Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Bahamas June 2 thru June 7
Wednesday June 2- Thursday June 3
We have an easy 8:30 departure from Old Bahama Bay, beautiful blue sky with a few scattered cumulus clouds that could form into some thunder storms later in the day. We have light winds behind us as we have to head north to avoid the shallow reef area before we can head east. We have the main out to help keep the rolling down from the 1-2 foot swells from the southwest. At 10 we make our turn to the east, from sapphire blue deep water to emerald green shallower water. The winds have picked up to 15 apparent so the jib comes out and the motor is off and we are sailing at 7+ knots. As we travel east for most of the morning we do not see any other boats, it is such a beautiful sight we can see nothing but emerald green water in every direction. We do finally see a few other boats heading west, and by 1 as we approach Mangrove Cay (pronounced key) thunderstorms are forming up ahead. The winds are up to 17-20 so we put a reef in the jib just in case we get hit with a gust. We are moving right along at 8+ knots thinking maybe we can skirt between the storms. No such luck, we do get the tail end of one storm but after 30 minutes of rain, the sun is back out. Another storm up ahead dissipates before we get to it but we are still enjoying the extra wind boost in speed. By 3:30 the wind has now died down, we roll up the sails and are now motoring in flat/calm seas. So smooth we get the backgammon set out for a few matches. By 4 we spot land off in the distance, we have not seen any other boats since 1. As we are approaching Great Sale Cay we see two other sail boats anchored at another anchorage from where we are going. As I am on the bow getting ready to drop the anchor a power boat is coming up behind us to anchor nearby. We are still amazed at how few boats we have seen on this day. We are anchored by 5:30 and go for a swim to cool off and check the anchor. After surveying the boat’s bottom in the clear water, Steve sees some areas that need attention, and spends another hour scraping baby barnacles and scrubbing plant life off it. At 7 we get another 30 minute shower that cools the evening off and brings a nice breeze to keep us comfortable thru the night. It is REALLY REALLY dark out here in the middle of nowhere with NO lights. The moon has not come out yet and the few stars showing between the clouds do not give off much light. Just our anchor light & the other boats, we know the island is close but we sure cannot see it, we can’t even see the front of the boat. We are awoken early the next morning with the sunrise shining in our windows. Steve gets up to go listen to the weather net on the SSB (single side band radio) while I go back to sleep. Later we have papaya & banana with lime for breakfast up in the cockpit. The seat is already getting hot so we get the sun screens out and put them up. WOW it cools things down right away. We then go about getting the dinghy out, blowing it up, and getting ready for a late morning excursion to explore the Island. Turns out not to be a lot to this little Island other than being a great place to anchor as you cross the Little Bahama Bank. Glad we are not on the move today as there is no wind, you could water ski on the water it is so still. We do see a couple of small sand sharks, one in close to the mangroves the other close to the beach when we are walking along shore. We find a place to snorkel but not much to see on this side of the Island. Back to the boat for some shade, lunch, and to plan what Islands we will be visiting next. During the afternoon 8 other boats come into the anchorage. We hear & see thunder storms off in the distance wondering if they will head our way. We need to charge the batteries so at 6 Steve turns on the generator & we close up to run the A/C while the generator is running. I put things away in the cockpit just in case we get some rain. By 7 it is raining a little but by 8 we are in a full blown thunder storm with lightning all around us. Good timing for the A/C, because it would be a sauna below otherwise with everything closed up. We have dinner hoping that the strikes just look close and that we do not get hit. By 9 it is all over and we have survived, all is quiet, calm and DARK. Just 9 little anchor lights out on the water; you cannot even see the dinghy hanging on the back of the boat 10 feet away. Two more thunderstorms come during the night with 20 – 25 knot winds, but they don’t last long and the anchor holds.
Friday June 4 – Saturday June 5
They are leaving this Island today, but we are planning on seeing some of the same Islands so will most likely run into them again. We go back to the boat for lunch, and wave goodbye. Our Dinghy motor was acting up a little on the ride stalling out while in idle. Steve knows he needs to clean the carburetor, so he does that in the afternoon. Motor runs much smother now. A little late afternoon swim & deck showers as we are the only boat at the Island. We have dinner up in the cockpit and NO RAIN today – yeah. Tomorrow we are off on another adventure to another Island.
Sunday June 6
Monday June 7
We have another short travel day only about 15 miles to Spanish Cay. The morning starts out cloudy & grey but with some nice WSW winds. Roy & Margrit come over by dinghy to discuss the evening storm. They decide the winds are good for them to make a break and head over to Florida, going out the Moraine Channel to the Atlantic and turning west northwest. We are leaving the anchorage by 9:30 sailing at 6.5- 7+ knots, and by 10:45 we are anchored by Spanish Cay and the sun has burned off most of the clouds.
Let the dinghy down and head into the marina, no real dinghy dock so we have to climb up onto the pier. Walk around and go in for lunch, check out the store & get a map of the Island. The Marina and Hotel and condos are run by the same owners with a few private homes scattered around the Island, and an airport for charter & private aircraft, and some beautiful tropical plants and of course some beautiful beaches. We stop at the marina store on the way back and pick up a few things. Getting back into the dinghy the tide is up so it should be easier but I misstep & land in the water. It felt good to cool off, & other than some sea grass sticking on me I survive and Steve pulls me into the dinghy. It had to happen sooner or later. Back at the boat even though I am wet & cooled off, Steve changes into his bathing suit and we go for a swim. During the afternoon the winds stay steady from the southwest and we are on the windward side of the Island so the boat is rocking some from the small waves that are forming. Steve decides to head over across the Sea of Abaco which is actually only 3 miles wide at this point, to anchor in the lee of Little Abaco Island. We pull up anchor and motor across and are re-anchored in calmer waters in 40 minutes. Just after the anchor is set we are greeted by a pod of dolphins, the first we’ve seen in the Bahamas. So far the rain has stayed away although we have seen some questionable clouds and have heard & seen some distant thunder & lightning. We are hoping for a nice quiet night BUT as a write this at 11:30 pm we are hearing thunder & seeing lightning again, and just before midnight it starts to rain. Not as heavy as the night before but it rains almost all night. I think I am seeing a weather pattern here, but rain during the night is better than during the day. Tuesday we head for Green Turtle Cay and this Island actually has people & a town and things to see & do & INTERNET access so I will be able to post this update.
Link to Pictures;
Posted by S/V Ocean Star at 11:58 PM