“Look at all your knowledge as a gift, as a means of helping other people. A strong and wise person uses his gifts to support other people.”
It is amazing to compare the drivers on America’s freeway system to yachtsmen cruising throughout the Bahamas.
Rather than getting cut off when trying to merge & sharing one finger salutes, boats wait for one another to get in slips and are quick to share a helping hand. Instead of the “to Hell with You” attitude passing a broken down car, the docks are full of willing men and women eager to help as a new arrival pulls into a difficult slip. Lines are caught and tied off, extra fenders are offered, encouragement given and docking techniques are learned & shared... and... fellowship and drinks create a fantastic camaraderie from cockpit to flybridge down the docks each evening.
Well, for all of us, 2 days at the Bluff House has become a week, as the winds continue to blow 20-30 knots. The passage from here to Marsh Harbor is impassable as the “Rage” continues through Whale Cay Channel with 10’+ breaking waves through the cut. The harbor, anchorage, and slips here are full of boats waiting out the winds. The fellowship among cruisers is a wonder to behold. We have sailboats returning from the Caribbean; sailors from Belgium, England, and Canada; and cruisers from countless states across the USA. The amount of experience and knowledge that is shared over a meal or drink is invaluable.
Things I learned:
First, some very experienced sailors came by dinghy and set up their lines on the slip pilings before coming in to dock. Thus every line was looped over the pilings prior to having the pressure of catching a line over the piling as the boat enters the slip and the captain is fighting the winds and current. I was amazed with how calm everyone was, and those on the boats next to the slip could toss the lines from the piling to those onboard. It was a smooth and seamless display of experienced yachting!
Secondly, a gentleman from Belgium shared about the different entrances to Spanish Wells on Eleuthera. To know which ones are safe at all times versus the ones that are only to be passed with local knowledge or light winds can avert a real mess.
Thirdly, I watched people adjust their lines to allow for changing winds as well as tides. Multiple spring lines as well as using a direct stern line one that crosses the stern to another piling simultaneously really helped as winds shifted constantly throughout the night. We did not have to adjust lines last night as we did the night before!
One of the real treats about cruising is the people we meet. I had told Susan before she joined me in 2009, “Yachtsmen are the best people you’ll ever meet.” She totally agrees and this cruise has been no different. Being ‘stuck’ at the Bluff House has been its own blessing.
We invited those on boats around us aboard and had a terrific evening. We had four countries represented: Belgium, Canada, England , and, of course, the USA. New York, North Carolina, Florida, Maryland, Texas, and Virginia, at least, were some of the states mentioned. Sailboats, trawlers, motoryachts, and motorsailors were the various vessels of choice as well. Wow, what great sea stories from all across the Bahamas, Caribbean, and Mediterranean! Somehow, a drink tastes better when you are on your flybridge with a dozen new friends. That takes “Cheers” to a whole new level! Not at all like the guy who shook his fist at you the last time you drove home from the office!