A Frightening End to Our 2019 Cruising Season

Followers, I have quite the graphic tale to tell you.  It’s something I debated even sharing here because … well … you’ll see.  I won’t give it away.  But, over and above our failed attempt to sail to the BVIs back in November and our out-of-commission engine, this was one of the primary reasons we actually ended our cruise last winter and flew home early.  And, after some long talks with Phillip and friends about it, I’ve decided the story could serve as a valuable warning to others and perhaps just a little proof that miracles might happen more often than we realize.  This is a spellbinding trilogy.  Strap in.

Thanksgiving Day, 2019:

The very same day that Phillip and I were towed back to our slip at the Yacht Haven Marina in Spanish Wells (and thankfully, despite an almost pre-mature toss, they did eventually tow us all the way, safely into our slip), Phillip and I both spotted a strange sight on the dock.  A boat freshly-docked began to cough up what appeared to be every soft good on the boat.  The finger pier and dock around the boat were covered with pillows, cushions, blankets, rugs, even their vberth mattress.  I believe the time Phillip and I spent out in the Atlantic frustratingly becalmed had sort of erased from our memories the thought of being tossed around in too much wind and waves.  Where do you find that? our bewildered minds asked.  Not out in the Atlantic right now, that’s for sure.  That thing is glass!  Thankfully, Phillip doesn’t have as much blonde as I do ; ) so he “came to” sooner and correctly guessed that the nice new couple on the dock, with the soaking soft goods splayed out, had likely bashed across the Gulf Stream in some gnarly conditions and took on water below.  Phillip is annoyingly good at guessing things like that …

I ended up meeting the Captain of that ship later on my way back from the shower (ahhhh … that glorious first post-offshore shower!).  Meet Mike!


And Melody.


They cruise on this stunning Tartan, s/v Moorglade:


Turns out Phillip had been right!  While he and I had ironically been bobbing around in zero wind on the Atlantic side, trying to dodge massive monsters with minuscule puffs of wind, Mike and Melody had been getting their teeth kicked in with an unexpected wind shift and build in the Gulf Stream that had caused one of their shrouds to pull through the deck, allowing buckets of water to slosh in.  Mike and Melody suffered a constant leak, huge waves, failing instruments, an almost-broken finger, and all-told, quite a tale of their own to share from that voyage!  (Perhaps I’ll ask Mike for a guest blog following this saga … let me know in a comment below if you’d like that!)  But, the very funny (ironic, really) thing about meeting Mike right there, at that moment, on that tiny little island in the Bahamas, was that he knew we had met before.  I didn’t, but you’ll soon understand why.  Quick side story … (trust me, this is hilariously worth it!).

Turns out, just a short six weeks prior, Phillip, Mike, Melody, and I had all once again been in the very same tiny spot in the world: the Annapolis Boat Show!  As a HaveWind follower, Mike knew me and had spotted me one day at the show.  Mike and I chatted for a minute, even shared a hug, and I didn’t remember the guy at all.  I know, sounds terrible right?!  But, I have a complete, bullet-proof, untouchable affirmative defense.  Mike was the guy who recognized me RIGHT in front of Brian Trautman from s/v Delos.  That was my #1 moment from my Annapolis Top Tens list (I’m not kidding – go check it for proof, scroll down and read No. 1), and Mike was the guy who’d got all star-struck about me in front of Brriiiiaaannn which absolutely made my day (year, life!)  I gave Brian this “Uuhhh, recognized again? Happens all the time right?” look as I hugged Mike.  I mean … who could remember Mike in that moment?  (I know Mike well enough – and we’ve had enough laughs over this – to know that he’ll take no offense and get a monstrous laugh out of reliving this yet again).  I simply called him “fan dude” in my Annapolis re-cap.  Well, here was fan dude, standing right in front of me in Spanish Wells.  Who would have thought … Once Mike and I made that revelation and also discovered that the four of us had now ironically and inadvertently ended up in the same spot again—among all the millions of spots to land in the world—we knew we had to get together for drinks and share some tall sea tales.  Those two love to share drinks and tales.


We confirmed our double date.  Happy hour at Wreckers (the awesome bar and restaurant there at Yacht Haven Marina in Spanish Wells) for drinks followed by dinner.

It was an awesome night.  The four of us clicked incredibly well (although, admittedly, it’s rare for cruisers to not click), but Mike and Melody had the same confident and calculated (Phillip and Mike) meets comical and courageous (Melody and I) combo that can really pull a couple through even the most trying times.  I’m telling you, while wisdom and experience are great on a rough passage, a sense of humor and spirited spunk go a very long way, too.  The four of us had a fantastic time regaling our vastly-different experiences offshore—Mike and Melody’s being a howling, churning, beat-down, and mine and Phillip’s being an infuriating, mind-numbing, melt-down—and learning, as we always do when meeting other cruisers, how each of us got into sailing.  Phillip and I had such a great time with Mike and Melody at dinner that night, we decided to rendezvous again the following day for a full-day adventure over to Eleuthera!

Phillip, my forever-awesome travel buddy, had previously planned a full day ferrying over from Spanish Wells to Eleuthera, and had lined up four attractions for he and I to visit: 1) the Glass Window; 2) the Queen’s Bath; 3) the Preacher’s Cave; and 4) the Sapphire Blue Hole.  As the weather was calm and sunny that day (not enough wind to kite-surf and, remember, our boat was, at the time, kaput), Phillip and I had planned to rent a car and spend the day checking out these awesome sights, so it made sense to split the car cost with this awesome new couple and enjoy spending the day getting to know them better and enjoying all that Eleuthera had to offer.  Besides, Mike and Melody’s boat needed a full day—at least!—to dry out, so Mike and Melody were thrilled to accept our offer.

The next day, the four of us rendezvoused in the morning near the ferry point and shoved off around 8:00 a.m. from Spanish Wells over to Eleuthera.  Our rental car turned out to be quite the attractive little green lime, which was quite fitting because we certainly had to squeeze in!

Our first stop was the Glass Window.  Have any of you ever heard of or been to this attraction?  It’s astounding.  Between the vast, deep Atlantic on one side and the jewel-toned shallow basin of the Caribbean on the other.

In between these two vast bodies of water stands one tiny hole, a cleft in the rocky shores connected by a single bridge.  This “hole” is known as the Glass Window, and it is quite breathtaking. 

Phillip parked our little green clown car a good ways back from the bridge so we could hike up the Atlantic side and explore. 

It was a really cool feeling to see the grand Atlantic on one side, then turn around and see a far stretch of shallow turquoise water on the other.  What a dichotomy!  We peered over the edge, snapped some fun photos, watched a few pretty white waves crash on the rocks, then headed back to the car to make our way to the next attraction.

As we were standing on the bridge, however, looking out on the Caribbean Sea.  A pretty big wave crashed up and spilled over the rocky cliff on the Atlantic side, rising up over the cliff we had just scaled and crashing down onto the road.  The water came instantly up to our hips as it gushed by Mike and I standing on the bridge.  Melody and Phillip were closer to the car and didn’t get quite the gush Mike and I did, but the water was still spewing up around our little green car’s tires.  I whipped out my phone to capture a quick, post-wave video and you can still see plenty of water pouring over the rocks a good 8-10 seconds after the wave. 

You can see from our reaction in the video how thrilling it was. Such a simple thing. A gush of water. But, it was … intoxicating. We all laughed and joked about what would have happened had we parked the car closer!  It might have taken our little lime straight out into the Caribbean sea! While we were still giddy and giggling about the wave, we all snapped our heads at the sound of a loud SPPEEWWWHHH that bellowed over our shoulders!  It was a blowhole!  Just a hundred feet up ahead. The four of us walked over and each got a chance to feel that tingling rush from the power of the water.

We were having such a cool day!  With several sights still left in store.  The crew packed into our green caddy and got back on the road to our next destination.

We were headed to the Queen’s Bath.

What could go wrong?

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