Waiting for weather

Hi everyone,

It is a week since Robin & Jane left us and we have’t moved very far in that time. The wind has blown very hard ( 20 – 30 kns ) from the north to northeast for the whole time. And where do we want to go? To the north ! We have to make a passage on the outside of the islands – a distance of 50 miles and the waves have been coming all the way from Africa! They are huge out there and everyone is sitting and waiting for a break. We have moved somewhat – from Hatchet Bay to Spanish Wells to Royal Island but even those short protected trips were wet ones with waves crashing against the boat. So here we sit – in a hurricane hole surrounded by blue green water with bright sunshine above. Sounds pretty hard to take, right.

We caught another fish yesterday – a 4 ft barracuda! Darn things keep taking our lure. This one we dragged for a mile or so and drowned him so that we could get our lure back. Not a nice thing to do, but he was too big for me to hold while Murray used the pliers to retrieve it. And those teeth are huge.

Our passage up to the Abacos takes us over some very deep water – 2600 fathoms or 15600 feet ! That’s deep ! We have to enter onto the banks again after the 45 miles and if the winds are too high or the waves to large, the pass may be un-usable. Then I guess we would heave-to and wait for better weather. This is a much better spot to wait. When we get onto the banks, it is only another part day to Marsh Harbour. We plan to stay in that area for a month or two and enjoy the snorkeling and explore quiet anchorages. We hope there is someplace nearby where we can send e-mail and stay in touch with everyone.

I am so glad I had stocked up on canned goods before we left the US as we often cannot get fresh vegetables here. Or fruit. I bought some bananas yesterday and that was the first in a long time. We miss the fresh oranges and juice available in Florida. I also bought a six pound salami that didn’t require refrigeration but we haven’t started on that yet. Snack foods are very expensive here but available. Peanut butter is a terrible price – $3 for a small jar – but luckily, I’m the only one that eats it and I have part of a jar left. Rum is cheap but pop to mix it with is expensive ( $ 13/ case ). I have baked bread but only twice so far. We have been able to buy it most places. I did make English muffins a couple of times and they are simple and very good.

The solar panels have been working well for us. We didn’t have to start the engine to charge batteries for three days. The solar panels kept up with most of the demand. And they are much quieter than the windmills that some boats have.

Mar 31st

Well, we did it – we are in Marsh Harbour, Abaco Island now. Yesterday we left Royal Island early and sailed 60 miles through waves of heights varying from 5 – 15 ft. The wind was up and down but mostly up. And so was my stomach – at least upset. Murray caught a fish on the passage and he really put up a fight – the fish that is. And eventually the fish won as he broke the tackle and was gone with Murray’s favourite lure. As with most fish stories, he was a big one. Murray said it was much more difficult to reel in than the 48 ” barracuda. I’m just as glad we didn’t land him because we had 3 more hours to sail and what would we do with a big fish in the cockpit!

We entered through Little Harbour Bar between the breaking waves and anchored down for the night behind Laynard Cay. There were 8 – 10 sailboats and 3 trawlers there as well. We got up early again today and continued on to Marsh Harbour, negotiating our way between the sand bars and shallows. The water is incredibly clear and a lovely turquoise-blue. We had our anchor down here by 11:30 and will go ashore to explore and hopefully, send e-mail.

All the best to everyone,

Heather & Murray Rand
aboard Windswept IV
Ham Radio VE3 ZUA