Running from Hurricane Dean

Trip Start Jun 16, 2007
Trip End Sep 26, 2007

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Flag of Bahamas  ,
Sunday, August 19, 2007

Heading South East while Hurricane Dean Heads North West. Not really the best of circumstances to be in. Basically If the Hurricane turns due North we are completely screwed. There is a very shallow bank that runs to the west of the Bahamas that doesn't allow any large vessel traffic into it. There is a very narrow path called the "Old Bahama Channel" that is very narrow and runs from Just south of Bimini to about halfway down Cuba. The catch is that if a hurricane comes up the alley while we are going down it, we can't turn East because we'll run aground on the bank, and we can't turn West because Fidel doesn't Americans, wait, switch that around. So the only option would be to turn around and try to outrun a hurricane that can move twice as fast as your boat, not the best option, but what we would have to do if bad became worse.
We managed to get just beyond the Bahama Bank as the seas got really nasty so we stopped surveying and ran into Aukland Island, one of the southern most Bahamian Islands about 18 hours away from our survey line. The transit there was one of the roughest boat rides I've been on lately. I almost got the beginning stages of seasickness so I just laid down in my rack and slept it away. This is the first time I thought about it this way, maybe just because they happened a few days apart from each other, but seasickness feels a lot like a hangover. Not exactly, but close enough.
Acklins Island, a long flat sandy island that is mostly uninhabited on the south western side. We took refuge from the high winds and  seas there for about two and a half days. After catching up on all our work things got a little boring, so we decided to take the little rescue boat over to the beach and get ourselves some sunburns. Mission Successful.
I lathered myself up pretty good but the Bahamian sun is ruthless and being in the water only magnifies its intensity. It was worth it, however - the day on the beach and the snorkeling in the crystal clear water was a great relief and soothing for the soul. We built a fire on the beach out of driftwood, dug out some lobsters from under the rocks and cooked them. I saw a lot of cool fish and got face to face with a stingray, I was going to reach out and touch it but it curled its tail around like a scorpion so I backed off and stopped bothering it. If I was scuba diving I would have spent some more time with it but I was only snorkeling and my bottom time was limited by how long I could hold my breath so I didn't push it.
A cool experience nonetheless.
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