Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Amazon Adventure #34. Mayday, Mayday!

We are at Nassau for a couple of days while a front goes through ( not a nasty one like last time we were here.). Our next destination is Chubb Cay about 35 miles away and we wait `til we have favourable winds like all really sensible cruising people do and then go for it. That evening we tuck into a little creek beside the radio tower of the Chubb Cay Club marina. A couple of older Bahamian fishermen in a sailing smack who are there before us pull on their mooring lines to let us in. Anne has become our radio person and listens on the VHF in the evening for any boat traffic to keep track of all our new boating friends. Then, clearly but faintly, we hear a mayday call. Some boat far out on the Bahama Bank has been adrift for three days and is asking for help. We listen and take notes.

No one replies! Again they make their call! It must be because we are beside the tall radio tower that we can hear them at all! Finally I call the Chubb Cay volunteer coast guard and pass on the message. Things are a little tricky for boats answering distress calls here in the Bahamas because of drug running and piracy. We listen in as an American surveillance plane finally answers them and directs a Coast Guard cutter to tow them to Florida. We have the distinct impression that if we had not come on the air and alerted the local volunteers, the silent listening would have continued and a drug bust made on this broken down cigarette boat on it`s way from Andros Island to Florida.

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