Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Getting Out While We Can

With us having to go back into Hope Town to wait out weather we wanted to make sure we made the next weather window to make our escape down to Eleuthera. We said our goodbyes to m/v Ruby Slipper and s/v Clairvoyant who had pulled into a mooring behind us a few days earlier. We had met them while in Green Turtle and had them and their daughter over for sun downers, conch fritters and hog fish fingers with a curry mayo. It was nice to catch up with them again but it was time to go. The day before I had gone and done another 2 loads of laundry at the Lighthouse Marina.
Hope Town Lighthouse
Anyone wanting to know they have wonderful quiet facilities, all new washers and dryers and you can view the lighthouse as your clothes do their own thing. Right on the premises they have a wine and spirits store so I went in to check out the prices. I bought a bottle of Bahamian Rum for $9.95. Heck that was cheaper than one load of laundry at $10.00 a pop. I have been to Hope Town on a couple of occasions and I never checked out the laundry and spirit store before. It’s on my list now. The morning of the 27th we got up, listened to Chris Parker, made the decision to go and so it was a quick trip to drop off the trash, get fuel, run over to the grocery to stock up on fresh veggies and then back to the boat to get out before we lose too much water due to the tides. We got out just fine and traveled a couple hours down to Lynyard Cay. The winds were predicted to be coming from the South West which affords us little to no protection. One place we tried to anchor close to the west side didn’t seem to have good holding and we didn’t feel comfortable there so we moved to an anchorage closer to Little Harbor but it was very rolly due to the ocean swells coming in. We decided to head back up to Lynyard Cay and anchor away from the island in case we drug we wouldn’t be so close. We found a sand bar in about 11 feet of water, dropped the hook and set it well. We wanted to have dinner at Pete’s Pub but with the wind being what it was it would have been one long sloppy wet ride all the way there and back. We decided to cook up a couple lobster and pasta instead. Before dinner we took a ride to the beach to see what could be found. There were several pretty shells and one sea bean I found. We then took the dinghy to the next beach over which has a trail through the scrub to the Atlantic side. There we had the beach to ourselves. Heck we had the anchorage all to ourselves; I have never seen it empty before, that should tell us something. Anyway while walking the beach I found two more sea beans and there were hundreds of sponges of all shapes and sizes littering the beach.
Two sea hearts & one hamburger sea bean
I picked up a couple cool ones and we make the trek back to the boat to cook dinner. That evening the winds laid down a bit and we actually had a pretty calm evening with only the gentle roll of the ocean swell. The following day Dirk wanted to check out the reefs and see what he could scrounge up. He said the reefs had lots of elk horn coral which he has never found to be a favorite of lobster and he did come upon a decent size shark so he decided to come closer in. He ended up collecting 4 conchs and took them to the beach to clean them. That evening we did have a couple boats come into the anchorage from Eleuthera and one that rolled past us to ask if we were heading south in the morning. He wanted to know if he could tag along with us. So at 5:30 am the alarm went off, coffee got made, and everything was situated for the ride south. We had just exited the pass and just getting the sails set when in the distance we saw about 5 huge dolphins jump out of the water at the same time making tracks for our boat. They jumped again almost like saying “ Oh a toy, let’s go play” They made a bee line for the bow of the boat and spent several minutes jumping and zigzagging just ahead of it. Before long they became bored and headed off to do what dolphins do.  It was a good sailing day, the winds weren’t too strong, we had all the sails up and we averaged over 7 knots for the fastest trip we have ever made to Eleuthera. At times we saw over 10 knots. Midway through the trip one of the two fishing lines we had out started screaming. As usual, I take the helm and put the engine in neutral and then set about getting the gaff and trash bag for Dirk. We have found if when you get the fish on board just dropping him in a large black garbage bag it makes it easier to handle. Plus it keeps the blood to a minimum on deck. He had a decent sized Mahi and got him on board and filleted in no time while I set about getting us underway again.

Dirk with the fist Mahi

We decided to pull the lines in as it was beginning to get a bit rough out. Once we hit the Northeast Providence Channel it got even a bit rougher and the winds picked up. We decided to drop the mainsail to level out the boat a bit and give us a more comfortable ride. We did this for a while until things settled a bit and with land in sight we hoisted the sail again and threw the lines back in again. Before long Dirk had hooked a barracuda and quickly sent him on his way. While we were both sitting back relaxing the line that had the cedar plug on it started screaming and Dirk jumped into action as did I. Just at that moment the line on the other side went off too so I set about trying to bring in a fish. I figured we had two more Mahi as they school together. As I got mine close to the boat Dirk told me to put the rod in the holder and he would come bring it on board while I continued to bring his fish in. We switched off and I went about bringing in another one. Actually I was almost hoping one would get free as I was getting tired and winded from the fight. Finally I had the other one close to the boat as Dirk was finishing up getting the first one on board then he came and we both landed the second. Whew, that’s tag teaming and we high fived each other in celebration.

Dirk with the second and third Mahi caught
By this time we were getting close to our way point at Egg Island and while Dirk took in some sails I took us through the reefs and started heading towards Royal Island. Earlier Dirk had called Bandit, the keeper of the moorings in Spanish Wells and was told all the moorings were taken. We had never been to Royal Island but we had to go. There is nowhere else really protected to anchor and the winds were still coming from the east. We pulled in to find only a couple boats anchored and tucked up to the island, dropped the hook and called it a day. It had been cloudy and overcast the entire day and as the sun was setting it was beginning to get cold. While Dirk set about cleaning the last two Mahi caught I made us a curried chicken dish over rice. Nice hot showers and early to bed as our plans were to head to Hatchet Bay in the morning.
All the meat packaged, not too bad and my freezer is full
We got up at 6:30 and listened to Chris Parker. The cold front that was heading our way would be here this afternoon some time and we needed to make the decision to try and outrun it to Hatchet Bay or risk getting hit by squalls all day. We decided the best thing was to stay put. Several more boats came in today looking for shelter also. We called our friends from Dea Latis and we missed them by hours here as they headed to Hatchet Bay. He reported there were no moorings available there either. He had to anchor and said there was room if we wanted to head down. We felt securely anchored here so we would stay. Tomorrow is suppose to be more of the same, rain, wind and generally nasty. As I write this it’s raining and 63 degrees. That’s way too cold for the central Bahamas and for me. On Sunday the winds were a bit calmer in the morning so Dirk decided he would take the dinghy and make the 5 mile trip to Spanish Wells to see if he could get a minute of internet to check the weather. Sunday is the only day Chris Parker doesn’t air so we were in the dark about weather as Royal Island has no amenities. No internet, no anything. It is a private Island that was bought to put a resort on but when the building boom hit bottom it affected the islands here too. Investors pulled out so it sits. You’re not suppose to dinghy to shore and since there isn’t anything there, there is no reason too. We all sat in our boats for 3 days getting cabin fever and itching for better weather. Dirk arrived back to the boat after being gone over an hour cold and wet as it was raining yet again. He did manage to get the weather and we saw we had a window to get to Hatchet Bay the next morning. Tonight however we would have high winds again. As the day progressed they did increase and we had a boat break free and start heading for a large power boat. Dirk and another guy hopped into action to help the single hand er re-anchor his boat while all the power boater did was put out fenders and pull his dinghy out of the way, pick up anchor and move. Thanks for the help jack nut. Apparently we had one more boat drag as the next morning there was one boat repositioned. The next morning we awoke to calmer winds and headed south to Hatchet Bay where I will pick up next time. Till then.......


Dave said...

Jack nut? LOL, I love it! Great reading your blog again and thanks for that delicious recipe!

Steve said...

Glad you guy had a good trip to Royal Island. Sorry we didn't have time to get together in Hope Town.

Steve & Margo