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Vanish - Making The Switch From Sail to Power
What Next?
Vicki – 25C/77F, Wind S 15kn, Cloud 5/8, 4Cast Next Few Days W, NW,N & NE 10 kn
19 March, 2013, Elizabeth Harbour, George Town, Exumas, The Bahamas

Making fresh conch salad on the beach

The town of George Town serves 1000 people and is one of the last (semi) decent provisioning stops in the Southern Bahamas. As it is a turning point for a lot of U.S. and Canadian visiting yachties, it is also known as Chicken Town. Have I mentioned there are virtually no navigational marks in the Bahamas? Coming into Elizabeth Harbour is like coming into Moreton Bay in Brisbane on visual on a cloudy day following a straight purple dashed line on the Navionics chart which worryingly went across depths of 1.5m (5 ft). We draw 6 ft. We quickly anchored before hitting anything, dropped the dinghy in the water and sent Jake ahead to check depths, then followed him into the anchorage, a prudent thing to do for us as we do not want to run aground. We anchored at the back of the pack of around 250 yachts which have been diminishing each day since as they are already heading north on a daily basis to avoid hurricane season. We've visited the local hotspot, the Chat 'n Chill, a beach restaurant where Conch Salad was being made as you can see in the above photo. Large stingrays were swimming lazily around waiting to be hand fed at the nearby beach. So far we've seen hand fed pigs, sharks and now stingrays.

OK. The question on everyone's mind is What's Next??? Are we chickens or are we roosters? Well, it looks like a weather window might be coming up with seas of 1 to 2 ft which can take us 240 miles to another country called Turks and Caicos. These places are so well known to U.S. and Canadian citizens, but to us, they never come up in Aussie conversation so we've had to do a great deal of research to sort out a Plan. Basically, we need to be out of the hurricane zone by the end of May so we need to be south of Latitude 10 deg S. We can now announce......da da da daaahhhhhh.......we are headed for either Colombia or Panama via Jamaica. April and May are the best cruising months of the year in the Caribbean so we want to make the most of it. We chose Jamaica over the more traditional Windward Island route as it is less travelled. Also as we are coffee growers and rum connoisseurs, Jamaica is renowned for both products. Pretty good excuse eh?

24 March, 2013 | puffins
Love your blog. I have a question: "We draw 6 ft." The 'great loop' requires no more than 5 ft, does that mean if i tried it with a Voyager 76 i'd run aground? Marlow's specs say the draft is 5 ft. Thanks, and have fun on your trip!
25 March, 2013 | Vicki Smith
Hi Puffins. I asked Maynard to reply to your great question and here is his reply.

"A stock standard Voyager with C-15 engines would have a draft of 5 ft. However, in our case, we have added extra batteries, C-18 engines and 2 cranes as well as carrying enough spares and tools to be self-sufficient over a vast distance. This has increased our draft to 5 ft 5 ins without fuel and water. With a full tank of fuel of 4700 gallons and 500 gallons of water and full provisions our draft is 6 ft 2 ins. We have verified these draft measurements by diving. Most of this extra weight is kept very low in the vessel actually improving its righting moment but it does mean that you need that extra little water depth. It’s the old rule in yachting. Everything is a compromise. Thanks for your comments and if you want any more info, don’t hesitate to ask." Maynard

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