Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June 13, 2015 Leaving the Bahamas via the Abacos

Well, we made it back just fine.  I’ve been too busy to sit down at the computer.  So finally, here is our return adventure.

We wanted to feel rested when we left, so we didn’t set any alarms.  We left our anchorage about 10:30am.  We only ran the engine about 10 minutes, long enough to finish raising the anchor and to motor into the channel for Loggerhead Cut.  This cut leaves the Sea of Abaco and goes outside of the islands and reefs into the Atlantic Ocean.  We could have spent another day working our way north through islands, but we probably would have had to motor more.  And since we wanted to use our engine as little as possible, we just headed north west from there.  We estimated it would take us 2-3 days depending on the winds. 

Once we entered the channel, we were at a great angle to the wind to be able to shut off the engine and sail.  We had a couple dolphins give us a send off in the channel.  By about 11:30, we were outside of the islands moving about 5mph with our jib sail.  We had 2-3 ft swells hitting us on our side, so we were rolling side to side for a while. 

By about 3:00, we could hear our first United States Coast Guard announcements on the VHF radio.  There was some comfort in knowing we were within radio range of the USCG, but they have to make some routine announcements that can get kind of annoying after awhile. 

I was down below making a pasta salad for us to eat over then next couple days.  And I thought I could hear Dave out on the bow.  Sure enough, he was putting up the spinnaker sail.  He wanted to see if he could do it by himself.  Well, with no life jacket on, it would have been nice to know what he was doing.  At least I would have checked occasionally to see if he was still on board. MEN!

About 4:00, I took the helm to let Dave take a nap.  After updating charts, our chart plotter is reading our speed in miles per hour and our other instruments that clock the wind show it in Knots.  So if you read both speeds in one sentence, that it why.  We had an 8-10 knot east wind on a starboard broad reach going 7 mph.  That’s what a spinnaker is made for. 

We had dinner and enjoyed the evening and sunset together.  I had made meatloaf in muffin tins yesterday so it would be easier to serve while under way.  We have done 3 hour watches in the past and are really tired after 24 hours because you never get a good rest.  So we thought we would try 4 hour watches this time.  I took a nap about 8:30.  At 9:30, Dave wanted to run the generator for an hour and said I could start my 4 hour watch after that.  Since we aren’t running the engine, we needed to run the generator to charge batteries to make it through the night.  We are using our chart plotter, the auto pilot, navigation lights, the VHF radio, besides running our refrigerator/freezer, fans and lights and charge phones. 

Next thing I know, it’s 11:30 pm.  I should have started my watch at 10:00 pm.  So I was well rested and started my 4 hour watch.  Dave was fine, so he let me sleep.  He said he saw a boat on the radar, but then it disappeared.  So he thought it might have been a submarine. 

It was a beautiful evening with clear skies and lots of stars.  I remember around 4:00 yawning and looking at the clock.  When I yawned again, 1 minute had gone by.  The next yawn was only 2 minutes.  So I thought I was done for.  But then I got my second wind.  I had no trouble staying awake.  There was boat traffic to watch, always making sure we weren’t going to cross the path of a big cargo ship.  And I pray the rosary when I am by myself at night. 

Dave woke up about 5:30 am and I went to bed.  Like ships passing in the night.

This is our chart plotter showing us at the Abacos and our autopilot set on Georgia.  Sorry it's blurry, the boat was moving.

This shows the chart plotter zoomed in on the northern Bahamas

our prettyspinnaker

this is the view on my garmin app on my phone

fine dining on this cruise

beautiful sunset, as always

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