Well, we enjoyed some lovely times in the Abaco Islands – catching up with old friends, making new ones, walking the beaches and finding lovely shells, swimming and even some shopping. John & Kristen ( aboard Shivaree ) sailed with us and each adventure was more fun as we could share it with friends.
Karen & Kelly Hansen , from Sarnia and friends of Brian & Kathy on Tundra, had rented a lovely little spot on one of the Parrot Cays near Hope Town. As part of their luggage, they brought down Murray’s motor mounts to replace the one that was broken. It was great to see them, both the Hansen’s and the motor mounts.
Murray spent many hours huddled over the engine and buried in the starboard locker, muttering to himself and me, as we attempted to replace the mounts. We were at anchor in Marsh Harbour and used the boom again to raise the engine so that the mounts could be accessed. But, the wake of passing boats made life difficult and fingers in grave danger. It took most of the day, but the mounts were finally installed. Next, to align the prop shaft. He had trouble getting that as perfect as he wanted and we still had some vibration under power.
After a quick visit to Man-of-War to pick up our repaired jib sail ( ouch, $$$$ ), we anchored in Crossing Bay, Great Abaco. I had bought some steaks and romaine to celebrate our 32nd anniversary with a special dinner. But, on the way, we caught the largest mutton snapper that we ever seen! It weighed 12 lbs! The biggest we had caught before was an eight pounder. So, I stuck the steaks back in the freezer, invited John and Kristen for a fish dinner. It was a lovely evening with only three boats in our anchorage.
Just a couple of days prior to our anniversary was the second anniversary of our move aboard. So, we re-evaluated our decision and decided that we were still ” having fun” and would like to continue this lifestyle.
The next couple of days were spend looking for shells on and in the water near Spoils Island. Murray is sure that the boat will sink from the weight of the shells aboard ! But, I cannot resist. He is just as bad as I am, in fact. He had found some of the most beautiful ones, especially while snorkeling.
As the anchorage was becoming rolly, we passed through the Whale Cut and headed for Green Turtle on May 21st. On the radio, we managed to contact friends on Jazzbrek ( Larry & Phyllis ). They were dog sitting at a house in White Sound and invited us to use a mooring there. With the winds predicted to hit 35+ knots, we took the mooring. Of course, the wind didn’t come, but we got to visit with Phyllis and Larry and to hear of their adventures in Cuba. Sounds like a good place to visit – maybe next year.???
We left White Sound on May 24th and anchored off of the town on New Plymouth. A little time spent snorkeling and the bottom of Windswept was clean again. When the stores opened in the morning, we made a quick dash ashore to top up the food aboard. Then we hauled anchor and sailed to Moraine Cay in preparation for an early exit out over the reef. But, the weather report was not favourable, so plans changed again. The anchorage was becoming much too rolly, so we sailed off again to Great Sale Cay and started to think of heading towards Florida instead of further north.
In the morning, the weather reports changed again and we had favourable conditions! So, the anchor was hauled and we sailed ( tacked ) towards Walkers Cay, 22 miles away. Dodging sand bars, we finally made the open ocean by 2:30 pm. Now, we are really underway – am I ready for this?? I did manage to make some meals ahead, but not as much as I had intended as things kept changing and we were heeling too much to go below and bake.
We sailed until dusk when the wind died a little. In fact that happened each night of the three that we sailed north. In the morning as the sun rose, so did the wind. Murray and I took turns sleeping. The moon was full during our passage and there was very little traffic in the area of the ocean that we passed through, so, although we could see almost as well as daytime, there was little to see. We had two visitation with dolphins. One group of about 50+ spent some time. But the spotted ones that came on the last day, stayed for 30 minutes or more. They played on the bow wave and rolled on their sides to look at these strange creatures watching them.
We ate very simple meals as I couldn’t spend long times below. But, we did eat and sleep. And enjoyed the passage very much.
Due to wind etc, we decided to head for Charleston, SC . Shivaree followed us and we entered in the dark at midnight on the third day. We had come 380 miles, only 156 with motor assistance.
Now we will enjoy the sights of Charleston and, if the weather co-operates, sail outside to Beaufort, NC ( approx 200 miles away ).
That all of the news to date. Keep well everyone.
Heather & Murray
Heather & Murray Rand
aboard Windswept IV
Ham Radio VE3 ZUA