For the first time in four days, it is not raining. The sun creates energy on the docks as the Caribbean 1500 sailors transition from hurricane preparation to voyage preparation. Everybody is outdoors working on boat chores that were deferred during Sandy. Aboard Cutter Loose, we manage to complete several projects on our pre-departure checklist, including re-commissioning the water maker, test-running the generator, lashing the anchors to the bow rollers and securing the dinghy on the stern arch.
One of today’s seminars focused on ocean fishing. We learn that our preferred prey includes wahoo, yellowtail tuna and mahi-mahi. A variety of lures is circulated around the conference room for closer inspection. The preferred technique for dispatching our prey once onboard involves spraying rum in the gills of the feisty, flopping fish. Once immobilized, the edible parts of the fish must be separated from the unneeded parts, the results of which create a bloody mess on the deck. One of our crew members is an avid salt water fisherman, so we look forward to supplementing our freezer contents with the catch of the day.
There is a growing sense of urgency aboard Cutter Loose. Four days from now, we will set sail to Tortola. Friday’s schedule is filled with seminars and the arrival of our crew. Saturday will be devoted to final provisioning and rehearsing safety procedures. On Sunday, we will leave the dock shortly after breakfast. That leaves Thursday as our final day to complete projects and wrap up loose ends. Preparing to leave the dock on an extended voyage is always filled with a certain amount of anxiety, but especially so when the first leg of the journey involves a 1500 mile ocean passage.
At tonight’s Halloween social gathering, we are treated to yet another visit from that salty vegetarian, Popeye. He seems to make an appearance nearly every year at this time. It is as if this strange character is stalking Cutter Loose.