Friday, October 22, 2010

Beautiful passage to the Abacos!

What a glorious day! We were up before the dawn today -- I couldn’t sleep past 5:30, to be honest, thinking of the small details I still had to attend to before we set out. But...once things were taken care of and the last item stowed, we cast off the lines at 0705. Ron had been aboard a good 45 minutes ahead of me as I was closing up the condo, so he had done a thorough systems pre-flight by the time I go there. It seemed like a breezy morning, but it was nothing more than the warming catabatic winds coming off the water...we cruised out through the St. Lucie Inlet on the tail end of a rising tide with nary an issue. 
Captain Ron at the rail enroute to the Bahamas.
What a lovely day for the crossing!
AND...the boat is running SO smoothly. All the engines are purring (the mains are actually running a few degrees cooler than they did this summer, but that could be a function of the cooler water temps in general), and it just feels like we are slicing through the water with ease! Tuning the props was key; absolutely no vibration on the port shaft whatsoever! Lovely! Ron is ecstatic with the results of all the work we had done...efforts well worth it! We’re now settling back into the routine of logging engine temps, rpms, fuel burn and oil psi along with our position, speed over ground and course heading each hour. It’s a comfortable routine and feels oh so nice!! Plus, it helps that the sun is shining brightly, the seas are gentle -- at most, 2’ swells with a 6 second interval -- and winds are light, in the 6-12 kt range. Glorious!!
As I write this, a huge full moon has risen in the east ahead of us as we make our way to Green Turtle Cay. We had a leisurely dinner aboard (chicken, simply grilled with a bit of spice rub, asparagus and some dirty rice, along with a touch of wine -- decadence!!) eating in the pilothouse as the sun was setting and the moon rising. Right now, the moonlight shining on the water seems to be like a pale mellow “yellow brick road” leading us to Oz, as we are riding right along its moonbeams. Serene and beautiful!
Oh, and yes, we have a little hitchhiker with us as well! This afternoon a little yellow-breasted warbler literally flew into the pilothouse, and came to rest on the chart table to the portside of the helm. She looked absolutely exhausted...didn’t ruffle a feather as I took a light dishtowel from the galley and gently moved her outside to the portside stairs leading up to the flybridge. We are in the middle of the Little Bahams Bank, miles from any bush, and I don’t know how far warblers generally fly....but she was definitely wiped out! She was sitting there looking dazed, with her beak open, head tilted up, so I dripped a bit of fresh water into her, which she swallowed, a bit startled. I let her rest of a bit, then, seeing how she was fighting to keep her footing on the towel in the wind, I tried to move her to a more sheltered spot. But...she wasn’t having any of it, and fluttered away. I felt bad, since I didn’t think she was all that rested, but...not much I could do!

Our little stowaway -- a yellow-breasted warbler
Then, some hours later, during dinner the little bird returned, alighting along the starboard PH doorframe! She looked at us, looking a bit more bright-eyed than before, then fluttered away again, circling back around the boat. She did this twice before I took the small water dish and dishtowel up to the flybridge, thinking she could perhaps alight on that for better purchase out of the wind....only to discover she had already made herself comfortable on the flybridge cushions, snugly tucked into the corner of the settee and the flybridge helm station! I placed the water dish and some bread crumbs as near as I could without disturbing her too much, and departed. Hopefully, she will get a good night’s sleep, have a bit of water or food, and when dawn comes, we will be within flying distance to land for the little lass!! Good karma, in my book! 

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