We chatted a bit with Vicky and Ed from Texas on “Boto” * who are doing an extended cruise through the Caribbean, across the top of South America, and up Central America to the gulf of Mexico. They are travelling with their very friendly Cocker Spaniels Chula and Mija. We were excitedly greeted by the puppies and told Ed and Vicky about the place to sign in on the beach. We said we would see them later and shoved off to return to Bentaña to get water and a Sharpie and then headed north in the dink to see if we could find the wreck site of Rule 62.
*FYI “Boto” is a pink porpoise or dolphin of the Amazon River.
The ride was about 1.3 nautical miles each way. When we reached the last beach to the north, we beached the dink near another boat that looked like it had been clearing wood, or some such work. It was actually the one of the boats from the salvage company that was working on Rule 62. We started to bushwhack through the underbrush and they called us back to tell us that it was dangerous because of the poisonwood plants and that we should use the path that was further along the beach. As we were hiking along the trail, we again met Meredith, one of the searchers. She was supposed to have been on Rule 62, but because of the delay in the start of the BVI bound fleet, she had to withdraw and got her best friend Laura onto the boat as crew. Her pain was very apparent. I shared with her a similar situation that I had gone through as a high school student. (I had a wonderful time as an exchange student in Peru. The following year, a friend of mine from my school had the opportunity to be an exchange student. I encouraged her to go to Peru and especially to go on the trip to Cuzco and Macchu Picchu. Ardy was not happy in her host family because they were always gone and too busy to have an exchange student, so she was really looking forward to the trip. I still remember the shock and tremendous pain and feelings of guilt when I heard on the Sunday night 11 pm news that the plane had crashed and all on board were killed. ) We discussed the fact that things happen for a reason and that the pain and guilt remain but soften over time. We did a group hug there on the backbone of the island with tears in our eyes. It was time to part, so we went towards the Atlantic beach where Rule 62 was and Meredith went back towards the Sea of Abaco.
It was an emotional experience to see the wreck of Rule 62. She had been shored up, patched up and had her keel removed so she could be worked on. Aside from some major scratches, a few patched up holes, and being dismasted, she looked pretty good. She had washed up on the only smooth beach on the entire island and it was only a couple hundred feet across. We do not know the situation and can only imagine the fear they were feeling, but they probably would have all been much safer had they remained on the boat instead of going DOWN *into the life raft.
*This refers to the sailors adage that you always “step up” into a life raft, indicating that your boat must be virtually under water and lower than the raft before abandoning ship.
When we arrived, the salvagers were hanging out wet clothing, so it looked like laundry day on the beach. They were preparing to drag her over the island the next day to float her in the Sea of Abaco where it is calm, instead of attempting to drag her into the ocean and risk lives and additional damage from the surf and swells in the Atlantic.