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Log 3,363

Total Trip Distance: 724 Nautical Miles

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Location: Anchored off Volleyball Beach near the Chat & Chill, Georgetown, Bahamas

It is incredible how weather can completely make or break a trip. I have been in this area by boat twice before for extended periods at the same time of year and never even checked the forecast. We never had high winds or rain and we moved about freely from one anchorage to another without concern. But not this time.

After the Lovely Laura Lee arrived here Saturday, and after her luggage arrived Sunday morning, we departed from the beautiful, sheltered Emerald Bay Marina and headed about 10 miles south to Georgetown. The winds picked up all day and by dinnertime, our anchorage was getting uncomfortable. We had planned on dinner in Georgetown at the Peace and Plenty Hotel so we set out in our dingy in the dark with howling winds and choppy waves. What a ride!

We arrived at the hotel battered and wet and tried to tie to their dock which was open and exposed. Worried our dingy would be beat to death, we moved it around to a more protected area and walked the block back to the hotel.

Not only was the weather uncooperative, but Georgetown and the Peace and Plenty have gone noticeably downhill since our last visit four years ago. My son Daniel commented on the phone today that it would be hard to go downhill from where it was, but it truly has. Many of the businesses in town are shuttered. At the hotel, the outdoor bar we loved is closed after 5 pm now because they say it’s either windy or buggy outside. The little inside bar was overcrowded so we took a seat in the restaurant. While the service was terrible and the cocktails were watered down, it was the lousy food that really made the evening. Or was it just the weather affecting our mood?

Monday, it rained off and on all day and the wind and waves continued to make the anchorage uncomfortable. We again ventured into Georgetown in another unforgettable dingy ride and wandered around the town looking for a few supplies we needed and for internet service to check our email. After a wet bouncy ride back, we settled in, watched a movie, and the Lovely Laura Lee cooked a fine dinner. Yesterday, the sun came out but the winds are still relentless. We moved the boat to a slightly more sheltered location, went to the Chat & Chill for lunch, and had dinner and an hour of internet service at a little resort called St. Francis.

This morning, the wind continues but has shifted more to the south where we have less protection. It is expected to calm down through the day and tonight, but then another front is leaving the coast of Florida and headed this way. And so now, it is decision time. Anchoring out in this area can be fun and adventurous, but everything is always slightly difficult even when the weather is perfect. In the kind of winds we continue to experience, the slightly difficult becomes nearly impossible. We have guests arriving Friday for a long weekend. Picking them up in town with luggage by dingy would probably require two trips in the best of weather. In this kind of chop it will be two long wet trips only to find ourselves bouncing around in an uncomfortable anchorage for three days. I’m not at all sure we want to put them our ourselves through such an ordeal.

On top of the weather, we have a problem with battery power. Normally, when anchored for extended periods, it is only necessary to run the generator for a few hours each day to keep the batteries charged. The rest of the time, the batteries run an inverter keeping essential things like refrigerators running. It could be that the batteries are getting weak or that we have increased the load too much for our batteries, but we are finding that the inverter can only keep things going for about five or six hours. After that, the inverter shuts down and things begin thawing out. With only one generator, we cannot run it all the time, so extended anchoring out has become problematic.

Our best option at this point seems to be to take advantage of decreasing winds today to head back to Emerald Bay Marina. It is expensive and not very adventurous, but it is probably the best place to have guests and spend a little time in this kind of weather. I plan to propose this plan to the lovely Laura Lee when she wakes up this morning. I’ll let you know where we end up.

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