Do you remember the saying that those who sail or live on their boats use: “It all depends on the weather?” Well, we are living proof that that saying is oh, so true! What that means for us right now, is that we are still at Rock Sound, Eleuthera, waiting out yet another weather system that is supposed to be over within the next couple of days. We arrived here at Rock Sound last Friday, and as the week progressed we could see more and more boats arriving, all based on what the weather prediction was.
The weather system was not as severe as it was last week in the Abacos, while we were tucked safe in Black Point, but this week they were talking the “W” word! Wind out of the West! If you have an idea of how most of the Bahama islands are oriented (sort of running north-west to south-east), there is virtually no protection from west winds. That means if the wind comes from the west and you have no land to get behind to prevent build-up of waves, then you will end up rocking a lot as the wind has a long way (distance over water is called fetch) to build up waves – which get larger the longer the fetch is.
The wind was supposed to start coming from the west and north west yesterday through tomorrow, and it did! We, and about a dozen other boats, actually moved from the east side of Rock Sound Harbor over to the west side of the Harbor, a distance of only just over a mile, as the harbor is surrounded by land on pretty much all sides. We moved about 1:30 pm yesterday afternoon and not more than 20 minutes after putting our anchor down a huge squall came through bringing a ton of rain and a lot of wind. For about 20 minutes we were in 27 – 30 knots of wind with the highest gust getting up to 32 knots. Thankfully our anchor was set well!
For dinner last evening, Tom and Chris, on the boat Persistance X, organized a beach barbecue/grill, which was a lot of fun until the rain came pouring down again! As the weather becomes more unstable it’s not uncommon to have squalls and sudden rainfalls, so it was not entirely unexpected. Oh well.
This morning we moved back over to the east side of the harbor as the wind was being predicted to clock more to the north and north east, so the protection is better over here. Within about two hours this morning, all the other boats who had moved yesterday all came and are now also anchored over on this side. Thankfully we did move as this afternoon the winds certainly picked up from the northeast and were in the mid-20’s pretty much all afternoon. We are about 300 yards off the eastern shore so even though we feel the wind, we don’t have any waves because of such a short fetch. Yay! However, out on Exuma Sound I’m sure the waves were in the 8+ foot range with all this wind. Not fun!
What have we been doing here all week, other than moving and worrying about wind? Plenty! This is a great community to spend time, and we have been enjoying it. Many of the places we stop and anchor at seem to have a small “town” of a couple of small restaurants, small grocery store and other types of little shops. What you end up doing is staying in the “town” and don’t really end up seeing a whole lot else, like where the residents live and carry out their business. At Rock Sound, there is the “town” part like the other places, but also nearby are many more streets of where the locals live and conduct their business, like gas stations and hairdressers and churches, etc. Maybe we see it here because it is a larger community, but it was fun to walk through the streets this past weekend and observe the many types of houses and people out in the yards. We even ran across what looked like a Little League baseball game, complete with family and friends on the sidelines cheering them on.
We also visited the Ocean Hole, here in Rock Sound. It is about a quarter mile inland from the harbor and looks like a small lake, but is actually 600 feet deep! They say it is connected in some way to the ocean through tunnels, but is quite a rarity in being so small on the surface and being so deep. Up the road further, we eventually found a set of caves called the Cathedral Caves. The caves were actually not really that far down, and there were many spots where it opened to the sky, but through the openings were long vines of varying thicknesses throughout the caves. The interplay of the light coming from the openings into the caves was beautiful to see.
Interestingly, unlike most other islands where we see very few other dogs, Rock Sound seems to have many dogs running around. This makes it quite difficult in taking Max ashore as the dogs run loose and typically run in pairs along the road. We have a selfie stick that we take with us, and Sharon used it a couple of times in scaring some dogs off today on her walk. The dogs don’t seem terribly aggressive, but we just don’t want to have any issues with them coming after Max. Poor guy!
Otherwise, we have been working on small projects on the boat or going for walks to the grocery store or hardware store. Sharon has been able to get out on her paddleboard a couple of mornings this past week when the wind has been calm, which she thoroughly enjoys. She also has had some material she took with her when she left and ended up sewing a skirt. I built a small table for in the cockpit area as there is lumber store here. And we have spent a lot of time reading and enjoying the warmth!
Oh, we also got our visas extended at the Immigration Office here at the airport. We were only given 90 day visas when we entered, so had to get an extension to be able to stay in the Bahamas. We were glad to get it set!
The plan is to leave possibly on Saturday, after the wind has started to settle down, and work our way up Eleuthera. There are a number of places we hope to anchor before getting to Spanish Wells at the north end of the island. We will then jump up to the Abacos and see what they have to offer.
All in all, it has not been a super eventful week, but that’s ok with us. We know once we end up getting back to the States and working our way north that it will be a lot busier for us, so we are just enjoying the leisurely pace we have now.