Sunday, April 26, 2009

Medical and Mechanical Emergencies!!!

Subtitle: Cruising--it's not for the Faint-of-Heart!

We went on a hike on Thursday. We dinked to the beach, but only got half way due to the low tide. We anchored our dink “Tide Hopper”, unloaded the hiking gear and waded into the beach. Then, after a short hike across the island we climbed Mount Bell to the peak. Mount Bell is,as expected, a bell-shaped hill. The climb was somewhat steep and covered with loose sand and stones. One mistake and we were mince meat on the razor-sharp coral outcroppings below. But, we made it safely and were able to take the following shots of the vista from there.

While taking those pics we also saw two dinghies rushing out of the southern cut. At the time we did not give them a second thought. There are small boats speeding through the anchorage from time to time. So, having conquered Mount Bell, we climbed down and back to the dingy and our boat.
While we were away on our hike, Rick and Lynnie decided to move their boat to a mooring ball closer to shore to be more “alee” of the strong gusts. While doing so, Lynnie severely lacerated a finger on her right hand by catching it between the line holding their 50,000 LB boat to the mooring and the hawse cleat on the bow. It was quite deep and her nail was flapping. Rick called our park hosts, Rick and Elena aboard their catamaran “Movin On”, for advice. Rick and Elena are long term volunteers to the Park and have been hosting this anchorage for years. Having some experience in such matters they suggested Lynnie see the doctor in the next Cay south, Compass Cay. So, Rick followed Rick in their dinghies to Compass Cay. That alone was quite a ride. Rick says they had to negotiate 2-footers in the Cut. Fortunately, the doctor and his wife (retired oncologist and retired nurse) were in. They were just about to leave for another Cay when Elena called ahead and asked them to wait. They did and Lynnie got the medical attention she needed. The doctor was most worried about infection. So, they have been in touch with the doc each morning via VHF radio for follow-up care. Hats off also goes to Todd and Brenda aboard Life’s 2 Short. They were anchored in Compass Cay when they heard about Lynnie’s accident over the VHF radio. They weighed anchor in Compass Cay and returned Rick and Lynnie to Cambridge and towed Rick and Lynnie’s dinghy so they would not have to endure the dangerous dinghy trip back. Then, if matters were not already serious, while anchoring to unload Rick and Lynnie aboard their towed dinghy, the dinghy’s line got caught in and wrapped around Life’s 2 Short’s prop and shaft. Todd had to don mask, flippers and weights and dive under to cut the line from the shaft. Doug (Gypsies in the Palace) was waiting at Rickshaw to help Lynnie transfer from the dinghy to the boat and help Rick secure the dinghy.

Of course we’re oblivious to all of this, having been hiking and climbing Mount Bell. This is all going on while we are dancing atop Mount Bell and celebrating our assent. It wasn’t until we returned to Tide Hiker that Bob, aboard September Song, relayed all the details to us. We felt badly we were not there for Lynnie. We now made the connection that the two dinghies we saw rushing to the Southern Cut were Rick and Rick.

Elsewhere friends, Rick and Elena, the same wonderful folks that helped Lynnie, also arranged for Gypsies’ motor mount to be transported to Staniel Cay to be welded AND be returned on Sunday. So, for Rickshaw’s and Gypsies’ sake, the stars were aligned. We’re all hanging here for a few days waiting for Gypsies’ part and for Lynnie’s finger to seal shut while watching for infection. The doc said if Lynnie sees signs of infection, she must get to the hospital in Nassau immediately. Rick says that if that occurs, they will instead fly directly to Ft Lauderdale from Staniel Cay. Sounds like a good plan to us, for many reasons. That night, we all took a day off from partying and everyone just relaxed aboard their own boats, contemplating the day’s events.
Friday afternoon was a beach day. But, being fully “party-rested” by Friday night, we celebrated Friday Fish Fry aboard September Song. Bob and Stephanie grilled the two huge Mahi Mahi caught by Colleen and John aboard Life’s 2 Short on Wednesday. Again, with all the sides and deserts and adult beverages, we feasted. Then, we all played “Catch Phrase”. Now that’s material for a book!

So, cruising is not for the faint-of-heart. While medical accidents and mechanical breakdowns are constant lurking possibilities, they pale in comparison to irreversible liver damage if this partying continues.

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