Yesterday, at 1006, as the winds of this strong weather system passed we slipped our mooring and headed south.
Taking a slow sail under the staysail alone we anchored at Big Majors Spot at 1455.
This is the third time we have been here but this stop is more utilitarian than recreational.
After arriving and some time to allow the engine to cool we changed its oil. This morning we are off to buy 15 gallons of diesel and 5 gallons of water.
Other purchases include several bags of ice and dropping off a very large bag of trash.
Tomorrow, we are planning to head north back into the park to explore Shroud Cay.
Yesterday we went for a morning walk along one of the Cambridge Cays many beautiful beaches.
This Cay, is in the southernmost cay in the park. It has the most extreme contrasts of terrain compared to other cays we've seen.
The high peaks of eroded ancient coral reefs to the north give way to a lush & flat forest of Miniature Palm Trees. This tropical mid-section finally opens into long sandy beaches of course coral sand, on the southern third of the cay.
After a short walk along a trail through the palms we found ourselves on a long secluded beach. However,when we turned to head back to the dinghy the deep black sky told us the front was nearing.
We returned to CALYPSO and hoisted the dinghy aboard. Once it was strapped down we did our usual walk around of topsides.
The first wave of squalls passed north for us. But, as the evening progressed and the wind clocked and picked up. We knew it was just a matter of time.
At 0210 the first of several squalls hit. CALYPSO swung into a strong wind that blew the rain over and out of our rain catcher.
Now, as the day marches on, the wind continues to clock to the west, blowing at 20+ with stronger gusts.
We along with 23 other boats are glad we chose Cambridge Cay for shelter.
Tuesday morning at 0630, as soon as the sun was up, we were underway.
We put the beautiful anchorage at Hattie Land on our list of places to return. However, we had no time to doddle as the weather was going to turn ugly.
We motored into a mild north wind into the Exuma Land & Sea Park. We had planned to take a mooring in Cambridge Cay, on our way north. With 40 knots of wind forecast for Thursday we were now seaking the protection as well as the beauty of this Cay.
With only a 20 mile run we thought that our chances of picking up one of the 14 moorings available was good.
All the moorings are on a first come first served basis.
Early in the morning there were all but three moorings available but as we got closer we could hear the radio calls from boats taking moorings. If they were all taken we could still anchor but in a much less protected anchorage area.
Keeping the RPM's up and thinking good thoughts we entered the mooring field to find 5 moorings left. At 1146 we grabbed a mooring, launched the dinghy and explored some of this beautiful Cay.
The boat that lost one of its mast shrouds has been with us since Lee Stocking. They are new to cruising and were a bit shook up by the whole thing, as we would be too. There buddy boat that they came to the Bahamas with took off and left them hanging, nice!
Looks like a big repair for them, maybe even back to the factory in St. Petersburg, Fl. They cant put too many sails up for now making a long motoring trip to the USA.
This morning, Wednesday, Jeff went to their spreaders and helped jury rig a running back stay. This along with the original stay, attached to a midship cleat, should help support the mast with a small sail up. They will still need to motor but a sail will help steady out the boat in a rolling sea.
Update to follow
Yesterday, March 1st, marked the beginning of the Nassau Grouper season in the Bahamas. For the past several weeks we have seen quite a few in the 18" range. They live in the same coral outcroppings as lobster.
Somehow they knew that there season was not open. At times they seemed to look at us with that," can't touch me!" expression.
So, yesterday, in addition to looking for lobster we went looking for Nassau Grouper. It liked like a ghost town! No lobster or grouper, were did they go? Did they know the season started? We did get a glance of a good size Black Tip Shark that put an end to our underwater safari.
Before going to play, we moved location. Not a big move but a move to shelter. The forecasted 25 knots of NE wind in Leaf Cay would be uncomfortable, at best. The south side of Lee Stocking has a nice sandy bottom and lots of hills for breaking the wind.
After anchoring, we went ashore to get a look at the highest point in the Exumas. Perry's Peak is 129 feet above sea level and offers a wonderful view of both the Exuma Banks & Sound.
It is hard to imagine the change in weather we have this morning. After yesterday's spectacular day today has high winds and squalls.
A few salty sailors headed out enjoying the large swells coming over the bow of their boats. The dramatic effect of opposing strong wind and tide makes for large breaking seas in the middle of the cut.
We saw the impact the stress places on both crew and boat. An Island Packet 40' had one of the stainless steel chain plates, holding the mast lower shroud, break. They were fortunate to turn in large swells and return to the anchorage without injuries or further rigging/mast damage.
For us, we stayed anchored and are taking the day working on a few projects. We believe the wind will drop to a reasonable strength so we can leave tomorrow. From here we plan to head north anxious to continue the search for underwater edibles.
A picture can paint 1000 words!