Great Exuma, Bahamas
Having too much fun cruising with buddy boats. Spring season in the Bahamas is a lot less crowded than winter season and the cold fronts do not come this far south very often in April. We arrived with our Buddy Boat UJAM’n from Luperon, Dominican Republic. We traveled 370 miles in two and a half days. Well UJAM’n arrived before dark. We anchored just outside Kidds Cove, George Town on April 7 after 9 pm, using radar and chart plotter, to distance ourselves from nearby boats. We promptly went to bed. In the morning, we covered the sails and discovered we were anchored right in front of UJAM’n and Steadfast. Three of the SSCA Caribbean Safety and Security Net Relays anchored in one place! The guys took turns as the relay for the day for the next week. We ended up at Customs and Immigration for check in together as well.
Having too much fun in George Town. This is the fourth year in a row we visit the Bahamas. Our first stop was George Town on Great Exuma. There are over 20 anchorages in a 2 mile radius. What draws us back each year you ask? Beautiful water color, awesome beaches and numerous walking trails, friendly locals, access to good supplies, and a cruising community that is helpful to each other; even in the spring season. Tom continued to assist with the local cruisers net on the VHF radio.
Having too much fun on the beaches. We played beach games like the Scandinavian Molkky and took hikes on the beaches or trails. Swimming and snorkeling as well!
Soon U’JAM’n and Steadfast were heading north to visit the Exuma islands. We stayed to welcome Wild Iris and catch up on their news from their home visit to the UK and share a few anchorages around George Town.
Having too much fun with other buddy boats. We enjoyed meeting their friends on Bebe, sharing sundowners, snacks and music on various boats.
Wild Iris and Bebe sailed north to the Exuma’s while we stayed and greeted UK friends on Sunset Trader. So proud of David & Lizzie for letting us urge them to make an over night passage from Rock Sound, Eleuthera to George Town. They unfortunately encountered a frightening thunderstorm! Thankfully they experienced no boat problems from the storm.
Having too much fun with our favorite power boaters. Meeting new cruisers, hikes and sundowners, ahh the life of a cruiser. We had a fun dinghy excursion and short hike to Prime Island Meats to refill our freezer with good quality chicken, pork and beef. Their extra large hotdogs are the best! We got lucky and new produce had arrived as well. It was hard to believe we had spent a little more than a month in this beautiful George Town area. It is early May already, time to say farewell and head north ourselves.
Rock Sound, Eleuthera
Having too much fun sailing. The timing was right for us to sail over night straight to Rock Sound in the south end of Eleuthera. Surprisingly, the next afternoon we sailed in with Wild Iris and Bebe, just before another thunderstorm approached.
Having too much fun being a tourist. We rented a car for a day with Mark & Lisa and enjoyed touring Eleuthera by land.
Meanwhile, Lisa, Tom and Anita did not walk the mile in the dark with lots of bats!
The next day we explored the local cave. Wow!
Governor’s Harbor, Eleuthera
Having to much fun exploring. We next sailed on to Governor’s Harbor. One morning we decided to take a walk toward a nature preserve that we did not have time to stop at with the car. We had hoped to get a ride, but that didn’t happen. So we walked more than five miles that day.
Mother Nature at her finest!
Meeks Harbor and Spanish Wells
From Governors Harbor we chose to sail through Current Cut and up toward Spanish Wells. We left just before sunrise, and had prepared the boat for the 42 mile trip the night before. Neither of us checked the dinghy on davits in the morning. Apparently, it was not secured properly. Around 10 am, just a couple miles from Current Cut, the bow davit line broke with a bang. Anita was on watch and looked back and saw the orange life jackets floating away. The bow of the boat was being dragged through the water. We stopped to rescue the dinghy. We removed the engine from the stern first. Then attached a halyard to the stern of the 80 pound dinghy and hoisted the halyard while loosening/removing the davit line. Then lowered the Porta-bote onto the port side deck.
Yes, we even had fun figuring out how to rescue our very important and much loved dinghy! New procedure is to sling a harness made of webbing under the dinghy any time it is on the davits and we are underway. We always fold it up and stow the dinghy when we head out to sea.
We walked around Spanish Wells on a nearly deserted hot summer Sunday.
Passage to America
We didn’t see a weather window for heading north so we and the crew on Wild Iris decided to visit the Abaco’s and check out in Marsh Harbor when a weather window became available.
Having too much fun eating out and buying supplies. First we anchored just outside Little Harbor and made the requisite stop for a meal at Pete’s Pub. The next day we sailed up to Man O’ War Cay and anchored outside the western entrance to the inner harbor. It was the weekend so not many folks around. We discovered they had not repaired the fuel dock yet, so we would need to get fuel in Marsh Harbor. The next day we took Lone Star across to Marsh Harbor with the crew of Wild Iris. We both checked out listing departure time as the same afternoon. Then did a final grocery shop run and fuel run. We motored back to Man O’ War and readied our boats for a few nights at sea. For us that meant dismantling the dinghy and stowing some gear. We hauled the anchor at 3:30 pm on May 23rd and headed our bows North to America.
Ahh, passage making our happy place! Definitely fun for us.
We never know when we leave how long a passage will take or if we will be able to sail straight home. We speak with Marine Weather Center on the SSB radio to help us make informed decisions about our route.
First leg: From Man ‘O War to Cape Lookout. May 23, 2022 to May 27. 505 miles, 94.5 hours, just under 4 days, 40 hours with the engine on. We lost the wind after a day and a half, but it picked up on the last day. Arrival was in rain squalls and we had to wait a few days for the seas to die down before continuing north.
We enjoyed a few days of beach walks at Cape Lookout. It was Memorial Day weekend so we saw lots of truck campers parked on the beach in small communities. Many said they’d been coming here for years!
Second leg: From Cape Lookout to Hampton, VA. May 31 to June 2. 214 miles, 47.5 hours, or 2 days, under 12 hours motoring.
The Pirate Festival lasted for three days in Hampton, with a variety of food, crafts, costumes and demonstrations. There were lots of fun things to see and do. We felt like we were in the middle of the sea battle one time! We finally moved to the Old Point Comfort Anchorage the afternoon before we left on the last voyage home. We found a quiet anchorage right next to the tunnel. An added benefit, we have five fewer miles to motor through narrow winding channels tomorrow.
Third leg: From Hampton, VA to Groton, CT. June 6 to June 9. 353 miles, 68 hours, or 3 days, 19 hours motoring.
We had so much FUN cruising with friends in the Bahamas, we had no time to write about it or take many pictures. Our passage home was thankfully uneventful this year. We made it safely home to New England and enjoyed a very busy summer visiting with family, working on the boat and sailing short distances.
We sailed to Block Island to rendezvous with Sea Ya Sooner. Our son, Alex and his wife Jenna took the early ferry out to Block Island for the day. We enjoyed breakfast at Aldo’s bakery, then a walk on the beach before sailing home together.
We had scheduled a mid-summer haul-out at Essex Boat Works to refresh Lone Stars bottom paint, replace the cutlass bearing, and clean her up. The yard needed to reschedule us to late August. Unfortunately, the rig inspection late in the week, immediately showed we needed to take the mast off and rebuild the mast step; where it is attached to the deck. This extended our stay in Essex for two extra weeks to effect repairs and upgrades. We made extra trips to Defender, a good marine chandlery, to purchase new lines and blocks. So thankful we had a borrowed van at this time, thank you Anna Marie and Tom!
Anita enjoyed house and dog sitting for our son over Labor Day weekend. The kids flew to Florida for a mini vacation with family.
Having fun with music. We enjoyed a sing-along by the camp fire at Shennecossett Yacht Club. Three guitar players and Tom with his recorder and lots of singers.
See why we are so late in posting this? We really were having too much fun!
We are preparing to head south again for the winter. We are not sure yet where we will go? We are considering the western or eastern Caribbean. Wherever we go, we will be warm this winter and we will enjoy the journey under sail as much as the new places and people we will see. The cruising life is very good for us.