Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Georgetown – Chub Cay April 2004

April 12/05 After 7 weeks in Georgetown we are now on the move again. Unfortunately, we are heading north, instead of south/east as we originally planned last year. In the cruising world it is said that "sailors plans are made in jello", where we end up going is dictated by wind, weather, boat issues, personal issues, and a multitude of other factors, needs and desires. In our case, it is boat issues. We have been plagued with transmission problems, and we are returning to the states to get it fixed for good. We have not given up our "dream" of exploring further horizons, we fully expect to continue our trek in the fall. We have learned, enjoyed, explored so much in the past 8 months, that we know we want to go further, but we need to have an engine we can count on. So we are taking this opportunity to continue to explore the Bahamas on our our northern trip, and then we will have the summer in Canada, to visit family and friends and do some travelling. There are a lot of things we haven’t done in the past summers and without the distractions of a boat we are starting to make plans.

The trip north will be different for us. We will use the engine as little as possible, saving the transmission for when we really need it. As a result we have to be flexible and sail with the weather. We left Georgetown with great winds, and waves, doing great, but as we approached Cave Cay the waves were still big, but the winds had decreased and so had our speed. We had initially planned to go through the Dotham Cut and overnight at Black Point. Not wanting to get stuck out in the Sound after dark, we decided to cut through the Galliot Cut and see how far get in the lee of the cays. It turned out to be a good move, because the Sound was smooth and we were able to continue sailing, no waves to slow us down and we still made it to Black Point.

April 13/05 Moved up to piggy beach --Big Majors to wait out a front expected to come through today. The weather is warm and dry with lots of sun. Based upon the wind forecast it looks like we will be here for 4 days or so. Winds are all from the North after the front goes through and of course that is the direction that we want to go. We will take this opportunity to explore some of the islands that we missed on the trip down. Bev would like to swim the Thunderball Grotto again so we will probably put that into our busy schedule.

April 18/05 Today was a great day for a sail. Winds were out of the NE at 15-20 pushing RAFT along at 6-7 knots. Made the short jump to Hawksbill Cay in about 4.5 hours. It is really shallow getting into the north anchorage, but we could see a 100’+ motorcruiser at the beach and figured if they can get in, so can we. We toured the north end of the island this afternoon. This is part of Exuma Land & Sea Park. The Beach is great, small coral heads dot the anchorage that we will explore in the morning. We walked the trail to an old Loyalist settlement for 1785. About six building scattered across the central ridge of the of the Island. Tomorrow we will walk to the ocean side as well. Winds are expected to stay east for the next 4 days so we will slowly hop up to Nassau to prepare for the jump back to Florida. We continue to only move when the winds are it right direction to conserve the use of the transmission. This has certainly has cut down on the diesel consumption and at $3.50 USD it does have a positive impact on our monthly expenses. The engine never gets run to recharge the batteries either. Our design of the wind/solar charging system has exceeded our expectations. We are now about 50 miles from Nassau now and can be there within in a day if needed. Weather in the Gulf Stream is still poor and expected to improve by the weekend so we will continue to poke a long. We have no desire to spend any time in Nassau. Just a means to a end. Tonight we share our anchorage with another one of those big white millionaire yachts (100+ feet & 4 level with all the toys and staff that empty out when they arrive). The staff has already set up the beach for the bonfire/BBQ complete with chairs and bar. Maybe we will get an invite tonight. We have seen alot of these “little boats” lately. Probably because Nassau was hosting a Millionaire Yacht and Airplane show this past weekend. Do prospective buyers get to take them out for a test drive?

April 22/05 After we left Shroud Cay (Exumas) we sailed to Nassau and anchored in front of the yoga center on one anchor. We are about 100' offshore watching the people do their yoga classes in a covered podium that overlooks the harbour. Headstands and meditation all afternoon long got us in the mood to relax and have a "Kalik". That’s enough exercise for today. The sun set perfectly in the western gap of the harbour so we had a gorgeou unobstructed view. Next came the arrival of the cruise ships in the dark, spinning around in the basin and backing into to their respective berths for the night. Lit up like cities and quiet a mice. We had a very quiet night, only disturbed by the rock of the "Booze & Cruise" boats carrying tourist up and down the harbour. Although we did sail through the Nassau harbour -- we only put the engine on under the bridges for safety issues, we did have to motor out of the harbour, because there were tugs moving ships around, and we had to keep out of their way.

Winds are expected to light today 10-12 so it will take us all day to get to Chub Cay, Its about 40 miles in total. We expected to spend 2-3days in that area while we wait for the winds to clock around to the NE. A small weak front is coming through Saturday night.

April 23/05 Spent a quiet evening in Chub Cay last night. Winds yesterday were from the NE from 6-10 knots so the trip from Nassau was slow but uneventful. Winds dropped to 0-2 over night and the anchorage was dead calm with no surge. The only Rock & Roll we got came from the 50 odd sport fishers that raced into the marina at 6:00 pm for beer and weigh in. We forgot that this is a weekend and the Lynford Cay fishing derby is on. We heard the official start of the derby on the radio yesterday morning but did not realized that after fishing in the NW Passage they would be heading to Chub for the night. Plus we got the weekend arrivals from Florida and Bimini as yesterday was a great day to cross the Gulf Stream from Florida. Ah yes, we are approaching "civilization" again. Last night the moon was full without a cloud. At 3:00 am we were up and walked around the deck. You could see the blades of grass 11 feet down in the moonlight. One of the things we have come to enjoy. We will spend another day here waiting for the winds to build a little. Expect to Rock and Roll this morning when all the might Sport Fisher awake from their hangovers and head back out to the deep water.

April 25/ 05 It is a beautiful Monday afternoon, and we have just passed Northwest Channel light, heading for Lake Worth. Winds are light, but we are managing to make 3-4 knots in the light northeast breeze. We are expecting higher winds from the Southeast clocking south west before we make it to Lake Worth sometime tomorrow. Yes we continue to sail only, (no change in our transmission problem) although this morning we did have to use the motor for about an hour, because there was just no wind to go any where with.

We had 3 very enjoyable days in Chub Cay, 1 night at the anchorage, and then we moved into the marina for the west/southwest winds. The front wasn't that strong, but the marina was more comfortable. We met a lot of very interesting people at the marina. Happy hours were interesting, those just starting their trips had lots of fresh vegs and stuff, those at the end of their trip, had lots of cans. Chub Cay Marina will be closing this summer (2005) for over a year, while they renovate, upgrade, expand and build condos. It will never be the same, and most likely we won’t want to, or afford to stay there in the future.

We left Chub with 3 other boats, and are keeping in radio contact, they may stop (they are motor sailing) for a rest and allow us to catch back up with them -- like the tortoise and hare race. But it is nice to be in radio contact, just in case someone does have a problem.

We had a wonderful sail over, the full moon shone all night. We left Chub Cay with light winds, at times only 5knots and we were only managing 2-3 knots, but about 11 pm the wind came up, the moon was gorgeous and we had a great sail over the banks. By the time we left the banks (5am) the wind had piped up, and with the gulf stream at times we were doing 8knots. The entry to Lake Worth was hairy, 40 knots of wind, lots of white water, but it is a class A inlet, well marked and deep so with the skill of the captain, we sailed right in and got anchored about 3 pm. We are tired and will now take a break but this was probably our best all night sail so far.