Thursday, January 14, 2010

High Drama on Highbourne Cay


The sun had just sunk quietly into the sea as we checked our lines and secured the decks for the night: furling the flag, checking the transom door, securing loose cushions--you know the drill.

The peace and quiet shattered as a US Coast Guard helicopter swooped down on us from out of nowhere.  This guy meant buisness--no casual fly by, but a deliberate, hovering inspection.  Search lights blazed.  Reverberating whump, whump, whump from the rotors churning the air made my ears pound.  A rusty egg beater on steroids.  Man, that thing needed a lube job.

There were 8 - 10 boats in the small marina.  Each one was individually raked by the lights, washed over by the down draft and deafened by the noise.  There was no communication from above, just the all-seeing eye of implied authority.  It became uncomfortable to the point of "almost-fear".  What was happening?  What/who were they looking for?

A reprieve.  The chopper lifted away and made a long, slow circle of the island.  Then it came again.  Lower.  Lower.  It centered over one small go-fast boat.  They'd found their mark.  2 villanous men had made it ashore.  Out of sight, but still very clearly audible, the chopper moved inland over a working camp and settled there long enough to arrest and carry away one man in hand cuffs.

After 30 minutes of  noise and confusion, it was over.  They were gone, leaving questions and posturing in their wake.  "Those Americans think they can just barge in here and throw their weight around," and so on, and so on.  That never goes over well when Buz is in ear shot, he being American and all.

Morning brought sunny skies and again, the circling helicopter.  Big circles.  Smaller circles.  Figure eights.  More noise.  What happened to paradise?  Okay, there it goes, following the go-fast being towed away over the Bahama Banks  by a Police boat.  It was rumored villanous man #2 had escaped off island during the night with the aid of an accomplice.  Rumors only.  No one knows what it was all about and in the way of the islands, no one really cares.

On to more pressing issues:  "Who wants to go fishing?"
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