Through the cut
04/08/2008, Current Cut, Eleuthera
04/08/2008, Alabaster Bay, Eleuthera
April 4th...Alabaster Bay to Current Cut.
At the northern end of Eleuthera there is long peninsula and even at the western end the water is too shallow for boats to pass. There is a Cut in the peninsula that is about 75 yards wide where we can get through but the current caused by the tides are a challenge. The goal is to go through at slack tide. However, calculating tide here is not an exact science. Our best guess was to use the tide data for Nassau and then add 2 hours.
For one of the few times in the Bahamas we did not have a good sail. The wind was directly behind us and the waves were on our quarter. We tried to sail but could only manage about 4 knots and we had a dead line....a rarity these days, so the engine was on most of the day.
The approach to Current Cut is a little tricky because the area directly in front of the cut is filled with shifting sand. The recommended path calls for going all the way to shore about a mile south of the cut and hug the rocks as you motor up to the cut. The channel here is very narrow with rock on the port and shoals on the starboard. One of the boats ahead of us went aground, but no one in our group had any problems. Once in the Cut we were flushed through riding about a 5 knot current.
Once we were through the cut we motored about a half mile east, pulled up to the beach and dropped anchor for the night.
April Third...Rock Sound to Alabaster Bay
There are few good anchorages along the east coast of Eleuthera so even though we had great wind, we stopped at Alabaster Bay early to take advantage of good southern protection. The holding wasn't the best but we found an area of sand to drop anchor and backed down. It dragged for about 20 feet and then caught something.
The Bay was beautiful. There was a large airport on the northern end about a mile away and about 4 cottages on the southern end where we anchored. There was a wonderful beach and a very nice coral ridge for snorkeling. Steve and I took the dinghy out to find a fish but the only one I saw, a nice grouper, hid itself so well that by the time I went back for the spear, I couldn't find it.
We cooked pizza and invited Carol, Steve, Kris and Craig over for dinner. We ended up playing Catch Phrase until well after dark.
The Glass Window Bridge
04/08/2008, Rock Sound, Eleuthera
March 29th to April 1st... Rock Sound, Eleuthera.
(Sam, you may want to skip this entry-oh, Dad apologized later.)
After coffee, I went to the store with Craig from "Tilt" to pick up some transmission fluid and a few things that we had forgotten yesterday. My main task for the day however, was to figure out why our VHF radio was malfunctioning.
With Steve's help and his electrical testing equipment, we quickly figured that our radio problem was due to low voltage in our battery bank. Although our old analog gauge was reading 12.6 volts the reality was that they were discharged to 11.7 which is too low for our radio on high power. At the same time we found that our little electrical multi-meter was reading incorrectly as well.
With Steve's Amp tester, I spent a few hours checking our charging inputs...solar, Honda generator and the big alternator and found that everything seemed to be working well. There were no unknown electrical draws and the charging devices were working as advertised. I did find that the Honda, in combination with our inverter / charger (Freedom 20) was only putting 15 amps into our battery bank. I would have expected much more. It is a 100 amp charger but expects 22.5 amps at 110 volts. The Honda only supplies 13.1. I wish someone who has access to unlimited computer time (D. Scott or Randy) would check into this issue. Do I need to buy a new charger??? (Sam... sorry for the repair stuff)
It was our last nice day for a while, so in the afternoon we walked to the other side of the Island for lunch with Kris and Craig "Tilt", Steve and Carol "Restless" and Terry and Charlie "Voyager". It was a 2.5 mile walk out through the scrub, but the meal was worth the hike. I had "grouper fingers" which were perfect... but the jerked chicken was excellent as well. We had planned on having Rose drive us back, but as we were leaving she had two more groups show up for a late afternoon lunch. So... we walked back to town in 90 degree temps.
We returned to the boat to find that there was a cruisers gathering down the shore in an defunct tiki bar. We threw together a dish to pass and at 5, motored to the party. We had a very nice time and met some folks that were new to us... but friends of friends.
March 30th and 31th.
The storm rolled in during the night but with less gusto than expected. We stayed on the boat all day Sunday on anchor watch and reading. We didn't accomplish much at all. On Monday we went to the store and to the gas station to attempt to file Sam's taxes on line but failed. We spent another day reading and then went over to "Restless" for pizza.
Barry and Susan asked if we wanted to share the cost of a rental car to tour the island tomorrow and we gladly accepted their offer.
We had a good breakfast and were at Dingle Motors picking up our car at 9am. We took off to the north, our ultimate destination being the Glass Window which was about 50 miles away. It was a leisurely drive on the wrong side of the road. We checked all the little villages and potential anchorages on our way north. Most of the time we were on the west side of the island but we drove to the east side to locate a restaurant that had been recommended to us.
The Glass Window is a spot on the northern end of Eleuthera where the island narrows to the width of the road and follows a ridge of limestone. The "window" is a cut in this ridge that is spanned by a short bridge. On one side of the road is the Atlantic with waves crashing and on the other are the calm waters of the sound. The bridge itself was moved be a recent hurricane about 4 feet to the west and is now down to one lane. We took some photos but it is one of those places where cameras just can't capture the effect.
On our way back south we checked out the village along the way and did a little shopping and searched out an interesting cave. For the first time we saw land that seemed to be suitable for farming and in fact there were a few small plots of pineapples, bananas and tomatoes. At one point there were huge cement silos spaced along the road every half mile or so that were the remains of a very large beef operation. Most of the villages were very poor with little or no economic base.
We had a wonderful lunch at a place on the Atlantic call Tippy's. On the wall were photos of Mariah Carrey and some other guy who makes movies.
It was a long day by the time we returned the car so we skipped happy hour on the beach and baked some chicken for a late dinner.
About half of the boats here in Rock Sound left this morning for points north. We will stay until tomorrow and then make a three day run back to the Abacos. We will head north up the island to Governor's Harbor tomorrow and then to Current Cut on Friday. The weather looks good on Saturday and Sunday for our ocean crossing to Little Harbor, Abacos. We are thinking that the wind may be better for sailing on Saturday . The issue is the entering the cut at Little Harbor but it is much safer there than some of the smaller entrances.