We always like to say that “it’s not an adventure until something goes wrong.” True or not, our last adventure on Cannonball certainly fit the bill! We started the day thinking we would shoot around the point to our favorite restaurant, Firefly, for lunch. I always pack extra gear just in case the day brings us farther than planned, and yet this time I didn’t. Staying out 6 hours longer than planned has long been my husband’s M.O. and I should really know better by now. Hindsight is 20/20, as *they* also say!
After lunch, instead of heading East back to Hope Town, we turned West, to see if a quick snorkel at Sandy Cay would be possible. The wind picked up en route and that, combined with the swell rolling off the ocean, made it too rough to stop. We continued on to Pete’s Pub in Little Harbour, planning to back up to the beach for a quick swim and some playing in the sand. As we were getting the stern anchor set, the bow thruster suddenly stopped working. The bow was then swinging around too far towards some snorkelers, so we gave the jet a little throttle to move around and re-set….and the jet didn’t move. We somehow seemed to have lost two entirely separate systems–at the same time.
We quickly threw the stern anchor back out, and Jonathan tried to diagnose the issue while I took the boys in to the beach. To do this, I was planning to carry Rocky, while pushing River and Van on our giant donut float. Jonathan told me the water off the swim platform was “around waist deep”, so I eased myself in carefully, with Rocky in one arm and my beach bag over the other shoulder. Splash. In we went, over my head. “Help, help I need help!!” I started calling to Jonathan who was already waist deep in attempted repairs. Meanwhile I was awkwardly treading water, holding Rocky above my head while the whole party crowd on the beach looked on.
We finally got some help out of the water and realized I had a huge sting on my arm, presumably from a jelly fish. I got the boys in to the beach, feeling slightly self conscious but deciding everyone was too day-drunk to remember my disgrace from 20 minutes earlier. Meanwhile Jonathan was checking hydraulic fluids on the jet, bucket operation, and even swam under the boat to check intake. He then dismantled the bow thruster engine, checked it underwater also, and checked the shear pin that connects it to the motor. All without any luck. He gave up for the moment and swam in to join me for a beer, earning his own sea creature sting in the process. This was pretty much the only time I’ve had a drink before Rocky’s bed time this whole winter…it felt like a good time to start.
We decided it was time to head back to the boat and face reality. The boys were soaking wet with no other clothing so they stripped down–we were now stranded and half of us naked, with a baby passing lots of gas in his very last diaper. (Oh wait–Van actually swiped Rocky’s size 12 month shorts so he wasn’t *quite* naked!) We managed to grab a nearby mooring so Cannonball was at least secure. We called the Dockmaster from our marina in Hope Town and he arranged a tow for Cannonball and gave us the number of a local guy who may be able to come get us. We called him just as he was pulling up to Cap’n Jacks for Happy Hour, the Friday before Easter weekend. Bless this man, he got back in his boat and came straight to get us. He seem rather amused to have me sitting up next to him, nursing Rocky over all the bumps and swells back to Hope Town. He didn’t say much on the ride and I was worried that he was a little horrified by us, but then as we pulled in to the harbor, he told me we had brought back wonderful memories of his own children when they were little, and how he and his wife would take them for boat rides just to get them to nap.
Bahamians take their Easter holiday very seriously, with many businesses closed from the Thursday before straight through the following Monday. On Easter Sunday we woke up and I could tell Jonathan was bumming to not have Cannonball. We saw the Dockmaster walk by and we asked him if he knew anyone who fixed jet engines…within an hour, Captain Elise was en route to meet a guy at the boat yard, and by the end of the day she pulled back into our marina, surprising us with a running boat. The jet drive was an electrical issue that they had been able to fix. The bow thruster has a stripped gear shaft and needs a part from the US, so that problem will take a little longer.
One last adventure of note: Elise arrived and surprised us not on purpose, but because she fell off the dock at some point during the repair, with her phone in her pocket, rendering it useless. There was also a fair amount of blood on Cannonball, though I have yet to hear that part of the story…apparently this weekend was an adventure for all involved. If only boats could talk…! (Her phone was revived with a bag of rice, so this adventure is truly the best kind…one that all worked out in the end)