02/13/2012, Current Cut
After the winds from the latest front died down we were off again. We wanted to go through Current Cut on our way to the Glass Window as close to slack tide as we could. It is a short cut about a quarter mile long but rock on both sides and the water can flow through at 6 knots. Also, at the exit heading South one must make a hard turn to starboard and come very uncomfortably close to the rock shore line.
Interestingly enough Monty and Sarah Lewis who make all the charts for the Bahamas that we follow religiously, were in the mooring field with us at Spanish Wells. So I asked them what they recommended on timing the cut since the guides said go through at 1 to 2 hours after high tide in Nassau. An hour can make a big difference in current speed through a cut like this one. Well Monty's reply was it depends on the wind and which way it is blowing the water. Since the wind was blowing lightly perpendicular to the cut we timed it to be there at 1.5 hours after the high in Nassau with the assumption that there should be no impact from the wind. It worked out perfectly. It was an easy passage with exception of our skipper stopping our route on the chart plotter by accident. She quickly recovered before the critical turn and off we were to the Glass Window.
02/13/2012, Glass Window, Eleuthera
The glass window is a unique spot where Eleuthera is very, very skinny and a bridge goes over the spot where there is a break in the land. You can see the ocean from the sound side. With moderate east winds, the ocean waves make it under the bridge, but over the land and into the sound side making an intermittent water fall. Looks like a window framed by the bridge and rock walls.
Shortly after we arrived, along with sv Sanderling, we hopped into the dinghy to get a closer look. It is both beautiful and troubling. The beautiful part is the ocean waves crashing in the rock cove and creating lot of turbulence. The troubling part is this bridge is heavily and due to hurricanes and storms, has shifted 4-5 feet on the one end making it a one lane bridge that has been patched up with some concrete, yikes.
02/12/2012, Spanish Wells
On day two we walked around and found a 'take away' with great hamburgers. They had lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, onion rings and special sauce, yum yum. A 'take away' is Bahamian for Take Out food. This one was near a school and catered to the kids mostly but we were there on a Saturday and had no problem getting good service. The restaurant was called the Snack Shack and apparently used to be a bank. In fact the order window you walk up to and place your take away order was the old ATM/drive through window. We were joking with the lady taking our order. She said this is the only ATM machine around that now takes your money vs. giving you some. Fun place.
Later in the day Debbie decided to do some laundry. The best option was one washer and one dryer in a closet open to the outside behind a store. The equipment was fairly good but just a rather odd setting. She had Fred drop her off at the dock so she had time to shop while the clothes were in the machines. Not a good move by Fred, oh well. Debbie now has some new conch earrings. At least Fred had some free internet from the boat so he could catch up on a few things.
That night the wind howled at 20-30 knots. We were glad to be on a secure mooring and not have to worry about our anchor or the boats around us dragging into us.
The temps cooled down but we decided to head to shore and see if we could find a golf cart rental place open on a Sunday. We got lucky, the rental place was not open, but the owner, Abner, was there and said if we brought back the cart before two we could have it. We split the cost with Bob & Diane and had great 2 hour tour of Spanish Wells and Russell Island. Saw a lot of things we had never seen before. A whole new perspective including Haitian villages that are tucked away out of site as well as several developments that look like they've been in the development stage for some time.
02/11/2012, Spanish Wells
The morning of the 10th looked to be a decent day but the following two looked like lots of wind associated with a cold front. So we decided to head to Spanish Wells and take a mooring for a couple days.
Spanish Wells it a great little island/town with the most local money of anywhere we travel in the islands. The Bahamian Fishing fleet is based here and apparently the fishing business is pretty good. Lots of nicely maintained fishing trawlers were here preparing to make multiple week trips to different parts of the Bahamas. Mostly for lobster but fish as well. We found out that most of Red Lobster's, lobster tails come from here. Interesting since you always assume they used Maine lobsters with claws like the ones in the tank when you come in the door.
The first day here we traveled to other end of the island via dinghy and found a beautiful beach that we had never seen before. It was low tide and a nice sunny day. We took tons of pictures of the water and sand which had very cool patterns in it from the water and sun coming through.
That evening we invited Sanderling and our new friends on Trinity One over to help celebrate Fred's birthday. Debbie made a fantastic Rum Cake. Earlier in the day Fred was not feeling so good about this cake seeing how much of his rum was being used for this darn thing. But after he tasted it he confirmed is was worth every ounce.
02/09/2012, Royal Island
On the morning we the left, the wind had clocked all the way around from the S to the NNE just as predicted and was about 10-15 knots. So we all decided to go. The cut was no problem at all with that wind direction and current so we were off for a full day of sailing.
As soon as we got to water 60 ft. deep I put out my fishing lines. Unfortunately, after about a half hour I had noticed lot of Sargasso grass in the water and went to clear my lines. The lures were loaded and that was it for fishing for that day, bummer.
The wind picked up and it turned out to be a wonderful sail. About 15-20 knots true wind and a beam to slightly broad reach. Later in the afternoon the seas really started to build but for the most part it was a great sailing day. The icing on the cake was that Early Out was one of the fasted boats out there. We had up our full canvas where most other boats either reefed their sails or went without one or more of theirs. We passed everyone except a large catamaran.
It was nice to be the first boat of the group to arrive at Royal Island. When we pulled into the harbor there were only two other boats there, so we had our pick of where to anchor. We found a nice spot on the East end of the harbor and most of the other boats went to the West side.
02/08/2012, Lynyard Cay
Once we had confirmation that Fred did not need to return to Michigan to complete the sale of his parents house, we started looking for a weather window for the all day, 56 mile trip South over open ocean to Royal Island near the North end of Eleuthera. Two days before the first possible weather window we moved to the southern most exit point from the Abacos, Lynyard Cay. This is the best anchorage near the Little Harbor Cut.
On our first full day at Lynyard we had some nice sunny and somewhat settled weather so we decided to dingy the 1.5 miles over to Little Harbor for lunch with Bob and Diane aboard sv Sanderling. Of course with our new outboard and all the miles we put on it during the break-in period this seamed like nothing. Little Harbor is a small remote harbor at the southern end of the Abacos. Here you'll find a bar/restaurant called Pete's Pub. Pretty famous place because of its unique character. The bar is literally on the beach. No floor here, just sand. Its also home to a gallery that has many beautiful bronze cast sculptures and paintings. One impressive piece was going for $120,000. Pretty impressive for the middle of nowhere.
We all ordered the coconut cracked conch sandwich with rice'n beans and it was fantastic along with a Kalik (beer) off course.
The next day was a possible window to head South but if we waited one more day Chris Parker told us it would be a better sailing day. Of the 10 or so boats staging for the same trip, only a couple left and the rest waited for the better sailing day.