What to expect

Rants, missives and occcasional updates about where Masquerade is located and what we are up to.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Out on the water

We have completed the required steps and are now allowed to use the boats at Kwajalein! The classes and tests are mainly geared towards safety and the local conditions and rules, so it was not a big deal for us to go through. I went out last Thursday to take the practical class in one of the marina boats. You need to show that you can handle one of their rental boats properly. This was actually a new thing for us as these are twin engine powerboats (Twin V, and Boston Whalers). We have never spent much time in powerboats (other than our dinghy). Maneuvering with two engines can give you a lot of control but it also gets more complicated. Our thanks to Mike Herrington for taking us out on the police boat for our orientation and his sailboat for the sailing test!


The marina here is a very popular spot especially on the weekends. There are several power boats that can be rented out for fishing and diving (or whatever), also a ski boat and several small sailboats. One of the entertaining parts of this occurs when the fishing boats return. There is a cleaning station set up for the fishermen to process their catch at the top of the dock. The carcasses and waste parts are tossed into the water to the eagerly waiting sharks. The sharks know where the cleaning takes place and even know the sound of the fishing boats. When the boats are returning to the marina you can expect several sharks to come out to meet you and follow the boat back to the dock. At first it is a little disconcerting, but they are not aggressive sharks. It starts to remind you of feeding time with a couple of hungry puppies running around.


On Sunday we went out with John, a friend of ours for the Mother’s Day race. The Kwajalein Yacht Club puts on monthly races, but this one is different as there is a requirement for a Helmswoman. A woman must be steering the boat for the entire course. If a male touches the helm, the boat is required to perform a penalty 360 degree turn. So Cindy had the tiller while John and I manned the sheets of one of the marina’s Capri 22 sailboats. There were 7 boats in the race, ranging from 22’ feet to 40 ft. We had good wind, everybody had a reef in the mainsail, and nice flat water as we were in the lagoon. We started out a bit slow but we got faster as we learned the boat and the course. It was a good race and everyone had a lot of fun. Once the handicapped times were calculated out, we found ourselves in 2nd place! The race took about 2 hours, but the next 2 boats were only 50 seconds behind us! It was fun to sail the smaller and more responsive marina boats, but we might get Masquerade out for a race once in a while.


My camera is currently out of commission so not much for photos. There are a few on the website; I will put up more once I get the camera fixed.