Old Home Week
26 January 2011 | Warderick Wells
Beth / high 70's sunny
We had planned to do some snorkelling and more exploring on Tuesday morning before heading down to Norman's Cay, but the weather forecast made us think we'd do better to get going early and go all the way to Warderick Wells. There were supposed to be SE winds on Tuesday, winds clocking through the N and chances of squalls on Wednesday night.
So, with plans to come back here again, we pulled the anchor that was well and truly buried, and headed out again. We thought maybe we could have two great days of sailing in a row but that was tempting fate! It worked at first - we sailed well under main and Yankee until we got to the Lighting Bore waypoint but then we had to point closer into the wind. The winds that we thought were to be E 17, stayed pretty much between 20 and 25. As we had to turn more and more eastward, we pulled in the Yankee and put out the staysail. Then we turned on the engine and motor sailed, bucking and banging in the rollers and whitecaps. Eventually we had no foresails out at all - just the main to help steady us as we slogged on. After such a lovely start, it turned into a long rough crawl eastward.
To make things even less comfortable, our GPS started cutting out. We saw a US military ship sitting off the edge of the Park boundary and wondered if it might be scrambling the signal. We've had that happen in Maine and New York. We have also had spotty signals going into Halifax harbour in Nova Scotia, but never here. However, as the miles passed and the problem continued, we decided that couldn't be the problem. We got out the Garmin hand held, and Jim turned on the back up GPS at the Nav station down in the cabin. Fortunately the auto pilot kept working most of the time because it was really hard to hold the boat on course manually in the head on swells.
We never could set a course straight toward Warderick Wells so we jigged a bit this way and jogged a bit that way and finally fought our way out of the wind and waves into the protected mooring field at Emerald Rock. Then it was like Old Home Week!
Connie (Oz) had called the park office to reserve us a mooring. Nancy and Jim (Solitaire) were in their dinghy holding the pennant from the mooring ball. Vic (Whisper) called to welcome us as we came in. Peaches (Star of the Sea) called to invite us to Happy Hour, and by 5:30 we were sitting with Ken and Connie (Oz), Jan and Karl (White Pepper), and Chris and Peaches in Star of the Sea's spacious cockpit - all of us talking excitedly about the sailing, the weather, the plans for the season.
The Old Home Week feeling continued on Wednesday morning. We chatted on VHF with Stu (Georgia E) but didn't get to see him because he left for Cambridge before we dinghied over to check in at the Park office. Once the checking in was done and I had a quick look through the shelves of book to trade, and the stacks of rental DVD's, we motored up along the line of boats in the north mooring field until we came to Passages. We climbed on board to have a chat with Karin and Ed, and left an hour or so later to make our way back. But first, of course, we had to stop for a chat at Star of the Sea, and then at Oz, and then we spied Penny and Hal in the cockpit of Volantis, so we stopped there for a while. Next was Whisper and of course we needed to tie up there for a good chinwag and handful of Purity Crackers straight from Newfoundland! By the time we got home, it was 4 hours later and we had just enough time for Jim to do some trouble shooting (unsuccessful so far) on the GPS and me to have a swim before cleaning ourselves up and going over to join Nancy and Jim (Solitaire) for Happy Hour. Their cockpit was full of rousing conversation with Micky and Beth and Rusty and Joy (Slow Dancin') and Linda and Ken (Escapade). Wow! What a sociable kind of a day!!
To top it off, the wind stayed calm, and the possible squalls went somewhere else. We could see lightning flashes in the sky to the North and East but nothing right over us at all. The sky is absolutely full of stars and we have the gentlest of rocking. For this particular day, life is good. Very, very good.