Chapter one – Learning the Alphabet
We have read about crossing to the Bahamas and we’ve talked to people and we learned that to go east to the Bahamas you have to sail southeast. The Gulf Stream will take you north of your destination. Then your southeasterly course will bring you right where you want to be. If you trace your actual course it will be an ‘S’. After figuring the actual heading, your expected speed and guessing what the average Gulf Stream speed will be that day, by drawing various lines and vectors, you end up with the southeast heading for you. I did all of that and came up with 105 degrees. Friends told us they usually sail at 111 and a cruising guide said around 101. So that is what we do! -somewhere between 100 and 112. The sea is calm, the wind light and on our nose, of course. After a few hours, we plot our location on the chart using the GPS coordinates and discover we are way south of where we should be. Adjust course and at the next plotting we are still too far south. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. We arrive at Memory Rock, our destination in the Bahamas. Looking back at our actual course we made a ‘c’, which gave us an ‘F’ in alphabet sailing, but we think that a ‘C’ course worked just fine. It is approaching dinner time. We are in 12 feet of water. It is nice and calm and nothing in sight. Might as well anchor right here!
|the view into the water under our boat as we anchor|
Chapter two – A St Patrick’s Day Party
We take time to have a cocktail in the cockpit and toast ourselves for actually making it to the Bahamas. Dinner is home made stew cooked up and sampled the night before, an extra large batch so there would be some for this meal. Watch the sun sink below the horizon. Now this is cruising!
But wait! What is a St. Patrick’s Day Partly without a little rock and roll? Shouldn’t we be a little wild on St. Patrick’s Day? Sometime around maybe midnight, the wind kicked up and the party got going. We did some ‘Rock’n Roll All Night Long”. It sounded like the boat was going to come apart at the seams!
Chapter three – All’s Well That Ends Well
We got under way early, since we were awake anyway. The motion of the traveling boat was so much more comfortable. We are sailing at around 4 knots and it is a beautiful day. Around noon the wind starts to die, so we motor/sail for an hour, and then furl the sail and motor into the wind and waves until we reach Great Sale Cay. Ahhh, the calm. Several boats are at anchor here and just about dark we hear Stardust on the radio. We met Harvey and Nancy on Stardust when we were staying at the Melbourne Yacht Club. They came in well after dark. The anchorage and weather were quiet and peaceful and we slept well.
Chapter four – “And We Will Sail Away..” …or not.
And other tunes:
“ You have your anchor up
You drop your anchor down
You haul the anchor up
And you’re sailing all around
You're off to the Bahamas and you're going to have some fun
That’s what its all about!
You're sailin' slow and pokey
You're goin' slow and pokey
You're sailin' naked and pokey
Thats what its all about!
In the morning we chat with Stardust and a couple other boats. The wind is expected to be strong and on the nose. Some boats are choosing to stay here today. Stardust is going on. We decide that we will give it a try, perhaps the wind will die down by the time we are dead into it, like it did yesterday.
We unfurl the jib and sail away from anchor, Reggie naked at the helm (WARNING! Do not try to imagine this!). The old genoa carries us along nicely until we change headings, then we partially furl and we are making 4+ knots. We came to the Bahamas to sail. This is it. For a couple of hours, all is well. Now we have to turn more into the wind, no more sailing, but we get to crash into the wind and sea. (“Hitting cows” as Craig would say.) It is very slow going and uncomfortable, and there would be many more hours of it. We did not come to the Bahamas for this.
We looked for the closest stop to anchor, as we will not make it as far as we had planned for this day. Nothing looks that good. We turn around and partially unfurl the jib to get another hour of sailing. We are back at Great Sale Cay, but a different anchorage. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?
“You roll the genny out
You furl the genny in
You roll the genny out
And you’re sailing once again
The waves and winds are heavy so back to Great Sale Cay you're bound.
That’s what its all about!”
SV Barnacle has volunteered to give a weather update early in the morning to any of the dozen or more boats which have ended their day in this anchorage. We are currently protected from wind driven waves from the SE, but things are going to change. We plan on heading out early to try again for Green Turtle Cay.
We have a reasonable day of motor sailing to Green Turtle Cay. Stardust is already there and lets us know the anchoring is very poor in Black Sound so we pick up a $10 per night mooring and hoist the yellow quarantine flag. Tempus Fugit. It is 20 minutes to 5 by the time Reggie leaves for New Provicence to clear in with Customs and Immigrations. Barbara must stay on board. A quick trip to the public dock in the electric dinghy, a fast hike over the hill, questions of strangers on where to go, walk right past it and need more directions, a very nice lady officer, 5 sheets of forms, copies of boat registration and passports, and $300 and we are legal!