We just got in and out of Jacksonville in a little over 24 hours – our schedule is being accelerated to move more cargo in anticipation of the approaching holidays, so this hitch will be cut short by a few days and we’ll go home early – not really a bad thing, since we’ll be back in no more than two weeks as usual anyway.
Our inbound yesterday was a disaster. It was one of those days where after one things goes wrong, everything starts going wrong – we arrived at the jetties in Mayport, the mouth of the St. Johns River, with a screaming north wind (the temperature dropped into the fifties, almost unbearable if you just spent the last two weeks in the Caribbean) and with a following sea and flood current, the barge was nearly out of control. Add to that we lost the port engine completely when we were coming around to make up to the barge off the dock, and when we went to bring the gear on deck, the chains got tangled and the outboard chain jumped the stern pin. There came a moment when we were using a swede wire on the capstan and a shackle to get the wire back around the pin that I imagined the next thing that would go wrong was someone would get hurt. I went to my crew and asked them specifically to try to regroup and focus on staying out of dangerous situations and just get this show to the dock and tied up so we can put it behind us. I hate days like that – I count it as a major upside that no one got hurt and, less importantly, there was no damage to the boat or barge.
Now we’re bouncing around somewhere off Ponce de Leon inlet, hugging the Florida coast in rough weather once again. To avoid the weather around the Bahamas, we’ll take Northwest and Northeast Providence Passage, which everyone here refers to as the Hole in the Wall.
I need to get back to holding onto my seat – good night!