Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Off to "Briland" with Bandit

Three years ago while visiting Spanish Wells we began to feel the pull of Harbour Island, accessible with the services of a pilot boat to lead you through the aptly-named Devil’s Backbone or by the foolhardy. Here the reefs flirt dangerously with your keel, as you thread the needle through the sand bars and the coral heads. Finally, we decided to satisfy this longing to transit to Briland, the slang abbreviation of this resort town frequented by the likes of Elle McPherson.

We had a chat with Jock on Bandit, who collects the mooring fees on behalf of Cinnabar, but more importantly, serves as one of the two recognized pilot boats in the area (the other, Little Woody, seems oddly named). The fee for leading one boat on the two hour journey is $70; with our caravan of five boats we negotiated the tariff down to $50 per vessel. First Edition was lucky enough to have Jock aboard for the security of the master at the helm, as well as listening to his stories of growing up on Spanish Wells, captaining vessels, crewing on the lobster boats, and seemingly being coached in life by his sweetheart, Carolyn, wife of 44 years.

Jock had warned that he would not do the trip with strong NW winds, which (duh) were predicted. Fortunately, the next day the wind was less than 15, so around 10:15 Jock came aboard and assigned the boats a position in line: First Edition in the lead, followed by Celebrian, Latitudes, Pegasus, and bringing up the rear, Emotion, the power boat. Except for the company of Jock on First Edition, the trip was a big ho-hum. Perhaps it was a little bit more thrilling on the boats behind us as we came close to shore to avoid the sand bars, and zipped around the reefs. Two hours after we had gotten underway Bandit dropped us off in the anchorage between the two marinas, with a promise of freshly baked bread to be delivered in the morning, compliments of Mrs.Bandit.

That evening Bobbie and Luke on Latitudes hosted us for a celebratory happy hour where we met Martie and Charlie on Pegasus, from Solomons, MD. It was an especially happy happy hour, with one of those “you had to be there” moments. When Michel from Emotion debated the current time with Peter, we all discovered that Michel and Carole had missed the change to daylight savings time, nearly two weeks ago. We had wondered why these guys were often late, and he wondered why we all were always gathering well ahead of schedule!

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