Leaving Conch Charters

Woke up Tuesday on board our boat named Cat Napped in the Conch dock. Had plenty to do today and the first day of the charter is always a bit stressful. My goal was to get internet access for the boat and I went along to the Digicel store in town and was there before 9:00 am together a few others waiting for them to open. The bottom line is that we got a “data only” SIM card for Rose’s unlocked iPhone 4 and we could use it as a hot spot for the rest of the crew as well. Task 1 accomplished.

Walked back the odd mile to Conch and the others had had breakfast at the local Pub Restaurant and were just starting the checkout procedure with Conch. Takes a bit of time to go over all the workings of the boat and the 4 boys tagged along, each hoping to remember something that someone else had forgotten.

Now the boat was ours but time was marching on creeping up to the noon hour as we waited for our last provisioning delivery from Caribbean Cellars. We had already most of our supplies from Riteway, Tico and Good Moon Farm for fresh veggies but we needed the last one and had to continually call the store and ask where it was. “It’s on the way” was always the reply but this happened numerous times before the guy actually showed up.

We had hired a skipper for the day to get accustomed to the differences between a mono-hull and the twin engined cat, his name was Ode and he had been waiting out his time at the same Pub Restaurant hopefully having coffee & breakfast. By now it is 1’ish and Ode starts his own little tour of the boat pointing out things & some irregularities.”Your depth gauge is not working”. Dammit, we knew this from the Conch checkout but did not followup. Back to the Conch office and wait for them to dicker around and finally fix it.

Finally we’re out of there and the first exercise is picking up mooring balls which we practice just beyond the dock, not much distant progress but a task we want to do.First try is a cock-up as Jerry, Mark & I all have our own ideas how to do it. Ode shakes his head and directs a plan. Next try is OK and by the 3’rd we have it nailed and  will have 10 more nights to to demonstrate our skills.

Once out of Road Town Ode is looking up at the mainsail and starts to tell us what’s going to happen. Jerry’s on the wheel and Ode keeps him there. Normally if we were doing this on our own Jerry would say “Andre, can you take the wheel” and he would direct the raising of the sails.Now Ode is doing that and we are assigned different positions which is a good exercise. I’m on the port side, jib & main sail with Mark on the starboard side, jib, reefing and all the other stuff.

Both main & jib go up and under a brisk 15+ knots we get a good 8 knots out of Cat Napped – Nice! We tack across the channel a few times executing the tack itself with confidence as the boats 8 knots and briefly back winding the jib work wonders through the tack. Now we’ve got up near to Trellis Bay, our destination but Ode has one more challenge for Jerry as he directs him through the north entrance to Marina Cay between the reef rock & Scrub Island and then down the channel with all the moored/anchored yachts to port. A bit tight especially under sail as we were and must have quite a few eyes on us as we did our victory lap.

Over to Trellis where we dropped the sails and motored though the busy mooring field and found us a nice buoy, picked it up like charm – now we had arrived and could start our little cruise.

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