Friday, February 25, 2011

West Caicos & Provo

Tuesday 22 February – Thursday 24 February

We are away from the dock and heading east out the channel from Emerald Bay at 7 am motor sailing in light winds and calm seas. By 7:20 we are in the deep blue waters of Exuma Sound and our depth finder can no longer read how deep the water is (love that !). We are making good time and by 11 we pass the north end of Long Island and turn east/southeast into the even deeper waters of the Atlantic. The wind is now right on the nose so we roll up the genoa sail. It is a beautiful day and night to be back on the water again even if we have to motor sail. At first all the stars give us some light to see by but by my midnight watch the half moon gives us plenty of light to see by. A quiet uneventful night with one cruise ship passing us close enough to set off the radar 6 mile alarm. Not that I had any trouble seeing it approach from the distant horizon, kind of hard to miss all those lights on a dark sea. Sometime around 5 am,1 hour before my watch, as I am trying to sleep the winds have shifted enough to bring out the genoa sail and I now have to brace myself in bed as we heel over. Just before Steve gets the weather update with Chris Parker over the SSB radio at 6:30, the engine stops!! I am in the cockpit wondering why Steve shut it off from down below something I did not know could be done (other than with the kill switch) and he is down below wondering what I did. Turns out that one of the fuel tanks ran out, and due to the way we were heeled over the other tank could not feed over. We are just off the west coast of Mayaguana, so tack over to allow the fuel to flow to the other tank. Try starting the engine back up with no luck, Steve changes the fuel filter and still it won't start. Next he bleeds the air from the engine & fuel injectors and we are back up and running within an hour. Back on course pretty heeled over so put a ½ reef in then later 1 full reef to keep us more level. Another boat we met during our stay at Emerald Bay told us about a GREAT anchorage on West Caicos. The Ritz Carlton has built a resort on the north side of the Island, and dredged a marina that like so many places in the Bahamas ran out on money before completion. It is a great straight in shot with plenty of water, we are anchored by 4:15 after a 33 hour trip. Sure wish we could go ashore & check it out but we can't since we have to clear customs first which can not be done here. So we raise our Q flag and just sit and relax and enjoy a beautiful sunset in our “private” West Caicos Marina Basin. Get a good nites rest before entering the SHALLOW waters of the Caicos Bank on Thursday. Thursday we do not have far to go but we have to have the sun at the right angle to watch for the numerous coral heads and we have to arrive at the marina entrance at high tide which is at 2 pm. Quick run out in the Atlantic from West Caicos up to the Sandbore Channel to enter the banks to travel along the south side of Providenciales. The water here is more like Abaco clear not Exuma clear, still the dark patches of coral stand out pretty clearly. We had talked to Simon the harbourmaster for the marina earlier after his cruisers net verifying the high tide time, and he said he would come out to guide us in from the 2nd waypoint where there are a few really shallow spots to go through. Sure glad he did as there was still one spot we hit bottom at. We made it in fueled up and were docked by 2:30. Thursday's they have a cruisers BBQ here at 5:30, reminded us of our old TMCA gatherings. They had the grill ready to go for whatever you wanted to throw on and everyone brings a side dish to share. They provided ice (for drinks), plates & utensils, and ice cream for desert. We had a fun time meeting other cruisers in the area. It was a great way to spend our 1st “official” night here in our 2nd foreign country after leaving Kemah 11 months ago.

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