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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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Easter
04/12/2009, Royal Island (N25*30.875 W76*50.865) to Cherokee Pt, Great Abaco Island (N26*15.149 W77*03.149)

Easter Sunday, April 12, 2009
56 miles

A very long day today.
We got the anchor up at 8 am and headed out the narrow channel of Royal Island. Wayne put out the fishing yoyo and at 8:30 we had caught our first fish - a 24-inch barracuda that we let go. It was exciting and I was hoping it was a wahoo - no such luck. But at least we got a bite that didn't get away this time. Yesterday we had two bites on our lure but never hooked them.

We motor sailed all day. Originally we had the wind with us and then it changed from the NE so we had it on the nose for half the day. We were heading into Little Harbor but with the shift in wind decided that the anchorage there wasn't conducive to a north wind and ended up putting in here at Cherokee Pt which is protected from the north but open to the south.

I made potato salad earlier (good thing because it got pretty bumpy below) to go with ham for dinner, fed my bread starter so it would be ready to use this evening, and then read the next James Patterson Book - 2 in two days. We finally got into the anchorage at 6:30 and I put the bread together. I'll let it rise over night then bake it in the morning.

This is a very pretty little anchorage surrounded by rock, reefs, rocks and an eroding cliff with a beach at the base. Did I say it was surrounded by rocks that are awash? Another boat pulled in about ½ an hour after we did (Avalon) and wanted to know if we had any current weather. Unfortunately not - it's about 24-48 hours old.

Time for some ham and potato salad... Wow, Easter and not a jelly bean in sight...


It's a hot one...
04/11/2009, Ship Channel Cay (N24*48.665 W76*49.779) to Royal Island (N25*31.001 W76*51.007) off Eleuthera - the Out Islands

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Man it was a hot one today. 88 with a heat index of the upper 90s and it felt like it too. We had a great sailing day - 10-15 knot winds, but they were warm winds that were blowing. I was itching to jump into the water once we got in, but once we got in, the water wasn't too inviting.

We got into Royal Island a little after 5pm. Wayne sun showered up on deck and I showered below. The pump to the drain isn't working again. I didn't feel like being on display to the security guard on shore or to the power boaters. 1 other sailboat was in here that we anchored behind.

Made Chicken Salad for dinner and watched the security guard drive from one spot on the water to another spot 50 feet away then back to the original spot in a newer black ford pickup. He'd sit for ½ an hour then move back. Interesting. He must be paid to watch both areas on the construction site that is building a marina - due to open in 2010. Wayne says that truck will be worth a lot of money in ten years when it only has 1000 miles on it. The island is quite small and the pickup truck totally looks out of place.

This is a small harbor that can be shut off from the ocean if they wanted to put a chain across it. There are ruins on one part, and I can see where the island could be privately owned by the marina - hence they can keep people from anchoring in this small spot by just putting in 4 mooring balls plus the marina...

43 miles traveled today; Low tide 2:45pm High tide 9:09pm; Moon rise: 9:44pm

Good Friday
Winds ESE at 10knots (at 7:30am). High tide 9:32am, Low tide 3:40pm
04/10/2009, Shroud Cay (N24*23.664 W76*41.452) to Ships Channel Cay (N24*48.659 W76*49.784)

Good Friday, April 10, 2009
18.2 nm traveled; Anchor dropped at 1:55pm

The full moon was beautiful last night. Blood red one moment, orange and golden the higher up in the sky it climbed. I was reading in our berth when Wayne called me up to check it out. Unfortunately my camera couldn't catch it in all its glory. This morning it was a beautiful ivory; quite large as it was setting against a royal blue backdrop of sky and turquoise water. Sometimes I get the pictures. Sometimes I don't. These would have been spectacular shots if I'd had my old manual camera. Do they still make film?

A little info about Shroud Cay - It's an uninhabited archipelago of cays and rocks that surround a shallow mangrove area. Most of Shroud's interior is composed of mangroves that serve as a nursery for birds, a wide variety of fish, crawfish (lobster), conch, and sea turtles. It has shallow tidal creeks that flow through the island (only navigable by dinghy on a rising tide) bringing nutrients through this unique habitat/nursery. The shallow sand bars are plentiful, many visible at low tide so that you can walk on them and explore the tidal zone. The coral heads near the moorings are visible and you can see quite a few species of fish. Unfortunately I can't name them - except for the barracuda.

The Tropicbirds are flying above us again, teasing me to take pictures as they fly into the morning sun. I took the bait twice and was unable to capture them with my camera so I'm going back to my morning coffee. Later...

I made pancakes and sausage for breakfast while Wayne dinghied over to pay for our mooring, then we had breakfast and released our mooring. There was another Bayfield 36 that came in and anchored quite a ways out last night and we both released our anchors at the same time. It looked like they went in to Highborn Cay though. We motor-sailed until about 11:00 then cut the engine and had a downwind run, then a nice beam reach until we got to Ships Channel Cay and turned in to the island to anchor. It was a beautiful sailing day with winds ESE 12-17 knots. Somewhere after leaving Shroud Cay I noticed that the water changed back to the emerald green and coke bottle green colors. I'm going to miss those fantastic blue hues of Warderick Wells.

We anchored off Ships Channel Cay on the Banks side and then went looking for some conch in the dinghy along the shore. There was a real nice reef that I followed along and in one of the holes/ledges - saw a lobster. His little (not so little) antennae were waving at me. Hmmm wonder if he'd have waved if he were still in season. My first one and I couldn't take it - lobster season is over now until July. I found a couple of conchs that were 8" and 10" but no pronounced lip on either of them. The 10 inch one had a good size muscle too. I tipped him over to see him try to wrestle back upright in the sand and thought hmmmm.... There's a tasty meal and a horn all in one. We conferred over both of them and decided that with no lip they were illegal to take and let them both go. I looked through a lot of the old conch shells on the beach, seeing if I could find one that I could turn into a horn, but they were in sad shape - Maybe at the next stop. No conch for dinner tonight so we had left over spaghetti and salad. Reading time.


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