Thursday, March 26, 2015

On Our Way South

As we were waiting on weather to leave we met up with several other cruisers that were headed out also. We kept in touch via radio and had a couple meetings on our different destinations and routes. We would meet at Chat and Chill beach, charts, ipads, and notebooks at the ready. We would come to be known as the Chat & Chill Rat Pack.
On the 15th of March we finally pulled anchor and headed out the South cut with our sights on Rum Cay. To get to Rum you have go to the north end of Long Island. We would have liked to stop at Long Island but we were on crunch time and it would have to wait till the return trip. It was a long day as it took us about 11 and 1/2 hours to make the run with the wind almost directly on our nose.
The numbers are where I sent my spots from. Each leg is approximately 4 hours

We all set anchor in Rum to settle in for a good night rest while several other boats elected to bypass Rum and keep going to Mayaguana and even others shooting directly to Puerto Rico. Seems bypassing Rum may not have been a bad idea as the next morning as we were pulling anchor we all complained how rolly the anchorage was and how no one got any sleep. Our next leg would be an overnighter to Mayaguana, 27 hours in fact. During the daylight hours sometime Dirk was able to hook and get into the boat an intact mahi. No sharks sharing with us this time.

The day drug on and soon the sun set to a complete black night. We all kept ourselves awake with radio chatter checking in on each other and playing dodgeball with the big cruise ships and freighters that seem to pass too close. The moon finally rose right before the sun and soon we began to see land. Of course once we spotted land it was still many hours till we reached our anchorage. At one point I was sitting staring into space when I thought I saw a splash in the water, my eyes were tired so I wasnt sure what I saw. I then saw it again but only saw a couple shots of water being blown into the air. Hummmm, I turned to Dirk and said I think I see whales, sure enough, we were in the migratory waters of the humpback whales. Very cool but scary too. I have seen the videos of whales encountering sailboats. Anyway we radioed the boat behind us as we knew they had two kids aboard and wanted to make sure they got to see them. They were closer then us and saw one breach very close to the boat. By this time we were close to our anchorage and could see some of our pack already anchored. Looking at the display you could see the boats that have AIS as it looks like a parade.
Once we had the anchor down we settled in for the evening. We decided that we wanted to stay an extra day and check out the reefs here as this is one of the furthest and most unvisited islands in the Bahamas. There arent too many residents here as it is usually used for a fishing village. A buddy boat Tangent also decided to stay a couple days extra too.
This shows our route from georgetown to Mayaguana
The following morning Dirk and Andy from Tangent along with their son Drew took off in search of something to hunt. It was a productive morning as they returned with a 20 pound Nassau Grouper. They went to the outer reefs and so had to get the grouper carefully while being watched by 3 reef sharks. Quiet the excitement that I could care less to hear about. After they moved on and couldnt find any lobster big enough they decided to return to the boat.

A bit later in the afternoon I asked Dirk to take me to walk the beach. I only found one seabean and pretty much no shells. Oh on the return trip to the boat we spotted some small coral heads that we thought might be fun to snorkel. We went down and low and behold there were several lobsters sitting in holes just waving. Not the place we thought we might find them but sometimes you never know. Soon Andy and his son Drew who had been hunting some small corals came by to see if we had any luck as they had not spotted anything. They were in the water in a heartbeat once they saw we were finding lobster. We ended up with a nice addition to the grouper.
Two slipper lobster and two spiny
The following day the guys decided to have one more hunting day as we would leave the following day. Another grouper, this one about 12 pounds, and a few more lobster were added to the freezer. That would be the last of anything we could stuff in the freezer.
We decided between us all that we had enough seafood to have a feast with. That evening we headed over to Tangent ahd had lobster balls, lobster dip, seared Mahi, and grouper fingers. Wow, it was all delicious and we all stuffed ourselves. The next morning was spent cleaning up the decks, raising the dinghy and getting the boat prepped for the short trip to the Southeast anchorage where we would stage for our crossing to the Turks and Caicos. That evening we pulled into the anchorage, set the hook and Dirk dove in to check the anchor. While checking it he found a conch laying right under the boat so he picked it up and proceeded to make his last conch salad. It was early to bed as we had a 3:30am wakeup to make the trip south. But not without toasting the last of the Bahama Islands with a cold Bahaiman Kalik.

Turks & Caicos, here we come.....
The Q flag is ready

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