22 January 2016
Many snow bird sailors sail the Bahamas and Caribbean by heading hard south at the end of hurricane season, November 1st. They eventually work their way north to spend the hurricane season in Northern Florida or Georgia. Hurricane season begins June 1st.
We are continuing south and will spend hurricane season in Granada or Trinidad. These islands are below the hurricane belt. In order to enjoy the Abacos and other areas in the Bahamas, we started north. It is winter here too folks! Our first 6 weeks were mostly great weather but the past month has had a string of cold fronts pass. Cold is relative, temperatures have stayed above 70 except for this weekend where we will have temps in the 60s, possibly upper 50's. Being hearty Northerners, we don't mind the temperatures. The problem with cold fronts is that we get strong winds out of the west. Not many anchorages are protected from the west. We have had to go to Marsh Harbor or other safe havens for a few cold fronts. Now we are moving south.
Goodbye Abacos. We have enjoyed the Abaco chain for two months. OK, some of that was on the hard but we got in a fair amount of sailing, saw our favorite spots and discovered some new ones. We also met some wonderful people. We made friends who I'm sure we will have life-long connections and meet later down island. Most cruising centers develop a real community. The Abacos have a Cruisers' Net, broadcast on Ch 68 every morning at 8:15.
The Abacos remain one of my cruising grounds. If you are planning a charter here, please make it late in the season. Late March through early May would be better than January and February.
The passage from Abacos to Eleuthera was a 60 mile open ocean passage. We left Thursday morning with 10 other boats. It was a sweet ride except for the lack of wind. We motor/sailed most of the way. We did fly the spinnaker a bit but the wind was too far aft to make it work. We are now in Royal Island's well protected harbor. Last time we were here was 15 years ago on Sunday Morning with Gary, Jessica and Captain Jen Wirth. Many fond memories of that trip.
Yesterday we visited the ruin of an elaborate estate. All roofs have caved in and just the walls are left. Some beautiful tile floors are still in good shape. I found some old growth Southern Yellow Pine flooring that was still in great shape. The grain is very tight, it is probablyfrom virgin forests. I took a few pieces and used some to make a marking gauge while we are riding out another cold front in the anchorage. I think I will go back for more tomorrow when the wind lets up. I hope the huge snake we saw isn't around!