Sailing South

On January 25th, we hauled anchor and departed Lucaya with an expected good weather window to make the passage to Nassau. But, it was not to be. The wind built all day and the boat felt as though it was inside a washing machine. We approached Great Stirrup just before dark and decided to anchor for the night. It was full dark by the time we entered the harbour but with the aid of radar and computer charts, we managed to enter and anchor. My knees were aknocking until we got the hook down safely. The wind was coming straight into the anchorage and the boat leapt and bobbed all night long as the wind howled. We did manage to get a little sleep and arose at dawn the next morning to continue our journey.

It was a lumpy exit to the Northwest Providence Channel but, once we had settled into the course for Nassau, we were able to sail the whole way. Murray dropped the fishing line off the stern and hooked his first fish of the year. It was an Amberjack and about 5 pounds. He cleaned it while we were underway and froze the pieces.

The autopilot has been doing great things for us and has worked without a hiccup. It does draw a fair amount of power so may cause some problems if we sail in less wind. Hasn’t been a problem yet as the wind has been howling and the wind generator is putting the power back into the batteries at the same time as the autopilot takes it out. In fact, we also run the watermaker at the same time.

We anchored in Nassau on the 26th, just before sunset. Early in the morning, we loaded all the laundry into the dinghy and went in search of a laundromat. The first one had no power, so we went on for 5 blocks further. Thank goodness for the cart! Laundry started, I walked on to the grocery and picked up a couple of items. By the time we got back to the boat, we had our exercise for the day. Each evening we listened to Herb, the weather guy, and planned to leave in the morning. And, each morning the expected shift and calming of the winds did not come.

After another disappointing morning weather report, I made plans with friends to tour the Bacardi plant. Through word-of-mouth and boredom, the news spread throughout the cruisers. It ended up being 52 people! I stepped into the street, flagged down a bus and arranged for 2 buses to pick us up and deliver us to the plant. It was a good afternoon and enjoyed by all that attended. Some, of course, got into the sampling more than others.

Finally we got our wind shift and we departed Nassau on Jan 30th, heading to Norman’s Cay for overnight and on to Staniel the next day. The wind was so good that we arrived in Staniel at 1:30 pm. Thirty-five miles in less than 6 hours. Since Lucaya, we have sailed to all our destinations. No usage of fuel ( in fact only 20 gallons since West Palm ) and it is really hard to wipe that grin off of Murray’s face.

Stormy Night, from Killarney with the East family aboard, was anchored at Big Major and we had a huge reunion. Beaches and snorkeling were high on the list of things to do.

On Feb 1st, we dressed up and headed ashore to attend the funeral of Kenneth Rolle. He was a marina and motel owner, organizer of the New Year’s Regatta and a lovely man. The funeral lasted 2 1/2 hours, with speeches from the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, other dignitaries, local church leaders and family. The church was full and the overflow was in a tent outside. The wake went on most of the afternoon, but we did not attend.

So, we are back in our old stomping grounds. It sure feels good to finally get into the water and see fish again. The water is still a bit cool at 75 degrees, but sure is warmer than the US or Canada.

Hope all is well up north. Stay warm and healthy. Hugs,

Murray & Heather