05/28/2009, Manjack Cay
May 27th.... Green Turtle to Manjack Cay
05/28/2009, Green Turtle Cay
This could be our last internet access for a while.
I really didn't get any sleep after the storm and when 6:30 rolled around, listend to the weather. We made some coffee and I decided to go talk to Steve and Kim about last night's excitement. When I stepped form the boat to the dinghy, it was full of water. Actually I measured. There was 9 inches of water... and it was fresh water. Given that the tubes drain some surface into the dinghy, we mush have had between 7 and 8 inches of rain during the night. Wow.
Steve was still in bed but Kim related their story. After breakfast, Steve came over and gave us the play by play again... in true form.
We needed ice and so we decided to go into Pineapples, get ice and some lunch. The conch salad stand was open, so were in luck. Back on the boat we weighed anchor and rolled out a sail for our 4 mile trek north to Manjack Cay.
There were five or six boats in Manjack but the anchorage is huge so we searched for an area of sand and dropped anchor. We ended up being too close to "Fine Lion" and if it had been another boat we would have moved, but I yelled to Steve and we ended up staying put. I did run out another 20 feet of rode to give a little more separation.
I was a beautiful afternoon, hot and not much breeze, but comfortable in the shade. We read, checked the internet, and generally wasted some time. We were thinking about going for a dinghy ride when Steve yelled over and pointed to the NW. Shit... black sky again, heading our way. His radar showed rain 12 miles away. Everything to the north of use grew steadily darker but there didn't seem to be much lightning.
When the squall hit we had wind of about 25 knots but very little rain. Eventually it rained, hard at times, but nothing like last night's storm. After about an hour of watching our land marks and the GPS the wind died and the storm moved south.
We had a nice dinner of beef and noodles, (We are trying to eat everything we have in cans) and then watched and episode of "Cold Case" before checking the sky and going to bed. I'd been up for 36 hours and it didn't take me long to crash.
May 26... Bakers Bay, Great Guana to Green Turtle Cay
05/28/2009, Baker's Bay, Great Guana Cay
We left Bakers Bay around 9am and headed out the Ship Channel to round the Whale but then headed east out the Loggerhead channel to do some fishing. After an hour or so without a bite we headed back in the Whale channel and proceeded north to Green Turtle.
After some lunch, we dinghied in to "Pineapples" for a beer and then over to New Plymouth. The power was off on the island and it was hot. We're far enough south that the sun is amazingly hot when overhead. We spent the afternoon in town stopping at both groceries and a few other shops before heading back to the boats.
I made some sweet and sour sauce from some mango chutney and vinegar, cut up some peppers and onions and added it to some ham that I had and wrapped it all in foil. I added one can of pineapple and tossed it on the grill for about 30 minutes. It ended up being quite tasty.
We watched a movie before heading to bed.
At 2:30 I woke to lightening and a little rain. As I was shutting the hatches the wind picked up a little more so I went up to the cockpit to see the storm. The holding at Green Turtle isn't the best. On our way in we spotted an area of sand and dropped anchor in the middle. After backing down on it, I thought we were ok. There were about 6 other boats in the area but none of them were very close.
The wind was out of the SE at about 30k at this point but the storm was still coming so I remained in the cockpit. In just a couple of minutes, through the lightening flashes, it was apparent that a boat was dragging down on "Fine Lion." Someone was on deck with a head light frantically trying to get their anchor up. Another person was at the helm with their engine in reverse trying to head off a collision. With about one boat length to spare they got the anchor on deck and drove around to the NW, re-anchoring well down wind.
In a few minutes things began to subside a little so I went below to grab one of our side curtains and zipped it in place. The other one was up, but I hadn't been able to get the second one up in the wind.
With the wind back to about 20k, I went below and made a bed on the settee. Unfortunately in about 10 minutes the wind began to pick up again... as did the lightning. When I got to the cockpit the wind was shifting and within a minute it was 180 degrees from where it was during the first thunderstorm minutes ago. The rain picked up lowering visibility to about 100 feet and the wind was holding a 35 knots. This was the worst possible scenario for our poor anchor: marginal holding and a 180 degree shift in 35 knots. The boat that had dragged down on "Fine Lion" and re-anchored, was now sliding directly toward us. At this point I went below and got Kathy. It we had to take evasive action, she needed to help.
Once again there was action on their deck with someone scrambling to retrieve their anchor in the worst conditions. As they got themselves organized and on their way to re-anchor yet again we began to see gusts above 45k. I started the engine to take some pressure off the anchor if necessary, but left it in neutral for the time being.
With things under control for the moment and the GPS saying that we hadn't budged, I looked around during lightening flashes and "Fine Lion" was gone. I should have been able to see them but they were not where they were supposed to be.
I stayed at the helm with an eye on the GPS and watched the storm. It was taking forever to get past us. After about 20 minutes I got a glimpse of nav lights to our port well off. In the next flash I verified the shape as "Fine Lion" - they where doing slow circles to the west, waiting for things to abate to the point where they could re-anchor.
I went below at 4:30, dried off and spread out on the settee. It had been 2 hours of 35 knot winds gusting at times to over 60. Our anchor had held .... even with a 180 degree wind shift, and we were no worse for wear.
May 25... Fishers Bay to Bakers Bay, Great Guanna, Abacos
We didn't get any weather this morning and the water is was calm and the skies were clear for the first time in at least a week. I ran ashore for some ice and checked out Milo's vegetable stand but the tomatoes were tiny so I passed them up.
We hauled our anchor up and headed north to Bakers Bay, which is only about 3.5 miles. After our arrival we took the dinghies over to an island where there are tons of shells. Kim and I hiked all the way around and found a spot on the back side where the shells and rocks were piled up in a 3 foot berm. If we didn't see anything we liked we dug with sticks causing a minor avalanche and uncovering another layer of shells.
I saved a few and found one heart bean but it was the walk that felt good. We returned after a few hours and had some lunch. We read for a while and then Kathy and I took off again for the new Bakers Bay Marina. The channel was cut out of solid rock and led about a kilometer in to a huge marina with no boats. It is still under construction but the channel goes at least a mile into the island.
At the resort last night a fisherman had given Kim a bag of Mahi... so we were invited over to "Fine Lion" to share the windfall. Steve grilled it and fixed some veggies on the grill. Kathy made some rice and some pickle roll-ups.... we had another great meal and then returned to watch a movie.
There is a low pressure system in the area that is tropical in nature. We watched the trough form last week in the southern Bahamas and are in the process of figuring out where it's going. It is not really a danger at this point with winds to 35 knots and it should be moving away from us to the northeast...
We will continue to move north slowly and wait for the trades to reestablish before heading back to the States.