Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Through the Whale Passage and Onto Other Places in the Abacos

We pulled anchor about 9ish on the morning of the 11th to make the trip across the Whale Passage and onto Great Guana Cay. The Whale Passage is a short ride to the Atlantic, through a set a reefs and back down into the sea of Abaco. The only way to avoid it is basically have a boat with just about no draft so you can go across the shallows. Most boats however cannot do that. I took the opportunity when we first took off to do a bit of house cleaning, vacuuming and such. Just about the only time I can vacuum is when the engine is running or the generator and I want to take advantage of the power. All was nice and calm for a bit but then as we got closer to the inlet it started getting very rolly. The cat and I went upstairs in the cockpit. I knew he would be getting sick and I wanted to control the damage. I had not prepared as I should have and before long I was hearing items falling out of shelves and rolling around. I headed below to tie everything down and as I did I watched the TV swing very hard away from the wall. Geeeze, I quickly tied it in place and set about laying lamps down putting kitchen items inside the sink. We radioed back to Dave & Tanya on s/v Dea Latis to be prepared. They pulled anchor about an hour after we had and I wanted them to be ready for this. The waves and wind built and a couple times we saw seven foot waves and took them on our side. We slightly changed our course to take them more on the nose but one can’t be too off course due to the reefs that sit right below the surface. We trudged on and on until we finally made our turn back into the channel and headed for Fishers Bay in Great Guana. We found a nice sandy patch and dropped the hook burying it in up to the shaft. After settling in, cleaning up and having a shower Dirk and I headed into town to Nippers. We were 2 of about 6 others there including the workers. We decided to walk the beach and soak in some of the scenery. Just a reminder, you can click on any image and enlarge it for better viewing.

The Atlantic looking from Nippers

Dirk Enjoying his beach walk

After returning from our walk we ordered two frozen nippers and settled back to watch the ocean lap away at the shoreline. Soon after, Dave & Tanya from Dea Latis showed up and joined us.
After sitting and chatting for a bit we decided to take a walk down to Grabbers to grab a bite to eat and have a frozen grabber while watching the sun set. There use to be a dock here that dinghy's could tie up to but with the hurricane that came through last summer it has been taken out. So now you just have to beach them. On shore instead sits a barge boat that they use to move cars about from island to island. I'm sure its final resting place is here as they are on island time here and it will rust before it is moved.

We also noticed a huge container ship sitting on the reefs as we came back through the whale passage. As we sat watching the sun set the mosquitoes and no see ums did a changing of the guard with the flies. It was time to make tracks back to the boats.

Dave & Tanya from s/v Dea Latis

Beautiful sunset

Our dinghy with Renegade far right in the anchorage

The following morning Dirk and I took the dinghy out to the Atlantic through a small cut in the island. The waves were rolly but not too rough. He did manage to bag a lobster and after a bit we called it quits, headed back to the boat and prepared to head to Marsh Harbor. It was time to restock the fresh fruits and veggies and they have a great grocery store here.

Dirk & I enjoying a night out at Snappas

Marsh Harbor anchorage from Snappas

We ended up staying several days here due to the winds and on the day after Valentine’s day we took off for Hope Town because we wanted a good hidey hole to wait out a passing cold front that was expected to bring winds into the 40 knot range. I’m glad we left Marsh Harbor early as we needed to have a rising tide to get into the entrance. Once we got in we realized just how crowded and full they were. Dirk went forward to look for open moorings as I drove Renegade through the maze of floating obstacles. Can I say I was just a wee bit nervous about it? Usually I pick up the moorings as Dirk does the operations but today we switched and we got hooked up without a problem. Our friends on Dea Latis followed in about 30 minutes after us and picked up the ball next to us. About a half an hour after that a squall decided to grace us and within a matter of seconds the boats were being blown around. Geeeeze, where did that come from? There was a couple next to us trying to pick up a mooring during this and Dirk took the dinghy out to assist them. Within a short amount of time I think every ball in the harbor was full, and they stack them close.
Dea Latis sitting right in front of us

Renegade in Hope Town, love the red & white lighthouse

All that evening and the following day it rained on and off. Wasn’t so bad as our decks needed a good fresh water wash down. We had Dave & Tanya over for cards at about 5 which is what time the winds started. By the time they left that evening we were having winds clocking about 28 knots steady. As the evening went on we clocked winds gusting to 40 and had to keep setting the high wind alarm higher and higher as we wouldn’t get any sleep with all the beeping. Throughout the night I would wake up as I would feel the boat swing on the mooring and come to an abrupt stop, the whole while hoping the mooring held. The next morning the winds had died a bit and Dirk was ready to check out the reefs once again. I stayed behind as did Dave and he returned with a couple conch and one lobster he nabbed. Later on we ventured into town and walked the beach. It was nice to get off the boat for a change.

Hope Town streets are so bright and cheery

The Hook House where my sister vacationed

Atlantic view just off the Hook House

Borrowed from Dea Latis, this is Hope Town Harbor with I believe Renegade circled in red. Like I said, they pack them tight.

The next day both Dirk & Dave went hunting and Tanya and I did the laundry and hit the harborview grocery which is nice as you can just dinghy up to it. One dozen eggs, 2 bell peppers and 2 onions set me back $7.50. Guess it could be worse like the $10.00 I paid to do one load of laundry. Ah, not to complain, I’m in paradise. Later the guys came back with one lobster and 7 or eight conchs. They took them to the beach to clean them and then took some time to make Dave a conch horn. I assume he spent some time practicing as by sunset he had it playing very well. Today we headed to Tahiti beach where I write this. So let me go enjoy the sunset and I will catch up again soon.

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