It's Show Time!
I could feel eyes watching us as we entered the mooring field. I’ve done it myself - peeking out from the comfort of my moored boat to see if the incoming boat can successfully grab the float attached to the mooring buoy and affix it to a cleat on the boat. This time there was a strong current and boats in front and back were already secured to their buoys.
Some Roping Skills Required
All I needed to do was lean over the bow of the boat and snag the mooring float with the extended boat hook, pull it up 8-feet to the deck, pass the end of our line through the eye at the end and secure the loop back on the boat. To my rural Colorado friends, it is the nautical version of calf roping – hook it, hold it down, attach the rope, release it. At times I’ve considered throwing my hands in the air like a rodeo roper to signify I’m done in record time. It’s all supposed to be smooth. A seasoned captain and crew (me) should be able to rope that mooring buoy with one pass. Not this time…
Our Favorite Place to Moor
Mooring balls are often used in bays with limited space or poor holding for anchors (or delicate reef areas where anchors could cause harm). This mooring field was in Warderick Wells, part of the Exuma Land and Sea Park – a national park of the Bahamas.
The Exuma Land and Sea Park just upgraded their mooring balls and this new, super hefty pendent was a 20-pound behemoth. I should admit from the outset that upper body strength is not my...ahem...strong suit. Lying on my stomach, legs splayed wide to keep me from toppling over the bow, I hooked the bright yellow float and pulled it closer. Reaching out to grab the loop, my hand slipped and the loop splashed back to the water. Damn!
Keeping the Communication Going
From the helm, Dean has only a partial view of my struggle with the mooring, but he’s been listening to my epic fail through our radio headsets. Wearing these headsets, we can talk with each other at a normal level when I am on the bow and he is at the helm. Today what he heard is, “S#%& Dean, we’ll have to turn around and approach it again…I missed it!”
Now some fun!
Once securely attached to the mooring buoy, we spent a fantastic four days at Warderick Wells. Hiking to Boo Boo Hill, kayaking the bay and snorkeling make this one of our favorite stops. On Saturday night all the cruisers get together for a mixer on the beach. Standing around the food table, I introduce myself to the sailor next to me. She gives me a knowing smile and says, “Nice to finally meet you. We watched you come in.”12