25 November, 2016
Day broke as we ran due east over the Bahama Bank, just south of Highbourne Cay. As we passed familiar anchorages heading south in the Family Islands which comprise the Exumas chain, memories from last year flooded back. We exited the Bank into Exuma Sound around mid-afternoon, and immediately got the lines in the water. The only rewards that we got for our efforts were a small Barracuda, and a little Skipjack. As darkness fell, we began to question the wisdom of pushing on, having to enter the reef to our Stocking Island anchorage at night. And night it was. With the moon not scheduled to rise until around 00h00, it was dark as a pocket as we threaded through the reef at 20h00. Of course, (it’s the Bahamas) the sole lighted buoy on the way in was extinguished. Always a little unnerving to hear waves breaking on both sides of you when there’s 4 feet of water under the boat. We breathed a sigh of relief as the breaking waves receded behind us. Approaching our old familiar anchorage in Monument Bay, we discovered that the boat wouldn’t come out of gear as we headed towards shore. We did a one-eighty, weaving through other boats anchored in the pitch-dark bay, and got the Girl back into deeper water, Suzanne driving while I scrambled around, looking for a reason for our troubles. Everything looked good under the helm and at the transmission. Fortunately, the controls at the upper helm responded, and we got the anchor down safely. (The next day, I bled the hydraulic lines to the shifter, thinking that maybe small bubbles in the lines had coalesced and caused a blockage, subsequent to some work that we had done in Solomon’s). At any rate, the controls now work, so we’ll see. By the next morning, the Cold Front that had been chasing us caught up, and the wind was howling, and did so throughout the week. Morning light revealed that the trawler lying next to us was “Privateer”, a Krogen 52 belonging to Greg and Lisa Smith, delivered just the month previously. We had met Greg and Lisa two years ago at the Krogen Rendezvous, when they were still Krogen wannabees on a fifty-four-foot sailboat, “Chasseur”. We enjoyed their company during this past windy week, and shared Thanksgiving dinner with them aboard “Alizann”.
I won’t bore you with the details of our stay in George Town. You were here with us last year. Let’s just say that it’s one year and one hurricane older-nothing much has changed. (Except, our old beer-and-a burger, freewifihangout “Red Boone” burned to the ground last week under suspicious circumstances.)
It’s Friday afternoon. The wind is still cookin’, but it is supposed to moderate for 48 hours, starting in the morning. Seas are projected to drop to 4’-6’ at 8 second intervals before the next Cold Front arrives on Monday morning, whipping up the wind and waves again. It’s about a 35 hour ride to Providenciales, in the Turks and Caicos, so we’ll make a run for it starting early tomorrow. The wind and seas will still be up then, but by the time that we reach the north end of Long Island and head out into the Atlantic in late morning, they should be diminishing somewhat. (At least that’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.) We should be to Mayaguana Island by midmorning on Sunday. If it’s really dogmeat, we can duck inside the reef there to wait out the weather-probably until late next week. If not, we’ll continue on to the Blue Haven Marina in the T & C.
-Until next time