02 March 2013 | Bahama Banks
Was this the pirate ship that Mary saw on on the Banks the other day??
27 February 2013 | Ft Lauderdale
Sunny and warm
If you need a boat or something for a boat and you cannot find it in Ft Lauderdale, then they don't make it!
27 February 2013 | Bahama Banks
Clear and calm
This one only got partially away.
27 February 2013 | Bahama Bank
Our stay In Spanish Wells was cut short by the weather forecast. However, before we left we did enjoy cocktails on the front porch of the museum docent's house with her husband and his brother. Jean and Tom continued to educate us on the island. It was a pleasant visit, but then we went back to the boat to grill the lobsters pictured above.
With the prediction of westerlies for seven to ten days we decided to leave Spanish Wells on Saturday AM and go to Royal Island for the day. It is a nice and well protected anchorage. It has a narrow entrance, but deep and easy line of sight. There is an old ruin that is worth the visit. However, it is difficult to get ashore as the old landing is high and has a lot of rocks and debris around it. We had to set out a stern anchor on the dinghy and use all of our outdated gymnastic moves to get out and back in to the dinghy. We also walked the construction site but found no apparent new work. There is a development on the other side of the anchorage with a private dock and some activity.
We had planned to day anchor at Royal Island and then move to the anchorage at Meeks Patch for a very early departure for Great Harbor Cay in the Berry Islands. The inlet to Royal is marked with a red and green poles and they are lighted and actually work at night. (They are privately maintained). We chose to stay at Royal and use the lights and a brilliant moon to get out in the morning. It was a quieter anchorage than Meeks Patch would be and would allow us a good route to Great Harbor in the dark.
We left Royal at 1:30 am and arrived at Great Harbor at 2:45 pm. It was an easy, but long trip. We see now why Pat and Laura like the place. We stayed in the marina and planned on two nights. The forecast this morning convinced us to cut the second day and so we left there at noon, headed for Ft Lauderdale.
We have had no Internet service since leaving Royal Island as they had a problem at Great Harbor Cay. Batelco decided to replace the cell tower on the island with a newer, better tower. Last Tuesday, during the construction of the new tower, it collapsed on the old tower taking both of them down. We don't think this will be a quick repair as there is no Home Depot there and all of the equipment has to come in by boat. I hope that we pick up the signal as we pass by Bimini in about two hours and we can send the backlog of emails we have waiting and pick up any incoming mail.
The trip across the Banks was quiet, well, maybe not so quiet. Mary was at the helm with nothing but water in all directions and no land in sight. She was watching a small radar blip that was right on the rhumb line. She had her binoculars out and peering over the port side at what appeared to be a boat of some kind several miles ahead. When she turned to look starboard she was surprised to see 2 runabouts heading straight for the starboard side of the boat. Looking thru the binoculars, she saw 2 men standing in one boat and 4 men standing in the second boat. She yelled for me and I came up slightly annoyed as whatever could be the problem with light winds and nothing out there. After quickly evaluating the situation, I immediately opened the lazerette and took out the flare gun and loaded it as they were still headed right for the starboard side with no slowing down at all. Mary continued on the same course and at the very last minute they veered off behind the boat with a wave. For those who have seen The movie Captain Ron, it was shades of that. We also decided to try our hand at fishing since we were in about 40 ft of water and just off the shallower banks. It wasn't 5 minutes after the line hit the water that we had our first strike. It was tough bringing the fish in but got easier as I reeled in the big boy. Well not so big after we landed him. Something much bigger had also decided our barracuda was a good dinner. We tossed the remains back and cast out the line again. This time it was about 15 minutes before we heard the familiar
"whir r r " of another victim. This time the big fish almost pulled the rod out of my hands. we saw something jump and then almost lost the rod and then we lost everything. the darn shark had gotten our second fish and left us nothing. Not to be defeated, we rerigged the pole and set it out and again were rewarded. This time we got an intact fish-about a 10 lb. barracuda who was full of teeth. After tossing him back to the sea, we decided to retire our pole. We also decided that a quick swim in those waters would not be a good idea.
Now, back to the sailing. We started off with 15-18 kts apparent on a close reach and were sailing along at 6.5 knots. The wind has died down and we are now motor sailing and about 15 miles from North Rocks. We arrived at North Rocks at midnight, right on schedule. Then it was out into the Atlantic and the Gulf Stream. All was doing well with winds around 15-18. At 2:30 am the winds started to build and the roller coaster went into high gear. For the next hour and a half we kept reducing sail and finally started the engine. We had steady winds at 22-25 with gusts to 30 with winds out of the SSW. By 4 am we were down to a reefed main and engine. We were cruising along at 6.5 knots and the ride settled out with our sail configuration. Seas were 3-4 ft, but large rogue waves would occasionally crash over the side giving the boat a good dousing. Our friend "Murphy" decided it was time to make life interesting. Our GPS antenna that was our original problem before we left decided to shut down again. We booted up our backup GPS and proceeded on to Florida.
As we approached Ft Lauderdale we had to jockey with a couple of returning cruise ships for access to the port. We arrived right on time at 7 am.
Since we have returned early and are not ready to return to condo living , we have decided to spend a few days in Ft Lauderdale as tourists. So, when we got into the port, instead of turning south to Sunny Isles Beach, we headed north to Las Olas. There were no mooring balls available that early, so we hung around until someone vacated a mooring ball. The first order of business was to get some sleep. After lunch we met our friends Mike and Eva who are in town to prepare their newly purchased boat for the trip back to Virginia. Thursday night we will receive our granddaughter Julia (age 5) who is visiting with her family from Minneapolis. She will spend the night aboard and travel back to the marina in Sunny Isles on Friday morning.
This will end our travelogue for this adventure, but I will be add a few more pictures when I get them downloaded from our camera.
We had a wonderful trip meeting many fellow cruisers, friends from Virginia, the local island residents and enjoying the islands. We look forward to a return to the Bahamas next winter.
Dave & Mary
22 February 2013 | Spanish Wells
A couple of typical Well maintained New England style cottages that are all over the island.
Spanish Wells Wharf
22 February 2013 | Spanish Wells
Another day and different boats at the very busy wharf.