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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sail Bahamas Man 0 War Cay to Elbow Cay etc. 22 to 25 April 2010

Motored the few miles to Man O'War Cay 22 April and had an interesting time anchoring just north of the shallow northern entrance to the harbour. Thought the anchor was holding fine till snorkelled over it to fine that not only was the chain looped around some rubbish but that the anchor had snagged and was held by two thick electricity cables. Managed to dive down in 4 meters water and pull anchor free and reset it (unusual for me (Mike) as have not been able to get that deep for a long time due to sinus problems (26deg 35.99N 077deg 00.78W).

Dinghied in to the harbour and had a walk round the very protected harbour.

23 April sailed slowly down under yankee to Sandy Cay where we anchored (26deg 24.13N 076deg 59.56W) and dinghied to dinghy mooring buoys to the east of the cay. Snorkelled over the many fan corals on the beautiful live reef seeing a Baracouda, Ray and many colourful reef fish.

Sailed back north a few miles to anchor just north of the sand spit at the southern end of Elbow Cay (26deg 30.35N 076deg 59.01W).

24 April dinghied to the beach and had a 6 + mile walk to the very neat Hope Town and back along the Ocean Beach. Hope Town is an allround protected hurricane hole boasting the only fully manned Lighthouse in the Abacos. The island is largely developed with many expensive houses and has a very prosperous feel to it. Ended the day with sundowners on S/V Goose Bumps with Mike & Barb.

Plan to sail back to Marsh Harbour today 25 April to Marsh Harbour to prepare for the 700 + mile leg to Bermuda - looks like there should be a weather window after the next front leaves us on Tuesday morning.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bahamas Sail Fishers Bay & Marsh Harbour 18 to 22 April 2010

17 April motored through the notorious Whale Channel against a 1 to 1 1/2 meter swell to Fishers Bay on Great Guana Cay. Anchored in 3 meters at 26deg 39.9 N 077deg 07.1 W in grass covered sand. On second attempt anchor held very well.

Walked on the island and met up with several boats we had met on Green Turtle Cay.

Had Sunday lunch at Nippers on the ocean beach. Had a very enjoyable reunion with Marge & David on their beautiful Schooner Winfield Lash - last met hunkered down in Seal Bay in Maine last year sheltering from Hurricane Bill.

20 April drifted down to Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island on the Yankee and recommissioned the water maker ready for the long passages ahead. Anchored in good holding in 3.4 m at 26deg 32.7N 077deg 03.5W .

Had a good social time with Barbara and Eric of S/V Barberic and Mike & Barb of S/V Goose Bumps who we had met on Green Turtle Cay.
21/4 was a cloudy rainy day which cleared up towards the end of the afternoon in time for supper on Dutch Link.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bahamas Green Turtle Cays, Abacos 9 to 17 April

Had a very peaceful time on a mooring in Black Sound on Green Turtle Cay as the Front passed through followed by a week of 20 knot winds gusting 30 knots. Spent most days doing things on the boat in the morning and having long walks on the beautiful beaches in the afternoons -

J was tempted to have a dip.

The few people one meets seem to have become addicted to hunting for Sand Dollars, the skeleton of a very flat disc shaped animals that lives in the sand - we joined in.

I guess some of the visitors here are fairly well off judging by the amphibian plane next to a house on the beach (understand the owner lives in the USA and flies in from time to time.

There are quite a large number of new large holiday homes ready for sale.

There are quite a few birds here - more gulls than we have seen before plus others we have seen before including this Flycatcher.

There are a few cars on the island but the main form of transport is the beefed up Golf Cart.

In the New Plymouth, the only settlement on the island there is a Memorial. Laid out in the form of a flag which partly resembles the Union Jack, the memorial remembers the exile of the Loyalists who escaped persecution at the hands of the Confederates after their final defeat in Yorktown in 1781 in the American Revolutionary War. Many descendants of these loyalists are still resident here in the Abacos.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bahamas, Sail, The Abacos, 2 to 8 April 2010

2 April had a great fast fine reach the 60 odd miles from Nassau to Sandy Point at the southern entrance to the Bight of Abacos in an ENE 4 Bft. Anchored off the half a mile or so off the beach as the bottom shelves very gradually to the beach.

Dinghied ashore the next day and explored the small somewhat isolated settlement of Sandy Point.

Fishing seems to be the main activity here , in particular Conch fishing . There are many pile of conch shells all with the tell tale slash in them where a knife has been inserted to kill the conch and enable it to be extracted.

Came across a few birds which we had not seen before - a Smooth Billed Ani, we think

and a group of Ruddy Stoneturners.

On 4 April we began our northward traverse of the very shallow Bight of Abacos overnighting at anchor in the shelter of the Joe Dorner Cays (26deg 37.04N 077deg 20.32W) the first night and at Cave Cay (26deg 51.94N 077deg 55.04W) the second night. As suggested in the pilot notes , we saw no other boats the whole trip.

On the way we had some success with trolling first catching a small but aggressive fish which we have problems identifying - and threw back as it was too small to eat.

The next two fish - a Blue Runner (a type of Jack)

and a Cero ( Makerel family ) proved to be very good to eat.

The channel from Spence Rock to Cave Cay was very hairy - we were quite close to high water and we went over patches of just 1.3 meters water depth - we draw 1.2 meters with the board up. Admittedly it was Neaps so at Springs we would have more water, but, as this is the only route out of the Bight to the North, we can see why not many boats venture this way.

6 April we skirted around the banks to the west off West End - the western tip of Little Abaco - and anchored for the night in a very sheltered anchorage between Crab Cay, Little and Great Abaco (26deg 55.05 N 077deg 35.30W).

7 April we motored down to the delightful Manjack Cay and anchored near Rat Cay (26deg 49.22N 077deg 21.97W.

Had a great hike through the wooded trail to Ocean Beach

and had a close encounter with a delightful Flycatcher (which does not quite fit any of the bird plates in our superb Petersen Field Guide)

Then along the radiant white Ocean Beach and round the northern tip of the cay.

Along the beach came across some Wilson's Plovers.

With yet another cold front forecast for Friday 9 April, we decided to up-anchor at 0645 this morning and motor the 5 miles to the hurricane hole of Black Sound on Green Turtle Cay. There we we lucky to be able to take the last mooring from Black Sound Marina for the reasonable price of 10 US dollars/ night. Amazingly we are picking up excellent WiFi signals on the boat so have the additional benefit of internet.

We had a walk through the neat closeby settlement of New Plymouth .

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sail Waderck Wells to Nassau 1 April 2010

Had a good sail 31 March the short distance from Warderick Wells to Shroud Cay where we anchored off the west coast. Dinghied along the low rocky coastline and into the various creeks. Were entertained by around 10 White Taile Tropic Birds who were soaring overhead with their mates - they are nesting at this time of the year in crevices along the coast. Today motored to Nassau and are now back in our old berth in Bayshore Marina. Collected the replacement Mastervolt Inverter and installed it - works fine - so now we once more have 220 volts AC without the generator needing to be running.
Plan to leave early tomorrow 2 April and sail to Sandy Point on the southern tip of the Abacos. Thereafter plan to cruise the little visited remote Bight of Abaco - as no one lives there do not expect to have internet for several days.