Leaving the Abacos and Hope Town is not easy. The place has a magnetic attraction for us. Much of that is built upon what these places don’t have*. But we had it all laid out – go to Marsh Harbour on Wednesday for a Thursday hair stylist appointment, hull scrub, and incidental provisioning and then start slowly making our way west as the winds and seas allowed.
First, Wednesday, Janet says, “I’m going to call the stylist and cancel, this can wait till the States.” OK. Two hours before high tide at 1200, we pulled away from the Hope Town Marina dock having said goodbye to all our new friends on the staff. Seriously, friends.
We zigged and zagged our way out of the narrow harbour channel and shallow approach and set course for Point Set. There was more wind than we expected, but the water was about as rough as shag carpet – transparent turquoise carpet.
As we rounded Point Set, Janet said, “If it’s this benign in here, it can’t be too bad at the Whale.” I radioed an open query for information on the Whale, and a charter fishing captain came back with, “2-3 and nice.”
I called the marina we were headed for and canceled and asked them to let the fellow who was to have scrubbed our hull know that we had done so. We set course for the Whale. We sailed up to Foote’s Cay and then along Great Guana Cay to the Loggerhead Channel where the report proved correct – 2-3 foot swell with ripples.
We used the engine to come in the north cut off No Name Cay because the wind was on the backstays and had gone light. Once inside we were able to sail again, and we dropped the hook off New Plymouth, Green Turtle Cay around 1800. Through the day our boat speed never seemed to suffer, so the hull scrub may not have been needed in any case.
We didn’t mind missing Treasure Cay; we’d been there for nine days earlier. We didn’t mind missing Guana Cay; we’d been there after our snorkeling on Fowl Cays Reef. Now we have nearly three weeks to explore this side of the Whale, (Foxtown, Allens-Pensacola Cay, Crab Cay) something our late arrivals and contrary winter winds prevented in 2011 and 2012.
The water off New Plymouth was swimming pool calm and clear as the Cay lifted the breeze above us. 300 yards behind us we could see the breeze drop to meet the water. Only later did it get lumpy as the wind went more to the south. After all that sailing Janet still made salmon cakes and sauteed spinach for dinner! YUM!
Thursday dawned behind clouds that sent showers N & S of us but not across. I cooked sourdough blob Belgian waffles again, this time with diced Canadian bacon and sharp cheddar folded in as a short quick swell and lots of boat wakes bumped us around. We were happy to get going at 1400, an hour before high tide, to get into White Sound with its 340° protection. [When the wind swings either side of due south, the approach channel pushes the wind into the anchorage with amplified force, and much tacking at anchor ensues – bad juju for WiFi, see below.]
Friday we watched the world go by, and then part of it stopped by. A young couple headed ashore had an outboard malfunction, as in, no go no more. Neither would it start. They managed to grab our toe rail, and we tied them off so they could assess the situation. Deja rained vu all over us, as they were experiencing what we had last year and early this. We chatted while he pulled, and pulled, and you get the idea. They rowed back and later he got a tow ashore where he could work on a more stable platform (with shallower water to drop parts in). I passed him a can of carburetor cleaner as he went by and a couple of hours later, vavavavoom, he motored back to their Halberg-Rassy 31. He stopped for more chat.
Why, “Why Fie?” As the wind went up into the high 20s, the boat began to tack. It’s what fin keelers do. As the boat began to tack, the mast and rigging moved back and forth across the line of sight between our WiFi antenna and the hotspot about a mile and a half away. Imagine trying to watch a tennis match waving your fingers back and forth in front of your face. The antenna constantly broke lock and lost signal because it couldn’t figure out which reflection from mast or wire was the real signal. For 24 hours we managed about one minute of five connectivity. We didn’t want to go into the marina just for WiFi and wanted both water tanks to be empty before we went in for water, etc. These technologies are great, but they are fragile at the edges. Relying on them is NOT a good idea.
*Noise, Traffic, Cold, Snow, Ice, Noise, Traffic, Cold, Snow, Ice, Noise, Traffic, Cold, Snow, Ice, Noise, Traffic, Cold, Snow, Ice, Noise, Traffic, Cold, Snow, Ice, Noise, Traffic, Cold, Snow, Ice, Noise, Traffic, Cold, Snow, Ice,………………………………………………