Monday, February 19, 2007

Arrival in Bermuda - November 10, 2006, Friday - 32.22N, 64.40W

By the morning, Lenore was completely lethargic. Sten and I were on watch at dawn, talking about our plans. He turned to me and said, “Boat for sale, real cheap.” We agreed to get down to the islands and enjoy the winter island hopping, before we scrapped the whole plan to sail around the world.

I put in a call to the Bermuda EPA at around 10am to alert them to her condition and our desire to clear her into the country so that we could get her to a vet. Bermuda is a rabies free country, so their rules about bringing pets into the country are very stringent. We had beautiful sailing conditions, and surfed downwind at a hull speed of 10.8 and 11 knots during our final approach to Bermuda. I called the EPA again as we approached St. George’s Harbor, and Jonathan Nesbitt said that he would meet us at customs.

When we tied up to the dock at 5pm, there was a gentleman waiting for us, but it wasn’t Jonathan. We weren’t sure what his intentions were, but we all expected him to try to sell us something. During the weeks ahead we learned how wrong we were. He is just a sweet older guy who tries to greet as many boats as possible, and give them a bit of advice about where to eat and which buses to take. But we were all a bit too shellshocked from our crossing and off balance on solid ground to pay him much attention. I hope that we didn’t come across as too rude, but I fear we did.

As we cleared into customs, Jonathan Nesbitt arrived. He took me and Lenore off to the Endsmeet Animal Hospital, while the rest of the crew went off to anchor and then to dinner. I didn’t know how long I would be, so I grabbed our handheld radio and shouted to Sten to monitor channel 49. It wasn’t until I returned to St. George’s two hours later, and tried to find 49 on the radio, that I realized that there was no channel 49. We’re so green.

While I was off at the vet, the guys tore the boat apart looking for the dingy pump. I’d inventoried everything as I stowed it, but they couldn’t find my inventory (which was sitting on the counter). After calling Sten's mom to see is she happened to know where the pump was, they ended up borrowing a pump from a crew that was delivering a catamaran.

That night Bill and Merrill took us to dinner at the Carriage House. We all had steak and fresh salads, and it was beyond wonderful. Before dinner, Merrill picked up a newspaper that had an article about the storm. As we were coming into Bermuda, we had heard the announcements on Bermuda Harbor Radio about a boat that had been abandoned in the storm. The article gave its location, and described the waves we had been in as being 30 feet tall, just a bit higher than the 3-4 or 5-8 feet that Bill and I had been assuring each other of as the storm built. The guys had also heard from some other cruisers that 3 other crews had been airlifted by US Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers. We all counted ourselves to be quite lucky to have escaped with minor bruises and minimal boat damage. We toasted our good fortune with a round of dark and stormies, a pretty fitting drink considering what we had been through over the prior few days.

No comments: