Bob reflects in words…I reflect in pictures…but we both feel the same way!
Bob reflects in words…I reflect in pictures…but we both feel the same way!
A selection of favourites from our recent sailing adventure in the Bahamas…in no particular order…
We crossed the Gulf Stream on Wednesday, April 15, in an effort to beat the bad weather that was forecast. It was not the calm pond it was last year — we had 11 to 13 knot winds so we motorsailed. The middle of the 11-hour journey was quite smooth and pleasant, with the beginning and end being bumpy and a bit uncomfortable. Once again we were travelling with our buddy boat Overdraught, and it was reassuring to see them and talk to them throughout the long day on the water.
We timed our departure from West End to arrive with high tide at the St. Lucie Inlet (and Stuart) and we achieved that, although as we approached Stuart from offshore we could see squalls over the city. We confirmed this using Sirius Satellite weather radar as well as our own radar. When we got within cell phone range we called Leo, Bob’s brother, before attempting to motor in the inlet.
We were concerned that if it were raining hard we would not have good visibility, which you need to navigate the tricky inlet. Leo confirmed that the storm was moving south and that with a slow approach we could come in after the rain stopped.
And lo and behold, as we waited, we watched as the gray clouds parted right where we needed to go in off the ocean, and the sun’s rays shone down, allowing us to make a safe entrance.
We’re back in Mariner Cay Marina now and we’ll spend some time packing up and getting the boat ready to put on the guard before we make our way home.
I have to catch up with all the photographs I made since I last posted and hopefully will have some ready to post soon.
Sailing on the Sea of Abaco is a real delight. The water depth averages 10 feet and there are many different ports of call within a days sail. The water is gin clear and on calm days it is easy to see the bottom. The eastern trade winds dominate this area and average 15 to 25 knots — perfect winds for salty sailors. It’s always heart-warming to see a boat flying a Canadian flag — we proudly fly ours — and we’ll often stop by to say hi and exchange a boat card. Today we met a boat from Ottawa in Treasure Cay which has been down here for months with young parents and two young kids on board, all having a blast.
We just said a sad goodbye to our dear friends Ben and Lynnae after they spent a week with us on Windsong II cruising the Abacos (Bahamas). Both have busy lives, demanding work schedules and they really needed to relax and thaw out from the deep freeze Canada has been under these past few months. We were only too happy to give them a place to get away from it all.
They sail a sister ship to Windsong II — a Hunter 36 — out of a club on Lake Ontario. A few years ago, we had enjoyed a cruise with them in the North Channel of Lake Huron on our respective 26-footers at the time and had gotten along super well.
So we did not hesitate to invite them to join us for a week in the Abacos this spring. We knew they would completely understand that we could not even promise to be in Marsh Harbour on a specific date because of the weather. Not everyone would get that or be OK with it.
We are so grateful to them since as they passed through Fort Lauderdale they picked up a water pump that Windsong II desperately needed for her auxiliary engine. (Ours had a bad seal and we couldn’t find a replacement in the Bahamas.)
The first order of business upon arrival was to install the pump, which Bob did quickly while Ben recorded the details on his new mini cam. I was coveting this cute little waterproof Go Pro-like camera the whole time he was here ;-). He got some fantastic footage of our cruising experience.
Little time was needed to orient these sailors on the boat. A quick chat about where we keep our safety equipment and we were ready to untie the lines and leave the dock. For the whole week, they were considerate, helpful, fun, easy-going and really into learning the particularities of cruising in the Abacos. They would like to cruise here themselves in the future. Bob and Ben spent hours comparing notes about sailing and sailboats and picking each other’s brains. And they both know a lot! Lynnae and I spent time talking about what it’s like to hang out with these kind of characters and how to keep them on the right course!
For our part we were so happy to show off the Abacos. Our first day was a cruise to nowhere! The winds where light and we decided to just sail around on the Sea of Abaco and return to anchor for the night in Marsh Harbour.
The next day we set out for Treasure Cay which boasts one of the best beaches in the Bahamas, and which we had not been to before. This proved to be a cruiser’s paradise. For the small fee of $10 a day for anchoring or $20 a day for mooring, you are entitled to use the amenities of the beautiful resort attached to the marina (like the pool and showers) as well as get free water (wow!) and great wifi (super wow!) There was also a convenient (meaning walking distance) well-stocked supermarket, great coffee shop and bakery (with Bob’s favourite pineapple upside down cake!) and laundromat. Heaven on a stick!
That night, Lynnae taught us how to make Ben’s favourite recipe and a typical North African chicken dish (a sauce called dursa made with paprika and garlic) and we invited our friend Stuart over to share it — he was batching it at Treasure Cay because his wife had to fly back to Canada on business for a week.
After two days of bliss on the beach, we wanted to show our friends a different side of the Abacos. Our next port of call was Hopetown on Elbow Cay. We slipped in at high tide with two feet under our keel and were lucky enough to nab a mooring ball — anchoring is not allowed in the small harbour. We did a quick tour of the village of Hopetown and they had their first swim in the Atlantic Ocean. On this tiny strip of land, the ocean is only steps away from the calmer, shallower Sea of Abaco.
The next day they decided to rent bicycles (since all the golf carts were reserved and no cars are allowed) to explore the cay. They pedalled out to the famous Tahiti Beach, which they thoroughly enjoyed. We also climbed the 100 steps to the iconic lighthouse once again and I took more shots from the bottom and the top.
This lighthouse is one of the last operational kerosene-fueled lighthouses in the world and one of three manual lighthouses in existence. It has a spring mechanism that has to be hand- cranked every few hours to maintain the sequence of five white flashes every 15 seconds. It can be seen for 23 nautical miles. Lynnae did a wonderful sketch of the lighthouse.
Before heading back to Marsh Harbour for the plane, we stopped at Man-O-War Cay for a swim off the back of the boat. Each cay was a different experience and the perfect weather made it all so enjoyable. We had wonderful meals to enjoy in the cockpit, lots of swimming in the warm aqua-blue Sea of Abaco, some sailing and some wandering around in the charming settlements like Hopetown.
It was the first time we cruised with another couple on our own sailboat and we were all delighted at how easy and fun the whole experience was. These two are very special people and we hope to be cruising with them again in the future.
A cruise to nowhere…
Hopetown, Elbow Cay
From place to place…
Life on board
When friends from the north join you to experience what it’s like to live aboard a sailboat and commune with the sea, tides, sun, moon and creatures while cruising the Abacos, it’s a soul-enriching experience…for all! We were all blessed this week. Here are a few memorable moments.
Here we are in Hopetown Harbour on a mooring ball. We just said a fond farewell to our friends who left to return to Marsh Harbour and then Ottawa and reality tomorrow! We will stay here in paradise 😉
I have so many pictures I have no hope of catching up with everything we did in the last week but here is a brief taste. And I’m in a coffeeshop on a battery so I will do my best!
March 11 to 17, 2015
We arrived from Crab Cay to Green Turtle Cay on March 11. Last year we had taken a slip at the Green Turtle Club Marina and really liked it so decided to do that again. Our slip neighbours were October Moon, Osprey and Happy Chance. Overdraught took a mooring ball close by.
We left Green Turtle for Marsh Harbour on March 15. We had a supremely smooth crossing of Whale Cay passage and arrived in the harbour in time for sundowners and a dinner of fresh mahi that we bought from a fisherman in Green Turtle. More to come…
Let’s try this again.;-) My last attempt to post this video didn’t work too well…
This video goes back a few days (March 6), so I hope it doesn’t mix you up. It takes a while to process videos and post to Vimeo.
There’s nothing like a video to really show what it was like on our Gulf Stream crossing. This one was so pleasant and stress-free, I could hardly believe it. Grateful!