Monday, September 10, 2012

Getting so Far Behind I Must Fast Forward

So between being so busy on one hand and incredibly lazy on the other, the blog sits neglected as I have gotten so far behind that it’s too mentally challenging to try and remember everything that took place. So in the interest of sanity I will do a quick recap of the rest of our time in the Bahamas before returning back to the states. I think I left you after our arrival into Rock Sound Eleuthera where we were to sit for several days due to very windy conditions. After that we left for Governors Harbor for an evening and then the following day we headed to Hatchet Bay where we would spend a couple days. This time it was more for enjoyment rather than weather. We always love Hatchet Bay for the Sea Glass hunting on the beach and the incredible folks at The Front Porch. Every time we are here we must have dinner as this place has some of the best food I have ever eaten. Gina and Francis are the owners and are always super nice. Any cruiser that we meet that has been there knows and loves them. If you have never been, it is a must stop as there are free moorings in the very protected harbor. At this point we are still traveling with Jens and Regula aboard s/v Emerald Mist and we still haven’t decided if we are going up to Spanish Wells, heading to Nassau, and then back to the states or heading north to the Abacos before making the jump back. Oh well we still have a couple days to decide. On the 16th we decided to head up to Spanish Wells and what else? Wait on the weather to calm down so we could make our next move. As we pulled into the channel we had heard that Bandit with the mooring balls was all full so we wouldn’t be able to go where we always did. Hummmmm. In the past we have seen people anchor just past the mooring field but we have heard the holding isn’t that great. After about an hour of trying to set,we finally found a spot we weren’t dragging too bad in as we backed down. We had heard one of the balls was to become open later in the afternoon so we would wait. At about 5pm we got a call on the radio, the ball was free. So we pulled anchor and picked up the ball happy to be secure to the ground. Bandit has gone up once again on his fees up to $20.00 per day. Before long it will be cheaper to pull into a marina in Spanish Wells. After sitting for 3 days here and after changing our minds back and forth we finally decided that the path we would take back would be via the Abacos. Our buddy boat s/v Emerald Mist had to go the route of Nassau as they had to take care of paperwork in order to enter into the US as they are German and Swedish. On the 19th in the early morning we pulled out of Spanish Wells and set our sights north. There were two other boats that pulled out behind us traveling the same direction so at least there was some company around. There is an area that is a large shipping channel you have to go through and we passed fairly close to a cruise ship. So close in fact Dirk got on the radio just to make sure they saw us so as not to have any problems. After an uneventful motor sail we arrived into Lynard Cay, dropped the hook and called it a day. The other boat that was travelling with us seemed to be having trouble setting anchor and since our dinghy was down Dirk offered assistance with checking it. They said they were fine. Hummmm famous last words. The next day the winds picked up and shifted leaving them anchored in front of us rather than behind us. We kept an eye out and sure enough we poked our head up one time and saw their boat dragging down besides us. Dirk went topside and the other guy was sitting in his cockpit “keeping an eye out”. How about firing up that engine and pulling anchor before your anchor crosses mine and drags mine. Finally they pulled anchor and re-anchored further up. With yet another front passing we sat for 3 days here. Dirk did get some conching in and we managed to dinghy into Pete’s Pub for a Blaster that ended up being several apiece. Whew…..We located our old Tybee Time signature from a couple years back but forgot to bring a marker to write our new boats name. Next time…..On the 22nd we headed on up to Marsh Harbor as our fresh meat supply was just about out and we had run out of veggies. Upon entering Marsh Harbor I was very surprised and had never seen so many boats in there before. I guess with the fronts coming by every couple days people were staying put. We dropped anchor perhaps a bit to close to some people we met in the Exumas but Dirk went over and spoke to them and they felt alright about it. We had to be as far out of the channel as possible but our rear was probably sticking a bit into it. Oh well, gotta do what you can. A day or two later a couple boats finally pulled out and we re anchored in one of their spots. I always feel better when we have good swing room as Renegade tends to dance a bit. She has a high free board which causes her to be pushed to one side, the anchor chain tightens and then she swings to the other side. We had a full day of very strong winds and even had a tornado touch down on the next island over. We and everyone else sat in the cockpits watching everyone else and making sure no one broke loose and drug. Finally when we had decent weather we actually took the dinghy into town and made a run to Maxwell’s grocery store. It was the first time we had been off the boat in about a week. It was time to stretch the legs. We even made time to go to Snapper’s one evening for dinner. After listening to the weather and trying to plan our escape we decided after 4 days of being in the harbor to make a run through the Whale and over to Green Turtle. The winds would be coming across the bay and the area we anchor at in front of the government dock was probably gonna be rolly so we elected to anchor on the other side. This would prove to be a problem as we couldn’t find any good holding and after several tries we gave up and headed to where we always go. We wouldn’t be able to make it into Green Turtle itself as we need high tide to get in and that was past so this would have to do. It actually wasn’t too bad and after two days we decided if we were going we had a short window coming up. This was the end of the line for Internet and phone so any weather we got was going to have to be Chris Parker and he doesn’t broadcast on Sundays. So we left Green Turtle after the last weather report on the Internet and made the trip over to Great Sale Cay. Normally we go into the south anchorage but due to the winds coming from that direction it would have been wide open so we anchored up in the north along with several other boats. Soon after we got there several left as this is the jump off point to the Gulf Stream if you don’t plan on going to West End first. Most people will travel the shallow banks at night and come daybreak you are hitting the Gulf Stream. That evening we relaxed and started mentally preparing ourselves for the trip back. We don’t have a problem making the trip by ourselves but it looked like there would be several boats joining us. The next day we went and visited with a couple, got their float plans and found that two of the boats would be headed into Ft. Pierce which was our plan. We made a trip over to the island and found the last of my Bahama treasures for this season. I found 2 or 3 sea beans and a couple shells. Yippie, I was a happy camper. Then it was back to the boat to put the dinghy up, put the fuel cans into the tank, and tie down and stow everything. Our plan was to pull anchor at dusk to begin the journey and as I prepped the food items Dirk went and had a nice nap. I hate that he can nap, try as I might I just can’t do it. At 7:45 pm several of us pulled anchor and set our sights west. After an uneventful motor sail we hit Ft. Pierce, anchored just a bit before sunset and called it a day, a long day at that. It ended up being about a 22 hour day, we were whipped. The next morning we headed north on the ICW and pulled over in Eau Gallie. Always seems like we plan our trips to end up at this spot. It’s always a nice quiet spot by the bridge and we have never had any problems. It was no different now and we got a great night’s sleep and made our final leg of the journey the next day to Harbortown Marina in Merritt Island. So here the boat sits while we do more work on her and take care of all the things cruisers must take care of while back on land. So forgive me for such a delay. I do hope to do better.