Back in Oz

Hello everyone,

When we last wrote, we were hiding from a frontal passage near Buenavista Cay in the Jumentos. While there, a single-handed sailor anchored about 5 miles away, fell and broke his wrist. We all listened as others tried to arrange for the Coast Guard to airlift him out of these remote cays. The Coast Guard determined finally that it was not a life-threatening injury and the man had to charter an airplane from George Town, Exuma to fly to Duncan Town while other cruisers helped get him the 20 miles or so to the airstrip. His boat was left behind and nearby sailors will keep the systems running until his return. That may be some time as he needed to fly to the US for surgery on the wrist and it was discovered there was also another broken bone in the arm and some rib breaks as well. Falls and injuries are always a fear for those of us far from medical care.

Once the weather improved, we took the opportunity to sail north to the Exumas, making the passage of 118 nm in 18 hours, arriving in Little Bay at 0100 the next day. We seldom sail at night here due to the lack of lighted navigation aids but this course gave us a safe passage. Other than anchored boats that is and they should be showing anchor lights. Maybe. But there was only one boat at anchor in Little Bay and we gave him lots of room.

After a visit with our friends at the Sandcastle, we hauled anchor and headed into Black Point to do the accumulated laundry. That huge job accomplished and some internet work done, we sailed on once more to our favourite hidey-hole near Staniel Cay. Oz. Surprisingly, there were already 5 or 6 boats at anchor but the prime spot was open. Slipping through the little cut from Big Major and around the shallow sandbar, we tucked ourselves in between the moorings, against the island of North Gaulin and laid out two anchors. The second anchor was set to the direction of the expected high winds.

What a winter this has been. This week, we had three cold fronts go through! Between each front, we have one nice day to swim, walk or visit town for fresh items and catch our breath in preparation for the next blow. Friends, Rob and Christine on Celebrian, are anchored nearby and now Flextime with Bob and Jane aboard has joined the party. The wind is howling through the rigging now, after the latest front arrived in the wee small hours with near 40 knot winds. The amazing thing is that we have had two full days of rain recently! Here, in the Bahamas. In the winter months, that is a rare occurrence. There has been more rain this winter than we have ever seen here.

When the wind blows hard and the fronts hit, the boats nearby often drag their anchors as the wind changes direction. We leave our VHF radio on, all night long, in case we are the boat dragging or the one being dragged into. So far, so good, we haven’t been involved in the middle-of-the-night anchoring dance. But the front expected Tuesday is reported to be the worst of the season. Maybe, after 10 days in Oz later this week, we will be able to travel about again and visit some more of our favourite locations nearby. Then I will need to do laundry in preparation for our guest’s visit and my departure on March 11th.

Thank goodness for all the books and movies aboard this winter. They fill the hours that we are stuck aboard.

But, spring is coming and things should improve. Murray will pick me up in Nassau on March 25th and we will sail on to Eleuthera and then to Abaco. The plans to stay later in the islands have changed, due to the refrigerator problems. When the air temperatures get warmer, our current method, keeping the icebox cool with bottles of frozen water, will be challenged to keep up. So, likely, we will arrive back in the US by mid April and into Canada near the 1st of May. Written in Jello, you understand.

Until then, that is life aboard. Hugs,
Murray & Heather