01/15/2008, Manjack Cay, Abacos, Bahamas
Manjack Cay . . . January 14 and 15
Mike, Bob, Jan, and Greg took "English Rose" to New Plymoth on Green Turtle Cay yesterday to check in. I cleaned the boat, wrote some e-mails, and did general boat stuff. I had Skype (a program that lets you make phone calls over the internet when you have a good connection) up and working, put some money in our account, or so I thought, and we called Mike's mom. Everything worked perfectly, so I was ready to call my mom and it said we had no money in our account. Well, somehow Mike had done a download with a different user name than I did and his was the program on the computer and we have e-mailed Skype about the problem. Bummer, I thought I had it all figured out.
We are now flying the Bahamian courtesy flag and so can go to shore. There is really not much on shore here. There are some houses (and someone must have WIFI), but much of the island is empty. "English Rose" and "Muskoka Moon" came to our boat for happy hour and we talked for hours.
Today we took the dinghies out to explore some beaches. It is a beautiful blue sky, sunny day. We saw all kinds of star fish and brightly colored fish and needlefish-all very cool. We walked the beaches and waded in the water. Mike brought his Hawaiian sling (a spearing device) along and tried to do some fishing, but without any luck. He is really hoping for lobster. I would like that also!
Mike and I are thinking of leaving here this afternoon and going around The Whale to Great Guana Cay, or somewhere in that area. It is a potentially rough and difficult passage and today is supposed to be a good day to go through this spot. Since we don't know when we will next have internet service and we still haven't figured out Winlink, I am hammering this out while Mike is next door seeking information about anchorages and such down the way.
Mike and Kathy
01/14/2008, Manjack Cay, Abacos, Bahamas
Great Sale to Manjack Cay...January 13
Today is Sunday and since we can't check into the country until Monday it was decided to head for Manjack Cay for the night before checking in at Green Turtle Cay. It is only a couple of miles away and much less hectic. There is supposed to be a front coming through tonight but our anchor is well down in the sand and we've seen much worse.
We left Great Sale at 8:30 and motored to the north end of the island before heading east and south. Our sails were up prior to departure and were in assist mode for about 2 hours before we turned off the engine and had another perfect sail ,,,, swimming suits and suntan lotion. Late in the afternoon we caught up with our sailing group and followed them into our anchorage on Manjack Cay. After getting things squared away, we dinghied over to English Rose for Champagne and snacks to celebrate our arrival.
Most of our trip today was across 50 miles of desolate shallow water. The depths were between 12 and 20 feet for hours. The water in the shallows is a new color for us... my best descriptions is Neon Turquoise. There are always islands and rocks in the distance, but usually far away.
The nice thing about being here is that we have internet from somewhere and we were able to get word from our daughter, Ellie, that my mother's surgery went well and she will be moved to a nursing home for therapy and recovery today or tomorrow. When we get checked in we may go to town to find a phone card and call home.
It was a gorgeous day sailing in beautiful water.
Across the Gulf Stream
Mike and Kathy
01/14/2008, Great Sale Cay, Bahamas
Out of the country...January 12
I was up at 6 tuning the radio to catch Chris Parker (weather man) at 6:30. Before he finished, Bob called from English Rose saying that he thought we should head across. We left 10 minutes later and sailed ( no motor for hours) all the way to the Bahama Bank ... 50 miles and averaged 7.2 knots. The middle of the Gulf Stream was a little rolly with 4 or 5 foot swells with 2 foot waves on top, but it was a perfect day of sailing. We pushed on another 50 miles to Great Sale Cay and arrived at about 10:45pm.
I had two lines out all day and just after we hit the Bank I caught a 25 pound barracuda on a hand line. I had to bring it aboard to get my $15 lure back but in retrospect, it may have been a mistake. Barracuda not only look like northern pike they have the same slime and smell .. which were both transferred to our cockpit. I removed the hook with two sets of pliers and heaved the foul fish overboard. You can eat them if they are small but anything over 5 pounds is dangerous.
On the way over we had our first experience with flying fish and after a day of watching I moved them just ahead of the Pelican as my favorite animal. The small ones hang out in schools. They are abut 8 inches long and a school normally has 20 to 50 members. They are easily spooked and they all take off in the same direction...away from you. But the big ones are much smarter. They measure about a foot to 18 inches and hang by themselves. When they fly the always take off into the wind and hit the tops of every wave ... where they wiggle their tails enough to get another 20 meters of distance. Most make it about 200 feet but I saw at least two that kept going until out of sight... at least 100 yards.
I'd like to add that we left in a great hurry-I was barely out of bed. It was also difficult for me because my mother fell and broke her hip yesterday and was having surgery and now I will be out of contact for a day or two. There are plenty of airports in the Bahamas, should I need to fly home.
The picture of our boat under the rainbow was taken by Antje or Bill from "A B seas". We saw tons of rainbows for a few days in Vero, which means we had lots of rain showers.
It is quite exciting to have crossed the Gulf Stream under sail and in comfortable conditions and to actually be in the Bahamas!