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Finally, to Great Exuma Island

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Location: Emerald Bay, Exumas, Bahamas

Log: 3350

Miles Traveled today: 17

Total Trip Distance: 711

There are times when I really question why I own a boat. Yesterday was one of those times.

We had spent Monday night at the dock at Little Farmer’s Cay. I awoke around 4:00 am because the boat rub rail was making all kinds of noise against the dock piling. When I came up to have a look, it was clear what had happened. The wind had picked up and was screaming from the east southeast. Needing to get Early Uncle Randy to his flight Thursday, we left around 7:00 am hoping to get to Georgetown about 40 miles to the southeast.

It was not to be. We encountered one of the worst days at sea I’ve ever experienced. It was right up there with trying to head up the California coast or helping James Abele cross the Gulf of Mexico on his boat Beauty. A nearby boat with an anenometer confirmed that winds were howling at 25 knots. Seas were four to six feet but they were right on our nose and very, very steep.

Unprepared for anything so bad, we had left all kinds of things out on the kitchen counter. At one point the coffee maker crashed to the floor, spilling grounds and the remaining coffee all over. The rack of knives also slid off, scattering kitchen knives all over the boat. During the worst conditions of the day, I heard some crashing around from the upper deck. I went up to look and found the strap holding down the dingy had simply snapped. The entire dingy was sliding around on the deck, off of it’s chocks and hanging off the back deck, perilously close to falling off the boat. With Randy’s help, when we crashed forward off the next wave, we heaved it back on board and managed to get it’s bow line tied to a rail. It was wedged in between the chocks and a railing so it was reasonably secure for awhile. We had to slow the boat down to dead idle to avoid crashing down from the top of each wave.

After five hours, we had covered less than 19 miles, an average of less than four knots. Studying the charts, we discovered we could cut in just north of Lee Stocking Island for a reasonable spot to anchor for the night, and we did. We had a fine gourmet dinner of sardines, crackers, and a fine white wine. As the wind continued last night, we looked at our options on the charts. We decided to head for Emerald Bay, a new resort and marina about 12 miles north of Georgetown, but on the same island. From here, Randy can get a taxi to the airport for his flight tomorrow. This morning seas were bad, but slightly improved from yesterday. We made 17 miles in just over four hours, again averaging four knots into the still steep head seas.

So, we’re here. Early Uncle Randy flies out early, as always, tomorrow and the Lovely Laura Lee joins me Saturday. Weather forecasts show that I should be able to get down to Georgetown for her arrival. If not, she can join me here.


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