Saturday 18 December – Friday 24 December
We leave Marsh Harbour Saturday morning around 9 am under cloudy skies. Once out of the harbour we feel the winds picking up as we head over to Boat Harbour to top off with fuel before heading south. A little over an hour has passed as we approach Boat Harbour and the winds are blowing 20-25 and already starting to sprinkle. Docking at the fuel dock would be okay as the wind direction would just blow us onto the dock, getting off could be tricky. So we turn around and go back to Marsh Harbour deciding to wait until Sunday. Good decision as it rains pretty hard later in the day and Sunday turns out to be a beautiful day. As we pull into the fuel dock Sunday morning, the bow thrusters don't work, now we are really glad we didn't try on Saturday. We have a lovely sail down to Little Harbour, and are anchored around the point of the channel going into the Harbour. It is too shallow for us to go in with our boat so we go in by dinghy. Have a little walk around stopping at Pete's Pub for their famous rum drink the “Blaster”. Not a lot to see and or do here so we go back to the boat and re position ourselves at a better anchorage off Lynyard Cay for the night. Monday we have a 7 am departure and by 7:30 we are out the cut into the Atlantic Ocean. Another beautiful sunny day, seas are pretty calm as we go thru the cut then we have 1-3 foot rollers building during the day to 5-7 foot rollers as the wind builds up to 20 kts pushing us south. The winds are almost right behind us also so we are motoring with just the genoa sail. Of course with the rolling seas comes the wind that keeps changing from a little off to port to a little off to starboard, we lost count how many times Steve jibed the sail from port to starboard. We go south past the pass through the reef between Egg Island and Little Egg Island, since one of the guide books we have reports it shoaled, and go south of a wrecked freighter that grounded on the reef years ago before we turn east onto the bank. The change is dramatic, going from 1500 ft depth to 60 ft in the space of a quarter mile. By 3 pm we are anchored in the Harbour at Royal Island. All our previous concerns about construction interfering with the anchorage turned out to be unnecessary. They are still doing construction but there is plenty of room to anchor, and what a great anchorage it is. Tuesday Steve works on finding the problem with the bow thruster with no luck. He thinks it might be the circuit board which would have to ordered & shipped over. Go for a dinghy ride around the harbour after lunch then Steve works on waxing the boat. Wednesday morning Steve finishes waxing the boat then we head over to Spanish Wells where we've decided to go to a marina as there is no good anchorage and limited moorings. We are docked at the marina by 11 and guess it is the slow season as we are the only boat there with 39 empty slips around us. Go for a walk to find a place for lunch then make our way around the rest of the Island. It is a quite Island who’s main industry is fishing unlike so many other Islands in the Bahamas having their main industry of tourism. It is also a dry Island so no liquor is sold here so no beach front bars. Pretty beaches that we walk along, finding a guy teaching another how to motorized paraglide- that's hanging from a wing parachute with a motor and propeller strapped to your back – about the simplest form of flight, and according to the French instructor, the safest. The guy learning was not ready to fly yet, he reminded us of a young bird just out of the nest as he tried to inflate his wing and control it in the turbulent winds. But the teacher went up and we could not help but think of Sean & Holly & Elena & Joe the 4 people we know that would want to try this out. Find the ferry dock and get some info on the ride over to Harbour Island for Thursday. When we get back to the marina another boat as come in, a huge cat that we had seen moored next to us back in Hope Town during the Box Car Race. We did not get to talk to them long as he was on his way to the boat yard to see about repairs. He was on a mooring down in the Exumas (Farmers Bay) and the mooring line broke and their boat drifted onto the rocks! A lesson he learned the hard way and we now know is to dive to check your mooring lines to see if they are strong enough to hold your boat. He was very lucky considering as just a little damage to each hulls bow at the water line. He had a temporary repair done in the Exumas and came to Spanish Wells to have it fixed, one of the few places in the Bahamas than can haul out his 26 ft wide catamaran. In his dreams Wednesday night Steve thinks of something to check on the bow thruster and sure enough it fixes the problem. Come to find out it was a wire to a relay that he had knocked loose while cleaning out the engine compartment. Yeah an easy fix even if it took a lot of time & work to find the problem. Thursday we are heading over to Harbour Island. It is possible for us to take our boat over BUT, 1st you have to hire a pilot to help you navigate thru the waterway known as the Devils Backbone. It is a very dangerous passage with close encounters with the shoreline and coral reefs. We would not even think about it unless the sea was dead calm, which it is not, plus the fact that a pilot cost $70 each way. The ferry (which sometimes does not run due to sea conditions) allows us to visit the Island without the stress of taking our boat over, it is a fun ferry ride over and it gives us just enough time for a short visit to this BEAUTIFUL Island that we tour by golf cart. The commercials for Bahama vacations are probably made on this island. Thursday night as we are sitting in the boat (me writing this) we hear band music. We throw on shoes & coats (67° out) and follow the music. They are having a kids junkanoo parade, very festive in all their costumes and we get to pass homes along the way all decorated with Christmas lights. Friday, hard to believe it is Christmas Eve !!!!, we are in the planing stage of where & when to go next. We have time to get to our next destination (Nassau/Paradise Island) with good weather BUT then another front is supposed to come thru so we would not be able to leave to go on to the next destination (Exumas). Atlantis on Paradise Island should be a great place to visit BUT way to expensive to get caught there for a weather window. Decisions, Decisions and the weather factors that play into them. We wish everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS, love and miss you all.
link to pictures;