Nice Sail on Bight of Eluthera

Your ads will be inserted here by

Easy Plugin for AdSense.

Please go to the plugin admin page to
Paste your ad code OR
Suppress this ad slot.

Very enjoyable broad reach on bight of Eluthera.

With a rather gusty wind from the East, from 14 to 23 kts, we set sail from Hatchett Bay to Glass Window just a few miles NNW along the protected waters of the bight. As you can see, it was a pleasant short sail with Jib alone pulling the boat along at speeds of 7.5 knots.

The sail up to Glass Window was not only fast, but very enjoyable on the bight.

 

The area of the Eluthera Bridge is called “Glass Window” because one can see the Atlantic Ocean from the protected Bight.

 

 

We could see how the Atlantic was kicking up at the bridge, throwing spray up into the air as Atlantic meets the rubble below the bridge.

Your ads will be inserted here by

Easy Plugin for AdSense.

Please go to the plugin admin page to
Paste your ad code OR
Suppress this ad slot.

 

 

We enjoy the many beautiful white sand bays of Eluthera, Bahamas

 

 

There are several nice bays nearby to anchor in, so we chose Goulding Cay Bay with no other boats to enjoy the seclusion.

Just another beautiful day to enjoy in the Bahamas!

Posted in Random Bits of Living, S/V Fin Log, Travel Log | Leave a comment

Clarence Town, Long Island to New Bight, Cat Island

Your ads will be inserted here by

Easy Plugin for AdSense.

Please go to the plugin admin page to
Paste your ad code OR
Suppress this ad slot.

World’s away from winter in the States!

After taking on basic provisions at Clarence Town and experiencing the sand bores, shallow bay and blue holes, we made a brisk sail to Rum Cay, anchoring well before dark in Port Nelson. Again, the reefs were severely damaged by hurricane Joaquin about four years prior. My log notes from the past mentioned Port Nelson was a rolly anchorage and by golly, we found it the same. We employed a stern anchor to hold bow into the waves, but in the night, it being just too small for the job, drug and we rolled relentlessly until low tide.

Beware the sharp ruggedness of the coral based shoreline.

Not wanting another day and night of this roll, we sailed and fished to the northwest corner of the island, Flamingo Bay. Navigating through the coral infested shallows in the driving rain was very dangerous. with only a foot under the keel and water breaking coral leaving only narrow passes, often less than half a boat length apart. However somehow we avoided collision or grounding and tucked in as far east as possible just south of Pee Wee Point, finding a spot with inches under the keel and room to swing. If not for the allure of a calm anchorage, we would not have attempted this, especially in the rain, but we did and rewarded with our most comfortable anchorage in weeks. It was just too scary to take pictures as a reminder. I may never pass this way again, but if I do, I will exercise extreme caution in bright sunlight without driving rain.

West Bay, Conception Island beach

Ahhh! The pristine beach is soft as velvet to your toes as the crystal pastel waters entice you.

In the morning we sailed onward to Conception Island, fishing as far as we could outside the realm of marine sanctuary but caught nothing. We anchored is the breath taking West Bay for three no-roll days and nights.

Again the reefs are quite damaged. All our anchorages from Jumentos to New Bight, Cat Island had sharks hanging around the boat. However, frolicking porpoises welcomed us into New Bight, so we are not expecting sharks. The bight of Cat Island has good depth and a pleasant lack of coral heads, good sand holding with a few dark but deep hard patches. We’ll stay here through Monday at least to see the Hermitage and get some basic groceries as possible. Derek hooked a tiny Mahi Mahi near the Tartar bank, but we set it free. Unfortunately he did not hook any Wahoo, Tuna, or bill fish, but we still have some Mahi Mahi in the freezer.

Posted in Passage Making, Ports of Call, S/V Fin Log, Travel Log | Leave a comment

Jumentos and Ragged Islands in Southern Bahamas

We headed for the Jumentos and Ragged Islands after leaving Georgetown, Exumas, planning to take the shallow Crab Cay cut at high tide. Although the cruising guides and charts indicated we’d have 1 foot under the keel, we did not find it so. We gave it our best try in a couple places as advised we were uncomfortable with less than 1 inch under the keel. Thus we took a longer path, some 18 miles longer and found the Comer channel to work very well for our 5’6″ draft. Even with the longer distance, we arrived at the Flamingo Cay anchorage before dark. Arrival at our intended Water Cay would be after dark. The following morning we made the short sale to Water Cay.

Fin at anchor, Buenavista Cay

Fin at anchor, Buenavista Cay

We found the Jumentos and Ragged Islands to be very rugged. The recent hurricanes that ravished these islands made them appear to be virgin territory, however much of the coral and reefs were damaged. Sharks were abundant as well as barracuda. We did find some spiny lobster, conch and a very fat Lion fish which all joined us for dinners.

There is nothing on the islands for supplies, fuel or water, so whatever you need must be brought with you and carried out. We found some uncomfortable swell in most of the anchorages but managed to find a couple that were pleasant at night and protected from 35

Southern anchorage at Buenavista Cay

Southern anchorage at Buenavista Cay

knot winds lasting for a few days. I went ashore at Buena Vista Cay to explore some and found a very rugged sun baked shore. There were thousands of shoes as well as other hurricane debris, clothing, suit cases, purses, plastic containers, etc. strewn all over the weather side of the islands,  in this chain7.apparently carried there by past storms. Ragged Cay in the very South is the only populated island in this chain. It was evacuated after the last hurricane and is now coming back to life. We did not stop there, but finding favorable weather to finally sail Northeast to the southern tip of Long Cay, we chose to leave from Double Breasted Cay at daybreak. Once clear of the rocks and reefs and a ways out off the banks, we enjoyed a fast close reach with SSE winds.

Buenavista Cay overlooking the reef

Buenavista Cay overlooking the reef

 

 

There was a moderate swell coming in from the SE as well, but Fin settled in nicely for the passage.

 

 

 

1st Dorado caught

1st Dorado caught

 

Derek caught his 1st Mahi Mahi, a whopping 50 inch long fighter about half way across the Crooked Island Passage just north of the Columbus Bank. Yeah baby! Take a good look at those grins! He also hooked a couple large Barracuda. He reeled them in but we released them. Ciguatera is still prevalent in the Bahamas.

 

Arriving at the southern tip of Long Island we had to motor in light winds against a heavy swell from the North Atlantic. Entering the narrow and tricky harbour of Little Harbour just as the sun set and at low tide. Breakers were on either side as the heavy swell shoved us in. No place for mistakes. The water was beautiful and crystal clear, but Fin rolled all night as the swells came over the reef. Unfortunately, the better spot had been taken by others before our arrival. Life is good though.

The next morning, we continued on our way to Clarence Town for fuel, water and provisions, just a few miles North. We had a lot of high winds and heavy seas for many days, trapping us in the Raggeds. In many intricate spots behind islands we had only inches below the keel. Waiting for the right weather paid huge dividends. Although a long and tiring transit to Long Island, we enjoyed the sail immensely. We arrived with nearly 20 gal of diesel to spare but less than 10 gal water. We took on fuel and water at the very clean and friendly Flying Fish Marina. While Clarence Town has grown some since my last visit some years past, it remains a quaint little town filled with friendly people. Basic provisions can be found here in limited quantities, but the mail boat arrives each Thursday. Some locally grown fresh vegetables may be available on Wednesday at the Gov’t wharf. There are several amazing blue holes nearby, one 664′ (202 meters) deep where International competitions are held. The sand bores in the south end of the bay are very interesting to explore. In 2015, Hurricane Joaquin devastated many areas of the Bahamas, including Clarence Town, causing much damage to coral reefs and their fish populations. This is the main reason our fishing is considerably short on catching. The clarity of the water, its pastel colors and quality of beaches remain breathtaking at every turn.

Posted in S/V Fin Log, Travel Log | Leave a comment

Friends in the Exumas

S/V Pearl of Penzance sundowner.

We found our HHN sailing friends, the crews of Mahina and Pearl of Penzance, quietly anchored in the lee of Big Majors Cay, providing them with a glorious sunset entrance. Soon after anchor, we were joining them for sundowners… for the next 3 days. On the 3rd day, we all weighed anchor and sailed to Black Point Harbour, just a few miles further South.

 

Colorful calm Black Point Harbour, Great Guana Cay, Exumas, Bahamas.

We found Black Point Harbour peaceful and relaxing, and here we have been for a few days, forgetting the task of pushing South further and further. On one day, we sailed on Exuma Sound searching for a nice Mahi Mahi only to return with one strike that unfortunately got away. There are plenty of fish out there and one of these beautiful days, we will catch ours. In the meantime, we continue to enjoy the beautiful anchorages and pastel waters.

Best wishes from S/V Fin.

 

Posted in Random Bits of Living, S/V Fin Log, Travel Log | Leave a comment

Night Shift

After a very brief stay in Marsh Harbour to replenish supplies and visit with friends aboard Zingaro, we made our way South toward the Exumas. We planned to arrive at Fleeming Chanel in daylight, thus our sunset departure into the Atlantic. The weather was right and we took the opportunity while we could.

It’s now 2 am under dark, moonless but starlit sky. I can just see the sky glow hinting where Nassau is on the horizon far in the distance off our starboard bow. The last lights of Abacos dim off our starboard after quarter. The depth sounder gives a false bottom 600 feet below even though my charts indicate the bottom nearly 15,000 feet below just a few miles off the East coast of Abaco. The Atlantic is deep but calm this moonless night as Fin sails toward the Exumas with single reef in main and full headsail. Winds are light at 5 to 9 knots from the WNW. The forecast was for more wind from NNW, but I’m happy with what we’ve been dealt. I am grateful for the mild and pleasant conditions mother nature has chosen to provide. Sometime by 9 am till noon Fin should enter Flemming channel. It depends upon what winds are dealt next. It’s been nearly 25 years since I last navigated this coral infested channel but I expect we’ll find a safe route through when daylight returns.

I am alone at the helm on the late shift welcoming a whale might give me a wink along the side of Fin. We have seen many cheerful dolphins but not a single whale thus far. There is a persistent Sounder echo under Fin at 186-198 feet. It’s likely a large hammerhead shark, one of many that frequent these waters. Just a couple days ago I heard of another sailor near here fishing from his sugar scoop when he spotted the largest hammerhead he’d ever seen come at his boat and swim under in daylight. The sea here is pitch black tonight and I can see nothing, not even a reflection of stars. I’m happy to be warm, dry and comfortable, safely tethered in the cockpit. No trolling tonight.

The winds became very light just before my shift was over at 3 am. Our SOG decreased to 3 knots. Derek took the next shift and we decided to motor-sail in order to arrive at a safe anchorage before night fall. We would traverse some 40 miles through the coral infested middle ground before arriving at a good anchorage. It was a smart move as we cleared the last of the much larger than I remember coral heads just as the sun became too low on the horizon to pick out way through. We anchored off Ship Channel Cay just behind a protective sandbar at sundown. In the future, when coming South from Abacos, I’ll plan to anchor off West end of Eleuthera for a night in order to cross the middle ground banks when the sun is higher. Or even avoid Middle ground and those boat munching coral heads by sailing down the West side of Eleuthera and later cross Exuma Sound. It would provide more fishing opportunities along the way.

 

Posted in S/V Fin Log, Travel Log | Leave a comment

S/V Fin, Brunswick, GA to Christmas in the Bahamas Dec 2018

Atlantic Sailing Sunrise

At 18:15 on Dec 22 Fin again slipped dock lines, this time from Brunswick Landing Marina with full tanks and plenty of stores aboard. The refrigeration was working well enough to do a decent provisioning in Georgia. Again we were blessed with good weather, such a rarity so late in the year. Winds were light from the West at 10-12 knots and by 21:00 we had full sail up and making our way down the Florida coast in the peaceful Atlantic. We kept a close eye on the weather and took notice of a rather calm forecast in a couple days, near Ft Pierce to Stuart and across to the Little Bahama Bank, our intended crossing point. The moon was waning but almost full, seas calm and a gentle breeze from the west made for a most enjoyable sail down the coast. By the early morning hours the wind almost vanished down to 3-5 knots and we cranked up the iron gennie to make way to Ft. Pierce for a quick fuel and water stop.

Bright Sunny Day to Sail.

While in Ft. Pierce, we sent Derek up the mast to attach a flag halyard from the starboard spreader. It is necessary in foreign ports to fly the quarantine or courtesy flags. With that detail done, we cast off the lines and set sail, now a comfortable NW wind building. Sometime in the evening, we encountered the Gulf Stream current about 10 miles off the coast of FL near Stuart and we began our crossing. Our weather plan held and we made it across quickly starting on a beam reach and ending on a close haul to port as the winds clocked to the NE at 18 knots. By then we were well East of the current and very close to a predawn arrival of the NW corner of the Little Bahamas Bank. From there we had to furl the jib and motor sail across the banks to our intended anchorage at Great Sail Cay. Fin executed our plan perfectly and we dropped anchor at 14:07 Christmas Day. We arrived by Christmas, a bit tired but jubilant, happy and warm. The cold nights we now behind us and the beautiful Bahamas waters our new winter home.

The crew of Fin

Posted in Travel Log | Leave a comment

S/V Fin, Morehead City, NC to Brunswick, GA – Dec 2018

Mile Hammock Bay Sunset

On Dec 15, with provisions, fuel and water aboard, Fin slipped the lines from Yacht Haven Marina in Morehead City, NC shortly after 10 am. Our plan was to continue down the ICW as conditions in the Atlantic were still too rough from the weather system that passed during our stay in Morehead City. By 17:00 we were anchored in the still waters of Mile Hammock Bay just in time for this beautiful sunset. We opted to stay inside the ICW as we passed Masonboro Inlet, and continued out the Cape Fear River Inlet, avoiding Frying Pan Shoals and the extra distance we would have to travel to round them.

Atlantic Sunrise off South Carolina

By this time, the Atlantic was calm, providing us two peaceful nights at sea. How blessed we were to avoid nasty weather again. Our spirits soared as dolphins showed us the way to warmer climes. While we saw a few waves, several dolphins, ships, and mild salt spray, we never saw a drop of rain although the nights were still cold. Fin sailed masterfully with tail winds all the way to Brunswick, GA.

Atlantic Suds entering Brunswick, GA

Strangely, there was a vast, long suds line from the Brunswick entrance which we mistook as a shoal from a distance. I’ve never witnessed such a suds line, but I suppose there must have been some reason for it.

Brunswick Landing marina has free loaner bicycles (and free beer) for those adventurous eno

Bicycle Fun in Brunswick, GA

ugh to explore the quaint historic town. Yes, we enjoyed the town by bicycle, did load upon load of laundry and had a nice rest until time to leave port again.

Posted in Random Bits of Living, S/V Fin Log, Travel Log | Leave a comment

S/V Fin, HHN to Morehead City, Dec 2018

Following is the beginning of a brief log of sailing vessel Fin with Captain Derek, first mate Christina and myself as experienced crew. Fin is a well equipped Perry designed Norseman 447 cutter rigged sloop. We hope you enjoy this shakedown cruise to the Bahamas and escape from East coast winter as much as we do.

Starting Monday, Dec 3rd, S/V Fin motored all night down the Chesapeake Bay on a rather warm winter day from Tracey’s Landing to Norfolk and then immediately continued into the Virginia cut portion of the ICW. Despite a 4:00 AM pre-dawn arrival at Norfolk, delays until 12:30 PM at the first two bridges (Gilmerton and RR bridge #7) prevented us from reaching our intended destination, Coinjock Marina at mile mark 50 in the first leg and instead, tied up to the free dock at Great Bridge, VA, just after transiting the locks there.

Sunset over a calm Chesapeake Bay

A nice walk ashore to explore the small town helped to restore our land legs. It was so nice to have a warmish day to start out, but it quickly turned bitter cold. I baked some cornbread and made a Quinoa dish with mushrooms, carrots, onions and Kielbasa sausage for dinner. By early afternoon on Dec 6th, we tied up at Coinjock Marina, NC. Warmth to the cabin was restored via small electric heaters and shore power. Christina exercised her wonderful culinary talents for the hungry crew. Derek immediately went to work on boat projects. Both are great travel companions and I am delighted to join them. Fresh hot Hollywood showers were enjoyed by all! Yeah. The next day, in bitter cold with frosted decks, we departed Coinjock at dawn, transiting the Alligator River bridge by noon and anchoring in the lower dog leg of the river about 400′ North of the marked channel. The shiny new anchor and chain were christened in 7′ of water with a sticky black mud bottom. The short legs allowed us daytime navigation of the narrow channels but cost us an extra day. It was well worth the trade. As we awoke at anchor, a huge barge, bigger than any I have seen on the ICW was heading South with two tugs a pushin’. I was very relieved to see them enter the tiny cut we would also be entering shortly ahead of us, in the same direction. They were very kind, slowing as they passed us at anchor, unlike the delivery captains of two new Hinckley power boats at full cruising speed and max wake we would encounter later.

Sailing across Albemarle Sound

Crossing both Albemarle and Pamlico sounds was uneventful and eerily calm, at least for me. That is until we turned up the Neuse River, when a long fetch produced some roll inducing waves, which we quickly countered with a deployed genoa, our only chance to raise sail for this leg of the journey to the Bahamas. By Saturday, Dec 8th, were were navigating Adams Creek with the current, sliding our way into the side channel and by 2 PM backed into a nice wide slip at Morehead City Yacht Haven, NC, just as a light rain was starting. Fin is snug and safe in a protected slip until the approaching winter storm passes.. Cheers! we logged our first segment of our journey.

After careful measurement, guessing and approximation arithmetic, we determined (more like an educated guess) Fin’s air clearance to be 63.5′. That is including the 2′ of VHF antenna soaring above the wind vanes.Nevertheless, this fact makes us extremely nervous while passing under some bridges with 63′ water marks. I wonder, does it help to lower our heads below our shoulders? Remarkably, Fin never spanked any bridges.

So far only a few minor problems on Fin, like refer pump refusing to pump at times, corroded electrical connection at bow light, popping off the engine coolant cap, engine alarm malfunction, and other minor electrical issues. Nothing out of the ordinary for a new passage. Derek installed the new chart plotter just in time for the ICW transit. Very nice since we do not have paper charts of the ICW South of Maryland. We were using the Navionics app on a phone until the plotter was active. I must say, the new plotter works quite nicely so far. It is clear and easy to read with my degrading and uncorrected eyesight.

Cheers from Fin, and a Very Merry Christmas to all,

Captain

Posted in Fleet of Boats, Passage Making, S/V Fin Log, Travel Log | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Good Morning Fajardo

Sailing Life… Sometimes nature rewards you with a magnificent moment that quickly vanishes before your eyes. Was it a dream? As the sun began to rise this full rainbow flashed over Fajardo, PR. I was lucky to capture the moment, as it quickly vanished before the morning caffeine set in. These pictures be my witness.

Despite the lovely full rainbow in the early morning, the day was not full of gold or good luck. Still I am enriched from the awesome beauty of nature accented with man-made structures.

… continuation of the sunrise rainbow over Fajardo, PR.

Posted in Random Bits of Living | Leave a comment

Megan’s Bay

I have always remembered Megan’s Bay on the North side of St. Thomas, USVI, as a popular but secluded place. When I first visited, the hills were covered with green shrubs and no houses. Now nearly the entire bay is surrounded with homes and new construction. Still the bay is a beautiful place to visit in settled weather.

Mystical sunrise over the saddle of Megan’s Bay on North side of St. Thomas, USVI.

 

On the morning we left, this mystical sunrise burned through the early morning mist. It was a quiet morning and a good sail later in the day.

The weather was calm as we raised anchor and sailed Westward to Culebrita. Just a gentle breeze as the Christmas winds gave a short break. I miss Megan’s Bay but has a home deeply rooted in my heart.

 

Megans Bay on the North side of St Thomas, USVI, falls behind us as we continue our sail Westward.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Random Bits of Living | Leave a comment