We Made it to the Tropics
06 April 2011 | Thompson Bay, Long Island, Bahamas
The Tropic of Cancer circles the globe at about 23 degrees, 26.28 minutes. Today we sailed a bit south and more east to Long Island, and along the way we crossed into the tropics. Yeah! Of course, the time to be in the tropics is January and February, but hey, we'll take what we can get. At least we made it.
We lifted anchor in Elizabeth Harbour, Georgetown at just about 9 AM. We put the main up and motor-sailed out the south entrance. It's a long way out, about 5 miles with 5 separate way points to guide you between the reefs. There are actually 3 channel markers going out this way. We didn't have any trouble, but I did spend most of the time on the bow looking for reefs, coral heads or shallow water. I could see the reefs to either side of us, but there was plenty of room between.
When we got out of the harbor and turned for the first part of our course we put up the jib, but there wasn't enough wind to sail. The jib was giving us about another 0.3 knots, so we left it up. For a while we were using main, jib, staysail and engine. We tried a couple of times to shut the engine down, but each time our speed dropped below 5 knots, and since we needed to get anchored and get Fuzzy ashore by early evening, we put the engine back on.
It was a pretty nice sail for a motor sail. We noticed that the undersides of the cumulus clouds were blue-green from the reflection of the water. I'll put a picture of one of the clouds in the gallery. Then we started to see dolphins. About three different pods came along side and swam at the bow for a few minutes before taking off. I got several pictures, and I'll post the best of them when I get internet again. It shows one of them just under the water looking down from where I was on the bow. You can see the bow pulpit and the anchor (the mighty Rocna) above the dolphin.
Finally, the predicted increase in wind came through, only about 6 miles from the anchorage. We were making about six and a half knots with main and jib, no engine. The wind changed direction by about 30 degrees, and then kept going back and forth for a bit, so I was busy trimming sails. Too bad it waited so long, the whole trip was 34.5 nm; we could have used the wind sooner.
This is a big bay and there are only 12 boats in this part of it, so there was no problem anchoring. Bud came as close to the shore as he dared, so we wouldn't have to go so far with the dinghy to take Fuzzy ashore. The whole bay is less than 10 feet deep, so it was a bit nerve wracking to come this far in. We're in about 7 feet of water and it's low tide now, so we should be good. We got here about 3:30, so we tidied the boat and launched the dinghy (and engine) and then we waited a bit and fed Fuzzy so we could check the anchor when we took him ashore. Bud had already backed down on it with the engine and it was holding. It's fine. I took a picture of the dinghy on the beach and I'll put that in the gallery, too. There were goat prints on the beach and we can hear chickens. I hope we get to see the goats.