Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Back in the U.S.A!!

Almost home now!

Sailing past Grand Bahama port on Saturday. 

Saw several more cruise ships anchored nearby.

And the 2 oil rigs just offshore.

Sortof ugly things....

Had 4 beautiful sunsets and sunrises!

More cargo ships along the way.

Arriving this morning after 96 hours and about 600 nautical miles.  Burned maybe just 25 gallons of diesel from Staniel Cay - sailing was terrific most of the way.  What If in the distance coming down the Georgetown, SC channel.

Marshy SC lowlands.

And the view down the steps....that tanic brown water.....I'll miss those gin-clear blues of the Bahamas!

We'll anchor just south of Myrtle Beach this afternoon and make our way on towards Oriental tomorrow!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Enroute to USA, near Grand Bahama

Last little bit of internet that I'll have for the next 2-3 days.

What If sailing along in front of us.

And What If passing by Nassau.

The Nassau harbour is normally teaming with boats.  Power boats, sailboats, cruise ships, tour boats.  But none, absolutely none in sight due to the corona virus lockdown.

During the night I saw about 20 large vessels anchored north of the Berry Islands on the radar.  Must have been cruise ships - would have been a sight to see but it was pitch black night.

Cargo is still moving around the Bahamas though!

And What If got out their para-sailor chute for a while.  Sorry, we weren't close enough for a good photo.

Winds were lighter than we expected overnight, so we'll probably be later than our original estimate of Monday morning.  I'll update the group on the radio emails a few times in the next couple of days.  We don't expect bad weather - will just be mostly downwind sailing.  

Friday, March 27, 2020

Highbourne Cay, Bahamas

Last day at anchor in the Bahamas this season!!

We started the day with a rather unsettling radio call - someone in the anchorage was calling to a sailboat that appeared to be washed up on shore.  This IS NOT NORMALLY GOOD!!  The sailboat was not answering so the good Samaritan started to call the local marina to see if they could assist.

So we and What IF dropped our dinghies quickly and headed over to see if we could be of assistance before matters got worse.....

Ends up - a lovely couple (I believe the flag was German) were inside the boat - and they had intentionally beached their boat to work on something.  They just didn't have their radio on!  They thanked us for our concern.

 Back to the boat - we got ready and went for what will be our last snorkel of the season as well.

(Cathy's photo of us on our dinghy).

Found some lovely coral.

Duane peeking in a hole in the coral.

Really enjoyed the area.

We decided to head out the "cut" and find some more area to snorkel.  The current was quite strong for our little dinghies!

And we did find some more beautiful coral!

I believe this is an osprey - he was not happy that we were coming near his nest.

And his mate was on the nest and was not happy either!  Makes an awful racket!

And more lovely coral at a different spot.  I know, you're getting tired of coral photos!

And back to the boat - probably the last "Sojourn at anchor" photo of the season as well!!

We'll leave Friday morning - sailing non-stop for the Florida coast.  Don't know just where we'll land yet.  Here's a rough map.  The green line is where we've been - the red line is where we're heading Friday.  We should arrive Monday morning sometime if the winds and Gulf Stream are as forecast.  We can't head straight to NC because there is windy weather off the coast of the Carolinas that would make it unsafe.  We'll wait in Florida at anchor until it's safe to head to NC.

I'll try to send single-side-band position reports as often as I can get propagation.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Highbourne Cay, Bahamas

Approaching the Staniel Cay fuel dock - a good number of boats anchored near the Thunderball Grotto.

 Pretty but we won't be staying.

We got our fuel without coming in close contact with anyone.  I handed the dock attendant cash without getting off the boat.   What If was right behind us - 10 minutes and we both were back out in deep water sailing north.

I heard a splash at the bow of the boat - and got treated to a fabulous pod of dolphins swimming with us!!  They stayed for several minutes - just swimming to-and-fro.  Mesmerizing!!

Caught our last fish of the season - a nice medium sized mahi....Duane cleaned it and I put it in vacuum pack bags.  Had to jam it in the freezer.  Completely full!!

Came in the Highbourne Cut....to a rolly but safe anchorage.

We'll stay here today and do one final snorkel....and we'll head for a 3 night sail towards Florida on Friday morning.  The winds are not going to allow us to go straight to NC - there is a strong weather system offshore of the Carolinas and we are going to have to wait in Florida or Georgia for good weather to head further north.   No worries - we have plenty of food, fuel and toilet paper!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Enroute to USA, approaching Staniel Cay, Bahamas

The plan hatched with What If the night before was to get underway at 5AM so that we could get to Clarence Town, Long Island around noon to top off with diesel. Passed a mail boat - so we know supplies are still moving in the Bahamas!   Kindof a yucky sea-state but good wind for sailing!

Some of you may have seen this photo on Facebook - I was talking to Keith on the phone and he asked what I was doing.  I said that I was laying here sailing - and this is the photo Duane snapped of me so I could share it with Keith.   Pretty comfy captain's seat!!  (Other boats often have a single molded captain's chair - we really like our "double" seat!)

But all did not go as planned - we found out that the Clarence Town marina (Flying Fish if you're interested) was closed and not selling fuel.  Disappointing but we just decided to continue sailing thru the night and head to the Exumas - Staniel Cay is reportedly still selling fuel.  

I wasn't really prepared for an overnight - so we just had leftover fish-taco salad for dinner.  Our normal 3 hour shifts, although Duane did end up letting me sleep over 4 hours to make his shift midnight to 4:30AM.  That was sweet of him and I really enjoyed it!!

Pretty sunrise - What If is back there somewhere a mile or so away. 

Unfortunately, I had to wake Duane at 7AM briefly to help me move the jib over (it had a "keeper" attached  that needed to be removed - and we don't go on deck when one person is sleeping for safety reasons.)  But he's back sleeping now and we're about 2 hours from Staniel Cay.  Will fuel up and head north towards Highbourne Cay for a jump off to the Florida coast.  Looks like we'll end up checking in at Ft. Pierce or Daytona - the winds are going to be honking offshore of the Carolinas by mid-week (next week) so we won't likely be able to sail straight for Beaufort like we'd hoped.  

No worries - What If will keep us company and we'll both stay safe!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Leaving Landrail Point for home...

We've made the hard decision that we need to start our way back the the USA.....we had planned a couple of more months here and several more islands.....but the corona virus sortof got in the way.

Today the Bahamas Ministry has announced more stringent restrictions about boat movements, closing all public beaches, etc.  So, little fun to be had in this wonderful place right now!

No worries, we are well prepared and we'll be making our way north with What If.   I'll send out my radio emails to those of you on the copy list so you can track us along the way.   It's gonna take a while!!  At minimum a week or 10 days.  Maybe more.

Hope the US borders are open to us when we get there! 

Landrail Point, Crooked Island, Bahamas

Beautiful sunrise....

It was my turn for dinner....and I wanted to do fish tacos.  I had finally run out of store-bought tortillas....so I decided I could make my own.

Thanks to Google.....easy recipe.

Just make a simple dough.

Roll out really thin....

Toss in a hot skillet for 1 minute per side.    Not perfectly shaped, but delicious.

Ed and Cathy came over for dinner - and while we were chatting in the cockpit a couple that had just anchored got in their dinghy to go ashore.  But their motor wouldn't start.  And we watched them try to start it.  And we watched them get out their oars!!!  Not good!!  Nothing but open ocean behind them.

Ed quickly got in his dinghy and rescued them. 

Here he is towing them back to their boat.  They quickly got their dinghy running and were on there way.  Unfortunately, we won't socialize with them because of the strict guidelines about the corona virus.

Back to dinner......here is the promised photo of the cherry tomatoes.  Amazing how they are intact, juicy and sweet!

Here's the spread for dinner.  Good fun.  Early night.  

Monday, March 23, 2020

Landrail Point, Crooked Island, Bahams

I admit I was a little stir crazy....so we decided to go for a snorkel with What If even though the winds hadn't really abated much.

Off we went towards the lighthouse.

The only coral we could reasonably reach was pretty shallow.  The deeper, larger reef will have to wait until tomorrow or the next day when winds die since it's very exposed to the ocean waves.

It was a pleasant snorkel.

And that's about it for the day!

Dinner was on What If and ended with a nice card game.