Friday, May 7, 2010

On the road to the Bahamas

Switch back to May 2000;

We had finally worn out our welcome at the Chief's club in Roosevelt Roads, and announced that we would depart the next morning. The local Quartermaster Chief was nice enough to bring us to his office where we could loot his stock of Defense Mapping Agency Charts of the local areas. That was really nice, and ensured that the Wildebeest was fully loaded with every possible chart from Puerto Rico to Jamaica.

There was no real plan on our departure, it was early May and the tradewinds were down to a steady twelve knots with nary a cloud in the sky.

As we motored out of the mooring field, I saw the Mighty Strike Trawler  Strike Destroyer DD-989 USS Deyo! They were at the big refueling Pier just the same as when I was a member of the Air Det, eight years earlier.

It was a kind of melancholy moment as we slowly drifted by, I could see the Air Det people hanging around bored, watching us pass. I wondered out loud if there was someone dreaming of being on the sailboat passing fifty yards to the stern. I know that in 1991 and 1992, I was thinking of nothing but being with the Lovely Spousal Unit, and just maybe, maybe get to own a small sail boat where we could sail together. 

Announcement's from the Quarterdeck of the Deyo, over the 1MC were just as I always remember, as they still do today; A quick whistle for attention, "The XO's underway checkoff sheet is available on the quarterdeck... the following is a test of Ship's Whistle, General, Collision, Chemical and flooding Alarms... the following is a test..." 
Or something like that

I really felt that I was no longer a part of such busy-ness. And never would be again. The sounds faded as we slowly moved homeward bound.

Only we weren't heading for home. As far as I knew, we may be aiming for Luperon, Dominican Republic. Land of 25 cent beer and even cheaper mooring.

My mind was still thinking about the trip, not destinations, as we passed northward around Fajardo. Once clear of Fajardo's reefs, we would turn to a course of 270 degrees and watch San Juan on our port side. Briefly, I considered going in, if only to visit the Bacardi Factory.

No, we needed to keep moving. If we stopped we might never go again, such is the danger of the tropics. People tend to get ensnared by the easy sultry lifestyle and find themselves ten years later, hooked permanently to a rundown barstool in a two dollar rum joint. Not that that is such a bad thing, but we really had to start considering how we were going to pay down a 9K credit card bill.

"Runaway to the Dominican Republic... to hell with the bills... live on your pension," said Jack the retired Marine.

I put on the Autohelm and prepared our fish killing stick with a Rapala lure on fifty pound test line and began to troll for a fish. About two minutes later the reel started screaming it's one note wail, telling us a big one was now controlling the lure.

Ahhhhrrrggg! "Slow the boat down", I yelled as I ran to the stern.

"I can't," said she, "We're sailing!" 

"Let out the sheet, get the gaff cuz this one is BIG!"

I fought with the fish, a Dorado, with golden green colors flashing on the surface as we fought for it's life.

Ten minutes of twisting, pulling and reeling and I finally got the fish  just astern. That's when he spit the lure out and swam away. Disappointment and cheer was the feeling for the moment . We couldn't possibly eat a ten to twelve pound fish and it really was a beautiful fish. 

We had plenty of food and we both were happy to have made the acquaintance with our fish. And he left teeth marks on our lure!

This was going to be a great trip, I just knew it...


Buck said...

People tend to get ensnared by the easy sultry lifestyle and find themselves ten years later, hooked permanently to a rundown barstool in a two dollar rum joint.

I made a sentimental journey to Bangkok some years back on my way home from a bid'niz trip to Singapore. I got hooked up with some retired GI expats living there... met 'em in a bar I happened into one afternoon after a hard day of shopping... and we had a couple of Hella nights on the town during my short stay. You have NO ideer how many times I've thought about packing it in and heading out way, way west since "things" went south. Shorter: I fully understand what you're saying.

Barco Sin Vela II said...

Da Bux digz da rap, bebbe!