect English to get a line out to the bridge. How’d they learn so quickly? I thought. A line to the bridge railing, obviously was the only solution to the dilemma. Working together, Peer family, myself and the French pair, we managed to combine spare lines long enough to reach the railing on the bridge (despite the sign forbidding tying there) and muscle things to normal as the wind died and the rain abated. In an hour things returned to serenity. The Peers and I had dinner and drank to the absent Frenchmen. Now all four boats stayed at Ordinance Island that night: the steel sloop, “Peers Fancy” , “Shaula”, and the French sloop. Before turning in I checked my dinghy,. Some water sloshed around but I’d attend to it in the morning. The night was peaceful and quiet. Maybe a bit too much toasting as I slept soundly, too soundly it appeared. I awoke. It was cool, cloudy, a glum morning and my mood to match. The French boat and my dinghy were gone.
What to do next
Senior Ole Salt # 650
thanks Jack. Really enjoying this......
I suspected they were sizing the dinghy up. Great story.
Last edited by Tom W.; 03-13-2007 at 07:15 PM.
Keep it up
Thank you for sharing and taking us along on this journey. I know it must take quite a bit of time to write, I do appreciate it.
Yes it does take time to think it out and get it down , then arrange it so as to make it readable. One of the problems I have is sizing the images . When they come from 35MM slides it seems to be a whole new ball game from the scanner to the computer then to post em. I think I have the sizing down and would now like to go back to some of the images previously posted and resize them so as to make the page more readable with no moving the cursor across the page
Question, Can one go back to previously posted images , delete them then post a resized mage in its place without loseing everything?
Senior Ole Salt # 650
Yes, bbut they look pretty good to me already.