Saturday, September 23, 2023

May 19-20, 2023 Moving through the Abacos

 5-19 Friday We prepped the boat for crossing to the Abacos.  Besides our usual morning routines, we had a few things to do before leaving.  Dave raised the dinghy.  We had the 20hp Mercury outboard on it’s mount on the stern.  Dave had put it there by himself several weeks ago.  Today, he used my help to turn it around on the mount so the prop would be outside of the cockpit.  Dave had raised the dinghy first, so that caused a little headache as the prop was up against it, but all worked out ok.  I use a pulley system with a winch to lift the motor, while Dave man handles the motor off the mount, rotate it and place it back on the mount.  Dave had to secure the fuel jugs on the deck that were filled yesterday.  After all was said and done, we left about 11;30 for the 8-10 hour passage to the Abacos.


it's strange how the clouds pick up the blue of the water

 We passed through the Egg Island cut about 12:30 and made our turn north.  We had a few rain showers the first couple hours, but the winds weren’t too bad, around 18-20k.   At 1:00, we put out the Jenny (forward) sail.  That got us moving at 9k with the 18-20k wind. 

 Around 2:00, we could see on the radar that there were going to be 3 ships passing in front of us in the North East Providence Channel.  We can check with our AIS where they are heading.  One was Houston, and one Brussels.  The third one was a tug pulling a barge and it said it’s destination was Jacksonville, but it was heading east.  Must not have updated their information.  What’s interesting is that the tug shows up on the AIS, but not the barge.  There’s quite a long cable between the two of them.  We have heard horror stories of people crossing behind the tug in the dark and having their mast broken by that cable or their keel caught on it.  You need to be smart enough to realize a tug this far off shore would be towing something.  We ended up having to change course for a short time to go behind one of the ships.  We don’t want to get too close to them in case they change their direction.  If we were concerned, we would have called them by radio to see if they were going to maintain their course.  That was our heaviest traffic for the day.  

boat just the the right of the mast that we could see on radar

We averaged about 8k all day and arrived at the cut into Little Harbour by 7:20 and were anchoring by Lynyard Cay around 7:30, right at sunset.  Turned out to be a good day, even with the late start.
5-20 We left our anchorage at 9:00am and had breakfast underway.  We moved through the Abacos without stopping for the first time ever.  We were at the Whale cut about 1:00.  The water was the flattest we had ever seen it.  It’s usually pretty rough water since nothing is stopping it for hundreds of miles. We wanted to refuel before crossing as far north as possible.  We researched Spanish Cay marina.  They were open until close to dark, so no worries about being there before 5:00.  We arrived about 4:30.  They had a nice fuel dock that we were able to pull up to vs taking fuel jerry cans in the dinghy.  They cater to high dollar fishing boats and even have a swimming pool and restaurant.  I think the fuel dock is as far as we will go.  Felix, the dock master, was very complimentary on my docking of the boat.  Nice to hear.  It was an easy in and out with only dock lines on the port side, no fenders.  We will probably stop here in the future.  

had to capture that blue water one more time

We moved on to anchor at Allens-Pensicola.  I guess it used to be 2 islands, but storms have changed the geography.  There were several boats inside the shallow harbor, so we just anchored on the outside.  There wasn’t much wind predicted, so we figured it would be fine.  We were anchored by 6:00pm.  I wanted to get in the water one more time.  So I put on my snorkel gear and swam out to check the anchor.  With the sun setting, and a grassy bottom, it seemed kind of dark.  So I didn’t bother swimming to shore.  I returned to the boat for a shower and dinner and a good night’s sleep before crossing to the US. 

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