Tuesday, June 7, 2016

May 11, 2016 passage from Rock Sound, Eleuthera to Exumas

We left Rock Sound about 9:00.  Since we had turned off our autopilot with the rewiring, we had to “recommission” before we could use it.  Part of the recommission was done at anchor.  You have to teach the autopilot what the limits of the wheel are and what type of boat you have, etc.  Then on the water, it has you maintain a course while it reads what the boat is doing, then the autopilot “learns” from there as you use it.  We like how simple the new Raymarine Autopilot commissions.  The autopilot gyroscope, the GPS and the navigation computer all have to “talk” to each other to have the headings match.  We have 3 readings on the boat for our heading, true, magnetic and compass.  Dave had been choosing whether we will use true or magnetic, and usually uses true.  The actual compass is affected by metals and electronics near it.  The GPS uses satellite.  And the auto pilot computer gets a bearing from the gyro and the GPS.  Today, we found that the readings were the closest to each other that they have ever been.  Right now, the distances we are traveling can easily be corrected by a few degrees because we can zoom out and see our destination on the chart plotter.  But if we were covering a long distance across a big body of water, being off a few degrees can make a big difference.  And zooming in and out distorts the accuracy of the chart.  Somewhere in the world, the true and magnetic readings align.  We think it is in Miller, SD, the center of the universe. 

We have 2 cup holders near our compass head.  Dave thought he would put our hand held VHF radio in one of the holders.  He brought me over to watch the compass as he removed and placed the radio in the holder.  It actually moved the compass by five degrees!   Guess we won’t be putting the radio in that spot.  We don’t have to rely on our compass, but it’s there as a backup.   

We just love our days at sea.  The different colors of the water always amaze us.  By about 2:00, we could see land.  But it would take us 3 more hours to actually anchor.  At about 4:30, we caught a 2 foot mackerel.  We brought it on board and wrapped it in a wet towel to let it die and to keep it until we anchored and could clean it.  But we didn’t get it in the towel before it splattered fish blood on the boat and on us.  I don’t know what we’d do if we caught something that was 4 feet or bigger.  Other sailors have told us that the cock pit ends up being a bloody mess.  We’ll give it a try if that’s what it takes.  We usually wear “boat clothes” on the boat, so if we get a few blood stains, oh well.

We headed to Sail Rocks in the very northern tip of the Exumas.  They are a group of small islands that don’t offer a lot of protection from strong winds.  But we were expecting several nice days and thought we’d give it a try.   It was beautiful!  And we were the only ones there.
no one in sight for miles
Dave cleaned the mackerel off of our swim platform.  He used the head as bait in our crab trap.  We threw if off the stern to see if we could get any sand crabs.  As Dave was filleting the mackerel, he fed the fish parts to the sea gulls and and remoras.  We thought the remoras were sharks at first.  It was quite a show. 

bait for crab
it's a fight between the birds and the remora

one for the remora

one for the birds

We enjoyed our mackerel and a beautiful sunset in our cockpit in our own little paradise. 

nice fillets

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