February 2nd, 2015 – Continued (-5 on UTC)
Dear Friends and Family,
On Friday, in the midst of my marine procuring expedition, we decided to take the \”Bo Hengy II\”, the local ferry that comes from Nassau everyday and continues on to Harbour Island which is supposed to be quite up market and full of the \”R&F\” (rich and famous). While waiting, we met Anneke and Tom from s/v \”Elisa\” which Tom had sailed from Holland to the Caribbean a few years ago. They Winter in the Caribbean and then go back to Holland for the summers; leaving the boat on the US West Coast. We became fast friends and hired a golf cart at the end of the ferry ride together. The ferry ride took us through, \”The Devil\’s Backbone\” route which locals suggest hiring a pilot to do if going on your boat. Frankly, in calm conditions, it would have been a piece of cake. It was calm and the 150 foot long, 50 foot wide, 6 foot deep \”Bo Hengy II\” blasted through without any issue. The ferry ride was about an hour and it would have taken us much longer in \”Beach House\”. Also, if the conditions did get breezy, you might get stuck there for awhile. All in all, the ferry ride, though expensive at 102.00 USD round trip for the two of us…was the way to go.
We had a nice lunch at \”Sip Sip\” right on the north shore above the Pink Sand Beach. The place was packed and interestingly, almost all the tables were groups of young women. Why? We don\’t know, but apparently one group was a birthday party and it must be a great hang out. The food and drink was great, but very expensive, the atmosphere delightful. We enjoyed carting around and arriving at 11:30 and departing at 3:40pm was just about right. If you wanted to really explore Eleuthra in more depth, it would take a car as it\’s over 100 miles long despite being only about 1/2 mile wide on average.
When we got back to the marina, we made plans to come outside and stay in the anchorage as Anneke and Tom would be leaving to do our route to date; in reverse.
We would be off to Chubb Cay in the Berry Islands, about 65 miles back to the west. It\’s always great to meet people you hit it off with well, but sad to depart; especially so soon. We had Anneke and Tom over to \”Beach House\” and talked about our experiences sailing and life in general. It was a lovely evening.
The next morning, \”Elisa\” up anchored about an hour before us and waved goodbye as they began their trip north to the Abacos and on back to Florida.
Nikki and I motored back along the inside of the reef (yet again watching out for that wreck) and enjoyed a 50 miles downwind joyride. We even had to gybe!
Winds 12-22 knots, full main and genoa poled out to windward. We passed the odd big ship and a few cruise ships en route. We anchored in the same bay we did last year and tried to stay awake to listen to the Super Bowl. I made it to half time and despite the game sounding like a great one in the making was just too tired to stay awake any longer. I heard on Sirius Radio the next morning that New England won the game.
Today, we\’re just hanging out at the anchorage, watching the weather which should turn favorable for our next part of the journey.
Our ultimate destination is Panama but we wanted to avoid the full force of the Gulf Streams northerly current. Ideally, a north wind would be great to push us south, but that goes right into the chops of the Gulf Stream if you depart directly from Florida which makes for a long, slow and potentially uncomfortable ride. As such, we\’re going to to what we\’ve deemed \”The Adventure Route\” down the West side of Andros Island. Andros is the largest island in the Bahamas and nearly un-inhabited. It\’s the 3rd largest barrier reef in the world and a Biologists wonderland. Essentially, it\’s a huge mangrove swamp. I suspect Manatee\’s and Alligators might find this a perfect home away from humans. Only those who really go off the beaten path travel out there. The west side of the island for 50 miles to the west is very shallow. The charts look good and we\’ve the Navionics Soundings on Nikki\’s IPAD which really show the depth contours. We\’ll most likely make two stops in preparation to jump to Anguilla Cays which is part of the Cay Sal Bank. Not only does this route avoid the Gulf Stream, we might even get a little \”counter current\” assisted push. The Cay Sal Bank is the most remote part of the Bahamas and almost in eye sight of Cuba.
Out intention is to go from Anguilla Cay to Cay Sal and depart west from there. It\’s weather dependant and definitely the path less traveled. Hopefully our fuel line won\’t be too much of an issue. To date, I\’ve been able to clean it up and store the waste fuel out of the engine room bilge into our waste oil containers.
So…KIT (Keep in touch!)
The adventure continues…
Scott and Nikki