Twilight Shore Excursion10/27/2008
Happy DogNice that morning, but it was short lived
10/27/2008, Powel Cay
Starfish At Powel Cay10/27/2008
About a week ago I took shelter at another uninhabited island called Powell Cay. It has beautiful beaches where we discovered many of these large bright colored starfish. About 2 miles across the sea of Abaco from Powell lies the settlement of Cooperstown. I tried to go there to spend the night but it was so windy and wavy that it would have been unsafe, not to mention uncomfortable, to anchor on that lee shore. After Powel the weather kept getting steadily worse. I've been quite amazed at how many days the weather can be rough in the Bahamas, a place that most people think of as calm and idyllic. I'm sure it can be that, but some years are different than others. When it comes to cruising in sailboats you have to take the bad with the good. I've had cruising adventures where the weather was perfect the entire time and now I've had adventures where the weather was mostly rough. All part of growing as a sailor.
Tropical Dreamer At Windy Anchorage In Grand Cay10/27/2008
The Dingy From Inside The Mangroves On Mangrove Cay10/27/2008
It is morning at the Old Bahama Bay Marina. There is more sun than I've seen in a while but the wind is still pretty strong from the north. It would not have been very pleasant at anchor off the beach but we had a calm, uneventful night here. The dogs hung out on deck all night but never went off the boat even though they could easily have done so. Two nights ago I was anchored off Mangrove Cay, a small uninhabited island about 20 miles from the nearest settlement. When I took the dogs to shore in the morning the tide had come up and there was no shore. We had to wade through about 20 feet of mangrove roots to get to a patch of dirt so that the dogs could do their thing. Jake took off into the dense undergrowth and scared me half to death as it would be very easy to get lost and disoriented on such an island. Dingied back to the sailboat in the pouring rain with an exquisite view of the sunrise in the distance. Then the north winds started and we had to move to a more protected anchorage on the other side of the small island. After pulling up the anchor I determined that the conditions were no worse for a 5 hour motorsail to West End than staying and hanging out at anchor for another day, so we went for it. It wasn't easy, but we made it here.
Bahamas Take OutWindy
10/26/2008, Grand Cay
While stuck in Grand Cay due to the weather I became more a part of the community. Among other routines, every night I went to this same plywood BBQ shack on the top of the hill. The ribs were excellent and cheap. $10 for everything in the picture. Believe it or not, the Bahamians eat sea turtles. It is considered very good eating here. The first time I saw someone taking one home by the flipper I felt horrible. Wanted to buy it off of him and put it back into the water. But he seemed so proud to be taking it home to his family. The smaller dish on the left is one way they prepare turtle. Evidently turtle steaks are very good. The stewed turtle wasn't bad at all, but I still didn't much care for it. I gave it to the dogs for breakfast and dinner.
The Dog Watch10/26/2008
Jake and Anne have been so good on this trip. They really deserve some recognition. I've put them through conditions that a lot of humans couldn't handle and they've adapted often better than I. The dogs (especially Jake) usually sleep on passages. They only get up to move when the boat changes directions relative to the sun and shade.
Bakery In Grand Cay10/26/2008
They make really good, sweet fresh bread daily on many of the inhabited islands. If you look closely you can see the coconut husks on the left side. The coconut in the coconut bread is as fresh as can be.
Rough Weather In ParadiseClear but windy from the north
10/26/2008, West End, Grand Bahama
Until this trip pretty much all of my cruising was in light weather (except for that wild sailing trip with Matt from San Carlos, Mexico and a few other choice sailing experiences). This trip I've had rainy, windy, and/or wavy weather most of the time. It hasn't been easy, but I've definitely gained a lot of experience that will help me considerably in future cruising. We arrived at the Old Bahama Bay marina this afternoon after a hard two-day slog from Grand Cay, where we spent two or three days holed up from more bad weather. Its been cold front after cold front for weeks. Eventually I just had to head out in the rough weather or go stir crazy. The boat can take a lot more than we can. Turns out between 15 and 20 knots is great sailing weather. More than that and things can get nasty. I've had more than my share of high 20s and 30s in the last few weeks. The worst winds sometimes hit in the early mornings. On one occasion my foresail came a bit loose at anchor and was flogging back and forth so hard I thought the boat would shake apart before I got it secured at like 3 in the morning in howling winds. Try getting back to sleep after that. But we made it to West End and I'm docked at a marina for the first time ever. Another night rocking and rolling at anchor was too much. It's so still here. Feels great. No need to dingy ashore in rough conditions. We just step up to the dock. I had dinner at the restaurant. Fried Snapper, fresh veggies, and peas and rice. Internet. Bathrooms and showers a short walk away. Laundry machines and dryers close at hand. Heaven. I'm stuck in this place for perhaps another 3 or 4 days before we get a window to cross back to Florida.
Another Incredible Morning Light In Northern, Bahamas10/18/2008, Little Harbor
Singer Family Adventures
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