As we approached the boat to prepare for boarding, the unrelenting sun was already lashing at our exposed skin. Considering the small area of shade on the largely exposed deck, I paused to consider, “I wonder how bad this sunburn will be.”
Later, when Trish, who I met in Cozumel, saw the paltry tube of sunblock I had packed, she was aghast. And I guess she’s right, in that it really was smaller than many tubes of toothpaste. Please don’t tell my dermatologist, but I don’t often wear sunblock. I just don’t tend to think about it.
This all happened around noon, which was when Heather and I had arrived at the dock, only to learn we are on different boats, and so wished each other good journeys and parted ways. Realizing there were two boats sailing was a touch concerning, but I was relieved that Trish and I will be diving together. As it turns out, our boat, The Sea Explorer, is the Michigan boat. At least 7 of the 22 divers here are from Michigan, and I think there may be some I haven’t met yet.
I found Trish and we boarded the boat and began unloading our fins and other equipment into the small cubbies on deck. And we fastened our BCD’s into place on the tanks standing at attention amidship. We were among the first to board, and as others came along, the boat gradually became more crowded with divers moving in and getting settled.
I also found my berth belowdecks toward the bow (the front of the boat) and tried to get situated. But as it turns out there really isn’t much to getting situated here. This is it – this is all there is. What you can’t see to the left is the small shelf on which I keep my duffel.
There it is – there’s the duffel sitting on it’s little shelf. And honestly, from a storage perspective, the whole thing makes sense. When you’re likely to spend entire days in a swimsuit, how much space do you need?
And, in case you are wondering: yes – somebody had the bunk above me.
Two divers arrived late, so the 2 o’clock introduction took place at 3, and it was shortly after 4 that we cast off our lines and began to motor out of Nassau harbor, with a bright sun and a steady breeze marking our passage.
When I booked this trip, I read on the website that they don’t usually harness the wind to sail in May, as the winds just aren’t strong enough. I thought about this as I listened to the hum of the diesel engine below and felt the wind tousling my hair. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought this wrong, so it wasn’t entirely surprising, then, when the crew began to unwrap the jib, and soon enough we were headed out under sail (the wind apparently augmenting the diesel engine), with a 5 hour journey to anchor ahead of us.
We wouldn’t get to our destination in time to dive, we were told, but the sail was flying, the sun was bright, the day was warm, and the wind was brisk. And I was happy.