Hello from Eleuthera Island! We made it here, and ahead of when we thought we would be able to get here, so that’s a good thing. We are currently anchored in Rock Sound Harbor which is at the southern tip of Eleuthera Island, and is a great place to be for a while. As we pulled in yesterday it was so interesting to see what looked like an actual town with buildings and roads and everything! We are not used to seeing that! We had a delightful sail/motor across Exuma Sound before pulling in and thoroughly enjoyed having no waves at all when the other times we have been on Exuma Sound we have been in 3 – 8 foot waves and heavier winds. It was also interesting that the depth of the water went from 10 feet, which it is basically the whole way up the “inside” of the Exuma Chain, to over 5300 feet! Now we’re anchored in 9 – 10 feet again.
I’ll share about the trip over Exuma Sound in a minute, but we did end up staying at Black Point for a number of days because of the weather. It was fine by us, but north of us the weather was supposed to be bad, and it sounds like it was. In the Abacos island chain and into northern Eleuthera they had wind gusts of 35 – 50 knots for a couple of days and apparently a lot of rain fell. As we are not really on a schedule we decided, along with many other boats, to not venture too far north to stay away from the winds. Even though it felt like we were just sitting at Black Point needlessly it ended up being a great thing. We did get some higher winds, but only in the low 20’s, and it never clocked around to the West like it was supposed to. At Black Point there is no protection from West winds, so we would have done a lot of rolling at anchor.
While anchored at Black Point we ended up getting a number of projects done, and we got a lot of good walks in – which Max was very happy about! I’m not going to go through what we did each day, as I don’t remember what we did on what day, but one of the things we did was to do a thorough cleaning and vacuuming of the boat. It had been a while since we have done so thorough a cleaning, so it was time. With the use of our inverter, which allows us to run 110 electrical appliances such as the vacuum cleaner, we (Sharon) vacuumed almost every nook and cranny on the boat. Max has short hair, but it still has a tendency to get almost everywhere.
Sharon also spent a number of hours at the laundromat at Black Point and even washed some of our lighter blankets that needed a cleaning. I (Dave) concentrated on things on the boat and worked on a couple of things that have been nagging me for a while. I decided to not rebed any more deck stanchions (they are the posts that hold up our lifelines around the boat) as of yet other than the one that I knew was leaking and fixed a few weeks ago. If stanchions leak, they typically drip inside boats. We do have water that is dripping inside our boat out of an opening where one of our electrical plugs is. It is right behind where I rebedded the stanchion a few weeks ago, so I totally took the plug out and tried to look in there to see where the water could be coming from. There is a sort of channel that runs under where some of the stanchions come through the deck, and the electrical outlet is on the side of the channel. I’m hoping it doesn’t leak anymore and will have to wait until we’re in heavier water with water coming over the bow and sides of the boat to see if the stanchion rebedding was the issue. We’ll see! I sure am glad I don’t let little things like this drive me absolutely crazy! J
I also broke out some epoxy putty and filled in some areas that had been dinged so it was good to get that done. I even did a major cleaning of our fridge cooling coils as they say that can make a difference in the efficiency of your fridge. Our fridge and freezer seem to be working fine, but I still have to defrost the sides of the freezer every 5 – 6 days. The cooler air flows through a hole from our freezer into our fridge and the frost/ice ends up plugging that hole thereby decreasing the cooling of the fridge. One can tell when the beer just doesn’t feel as cold! J
Anyway, it was good to have some time to get things done and wait out weather at the same time. We thought we would end up being able to leave possibly on Thursday, but because they kept downgrading the weather report as the week went on we were able to leave Black Point already on Tuesday, March 19, to head north again. We first went to the Bay of Pigs by Staniel Cay for Tuesday night, a trip of only 9 miles or so. As we had all day to make this trip we took our time and put both sails out and even turned the motor off for half of the trip! What a novel idea! But it was so cool to do. The wind was only 11 – 13 knots so we didn’t sail fast, but we had all day! Too fun!
On Wednesday, March 20, we left at 8 am and headed north to Shroud Cay. We had stayed there on our way down the Exuma Chain back in January, and we knew there was a good cut to head east across the Exuma Sound on Thursday morning just north of Shroud Cay. We motor sailed with the mainsail out so it only took us about five hours to get there. Unfortunately, after dinner the wind shifted from North to more North West so we ended up going to bed with the boat rolling at anchor because of the surge around the point we were near, but it calmed down at some point during the night and was calm again in the morning. I should add that predictions were for the wind to vary in direction all day on Wednesday, and we certainly saw that as we were motor sailing. It was mostly from the North, which was ok as we were headed North West, because of the orientation of the Exuma Islands, but at times it would shift to the North West – straight at us, and even came from the South for a bit until it clocked again back to the North.
Thursday morning, March 21, we pulled up the anchor at Shroud Cay and headed out Wax Cut to Exuma Sound. The sun was out and it was a brilliant morning as we headed out. The wind was only in the 2 – 3 knot range from the East, and that’s basically what it stayed at all day. The water on Exuma Sound was pretty much flat calm the whole way, and we loved it. We think this was the first passage across larger bodies of water since maybe even before Florida, that we didn’t have crazy waves and wind. (Oh, not including the passage over the Great Bahama Bank as that was calm. Forgot about that one!) So we enjoyed it and pulled into Rock Sound safe and sound after 7 hours.
Today, Friday, March 22, Sharon was able to get to the local grocery store for provisions, and we dumped the last two jerry cans of diesel into our boat tank so I could take all four ashore to get them refilled. And they had a place to get our empty propane tank filled – Yay! All in all, a good day. We celebrated by going out to dinner at Frigate’s Bar and Grill this evening. Nice!
We will stay at Rock Sound for a few days and see if we can get our visa extended at the Immigration Office here. (We only got 90 days when we entered the Bahamas back in Bimini) We will then work our way north to Governor’s Harbor, Hatchet Bay and eventually to Spanish Wells on the northern tip of Eleuthera at some point in the next week or so. Not sure how long it will take us!