27/04/2010/2:50 pm, Marsh Harbour, Abacos
We arrived at Lynyard Cay on Saturday evening after a perfectly lovely sail all the way from Royal Island - about 50 nautical miles. What a treat - sailing on a passage like that is definitely a bonus.
Our plan was to stay in that area a few days and then go up to Marsh Harbour but, as usual, Mother Nature had other plans for us. Another front was coming through - and that meant - "protection". So no visit to Pete's Pub, no shelling or beaning or sea glassing on the pretty beaches there. The upside was that we sailed in a fine breeze across the banks and up to Marsh harbour. Quite a few other boats had the same idea and the harbour is well populated.
We celebrated our reunion with friends at Happy Hour on the Harbourside marina dock.
Monday was storm day and we woke up to a huge blow going through about 7:30 am. The wind gusted to 40 kn or so - one boater said he saw 46. The rain poured and then half an hour later it was all over. We swung a little too close to another boat so we moved ourselves over to a nice deep hole just off the public dock beside Solitaire. I don't think we can get out of there again unless it is mid-tide or higher and I'm glad the tide was up when we went in! It rained off and on all day but the wind never howled at that speed again.
We'll probably leave here on Wednesday to check out a beach or two and then may come back in here, or may head north again. I'll fill in details next time!
Thanks for all your good wishes and commiseration regarding our Troubles. We are rebounding well!
23/04/2010/2:38 pm, Spanish Wells
We moved over to Spanish Wells on Thursday afternoon, anchoring just outside the harbour. We stayed here last trip for a day or two and it makes a good stop in calm weather. There was hardly any wind last night and we didn't even feel a thing when we turned with the current.
I had forgotten that everything is different up here: the numbers of white Bahamians - far more than further south, the accent - like an old English one - a bit gutteral with a distinct twist to the vowels. I remember from last trip that I thought it sounded like the accent used by the fellow who made the audio recording of Rockbound - the book that won Canada Reads Competition a few years back.
Spanish Wells is a busy little town - bustling waterfront, the largest grocery store we've seen since we left the US. I've come to enjoy the little ones with 2 or 3 aisles where you shop based on what happens to be there, rather than on your list, but it is fun to see more selection again. We were out of crackers and tortilla chips and we found them both.
We chatted with Ernie near the government dock as he tossed broccoli leaves to the resident manatee. She is a local attraction - everytime we go by, someone is there watching and feeding her. She is fat one - with moss growing on her back, and they say she's pregnant too! We overheard one woman say that someone has done an ultrasound on her.
The little seafood restaurant down the way from the golf cart rental/wifi stop was closed by the time we got around to looking for lunch today. We wandered up the hill to the takeout, and met up with Judy and Bill (Jubilee) and Sue and Bruce (Andiamo) so even though the food was crappy, the company was fine indeed.
Now we are back at the wifi table amid the golf carts - we feel like we've taken up permanent residence here - for a few more minutes before heading back out to the boat. Jim is working hard at organizing and filing our income tax returns. Thank goodness for electronic filing - and for daughters who scan and send the documents. (Thanks MB!)
Last night we heard Bob (Cygnus) call out on VHF 16, "Look at the sky in front of your boat! It's a rocket!" We raced out and sure enough - we saw the launch of a US Airforce Atlas Rocket. We've never seen a night launch of a shuttle so I don't know how it compares, but this was a pretty cool event. We could see the vapour trail going up, the separation of the rocket and then a few scattered lights as the residue fell back to the ground and the rocket continued. After the initial excitement, I went back below to grab my camera and this is what was left in the sky by then.
We'll move back to Royal Island this afternoon and head out at dawn for the Abacos. The weather forecast indicates that we'll be able to sail, and we'll see when we get there how much we can dawdle before going to Marsh Harbour. Apparently there is some weather coming the first of the week. We've got some buddies in Marsh Harbour and it will be good fun to meet up with them.
Nothing more has broken in the last couple of days. We picked up a Davis light to use as an anchor light. We have grouper for dinner tonight. Life is good!
Next report will be in a few days from somewhere in the Abacos.
21/04/2010/4:14 pm, Royal Island
It was another one of those days - a 7:30 departure from Shroud Cay, a 9 hour engine-on-all-the-way trip to Royal Island and a 2-try anchoring job. Storm clouds were hovering, our ears were ringing, and we were still feeling lingering effects of just plain tiredness. Then we looked around to see who else was here and discovered Cygnus! Our hearts lifted immediately. Just after we "hung up the phone" from talking with Bob, we got a call from Passages (NH) and discovered that Karin and Ed were anchored just around the corner at Egg Island and are headed for the Abacos. And then Judy called from Jubilee (with whom we shared a bumpy day or two in Warderick Wells). They arrived here in Royal Island and will spend a few days at Spanish Wells. It never fails to lift our spirits when we spot old friends in an anchorage.
After the clouds dumped a rain shower, we happily accepted an invitation to dinner aboard Cygnus and spent a thoroughly lovely evening with Mary Lou and Bob, and their 2 Yorkies, Jib and Spinnaker. Mary Lou made one of those wonderful sausage, potato, pepper and onion mixtures that both Jim and I love, and served it with a huge caesar salad. Absolutely delicious. She also shared recipes for English Muffins and her special fudge. Bob gave us a contact for an electronics guy in Marsh Harbour - maybe we can get the SSB going again.
We laughed at the antics of the dogs, talked about our cruising seasons, and learned to our delight that Bob will be crewing on a boat out of Maine, headed to Newfoundland during the summer. We sure hope they plan a stop in Halifax!
It is at times like these that we realize how energizing it is to see familiar faces.
We'll go over to Spanish Wells on Thursday morning to get on the internet, get groceries, visit the bank and download all the things Jim needs to do our taxes! It sounds like there won't be a wind to take us north till Saturday, and then we may have to hustle before the next front!