Saturday, February 23, 2019

George Town to Childrens Bay to Black Point

Shortly after Dawn and Ray left on the water taxi, George and I raised the anchor and left George Town. We sailed north on Exuma Sound to Childrens Bay. It was a brisk, downwind sail with just the main sail. The waves were on the aft quarter. Yesterday morning, after one night at Childrens Bay, we exited Adderly Cut and set out north on Exuma Sound again. We had talked about taking our new route around the tip of Great Exuma Island and sailing north on the shallower banks. That route was 10 miles longer so we chose Exuma Sound again. By the time we reached Galliot Cut the current was flowing out against the wind and the conditions were wild. George did a great job getting through it. We had originally planned to stop at Little Farmers Cay for a meal at Ocean Cabin. We had a wonderful steamed fish dinner there last year. But we have eaten out a lot over the past week and neither one of us wanted to go out again, so we bypassed Little Farmers and went straight to Black Point. The sailing conditions on the banks were much better than in Exuma Sound. We were able to unfurl the jib and sail at 7+ knots. We wished we had chosen to sail the more comfortable, longer route.  It would have been longer but faster and more enjoyable. 
After dropping the anchor at Black Point, eating a late lunch, and launching the dinghy, we went ashore to do laundry. Late afternoon seems to be the time to do laundry here. We were done in a record 1 1/2 hours and back on Breeze On just before sunset. 

Zipping along on the Great Bahama Bank

Woo hoo! (SOG stands for speed over ground)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Cat Island to George Town

Our plan while we were at Cat Island was to stay at Old Bight and enjoy the Rollezz Resort. We were going to spend the day snorkeling and sitting in their lounge chairs on the beach. The morning started out cloudy and didn’t appear to be clearing up so we changed our plans. When we first started cruising Ray would talk to us (me especially) about the need to be flexible when cruising. It has since become a private joke between us. I am a person who likes to have a plan.  Flexibility has never been my strength.  I think I have improved, though. Since the weather was not good for either sitting on the beach or snorkeling we changed our plan and sailed five miles north to New Bight. After dropping the anchor Ray, Dawn, and I hiked up to the Hermitage while George stayed behind and ran the water maker. On the way back to Breeze On we stopped at Hidden Treasures and made reservations for dinner. We all had lobster (which had to be shipped in by plane) and it was delicious. 
Yesterday morning we left early for the 55 mile sail across Exuma Sound to George Town. Just before we cleared the tip of Cat Island a dolphin joined us for a bit. Such a treat!  During our sail across Exuma Sound the wind was near 20 knots & made for a wild ride. We were heeled over and traveling at 7-8 knots with a double-reefed main. It is regatta time here in George Town and there are hundreds of boats in the harbor. We found a spot to anchor that happened to be near our Cambridge friends, Fred and Ruth Ann from Shooting Star, and they joined us for cocktails before dinner. 
Since it is still quite windy and the big harbor is choppy, we made reservations with Elvis’s Water Taxi to take Dawn and Ray to shore where a taxi will take them to the airport for their flight. The time with them went by so fast and we will miss them. 

Ray and Dawn at New Bight

Bev and Dawn on the road to the Hermitage 

Ray climbing the steep hill to the Hermitage

Dawn at the Hermitage 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Long Island to Cat Island

We stopped for a night at Hog Cay then sailed to Cat Island yesterday. We sailed at 5-6 knots in east winds of 10-12 knots. It was a lovely day of sailing. Since we had heard great things about Old Bight, and especially the Rollezz Resort, we decided to make that our first stop. Carl and Yvonne Rolle have built a lovely beach resort and they are very welcoming to cruisers. Since we had skipped lunch we were hungry when we dinghied ashore in the mid-afternoon and they agreed to prepare a delicious lunch of fish, fries and salad for us. The sun was just setting when we returned to Breeze On and the full moon was rising. 

George, Bev, Ray and Dawn at Rollezz Resort

The view from the dining room

Breeze On with the setting sun

Full Moon rising over Rollezz Resort

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Company and Conch Salad

We finished up our errands, rented a car and picked up our friends, Dawn and Ray, at the Deadman’s Cay airport in Long Island. On the way back to Thompson Bay we stopped at Seaside Village for some of Kenny’s delicious conch salad. After discussing the numerous options we decided to leave Thompson Bay and make our way to Cat Island. Dawn and Ray can stay just five days and will be leaving out of George Town so we wanted to make the most of our time. We are motoring north in light winds today with a plan to anchor at either Hog Cay or Calabash Bay then on to Cat Island tomorrow. 

Kenny preparing the conch salad while George, Ray and Dawn watch the bone fish.

George, Bev, Dawn and Ray. 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine’s Day in Salt Pond

Happy Valentine’s Day. This morning, as we dinghied to shore to start our errands, we got word that Penny, who runs the cruisers net, was having a Valentine’s Day brunch at her house and wanted us to come.  So we went back to the boat, cleaned ourselves up and went to the brunch. It was lovely. Penny and John’s house sits high on the hill overlooking the harbor. It is a beautiful house with amazing gardens. Everyone brought food and we saw several cruisers we knew from Long Island and also met a few more. As we were walking in Jeannie, from What Next, and I saw that we were wearing the same dress! We had a lot of laughs over that. What are the odds?  It is the first time I have worn a dress since I left home in November. 
We enjoyed ourselves and had time to run more errands later in the afternoon. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Race to Thompson Bay

Water Cay is an interesting island. We might have liked to spend more time there if it didn’t have so much surge that makes it such a rolly anchorage. There are numerous coral heads which we have read are good for snorkeling. We heard lots of birds singing and saw an osprey fishing for its breakfast. It has some high bluffs and two areas where the land is eroded away, leaving a block of land standing in the middle. The land on either side of the block is very low, barely higher than the water. If we had been willing to stay in the rolly anchorage we might have explored Water Cay. When we anchored yesterday there was one fishing boat and a catamaran anchored at the northern end, where we chose to anchor. Later on, about six boats came in to anchor at the southern end. We timed our departure this morning so that we would be in the shallowest parts of the Comer Channel on a rising tide, about an hour after low tide. Before we were ready to go, the boats from the southern end were headed our way. It looked like quite the armada. As they were putting up there sails George said it reminded him of the start of a race. The catamaran near us followed them and we followed it. The race was on!  
We had another fast sail with wind in the mid-teens to twenty on a beam reach with seas of 4 to 6 feet. Although we were sailing behind the Jumentos Cays it felt like we were sailing in the open ocean. We passed one boat, then two more, and we were gaining on a fourth. After the wind dropped to under 15 knots we turned into the wind to shake the reef out of the main sail. As we were doing that two boats passed us. Not a problem, we passed them again in the Comer Channel and then finally passed the fourth boat. There were two boats way out in front that we had no chance of catching. Nevertheless, it was a fun, unofficial race to Thompson Bay, Long Island. 
We plan to run errands tomorrow and stay for a few days until our friends, Dawn and Ray, arrive. 

Water Cay, Jumentos

Leaving Water Cay

Thompson Bay/Salt Pond, Long Island

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Dolphins AND a Rainbow

This morning, as we were leaving the Buenavista Cay anchorage, we were joined by two dolphins. They played briefly at our bow then swam off. Next, we saw a rainbow. What more could we ask for?
We had good wind for a very fast sail, 7-8 knots on a beam reach. I was a bit nervous about crossing 20 miles between the Nurse Cay Channel and the Man of War Channel. We have had a steady 20 knots of wind from the east over the last few days, allowing for large waves to build up in the open water and hit us on the beam as we crossed the channels. The waves were indeed large but Breeze On was riding them well. To balance out the dolphins and rainbow we went through a few squalls while crossing the channels. We weren't concerned about getting wet (we were happy to have the salt washed off the boat) but we were concerned about the wind increasing during the squall. They wind did not increase much, though, so we didn't have to drop the sails.
Once we turned to the northeast at Flamingo Cay we were sailing too much into the wind to keep the jib filled, so we rolled the jib, turned on the motor, and motor sailed with the main. We also started crashing into the waves. Our once clean boat was now salty again.
We are now anchored at Water Cay in the Jumentos. It was slightly rolly when we arrived and seems to be getting more rolly as time passes. Sigh.