Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Back in the U.S. and hit by a big case of lazy

Our poor Bahama flag is showing some wear. This has been used exactly once and I guess will need to be replaced next season.

Sorry it's been a while since my last post, but in the last legs of our adventures in the Bahamas we didn't have Internet and since we have been back on U.S. soil I have been hit by a case of the lazies that wont let go. What got us from there to here is as follows...
On Wednesday the 25th of May, just one full day after coming back from my brothers wedding it was decided we would start making tracks back to the states. We decided on Compass Cay as we had bypassed it on the way down to Staniel before and after a bit of a confusing entrance into the cut we tucked in behind one of the islands and dropped the hook. We had taken the outside passage from Staniel up to Compass in hopes of perhaps landing another Mahi Mahi or even a Tuna. No luck, as the only fish willing to take our bait on this day was a spanish mackerel and a barracuda and both were released back. Oh well, we tried. We anchored with one other boat, Snoopy which we had seen on several other occasions and we stayed in radio contact on a couple runs on the outside. Dirk and him ended up conching that afternoon as I stayed on board doing a bit of housekeeping. Later that evening we had s/v Denali pull up and anchor behind us. We had first met Frank & Debbie in Ft. Lauderdale as we were waiting for weather to cross in February. Actually Dirk had run into them while In Staniel and now we had met up again here in Compass. We keep saying what a small world it is and it seems that everyone we have met we re meet or meet someone who knows them. On Wednesday we took time to go exploring the Pipe Creek area, do some snorkeling and ended up having Denali over to the boat for sundowners before we had to say good bye the following morning. Dirk snorkeling Pipe Creek area, look at that water

Another deserted beach we found in Pipe Creek

On Thursday we made a short hop up to Warderick Wells and this time we anchored out by their south mooring field as the weather and the winds were all good. We took the time to snorkel a few coral heads which we had missed before due to the winds then called it an early evening. Me checking things out

A little grouper

The following morning we headed up to Highborne Cay and anchored almost in our exact same spot as before according to our GPS. We spent two days here prepping the boat to travel the approximate 75 miles to Morgans Bluff on Andros Island. Stowing items, stocking up on fuel and water, and cleaning the decks which had accumulated all sorts of snorkel gear and shells. We did find the time to snorkel some reefs and Dirk did come home with a queen trigger fish for dinner one evening. If lobster season was open this one would have been dinner. At least we know where she will be waiting next season for us. See her laughing at us...
Just a pretty fan

On Sunday the 30th we took off shortly after day break along with s/v Snoopy and started our long day. We soon left Snoopy behind as they decided to head south a bit in hopes to catch a better wind angle. I busied myself hand washing some clothing which always seems to take twice as long as it should. It had been since Hatchet Bay in Eleuthera that I had done any laundry and I was running low on some essentials. One thing to note about laundry in the Exumas, its hard to come by. I hear Black Point has a Laundromat and than of course George Town. We didn't make it to either....If your lucky you can ask around the small towns for one of the local ladies and you may find someone willing to do it for a mere $10.00 for washing, then its hung on a line to dry. That is, it will dry if there isn't 98 percent humidity which seemed to be the case the last couple weeks. So by now I had quiet the laundry piled up of mostly towels and sheets as we were trying to wear our other clothing over and over till it finally protested enough to throw up the white flag. It was a long day but we finally hit the channel to Morgans Bluff and found a spot to throw the anchor down once we hit the cove. Our plan was to leave the next morning and head out to Hen & Chickens which Is north of Bimini then make the jump from there over to the coast of Florida somewhere the following day. We still had not seen Snoopy yet and the last radio contact with them had them about 3 hours behind us. We found out the next morning that they didn't get in till after midnight to the anchorage so we weren't too much in a hurry to get moving as it wasn't due to be too bad of a day for us and we wanted to let Snoopy get some rest. We pulled out about 10:30ish and headed west with about 75 miles to cover this day. The winds were coming out of the east so we had the wing on wing configuration going getting a nice push from behind.I believe we were due to get to Hen & Chickens which is basically a couple small isles about 1 am giving us a fairly long day but doable.We had talked about anchoring on the banks, getting a couple hours sleep then picking up the next morning. Once we arrived there the waters were just a bit too rough to imagine anchoring out and it wasn't too bad of a ride, we would make the push for the east coast tonight. Snoopy was in agreeance with us and we also had one other boat traveling close to us that was heading to Miami so there would be at least three of us out there just in case. We were about an hour and a half ahead of Snoopy into the Gulf Stream and the waters had gotten a bit rolly, there were thunderstorms popping up on the radar and our auto pilot decided to give up the ghost. We were gonna be in for a long night. We got a radio call from Snoopy saying they were stopping, with the night they had before and the conditions that were building they decided to stop in Bimini and rest before heading on. We wished we had done that also but decided to push on. As I hand steered Dirk started disassembling the auto pilot and discovered the belt was tearing and so it was not grabbing. Now to find the extra we had on board. Somewhere.....After tearing everything apart he still could not locate it so he had the idea to get some sail thread and sew the belt back together. It has a couple metal threads running through it so it had not totally broken but the rubber was gone. After a few minutes he put it back together and lo & behold we had auto pilot back up and steering for us. That was a relief, I can't imagine hand steering all night long. Through out the night, and it was a long one, we dodged thunderstorms that seemed to follow us. Dirk says the Serius weather that we have paid for itself that night due to all the good information it gave us. It shows where lighting strikes are happening, the wind speeds, direction of travel with the radar satellite overlay. We ended up taking the sails down as some of the storms looked pretty nasty and we didn't want to wait too late to bring in the sails. Especially the spinnaker pole as we had broken one bracket this season already. At some points we were actually going against the gulf stream only getting .8 knots, yes .8 of speed. After a somewhat nail biting night we finally started having daylight and we could now see what the radar was seeing with the storms. Not pretty....We were only a couple miles off the Florida coast, yet Mother Nature was not letting us get there without a fight. Soon we decided that we would have to bite the bullet and take a chance with one of the storms as they were all closing in around us. We were just hoping there wasn't any lighting. At least the seas were following which means we were taking the waves from the rear which is a lot nicer and safer then taking then from the side or front. We trudged through the storm with our foul weather gear but still managed to get soaked. As we were entering the Lake Worth Inlet the rain stopped and the sun came out. It felt like we had just won a game and wwere being rewarded with fair weather in order to get through the last 15 minutes or so. We had called ahead to the Riviera Municipal Marina and had a slip reserved for a couple days to catch up on sleep and laundry before planning our next move. It's situated by Palm Beach and is right in front of Peanut Island which we heard is a happening place on the weekends. We eased into the slip, tied up and plugged in A/C which is something we had not had in some time. Finally the boat would be able to dry out a bit. We hit the showers and I found the last set of clean sheets to put on the bed. I put the shade covers on all the hatches as Dirk called the coast guard and got us cleared back into the states. We then ran up to the Tiki Restaurant and had a quick meal as we had not eaten in many hours, headed back to the boat and climbed in bed. It wasn't until 14 hours later when we finally emerged again finally feeling rested. It took us about 25 hours all in all to make the trip back and I forgot to mention that a few miles out the patch that Dirk had done on the auto pilot finally gave out. When he looked for the belt again he actually found it right in the cockpit lazerette right on top. Hummmmm guess when you are tired its easy to over look things. We haven't decided yet to head south back to Key West or to head north. We have decided to stay here a bit just to get our bearings back and deal with some items we have in the works. We shall keep you all posted with our next move. We are missing the Bahamas already and looking forward to our next cruise.

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