Apr 25, 2017

Blue WatersWhen we left George Town last month, we had 60 miles of open Atlantic Ocean to cross. Picking the right day to do the crossing is imperative. We left on a beautiful day, a little too beautiful as we ended up motoring the entire way! But, that gave us time to drop our fishing lines in and by the end of the day, we had caught three mahimahi! Adamant had one very happy captain!

Our timing was right on as we were coming back onto the banks through Dotham Cut at Black Point just as the tide was turning, giving us 9 knots over the bottom coming through the cut. We turned north and headed for Big Major Spot at Staniel Cay. Once the anchor was down, Pat got busy and cleaned the fish. Folly had caught a small tuna, so we all feasted on fish for dinner.

The next day we went off exploring in the dinghies. We came across Sampson Cay, once a huge marina/resort complex, now privately owned, with many large signs telling everyone to stay off. We were disappointed to see that as it was a beautiful place to go for lunch or take a dock if the weather turned nasty. Back at Staniel Cay Pat and Harley snorkeled at Thunderball Grotto while Janice and I walked around the small town, hoping to buy a couple loaves of bread at one of the small stores.

DinghiesThe following day we headed north to Cambridge Cay. Just outside of Big Major Spot we had to go around four yachts, all over 165' in length. The biggest, rumoured to belong to Steven Spielberg, was 243' long. [I love AIS as it gives you all the data on the big guys!] It was quite the flotilla. I wonder if they get together for happy hour every evening?

Cambridge Cay is part of the Exuma Land and Sea Park, so it is the perfect place for superb snorkeling. There is one place called the Seaquarium, which is a very small island, surrounded by coral. There are many, many types of fish and loads of fan and other types of coral, all in beautiful colours, waving in the current. Slightly south of there is a downed aircraft to snorkel on. Most likely a drug running plane from the 60's flying a little too far under the radar! There are a few of these wrecks around the islands to snorkel on.

PastelleEleuthera Island was calling our names, so next morning at high, slack tide, we went through the cut and entered the Atlantic again. It was a 45 mile crossing and we were able to fly our DRS the entire way. What a wonderful sail we had, the first sail in a long time. From Powell Point on the west side of Eleuthera it was another 2 hours before we entered Rock Sound, our destination for the next few days as, you guessed it, another cold front was moving in with high winds and rain. We dropped our anchor, then the dinghy and headed to shore to explore the tiny town. We found all sorts of places to buy things, but the grocery store was always “two more blocks north” every time we asked. We never found it!

SandbarEarly the next morning we moved across the harbour to the northwest corner to get out of the waves and the worst of the wind. We sat there for two days until it subsided and we were able to go back to the eastern shore. This is where we met Roark and Sheri from Island Pearl, who we would sail with for the next few weeks. We anchored further north than we did the first time and went ashore, determined to find the grocery store, and find it we did!
Everything in the Bahamas is a surprise and this store was no exception. About 50' from the front entrance were six gas pumps, not something you would see in Canada! The store was lovely, big and bright, so unlike the store in George Town. It was well stocked and the prices were better. We did our part to keep Rock Sound economy floating for a while!

It was time to head for our next destination, Spanish Wells. This was a 40 mile crossing, all on the banks, but the winds were still blowing and we had a great sail up to Current Cut.

FlowersThis is one cut where you want to time your crossing through it. If you are against the tide, you'll be lucky to do 1 knot through the quarter mile cut. We were lucky and hit it at slack tide so there wasn't any current to speak of. We anchored for the night with Folly and Island Pearl, outside of the harbour. Janice received a text message from Sea Mist, part of our flotilla down the rivers last fall, saying they were in Spanish Wells for the night. We were able to get together for a couple hours and next morning they headed off for points south. It was great to see them again, and wished them well on their trip to Grenada. We all took mooring balls across from the town for the next two nights as Folly and Island Pearl both needed to go to the top of their masts the next day and it's best to do that where it's calm.

In the two days we were there, we walked the entire island, every street, every beach, visited every store, and found out the ice cream parlour only served ice cream from 7 – 10 pm! Their loss... we went to a restaurant and ordered pizza, which was the best I have eaten in months. Actually, I don't think we have had pizza since last summer! Oh well, it was really good.

DocksOne of the things we had wanted to do was visit Harbour Island again. We had been there on our last trip to the Bahamas and it is a lovely place to visit. It is very quaint, all the older homes and businesses have been restored and the beach is a spectacular pink colour. However, we needed to get north before yet another cold front came in. Otherwise we were going to be on that mooring ball for another week. We dropped our moorings and headed west to Royal Island where we staged for the 50 mile crossing to the Abacos. The next morning was flat calm with a rolling sea, but no breaking waves.

CartWe motored the entire way, fished the entire way, but didn't catch anything but sea weed. We made it into Little Harbour about 30 miles north of the south end of Great Abaco Island, where we picked up a mooring ball and battened down the hatches for the high winds that were coming. But more on that later. Until next time................

 

Destinations

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Almost Canadian, Almost Caribbean

Grand Turk IslandBy Mark Stevens • Photos by Sharon Matthews-Stevens

Late afternoon, Grand Turk Island in the Turks and Caicos.

I’m chilling on the balcony of our beachside suite at the Bohio Dive Resort, gazing at sun-burnished whispering surf nuzzling the sand ten metres away.

A single couple populates the beach, shaded by a Norfolk pine. She leans over to say something to her partner every once in a while. Moments later he answers her.

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Cedar Island Yacht ClubBy Katherine Stone
The very first yacht club ever featured in this column was the Buffalo Yacht Club, back in 2012. I chose to start with this particular club as it was the only one that had clubhouses in two countries: the United States and Canada.Canada is deeply tied to the United States as their number one trading partner, enjoys many cultural similarities, and a shared language; so this seemed like a fun way to start what has now become an ensconced column in every issue. However, the Buffalo Yacht Club is not the southernmost yacht club in Canada, as that distinction lies with the Cedar Island Yacht Club...

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Boat Reviews

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Fast, spacious and stable – the Leopard 45 is the stuff dreams are made of!

During those cold, cold, sunless, dreary months of January and February, I want to remember the fun I had in the sun on the water. Did someone say charter? In warm weather?In warm waters?

If you plan on chartering when the weather in Canada is less than ideal (mmmmm…that’s two months of bad sledding), then I suggest you charter, purchase to charter, or just buy to own and enjoy for yourself the newly redesigned Leopard 45 sailing catamaran.

Read more on the Leopard 45 . . . 

 

DIY & How to

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Marine Products

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