We left Old Bahama Bay with more wind from the east than we wanted but… We were immediately in a washing machine (a Harriet term). The wind was pushing enough water off Little Bahama Bank we had a southbound current running between the Bank and the Gulf Stream — 1- 1.5 knots’ worth, and the Stream was dishing up 3, 5 and 6 foot swells from astern. We tried pairing the engine with the genoa jib; stable it wasn’t. So, we set the staysail and got our speed deficit back and some help with the rolling.
When we turned onto the Bank south of Memory Rock, the wind shift we hoped for failed to materialize until we had about an hour’s travel left in the ten hour day. But about then we were distracted by a return on the radar that appeared to be the beginings of a waterspout about two miles to our NE. But nothing we could see was going on out there. Then the 500-700 foot wide return took off at about eight knots and started splitting and leap-frogging and reforming. Then we realized we were most likely looking (by radar) at a very large pod of Banks Dolphins. We thought the horizon looked a bit splashy and white in that direction, but imagination… Anyway it got our attention and was compensation for the lack of fish muds this trip.
We anchored in Great Sale Cay’s NW Harbour with the wind from the unfavorable SW. We waited for the predicted NW wind shift. All we got was 13 knots from WNW during a surprise shower that lasted long enough and was hard enough to take the salt off the deck and rigging — yea!
When morning came we motored away on lake-calm water. Twenty miles north of us the wind was NW. Twenty miles south it was SE. Can anyone say, “trapped in the center of a slowly moving High Pressure area going our way at our speed?” We made Powell Cay in good time thanks to both a helping tide and all the Banks water shoved west flowing back east.
Powell was the calm, clean, clear place we remembered. Tropic Birds squeaked and chittered in the morning. Sea stars, rays, and urchins, and sea bisquits and conch were all through the turtle grass. We decided to stay an extra day and met the Ankers Away and Minx folks (from Northern Neck and Chesapeake City–we knew some people in common) As sunset approached, we found ourselves in the grip of a SE’ly swell that rollied our pollie just a bit too much on night two.
Friday came up gray and stayed that way. We had a hatful of wind and were in serious sailing deprivation. Janet suggest we beat our way down to Green Turtle. And we did just that, sorta. We sailed under the new staysail and main. This makes the boat self tacking. In 20 knot winds, we never heeled more than 10 degrees. But even sailing 5.6-5.8 knots through the water, wind direction and current combined to make Green Turtle’s White Sound an anchorage too far. So, when we hit the closest point of approach for Nunjack Cay we furled (both sails in less than a minute) and motored into the more occupied but much steadier embayment there.
Compared to Powell on night two it was calm.
The predicted cold front with 20-25 knots NW’ly will now fade and head back north as a warm front we are told, [Wrong] so, where next is open to conjecture. (Will the E’lies allow us past the Whale Passage?) We have to stop somewhere and get a replacement galley faucet shipped to us. We need to restock potables, buy diesel ($5.68/gallon, ouch), and we were feeling the need for fritters, grouper, conch and peas and rice.
Saturday we decided to move on to Green Turtle to enter the White Sound at mid-tide rising. We left Nunjack under sail and in two legs (one tack) we arrived right on time. Anchoring here now seems as familiar as some spots on the Chesapeake. Later in the evening, the Mischief folks, Linda and Kip, rowed over for a chat. Talked almost an hour into the sunset. They were from the Northern Neck of Virginia, and we had common friends.
The night was breezy up and down, but we hovered quietly over the turtle grass. This morning we slipped at the Green Turtle Club. Getting the faucet shipped here requires us to stay too long because of flight times, truck times, ferry times…It’s the Bahamas. So tomorrow, we provision at a little place we know then have grouper at Pineapples and then we figure out what to do about the approaching front that wasn’t supposed to get here. Right now the Whale is passable. Once the NW’ly start shoving swell in here and adding themselves a day later we may be trapped in paradise.
More pictures in the next posting.
We are blessed to live and travel this way. Ours to you.