We May Be Here Awhile
20 February 2011 | Big Major's Spot, Exumas, Bahamas
Another beautiful anchorage in the Bahamas. Another nice sail to get here. This is starting to get good. We left the park at just after 9 AM. We wanted a fairly early start because the wind was supposed to pick up during the day, starting at above 15 knots and building to above 20, going as high as 24 knots overnight. We wanted to make sure we were snugly anchored in plenty of time. We sailed with an ENE wind of around 16 knots. We were heading (for the most part) southeast, so we had a close reach. We had a bit further to go today, so we put up the main, though we put a double reef in it. Our main is really big and gives the boat a lot of weather helm (that is the boat tries to turn into the wind – to the weather), so with about 20 knots of apparent wind (what the boat feels given its forward motion) a double reefed main nicely balances the jib and staysail. We were again approaching 8 knots until we had to cut closer to the wind. We were still doing over 7 knots. We went just under 22 knots is less than 4 hours, and that includes almost 4 miles coming out of the shallow area around Warderick Wells.
We got here at around 1 PM and were able to pick a nice spot to anchor fairly close to shore. This is a huge bay with good protection from the north through the southeast. The bottom is all around 10 feet deep at low tide and all sand. The only time you wouldn’t want to be here is if a front comes through and there’s a strong wind from the west. There’s still nothing like that in the forecast. The picture is only of the southern part of the bay where Earendil is. Altogether I counted 32 boats, 8 motor yachts and 24 sailboats, and there is still plenty of room.
We had no trouble anchoring. Bud snorkeled over the anchor chain and anchor to check on things and said the Rocna was buried nicely and dug in in about 3 feet. That’s 3 for 3 for the Rocna. It’s so nice to have a reliable anchor. We changed the way we attached our anchor snubber again. We found out at Warderick Wells that we were putting our line to the mooring balls wrong. We were going from a cleat on one side of the bow, through the loop on the mooring ball pennant and up to the cleat on the other side of the bow. According to their instructions, that allows the loop on the mooring pennant to slide back and forth on your line and it can chafe through in a night. Instead you are supposed to bring the line back to the same side of the boat, so the loop will stay in one spot. We had also read that using a hook on an anchor chain was not a good idea because it can wear the chain. It was recommended that you tie your snubber to the chain. So instead of having our snubber go from one cleat to the other through a shackle that attached to a fitting that we hooked on the chain, we tied the plain end of the snubber with two rolling hitches to the chain and brought the loop up to a single cleat on the bow, hopefully eliminating chafe on the snubber and on the chain. I took our viewing bucket out and checked my knots and I think they’re quite secure. Now that we’re all prepared for a bit of a blow, the wind has turned light. Right now there is less wind than we’ve seen since we left Great Harbour Cay. We’ll see what the night brings, though.
After we tidied the boat up from sailing and Bud made a nice early dinner we went ashore. We didn’t go to the biggest beach that we are closest to, there are pigs that live there and come out for handouts and will actually swim out to dinghies. So it’s not a good place to take dogs. We saw the pigs come down on the beach, but didn’t see them swim. We went to the second beach, which Jon and Arline told us was the party beach. We found the nice chairs they left there, sat down and looked out for a bit. We walked up to the top of the rugged hill where I took the picture of Earendil. I also took a shot towards the north and then a closer view to show the beautiful houses on a small island that’s identified on the chart as Fowl Cay Resort.
The backbones of these islands are incredibly rugged. I took a picture of a piece of the ironshore that was jutting out over the beach at low tide. It’s sharp enough to tear your clothes. Bud remarked that a boat would last about 5 minutes if it got thrown up against ironshore. Maybe that’s why you hear of boat wrecks around here.
Tomorrow we will dinghy over to Staniel Cay. There are stores, a laundry and perhaps Internet. There’s also a free dump, a great find. If it’s not too hard to get there by dinghy and if Internet is readily available, we just may be here for a while.