“Blanketed by an azure sky, the orange-yellow rays of the setting sun can, at special times, gift us with a moment of such considerable beauty, we find ourselves momentarily stunned, with frozen gaze. The splendor of the moment so dazzles us, our compulsively chattering minds give pause, so as not to mentally whisk us away to a place other than the here-and-now. Bathed in luminescence, a door seems to open to another reality, always present, yet rarely witnessed.”
Russell E. Dicarlo
Appreciating the Caribbean is easy task; it offers a humbling outlook which reminds me of Africa. The broken roads leading up to thick dense forest, lined with photographic images of people and homes are edged with a coastline,
inviting you to peel off your layers and submerge in the deep, clear ocean. It is no wonder that I felt a pang of regret when the call was made to move P2 from the Eastern Caribbean up north to Great Abaco in the Bahamas. The regret lasted all of 7.3 hours when the sun started to set and P2 was lit up in the warm celestial glow that soon became my quiet and cherished moment: wind, a changing sky and the soft swoosh of her bow cutting the ocean. It was unfortunate that once again, I had coppered the four to eight watch (big wink), terrible to think that I was being forced to sit and contemplate the existence of what is, the enormity of the vast Atlantic and the beauty of the rising and setting sun. The big plus was and is of course, the superb delivery team that P2 enlists. Masters at the art of sailing; Mo, Randy and Uncle Peter shared laughs and knowledge with the permanent crew while P2 moved closer to her new destination.
Uncle Peter and James Bond
My first memory of Great Abaco was staring transfixed at the depth gauge on the ‘braai’, i.e. the center. For those that have not had the pleasure of sailing in the Bahamas here is your very first lesson: you will always see the bottom) — no biggie if your floating around in an inner tube, but the 12ft draft that P2 draws caused a series of giggles and nervous apprehension as she approached her new dock on Guana Cay. After a perfect entry by the captain and the Magyver approach to the new system of dock lines, P2 was resting nicely with her 200ft wooden dock to starboard and the two dolphin posts to port. We had landed.
P2 nestled against her 200ft wooden dock with Wally tender
Hitting the ground running is a term loosely thrown around; however, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the five of us can say with certainty that these lexical items have become a living reality. With an ‘to do list’ to shake a stick at, the crew knuckled down and started to peg off the dreaded punch list which would take us through to our next race, and what better place to go ‘bum up, head down’ than P2’s new remote and beautiful home — Bakers Bay. While JK was shaking the work stick in our direction, the crew found refuge and solace in the impressive surroundings of Guana Cay.
Lion fish on Bahamian spear
Shaking our tails and making good of the light and hours before and after work we became the Bahamian Explorers: from noiseless journeys around the island in golf-carts to surreal free-diving and water sports.
Crew adventure: Wet golf-cart island trip
Russell E. Dicarlo says true stillness is rarely witnessed; I beg to differ. Feeling oblivion and hearing nothing but silence and the soft beat of your heart, the see-through world of the true Bahamian beauty appears. Here I found myself submissive, alive and alone. My first splash offered a glide above a blue spotted eagle ray, say what? And this only improved. Each day brought a new reef, a moving visit into the life and colour that fluttered and swayed with the current, coral that I could not do justice trying to describe. In a word: Unbelievable. It was confirmed, between the friendly and accommodating staff at Bakers Bay, the Bahamian people, the pink white sandy beaches and the opportunity to find peace and true stillness in every moment spent in the water; Great Abaco was a hit. Superb memories were shared, from Jonathan’s birthday spent with his family on island to watching Randy spear his first lion fish. We were well impressed with P2’s new home.
Tom says “Whoo Hoo”
Alana and Jonathan celebrate his birthday on Guana Island with Noah
Ding ding ding… and time to move on. A quick over-niter brings us back to the States, where the plan takes some serious shape for the Newport Bucket and the family’s summer cruise. Feeling brown, healthy and fit, the crew busts a move or two and preps for yet another trip up north.
Gi Gi flying high
Jonathan and Zimbabwe on Park Avenue
Not any old place up north, NEW YORK BABY!! Eager to be greeted by the statue of liberty, the delivery team arrives substituted with none other than Bill Bentz for the voyage to NYC and the Gods are with P2. Not only do we leave with a flaming red sky, which silhouettes the city line of Fort Lauderdale as the space between us increases, but P2 is FISH ON!
P2 is FISH ON!
Bill Bentz and dinner
You would think being this glamorous new sailing we’d be well established fishermen. Unfortunately, this was not the case. We had yet to land a fish. Brushed up on our survival skills and blessed with the knowledge of safety drills; the brake ran and MAHI MAHI was served. We actually got so good at fishing, Jonathan thought he’d spin out a pink squid and catch a Mako shark just for kicks and of course the bended rod fight which lasted a good while. Like only ‘team P2’ can, the captain had his fun then the boys released the whippy-eye-balling shark back into the cold seas.
Fighting the Mako
Something incredible happened on that voyage. I have witnessed some lunar beauty, just the stuff that stops your heart and brings you to the place of pure silence and awe. This was one of those moments. Sitting at the starboard helm in pitch blackness, I see a light on the horizon in the distance. Grabbing the ‘binocs I scope out what’s what. Not a boat. Ja, big question marks going off in my head. With the object far enough away to breathe and ponder, I stare transfixed on the horizon. The unfolding full moon rise was epic. The celestial glow that mirrored itself all the way to my seat blew my mind and fostered a sublime appreciation to the wondrous world of natural beauty and the feeling of honest stillness.
I have been told a couple times that what goes up must come down. Well. The tale that balances this rare and special time of solitude is definitely a down. Armed with a soft spongy nerf ball, you would think that the chaps were heading to the beach, but at 8.30 on our last delivery evening, the nerf ball was the tool of choice for James Bond and his side kick Tom Tom. Yup, that’s right a bilge alarm had shown a leak into the engine room from a corroded intake valve. Quality leadership and follow-through saw the two okes kitted out with a split fin entry into the dark uninviting water. Again, the Gods bathe P2 with good fortune and skills as the repair is made, the green light given to proceed forward. Happy to have teak under their feet once more and be free of the ominous ‘da da, da da’ singalong track to the Jaws Movie, all crew members are back onboard and troubleshooting like true professionals.
Sailing into the Hudson sound was a treat, our pilot (dressed in a full suit in the wee hours in the morning) looked sort-of out of place with the rest of us geared up to the max in full foulies, but he soon caught up — with one of Eliza’s famous fresh muffins and a turvis tumbler loaded with a strong dark coffee. The dense fog that rimmed the shore-line set the scene as P2 entered New York Harbor.
Slipping into NYC
Down Town New York
Eliza and Tom share a laugh
In quiet apprehension, we all scuttled around on deck pulling forestays and unlashing the small tender. The morning sun brought a mysterious glow to the grime of the approaching city and the symbol of freedom that stood bold and tall to our port. Taking in the moment, we slipped past the statue of liberty and knew we had arrived. With the perfect tide, a plan of action and down town North Cove Marina waiting, New York City stares at us teasingly, shouting out a new experience and all things famously American. So close, yet so far. I mean, so close. Like we can see our dock, we can smell land but alas the keel won’t go up. Yes. Yes. At one point I thought the crew might just practice the MOB drill and reach forward to pull the boat closer with their finger nails (laughs); however, this rather primal approach was not needed with hero Tom around, who once again saves the day with calm and corrective actions. Keel up and we are ready to three-sixty into our slip. A nice tight parking and “sold”; NYC ladies and gentlemen! What better place to provision and buff up than down-town! Excited to see the family again, dress the boat and race the Newport Bucket the P2 crew do what they do best and start shaking tail for the fun to come!