Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tahiti Beach Abacos to Eleuthera

We left Tahiti Beach once the tide was high enough for us to get through the shallows. We headed to Snake Cay which has a wonderful dinghy trail that takes you through the flats. It must be done on a rising tide or you will get stuck dragging your dinghy the last part. We spotted lots of cushion starfish, several sting rays and turtles.
old rusted building
 In the beginning you can find spotted eagle rays as they like to hang out in the deep hole at the entrance. Dirk got some great underwater video with his go pro of several critters. After we got back to the boat we headed south to Lynyard Cay and found the anchorage to be pretty full. This anchorage is popular as it is where most people will jump out of to head to Eleuthera. That was our plan but not for a couple days. We set the anchor and waited for low tide to head over to the beach. Since low tide was close to dark we didn't get much beach covered and made plans to return the next day.

Dirk anchoring the dinghy
sea glass picked up on the beach
The following morning many of the boats had left and we were one of the few left. We made the decision that we would use high tide to get into Little Harbor and spend an evening in there. Its a very small harbor with mooring balls and a favorite of ours, Pete's Pub. Since we had to wait for high tide we took the opportunity to walk the beach again. Since this beach is not often walked we scored, or should I say Dirk did. He found 5 heart sea beans and 2 hamburger sea beans. I found a pretty good amount of sea glass so I was happy. Back to the boat where we took the time to make a bit of water and stow a few things in preparation of getting into Little Harbor. We could see the waves crashing on the high cliffs. We would have to get through this to get to the calm waters inside. It wasn't pretty but we got through it. I was sitting in the cockpit wedged in and had Butters wedged under my legs trying to keep him from sliding around. He never fights me in these situations as I think he knows I'm trying to help. Once we got past the rough water we then had to worry about the shallows. We only bumped the bottom once but we know there is only sand on the bottom so no harm no foul. Once in we spotted a mooring and I picked it up tying us securely. Time to relax....we decided to have a late lunch at Pete's Pub and enjoyed a wonderful juicy burger, pineapple and walnut coleslaw and rice & corn. Of course we had to partake in a Blaster. Their signature drink. We were good and only had one, its easy to want more as they are very tasty and go down much to easy. They do have a kick though. We met some cruisers and hung out chatting for an hour or so before calling it a night and heading back to Renegade. The next morning I had plans to walk the beach and Dirk wanted to fly his drone over Little Harbor. Another successful flight although it was a bit windy, he got some great footage. I was a bit unimpressed with the beach. For being right there behind a business I was amazed at how much garbage there was. I know its hard to keep the beach clean when you have so much tanker trash, large ropes, floats, and in general lots of plastic. Just feel like if someone picked up one bag of garbage daily then it would be nicer. But that seems par for the beaches that face the Atlantic. After returning to the boat I took Dirk out conch trolling. Its where we let a line in the water so he can be behind the boat 15 feet or so and I drive the dinghy around over the grassy patches. He covers more ground this way and when he sees a conch he yanks on the rope which can be felt and ai stop. He dives down, retrieves it and we move on. He got his limit of six and we returned to the boat as it was fairly rough in the cut. He gave two of the conchs to the people we met the evening before and Dirk was left with four that he disassembled and put into the fridge for salads. We had to wait for high tide to leave the harbor so we both piddled till time to go. With the moon phase the tide was a bit higher and we got out with no problem and went back over to Lynyard Cay to stage for our crossing. The following day several boats left but we wanted to wait one more day as the winds were to be more in our favor. They were going to be light but if they are we at least want them to be out of the right direction. I prepped food for the crossing as I usually do and we were in bed early as we had a 5 am wakeup. We wanted to be hitting the cut at daybreak. By 5:30 am we were pulling the anchor in the dark and making tracks south. 30 minutes later we were going out the cut along with 11 other boats. Guess it was the day to go, after all, it was New Years Eve, what better way to spend it. After setting the sails we sat back and relaxed finishing up our coffee. We had to motor sail as the winds were too light to do much good. About an hour into our trip Dirk's reel was hit. We got our first Mahi of the season. It wasn't too big, good size though and it looked like a small bull.
Dirk set about filleting him up and putting him in the fridge. Soon after Dirk got a hit on his reel that took all the 80lb test line off. He could not slow the fish down even a little. It was just a constant scream of the line being pulled out. Oh well, guess we will never know what it was. We don't think it was a Mahi as they will usually jump once hooked. Dirk and a few others think it may have been a Tuna. If it was that big, we probably could not have landed it anyway. Plus it would have cut into our trip time. Several hours passed uneventful and we started to see Eleuthera come into view. As we were approaching the drop off point Dirk made sure the lines were grass free and ready to catch fish. Every year but one we have successfully landed something in the spot. I took the helm and as we approached I zig zagged between the 200 and 500 area of depth. I heard Dirk say from the back, "here they come" I didn't realize what he was saying till both reels started screaming. I set the boat on auto and neutral. We still had sails up so they would keep us on course and hopefully not too fast. I grabbed one reel as Dirk grabbed the other and started reeling. Unfortunately the lines got crossed and we had quiet the fiasco trying to undo them without losing the fish. I figured we would lose at least one but they both stayed on the line. Once I got mine to the boat I put the rod back in the holder and set about helping Dirk land his. We had to gaff it as it was too big to net. We finally got her on board and of course she was not happy. Dirk had put his fish whacker up and I wasn't sure where. He was too busy trying to body slam this thing into submission to hear me. I'm running around and finally find it, pass it on and walk away. This part is always hard for me but is a necessary evil. I ran downstairs and found some 7&7 to pour into her gills and help her make her passage into the afterlife a bit more easy. So in the meantime we still had this other one on the line in the water. There was also another right below her unhooked but staying with her. We have heard that they will stick together and if you want to catch multiple fish leave one on the line. This would be her lucky day as we had enough fish already today. No need to be greedy. She was fairly good size but we were finally able to land her in the net and get her aboard to unhook her. She was thrashing so much I thought she might kill herself so Dirk worked as fast as possible and finally got the hooks out and threw her back overboard. At first she seemed a bit stunned but finally took off and dove away.
Next on our agenda would be to get the boat back on course to enter the cut at Egg Island. I took her in as Dirk filleted the other fish and bagged it up with the other one. 1 1/2 gallon size bag of Mahi steaks, not bad for a day of travel.
nice bowl of meat
what a bloody mess
We decided to anchor at Meeks Patch close to the entrance of Spanish Wells and we would decide tomorrow if we stayed here, moved into Spanish or headed south to Current Cut as there was a cold front approaching the states and we weren't sure when it would make it here and how bad. it was New Years Eve yet we knew we weren't making it to midnight so we sat in the cockpit with a sundowner watching a beautiful sunset and toasting 2014 away.
By the way, seeing as this is the last day of the month I will give you Dirk's hunting totals. Mahi 3, lobster 20, hog fish 2, conch 15. The following morning we were up before the sun as seems like the case many days these days and had coffee in the cockpit listening to Chris Parker for his weather report. The wind direction and strength made us decide to head into Spanish Wells to see if we could pick up one of Bandits mooring balls. We made our way to the mooring field after we got our assignment and had our plan of attack figured out. The winds were already blowing pretty good and it was low tide in a small tight mooring field. I would let Dirk drive and I would pick up. It proved to be tricky and after a couple of attempts with the wind pushing us around I managed to grab and secure the line as this family on the boat next to us just stared at us like we were an attraction to see. Come on people, if you see a boat coming into a dock, a mooring ball, or any place that is tight and needs to tie up offer assistance. The guys dinghy was already in the water and he was right next to us. Get in your dinghy and at least attempt to help hand me the rope. I had a few choice words in my head for this guy but for now we were set and this is where we shall be for several days before heading on.

not much room to maneuver

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