Starbound & Crazy Cubans : March 2, 2010
Well Oconee is back in Nassau...again. The dingy engine's kill switch went south about 2 days after we got the refrigeration up and running (there seems to be a pattern here). I replaced the kill switch and “Mule Kicker” is now running so what's gonna' break next? I'm holding my breath.
Our friends Mack and Shirley on Cats Paw are still having refrigeration problems. The compressor they had on flown into Staniel and dutifully carried to Nassau for Kenny, the refrigeration man, to install is the wrong one. It has taken 3 days to figure out what was “the right one” and get a replacement ordered and shipped to Miami. “Darvin,” a friend of Kennys, is a pilot and going to magically get it from there to here and thru Customs. Dis de Bahamas mon....
The month of February has been a month of west winds and new friends. We met a couple on a beautiful old Josh Slocum replica of the “Spray” (first solo round the world voyage). “Starbound's” keel was laid just before WWII in 1942 for the owner of Sail Magazine and completed in 1953. She has been around the world 3 times and had 2 books written about her exploits. She is now owned by a young family – Jimmy, , Scarlet - age 6, River - age 2. I unabashedly fell in love with little “Ribber.” The children are a delight. “Starbound” is planning their own circumnavigation. Take a trip over to our photo page for some pictures of “Starbound” and her crew.
Cubans at Eleven O'clock: 2/15/2010
We were jolted out of a sound sleep at around 11:00 PM by 66 courses of “My Ding-a-Ling” sung by drunk, Florida, Cubans at the top of their lungs in three part harmony all parts out of key (of course). Gigi thrashed around in bed and covered her head to block out the grating harmonies pulsating from the bar on the other side of the marina. You have no idea how bad music can be until you have heard drunk Cuban's trying to sing a Southern, Black, “Hot Nuts” song. Nobody was going to sleep thru this din.
Maybe I'd better back up to the beginning of this story... .
We had gathered as usual to celebrate sunset on the Sampson Cay Club's veranda (and future site of “tiki bar”) that looks West out over the Bahamian Banks – a perfect place to end the day with friends and rum drinks. The Marina was closed but not long after sunset our revery was broken by the appearance of two 80 foot plus power yachts. It was obvious they were going to tie up on West Dock so Gigi, Mack, Shirley, and I went down to help with lines.
They were “charters” and the worst kind of “charters.” The only people aboard that were sober were the captain and mates the rest were loud, obnoxious, Latinos , shouting, “ Put us across from each other boat so we can talk.” They had no idea of how to talk. All they knew how to do was yell. The young mate on “Rhapsody In Blue” (a misnomer for sure cause there sure as hell was no rhapsody aboard either boat) was almost in tears she was so upset by the situation. Gigi put her arms around the young lady, gave her a reassuring hug, and promised to check on her in the morning. We helped them finish securing the boats and retired to Oconee and Cats Paw at the other end of the marina for some peace and quite. I commented to Mack on the way back to the boat that, “I didn't know we drifted back to Miami?”
Back to 11:00 AM...
The Cuban serenaders have got to run out of steam in a few minutes! They've just got too! But no the braying continued. I told G, I'm gonna' fix this as I rolled out of bed, put on my red plaid flannel birches, grabbed my compressed air signaling horn, and headed for the bar. My horn and I strode up to the screened in enclosure of the bar, took aim, and fired “one prolonged blast” and “three short blast” ( the signals for leaving a marina and operating in stern propulsion). The crew in the bar frozen in stunned silence. I delivered the lecture: “Bar closed people are trying to sleep. A little respect would be nice.” Then quietly turned and went back to Oconee enjoying the thundering sounds of silence.
That's what I wanted to do but (unfortunately) not what I did. Which was close the hatch and turn on the fans for some white noise to drown the bastards out.
Story Over... NOT! - 2/17/2010:
The next day both boat loads of Cubans moved into the Marina proper, one across the dock from Oconee and Cats Paw and one on the next dock, to choruses of groans from us all.
Shit! But they can't do it two night in a row can they? Can they?
We did learn that the Florida “Cubans” were the owners and not charterers and they had new captains and crews. This should have been our first clue. Who would work for these assholes for more than one trip? After another celebration of sunset (green flash included) and a pleasant supper aboard, we settled in for a quiet evening of reading and listening to a little jazz. It was not to be quiet for long.
At about 8:00 o'clock “Rhapsody In Blue,” lit up like a whore house and started to pulsate with the scintillating latin rhythms Cuba is famous for. Women of all ages gyrated to the music amid high pitched screams of delight. The men started telling macho tales of former conquests each trying to out shout the other. What is it about Miami / Ft. Lauderdale Cubans that makes them loud, lascivious, obnoxious, self centered, and disrespectful? Soon the whole marina, Oconee & Cats Paw included, were pulsating along with them only ours “pulses” were from elevated blood pressure.
By 8:30 I had had enough. I stomped over to Rhapsody, banged on the hull, and barely manged to attract a “gentleman” over the din that appeared to be an authority figure. As politely as a pissed off southern gentleman barely in control of his “pissedoffness” could I asked, “Would you please tone it down a bit it is quiet time in the marina.” He promised he would. The lull lasted about as long as it took old Vic to walk back to the boat. I had already made up my mind that they would get air horns down the companion way at 5:30 the next morning if this shit kept up.
By 9:00 PM our women folk were really pissed off. Miss Shirley, off Cats Paw, is a 4' 11” X-school teacher that can easily drown out a room full of 10 year olds on lunch break operating at full volume. Gigi & Miss Shirley planted themselves in front of Rhapsody In Blue, assumed the “bitch wing” posture and Miss Shirley commenced to get their attention. Oh, you don't know “bitch wing?” That's hands on hips with elbows akimbo and gyrating (elbow movement is usually used to punctuate appropriate words and phrases). G and Miss Shirley (like most ladies) are bitch wing artist when they are really ticked.
Shirley explained in no uncertain terms, terms even a Spanish speaking Miami Cuban can understand, that loud partying in a quiet marina in the Exumas was not acceptable behavior and must stop and stop NOW (or words to that effect)! Gigi explained that what was acceptable behavior in Miami was not acceptable in the Exumas and perhaps Sampson Cay Club and Marina was not their kind of marina. And maybe they should search elsewhere for a marina that better suited their on personal “party down style.” Mack was more direct, “You people are the most obnoxious, inconsiderate people I've ever met.” The Ft. Lauderdale Cubans returned fire but Gigi and Miss Shirley's icy bitch winged stares won the day. Within 30 minutes the party broke up and quiet slowly reinstated itself across the marina.
You don't need an air horn when you have a “Miss Shirley” and a “Gigi” in your arsenal.
Story Over? No and Hell No! - 2/17/2010:
The next morning, Gigi was walking down the dock next to “Caspian,” the Florida Cuban boat on our dock when their bow line turned loose and her bow swung out into the current. The boat had been tied up by the captain off “Rhapsody In Blue” the previous even. We took the “cruisers entertainment” option and just watched them tie up this time. Evidently the job had been botched. Too bad so sad.
Cruisers can be entertained so easily, we watched as “Caspian's” captain ran for the helm, ripped off the cover, started the engine and swung the boat back to the dock with bow thrusters. While crew re-tied the bow line.
About an hour later more entertainment came our way. Gigi, Miss Shirley and I are standing on the dock when “Caspian” again moved away from the dock, the forward spring line comes up short and slams the boat into the dock with lines straining to the breaking point. The boat crushed a couple of 2x4s used as sacrifice material on the piling like match sticks in a vice and the dock actually moved sideways 2 feet. Then the boat slammed into reverse and did the same thing going astern. Miss Shirley ran to find Rock, the dock master, and almost ran into Caspian's captain returning from paying his bill. Shirley not so calmly informed him that his boat had almost taken out the dock. The Captain broke into a run jumped aboard and got the boat back under control.
It turned out the owners son had been on the bridge and was playing with the controls with the engine running. And yes the owner was watching – dumb ass. Some people get what they deserve. Oh, and the “Caspian” hit the dock hard enough to put a good dent in their rub rail and nice scratch in the side. One of the Cuban ladies came out in her high heels with some Simple Green and a cloth and tried to remove a nice 7 to 8 thousand dollar scratch – didn't work. See I told you cruisers were easily entertained.
An hour later Caspian pulled away from the dock with Latin rhythms blaring on the stereo and all the “ladies” aboard swaying to the tunes while giving Gigi & Miss Shirley inappropriate gestures. Gigi responded with some “East Philly” hand jive of her own that a good southern boy is just too gentlemanly to ever understand. Gone and good riddance!
“Rhapsody In Blue,” not to be out done, left a few minutes later with their dingy hanging in the air, swinging like a pendulum, and not secured in chocks and their almost water level engine room doors open. With West winds at 25ks they would have following seas and a good chance of taking one over the stern, thru the doors, and down into the engine room. We gave the captain a call on the VHF and told him his engine room doors were open. His response, “ No problem, she will do 45 knots.” I can just see him coming down off plane and the engine room filling from his own wake. More power to him.
If these west winds will just let up a little Oconee will be headed back for our beloved upper Exumas. Richard and Lynn, my brother and his wife, will be joining us in mid-March for a week of R&R cruising style. The freezer is stocked with lobster and conch and we just restocked the rum locker. I see rum punches and sunsets in store for Richard and Lynn. G and I are really looking forward to their visit.
'Till next time.
Fairwinds & Rum Drinks,
Vic & Gigi
PS – Mack and Shirley's compressor has been supposed to be delivered to the marina at 2:00 PM for the last 4 days. Is de Bahamas Mon.