A very good friend of mine by the name of Denzil Baynes, endured many a cold winter here in London… until one day he came up with a bit of a bright spark idea… he wanted to be a yachtie… and to cut a long story short, thats just what he did. For some time now he's been cruising the Caribbean and the Med… living the dream in every sense of the word… he also likes to keep us updated with his adventures, so from time to time Denzil gives us a little update on where his ridiculously awesome life takes him…. a little inside look at life as a yachtie… Check out the rest of Denzil's posts here
I managed to sneak in 5 days downtime after the Yacht owners left the boat in Atlantis on the 6th March. The Captain and I hopped on a plane from Nassau to Fort Lauderdale to see our ladies. Lucy was still up in West Palm Beach so she booked me into a hotel close to Rybovich marina, unfortunately she still had to work every day. I used the time to chill and cruise West Palm on my "Hawg". The Hawg is a 50cc Scooter which Lucy and I bought back in 2008 when we were job hunting in Fort Lauderdale. It was a blessing of a purchase as it saved us big cash when needing to get to and from marinas whilst dock walking. If anyone is thinking about joining the Yachting industry I strongly advise splashing out around $600 for a Scooter! I've since handed the Hawg down to my brother Matt who is getting loads of use from it.
On my way to Fort Lauderdale however, my backpack was lost by the airline. I landed in Fort Lauderdale with intensions of catching a ride North with my Captain and having a shorter Tri-Rail trip. This certainly was not the case! I was kept waiting for a half hour before someone gave me a missing baggage reference. I was told that it may still be in Nassau and when it arrives it'll be delivered to Lucy’s boat in WP. I left the airport for the Tri-Rail, had to wait 40 mins for the shuttle and then an hour on the platform…with no bag and just a T-shirt and baggies. It was about 10 degrees that night as a cold front had hit the day before!
Eventually I arrived in West Palm to be greeted by my gorgeous little blonde and two of her crew members, Kevin and Nicole. Kev was kind enough to lend me some warm clothes and then we headed over to City Place for dinner…and lots of drinks!
I had bought a return flight back to the Bahamas but decided to sail back aboard Lucy’s yacht called Prediction. Her Captain and 1st Mate are friends with my Captain so they made the arrangements and before I knew it I was aboard her boat tucked up nicely in the starboard forward guest room! I did however do my part and helped out with the watch schedule and lent a hand when docking in Atlantis. My boat was due to leave the very next day so I got everything secured, checked fuel levels, singled lines and lifted the tender for an early departure the next morning. That evening with everything ready to go I felt relaxed and went out with Lucy’s crew to a little known spot by Yachties called "Hurricane Hole".
The next morning we were off the dock at 7am and bound for Staniel Cay which is an island that makes up part of the Exumas. Approaching the dock with the wind howling and fenders wrapped around the boat we eventually tied up, rinsed down and hit the Staniel Cay Yacht Club for supper. We were due to be off the dock at 8am the following morning but the wind was pushing through at 30 knots so we played it safe and decided another night wouldn't hurt. This place was amazing! The water was as clear as an Olympic swimming pool with coral heads scattered like freckles on the nose of a 6 year old and it was swarming with Nurse Sharks and Stingrays. The Sharks would swim right up to the boat almost in arms length which at first terrified us until we learnt that they were as harmless as crickets. This still however didn't make me want to stick my arm in and pet one like a puppy. My crew and I sat on the swim platform of the boat sipping ice cold beers whilst watching them and various other sea life such a needle nose fish enjoying our underwater lights.
With the intensions of spending another night we woke up early and decided to take a relaxed walk around the island followed by lunch and a few beers at the Yacht Club. Dan the Chef and I were well into our 5th beer when the captain came running towards us. He began telling us that we were getting kicked off the dock due to high winds and that the dock master won't allow us to tie up. We left out beers spinning on the table and headed back to the boat. Radios on, fenders ready, everyone on standby we started the engines and dropped lines. The problem now was that a half hour to sunset we didn't have much place to drop anchor as everyone else had the same idea! The only option left was to run the next leg of our journey…an 18 hour passage to Turks & Caicos!!
We had to expect nothing less than 6 foot seas rising almost double in deeper waters. We knew we now had 18 hours of punishment ahead of us. Captain and Renny, our Stewardess, took the first 4 hour watch with Dan and me doing the next 4 and so the schedule would be 4 hours on and 4 hours to sleep. It's tough when the boat is travelling far distances with only 4 crew members to make up a watch schedule.
The first watch with Dan and I went well, however, the second watch was a nightmare. I had been sleeping down in my cabin with no air-conditioning so woke up drenched and thrown straight into a state of vertigo. I couldn't see, my head went instantly hot, my stomach turned and I knew I had dived head first into a whirlpool of sea sickness! I managed to get myself up to the wheelhouse, grabbed the wicker waste paper basket and prepare for the worst!
I heard my Captain bellow "Noooooo!" followed by a high pitched "that’s not gonna work!" I then got myself out the companion way door and onto the flybridge where I promptly collapsed and passed out. I have never experienced a case of sea sickness like that before and hope to never again. The following morning while discussing the situation it became clear to me that 5 beers, 2 bowls of Rennys Chilli and 10 foot seas are a very bad combination! Note to self.
After 18 hours we eventually sailed into port at Turtle Cove marina in the Turk & Caicos Islands. We had to have a pilot direct us through the narrowest channel whilst dodging coral heads. Once tied up on the dock, shore power hooked up and boat rinsed down it was playtime! We were all exhausted so we decided a cocktail at the 7 Stars Resort beach bar during sunset would be the best way to preserve energy for our following day off.
Well, I guess there was no energy preserved on my behalf as I woke up the next day at 1pm. I've got a memory foam mattress on my bed and no matter how wide awake I am I simply just cannot stay awake long enough to finish watching a movie or read a chapter of a book or anything. I guess I needed that 13 hour solid sleep! That evening after a chilled day onboard playing with iTunes etc we all went out for a crew dinner at the Marina restaurant on the hill.
Monday, March 15th we left the dock at 7am to fuel and depart at 9am for our 28 hour passage from Turks & Caicos to St Thomas…
Nice one Den
Denzil sent us some pics… these make me sick!… with ENVY!