Saturday, January 19, 2013

Week 16: Jan. 16-22, 2013 (Day 106-112)

Week 16:

Wed. Jan. 16, 2013—Day 106:
Destination:  Little Farmers Cay to Rudders Cut Cay
Departure:  0940 hrs.                          Arrival:  1145 hrs.                           Distance:  approx. 9 NM
Winds:  E 12-16K; SE 13-18K after sunset                       Seas:  1-2 ft. chop
Weather:  cloud rain showers cloud with sunny breaks mainly sunny

Musha Cay
Piano & Mermaid at Rudder Cay
I woke at about 0200 hrs. as the sea state had changed & became a little bouncy; also I started calculating when low tide was next & if we would touch bottom this time, but fortunately not.  There was a change in the weather forecast especially for those waiting to cross from Florida & in the Abacos on SSB this morning.  We planned our departure to coincide with a rising tide as we were taking a shallow VPR (visual piloting rule) route to our destination today.  A great 30 min. sail with the jenny on a close reach (5.7-6.3K) via the deep route from the anchorage to Big Farmers waypoint, then we had to turn east or port toward Galliot Cay so had to roll the sail in. Then we turned to starboard past Big Galliot Cay to Cave Cay.  We had a good view of the sea state on the Sound as we crossed Galliot Cut; very doable & tempting!  But we really wanted to see the many very small Exuma Cays that I have only read about even though most are private.  Cay (a narrow but marked channel into the marina—hurricane hole) then Musha Cay, absolutely stunning waters & palm community with resorts & homes, all private.  We completed our VPR route at Rudder Cut Cay, also impressive with it’s beaches & caves but also private, anchoring in the 2nd anchorage in 12 ft. water & 100 ft. chain.  The passage today was done on a rising near high tide & the least depth we saw was 10 ft.  It was a good thing we arrived when we did as now 9 boats were anchored in the vicinity.  ‘Moma Cal’ invited us for drinks & nibbles at 1230 hrs.; lots of chatter & laughs & book exchanges.  The crew from ‘Truansea’ dinghied over from Little Darby anchorage where many of “the gang” were anchored—no more room; they mentioned a very neat snorkeling treasure close by.  So before it got too late Jack, Bud & I grabbed our snorkeling gear & cameras & checked out this special snorkeling site.  Low & behold, we found a stainless steel baby grand piano & bench & mermaid just offshore not far from Rudder Cay Cut!  How cool!  A quick shower then to ‘Sea Camp’ for Happy Hour & watching the sunset which was obscured by clouds, but a good orangey sky did follow.  A well defined ¼ moon, some cloud, lots of clear sky & stars+++ were visible tonight.

Noon Hour Happy Hour 

Thurs. Jan. 17, 2013—Day 107:
Destination:  Rudder Cut Cay to Williams Cay
Departure:  0915 hrs.                      Arrival:  1145 hrs.                              Distance:  approx. 9 NM
Winds:  SE to S to E 8-11K                 Seas:  0 to minimum waves, 2-3 ft. swells with occasional 4 ft.
Weather:  sun heavy dark clouds sprinkle of rain cloud with some sun rain X 2 min. mostly sun with some cloud

Rays at Childrens Cay
The winds through the night had calmed by morning; a bright start to the day.  SSB received at 0630 hrs. but very interrupted reception from Blue Yonder; SE winds were predicted to moderate today as well as the sea & even more tomorrow.  ‘Moma Cal’, ‘Kathrian’ & ourselves decided to give a departure a try, but ‘Sea Camp’ decided to wait until tomorrow instead & meet up with us in Georgetown tomorrow.  We put a general call out & received favourable feedback from ‘Hey Jude’ out on Exuma Sound.  It was a rising tide, therefore a 3K current against us going out Rudder Cut, but very doable & not uncomfortable.  Out on Exuma Sound there were no to minimal waves & just 1-3 ft. swells with an occasional 4 footer.  We were able to motorsail with a 10-11K wind for a short time until the wind dropped & shifted on our nose as weather & clouds came & went.  The first rain cloud passed to our west, but there was a good shower in the anchorage we had left according to Bud.  In the distance we saw a squall like cloud, which for the most part also passed us to the west; there was no wind in it, just very calm & 2 min. of rain as we approached Adderley Cut.  Also there was a dark cloud at our stern to the north & this current cloud appeared to be moving also whence we came.  It was quite a gentle passage in past the awash rocks at Adderley Cut & good depths.  Some sailboats were anchored off Leaf Cay to starboard.  We motored to port around & past the Caribbean Marine Research Center on Lee Stocking Island & could hear the sound of birds singing, a sound I have not heard in a while; we understand the research center may be closed due to lack of funds, but mooring balls still in place.  Instead we moved down the lovely shoreline with it’s sandy beaches  here & there & anchored in near 9 ft water & 80 ft. chain.  Graeme lowered the dinghy & topped up the boat’s diesel tank (shy of 2 gal.).  We explored the south end of Williams Cay, across the shallow, gorgeous, unbelieveably clear & unimaginable pristine colour of aqua water between Wiilimas & Childrens Bay Cays, where we saw large groups of rays, near 20 in total; we visited ‘Fair Winds’ anchored here; Louiselle even trimmed the back of my hair.  On our return trip we ventured up a dredged basin of a perspective marina on Childrens Bay Cay, travelled along it’s west shoreline & the west shores of Williams Cay, making a close pass of a couple of sandy beaches.  We were invited onto ‘Valda IV’  (Tom & Mary), a 34 ft. catamaran.   ‘Sweet Chariot Too’ hosted Happy Hour & yes, we saw our 2nd green flash at sunset!  A glorious red sky, calm+++, clear night sky & stars+++.

Jack cleaning coconuts

Fri. Jan. 18, 2013—Day 108:   
Destination:  Williams Cay to Stocking Island-Georgetown
Departure:  0850 hrs.                    Arrival:  1350 hrs.                              Distance:  approx. 25.1 NM
Winds:  N 1-3K, increased to 4-6K, then NE 10-12K + gusts by evening   Seas:  gentle rollers only
Weather:  warm+++, brilliant sun & only clouds in the periphery 

Amazing blue of  Exuma Sound
I can’t remember such calmness during the night & in the am.  It has been so long, I would have to refer to my records.  Looking through the wide open hatch during the night & predawn, the stars & milky way were spectacular.  The sound of birds in the early morning hours was so delightful; large fish, probably a ray jumped out of the waterclose by shore twice, although I was not quick enough to see but just heard the splash & saw the rippled water.  Calm weather conditions were forecasted for today with increase  winds by the evening.  A flotilla of boats were heard leaving Rudder Cut Cay & Little Darby Cay; in contact with ‘Truansea’ & ‘Sea Camp’.  On a rising tide we slowly motored W & S of Windsock Cay (8ft.), SW of Childrens Bay Cay (20 ft.) between Rat Cay & Pigeon Cay (24 ft.).  There was a 1-2K current against us motoring out of Rat Cay Cut that was calm, no breaking waves & no waves in Exuma Sound, only long gentle rollers + a long flotilla of boats ahead & especially behind us.  ‘Moma Cal’ & ‘Kathrian’ peeled off & filled their boats with fuel & water in Emerald Bay Marina ($1.00/ ft. with free WiFi & laundry); perfect sea conditions to enter their cut.  The N winds increased just shy of the Conch Cay waypoint, the turn in point to the route into Elizabeth Harbour.  We first set anchor in Kidd Cove, right by Georgetown but the water depth was only 7.4 ft. at high tide & no northerly protection.  We reanchored X 2 in 18 ft. & 100ft. chain off Black Point, between Volleyball Beach & Sand Dollar Beach off Stocking Island across from Georgetown.  Once the dinghy was set we crossed Elizabeth Harbour for Georgetown where we met some catamaran friends from Staniel Cay & browsed through Exuma Markets, liquor stores, hardware store & topped my Bahamian phone with $50.00 worth of minutes.  The north winds had increased to 10-12K with increasing consistent gusts of 15K.  An enjoyable time & dinner was spent with Cherry & Doug & others were frequently have travelled with.  I missed the sunset but the night sky was mostly clear with ½ moon & stars galore.

Sat. Jan. 19, 2013—Day 109:
Destination:  Stocking Island-Georgetown
Winds:  NE to E 8-10K                            Seas:  <1 ft.
Weather:  partly cloudy, partly sunny, comfortable temps

It was SSB at 0630 hrs. & Georgetown Cruisers Net on VHF 72 at 0800 hrs.  Herman on ‘White Wing‘ was emcee.  At 0745 hrs. he made an announcement on VHF 16 & 68 re the net at 0800 hrs.  He announced to many of us newcomers that VHF 68 is the usual channel of hailing boats in Georgetown.  This year I found the net more businesslike & succinct than in the past, only lasting 30 min.  Slowly we readied ourselves to going ashore with 2 empty water jerry cans, after Graeme had emptied them into the boat tank, shopping list, computer, garbage, & money.  First task was filling the jerry cans of free water, compliments of Exuma Markets & left them in the dinghy. Graeme went to the Scotiabank ATM.  Haircut  for me at Tranees ($15.00), then we browsed through shops & the straw market, & looked for internet as far as Peace & Plenty, whose WiFi cost $5.00 X 1 hour; no internet at the library (hours M-S 1000 to 1200 hrs.). Pett’s Place was closed but sign indicated internet was $5.00 X 1st hour + $3.00 per additional hour, no internet at Exuma Markets (secured now).  Jack discovered internet at the Medical Clinic & Cherry had access anchored in Kidd Cove.  We walked to Eddies Restaurant; good internet (Edgewater) & had a late lunch.  While Graeme browsed through his emails after I was done with mine & posted my blog minus pictures, I did some grocery shopping next door at the Shop Rite, a more local’s store.  A slightly wet dinghy ride home at 1600 hrs.  Then we both just read in the cockpit until sunset until the lighting was too dark.  One cannot see a complete sunset at Georgetown as it is located on the east side of Great Exuma Island.  But there were a few conch blowers in the anchorages & a lovely red sky. Tonight the ½ moon was bright & the skies were lightly but partly cloudy that cleared later in the night & stars.

Sun. Jan. 19, 2013—Day 109:
Destination:  Stocking Island-Georgetown
Winds:  E to SE 8K                        Seas:  <1 ft.
Weather:  sun & blue sky

Only Georgetown Cruisers Net at 0800 hrs. was available to us.  I attended the Beach Worship (non denominational) at 0930 hrs. at Volleyball Beach; terrific, warm & interactive; special intentions for Linda MacDonald & Kelly Buckley.  A social took place afterwards.  In the meantime Graeme did some dinghy exploring down to Hamburger & Monument Beaches.  Then together we did a dinghy tour of the hurricane holes #1, 2 & 3 of Stocking Island & St. Francis Marina & Resort; met tourists from Constance Bay.  After lunch we dinghied across Elizabeth Harbour to return a loaned book to Josh, ‘Azeroth’ & into Georgetown for water, gas & email, just sitting outside Pett’s Place.  Mid afternoon we dinghied to Chat ’n Chills for their Sunday pig roast ($20.00) & the 1st NFL playoff game between Atlanta & San Francisco.  A red sky after sunset, a sudden onset of a dark rain cloud with only sprinkles, then clear skies with ½ moon & stars. 

Mon. Jan. 21, 2013—Day 111:

Destination:  Georgetown
Winds:  E-SE-S-SW-E 5K                          Seas:  <1 ft.
Weather:  glorious sunny day with brief rain shower about noon

Flat calm during the night & upon rising.  Chris’ forecast for the day proved to be correct—light & variable.  We listened at the Net as well.  Several attended yoga on Volleyball Beach at 0900 hrs.; the instructor & program was very good.  Graeme in the meantime went to town for ?.  I had to take a dip into the lovely water after yoga as the sand from the beach was sticking to me.  Other adventures of the day included getting another island book from Josh (Azeroth), buying fresh fruit at Exuma Markets, dropping an empty propane tank at Forbes for next day pick up, a visit to the Department of Tourism, Batelco office & internet at Eddies.  We had a sudden onset of rain shower about noon; this was the 1st time we left the hatches open but it seemed that it may not have rained in the anchorage but only in town as everything was dry.  We took a long dinghy exploring trip along the NE shore of Rolle Cay, in & around Crab Cay, under the lovely Crab Cay Bridge & around George Devine Cay & Red Shanks anchorage; in so doing we were also looking for a new, better & less expensive laundromat we were told about in the vicinity than Corner Laundromat in town but were unsuccessful.  A spectacular sunset sky tonight.  We invited Cherry & Doug over for just a simple spaghetti dinner; a great evening with old friends.  And we were still up after 2200 hrs.  An equally spectacular night sky; flat calm, stars+++ & 2/3 moon.

Tues. Jan. 22, 2013—Day 112:
Destination:  Georgetown
Winds:  S to SW then by evening W                         Seas:  calm
Weather:  sunny, occasional cloud, warm & comfortable temps

I guess we will be in Georgetown for a while longer; (1) guests are arriving Jan. 30th, & (2) weather on SSB, NOAA, Nassau Net, & Wind Alert were predicting a strong & lengthy cold front with northerly winds arriving later today.  Crusiers Net surprisingly has continued to be streamlined & concise.  Yoga on Volleyball Beach with good attendance at 0900 hrs.—back & joint class, followed by another skinny dip sea bath to get rid of sand.  Then across the pond to town for water, a can of gas, a short internet session including lunch at Eddies & to pick up the refilled propane tank at Forbes ($15.00); new propane place in town with wait & fill service not far from Palm Bay Resort & “very reasonable prices”.  Graeme saw a shark under the dinghy as we were scooting across the harbour; the water was flat calm.  We explored more by dinghy in the afternoon-- to hurricane hole #1 (2 houseboats), to the lagoon with private homes around the perimeter, beached the dinghy & walked up the hill to the main beach—miles of glorious white sand both of the baby powder nature & coarser, tons of tiny shells, gently crashing waves & so few people, then to Volleyball Beach where the conch shack is set up.  Here we touched & photographed friendly rays that would swim up to you & brush against you, eat conch from your hand; they felt like soft suede.  Mike McGoldrich arrived at evening time as a guest on ‘Azeroth’, so Josh hosted a social on his cat; we all brought nibblies & we got to sample some of the mackerel he caught & coconut curry rice.  There was a red sky & clouds after sunset; a clear star filled night sky & 2/3 moon.

No comments:

Post a Comment