This is the Featured Chapter
Organizing the trip
On a cold and dreary winter day at an automobile plant in Michigan, Jim Spade, a medium-built man with sandy colored hair, in his mid 30s, who loves boating and scuba diving, was talking to Doc Jackson, a small man with graying hair, in his early 50s, who also likes boating. They were talking about going boating somewhere when the weather warms up this coming summer. Last year they went boating and fishing for walleyes in Lake Erie a couple of times. This year they wanted to go some place different. They were talking about maybe the Bahama Islands.
Jim had been
telling Doc about how much fun he had boating in the Florida Keys and how
clear the water down there was. Jim, his wife, and his two teen-age children
went on a boating vacation last year down to the Florida Keys for the third
year in a row. They stayed on his boat at the Faro Blanco marina at Marathon
Key. They all went diving out in the ocean for queen couch and lobsters. The
kids fished around the marina some when they were at the docks.
They had boated down the
west side of Florida, from Marco Island to Marathon Key and then later boated
back up to Marco Island. They steered a course due south down to Marathon Key
and a course of due north back up to Marco Island. They had boated through
about fifty miles of open water each way and came out right on target both
times, without any problems.
As nice as the
water was in the Keys, the water in the Bahamas was twice as nice and you
could stay on the beaches on some of the little islands down there. There also
was the casino and nightlife at Freeport and it would be a greater adventure
than the Keys. Jim was sure that he could boat over to the Grand Bahama Island
in his boat without any problems, but it would be unwise not to have at least
one other boat to go along for safety.
Jim and Doc started
to fantasize about taking their boats over to the Bahama Islands. From West
Palm Beach, it is only fifty-nine miles of Open Ocean to the Grand Bahama
Island. In a boat the size of theirsí, you would lose sight of land after
you were about twelve miles out from land, and you could see the island that
you were going to when you were about twelve miles from it. That leaves only
twenty-five miles that you could see only water in all directions. You are in
the Devilís Triangle, what could possibly happen in that short of a
distance? Well that was the bad side, now for the good side. The water is so
clear and the white sandy beaches are as good as they come. The people are
friendly; the weather is great any time of the year; what could be better?
They had talked
about it so much that they finally had convinced themselves that Jimís
twenty-one foot boat and Docís twenty-three foot boat were big enough to
make the trip across to the islands. They figured the amount of fuel it would
take to go one way and were sure that their boats both would have enough with
plenty left over to safely make it there. A good time to plan on going would be the week of Memorial Day. The
vacation policy at the automobile plant where they worked, would allow them to
take the Friday before their vacation week with a holiday in it, as their
holiday. That would give them an extra day for the trip.
The trip would
require at least two or maybe three boats for safety. That way they would have
some help if they had any trouble. They also would want to have at least three
or four persons on each boat, to help drive, take care of the boat and to
reduce the boat cost of the trip per person. There was also the problem of how
to get that many people and the boats down to Florida. It was decided that
this trip would be for guys only to make it easier on everyone. Privacy would
not be possible, because of living in such close quarters on these boats.
Jim and Doc started
asking some of their fellow workers, to see if any of them were dumb enough
that they would want to go along on this trip. The response they got was far
greater than expected. It wasnít long before there were enough guys that
wanted to go, to fill up three boats, so another boat had to be located. They
were told that Jeff Miller, over in the machine shop, had a twenty-three foot
boat and was interested in talking about going on this type of a trip. After talking to Jeff, they easily convinced him to join in the
adventure. They now had their three boats and enough guys to have a total of
four on each boat. This would have to be the maximum number of guys allowed to
go because of the space on these boats. Getting vacation at the same time for
twelve guys would not be the easiest thing, but with some swapping, bribing,
and pleading, the task was completed. Now all they had to do was get the boats
and guys down to Florida at the same time.