The Calm Before The Cold Front10/28/2008, West End, Grand Bahama
This was the twilight view from the boat last night. Yesterday was a relatively calm and sunny day, one of maybe 10 I've enjoyed since I arrived in the Bahamas. At least the cold front that has arrived this morning is not accompanied by rain and clouds. It's sunny and very windy today, which is a lot better psychologically than when I'm holed up in the boat with the ports closed to keep out the moisture. Enjoyed a brisk walk around the resort with the dogs and then a nice breakfast at the restaurant with friend Rob. I think today is laundry day. I haven't done it since I arrived in the Bahamas 1.5 months ago (don't ask how). I've got enough tokens for three washes and three drys, which should do it. I now understand why the guidebooks say one can be stuck here waiting for a window to cross for weeks at a time. For those of you thinking about cruising in the Bahamas, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time because when the fronts start coming, there's nothing you can do but sit back, relax, and wait until it is time to cruise again.
Rob's Little Sailboat Awaiting A Crossing WindowWindy
10/28/2008, Old Bahama Bay Marina, West End, Bahamas
I spent a second night at the marina and awoke at 1:30 in the morning to more heavy winds. Another cold front is coming through and this is the biggest one yet. Sure am glad I'm at the marina and not at anchor. Gin has built a beautiful resort here and it's well protected from the wind and seas and has all sorts of nice amenities. Another great place to be stranded while waiting out the weather. The boat in the picture is the one Rob sailed from Little Harbor several weeks ago. There's a picture of it in my blog from when I was there. He got this far and has been stuck for almost two weeks waiting for a weather window. He actually made a go across the gulf stream about a week ago but got turned around by the coast guard when they inspected his boat and found he was lacking flares (which I have plenty of) and then turned him back. He had to sail 6 hours back to West End. What a let down. Now he's seriously considering shipping the boat back and flying home but that is extremely expensive. I'm determined to motorsail back and will wait out the wind and waves until my window comes. Fortunately I'm not on a schedule and this is a fine place to hang out with the dogs until calm weather eventually comes as it must eventually... right?...
Docked Safely At Old Bahama Bay Marina In West End, Grand Bahama10/27/2008
This was the view from the dock next to my sailboat as it started to get light this morning. Jake has parked himself on the dock next to the boat. Anne is still on board for now. Soon it will be time for breakfast and a long walk. It looks like its going to be a pretty nice day day weather wise. There's plenty to do here in preparation for the crossing to Florida in several (or more) days and I aim to relax and enjoy my stay at this Bahamian resort before heading back home.
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.
Singer Family Adventures
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