Rolling Hills and Whales

We left Royal Island at dawn on March 12th, slipping quietly out the entrance and motoring to the cut by Egg Island. The waves were crashing onto the reef on the northwest side of Royal Island and the sight of these rollers worried some of the captains accompanying us. A total of 15 boats made the trip north that day.

Once we reached clear water and turned onto the course for Little Harbour entrance into Abaco, the waves approached us more on the bow. They were huge ocean swells, the first we had seen quite like this. They appeared to be big rolling hills that the boat just rose over and then slid down into the valley. While in the valleys, vessels nearby disappeared, sometimes completely including the masts. We could not estimate accurately the size of these rollers but some were very impressive.

The wind had come too close to the bow and we were unable to make enough speed sailing. The cuts cannot be entered at night. So, on went the engine after only 8 or 9 miles of sailing. Murray had 2 fishing poles rigged and lures dragging as soon as we reached deep water.

Two vessels traveling with us caught dolphin fish ( Mahi-mahi ) and we were very happy to hear our line go zinggg. Murray hauled in the fish slowly while I readied the cockpit for fish ( remove the cushions, get pails and gloves ready ). The fish was jumping out of the water trying to throw the hook but Murray continued to reel him in. As he got closer we could see that yes, it was a dolphin ! I took the pole from Murray and he reached down and grabbed the leader to toss the fish into the cockpit. Just then the leader snapped. Gone. No fish for dinner and a brand new lure is lost. Oh well, try again as we still have miles to go.

A nearby boat called to ask if we had seen the whales. Between us appeared a dark fin not unlike a porpoise. Then another and another. Spouts of water from blow holes all about. They were pilot whales. One of the smallest whales found in the ocean, they very much resemble the porpoise or dolphin. But, they didn’t want to play around our bow as the dolphins would have but just kept traveling southward.

Shortly after 3 pm, we safely cleared Little Harbour bar and motored to an anchorage near Lynyard Cay. The waves rolled around the end of the island and made our anchorage a very uncomfortable spot overnight. In the morning we moved on to Elbow Cay and anchored near a lovely beach.

We have stayed here a couple of days now and it is time to move on once more. But, we must wait for mid or high tide as the waters nearby are very shallow. Likely we will head up to Man-of-War Cay overnight and then into Marsh Harbour early tomorrow morning for restocking and laundry. Also to meet up with some old friends.

We will be in Abaco for another two weeks approximately and then prepare to cross over to the USA once again.

Hopefully, all is well with you and yours. Stay in touch as we love to get mail aboard.

Murray & Heather aboard Windswept IV


The wind has been blowing steady at 20+ knots for six days! We have not had to start the engine or generator to re-charge the batteries as the wind generator has taken care of all of our power needs. That means every bit of our energy requirements from lights to computer to making water from Feb 24th! But, we do get tired of the wind. And it is cool. I know that we don’t really understand cool as compared to you guys up north, but it is too cool to swim. And the water is only 66 degrees F or about 18 C. Brrr.

On Sat 26th Feb, we traveled from our anchorage at Royal Island to the town of Spanish Wells nearby. We needed to offload some garbage and to purchase some fresh vegetables. In company with Southern Cross, with Marcel and Karen aboard, we met friends who live in town for a lovely lunch at a local restaurant. Dodging rain storms, we replenished our cupboards at the well-supplied grocery store. During our walk-about, we met cruisers with a problem. They were on the moorings and maybe had transmission problems but couldn’t find a mechanic with time to check it out. Off we go, to their boat and Murray does a few checks of the transmission. It definitely is defective but what part exactly? That is tomorrow’s job as they offer to cook breakfast in return for Murray’s assistance. That night, we met Woody ( a local Bahamian fishing guide and boat pilot ) and his family and proceeded to another local restaurant where Woody treated us to a humongous steak dinner! Man, that was the most tender and largest steak that I have had in many years. Sunday morning, Murray is upside down in the engine compartment of Calypso, removing their transmission. His final analysis? “Order a new one, this one can maybe be fixed stateside but not here.”

The wind switched direction while we were aboard Calypso and our anchorage was rapidly becoming untenable. We hauled anchor and moved over to a tiny island called Meeks Patch. The locals from Spanish Wells come out here in the summer and have constructed picnic tables, hammocks etc. Here we have sheltered for the last four nights. During the day, we walk on the beach and explore the island. As day draws to a close, we gather on the beach to share cocktails and snacks and stories. Last night we had a pot-luck dinner ashore with each vessel contributing. I baked baguettes and made garlic bread as well as a salad. Marcel & Karen made spaghetti sauce, while Robin and Michael ( Estrellita ) cooked the noodles. Pam and Cliff ( Lady Lex ) made pineapple cake for dessert. Such a feast we had. Michael is an artist and we have acquired some of his paintings.

Everyone here are sharing their talents and helping each other with boat jobs. Cliff was having radio problems and Mur and I helped with those. I trimmed hair on the beach in the morning and helped with computer problems in the afternoon. We are filling our time but would really like this wind to stop howling soon.

Once it does, we will likely head north towards the Abacos to position ourself to cross back to the US. Plans are to cross to the States by early to mid April and return to Canada by the end of April. Until we see you, stay warm and healthy and know that we miss you all. Hugs,

Murray & Heather aboard Windswept IV