Monday, 7 March 2016

March 1 - 5, 2016 coming back to the Abaco's

the crab boats coming in to Spanish Wells after the days harvest

we got waked by a large fishing boat and our drawer popped out, smashing everything onto the floor and broke the corner off … Joe has since repaired it

morning sun rise

dodging coral heads .. the black spots

a great day for sailing

anchor off Spanish Wells

snapper for supper


and Art from Don Quixote

at Budda's restaurant

Escape Velocity … Harry and Finola

Don Quixote, returning from the fishermen's place  .. with dog Roxie

we where given stone crabs

cracking them with a hammer .. there was lots of meat

inside Royal Island .. staging for another crossing

Don Quixote


Escape Velocity

crab cakes ready to eat

at anchor outside Little Harbour after our 10 hour crossing

Highbourne Cay is 2 1/2 miles long and is private.  It was purchased in the 1950's by a Philadelphia business man who developed the island with a marina, houses and paved roads.
The restaurant "Xuma" only accepts Visa and MC, no cash. Garbage disposal is $5 for the first 2 bags and $25 for each subsequent bag.
For 2 loads of laundry, they do it $50. A case of 24 bottled water $50.
Diesel was only $3.80 US gal and RO water .50 cents, in our jugs.
There is a small grocery store with wine, liquor, beer $72 case of 24.
Rum always cheap $24 (750 ml). I managed to find some wine for $11.
Most of the veggies and canned goods where not priced.  You had to ask the price on just about everything, then you return it to the shelf.

In the Exumas it is hard to find fresh food.  The grocery stores are very small with limited supplies, and if you don't know when the freight boat comes in to each settlement, you will not find anything fresh, including milk. We did not know this and came ill prepared.

Ship Channel Cay is 3 miles long and almost 400 ft wide and only one part is 35 ft high.  On the eastern shore, large groups of nurse sharks mate in the tidal creek from March to June.
There is some ruins along the western shore and some Lucayan Indian artifacts were once found in this cay.
We had a good night at anchor, preparing our selves for the next day, crossing the Middle Ground Banks to Spanish Wells.

March 1, 2015
Modaki left at first light, 6:15 and all three boats that left after us passed us.  We had a great sail, then motor sailing, dodging coral heads. One tack all the way to Flemming Channel.
I caught a barracuda and had to cut it free.  Don Quixote caught a
Mahogany Snapper and had us over for supper, once we got to Meeks Patch, which is close to Spanish Wells.

March 2, 2016
We moved and anchored just out side Spanish Wells and went to town with Don Quixote and Escape Velocity.  We did groceries, bought beer and wine and had a great lunch at Budda's Restaurant.  Then we headed to the fresh fisherman's place, he was not back yet from fishing. But his dad sold us the day before catch of lobster and fish, that was frozen.
Thursday we went to own again, I worked on posting the blog for a few hours.  We got 2 -  5gal jugs of RO water filled.  Then back to the boats and we all headed to Royal Island to stage for our next crossing of 53 miles to Little Harbour, Abaco's.

Friday  March 4, 2016
We left the anchorage at 6:05am, motor sailing to keep at 5.5 knots.  About 8 boats left to head north and some left to head south.  The first part of the trip about 4 hours, the winds where as predicted, SW at 10-15 knots. Auto helm kept us on course and all was well.  Then the wind picked up to 18-20 knots and gusting to 23 knots. The seas got larger and the waves were hitting us on the port stern quarter. So now auto could not handle it and we hand steered the last 6 hours.  It was very uncomfortable. The faster boats relayed the conditions ahead, they where now 6 miles further on. We took our fore sail in to have better control and went with just the main. The main should of been reefed, but it was not safe to go on the deck to do this.  Now the seas where hitting us on the beam and about every 10th wave, washed into the cockpit, soaking us.  Escape Velocity was the first boat through the Little Harbour Cut and said it was an easy entrance , with the wind and out going tide in the same direction. (we planned this).
Grace relayed the same conditions about one hour later, which we where glad to hear.
Modaki entered the cut some 2 hours after the first boat (E.V.) and we had no problems.
It was a 10 hour day, in not the best conditions, but we made it and are happy to be back in the Abaco's.  The island with wifi and fresh food.
The winds now are from the north and going east over night. We all 8 boats tucked up into an island for protection from the north, but we all rocked and rolled from about midnight on when the east wind, waves and surge came into the Little Harbour opening.

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