When we last wrote, we had been having robust sails and windy weather. The pattern continued for a few more days while we anchored at Little Harbour in the Berry Islands.

One day, we ventured out to the island for lunch. Why did I put on clean clothes – the waves drenched us in Step Three’s dinghy, loaded with the four of us. But it was nice to get ashore and walk around a little. The cheeseburgers were good also.

Finally, the wind abated and we set sail for Nassau, 32 miles distant. Mur landed a skipjack tuna that weighed about 5 or 6 pounds. The anchorage in Nassau was virtually deserted with only 20 or 30 boats anchored. We managed to get all of our jobs done quickly, with fresh vegetables the top of my list. The tuna made a tasty supper for four that night with the crew of Step Three aboard to share it with us.

Early in the morning, we set off again. Towards the Exumas. The wind allowed us to sail all the way to Norman’s Cay, approx 50 miles. In the morning, we slipped out of the cut into the deep water of Exuma Sound. The fishing poles were put away, as we were within the limits of the Exuma Land and Sea Park, and fishing is prohibited.

Another front with strong winds from the west and northwest were expected, so we entered the cut at Cambridge Cay and anchored there. It is a very large space and only five other boats shared it with us. The balance of that day was gorgeous, so we grabbed our gear and had the first snorkel of the season. It was a very pretty reef with many fish. Protected ones, as we were still in the Park.

I organized a dinghy drift for cocktail hour. That entails tying dinghies together and drifting with the current while we share conversation and snacks. It was a lot of fun and we got to meet some new people.

The next day dawned with blue skies and sun. We took advantage of the weather for a exploration walk ashore. From the top of the island, we saw a wall of rain coming our way. And I had not obeyed the rule to close all hatches before leaving the boat! To prevent wet beds that night, we dashed back to the boats. The wind and rain hit shortly after and we were glad to be snug and dry. The wind blew hard for a couple of days so we worked on boat jobs.

When the winds abated we sailed ( with actual sails up and the engine off!! ) to Staniel Cay area and dropped the anchor at Big Major Spot. The mailboat arrived the next day with fresh veggies. It was a good excuse to go to town, meet people and have a hamburger in paradise.

Now, the snorkel gear is used daily and we have even been fishing out on the Sound. Not that we have gotten anything either way – but we try. I have baked bread twice already and helped another cruiser with computer/charting problems. The First Friday in February in Farmer’s Festival or 5F’s is happening soon and we plan to be there, if the weather co-operates. There is racing by the Bahamian C-class boats and fun contests for cruisers. A big party!

The next front is expected soon and we have to look for a place to hide again. Or do we wait it out here? How long will the wind blow hard from the west is the question? There is no protection for us at all from the west in this location. Time to collect more weather info and make a decision.

That is life aboard the vessel Windswept IV.

How are things faring with you all? Freezing and snow up to the wazoo? Stay well and warm and take care of each other.

Hugs, Murray & Heather