Sunday, 28 June 2015

More Bahamas, well the Exumas actually

The Bahamas, Exumas

19th April
Next stop Plana Cay for an overnight stop,there is no need to rush, the distance just 39 nm. The wind decided to let us down but we did keep up the main for stability. We dropped the anchor in 5 metres of water, we rolled about for most of the night.
22° 35N 73°37W

20th April Time to head off to Crooked Island to an anchorage off Pittstown a place we had visited on our first season unfortunately we didn't have time to go ashore.

We went ashore in our first season we loved this place.
We anchored in 2.4 metres, pretty much in the same place in our first season
22°49 N 74° 73°37 W

Onwards we go to Clarence town on Long Island another "postcard" place with white sands, clear turquoise waters.

One of the "spired churches" you can see the other in the right of the picture 
The gang, we didn't buy much
It was nice and cool in here
We sat close by enjoying a drink
Local house
Looking back towards the anchorage
Local housing
21st April A 40 nm trip, very little wind with just the headsail to help us along.

2 Nights at anchor in  at the South east of the island, we all went ashore for a stroll to explore we had a lunch as a treat with the odd drink admiring the surroundings.
There are a couple of churches built with twin spires both built by father Jerome on opposite hilltops, he changed his views from Anglican to Catholic or it may have been the other way about its confusing.

23 April. No wind again, engine on to another island we had heard of from other cruisers, Conception Island, uninhabited.
06:30 start but by 14:00 we dropped the anchor in 2.2 mts crystal clear water, and only a couple of other boats here. 23° 51 N 75° 07 W
Well we dinghied around the reef and looked for life a few times in different directions we only saw birds and the biggest barracudas ever.
We took the dinghy at high tide into the lagoon to see the turtles and sharks, others had spoken about but were very disappointed, even at high tide we had to row as the engine was in the sand. Its a very tranquil spot, I should image easy to get lost in.

Both birds are Tropicbirds  Scientific name: Phaethon Lepturus
The adult white tailed has long tailed feathers, roughly half the length of the adult is a pair of feathers that stream out behind extending its length to over 30 inches. They have an "eye mask" and have heavy black bars on the upper side of its wings.
Tropicbirds drink saltwater. Their bodies are able to remove excess salt which is passed as droplets to the tip of the bill, then shaken off. Their legs are so far back on their bodies they shuffle on land pushing themselves forward with their legs, dragging their breast on the ground. 
When they dive into the water and fold their wings an air sack breaks the impact of the water.

We were treated to a couple of spectacular sunsets
Don was on a mission to snorkel on the reef, I didn't fancy it but he did return to say he saw the biggest barracudas ever so he didn't get in
The entrance inside the lagoon
Surrounded by Mangroves  
Just clear water
We stayed for 2 nights it would have been longer but we heard about the weather change coming in so off we set for Georgetown.

25 April: Ok no wind again but by 13:15 we set the anchor outside Great Exuma Island Georgetown, in Elizabeth harbour but is quite a ride out of the town as its depth is a little shallow for us.

A little more info:
Exuma is a district of the Bahamas, consisting of over 365 islands, also called cays. The largest of the cays is Great Exuma, which is 37 mi (60 km) in length and joined to another island, Little Exuma by a small bridge. The capital and largest city in the district is George Town (permanent population 1,000), founded 1793 and located on Great Exuma. The Tropic of Cancer runs across a beach close to the city. The entire island chain is 130 mi (209 km) long and 72 sq. mi (187 km²) in area. Great Exuma island has an area of 61 sq. mi (158 km²)

This place is a very popular spot for cruisers over the winter time we heard there can be as many as 500 yachts but most of them had gone either North or south so we had plenty of room. The long narrow Stocking Island is opposite with Sand Dollar bay.
Once again we met up with Impressionist and a couple of other yachts we have spoken to on our SSB radio net so it was great to meet up.

This is in one of the oldest hotels in town 
The gang again on our little walk

Which way?
A scary few hours:
The weather always denotes when and where we can be, come or go, the squalls played games with us which isn't so bad when you anchor well enough but the thunderstorms can be very unnerving when we have that big metal thing sticking up for 60ft or so.

Follow the leader:
During our time here we had to move to the lee of Stocking Island for more protection from the wind as it was getting stronger and the direction changed, most other boats followed too but when we went back again so did they.

We do enjoy the Bahamas it seems such a shame to rush past so many others we would love to spend more time here but we need to get to the US and head North. Some of the islands can only be seen if the boat has a shallow keel so who knows one day we will return.

Next stop Rudder Cay to see a Mermaid, what?

Agua Therapy
Glenys and Don
(now in Fort Lauderdale)

Friday, 12 June 2015

Leaving the Dominican Republic, off to the Bahamas, with a buddy boat.

Leaving the Dominican Republic heading for the Bahamas
16th April 19° 54 N 70° 56 W

Its 06:13 Hours off we set from Luperon in the Dominican Republic with our buddy boat Impressionist, Anne and Jim on board, it should be fun. The plan was to go to Mayaguana for an overnight stop which meant an overnight trip, we set off out of Luperon with Impressionist just behind us and by the time we had raised our main they were in front as we have to head directly into the wind, raise the main and sort the headsail.
By 10:25 the wind is between 22-25 knots and doing anywhere between 6 and 8 knots we had overtaken Impressionist, so we reef both the main a little, we then have a few moments of 28 to 30 knots the swell was a little uncomfortable but on we plod.
At 15:30 we are a few miles ahead of Impressionist and we heard them call us,
During the journey when the wind picked up and during an attempt to reef Anne called to say they had to bring down the main as a block had broken on the boom so they managed to bring back the boom and bring down the main and secure it, the problem was to head into the wind they needed the engine which failed to start. Poor things it must have been very frantic for them bringing the boom back in. At least they have a big headsail which enabled them to sail. So we turned around so we could stay close should they need any help.
17th April, its 15:00

Impressionist, at least they managed to get the main down and the boom back
We discussed how to tow them into Abrahams Bay in the south of the island an unknown place for us so we went ahead to take a peek inside to check for coral heads and the location of the reef, its very shallow there.

We approached Impressionist Jim was on the bow and I threw a line so we could tow them inside to anchor safely then we tugged them backwards to make sure the anchor had set.
So by 15:30 we had settled down for a rest in lovely calm crystal clear water.
You can always see where the anchor and chain is

22°19 N 73°01 W

18th April
The following day Don fixed them up with a soft shackle for the boom and worked with Jim to locate the engine problem, it turned out to be an electrical problem so now the engine was fixed and all good to go.

Don decided it was time for a little hull clean and snorkelled underneath the boat then across to Impressionist to clean the "log" for them (its a little wheel that turns so you know what speed you are doing and they get encrusted with all sorts of marine growths).
So I decide I will go for a little explore then over to Jim and Anne and see how Don is doing. I was just over halfway to Impressionist when I saw a 5-6ft shark which sort of looked at me then swam off, I reached the boat and asked Anne where Don was she said he had gone back to our boat, I don't know how I had missed him, I was using the GoPro on an extended pole about 3 foot long but as there was nothing to see I switched it off. As I was returning the shark returned and came very close in fact I remember thinking I will push this thing down your throat if you come any closer, I was finning backwards and it was still getting closer, it was the wrong thing to do I should have stayed still, however it was a nurse shark just interested in the activity, I was happy to get back onboard but annoyed with myself for not turning on the camera, what a missed opportunity!

Don bought back a couple of sand dollars, we found lots of these everywhere
This anchorage is huge, we only had one other boat come in, its very quiet there

Our other neighbour closer to the reef

We had a very quiet peaceful night, but I seem to remember being a little unsettled thinking about sharks.

Oh well its an adventure and all kinds of things can happen it certainly makes you think of alternative plan "Bs"

So its BFN from Agua Therapy

Glenys and Don

Its now June 12th and yes I know this is late but we have been pretty busy lately
I promise to update the blog again shortly.