On the Way Out
12 May 2011 | Great Sale Cay, Abacos, Bahams
I didn’t sleep well last night after all the excitement of the storm. Bud let me sleep in; I got up at 6:40 AM. I was just sitting down to my breakfast when he told me I should hurry and get dressed as he thought we ought to go ahead and leave for Great Sale. That caught me off guard, as I thought we were going just 15 miles back to Green Turtle. We tossed it around a bit. Since I had Internet, I called a Tohatsu dealer near St. Augustine to find out if we should try to have the engine serviced in the Bahamas, or if we could bring it back to the US as it was without hurting it. I told him what we’d done to it so far. He told me we should drain the carburetor, use some fuel treatment for the gas and try starting it. So we did what he said, lowered the engine back on the dinghy and Bud spent 5 minutes pulling the starter cord to no avail.
We thought about just going and rowing Fuzzy to shore, since that would be our last stop before the US. However, by now it was about 10 AM. Great Sale, our next logical stop, was 42 nm away. When the man who read the water meter so we could pay our dockage told me that he knew one of the outboard repairmen at Green Turtle and he was good with four stroke engines, I suggested to Bud we go back to our original plan. I called the man at Green Turtle anticipating getting the engine fixed and hanging out for another weather window to cross sometime next week. Unfortunately, he said he couldn’t get parts for a Tohatsu, so was not willing to work on the engine.
That made the decision for us, and at 11 AM we left the marina to go the 42 miles to Great Sale. We motorsailed for a while. More than we normally would, but with the late start, and such a long ways to go, we felt we had to be making over 6 knots. We did get to sail for a good portion of the way. Most of the time we had all three sails out and most of the time we were doing 6.5 to 7 knots. We got here at 6 PM, there was still plenty of daylight, but it was getting hard to see a good spot to anchor.
We wanted to anchor as close to a beach as we could, so we could row Fuzzy ashore in the dingy. There were almost no beaches. We spotted one little patch of beach and made two attempts at anchoring near it. Unfortunately, there was mud or sand over rock, and we couldn’t get the anchor to set. On the third try, we got the anchor set. I had tried to feed Fuzzy on the way in, as we motorsailed downwind for the last stretch. He wouldn’t eat under those conditions; Bud thought he needed to go ashore badly, so as soon as the anchor was set we rowed to shore. On the way, we checked the anchor. It was a little hard to have Bud follow the chain while rowing; I was calling out, go port, go starboard, while I leaned way over with my head down in the viewing bucket to keep the slanting sun off the bottom of the bucket where it was reflecting and obscuring my view. I could barely see the bottom with the bad lighting and silty water, but I did find the anchor and it was buried to the bail.
The next problem was the lack of beach. There was a good breeze and the beach was downwind from the boat, and a good ways away by the time we got the anchor set. Bud was afraid to row down to it because it would be such a hard row back. The dinghy is a very awkward little boat to row. We approached a likely looking spot on the shore, only to find that it was too deep to wade right up to an ironshore edge. I finally took Fuzzy in my arms and stepped out on the ironshore while Bud held the boat off to keep it from being punctured. He then waited in the boat. After rowing a bit he found a place where he could hold on to the rocks and keep the boat off them at the same time. That’s how he sat for about 10 minutes while I tried to get Fuzzy to do his business. Poor Fuzzy doesn’t seem to be feeling well. Tomorrow we’re going to give him Dramamine before we start. Even it ends up being a smooth sail, the Dramamine keeps him sleepy and makes it easier on him.
So we are safely anchored and all of us are fed and this will most likely be our last night in the Bahamas. I’ll tell you where we plan to go for the crossing after we do it. No more predictions!