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  • Writer's pictureFatjax

36. || All Hands on Deck

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

(April 2021 Jax)

We decided to stretch our legs along the Middle Ground trail from Pigeon Beach to English Harbour via Fort Culyer. This time we went the wrong way, tackling the difficult climb first. The climb included the usual protestations from me as I scrambled ever upwards trailing behind Iain and Dugald who bounced from rock to rock. I stood gazing and gasping for breath, drinking in the magnificent views which were becoming familiar.

Holy Week was upon us. We were unable to go into a church as attendance was restricted to regular parishioners. Fortunately, our dear friend and Parish Priest, Fr Seelan, at The Sacred Heart and Saint Oswald’s, Peterborough, is very tech savvy enabling me to follow some of his services on line, including Easter Sunday Mass.

We were all excited to be spending this year together. Lists were created to ensure everyone had their favourite elements of Easter. Sunday started early with the usual Easter egg hunt. I’m not sure who enjoyed it most, but it was as competitive as ever. I kept count of the hidden chocolate treats to ensure all were found quickly before they liquidised which would not have been good for the boat or me.

After Zoom Mass and a very tasty lunch we embarked on the main activity of the day.

Egg Painting.

Basey Fisher Designs

Susan, organised a Basey-Fisher versus Kirkpatrick Egg Painting Competition to be judged over a Zoom call later that evening. The Basey-Fisher grandchildren (aged 18 and nine months) won!

The season was passing. While we were all happy in our new found community, the atmosphere was changing. Daily, super yachts were leaving amidst a cacophony of hollowing, horns and hooters. This realisation was making everyone a little sad, including Iain, reminding him of when he arrived at the beginning of the season to an empty marina.

Travel was becoming increasing difficult with the introduction of extra testing and quarantining at both ends of the journey whether we were making a short hop to a new island or crossing an ocean. After much discussion for the approaching Hurricane Season, it was decided we would sail Fatjax home to England and wait for the world to reopen, hopefully by November 2023.

Iain, Dugald and Chris Agar were going to sail her home. A new list of maintenance for the crossing was complied and work commenced. Iain was winched to the top of the mast. Two things aided the smooth operation of this task. The purchase of a set of "marriage savers" and Dugald in charge of the winch. Iain was hoisted and lowered without incident. Voices were not raised thanks to the blue tooth headphones and the first of many jobs ticked off.

While The List continued, we still had our friends and we made the most of meeting them for drinks and meals all within the curfew guidelines.

We had been invited by Lynn and Mark from Roxy and Beth and Duncan on Anafi to share a Seder meal. I was keen to join the group and would be going alone. My first late night adventure in the dinghy unsupervised. I arrived on time, without so much as glancing off Anafi as I brought the dinghy alongside and Duncan took the painter.

The evening was a resounding success. I felt honoured to be part of the evening. For many of us, this was a first experience. Lynn guided the whole service explaining the significance of each food and prayer as we followed in our prayer books curtesy of Kindle (times, they are a-changing!)

The time came to leave. It was dark, but my fellow diners provided lots of torch light to guide me back to Fatjax which was anchored just a few meters behind Anafi. Everyone helped me get into the dinghy and made sure I started the engine and was in control of the vessel before casting me off.

I navigated my way back to our home with great success. I remembered to turn up into the current before approaching the stern to tie up. I approached slowly, put the dinghy into neutral and held the swimming platform bringing the dinghy to a halt. Turned off the engine and gently stood to tie the dinghy to the cleat. All was well. It was a text book landing. I was secured to Fatjax. I felt elated by my momentous achievement!

“There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip”, or the dinghy and the yacht ….

Still grinning and feeling very proud of myself, in a split second, I slipped between the dinghy and the yacht with the cool bag containing half a green salad safely on my shoulder. As I went into the water, I grabbed the backstay which unfortunately for me, had the split pin inserted upside down.

Suddenly, the importance of upper body strength became apparent. As we know, I am severely lacking in any such muscle tone, so found myself impaled on the spike of the split pin, with my right hand firmly planted on the deck of the swimming platform unable to lift myself off.

I called very loudly and forcefully for Iain, who eventually awoke from a rum induced sleep to rescue me. Iain cleaned my wound and stopped the bleeding. We could not get to shore that night but left very early the next morning for Jolly Harbour and the wonderful staff at the ABSAR facility who took great care of me.

Twenty-one stitches, lots of antibiotics and two bowls of ice cream later the drama was over.

My next few weeks were interjected with visits to ABSAR having my dressings changed and eventually stitches removed. I can not thank these dedicated people enough. They give up their spare time to keep us all safe on the water. Had it not been for their expertise and care I am sure my hand would not be recovering as well as it is. ABSAR provide a full search and rescue operation based solely on donations.

Our season was rapidly coming to a close. We attended the Salty Dawgs farewell supper, making our departure ever more real. The male members of our group were under strict instructions to keep a clear head for the Saturday racing on Fatjax the following morning. It was going to be a blast around the course to blow the cobwebs from her sails in preparation for the crossing home. During our evening, lots of stories and emails were exchanged. We knew there were still many adventures to be had and we were ready!

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