LEAVING FREEPORT (passage to Great Harbour.fish & cruiseships
10 March 2009 | Great Stirrup Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas
After our first aborted attempt to leave Freeport and to sail further south, we waited about another ten days, completing more boat-projects & waiting for weather. Our weather window finally came and we left the dock in the dark, just before 7am on March 10th, sailing south toward Great Harbour in the Berry Islands..about sixty nautical miles away.
Winds were very, very light out of the ESE, so right on our nose. We motored across in very calm seas - at most a 12" ripple on the water all day. We saw a number of ships, but none close enough for us to have to alter course for.
I set a fishing rig with a fancy flashy colored lure at the stern of the boat & went below for a nap, leaving Sue and the kids on watch (the autopilot steering the boat all day). I'd not been down napping for more than half and hour, when someone turned around and noticed that my fishing rod was bend quite a bit more than usual..seems we'd caught a fish. We're not usually very good at catching fish, so everyone was speculating what kind of junk or seaweed we might've caught on the line...until we began to see the bright yellow and green shape skipping across the top of the water as I reeled in the line. We'd caught a beautiful Dolphin (no, not flipper...a fish also known as a Dorado or a Mahi Mahi). We filleted and ate this VERY tasty fish that night over pasta for supper..yummy!
Throwing the scraps overboard at anchor that night, the largest Grouper I've seen, came out from under our boat & began to gobble the scraps. I put the next scraps on a hook, but no-doing..he didn't get that big by being stupid I guess.
At Great Harbour, we anchored in a little place called Panton Cove..looks large, but the area deep enough for boats (like 6"-12" under our keel at low tide some places) has only about enough room for two anchored boats. There was a Gemini catamaran anchored just beyond Snake Cay already, so we anchored just before Snake Cay and after cleaning up the boat, dingied to shore to explore Great Stirrup Cay. About half of Great Stirrup Cay is owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines & used as playground day-resort for their cruise ship passengers as they pass by. Ships anchor for the afternoon, ferrying their passengers to shore in waiting landing craft to play on the beach, snorkel, eat burgers and barbeque and generally have a good time. We walked over to see what it was all about and found them loading the last of the passengers for the day on landing craft to go back to the ship. Surprisingly, the staff didn't kick us out, but invited us to come back during the day for another ship, said we could hang-out with the passengers in the resort and eat free-food all day. I guess they figure that with 2500 cruise ship passengers the addition of another 4 sailors doesn't really make any difference.they even invited us to come and anchor off the beach right in front of the place.
After an amazingly enjoyable crossing, we settled in for a relaxing night's sleep at anchor in this quiet little cove.