Allen's to Highborne Cay
02/05/2008, Highborne Cay
[s] [d] 1/1/08 [t] Allen's to Highborne Cay [l] Highborne Cay [a] Mike [b] Beth and Jim came down for coffee this morning and to formulate a plan for the day. Which was simply to move a little south. We weighed anchor at about 10:30 and worked our way out to open water where we turned off the motor and sailed south in about 7 knots of wind. It was a good day just to sail. (our destination was in sight as when we left) Our route for the morning was to head west for a couple of miles to clear a reef before turning south for two or three more miles. Then back east to the sheltered side of Highborne Cay for more snorkeling. Madcap was a mile or so behind us. and it was such a nice day that we tacked, put up some more sail and headed back toward them. As we approached, we did another 360 and sailed south with them before tacking our way between two reefs that were about ? of a mile apart, into our anchorage.
The afternoon was spent swimming over coral heads in search of lobster which we didn't see. We did see thousands of reef fish. There were fish of all sizes, shapes, and colors that seemed oblivious to us barging into their world. I could spend hours just floating around watching with my spear but so far have not seen anything to shoot. The Nassau Grouper is protected , and I have seen a couple of them, but am looking for one of its cousins. We did see a good sized Nurse Shark
We were invited to Madcap for drinks and snacks later. . had a very nice evening as always and, as often happens, the snacks became supper.
02/05/2008, Allen's Cay
[s] [d] 1/31/08 [t] Iguana Beach [l] Allen' Cay [a] Mike [b] Although I was up five or six time during the night checking things, I got caught up on sleep lost the night before. It is cloudy today and the wind is forecast to blow at about 20 knots, so we'll stay here and hopefully do some exploring.
.Maybe I should elaborate on the weather here. Since there are no radio or TV stations, all weather forecasts come from HF radio either BASRA.(Bahamas Air Search and Rescue) or from one of about three private forecasters. We listen to a guy by the name of Chris Parker who broadcasts on various frequencies each morning at different times. Due to our distance, (he's in central Florida) we dial in at 6:30 am on 4045 USB. His forecasts are primarily aimed at pleasure sailors and focus on wind directions and sea state in the area.
After his weather synopsis each morning, subscribers call in with specific questions about their location and sailing plans. He speaks with 20 to 30 boats in the hour that he has allotted for that frequency. He also has a printed report that you can subscribe to that is sent daily via email at around 10 am.
Since we are not subscribers at this point, we just listen and get very accurate information for our area. Although weather here is easier to forecast than in Michigan, the Bahamas cover an huge area which is usually divided into northern, central and southern sections for forecasting purposes. We have just crossed this imaginary boundary from the northern to the central section.
Interestingly, there is no mention on any forecast here about cloud cover or temperature, rather, the discussion centers on ridges, troughs, fronts and their accompanying high and low pressure systems. (the probability of squalls is mentioned) It is expected that we understand enough about weather to fill in the gaps for ourselves.
If you are planning this trip or something similar, don't leave without some knowledge about how weather works. Call Ellie if need be, her students would be fine here. Or take the class like Carol did a couple of years ago..
By the way, the assumption here is that it is going to be sunny and warm unless the weather screws it up.
Enough about weather. in about 30 minutes, (I'm writing this entry prior to the day as opposed to after, ) we will listen to The Cruiseheimers Net on the SSB. Cruiseheimers is a very loosely knit grope of sailors who bounce around on the east coast and the Bahamas. The Net begins at 8:30 each day with a call for medical or emergency traffic; then announcements and information and finally check-in. The only real importance of this net is to figure out where people happen to be at any given time. In our travels this year we have met about half to three quarters of the folks who make up this group. So for instance, we know from Cruiseheimers that a friend of ours on Valkyrie has been in Miami but today we heard him talk to Chris Parker about crossing to Nassau on Saturday. From that we can conclude that he is about three or four days behind us, and that if we stall he'll probably catch up. Anyway, it is a convenient way to keep track of some of the people that we've met.
Later....Allen's Cay is one of the few remaining places in the Bahamas where there are iguanas on the beach. We watched them from our boat and in the afternoon dinghied over for closer inspection. There were about 12 on the sand when we pulled ashore. A couple of the smaller ones (1.5 feet) came over to see if we had any handouts and the larger ones just watched us approach. We took a few photos and were off for another beach. where there was one that appeared to be almost 4 feet in length. There were three dinghies pulled up there so we didn't bother stopping. Back at the boat I picked up my diving gear and went around to the leeward side of the island to try to find a lobster. I tied the painter to my waist and dragged the inflatable as I snorkeled. Lots of fish and coral, but there we no lobsters in sight.
Egg Island to Allen's Cay
02/05/2008, Allen's Cay
[s] [d] 1/30/08 [t] Egg Island to Allen's Cay [l] Allen's Cay [a] Mike [b] We motored out to Egg Island just before dark to stage for our trip south today. The forecast was for winds out of the south at 5 but we rolled around all night with winds at 15. Neither of us got much sleep.maybe a couple of hours. At 6:30 we listened to the weather and then set out for the Exumas.
We started out with quite a bit of wind and put up a sail, but after passing through Fleeming Channel into the Bahama Banks, our wind died out and we drove on the flat, blue-green clear water. Today was our first experience of having one of us on the bow most of the time looking for coral heads (large patches of coral under the surface of the water). We arrived and got anchored safely. Allen's Cay is actually a group of cays that are home to lots of iguanas. Fast power boats from Nassau make this a destination for tourists. They show up about twice a day for 20 minutes or so.