01/18/13 We arrived in Georgetown! Our goal for this year was to make it to Georgetown, Great Exuma Island and we did it. Of course, plans are written in sand in the sailing world and you never know from day-to-day what the weather may bring, what may need fixing on the boat, etc. That’s half the adventure, right? Truansea has been taking us on this trip without more than normal wear and tear boat repairs. Hookie, our little Zodiac dinghy (which is like our car) has also been doing great. We had to hoist the outboard into the cockpit a couple of times for repairs and a new prop, but she has been doing a great job taking us snorkeling, beach combing, water runs, trips to town, etc.
It has been a while since I have been able to make an update, and I need to go back to January 2nd to get caught up.
01/02/13 through 01/14/13 We stayed in Black Point longer than we anticipated due to the winds either being too strong (18-25 knots) or from the wrong direction (south/southeast).
The forecast for the week was for even stronger winds south of us and we wanted a weather window open long enough for us to enjoy some of the islands on our way south to Georgetown. We plan on spending 1-2 months in Georgetown waiting for calmer spring weather to start making our way back up the Exumas, possibly Cat Cay, Abacos, Berry Islands, etc. before crossing the Gulf Stream back to Florida the beginning of June.
I’m a 10-15 knot wind girl kind of girl and apparently that is what a lot of other people’s comfort zone is. There are 35 other boats in the anchorage and most of them are also headed to Georgetown. If the winds are forecasted 10-15 and end up blowing 20, which happens sometimes, I’m still comfortable. If they are forecasted 15-20 and blow 25, I’m not a happy sailor.
On 01/04/13 we did one overnight trip just south of Black Point to Hetty’s Land on Great Guana Cay with a few other boats to snorkel, fish, beach comb and hike. The anchorage was not very protected and after a night of rocking and rolling on the hook we all headed back to Black Point.
01/14/13 The forecast is east winds at 12k increasing to 15k in the afternoon and 15-20k in the evening so we made a break for it, along with everyone else in the harbor. It was the best sailing day we have had so far on this trip. We sailed along at 5.2 to 6.3 knots and arrived at Cave Cay at 1345. Cave Cay is private so we enjoyed some snorkeling time and a nice, quiet night at anchor.
01/15/13 Today brought a forecast of straight east 90 degree winds at 12-15k so we set sail for Little Darby Island where our friend David on s/v Mist has been anchored for a couple of weeks. This is the first anchorage where you need to put out two anchors due to limited swing space. We have not had to use two anchors yet so this was a great learning opportunity. We put out our primary, a Rocna, then the Foretress. We have a third anchor as well, a Delta (Mark tells me you can never have enough anchors on a boat).
The second day here we were exploring snorkeling places and Mark slowed Hookie down as we neared a black spot. Black spots are generally coral heads and are easy to spot, especially if you are standing up in the dinghy. It was a small spot so we were not sure how good it would be so just Mark stuck his head in the water to take a look before we deployed the anchor. His head popped back up and said, “You’ve got to see this!” The boys dropped the anchor and Mark plunged overboard. We all quickly followed suit. I started laughing underwater when I saw it and my mask filled with water. I cleared it out and dove again. If anyone knows how this grand piano metal sculpture with a mermaid at the bench ended up under the sea on the west side of Musha Cay, please let us know. I could look it up on the internet but it would be more fun to hear from you followers as to its history.
The sculpture is spectacular and is not in any of the guide books that we know of. We passed the word on to all our other cruiser friends to check it out. No one else had ever heard of it. David Copperfield owns Musha Island and Jonny Depp, Nicholas Cage, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill own islands close by here. Steven Spielberg’s mega yacht is also anchored not too far away and Tom Waits was spotted on Staniel Cay. There is only one musician I have ever wished I could meet or see live and that is Tom Waits. I can not believe I was so close and never got to see him! Aargh! Anyway, I am guessing one of these people commissioned the sculpture.
We were treated to the first rain of any quantity at Darby. It was a gentle, long rain. Everyone got on the decks of their boats and showered first. We had not experienced a rain yet and had not prepared how to catch the excess water. The rain stopped and at least we were all clean and rinsed. Another cloud was coming our way so we got out brushes to wash the salt off the deck, washed out the dinghy and had a few plans on catching as much rain water as we could. The next rain was another nice, long one and we caught enough water to do the laundry and wash the rest of the boat which had become quite covered in salt crystals.
Big Darby and Little Darby have some interesting history which I will let you look up if you choose. We enjoyed hiking and beach time there.
We caught a few conch here and have always struggled to clean them. Some local guys passed through and I asked if they would show me how to do it more efficiently.
01/17/13 The weather window is wide open and we will say good-bye to Little Darby and head to Emerald Bay tomorrow or possibly go all the way to Georgetown.
01/18/13 We left the anchorage at 7am with our friends on s/v Southern Bound and headed out Rudder Cut to the sound side. We have stayed on the Banks side of the Exumas where it is more protected on every sail except for one day back on 12/28/12 when we had a calm day. At Rudder Cut, most sailboats must cross over to the sound side to get to Georgetown. The banks side becomes too shallow and has lots of reefs and coral heads. We could count 30 masts around us all day as us cruisers took advantage of the weather window and sailed south. We put out a fishing line and mid-morning I heard the tell-tale zinging sound behind me of a fish on. The boys took turns reeling it in and they caught our first barracuda.
We arrived in Elizabeth Harbor where George Town is located at 2pm. The harbor is big and there are lots of sailboats anchored in the various protected areas along with a few trawlers. It is truly a community here.
We are excited to be here, settle in for a while and are looking forward to exploring the area.
Our first trip to town involved getting some parts, stocking up on water and getting some fresh food.
Otherwise, we have been exploring on Stocking Island side, enjoying the beaches and hiking.
Fair Winds ~ Christine