Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 21, 2016 Memory Rock to Green Turtle Cay, Abacos, Bahamas

When I started my watch at 1:00 am, there was a cargo ship coming up behind us, which was unusual in this shallow water.  Our AIS said it was called Bahama Express and only had a 10 foot draft.  There was a sailboat practically beside us, which had the light we had been following.  After Dave went below, I called our neighbor on the VHF to say hello.  The name of his boat was Flip Flops.  They were from the UK and had been living aboard for 13 years.  They sailed to the US, down the Caribbean, to Venezuela, back to the Mediterranean, across to Nova Scotia and were starting over again.  I gave him our brief history.  They were headed to Green Turtle Cay, so I said I hoped to meet him there.  We passed him and didn’t see him again.
this is when I wish I had a better camera

About 3:30, the cargo ship passed by us.  About 4:00 I could see the light off of the north side of Great Sale Cay.  I could see another light that was also bright, I thought it was another boat not far in front of us.  I used a strong light to try to see the ship.  But it ended up being a planet that was really bright and close to the horizon.  Later Dave said he had also seen one and thought the same thing.  5 planets are supposed to be visible along the horizon for about a month.  When we passed Great Sale there was NOT a light where one should be.  The light I saw must have been another boat or a planet.  Good thing we are following the charts and not just the navigational signals. 

Dave woke up around 6:00am.  I told him I had been following the light at Great Sale Cay for the past 2 hours, even after we passed the island:)  We had breakfast together and watched the sunrise.  Then I headed to bed and slept until 10:00.  The east wind was blowing at 15k, but the seas were calm.  Dave had let out the jenny sail and we were motor sailing at 7.5 k. 
Good Morning Bahamas

At 10:00 am, it was Dave’s turn to nap.  I took us down the Sea of Abaco to Green Turtle Cay.  I woke Dave to help bring in the jenny and anchor.  We were anchored by 12:00 noon, 2 hours before our estimated time.  26 hours total from anchor to anchor. 

We had lunch because we figured the Customs office closed over the lunch hour.  After 1:00, I went to shore with all the necessary paperwork to check us in.  Dave had raised the quarantine flag before we reached Memory Rock.  When I reached the Customs office, there was a note saying they were closed and to call “this number”.   And sorry for any inconvenience.  Well I didn’t have a phone, so I walked to the nearest store, a bakery, to ask for help.  I explained that I had planned to buy something after checking in to customs, but they were closed and left a number to call.  If I bought something from her and had change, did she think the pay telephone outside the Customs office/post office would work.  She didn’t think it would.  I then asked if she could call them for me.  She just gave me her phone to use.  I reached a lady who asked if I could come back tomorrow.  I explained that we wanted to check in and then leave to anchor in a safe place for the storm that would arrive tonight.  Was tomorrow my only option?  She said that if was and they opened at 8:45 am.  So I said I’d see her in the morning.  I looked over the baked goods, which were very picked over.  The lady said they would have fresh baked bread in the morning.  So I told her i would stop back after checking in with Customs in the morning and thanked her for her help. 

Back at the dinghy dock, the wind had pushed the dingy under the dock.  It took several tries and lots of sweat to bring it out and around to where I could climb down to the dingy and board it again.  You have to climb straight down a ladder to the dinghies at most docks in the Bahamas.  It was after 2:00 by the time I returned to the boat.  We didn’t really want to be anchored at GreenTurtle Cay in the morning.  The wind was supposed to pick up tonight.  So we decided to continue south and check in at Marsh Harbor or Treasure Cay. 

We left Green Turtle Cay about 2:30 after putting the dingy back on the davits leaving the Lehr motor on the dingy.  We motored past No Name Cay and out the Whale Cut.  The Whale Cut can be dangerous in high winds, but it was navigable today (probably not over the next few days).  Outside of Whale Cay, the waves hit us broad side and rocked us side to side.  But back through Loggerhead cut and across the Sea of Abaco, the seas were calm again.  We motored to a bay we anchored in last year, Red Bay.  It is along the shore of Great Abaco Island halfway between Treasure Cay and Marsh Harbor.  There is a point that curls out to the east, so we will be protected from the south and the west.  We were anchored by 5:45 and planned to stay put until Monday.  You can’t go ashore or even fish until you have checked in with customs.  We were OK with just hanging out for the weekend.  We are just really glad to finally be here.  We had a hot supper, I had a shower, and went to bed early. 

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