|Sunrise leaving Great Harbour Cay for the crossing|
|Sailing the first 18 hours of the crossing|
What I thought odd was that The Man, like everyone behind the bullet proof glass, was dressed in the full black ninja outfit, combat boots, and with a very serious looking weapon strapped to his hip. He, and his compatriots, were obviously very serious people, warriors, those not to messed with; the ones who appear out of the night, breach the barriers, kick the asses and take the names. Since we are constantly told just how deep is the danger we are all in, how close the bad guys always are, one would think the Department of Homeland Security could find some capable clerks to poke around in the computers and make the notes, and let the warriors go about their warring.
Then again, maybe the Department of Homeland Security dresses their capable clerks up like ninjas and lets them carry guns because someone has to look the part. The real warriors, the ones who do the actual ass kicking and name taking, likely don't dress the part. Instead they wear the same kinds of clothes the bad guys wear, carry the same kinds of guns, get the same kind of haircuts, and lurk in the dark places the bad guys lurk. They pick up the rumors, run down the hints, and search though the murk to figure out what the bad guys are planning. They board the ships that need be boarded and force open the shipping containers that need to be inspected. They follow the money, listen in on the suspected phones, rummage through the suspected computers, and stalk the dark recesses of the web and the world.
It almost has to be that way because making a middle aged white guy, who has already signed on for a background check, drop by the office just because he got a new passport is a waste of everyone's time. If the powers that be actually regarded that as some kind of real security the bad guys would have taken over the place a long time ago.
I say “almost” because, well, it might all be a bit of a sham. How else would they pry literally trillions of dollars out of our collective pockets to pay for “security” while under-funding virtually every social program in the country? Americans are generally pretty good folks. We wouldn't normally let kids go hungry, sacrifice our own kid's education, close down research into weather and physics and space, trash the environment, and condemn veterans to homelessness and poverty. Normally. But where the money goes that we would have spent on those things, other than buying ninja suits and serious looking guns, is secret. Most of what they say they do is also a big secret. I know that the Congress and the Senate are supposed to serve us by keeping an eye on such things, but when was the last time any Congressman or Senator did anything in the public's interest? I guess your view of the sham percentage in all of this rests on just how much you trust the Congressmen and Senators to do the right thing.
The 35 hours, 140 nm passage from Great Harbor to Dinner Key went pretty well, if an average speed of four knots can be described as doing well. Truth to tell, having Miami in sight for more than 6 hours before finally dropping the hook was starting to get on my nerves. We were doing barely three knots at that point, the Beast struggling to push us against the Gulf Stream. We had a small problem rolling up the jib again and, again, that was an 0300 in dark, dark, morning thing. Even though we were pulling it in because the winds had died away to near nothing, it still rolled in up funky. While trying to fix it later the furling line got all snagged up, again.
So, on the way home from the DHS we stopped by West Marine and dropped about $200 on new blocks. Back at the boat we rearranged the furling line run and added the new hardware. We also noticed that the spare jib halyard, the one we have hauling around aloft for four years without ever using it for anything, lay really close to furling block at the top of the sail, and that it could easily hang up the whole operation. Since we have the spinnaker halyard for hauling the Ding and the anchor (if necessary) there seemed no good reason to leave that potential problem hanging up there.
So this morning I dropped it, only it didn't drop the whole way. The end, in free fall from the top of the mast, somehow managed to tie itself around the upper spreader as it fell. And I mean tie, as in an honest knot, not just snag as one might guess. How that happened is beyond me, except that Kintala still hates me on some days. And, some days, I hate her right back. Fortunately we picked this morning to move from the rolling, pitching, ugliness that is the Dinner Key mooring field in a southeast wind, to the serenity and quiet waters deep inside No Name Harbor. Untangling the wayward halyard was an easy, 10 minute foray aloft on a boat sitting as still as could be.
After that, the deck was secured and the Ding went overboard. We need water, a bit of food, one LPG tank filled, and a good night's rest or two before heading south once again. From anchored off Great Harbor Cay to the weekend party that is No Name Harbor...sometimes we go pretty slow, but it is hardly ever dull.
|No-Name Harbor, Kintala front and center|
|The lineup of boats waiting to depart for the States in the morning|
|Our neighbor in the anchorage at Great Harbour Cay|
|The last of the pretty turquoise water pictures for a few months. Stay tuned for more!|