After dinner last night I was treated to a beautiful display of a powerful cumulonimbus cloud on the horizon being lit up by sheet and bolt lightning. It was spectacular watching the staccato bursts of light illuminating the clouds in a pitch black sky.
It also meant there was a front to the north, which was forecast to move a little further south overnight. Several hours later I emerged from the galley after watching a Netflix documentary on Pirates ( very interesting) to a full moon clear night with no breeze. You could see blades of sea grass on the bottom 2 m below. The shores and outlines of the stunted palm trees and rocks could clearly be seen as well as a clearly defined horizon. The most incredible sight was a brilliant white moon that was so intense only a handful of stars could be seen in the night sky. A truly unique setting I had never seen before. I wish I could have got a picture that would capture the incredible, almost unbelievable setting.
Sure enough, when I woke at 7 am the skies were a subtle grey and not their usual clear baby blue.
The wind was brisk and kicking up choppy .3-.4m waves that tossed Tadpole the Walker Bay dingy around like a lottery ball. It was entertaining to watch the sea birds trying to land on it…sorry, not today guys.
Over the next 2 hours I enjoyed my typical breakfast of toast, home made yogurt with fruit and granola. After making about six batches of solar warmed yogurt over the past three weeks, they are now setting with a consistency that is between a thick yogurt and a greek yogurt, and Oh! so yummy! For an hour I simply enjoyed watching the rapidly changing weather all around me. There was even a powerful, but all too brief, free boat wash.
One of the best sensations was the feel of the breeze on my skin. On my windward side there was a conscious feel of the positive pressure and the pressing force of the wind – but on the leeward side of my body and limbs there was a more subtle but clear ruffling feel as the wind formed eddies of turbulence that tickled the skin. It is interesting how easily subtle differences like this are so often over-looked when one is focused on all the other events going on around one. Sometimes, as Thomas (a friend from Taiwan) once explained to me, “we simply need to stop and consciously allow our mind and body to experience the full spectrum of all that is going on around, and within ourselves”. Thomas was very good at consciously doing that. So…whenever I start to see something unique, or find myself exploring new areas, a voice on my shoulder reminds me of Thomas’ advice. It is amazing how often something noteworthy or unique is observed; simply by giving yourself conscious permission to stop and allow your surroundings to come to you.
The days primary task though was to fabricate a face mask which is now required in the Bahamas whenever I go ashore. Soon I will need to re-provision at Staniel Cay, so I need a mask. Since there are no hardware, medical supply, pharmacy, or grocery stores on Oh!, the only way to get a mask was to make one. A slightly stained 400 count Egytian cotton pillow case gallantly stepped forward and volunteered to make the sacrifice for the betterment of humanity. After an hour and a half of struggling with my sewing machine, a mask appeared. No they won’t be going into full scale production, but it should work.
The finished product should be acceptable; and as one friend stated, as long as I am not mistaken for a member of ISIS, it should be fine!
Mask done, it was time to check clearance under Oh!’s keels. When I woke there was 1.3m under the keel, but the winds have been veering all day swinging Oh! into the southeastern part of this incredible bay where it gets very shallow. Oh! was still floating, but in the last 4 hours a lot of water had drained off the Exuma bank. A quick depth check by turning on the depth sounder was interesting, it read “0.0m”. Hmmm…not good, but a great opportunity to see how closely the depth sounder was offset from the actual draft of the keel. So…time to get wet!
Oops, that is our fearless captain standing on the bottom. Good thing he didn’t dive in.
As you can see from the photo, the offset looks like about 0.1 to 0.15 m. Pretty good, however Oh! needed to be moved to slightly deeper water just in case we were not quite at low tide.
Pulling in 10m of anchor chain moved Oh! into a little deeper water and re-diving the keels showed a comfortable 0.2. – 0.3 m clearance over the soft sand. Later, once the sun gets lower, I will pull up the anchor and reset it in about another .5 m of depth so that I can increase the scope again and have a sound sleep.
It is truly spectacular here in this deserted bay with a different beach for each day of the week. Which one should I swim to today?
Cheers! From Oh!, staying “home” in the Exuma Islands