04/22/2010, Lynyard Cay, Abacos
April 18th, 2010 Royal Island, Exumas to Little Harbor, Abacos
04/22/2010, Moving North
The run from the Exumas to the Abacos is about 50 miles to the first cut at Little Harbor. We were up at 5 am.. and greeted by cloudy skies and very little wind. We made some coffee and waited for daylight. At 6:30 we hauled in the anchor and were off. Once out of the lea of the islands there was a dying swell of about 4 feet and 10 knots of wind from the NE our course was due north so we got the jib and main up and lowered the RPMs down to about 1000. (idle speed plus a little)
We were alone on the ocean. As the morning progressed we did see a couple of freighters and by noon met 4 sail boats that had left Little Harbor heading south. For the most part though, we had the place to ourselves in very comfortable conditions.
Kathy made a great breakfast of poached eggs, grits, and a bagel for breakfast and then fried some tortilla chips for lunch that we had with the end of leftover white chili.
We had three lines out all day but no bites. There was lots of floating seaweed which is usually a good sign even if you have to clean the baits every 20 minutes. I was waiting until we were 1 mile from the Little Harbor waypoint to haul the lines but started a little earlier than that hauling in one of the hand lines. As I grabbed the other hand line something hit...With the line in one hand I yelled at Kathy, who was below, and pushed the throttle to idle. Then the reel on our boat rod started screaming. Kathy let the jib sheet go but we were still making to much way. I tied off the hand line with the reel still screaming and we rolled up the jib dragging two fish. With only the main up Kathy steered into the wind and got our speed down to about a knot. The reel finally stopped making noise so I started reeling as fast as I could. There was no resistance for a while but eventually I felt the fish. The boat rod was set on the port side but the fish was swimming parallel to us about three boat lengths to our starboard. So far the two lines hadn't crossed but that was about to change if we didn't do something. I couldn't move the fish on the rod so Kathy got the gloves on and hauled the fish on the hand line in about half way our about 50 feet beyond our stern. She tied off the line on a stern cleat, got the gaff ready and cleared the cockpit.
By the time she was finished I had made some progress and could see both fish from my vantage point. The fish on the rod was a large bull and the other was a nice female. As I worked the larger fish toward the boat Kathy snuck behind me and took the rod walking backward towards the bow with the rod tip high. After a few seconds I had the fish gaffed and in the cockpit.
We set the rod down, uncleated the hand line, and before too long had the second fish gaffed and on the floor as well.
The fish were 44 and 48 inches long respectively, but the male was at least twice as heavy. The weight difference was 40 pounds to 20.
We got the lines organized as we worked our way through the cut and washed down the cockpit with buckets of saltwater. We found a suitable place to anchor behind Lynyard Cay, got the sail covers on and began butchering fish on the foredeck.
We'll keep as much as we can but will have to give half of it away due to lack of space in the freezer. Kathy spoke with Nancy of "Solitaire" and they will take some as will "Savage Son" when we see them.
By this time we were both tired and so dinner was leftover beef and noodles and cooked carrots. We watched some video and went to bed earlier than normal.
April 16th, 2010 Pipe Creek to Highborne Cay
04/22/2010, Pipe Creek, Exumas
We left Pipe Creek on a half tide rising and headed north in light air with all our sails flying for about 3 hours. Form then on we did nothing but lower sail. By about 2:00 we found ourselves in 35 knots gusting to 40 sailing on the mizzen and staysail. We were on the back side of the Cays with about 2 miles of fetch so the waves were not an issue but the wind was crazy.
Our goal was an anchorage a Ship Channel Cay but we bailed out about an hour early at Highborne Cay and took shelter in the lea of the island where we spent a pleasant evening.
April 17th, 2010 Highborne Cay to Royal Island
We left 7:00 after the weather on a course due north. Between 9 and 10 we were in the "Middle Grounds" and had to keep a sharp eye out for coral heads. It was a bit of a slalom course for an hour or so but we were soon past and in clear water. We were on a beam reach all day with almost enough wind to get us to the anchorage before nightfall. We did motor sail at times to keep the pace.
There were a few boats in the harbor at Royal Island, but there was plenty of room. We lowered the dinghy to put the outboard on the rail and then raised in back up in the davits in preparation for our crossing to the Abacos tomorrow. Then spent the remainder of the afternoon reading.
I made beef and noodles (we have one more can of the beef we canned last summer with mom and Annie) for dinner and later watched a movie.
April 9th, 2010 Big Majors to Pipe Creek, Exumas
Steve came over at 8 a.m. to help get Debbie and Davie and their gear in to the airport at Staniel Cay. It was reasonably calm and we made it in dry. After hauling up at Isles General, we walked over to the gazebo at the end of the runway. The plane went to Little Farmers Cay first, so was a little late in to Staniel. As the plane landed Steve and I said good bye and headed back to our anchorage.
A little later Kathy and I went in to the Yacht Club for lunch and I finished up our taxes. Unfortunately I wasn't able to e-file them and will have to apply for an extension until we get back to the States.
After returning to the boat we weighed anchor and motored over to Pipe Creek. It is a little tricky getting in, but on a rising tide we had no trouble. We anchored next to "Kokomo" and will probably stay most of the week here.
April 10th, 2010 Pipe Creek, Exumas
We talked about going in to Compass Cay today for lunch but when it was time to go we weren't.
"Sapphire" has been leaking all winter. Not much of a leak but every morning there has been about a gallon of water in the bilge. So this morning I decided to track things down. The most likely places for saltwater leaks is always the thru-hull fittings. I checked all of them in the bow and they were dry. There are two under our berth and after removing the mattress and all the bedding, I found that one of the thru-hulls connected to a cockpit scupper was dripping a little. On further inspection the elbow at the top of the thru-hull had been drilled and tapped to accept a plastic water temperature sensor which had broken.
After removing the plastic threads I screwed in a plug but the opening was corroded enough that there was still a drip. So I closed the thru-hull and epoxied the opening. The drip was fixed.
My next task was to replace the bilge switch. The one in place hasn't been working right all season. I purchased a new one but really haven't taken the time to do the install. The first job was to remove the 12 plastic containers from the storage area behind the engine. Then I emptied the area below the cockpit floor and crawled down through the hatch. I removed the pvc pipe from which the bilge switch is attached and rewired the new switch. After testing it out, I lowered the pipe back in place.
While down below I noticed that the packing-gland in our drive shaft was leaking too much and decided to tighten it up some only to find that it was a tight as it would go. It needed to be repacked... so I cut a new section of Teflon coated flax and jammed it in place with a screwdriver. Then I threaded the cap back in place and tightened it down.
By this time the sun was low in the sky and we still had to put the boat back together. It took a while but finally we got things organized. I put some chicken in the oven to bake and jumped in the shower to get rid of at least one layer of crud.
We had a so-so dinner and spent the evening reading.
April 11th, 2010
April 12th, 2010
After coffee and some breakfast I dinghied over to "Fine Lion" to chat for a while before heading in to Sampson Cay Marina to work on the internet and pick up some groceries.
There were slim pickins in the grocery department but I did purchase some bacon and a few other items.
I paid my $10 fee and logged on the internet with the hope of e-filing my income taxes but once again was foiled by the digital signature portion.
I was able to email our insurance company which was one of my goals and did some research that I'd been putting off but for the most part my $10 was a waste of money.
We went for boat ride in the afternoon hitting the shoal a little after low tide and then did some exploring. We ended up at the one of the paths to the Sound and hiked over to the other side where we found "Fine Lion" and "Kokomo".
In the evening we grilled hot dogs on "Fine Lion" with the crews of "Kokomo" and "Jus Dreaming"
April 13th, 2010
We worked on board in the morning and after lunch I went in with others to collect wood for a burning. When we are away from garbage disposal we separate our trash and when necessary, get together and burn all combustibles. After collecting wood we decided to wait until 4:30 for the actual burning.
It was windy and even though it was blowing offshore there were lots of embers that needed watching .... this place hasn't seen any rain for a month.
April 14th, 2010
Another day of reading and hiking the beach with the wind blowing 25 knots from the east.
We had dinner on "Jus Dreaming" with the gang and had a nice time.
April 15th, 2010 Pipe Creek
Our plans are to head north tomorrow so we spent some time on boat projects getting "Sapphire" back in cruising form. I made white bean chili (which was mediocre at best) and baked bread and rolls in the afternoon.
We were invited over to "Fine Lion" for a good bye dinner and I took along the warm dinner rolls just out of the oven. Steve and Kim are off to Nassau with "Kokomo" and "Jus Dreaming" and then on the Berry Islands and Grand Bahama before heading back to the States.
We are going to sail up to the Abacos and spend a few weeks before crossing over so this was good bye for a couple of months. We could catch up with them in Oriental during the middle of May but more likely will see them in June in the Chesapeake.