As our on-board brainiac Dr Haywood wisely reminded us yesterday during a fascinating lecture on expedition planning, an expedition, no matter how much you plot and prepare, rarely goes entirely to plan….
On Monday night we spent a whole evening hunched over charts and pooling our collective knowledge of the ‘Lesser Caymans’. We were planning our trip out from Grand Cayman to explore the wilds of Cayman ‘Little’ and ‘Brac’. After much discussion and debate we had ourselves an exciting and jam-packed schedule for the next 5 days combining perfect quantities of diving, on-shore exploration and science lectures and sail training.What could possibly go wrong?
Today we faced the reality of expedition life. Having read everything we could about the procedures for arrival into Cayman Brac we happily sailed towards the north east of the Island where we expected to bring the boat into clear customs, only to be stopped on the approach on the radio by Raymond the ‘shipping adviser’. Raymond, a cheery, chatty official greeted us enthusiastically to Cayman Brac and then promtly told us to head to the south end of the island where he said Customs would probably meet us at the dock, to be picked up by dinghy and brought out to the boat to give us clearance. So off we sailed with dingy at the ready to pick up the customs officer, only to be met by a not quite as cheery but equally laid back customs officer in his own boat who didn’t want to come aboard but made off with our paperwork and told us to be be back on Saturday by 4:30pm to clear customs again for our return to Grand Cayman.
This set the scene for a series of unexpected events which included motoring around in the ‘big buoy hunt’ for a decent mooring, the slow death of Sea Dragon’s water-maker putting a stop to any rampant water use and last but not least an MOB (Man Over Board) drill, which the life-buoy survived due to our relatively quick-maneuvering but which also reiterated the point about best laid plans …..
Of course the backdrop to all this has been a day of gorgeous sunshine, wonderful sailing, beautiful blue water, snorkeling with sharks and rays, a top notch dinner and a view over stunning almost-deserted islands. We were able to overcome all our little challenges with a bit of quick thinking and team work and still got to enjoy an incredible day. But it was a valuable lesson learnt and one that we’ll remember when planning our own expeditions in the future.
Anyway we’re on expedition, so who needs fresh water showers?! Hand me the soap, I’m off for a bath in the big blue…… 🙂