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Monthly Archives: December 2016

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Fort Montagu, where John Wells introduced us to Commander Tellis Bethel.

 

From the previous post, one can see that we’ve a water maker issue.  It has to be replaced.

Our boat came with a 40 gph water maker.  For those reading this that may not be in the know, a water maker takes salty sea or unpotable water and forces it under high pressure through a membrane and, through the process of reverse osmosis (RO), produces pure drinkable water.  The membrane filters everything out of the undrinkable supply except water molecules…dirt, sand, bacteria, minerals, everything.  The technology has been around a long time to do this.

On a boat that is cruising, there are only a few ways to obtain pure potable drinking water.  One can carry it on board, of course there is a limit to how much they can take…in our case, 80 gallons.  A boat can also catch rain water, an iffy proposition depending on if it rains or doesn’t.  One can buy it at a port of call.  Or, one can make it themselves on board with an RO water maker.  As the body can’t live without it, pure drinkable water is a way big thing with cruisers.

Many cruisers have water makers on their boat; many don’t.  Some are quite content to carry an exceedingly small amount of water on board with them.  Others have fairly large water tanks on board.  Conserving water while on board is always a big thing, water maker or not.  But, having a water maker on board greatly increases one’s comfort.  Showers, for instance…not really an option for a boat that only carries 80 gallons of water and has to pay to refill the tank each time they run out. 

Many pride themselves in how little pure water they use, and their minimalist approach is admirable.  But, once one goes down the minimalist rabbit hole, all sorts of other things could also be eliminated…like an auxiliary engine, navigation by sextant instead of by chartplotter, auto helms, etc. none of which are absolutely necessary to sail or cruise.  Where does one draw the line?  For us, we want a water maker.  And, the long and short of it is the water maker that was on our boat was antiquated and unusable without essentially rebuilding it from scratch.  In North Bimini, when ours petered out, we chose to keep whatever salvageable part we could as spares, and spring for a brand new unit.  We chose a Technautics unit from the same vendor we used when we replaced our refrigeration.

In Bimini, we called the company and purchased the unit.  We arranged for it to be shipped to the marina we had reservations for in Nassau, Harbor Central Marina.  It was shipped out within a day or so from California; our tracking number indicated it would be delivered in the Bahamas at the marina this past Monday, day before yesterday, December 19th.

Now, something the average person in the States seldom ever, often never, has to deal with is custom duties.  If one goes out of the country on vacation and upon coming back they bring too much of what is allowed, they might have to pay a duty on the gifts and souvenirs.  And, in the States, the limit of what one can bring into the country from another is not all that high – a couple of hundred dollars or so – before US Customs will charge them a duty.  And, the same applies when entering a foreign country from the US…immigration/customs will ask if you have anything to declare?  If it’s more than what that country allows you either pay the duty or forfeit the goods.  It’s generally a pretty straight forward proposition.  But, being on a boat can be another story.

Over the weekend, our tracking number for the water maker indicated the unit was in Nassau and indeed would be delivered to the marina last Monday.  Early Monday afternoon, we received a phone call from DHL, the shipper who handled getting the unit from California to Nassau.  They politely told us the water making unit was in their facility here in Nassau and they would gladly deliver it to the marina…after we paid a $2,000 duty!

Yikes!  We weren’t expecting that, for sure.  And, here’s why.

In some countries a foreign flagged vessel can import replacement parts for their vessel and no duty is charged…the Bahamas is one of those countries.  There are only two conditions to be met in order to be declared exempt from the Bahamas’ import duty.  One, the vessel must have entered Bahamian water legally and have a valid cruising permit.  And, the other is that the boat must be in transit to another country.  We satisfied both of those requirements.  And, though not really a requirement, it is suggested, though not required, that a copy of one’s cruising permit be in the shipment, as well as the packages labeled “Repair Parts for Boat In Transit.”

Well, needless to say, we pushed back.  We informed the DHL shipper of the Bahamian law that applied and politely, though firmly, indicated we had no intention whatsoever of paying the $2,000 duty.  The DHL agent requested we email him a copy of our cruising permit and he’d “check into it.”  He’d let us know his disposition the next day.

The DHL agent’s response and actions didn’t quite do it for us; we weren’t comforted at all.  As is often the case with cruisers, we turned to the internet for assistance.  I put out posts on three Facebook groups I belong to explaining the situation and requested information and help regarding our situation.  Comments started to pour in almost immediately.  All were appreciated but most of the comments simply boiled down to “they can’t do that.”  But, one post stood out.  From the Seven Seas Cruising Association FB page came the following post:

“Call John Wells, 242-465-3243, Tell him Capt. Gil said to call. He will probably charge you a few hundred bucks to act as your ships agent but it’s better than a couple grand.  I just spoke to him, he’ll take you to pick it up.”

Enter Bahama John…

Around 0900 on Tuesday, we called John Wells.  Without hesitation, and with no additional information, he said he’d pick us up at the marina at 1000 hours.  He showed up exactly on time and he and my husband left.  Less than two hours later he and Chuck returned with our new water maker.  We paid no duty.  We did, however, have to pay a $400 Value Added Tax (VAT).  We were told we could even have the VAT waived if we kicked and screamed long enough.  But, considering there was no US Tax on the purchase, we decided to leave well enough alone; we paid the VAT, obtained a customs receipt, grabbed our water maker, and returned to the boat.  John charged us $90 for the hour and a half of his time and him furnishing the transportation.  John told us, “The shippers are always trying to pull something like that.”  We called the day a success.  Our $5,100 water maker ended up costing $5,600, instead of $7,600. 

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Commander Tellis Bethel

 

John (Bahama John) Wells, whose name and phone number I have permission to give out, was in every good and great sense of the word, a character.  A real gentleman who seemingly knew everybody on Providence Island (Nassau).  Later in the day, we arranged for him to give us a two hour tour of the area in his minivan.  He was a wealth of information.  There wasn’t a person we ran into that didn’t know who he was, including Tellis Bethel, the Commander of the entire, albeit small, Royal Bahamas Defence Force.  Commander Bethel, whom we met, was exceedingly polite and friendly as well, taking the time to give us a printed poster of the Bahamas from his car and explaining to us his efforts to have the water around the Bahamas, Turks, and Caicos renamed the Lucayan Sea, in honor of the indigenous people who first settled the area in 600 AD.  There was no doubt that Commander Bethel and John were very good friends, first name basis and all.  We were told that though the Defence Force was quite cordial and friendly to cruisers, should they board our boat and we were not treated with dignity and respect, we should not hesitate to call the Commander.  We won’t.

Meanwhile, Chuck and Chris are installing the water maker.  Weather doesn’t look particularly promising after tomorrow, so we might be here through the weekend and Christmas.  Our friends, Justin Smith and his girlfriend, Sher are on their way to Nassau from Hoffman Cay, in the Berry Islands.  Expecting them in this afternoon.  It’s Sher’s birthday and they asked us to go over to Paradise Island for a couple of hours of gambling at the Atlantis Casino.  I can’t wait.

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The weather dictated we should leave Alive Town on Tuesday, December 13th.  We’d have three days to cross with ease from Alice Town, first to Chub Cay, and then on to Nassau.  However, on Monday evening when we tried to make water, our water maker took an unrepairable dump.  It was not wholly unexpected, the water maker was probably at least twenty-five years old.  Several options were discussed, including hopping back across the Gulf Stream to Ft. Lauderdale to both purchase and install a new one…I lobbied hard not to choose that option and, thankfully, prevailed.  Instead, the decision was made to use our fairly good internet service in Alice Town to arrange for a new water maker to be shipped from California to Nassau’s Harbor Central Marina where we intended to take on fuel and spend a few days anyhow.  After spending all day Tuesday, we successfully tackled the logistics of making that happen.  Our 20 gph water maker was set to arrive sometime on Monday, December 19th from Technautics , the same vendor we used for our two refrigeration units.

After another delightful meal at the Big Game Club Marina restaurant, in which we were pleasantly surprised to run across our friend Rod Casto (he, his wife Janet, and friend Chuck sailed to Cuba together last May)…we set our alarms for 0600 Wednesday morning to head out.

NOTE: 

I’m not much at all for clichés and cute, overused nautical phrases.  The “cruiser’s lifestyle” sort of irks me, for example.  But, many of them are as true as tea.  One particular one that applies, whether I like it or not is that “Cruising is nothing more than about fixing your boat in exotic locations.”  It’s an inescapable and undeniable fact.  Boats, no matter the age or the condition, break…regularly.

At 0630 we started the engine and almost immediately noticed it was running a bit hot.  Turns out the sea chest strainer was somewhat clogged; we cleaned it out quickly and at slack high tide, 0730 we eased the dock lines and made our way out of the channel.  Good bye Bimini, Captain Husband was at the wheel.

As we rounded North Rock, a reef with light, that sits at the north end of North Bimini, I took over the helm.  Chuck mentioned to me that the auto helm was “acting crazy.”  That was understatement, it would not hold course at all, evidently due to getting some sea water on it the night before as we massaged our leaking,  creaking, failing water maker; the auto helm’s computer module sit right next to it.  So, we hand steered the beast across the Bahama Banks, a somewhat tiresome affair on a yacht the size of ours.

The auto helm issue aside, the eighty-seven nautical mile run to Chub Cay was a great day on the water.  The seas were flat; the wind was light.  We set the genoa and staysail and popped along at almost eight knots the entire time.  Mid to late morning I turned the helm over to Chris before reclaiming it around 1500 hours.  Shortly afterwards the auto helm miraculously started to work again, a good thing.  It was to be a night entrance to Chub, but the moon was completely full, an exceedingly easy approach.  By 2030 hours the anchor was set and we all enjoyed a couple of beers in the cockpit before turning in for the night.  Another 0600 alarm time was established for departure on to Nassau.

At 0600 we were awake, by 0630 the anchor was up and we were on our way, again with genoa and staysail only flying.  Five hours and thirty-eight nautical miles later and we were refueled and in our slip at Harbor Central Marina, in Nassau Harbor…which is where we sit as I type.

Harbor Central Marina is not really one of the best we’ve stayed at.  Though we had reservations, we had a choice of three slips to berth in.  All of them were designed for 30’-35’ long boats, at most.  There were other sufficient slips available that our boats would have more easily fit into but no matter how much we tried we were unable to persuade the two very young Bahamian ladies in charge to let us dock in them.  There advertised internet service has been down for weeks with no indication when and if it will be back, if at all.  There are no dock hands.  They never answered their VHF as we approached.  The showers are marginal.  Overall service would be rated one star and even then we’d be generous.  But, there is free and very fast internet at the small restaurant, Green Parrot, next door, a half block walk maybe.  So, we are thankful.  The boat is tied up and we are safe and sound.

Note: 

Most of the time I drive the boat…particularly when docking and undocking.  There’s no particular reason for that really.  Things have just sort of evolved that way in all these years we’ve sailed together.  Make no mistake, Chuck is quite capable of driving the boat, after all, he had six sailboats before we met each other, and we’ve had two together since then.  But, specifically with the beast, our Tayana 52, he has only docked the boat twice in the over three years we’ve had her. 

Now, to both me and him, there’s no glory whatsoever in being the one at the helm.  Being at the helm when at sea is really nothing more than scanning the horizon and monitoring the chartplotter (navigation, radar, AIS), auto helm and engine instruments.  Docking and undocking in a marina one is not familiar with is a bit different, however.  Though there is some stress on both of us when bringing Freedom into a marina we’ve never been into before, the pucker factor goes way up on the one at the helm during that exercise.  Our boat is big, heavy, and ungainly when slowly maneuvering in a marina, even with the bow thruster.  Throw in a howling wind and ripping current and it’s, well, downright exciting, though not particularly in a good way.

Before we left Key West, Chuck and I agreed, without actually talking about it, we’d alternate helming the docking and undocking efforts.  As I’d taken on the docking in Key West, I brought us out of the Safe Harbor channel when we left.  Chuck took us into Bimini, and out.  I took us into Chub Cay, and out.  It was Chuck’s turn to take us into Nassau Harbor…and out, when we leave.

My poor guy had a fairly rough time docking at Bimini.  Even with calm winds, there was a slight current at the dock which, unfortunately, he didn’t read.  However, there was a dock hand available to assist us at least.  In Chub Cay I took the boat into and out of an anchorage, sort of a piece-of-cake thing.  

In Nassau, however, it was Chuck’s turn to handle the docking and conditions, though not all that bad, were not all that good either.  The wind was gusting off the port quarter at 10-15 knots, but the current was ripping straight into the slip we were assigned, and there were no dock hands.  The very short finger pier ended forward of our mast, pilings midships and aft, both port and starboard.

After an admittedly easy and picture perfect dock along the fuel dock, and then unable to convince the marina staff to give us a berth with a longer finger pier, after considering the wind and current, Chuck chose (rightfully in my opinion) to enter our assigned slip bow to.  As there were no dock hands, I elected to handle the lines from the dock, as Chuck and Chris eased from the fuel dock and approached the slip.  Chuck expertly lined up on the slip and brought the boat in, with the current dead on the stern.  We got a quick bow line on before quickly securing the stern lines to the two pilings on either side of the stern…then the midships spring lines.  Though not a difficult dock per se, it was wasn’t an easy one either.  We danced a delicate ballet from point to point fighting both wind and current in an effort to prevent the midget of a fixed finger pier from damaging our cap rails.  Thankfully, we have strong, study rub rails.  It wasn’t particularly pretty, but sometimes it never is.  Adequate length finger piers would have made the dock a no brainer.

As Gulf Coast sailors, current is something that very seldom comes into play…not so, here in the Caribbean.  We have next to no experience dealing with ripping currents.  Believe me, we are learning to deal with it quickly.  Docking is never an issue of just getting to the dock and secured.  It’s always an issue of getting to the dock and secured without tearing your, or someone else’s, boat up.

 

I certainly don’t scour the internet for sailing and cruising blogs but there are a couple that I follow…three, in fact.  Of the three, one of them has solicited donations via PayPal from the start, or at least since I’ve been reading it.  The other two wrote blog posts several years ago specifically stating their disdain for such blogs, seemingly appalled that someone would have the nerve to ask their readers to support their cruising…posts much longer but very similar to this very one here.  A few months ago, I happened to notice that both of those blogs now have PayPal or some other form of internet payment means (often more than one) and actively solicit donations. 

“Please support our efforts and the ability to continue posting content of our cruising lifestyle on the internet.  It takes a lot of time, money, and equipment to make these posts.  In order for us to continue we need your financial support, no matter how little or much you’d like to contribute so that we can buy new equipment and continue bringing you the quality videos and blog post you’ve come to enjoy.  Since you’ve been contributing to our cruising kitty we managed to buy a couple more cameras, underwater housings, mounts, lights, batteries, microphones, a new laptop and video editing software.”

…or something to that effect.  Sounds a bit like an evangelical preacher begging for money when they already live in a ten million dollar home to me.

Needless to say, we don’t contribute. Our idea of charity doesn’t include helping others support their travels, or lifestyle, if that dreaded word is more to your liking.

And, though it is a bit time consuming to put together a decent blog post, and even more if one wants to produce a video, my site here on WordPress doesn’t cost one red cent and no special equipment is necessary.  I use either our Nikon DSLR or my iPhone for the photos.

I fully realize that some are not as fortunate as perhaps we are.  I also understand and respect anyone that has the drive to make a buck.  But, it seems more than a bit pompous and presumptuous for all of these people to assume that their blogs and vblogs warrant anyone paying for it, or that their particular content is really any different than anyone else’s.  Believe me, or check for yourself, there are hundreds and hundreds of sailing and cruising blogs out there just like the three I follow…posting essentially the same content, the same photos and same videos, often shot from the same vantage point.  Truthfully, though we shoot a lot of photos, that is one of the reasons my blog posts don’t have more photos…everyone would have already seen them.

I’m not trying to be a horse’s patoot here.  If one wants to contribute to a blog they follow or like, for whatever reason, then by all means do so.  But, for us, we’re not interested in helping buy new camera gear, computers, etc for a cruiser because in their eyes they are the next up and coming Cecil B. Demille offering up a veiled threat that if people don’t give them money they will stop posting.  In fact, in my opinion I don’t think they will quit posting…I think they would post whether people donate to them or not.  And, if they do quit blogging, there’s literally a hundred more to take their place.

A blogger knows exactly how many people read their blog, and all manner of other information concerning the hits they get to their site.  In our case, we don’t get all that many hits on our blog and that’s fine with us.  We don’t write our blog to generate click bait in order get a few bucks at the end of the month from advertisers.  And, you certainly will not see any internet links to online payment sites here…ever.  Our blog is personal…actually I have to curb myself from making it too personal.  In short, our blog is for us to one day look back and reminisce about our trip, not to particularly entertain the masses while having them help pay for our more than extended vacation.  If others enjoy it that’s fine but if they don’t, that’s fine as well.

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I’ve neglected our blog and after being somewhat scolded by one of our followers I will endeavor to be a bit more diligent in our posts.

The passage from Key West to Bimini was a bit rough on me.  Not because it was difficult; on the contrary, it was about as near to perfect as any passage we’ve ever made.  But, because I just felt extremely tired and out of sort.  In hindsight, I’ll write it off to having a very mild but lingering-in-the-background upset stomach.  Perhaps some background is in order.  I just felt a bit out of sorts.

Chuck and I have had additional crew on our boat for two of our passages and considering the shallow depth of the Bahamas, decided we like company on this one.  The first name that came to mind was a close friend of ours from Texas, Chris Earls.  Chris is forty-nine and has been sailing and boating with his family and others since he was six.  Over the years he’s either done out-right or has assisted Chuck on numerous projects on our boat.  No better candidate could have been found.  We contacted him and he was available.  As it were, we got him down to the boat in Key West one week before what became our departure over here to the Bahamas.

During that week, as anyone who makes offshore passages would attest, there were many things to do.  We started tracking the weather and a good window for leaving turned out to be last Tuesday, December 6th.

On the Monday before we left there were two major items left to do: complete our provisioning and, almost as importantly, bring our yacht to 3D Boat Yard (right next to the marina) to have our fixed prop replaced with our newly refurbished foldable Max Prop.  The Max Prop is way more efficient than a fixed prop and the boat performs much better with it.  On three separate occasions we’d attempted to have our propellers changed out but as luck would have it, we just couldn’t make it happen.  So, on Monday, the prop change was job one; it had to be done.  We had the propeller guy lined up and were set with the boat yard to have the boat quick hauled at 1300 that afternoon.

As 1300 rolled around we rode over to the yard only to find out that they were going to have to splash a large schooner first…we were next in line after that for the quick haul.  The long and short of it was after the schooner was dropped in the haul out slip and started their engine they had lost engine cooling water circulation…busted impeller.  Our haul out time slipped to almost 1530 before our prop contractor finally got to work.  He had some very minor problems that delayed his installation but the boat yard agreed to stay late, knowing we were leaving the next day.

After the prop was installed and we splashed, it was back to the Stock Island Marina Village fuel dock where were took on a whole four gallons of fuel (we thought we’d need a measly fifteen) and left ourselves tied up there rather than go back to the slip.  Then we hurried to downtown Key West to return our scooters, before borrowing a friend’s jeep and rushing to the local Publix Supermarket to finish provisioning.  By the time the provisions were bought, brought and loaded back onto the boat it was near 2200.  Our initial plans were to leave, perhaps as early 0300.  Exhausted from a grueling and very stressful day, we then sat down to finalize our route.

Now, over the previous several days we’d consulted several from the marina that had made the trip over to Alice Town.  Seldom can one have too little information on something like this.  Our first plan was to go from Key West to Rodriquez Key, down near Key Largo in the upper keys, spend the night and then jump over to the Bahamas the next day; that plan would have broken the trip up into two days with the only real advantage being it avoided an overnight passage.  Then we considered going to Marathon, Florida, anchoring out, and then make the jump…which also would have included an overnight passage.  All of us being dead tired and somewhat stressed not only from the day, but for the several days before in which we averaged maybe six hours of sleep a day, we finally just took a deep breath and tossed out both of those plans.  Here we were with over a hundred years of sailing experience between us and we were fretting a 150-160 mile passage in what was predicted to be perfect winds and seas.  We’d sleep until 0600, have coffee, and depart Key West at 0630 direct to Alice Town.  We estimated the passage at somewhere between 21 and 24 hours.  At 0630 the next morning, after another six hours of sleep, we slipped the dock lines and headed out into Hawk Channel.

The plan was to take the shortest path to the Bahamas…we’d take the Hawk Channel inside the reef until an hour or so before sunset and then jump out into the Gulf Stream.  We’d then set our rhumb line for Alice Town, Bimini.  And, we did.

We’d never sailed inside of Hawk Channel but knew before we left there would be a lot of crab pots.  We weren’t disappointed.  I took the helm while Chris and Chuck spotted crab pot floats…we estimate there were roughly 39,658,003 crab pots…we’re not sure…we quit counting at five million.

After we jumped outside into the Gulf Stream the sail was uneventful.  What was significant is that our ETA at North Bimini was estimated at between 0300 and 0500…we knew that, at the least, we’d have to circle the entrance until daylight.

The only burp in the passage was our dinghy davits.  Around 2200 hours we noticed that the starboard side davit had dropped about three inches for some reason.  Upon inspection, we saw that a stainless steel pin that allows the davits a bit of movement had failed.  It was still quite secure, however, and with less than one meter swells we decided to just keep an eye on it, anticipating a repair once in Alice Town.

We arrived at the North Bimini waypoint at almost straight up 0400.  Within a half hour, another sailboat arrived off of our starboard quarter.  We hailed them on the VHF, S/V My Kay, asking what their draft was (we draw 6.5’).  They drew 7.0’ and indicated they were going to have to circle until high tide which was to be around 1300.  We knew we would have to do the same.

So, for the next eight boring hours we, along with My Kay, circled the entrance about a half mile or less offshore…watching multiple catamarans and small power boats with their shallow draft enter.  Occasionally, we’d hail a vessel exiting the cut and inquire as to water depth.

At around 1230 hours we uneventfully entered the channel; Chuck had us safely tied to the dock at Big Game Club Marina a short time later.  We had dinner at the marina, showered, and by 1830 I was in bed and sound asleep…a short time later the boys turned in.

After a great meal and thirteen hours of replenishing sleep my out of sorts disappeared.

One pleasant surprise was that within a half hour of our initial docking, a gentleman approached us on the dock offering us a dozen freshly caught lobster tails at a price that was ridiculously inexpensive.  We jumped right on that.

The next morning, Thursday, we dropped the dinghy in the water and completely disassembled the dinghy davits, removed them from the boat, and brought them to a welder we were told about.  By 1430 hours the repair was made, expertly.  A couple of hours later the davits were back up and the dinghy safely hanging from them.

That evening, I cooked a splendidly delicious meal of steak, two lobster tails each, and my semi-famous hashbrowns.  We made short order of the feast.

On Thursday, after we had communications, business back in the US dictated that Chuck had to return in order to send a Limited Power of Attorney to our lawyer back in the States.  On Friday morning, he flew out to Ft. Lauderdale to handle that chore…Saturday morning by noon, he was back, his trip a success.

We knew before we got here that there is essentially nothing to do and nothing to see, and we weren’t disappointed.  It’s a small place, with friendly people but otherwise quite bleak.  The locals make their living fishing and catering to the tourists and cruisers.  That was no problem with us for on Friday, a cold front blew through with 25-30 knot winds, rain squalls and a chop in the marina that made conditions raw at best.  We hung out on the boat, took care of some minor repairs, ate at least once a day at the more than acceptable marina restaurant, and just took it easy.

Today is Monday and the weather is once again settling down, the sun is out, high in the upper 70s, and the chop is gone.  We have a great weather window, starting tomorrow morning, for the next three days.  After we refuel today, we plan to head out for Chub Key tomorrow, perhaps anchoring out on the way.  In Chub, we will anchor out before making the 37 mile passage into Nassau early on Thursday to arrive mid day.  On Friday, the weather is expected to again deteriorate with high winds and seas between Chub and Nassau.  We fully expect to be in Nassau before then…you never know, however.  Once we ride out the next weather system in Nassau, the 10 day forecast indicates we will have a good week or more of favorable winds and seas to pass east of Providence Island (Nassau) and continue on South.

There is one additional side story in the trip.

On Friday, we received an email from Stock Island Marina Village informing us that when we exited our slip last Monday to go to to the boat yard we had hit the huge power boat that was next to us.  We were somewhat taken aback as we were quite careful when we undocked.  All three of us on our boat were in agreement that there was no way our hull hit them…we did acknowledge to ourselves that our dinghy came quite close to his yacht, though we honestly didn’t think that hit them either.  We contacted the owner, told him that we didn’t feel we had hit, but to be sure, and in the interest of fairness, could he please send us a brief narrative of his side and take a few photos, particularly the height from the waterline to his alleged damage.  We also assured him that if we hit him we’d be more than happy to pay for his damages.

He honored our request and as soon as we saw the photos knew that we were mistaken.  At exactly the point in which we were the closest to his boat it was apparent that the rubber port side rub rail of our RIB dinghy kissed his boat leaved three or four minor scuffs.  As we could see from his photos, and of which he admitted in his note, the damage wasn’t even slightly severe, very minor scuffs indeed.  We called our friend Kyle Ohearn who did our bottom job this summer and asked him to take a look.  On Sunday morning he dropped by the owner’s boat to look-see.  Forty-five minutes later he was gone, the scuffs buffed out and waxed and…most importantly, the owner of the power boat tickled pink with the effort.  He had a PayPal account…we paid him the $105 immediately.

The incident was more an inconvenience than anything else.  On three separate occasions we had the marina park large power boats right next to us, in a double slip that was already too small for one boat, much less two, considering the tight fairway…our bow stuck out fifteen feet.  On the first occasion the power boat actually struck our boat when docking, though the damage was insignificant.  On the second occasion the boat was quite beamy and close to us, we complained and they moved him to another slip.  And, as the boat we kissed was docking we complained at the time, but they berthed him there anyhow.  It would have been one thing if the marina was chocked full of boats but there were numerous double slips that all of these boats could have had…instead, they docked them next to our 52′ behemoth.  Oh well, as the Captain at the helm at the time of the kiss it was my responsibility to control my vessel…shame on me.