03/28/2008, Black Point Settlement
Photo: Dotham Cut
After three days of sitting out another cold front in George Town, we pulled out a day earlier than we had originally planned. Yesterday we crossed Stocking Island to look at the beach and ocean waves, which were pretty high, and we figured it would be another 48 hours before things would settle enough for us to leave and head up the Exumas islands. However, we saw quite a number of boats up anchor and leave, and on impulse we decided to do the same. If the seas were still running high, we could always turn around and head back in.
One can always tell when one is getting further away from George Town: the VHF radio traffic drops off noticeably. Another four days of Chicken Harbour were enough to confirm my opinion of it: as King Arthur said of Camelot in Monty Python and the Holy Grail: "It's a silly place!" Some of the discussions on the VHF cruiser's net are little more than inane bickering sessions over everything from proper trash disposal to anchor-setting protocol, and the constant chatter on the net is a little tiring after weeks of relative solitude. So, we were very happy to discover upon clearing harbour that not only were the seas significantly calmer than expected, but that the wind was suitable for another spinnaker run. No sooner was the spinnaker up, than a voice came over the VHF, "Oooh, a spinnaker! Must be a Squadron sailor!" That call came from another cruiser we had briefly met in George Town, exchanging greetings as we passed by, and the other boat, Anania, remarking on their pleasant stay at the RNSYS last year. One never knows who one will meet down here, and I think this is one of the pleasant features of cruising, this inter-twining of paths, the unexpected nature of meetings and separations, and the easy friendships that result.
Our day ended by passing through Dotham Cut, made eventful by the appearance of a waterspout approximately six miles to the north of us (and which dissipated soon after, thankfully). We then anchored at Black Point Settlement, where Lorraine of Lorraine's Cafe remembered our faces, and we spent a quiet evening walking about town, and then meeting up at the Cafe with friends from Lunenburg whom we first met in the ICW months ago! See what I mean about inter-twining paths?
03/27/2008, George Town
Hard to believe it has been two weeks since we sailed from Luperon, and today is the first day of solid internet connection we have had since arriving in George Town four days ago. We are waiting for another break in the weather that will allow us to sail north-west along the Exumas, then up to Eleuthra and the Abacos. We have approximately 2,300 miles to sail to get back home, in sixty days! So we will have to "crack on like all sneer" as Jack Aubrey would say.
Have updated a few entries since Luperon, will try to post more tomorrow!
03/23/2008, George Town
Photo: Steph studying clouds, off Cape Santa Maria
There is nothing like a good, long sail; the boat settles into a routine, and one is pre-occupied simply with sailing the boat, and care and feeding of crew. We left Mayaguana early on the 22nd, sailing for George Town, passing between Mayaguana and the Plana Cays, leaving Samana Cay to the north, and rounding Cape Santa Maria on Long Island.
With the wind out of the southeast, we gybed several times to keep our boat speed up, enjoying the settling seas and warm winds. The night watches were the best, with a full moon illuminating the ocean. I particularly enjoy these night watches, even if Judy seemed to have saved all the passing vessel traffic for me to deal with on my watch. She had no contacts on her watch, and then I had four crossing and passing ships within two hours, which only reinforced my belief that no matter what patch of ocean I occupy, if there is a ship out there, it will find me and keep my collision avoidance plot busy!
The last few hours before entering the channel to George Town harbour were superb, and the girls were out on deck with their weather books identifying cloud types, the cumulonimbus clouds taking on the green hues of the shallow banks below.
As reluctant as we were to return to George Town and its hyper-organised anchored community, we had an enthusiastic welcome from Whisper and Mya 1, with whom we had sailed from Chub Cay to Nassau back in December. We had touched based with George on Mya 1 on the HF SSB radio several days ago, and told him to have the pina colodas ready for us when we arrived. The anchor wasn't half out when he came alongside in his zodiac, bottle of rum in one hand, and pina colada mix in the other! My kind of reception!