|Crew:||Jack Markin, Debi Dennis|
After three years and a little less than 14,000 nautical miles Iroquois is back in US waters. We arrived late last night in Palm Beach, looked around the anchorage but didn't find a spot we felt comfortable with in the dark so tied up on the fuel dock at Riviera Beach municipal marina. We will move into [...]
I guess you can't really see how shallow it is from the picture, but we arrived here yesterday at low tide and ran aground just around the corner in the entrance. Luckily a very nice guy pulled us off the sand and guided us to our slip at Spanish Wells Yacht Haven. Three other boats who were in Cape Eleuthera are also here so we got together for drinks at the marina bar/restaurant. Very nice. We're all watching the weather and waiting for the swells from the north to subside. We walked up to the supermarket this morning and everyone there was talking about the stupid American tourist who was washed away at the glass bridge and lost. The glass bridge is a narrow part of Eleuthera, actually it's a break in the land where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean. When the waves are big they break over the gap. It's really not a good time to go stand on it. Spanish Wells is an interesting place. They claim to not be part of Eleuthera. They have a very strange, although pleasant accent. And they are white. We met a guy on Eleuthera who said they are inbred. He said you might not notice at first but after a while you see that this guy is really short and that guy has six toes. Well we have not noticed, but we did notice the accent.
Yes, we are north of the Tropic of Cancer, around 23'26"N and coincidentally a cold front is passing through so it's downright cool for a change. We are loving it. Plus it extends our laundry because we can wear long sleeves and pants. The laundromat here is always crowded, with only two small washers there is usually a line. I am hoping to make it to the next place, which we were told has the best laundromat anywhere. He said in the world and I wasn't going to argue, but I suspect it won't be as good as Baiona Spain, where the large machines were super efficient, quick and completely automated adding detergent and softener as needed. Our current plan is to leave here tomorrow as soon as the wind gets manageable, anchor overnight somewhere along Eleuthera, then get through Current Cut the next day at slack or ebb tide and arrive at Spanish Wells before dark. There we will wait out the next front and decide on the next step. It sounds like a good place to be stuck with almost anything we might need ashore. We have met some very nice cruisers here. It feels more like it did in Europe and less like the charter, megayacht community of the islands. We are so close to Florida we can practically taste it. We went for a walk yesterday and came upon some very strange looking plants with stalks that looked like giant asparagus spears. Also found piles of conch shells along the beach. This part of Eleuthera is not very developed and quite beautiful in its own way.
We have landed on the beautiful island of Eleuthera. The Bahamas are different, not the volcanic islands we've been traveling through but low-lying sandy things reminiscent of Denmark except tropical. We're in Cape Eleuthera Marina and resort, a rather small cove with flowing water. We've seen lots of turtles and a bull shark-guess we won't be swimming here. The water is crystal clear. I will try to get pictures of them, but the sharks move pretty quickly. We met some very nice and generous people in Charlotte Amalie, but this place has been even better. We had lots of help tying up here. The book calls it med mooring but it’s more like box stalls with a short wooden dock on the side. Actually perfect for waiting out weather and easy access to shore, the best of both worlds. The woman on the boat next to us was baking bread when we arrived and she kindly gave us a loaf hot from the oven! What a nice welcome and delicious breakfast. It is the first time in a while we have been among cruisers rather than people who have chartered boats. There is a community among the former that is lacking in the latter, because charter boats carry their community with them. Both of us noticed land sickness here. It is not strong or unpleasant but there. It feels more like motoring rather than sailing, perhaps because we motored for the last 46 hours of the passage. We used more fuel on this six day trip than we did in 21 days crossing the Atlantic. There is a huge low pressure system in the western Atlantic and it's not exactly clear what that means for our weather but it is certainly a good time to wait and watch. We are very happy to have a nice place to do that.
Sometimes once we get going on something it's hard to stop. In this case we saw an opportunity to make significant progress in our goal westward and decided to take it. After the first three days of a passage we're in the routine and feel good so we might as well make the most of it. Also, it's the Cruiser Regatta weeks in Georgetown and it will probably be crazy with yachties schmoozing, not exactly our cup of tea and in fact likely with little or no place for us to drop an anchor or find a place at a dock. Some of you will undoubtedly find fault with us missing all of the southern and central Bahamas but we are a little island weary. Yes we know each island has its own character and history, but really they're all variations on a theme--the Spanish came, raped and pillaged and decimated the native population, the English Dutch and French repopulated with African slaves to work their sugar plantations while the English sugar barons manipulated parliament and price fixed to enrich themselves even more, when sugar beets made cane unprofitable they left heavily populated islands with no resources and no means of support now entirely dependent on tourism, but they are a strong people and know how to survive hurricanes. Interesting that we heard recently that one of the powers behind brexit was the sugar barons, hard to believe they still wield influence. Anyway, we are going on to Eleuthera and will enjoy that island and all of them that follow on the route to Florida. We should be there tomorrow morning. In addition the sun is burning bright and hot and we are seared to the point of crispness. This is not to imply that the tropics does not have it's beauty. Because, sometimes, like now, the sea is a bright blue plain stretching out equally in all directions, with gently rounded edges at every point of the horizon. The water can be and right now is slowly and gently oscillating carrying the boat with it rolling and yawing it simultaneously in a way that is almost like the baby dance we did to settle the boys in their infancy. The sky is a paler blue of almost the same hue without any movement if without clouds. Tonight the moon is full.