As the boat slowed the dinghy lifted it's nose only partially full of water as it was still attached to the halyard. Skipping across the water dangling on the line all by it's self as I was no longer holding the line. Damn my finger hurts! It must have really got caught. Favoring my hand I turned to the next job, the anchor. Reaching down releasing the pin and stop to lower the anchor and have it ready to deploy was done one handed. You don't get to be this old without a few fingers in the door and other traumas so life must go on.
As we passed the last pier at BBGC I turned to Ayrton and continued with the final anchoring measures. It was at this time I finally took a moment to check on my injured hand. WTF! I was looking at what was remaining of my left ring finger. At this point there was bood running down my hand. My finger looked like a hotdog cooked too long in a microwave and rather short in length. Fu$&! Oh damn I still have to get us anchored!
"Ayrton stop the damn boat!" Was all I could get out. With his imediate response I dropped the anchor in feeding the chain out as best I could with less than two hands. Once the marker for 70 feet past I wrapped the chain on the front cleat and helded on. It pulled tight and we were now turning to the wind. "Ayrton I need a paper towel I ripped my finger off!" With out missing a beat there was a towel presented to me just in front of my bloody hand. He was next requested to get the dinghy ready NOW! As we had to get to shore.
"Bimini Big Game Club, Bimini Big Game Club, Gemini Dreams channel 1-6". "Bimini Big Game Club" was the response. "This is Gemini Dreams. We just anchored in the anchorage. I ripped my finger off and need to know where the clinic is! I am trying to get to you dock!"
We were met about half way across the dock by two of the staff trying to rush us on. The anxiety and heart rate were getting the best of me as I walked to the street arm held high and my other hand as a tourniquet. First across the street but no keys, then to the ice parking lot and off we went. Horn blowing and driving like a James Bond thriller. We were soon down past Stewart's at the clinic.
From the time we entered the clinic time normalized. I relaxed. Being in industrial work for so long things like this are all too normal. Sorry Gerry but all I could think of now was I'm going to have the "Cromier" hand. Three nurses attended washing, evaluating and dressing what was left of my finger. "You will NEED to see a doctor..." WHAT? It will be days before we are in the States. Fly to Nassau what? Suddenly the blur is returning. For two hours I had three secretaries (nurses) trying to work out options for me.
To keep things in line I started to prioritize. First Ayrton had to stay with me. Second I needed antibiotics. Third at this point I couldn't make my self cauterize the wound so this was not an option. Forth I lost the tip of the finger overboard so I was not having replaced. Fifth was the boat and the damn cat. I also needed to feed Ayrton somehow. Everything else was trivial. Ayrton and I started a list of things to do and things to take. One of the nurses drove him to BBGC to handle the list. With calls in to the hospital at Nassau, the airport, the US embassy and Bahamas department of tourism everything became clear. There were no more flights to the US today but there was one last flight to Nassau. Almost $200 bucks for us one way. All the adrenalin must have worn off now because the lights started to glow and things were as I said at the time "weird" I was sweating and cold, time for an IV. At 4:30 we boarded our flight to Nassau. Neither of us had eaten yet!
Once on the ground we were greeted by Bahamas tourism at the gate and they had a cab ready but did not cover the fair. We were rushed right by the Wendy's and missed our last chance for food. Once at the hospital after a cab ride through the back alleys of Nassau we started the process of being processed. Things were slow at first but eventually the person Bimini called found us and things started to progress rapidly. We went straight from X-ray to expedited confusing part of the staff. I tried to arrange some chips or soda for Ayrton but nothing ever materialized as he was whisked away to the "family room" and away from the population.
My native Nassau doctor arrived and reviewed the options. I explained to her my background and current circumstances as a cruiser and told here take the safest route to treatment as it would be days before we were able for medical attention in the states. A few pricks of a needle, some wire cutters and some thread later I was ready to go once the new IVs were done. I was released to find Ayrton entertaining as usual, deeply in conversation with a retiree as she was also in wait for others. I love to get compliments on my son.
Our first mission out of the hospital was food it was now 9:50pm. There was no way to make it the half mile or so to McDonald's before they closed at 10. We went off toward the east thinking that somewhere between here and s/v Liberty there would be something open. Seizing the moment I flagged down the police unit as it drove by only expecting to ask if Defense Force operated 24 hours. Suddenly we found ourselves waiting on a second patrol car that took us to where Liberty should be but could not get access to the water as everything was closed. They next took us to the cruise ship dock to talk to Defense Force about a ride out. Which became another ride to the central Defense Force dock near the Green Parrot and BASRA. After explaining our story for about the fifth time since we left the hospital they agreed to take us out. It was after 11pm now
We boarded the patrol boat and headed to the east anchorage. As we arrived we identified Liberty resting with one boat between us. As we motored gently up to the starboard side of Liberty I knocked on the hull. Even yelling out "Ben it's just Wes!" Didn't calm the audible panic below deck after a knock with blue lights flashing. After a few expletives and we will be right there. Ben slide the hatch open. "Ben it's Wes everything is alright". With a big thanks to the Defense Force we are glad to be on this side of an encounter with them. It was about midnight as we wolfed down a few cookies and a can of chili!
We want to thank Ben and Darren of s/v Liberty for the 37th time for allowing us to spend the night and for feeding us. We talked of things since we last were together and plans from here but most of all we slept well.
The next morning started off with eggs and pancakes, we love you guys, thanks so much. Followed by musical dinghy rides and the search for a pharmacy. We took a moment at Rubis to search the internet for buses to the airport. It looks like bus 10 goes within a mile or two and at 2 dollars instead of 30 for a cab that was our plan. I had four prescription totaling 100 dollars. After discussing what meds were already on the boat with the pharmacist I took the antibiotics and rejected all the others. We passed a couple of local places I wanted to eat so we could check the weather and mail at McDonalds. (We can both eat at Nassau McDonalds for $8.97) on the way I asked a driver on bus 10 about the airport and he said take bus 12 instead. (Bus 12 goes almost the same route as 10 but has a stop right at the end of the airport drive. ( key words. Bus 10 12 Nassau airport how to get to from end of drive $2.50).
Once at the airport it didn't take long to find out it is Homecoming in Bimini! The flight is full and we are now on standby. We found a tourism agent but he was not able to do anything. No other airlines are going today. Sitting and regrouping I was just about to email Liberty that we may need another night when I jumped up and ran back to the counter. Oh a new person, I explained being on standby, my hand, Ayrton etc as she checked on flights for tomorrow. All booked, it's Homecoming. My disappointed anxiety filled look must have sparked something in her as she asked if I was paying with cash or credit. This surprised me so she had to repeat it and explain she currently had two seats but I had to pay right now before they were booked elsewhere. I payed down 200 dollars and she checked me in immediately so as she put it there could be no questions. So for the next two hours we played on the most aggravating internet we have ever been on.
Going through the check in I had some guy try to take my billfold but chose just to retrieve it and continue on as we didn't want to loose our seats. We ended up departing an hour late due to being overweight. That was two stories within a story but of little consequence. All I can say is any pain killers in my system were gone by the time we hit 10,500 feet cruising altitude. My finger felt like it was in a fire. I also had a fever meaning either infection or I had caught Ben's virus during the night.
It was good to be back home on the boat, trying to get home with only nine and three quarter fingers. with our little adventure we missed the window to sail across the Gulf Stream. It now looks to be over a week before we can make the trip.