It was a nice stop in Rock Sound but we didn't want to stay another whole week waiting for the FedEx from the Title Agent on the closing. Especially since it looked like we had a nice window for an overnight sail down to our next civilized destination in Clarence Town, Long Island. We called down to the marina there and confirmed we could receive and send FedEx and we were off.
It was almost exactly a 24 hour sail and our weather router, Chris Parker, said leave in the afternoon after the winds switch to the north and you should be good. So that is what we did. We had to go west for about 5 miles to get around the southern end of Eleuthera and then sailed SSE until we hit Clarence Town.
After we got around the tip we hit the deep water so out came the fishing lures. It was a close reach and we were moving along at 6.5-7.0 knots on a beautiful sunny day. Well wouldn't you know it, we hook up with a small mahi mahi. Since we have two lines out I brought in the other line to get it out of the way of the one with a fish on. I reeled it in and surprise, surprise there's another little mahi on this line to. I yanked him in the boat and turns out to be 35 inches and enough for a couple meals. Once we had him in the boat and gave him a shot of alcohol we tried to bring in the 48 incher. Well since these are the first two fish we have landed with dinghy in the davits we were still learning how to pull them in from the side of the boat versus the back off the swim platform. Since the first one just came in nicely over the life line I tried it with the second one but the lure ripped right out of his mouth, bummer. Lesson learned is always use the gaff!
Luckily about an hour later after Debbie was all done cleaning the first fish we hooked another 36 incher. We gaffed it and had no problems getting it aboard.
After the sun went down, the wind picked up some so we reefed the main and the jenny. It was a beam to close reach all the way. The only bad thing on the trip was no moon which makes for a very dark night.
We arrived in Clarence Town the next morning with only one other boat in the anchorage. We dropped the hook and took a nap.
Friday was a nice settled day so we decided to try and go snorkeling with a spear. I used to call it hunting but my limited success last time down has me lowering expectations. After looking at the charts it appeared there were some reefs worth looking at about 3-4 miles out.
Sure enough, when we arrived we found grouper and lots of other fish but more importantly lobster. I was only in the water about 10 minutes when I shot my first one. About 10 minutes later Debbie pointed out a nice sized stone crap which we took with us. We moved to another small reef about the size of a small car out in the middle of nowhere and found 3 more lobsters. One was too small but the rest we kept. So we ate well that night!
Saturday was laundry and grocery day. We started out thinking the new laundry was up the road near the grocery. Turns out is was the other way back in town. Always fun to walk around with a big bag of laundry on you shoulder. At the laundry, a store called 3 Ts, we met the owners husband who is known locally as 'Showboat'. He was quite entertaining and shared some stories of when he was on the Bahamian National Fast Pitch Softball Team. Lots of traveling in the states and Central America.
Later we were off to the grocery for some fresh veggies and fruits. Found some peppers, onions, lettuce and celery that didn't look too bad. Always happy to find nice fresh food even though its pretty pricey. But before we actually made it to the grocery, we ended up having a couple Kaliks (beer) at the local Tiki bar with friends aboard New Attitude & Kismet. Always better to go to the grocery liquored up...right? :-)
Rock Sounds is a big harbor with protection from all directions and good holding. It is one of our favorite spots on Eleuthera for that reason. It also has nice grocery, fairly new laundromat, Catholic Church, hardware store, several restaurants and more. Very friendly people here.
On the first full day we decided we needed some exercise so we set out for a long walk. First headed South on the main road out of town until we reached the caves or caverns. We had seen them years ago but couldn't remember much so it was like exploring them all over again.
The unmarked trail leaves the main road across from a white church. You quickly see the ocean hole which looks like a pond but is connected underground to the ocean so it has lots of fish in it. We saw nice sized turtle eating near the shore.
The trail goes along the pond and then shortly reaches the caves. There is a relatively new ladder laying against the wall so you can climb down. Although there were some bats, there are lots of holes letting in light and tree roots from above so you can see quite easily without a flashlight. Some nice rock formations but the most interesting feature is the tree roots coming through to the floor of the cave from above. Some are quite substantial.
The next stop on our big walk was back toward town where a few blocks east of town is another ocean hole but much bigger, maybe 100 yards in diameter. They have built a park around this one with a ladder to get out if you decided to jump in for a swim. Some people go diving..apparently its pretty interesting. We walked around town a little more to get ourselves reoriented where everything was located and then back to the boat.
That evening Bob and Diane from Sanderling invited us over for dinner and introduced us to Jack and Linda on New Attitudes. We had a fun evening but it was bittersweet since Sanderling was going on to the Exumas the following day. It was a lot of fun traveling with them for the last few weeks!
The next day we enjoyed a wonderful sail down to Hatchet Bay. This is a very well protect anchorage about 500 yards wide by 200 yard deep. It is so protected that its intimidating to come in to. The entrance is about 40 feet wide which sounds like a lot but when you look at the vertical rock walls you pass through it looks a lot smaller than that. Sure wouldn't want to try to get thru this in any bad weather.
We had been here about 8 years ago and did not have very fond memories. It was kind of dirty with lots of derelict boats around and no real good place to anchor. But since then, they've installed new moorings, cleaned up the harbor and put in a new dingy dock...one of the best around. Even has a nice covered pavilion at the end which would be great for gatherings. Very impressive. We ended up anchoring in the north end in 10 feet of clear water with good holding, yeah!
We were here on Valentine's Day, so treated ourselves to a delicious dinner out along with Bob & Diane. We went to a newly opened restaurant named Twin Brothers Seafood & Steakhouse. It was wonderful. Enjoyed conch fritters for an appetizer, then Fred had grouper fingers and Debbie had cracked conch. Bob & Diane had the same. They had to roll all four of us out of the restaurant as we ate way to much. We were thankful for the walk back to the dingy as it helped move some of that delicious food around. Was a wonderful way to spend Valentine's Day!
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.