Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wind In Your Sails: Part VI

My story left off with an exploration of the Baths on Virgin Gorda. We returned to the boat mid afternoon and made ready for the long sail to our next overnight destination – the Bitter End – before the sun set. In the sailing days of yesteryear, the last nub of land that galleons and schooners passed on the long journey back to the Old World was the North Sound of the British Virgin Islands – known as the "bitter end". Today, this remote peninsula of Virgin Gorda holds one of the busiest resorts in the Caribbean – one that remains true to the nautical tradition of wind, water, and sails.

Sailing along the western coast of Virgin Gorda within the protection of the Sir Francis Drake Channel, I struggled to see how the island got its name. Named by Christopher Columbus, Virgin Gorda means "fat virgin." Apparently, looking at the island from the distance reminded him of a reclining naked woman. If you squint and use your imagination you can just about get an inkling of what Columbus saw, but it doesn't take much imagination to understand that Captain Chris spent way too many sea days solely with the company of his fellow sailors!

The Bitter End Yacht Club (BEYC) began in the 1970s as a small marina for sailboats and has slowly grown to become a huge self-contained complex which caters to visiting and vacationing yachtsmen, boaters, and water lovers of all ages. We had only a handful of precious hours to get to the North Sound – home of the Bitter End.


Claudia enjoys the ride...


To get there we must sail a few hours along the west coast, and around the northern point of Mosquito Island with famous Leverick Bay to starboard and Prickly Pear Island to port. I radioed ahead to the BEYC requesting permission to dock, and prepared our crew for arrival. I was at the helm. As we approached the dock, I switched the gear of our diesel engine to neutral to slow the forward motion of Quantum 2. An instructor in one of my sail courses called this technique “kissing the dock”.

Bill was at the bow, ready to toss the line to the waiting dock hand. Doughboy was at the stern. Rather than wait until the boat came to a safe stop, he leapt a space of a couple feet from the boat to dock. Big mistake! His sandal caught where the mainsail and stern halyards meet the boat deck. Doughboy's sandal stopped his foot dead while he remained in motion, falling hard against the dock. He was in serious pain. We didn’t know how serious until we returned home. We had absolutely no basis for our medical opinion, but his injury couldn't be that bad. Could it?After immediate and careful examination, we determined he had badly sprained his ankle. We didn’t know that he had actually ripped his Achilles tendon in two – the top part of the tendon rolled up inside his calf like a window shade while the bottom half bunched up around his ankle. His only medical treatment was an Ace bandage that I found at the local General Store. Even now, I wonder how he made it through the rest of our vacation by hobbling around on one foot. Thinking about it still makes my butt pucker :( It would take copious amounts of ice – for the rum – to bring him any amount of comfort.

Doughboy’s unfortunate accident would delay our departure for two days. Hmmm…two days in paradise was not a terrible imposition. We were thinking only of his comfort, of course. Having securely docked Quantum 2, we had shore power which meant a luxurious amount of electricity at our disposal. Hot showers were available about 20 feet away. Yes, we could be quite content staying put for a couple days until Doughboy recovered well enough to depart for our next destination.


Later, when we return home, I would feel badly for making light if his injury. At the immediate time, I ridiculed him for getting out of his share of work and making Bill fetch rum drinks. Look! There's Bill...probably his 15th trip of the day!


"Hey yo Bill! Can you bring anudder rum drunk pleazh?"


NOTE: As I mentioned in a previous post, please excuse the poor quality of my photos. They were taken six years ago with an old film camera. Technology has come a long way since then.

To be continued…

13 comments:

Chere said...

Poor Pete. I know he should have waited for the boat to dock but you know how the guys are. What happened with his foot? Did he have to have it fixed? Poor baby! I can't wait until our trip. Looks so wonderful. Happy Sailing to us. 14 months and counting. I will have the days counted down closer to the date.

Deb said...

Ouch! Your description of Pete's injury made me cringe. I hope you provided lots of TLC once you returned home. Just kidding because I know you would spoil him well!
Isn't it amazing how our photo quality improves in just a few years? It makes one wonder....what is in store for us 5 years down the road? Let's ponder that!

Doughboy said...

.......so, just to clarify: when you swim with flippers and a tendonless right foot, you tend to circle a lot to the right. It took me 5 times longer to snorkel to the shore. I got home, went to work in Pittsburgh, and saw a specialist. 2 days later, the Drs sliced by leg from mid calf to ankle and wove a new piece of tendon taken from my toe to my ankle through my re-joined achilles.
Doris was still laughing when I hobbled home 3 weeks later in a 12 twelve pound cast.
Also...she remembers it as 'kiss the dock'...my memory is we where going to leave quite an 'impression' on the island (million dollar boat and all) and I, super hero, was going to avert damage by gracefully springing on to the dock with the bow line in my teeth and belay the forward momentum of the boat.
Not.

Debra (a/k/a Doris, Mimi) said...

You are and will always be my super hero, Doughboy. For future reference, however, please keep your feet firmly on the boat, with your tray table in an upright position, until the craft comes to a full and complete stop. Thank you for sailing Quantum 2 boatlines.

Roxanne Schwandt said...

It would just be funny to see anyone snorkling in a circle, Doughboy!! I think that definately would make me pee my suit from laughing! :)
Deb, I love the sailing stories and I can't wait for your new adventure stories :)

Jamie Payne said...

Hey! He stole my booze cruise grin! That's my signature smile when I'm drunk and on an island:)

Debra (a/k/a Doris, Mimi) said...

What do you mean drunk and on an island?? I've seen that same grin on you in Georgia...Wisconsin... Gosh -- I'd recognize that grin anywhere! But it all began with you, Jamie ;) Have you learned any new Swedish words lately??

THE MOM BOMB said...

I am so impressed that you all sail. A vacation where you actually have to THINK and DO SOME WORK? If it were us, we'd just tank up on the rum and crash the boat.

Doughboy said...

We almost did that too....tank up on rum and crash the boat...different island, different t shirts, same Rum. Involved a Minkey Hat....long sotry. Doris the Navigator also sailed us over an active underwater volcano that was a bit of a push but that's probably coming up in a sequel.

Doughboy Part Deux said...

Actually a long sotry is something else. This was a long story. Sorry.

Judyann said...

Just love the stories about the sailing trip. Poor, poor Pete. I bet that was pure misery for him, but he sure put on a good face. Can't wait for next November when we can have new adventures together.

Country Girl said...

I don't know why I haven't read this until now. I'm so glad I did! I cringed when I heard about the achiles tendon mishap and then swooned over the beautiful pictures and the many rum drinks. What a fun life you lead! And I quite enjoyed the comment section and the back and forth narratives. I think I'll return my tray to the upright position and sit back and enjoy the ride!

Little Miss Marlee said...

Aw Doughboy! I feel SO awful for your injury! I am sure you have heard of when my Dad shattered his heel while cutting limbs off of a tree on a ladder (in a pine straw bed with a chainsaw and no one to hold the ladder. I suppose all of our Dad's will always be superheroes! Although, he does surprise me over and over and prove his superhero worthiness on a daily basis, as I am sure you do as well!

Debra, I was looking back though basically your entire blog from the start and wanted to tell you how amazing your photography is and how much you have improved over this short time! With your permission I would like to save them for my own collection. I will give you credit of course! Ok, hope all is well! xoxo