Another Boat Birthday

(If you visit the boat on your birthday, rest assured you’ll recognize the decorations!)

I woke up at 6am with no intention at all of getting up. My first instinct was to shut off my alarm and wait for Dan and Brandy to get up. I did somehow silence it, but it went off again about 30 seconds later…thankfully. I remember that we needed to get up and get a move on as we had a long sail ahead of us.

As we got the boat ready to leave we obviously spent some time outside. I didn’t mention this in yesterday’s update because we found refuge in the pool, but the island is infested with bugs everyone calls “No See ‘Ums.” They’re like microscopic mosquitos that swarm around in groups like gnats, are stupid, a constantly bite.  We walked around all morning swatting ourselves the entire time we were outside. If we were moving it wasn’t so bad, but the second we stood still they’d attack. Bug spray didn’t even keep them away. We got moving by 7:30am or so and were still swatting at them for an hour because they hung around in the cockpit hiding from the breeze.

While we didn’t catch any fish the day before, this was a much better day. The first fish on! was a small barracuda. They’re fun to catch because it’s catching something, but the appeal stops there. They have sharp teeth, stink, and we don’t eat them. For those reasons, I don’t even want them to make it to the boat. If they shake off the hook on the way, I’m perfectly ok with it. This one did. Happy birthday to me from Neptune!

The second fish was more interesting. Brandy casually mentioned she thought she heard one of the reels clicking a couple of times. I strolled over to take a look and saw a silver flash out where I expected the lure to be. As I reeled it in I could tell there was a bit of weight on the line, but the fish was pretty small. As my catch got closer it started to skip across the water and it was apparent that something was amiss. The only thing visible was a head…and red meat. Something had beat me to this Little Tuny (same kind of fish we caught and ate previously), and bit it in half. The only thing I reeled in was a fish head that was still wriggling around on the hook, freshly decapitated. Neptune giveith, and Neptune takeith away. The rest of the day we just caught a bunch of barracuda.

The deep water fishing only lasted about 2 hours and then we rounded up into a cut to make a straight shot to our destination, Great Sale Cay. For the next 8 hours we were in crystal clear, beautiful blue, 10-15 feet of water. The sun was out with sparse clouds in the sky and a slight breeze (I feel like I keep typing that…I’m telling you, it’s perfect here). At about noon I started writing and at that time Dan started serving us birthday beers. This continued for a few hours. It didn’t help my writing much, but it was more enjoyable.

 

We arrived at our uninhabited island destination around 5pm and shared the anchorage with two other boats, although they were a good distance away. Dan and I took the dinghy down, Brandy made safe arrival happy birthday cocktails, and then we all jumped into the ocean for a swim. Our first swim at anchor! We never got in the water around the boat at Cumberland Island because the current was so swift that Michael Phelps couldn’t swim against it. After soaking it in a bit, Dan and Brandy took Dillon to shore on the dinghy. I immediately got naked and took a shower with the hose on the back of the boat. My first naked shower on deck! So many firsts…

Brandy had already started dinner so I checked the oven to make sure the flame was still burning. Upon closer inspection of the contents of the oven it was apparent tater tots were on the menu. I had mentioned a few days earlier on the way to a bar for dinner that I really wanted tater tots. We got to the bar and the kitchen was closed so immense disappointment set in. Apparently, Brandy had run out to the grocery store and bought some to surprise me for my birthday. So sweet, that girl. I got on the radio and thanked them while they were at shore. Then we proceeded to make Top Gun references over the air. “Goose, watch your six, a bogey just came in on our port side” (another boat had come to anchor). “This is Goose requesting a flyby (in the dinghy, by the boat),” “Negative Ghostrider. The pattern is full.” And so it went.

Tater tots, pork loin, and run drinks made for excellent table fare, we all laid out on the back deck to stargaze, and I saw a shooting star with the brightest burning tail I’ve ever witnessed.

The generator ran for a few hours as is customary to bring down the temperature of the fridge and freezer. Of course, we also run

the A/C at the same time. After a few hours the temperature of the fridge had only fallen a couple of degrees. We think the cooling plates are too frozen over with ice for the temperature to permeate through the entire box. It’s a bit of a problem since we have a decent amount of perishable food in there.

I finally threw in the towel and retired to my cool bed around 11:00pm. At 1:30am, however, I woke up sweltering. We had left all the hatches to the boat closed and when the cool air from the A/C was no longer present, the boat temperature rose to a sauna. I went up to the cockpit to sleep and saw Brandy was already there. Probably a byproduct of alcohol, intense heat, and a less than idyllic bed, I had vivid dreams all night. At one point I dreamt that I was woken up by a phone alarm down in the salon and that Brandy had walked up the stairs, grabbed my toe, and yelled out my name to wake me up. I was still sleeping, but consciously aware of it and trying to wake up. My body was still paralyzed and I couldn’t sit up or move my arms. At first, it wasn’t a problem, because I chalked it up to being too tired to wake up. But then I tried to talk, couldn’t, and started to panic. I eventually worked myself up enough to start yelling like Frankenstein, but I still couldn’t move my arms. The yelling went on for several seconds until I finally woke my body out of being paralyzed.

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