A Different Bahamas
16 January 2009
So, readers, this blog will be back to the rendition of our passages and places of visit rather than my musings and analysis of socio-economics....
We leave Frazer's Hogs Cay with some trepidation. Our weather prognostications tell us that some serious weather is coming and we've got to get tucked in by Thursday early afternoon at the latest; this is Wednesday morning. We are also told that there are squalls between Eleuthra and Nassau with high winds and pelting rain. So our quandary is when do we make the crossing of the Provindence Channel to Nassau in time to get a good place to hunker. We see boats fleeing the Berry's towards Nassau and figure we better go.
Breeze Hunter and Sea Sharp are the last two boats (of only about eight) to leave . We are much more confident about leaving the channel which we picked our way up two days ago. We get out into the Northwest Providence Channel (a serious piece of water) and head towards Nassau, some thirty mile away. Winds are about 15 knots on the beam (great saling) but the pent up effect of the wind from the north makes for increasingly steep seas. We fly along at 7 knots but there is a slewing motion and very so often a big series of ways lifts us up gives us a lurch. Judy tends to Chopin who is not happy. While the autopilot will steer the boat the direct line to Nassau, I elect to hand steer as I can do a better job anticipating the semi-regular series of waves and buffer the slewing motion. The sky is ominous and I turn on the radar to detect if there are squalls in our path.
Another little sidebar for the non-boaters. Squalls can be very violent, sudden downdrafts of energy, coming somewhat unexpectedly and boisterously, and can cause havoc. The good thing is that they are generally quite localized and visible, either to the eye or, more importantly on radar. Sea Sharp has a good radar system, which, in addition to showing where there is land, other vessels, obstructions, etc. will, with proper tuning of the device, show rain showers and squalls. In our own Grand Lake in NB, I've dodged very powerful but localized squalls by sailing around them by watching their progress on radar.
Well, we have no squalls, but a few showers. As we approach Nassau, the wind and seas build and it gets quite squirrly. And, as Murphy (of Murphy's Law) would predict all of the elements build up; we approach a very busy Nassau Harbour, late afternoon, big seas, stiff winds, a tug with a barge of sand as well as a luxury motor vessel converging on a very narrow entrance. With Judy at the wheel, me figuring out where to go and talking on the radio to the Nassau Harbour Control, the barge and the luxury motor vessel (Sojourn) we work our way in on ten foot rolly breakers to this harbour. Thank God that there were no cruise ships coming out at the same time.
We work our way in and eventually come to the marina where we had booked dock space in anticipation of crappy weather. We get in and tie up and are pretty well spent.
Now as I conclude this blog, I don't want to make these renditions sound like drudgery. It's all part of the experience. If it were easy to do what we're doing, everyone would do it and it would not be like it is; an adventure every day.