We're suffering along with Newfoundland!
20 March 2008 | Salt Pond, Long Island, Bahamas.
Arriving back in the Bahamas, we heard on the news that Newfoundland was undergoing another blizzard. We arrived back in the Bahamas on Monday afternoon after a great two weeks in BC and Alberta. It was great to see our family, including little (or not so little) Ben as he is growing and changing quickly! And in Banff we enjoyed seeing Dave and Carol Morrison again. But it was also good to get back to Estelle, finding her safe and sound in Stella Maris Marina's excellent protection. And all our flights left on time and actually all arrived a bit early, so the trip back was fine. Back aboard, project number one was food, as we pretty well finished off everything before we left. But we did leave some fresh things in the refrigerator in green plastic bags that preserve fresh fruits and vegetables, and we were amazed to find them still fresh! But there wasn't enough for dinner, so we went up to the resort for dinner and had an excellent night of it. We're easing our way back into cruising. Our plans were to leave as soon as the weather permitted, but that was not to be until today (Thursday). The storm that hammered Newfoundland on Monday had a long and strong trailing cold front that was sweeping through the Bahamas bringing with it winds of 25-35 knots. But instead of 50 cm of snow, we had a few rain showers and temperatures plunging to the mid-70's. The winds were out of the east, going south-east, and at Stella Maris Marina, that meant that we could feel the boat tug at its lines in a gust, but little else in its total protection. On the exposed east side of the island, we watched, mesmerized as 15' waves pounded ashore sending spray flying 30-40' into the air. On Tuesday, we decided to rent a car for the day and headed to Cape Santa Maria Resort for lunch as our first stop. Then down to Salt Pond for groceries. After we had everything packed away, it was pretty much the end of the day, and still suffering jet lag, we had an early dinner(grilled fish with an olive tapenade, and sautéed egg plant and cous-cous) and bed early. On Wednesday, we didn't get started too early as we were still on BC time, and the winds were still blowing, so it was mid morning before we were off the boat. We filled the car with gas, watched some more waves and returned the car about noon. Being at the resort, where we returned the car, at noon, we stayed for lunch, conch chowder and some cracked conch. Very good and reasonably priced! Then in the afternoon we began to get serious as the weather sounded like we could leave today. Jeannie organized a laundry (there's a laundromat across the road) and I tackled my least favorite job, an oil change. With all the filters (4), it's a 2 hour job, half of which is getting ready and cleaning up. But I got it done, along with some other smaller jobs, filled the boat with water, and finished storing the last of our new supplies. In Vancouver, I got the part I need to repair the watermaker, but I am finding lots of reasons to put it off. It will be at least a four hour job, working in a very small space, so I'm not looking forward to it. Maybe next week, if we are stuck somewhere due to weather. But today we left the marina at 0830 at high tide. The marina approach, about 2.5 miles, is very shallow. There are channel markers, but I seriously doubt that there's really a channel. Heading out at high tide (and a full moon one at that) we saw less than 2' under our keel until we were out in the open water. Then down to Salt Pond (Salt Pond is the town on Thompson Bay) to finish our grocery shopping. We were shopping on the day before the supply boat comes in, so there were very few fresh supplies, like milk and fruit. So we'll finish the shopping this afternoon, then be ready to head out tomorrow. We'd like to head to the Jumentos, a remote and uninhabited group of cays just 50 miles north of Cuba, but it will be weather dependent. In this 50 mile string of cays, there is not one anchorage that gives good protection from the west, and there are westerlies forecast for Sunday, so we'll listen to the forecast tomorrow morning and decide.