The Front Fizzles and We Eat Fish, Finally
11 March 2011 | Farmer’s Cay Yacht Club, Little Farmer’s Cay
Weather in the Bahamas seems to be a series of fronts with high-pressure ridges between. The times of high pressure have fair skies, but can be quite windy. The wind during times of high pressure is from the northeast, east or southeast, the prevailing wind here. Most of the islands have very nice anchorages along the western shores which are quite secure in fair, but windy weather. When a front comes through the wind first drops, then clocks around from to S to W to NW to N and back to east again. If it's a weak front the wind stays light the whole time and never builds until the high pressure is back.
The front that came through today was supposed to be stronger. At first the woman who gives the weather for the Staniel Cay area said that the folks anchored on the west side wouldn't have too much to worry about, as there would only be a few hours of wind from the west. We had already moved to the moorings here, and they are supposed to give all around protection, but there will be wind driven chop if the wind is from the northwest. There are no landmasses in that direction, but there are miles of shallow banks, so the waves don't get too big. This morning, the one weather guy that most of the cruisers listen to and many subscribe to, Chris Parker, said the winds here would be 17 to 22 knots from the northwest as the front passed and then tomorrow change to the north. The woman giving the Staniel weather suggested boats might want to move out of the western anchorages, as there could be 12 hours of 13 to 18 knot wind out of the northwest.
We could see the line of the front when we took Fuzzy to shore at 8:15 this morning, that's when I took this picture. I was worried about the boat's exposure to the northwest and thought we shouldn't go ashore today.
Walter, from the trawler moored with us, came over to help me with my Sailmail. Sailmail is a program that lets me send emails using the SSB radio and a modem. I'd bought all the equipment and the programs and Jeff Strothman (from TYC) had helped me set it up initially and we'd sent and received test emails. But since I got out here where I might want to use it, it hadn't worked. Walter came over and suggested I try to use the station in Rock Hill, NC rather than Daytona, FL. He also told me which frequencies work best at which times of the day. I sent several emails and learned how to get weather files. That was great information.
We got a bit of rain while Walter was on board as the front started through. The wind hadn't started yet. Around 1 or 2 in the afternoon the wind did pick up. At one point I think it got up to about 16 knots, but it seemed to be already NNW. Now, a few hours later, it's back down to about 10 to 12 knots and still more north than northwest. I think the boats could have stayed in the western anchorages and we certainly could have left the boat and gone to town today.
Since we stayed aboard Bud did have time to fix the fish. He ended up filleting it and made a fish curry that we ate over rice. There wasn't a lot of fish, but it was good.
Now Bud's out fishing again. So far he's had three strikes by big fish and lost three pieces of bait and one hook. He has a fish (maybe the one that's taken all his bait) on the line now. It's another Horse-Eyed Jack, so no dinner but he's having fun.