Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Devils-Hoffman and then Back in the Good Ole USA

On Sunday April 7th we departed the Nassau Harbor Club, passed by the cruise ships at the dock, and made our way into the Atlantic Ocean. Seas were 5-7 feet and were compounded by a pesky north east swell. We thought about turning back, but instead, talked ourselves into the notion that the seas were calming down. Our log records that the seas were "not fun" but then became "tolerable", and seven hours or so later we came to Devil's Cay in the Berry Islands of the Bahamas, where we have never been.

We have documented how awful our Navionics Gold charts are in the Bahamas and I suppose we needed another reminder as we entered the cut. We had put in some waypoints from Explorer to steer by, but for some reason, I got all messed up and confused as we were entering I, aborted, and tried it again, this time with success. But then I could not figure out where to anchor despite my waypoints. The anchorage seemed like it was the size of a kitchen in a small condo. I found myself going through another cut and thought the best of it, turned around, and got my wits about me. We slowly proceeded to my anchor waypoint, laid anchor, and rolled worse that I have ever before, even at Big Sand in the Turks and Caicos. Fortunately, a cruiser anchored in a spot well behind us had taken his pup for a walk, stopped by, and talked us through the way to his anchorage. What a difference behind Fowl Cay, flat as a sheet of paper and plenty of room with a few good sandy spots to choose from.

Devils Cay and its neighbor Hoffman Cay along with the rest of the Berrys are a part of the Bahamas we have not seen. Looking around there are few boats and a different breed of cruisers, more the type that fish a lot and don't care so much when the next mail boat arrives or how to get internet. I want to explore here. So we have some thing in the Bahamas left to look forward to.

The following morning we departed at 7 am to a perfect forecast with perfect conditions. Seas were two feet, wind 6 to 11, some sailing, mostly motor sailing. But flat seas, warm sun, clear skies, all good conditions. Until twelve hours later, when I detected a weird noise in the aft cabin, where everything related to steering is housed. Peter finally determined it to be coming from one of the autopilot components. If it were to crap out, would it take the networked components with it, like the chartplotter, the GPS, the depthsounder? So we hand steered while seas built from 2 feet, to 5 feet, with some 7 footers thrown in. This is not fun. I took the watch at 7 and turned the wheel over to Peter, literally, at 10. While it was still daylight, it was not bad, but once it was dark the hand steering thing got old real fast.

Fortunately, I married a good man. He was either so concerned with me having to deal with the building seas, or concerned that I would not be able to do it at all that he let me sleep right through until 5 am. It's a very dark and lonely place at the helm of a boat when you are tired and challenged, so I am ever so thankful.

by 11 am Tuesday we were in between the jetties at Fort Pierce in Florida. As luck would have it, we were only one hour behind the tide change against us, so we did not get to experience that wonderful phenomena that occurs when the wind comes from a different direction of the current and seems ever-so-present when we take off or enter this inlet. We anchored off of Harbortown Marina right off the ICW, checked in with customs by phone (of course we don't have any fresh fruit or vegetables or meat from the Bahamas, we know better), emailed our friend Chuck our overnight watchdog, posted our arrival on Facebook to let everyone know we had arrived, and crashed.

2 comments:

St John villa Great Expectations said...

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St John villa Great Expectations said...

Welcome back. Coast Guard 84205 is standing down