Hello from Shroud Cay, an area in the northern part of the Exumas that is totally devoid of cell coverage. I am writing this Thursday evening, inside our rolling boat because of the wind and swell where we are, and hope to be able to post it in the next day or two. I don’t really feel like writing this tonight as it has been a couple of trying days lately, but I know if I don’t write it this evening I won’t feel any better about writing it tomorrow night, so here I go!
As I wrote last week, we had a wonderful time with Lisa and Ryan visiting us until they left last Friday. It was hard to see them go because we so enjoyed spending time with them, but we also knew that after they left it meant we would be starting our home-ward trek with the eventual end of our amazing adventures. We spent a bunch of time reminiscing of the places we had seen and visited and had more fun bringing up memories of the incredible places we have gone to on our trip. While we are ready to end this type of traveling we will greatly miss being able to go and visit places not normally reachable by vehicle.
Our plan after the kids left was to leave on Tuesday as that appeared to be the best next weather window. Saturday was crazy windy again with winds in the high teens and low twenties so we didn’t even venture off the boat. The wind did settle a bit into the low to mid-teens on Sunday so we did put the dinghy down and go ashore to Beach Church, but it was still a bit uncomfortable. Because Monday was initially relatively calm in the morning we spent doing the day doing our last runs to Georgetown for diesel, water and groceries. (Although I don’t even want to get into how wet I got returning across Elizabeth Channel on my last water run! But, the water was warm as the spray enveloped me, so I won’t complain!)
I’ll get back to how our plans changed a bit after the wind picked up Monday afternoon when it was supposed to die down, but before I do that I have to share about the family we met again at Beach Church. Just before the service started a young man came up to me and said we met way back in Moon Bay and that he was John Mueller. Moon Bay just didn’t ring any bells at first, but I recognized his name. As I thought about it as the service started it came back to me that we had met him and his family way back on the Hudson River as we were anchored in Haverstraw Bay, north of New York yet, back in the summer of 2018. That afternoon we we took our dinghy into the local marina, Moon Bay Marina, to let Max ashore. As we were reaching the dock we gawked at this amazing 50’ Beneteau named SV Lady Rae. The family was aboard and we soon learned they were John and Becca Mueller, with their two small children, Rachel and Luke, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They were delightful to talk with and share stories about Lake Michigan and before we parted we exchanged boat cards.
We have met so many amazing people on our journey, but they were one of the first people we met after leaving Michigan. Since meeting them we had exchanged emails a number of times in keeping each other updated a bit on each of our travels. After going south they have kept their boat in a marina in Charleston, SC, as they periodically return to Wisconsin for work and family visits. This past fall, as we were heading back down the ICW, John emailed saying he was following my blogs and knew we were approaching Charleston. He asked if we would be stopping in Charleston and whether we could get together. Unfortunately we weren’t stopping there, but it was good to connect with them again and hear that things were continuing to go well for them.
We knew they wanted to get to the Bahamas at some point and so it was cool all of a sudden to see them at Beach Church! They came to our boat Sunday afternoon for Happy Hour and we had a great time catching up and sharing stories. We wish them the best on their future travels, and who know when and where our paths may cross again.
Back to how our plans changed to leave on Tuesday…. Above I referred to the fact that the winds increased Monday afternoon instead of easing up. Because of that, and the forecast that Tuesday would be windier than was predicted we decided not to leave on Tuesday. In fact, in looking at the weather forecast we initially thought we would be “stuck” until possibly after the upcoming weekend. However, we received updated weather information on Tuesday and we decided to make a run for it on Wednesday and see how far north we could get before an anticipated nasty cold front that could happen in the middle of next week.
We hope we made the right decision! We left yesterday, Wednesday, and had a great 60 mile run north to Staniel Cay. The wind was from the SE with 3 – 4 foot swells and we made great time. The wind was from behind us and we had following seas but it was not that uncomfortable of a ride. We were a bit concerned about timing our passage through Dotham Cut just north of Black Point, as you don’t want opposing current and wind, but we reached it at slack tide and it ended up being quite calm.
We anchored at Pig Beach at Staniel Cay at about 4:30 pm, and while it was a bit rolly with the south wind it wasn’t too uncomfortable. About 5:00 am this morning the wind switched, as predicted, to the west and then we started rolling side to side. We left Staniel Cay at 8:00 this morning with intentions of getting to Highborne Cay this afternoon. Unfortunately, we ended up banging into a hefty NW wind and waves for most of the morning so we revised our plans and came here to the Shroud Cay area instead. Later in the morning the wind switched to NE so it helped settle the waves a bit, but we still took a lot of water over the bow most of the trip so were glad to reach here by about 1:30 pm already. Shortly after anchoring we deployed a swell bridle to help point our bow into the waves instead of rolling side to side. We are behind a small island to help protect us from the NE wind but the waves are wrapping around the island and are hitting us from the side. The swell bridle is helping a ton!
Tomorrow morning we will be leaving early and will make a 50 mile run to the south side of New Providence Island. There is a marina there where we will get fuel and water and will anchor for the night. Hopefully the wind will keep to the NE as we will be heading NW so we won’t be banging directly into the waves. We think the weather may be alright for the next two days after that to make a run for Bimini. It would be good to get there for the next blow predicted for the middle of next week, and then we will wait for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream. We will be glad to get to Florida and be out of all this stupid wind!