The Abacos At Last
19 March 2023
When we arrived in the Spanish Wells area we decided to anchor on the east side of Meeks Patch for a couple of days prior to the arrival of the next cold front. The mile long island runs north south and with beaches on both sides it makes for a great anchorage in east or west winds. As mentioned in earlier posts there are a lot more boats around this year, and this was no exception as we discovered there were already 40 boats here when we arrived. Unlike Hatchet Bay there's a ton of room here and we managed to find a great spot on the east side of the island in 12 feet of water. It had been a while since we had easy dinghy access to a beach so we took full advantage of it. We were glad to get ashore and stretch our legs and just chill on the beach during the day while learning a few new card games in the evening.
The forecast called for the wind to shift north Tuesday afternoon in advance of the cold front's arrival with forecasted wind gusts to 40 knots during the night. As advertised around 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon the wind eased and shifted almost due north creating quite the scene in the anchorage. Within 30 minutes at least 30 boats hauled anchors and steamed 1 mile north to hide in the Lee of Russel Island. The high hills of the island provide great north wind protection and we found a good spot within 200 yards of shore and made sure the anchor was well set. During the evening we were treated to a spectacular light show as a huge line of thunderstorms rolled by 60 miles north of us. However, once again, we dodged a bullet as areas north and south of us we hit hard as the cold front passed through. At least 3 boats dragged ashore in the Exumas while the max gusts north of us hit 60 knots. Fortunately for us the high hills seemed to deflect the wind over us and we never saw gusts over 30 knots. By Wednesday morning the front had moved off to the south east leaving stiff northerly breezes that would keep us in the area until Friday.
We were anchored less than a mile from downtown Spanish Wells so we decided to take advantage of the downtime to replenish our stores. This would be the last good chance to provision and fuel for the next 2 weeks. We endured a few very wet dinghy rides to town
but we were happy to be able to explore this very picturesque town while tending to our needs.
However, after having been held up in Hatchet Bay and here, we were anxious to get moving to the Abacos. As usual plans were made, new forecasts were issued and plans were changed again and again. Finally we chose to leave Friday morning for the 60 mile trip to Little Harbour, the home of Pete's Pub. The alarm rudely awoke us at 5:30 so we could get a jump on the day and with coffee in hand we were on our way by 6. The day's forecast called for 12-18 knots of wind from the south east with 3-5 foot seas under sunny skies promising a good passage, and it was. We enjoyed a great sail as Dagny charged along in the rolling seas towing a green lure in honour of St. Patrick's. However, you guessed it, nothing again, not even a nibble and to add insult to injury one of our group landed 2 Mahi and lost a third.
Everyone made it safely through the narrow cut at Liitle Harbour and by 4 p.m. all the boats had arrived. The floatilla decided to head into Pete's for their St. Paddy's Day festivities where we could drown our sorrows while listening to everyone's fish stories. Following yet another long but rewarding day we were happy to crawl into bed by 10 for a well deserved sleep.
Today's picture is of a small sailboat we saw in the Exumas. A couple rented it from an outfitter in Georgetown, it came complete with all camping supplies needed for a week's gunk holing around the islands. The simplicity of it reminded me of my trip with Steve on my T22 all those years ago.