Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April 28, 2015 Stocking Island, Exumas

This morning, we both woke up about 5:00am and hadn’t slept too well last night because of the heat (thank goodness for fans).  We considered getting up and leaving with sunrise.  But both thought we’d get just a little more sleep.  Well that turned into 9:00!!

We planned to go 40 miles today, which at an average of 5 mph, would take about  8 hours.  so we hoped to leave at 9:00.  But since we refuse to set alarms, we decided to just get going and stop before sunset. 

There was a strong current right off of the bay we were anchored in.  That formed a small channel that lead into the channel we needed to go through this morning.  The small channel had a rock wall on one side and a sand bar on the other.  So we weaseled our way through that, joined the main channel and went through Little Farmers Cut.  There was some “confused water” where the waters of the Exuma Bank meet the Exuma Sound because of the tide and the wind.  But we made it through with no problem. 
photo in a guide book of the cut.  we were anchored in the bay on the bottom of the photo.  We followed the thin dark ribbon out of the bay and to the right, joined the bigger dark ribbon and went through the cut, avoiding the island in the middle of the cut.  $10 ride

Now we were in the Exuma Sound for the first time.  We went off shore enough to miss the rocks off the coast.  Then we set a course south and east to follow the chain of islands to Georgetown.  We had a nice wind from the west and were able to sail with no engine 6 out of 8 hours today.  It was beautiful.  We were always in sight of land, but it drops to 1000-2000 feet deep not far off of shore.  Crazy!!  And it is a beautiful deep blue color. 
enjoying the day of sailing
haven't had good winds to actually heel like this very often.  heard a few things crashing below

Since Dave now had the fishing bug, he drug a line off the stern, but didn’t catch anything today.  It would kind of mess up your plans if he had.  It would probably be a big fish.  And we’re not sure how we would get it in the boat, let alone clean it in the space we have.  Dave showed me where the gaff hook was in case we needed to gaff it to kill it and bring it in.  Sounded messy to me.  But we really thought we’d be eating fish everyday. 

With the nice wind that we had, we made it all the way to Elizabeth Harbor, which is where Georgetown is.  I think Georgetown for sailors is like Arizona for RVers.  A lot of people come here for the whole winter.  I think a lot of people have left to head north already, but there looked like there were still a lot of boats in the harbor.  We stopped at the first anchorage, which was actually on the west side of Stocking Island.  At some point, we’ll move closer to the actual town of Georgetown to check it out.  Or we will just go by dingy.  There is a “cruiser’s net” on the radio at 8:00am.  I guess I’ll set my alarm for that to check out what is going on.  We also plan to just sit and do some boat projects until we have to meet our son, Pete, May 11. 
Elizabeth Harbor.  Stocking Island on the left and Great Exuma Island on the right

If we go just a bit south of here, we will reach the Tropic of Cancer at latitude 23 degrees 26.16030.  That is the northern limit of the sun’s summer migration in the Northern Hemisphere.  So no wonder it is getting so hot here.  And we’ll be sure to use sun screen.  At first I thought it would be cool to stay here until the summer solstice, just to witness that.  But there would be nothing “cool” about that.  When we were in North Palm Beach, I was talking to a couple who had been to the Bahamas several times.  When I told them we were going to stay there until June, she commented “but won’t it be hot there in June?”  My reply was “it will be hot here in Florida, too.  And I’d much rather swim in the water in the Bahamas than in Florida.”  So we’ll see just how much heat this South Dakota couple can take.  It’s 9:30pm and it’s still about 90 inside the boat.  And we noticed mosquitos at sunset for the first time last night and tonight.  So inside we will stay.  They can carry some nasty diseases down here. 

Before going to bed, we noticed lightning and thunder off in the distance.  We put our hand held electronics in the microwave for safe keeping.  Not too long after we were in bed, a strong wind came up and heavy rain.  I was busy closing hatches from inside and didn’t plan to go outside for the 2 towels and my swim suit.  Dave did end up going outside.  He found one towel and my swimsuit off the lines, but inside the boat.  The second towel was gone, along with some of the clips.  It was a squall that blew through with about 40 knots of wind.  During the night, I woke and opened all the hatches again after it had stopped raining. 

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