Thursday, February 7, 2008

Feb.9th,2007-Nassau to Royal Island

Feb.9th,2007. Nassau to Royal Island & Spanish Wells 37.5 Nautical Miles

0630hrs.We’re up!!

0710hrs. We’ve made contact with UNWIND. The harbour is very busy with freight traffic.

0730hrs. We’re leaving the Harbor and have set a coarse to Egg Island. Our ETA is 8 hours, so we need to keep tight to our course. The winds are really light. Wanting to arrive at our destination before dark we will motor. The light rolling seas are three feet.

By 1541 we’re anchored at Royal Island. Rand has lowered the dinghy and gone to get the UNWIND crew. We all had a drink, then swimming ( more like necessary baths), then we all used our outdoor shower on the transom for a good rinse. We finished off a great day with more drinks and nibblies. Rand took Derek, Evelyn and Caylin back to their boat while I made dinner. After dinner we laid down on the bow to do a bit of star gazing and fell asleep.

We're having our "baths" before Happy Hour.

Saturday, Feb. 10th
Waking up to choppy seas we see the wind has changed direction and is quite brisk. We’re talking about going to Spanish Wells in the dinghy but decide it is too rough.

Royal Harbour is beautiful. There are approximately ten boats anchored here. A power boat just left so Rand has decided we should move for a bit more protection.

During the afternoon more boats are arriving. We’re sure it’s to get out of the bad weather. We’ve read Royal Island’s original name was Real Island, for the Spanish Silver coin used by pirates who frequented the Harbor. (Shall we let our minds wander on that point?) Back in the 50’s and 60’s the island was an elegant estate. Today the buildings are in ruin. Today we did see what we think were developers taking pictures and walking the land…. To the southwest of this harbor there is machinery and what looks like a development starting.

We had Cailyn overnight. I made chicken and veggies for dinner, then we all watched the stars come out plus the setting of the sun. Lastly; a game of Yatzee….Bedtime at 9 pm but Cailyn woke up at 10pm. not feeling well.
Sunday, February 11th.

We were up around 0630. We woke Cailyn at 0830 for French Toast. By 1030 we were on our way in the dinghies to Spanish Wells. We had a great day exploring this fishing community. Spanish Wells is famous for it’s prosperous fishing fleet which supplies over half of the Bahamas commercial crop of lobster, conch (pronounced conk) and fish. Also renowned are the islands boat builders, which is in fact why we came here as both High States and Unwind need a good bottom cleaning and painting. The full page ad in the Explorer charts states R&B Boatyard takes

boats up to 90 feet LOA, 120 tons and a max of 22 foot beam. As we’re within these parameters we should be okay. Of coarse today being Sunday everything is closed except one restaurant. We could certainly learn something back home from these Bahamian communities and customs. Even the Nassau shops were closed (excluding the cruise ship tourist areas).

The trip back from Spanish Wells was real choppy. Randy and I went through a cut at the Eastern end of Royal Island and saw two turtles. We had Happy Hour on UNWIND>

Rand doing his "housekeeping"

Back “home” we ran the “puppy” (Honda Generator) to top up the batteries. With the inverter we are charging the computer and camera battery. Randy went out in the dinghy to see how noisy the puppy is----good news, he says it’s quiet. It’s putting out 60 amps.

Monday, Feb.12th

It’s too rough to go back to Spanish Well to-day by dinghy so we hard wired in the NAVTEX weather system. We had to pull the wire through the stainless stern arch and then through the starboard berth to the NAV STATION. Of coarse we had to pull the berth completely apart, walls and all, so it gave me a good excuse to do a thorough cleaning job before putting it back together.

We then took a deserved break and went for a dinghy ride around the Bay. We found our blue bucket, which had blown away. It was stuck in the mangroves but we couldn’t retrieve it.

Tues, Feb. 13th

0520hrs. What a stormy night, filled with thunder and lightening. The wind hit us from all directions, plus it poured with rain. Needless to say, Randy was up throughout the night. He tried to rest a bit on the settee floor.

Suddenly Randy was yelling at me “We’re dragging anchor---if not us , the Rutherfords. It’s absolutely pouring with rain. It has turned out it is the Rutherford’s dragging. Randy is rushing to put down our dinghy to go and help them. They’re moving closer and closer to us. Finally it looks like their anchor has reset itself before Randy could get to them. It has turned out they are only 10 feet from the shoreline. I’ve made us a pot of coffee and we’re waiting for daylight. A little excitement no one needs!!!! “Sure could use a dodger to keep us dry” (A little dig from Rand)

0800hrs. Rand has gone over to check on Derek, Evelyn and Caylin, and to invite them for Breakfast or a “coffee break”. I’m making what will become the infamous carrot cake with cream cheese icing.

01100hrs. The UNWIND crew have come for coffee with stories of their early morning ordeal. We sat and reviewed the weather forecasts and charts. Last night’s gale force winds have helped us make the decision to call “ Cinnabar” to see if two of his mooring buoys are available. He said yes, so our plan is to enter Spanish Wells at high tide. We decided to leave Royal Island Harbor at 1400 hrs. so that we can be at the entrance to Spanish Wells at approximately 1500hrs. It’s made a huge difference with us having gone to Spanish Wells first by dinghy the other day. We have a much better perspective of where the entrance is, so of course we are not as stressed. However, it was tricky trying to get the mooring buoy. Randy had to come and help. I had managed to hook the buoy; however, I did not have the strength to lift it out of the water.

This picture is of us racing to get into Spanish Wells before this storm is upon us.

1540hrs. The motor is off and we’ve put the dinghy in the water as we were invited over to UNWIND for Happy Hour. We took some “nibblies” and beer and had a great visit. Before we knew it the thunder and lightening began so we headed back to the boat in the rain… We decided we may as well have a “bath”, so we put the ladder down and in I went, then Rand rinsed me off with the cockpit fresh water shower. I sure feel much better and I do believe everyone will have a good night’s sleep after last night.

Spanish Wells is on St. George’s Cay. The island is two miles long. Its name is said to have originated three centuries ago when Spanish explorers declared the local well water the sweetest in the Bahamas. However, now the water for the island is piped in from Eleuthera Island. Many of the local people are descendents of Loyalists. We found the town very clean and the people very friendly.

Wed. Feb.14th

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY. The chaffing of the line to the mooring buoy kept us awake throughout the night. Randy adjusted the lines and added another rode during the night.

We went to town around 1000hrs.. We went to the internet spot and sent a few emails, then walked through town. We are very excited we found an electronics shop that finally knew what we needed for our handheld VHF’s. The husband and wife team have lived on the island for over twenty years. Along with the electronics shop, they own the FM Radio station here, Nassau, and on Marsh Harbor, plus the only open liquor store on the island.
Unfortunately they are going through a number of legal challenges in regards to their liquor store. A small group of locals have had them closed down, so of coarse we had to hide our purchases in our knapsacks. We had appetizers on board our boat and watched another beautiful sun set.

Sunset at Spanish Wells.


Today we took a passenger ferry to Harbor Island to check out Dunmore Town which is renowned for its famous Pink Sand Beaches. We had a lovely day. The ferry left around 0955hrs and came back at 1555hrs. We rented a golf cart with the Rutherford’s. This was a great way to see the whole island. I do not know what I was thinking about this morning though as I forgot our camera and swimsuits. Not even a blanket. We took an awesome long walk along the beach while the Rutherford’s played in the water. We watched a horse and rider gallop along the beach and then swim in the water. The beach is three miles long and the most beautiful deep pink color. We can actually see minute pieces of coral mixed in with the sand.

Sunday Feb.18th

It’s still stormy most nights. Rand is not getting a lot of good sleep. Usually during the daytime the weather is quite nice. These past few days we have continued to tour the island either by walking or by dinghy. If you can imagine yesterday we saw a Canada Goose. What a horrible thought!!! We’ve done laundry and bought a few groceries.
This morning we actually went to try and see if the wireless internet worked on the government dock. The wireless did in fact work so we checked and sent emails and made phone calls via SKYPE. We had a gentleman come up to us and ask if we were the couple from Victoria. It turns out he and his wife (John and Sheena Windblad) built and own the pretty pink and white house across from our mooring that we have been admiring. They are from Kelowna and have been living here for six months of the year.

By 1300hrs Rand said we’d best head back to the boat as it looked like it was going to rain. Sure enough, it’s not only raining, the weather has turned real nasty. Randy is running the boat, topping up the batteries, however, I think it’s also for safety sake. All the boats are being thrown about. It’s like we’ve been hit by a bad squall but its not ending. If the marine store was open today we were going to buy a smaller anchor that we could physically manage to throw from the dinghy as a backup for the mooring buoy. (Our large anchors would be so difficult to manhandle). Randy has told me to stay below deck. I took him tea and cookies. He is soaking wet and even with the boat in neutral I think he is trying to keep the boat into the wind. This morning Randy spoke with John and Derek. I think they all were thinking one more hit of bad weather and then we’d be done for a bit. I don’t think we thought it would be this bad. We can only hope this won’t last much longer.

Randy, Derek, and John (off S/V Alouette) are all communicating on the VHF’s right now. Randy has his toque and life jacket on.

1500hrs. Randy and John have taken our 65 pound CQR anchor out by dinghy to the starboard side of UNWIND for additional holding. I helped let out the rode. At this point Derek has told them the winds are gusting to 50 knots. Now Randy and John have to go help Derek put out an additional anchor.

1630hrs. The weather is starting to settle down a bit. Randy just turned the engine off. We’ve recharged batteries and the computer. We have just downloaded pictures given to us by Derek and Evelyn.

1930hrs. The wind continues to howl. John on Alouette has just called to review weather reports. He thinks they (his wife Susan, and children Katie and William) will leave tomorrow around 0730hrs. Randy said we’ll be up but we will not leave until Tuesday. We’ve decided to make a bed under the settee table for tonight. Right now Rand has his “little puppy” running. (Honda Generator),giving us 110 light to read by. We’re checking out the charts. We definitely won’t be going to shore to do any phoning tonight. I am exhausted and really haven’t done anything today. Rand continues to look after us as usual. My guess is he’ll be awake all night waiting for this storm to pass.

Monday, Feb.19th

The winds reached over 60 knots during yesterday’s storm. The crew on Alouette left just after 0730hrs this morning. The winds are still high but John is hoping for a fast ride.

This morning we went over and had a nice visit with Sheena and John in their beautiful home. If we stay for another day here we will have them over to the boat. After our visit we checked emails, had lunch in a small café, finished our grocery shopping, filled the water tanks and before we knew it was 1600hrs. The Rutherford’s came over for snacks so we could review tomorrow’s game plan.

John Windblad said he’ come over and help us retrieve our anchor if we’d like. We may have to take him up on it.

Daily the dolphins played around our boats.

This is what we woke up to one morning. With the motor boats displacement being so different fromours. We pushed them away from us.

Trying to show the perspective of how close the boat is to shore when the tide is down.

John and Sheena Windblad's beautiful home.

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