|Top Row: Guy, Mike and Ann. |
Bottom Row: Ray Diane, Joy and Steve
You may recall that the day we sent the last blog entry we were planning to leave the Marsh Harbor Marina. We had already been there for three days and had accomplished most of what we had planned (like buying the ten pounds of lobster we would need for the coming year). But, the day before we were planning to leave, our friends Jim and Dianne Guy, aboard Ocean Dance, arrived at the marina. They, in turn, introduced us to their friend Ray, who single hands his huge sailboat Forty More. Moreover, we had just met Steve and Joy in their new (to them) Fleming 55, Meandering Joy, but didn’t really get a chance to know them. In short, we had done all the physical things we needed to, but had not given ourselves time to do some of the social things that we wanted to do. So, we decided to stay one more day at the marina and to ask all these folks if they wanted to go to one of my favorite restaurants in Marsh Harbor, Mangoes Café. They did, so we all went and we all had a good time. In fact, I personally, had a great time. EXCEPT, my “Grouper Special” was a bit on the dry side. Now, don’t get me wrong, I ate the whole thing, of course, and it was good – but it wasn’t great. In retrospect, this should have made me realize that this might be the beginning of a week in Paradise in which I might have something about which to complain!
We finally left Marsh Harbor Saturday morning about 10:00 and got to Treasure Cay in about 2 hours. When we got there, though, the anchorage was very crowded; I am guessing about twenty-five boats in an area about a quarter mile in diameter. (It is an artificial anchorage surrounded by a stone wall.) You see, all the sailboats planning on returning to the States in the next few days were lining up at Treasure to cut through the Whale Cay Passage the next day so they could hit a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream on Tuesday. (An explanation of all this is below; I didn’t want you to get the idea that it is always that crowded,) Anyhow, we went looking for a place to drop our anchor … and looking … and looking … and looking. We ended up dropping it about four times before we finally found a place where I was comfortable that our anchor was going to hold and that we weren’t going to disturb our neighbors (nor would they disturb us). Poor Ann. She was the one on the bow dropping the anchor and hauling it back up (okay, she wasn’t doing it by hand, we do have an electric windlass, but still, she was on the bow and like I said, it was starting to get hot).
|A few of our many friends at the Treasure Cay Anchorage.|
I wish I had one of those panorama cameras so you could see the rest.
The next day was our Treasure Cay day. I have already hit all the complaints we had about our day in Treasure Cay so I won’t cover them again. But all was not lost, for just as we were getting ready to weigh anchor, we saw them. I haven’t mentioned it before as I didn’t want to jinx her, but you may have noticed that Ann’s wildlife count has been pretty sparse. I think, she was going through some kind of withdrawal because she hadn’t seen any dolphins lately. In fact, she hadn’t seen any since we entered the Bahamas! Well, the morning we left Treasure she saw two of them in the anchorage. Later, on the way to Great Sale, she saw three more and one of them even played in our wake. Whew! Maybe our luck was changing.
As I discussed last year, the Whale Cay Passage is the next to last obstacle that remained between us and Florida. The Sea of Abaco gets so shallow just west of Whale Cay, that boaters are forced into the ocean for a few miles. Because of the underwater topography around Whale Cay, the ocean can be a bit unruly. In fact, “The Whale,” as it is known, can, in certain weather conditions, actually exhibit elements of a “rage” where the swells and the breaking waves on top can make it hazardous for boats of any size to cross. As a result, everyone is very careful about crossing The Whale, the smaller your boat, the more careful you are. Because we kept our eyes on the conditions, the crossing was a non-event. Indeed, it was probably the smoothest of the three we have done. From the Whale, we only had to get to Great Sale Cay, then to West End before crossing the Stream.
The trip to Great Sale was long and, actually, kind of boring. On the way we did see a few areas that might be interesting to explore the next time we come; a couple of deserted (or nearly deserted) islands that, without doubt, have pirate booty buried somewhere ashore. Anyway, Great Sale Cay is a completely deserted island with an excellent anchorage and is about halfway between Treasure and West End. We have stayed there every time we have gone to or come back from the Abacos. If you will remember, the first time we came to the Bahamas we stayed at Great Sale for a couple of days and downloaded our Whaler just to open the thing up and see what she would do. We were in more of a hurry this time and didn’t want to take the time to lower the new dinghy. Moreover, we were a little worried about weather coming over from Florida. We could see on the Garmin (which has Sirius Weather on it) that there was some really nasty stuff on its way so we got everything ready on the boat. We moved as far into the inverted “Y” of Great Sale Cay as we could (giving us some protection from westerly winds), dropped the anchor into the direction from which we thought the weather would come, double checked the set on the anchor it and let out about 150 feet of rode. We prepared the inside of the boat as well, then, well, then we went to bed. I figured that as soon as the weather hit, I would have time to get up, check the boat out and stay awake for the rest of the night to ensure that we didn’t drag. Well, as so often occurs when you are thoroughly prepared, nothing happened. Nothing. Nada. Zip. The weather that was on its way kind of dissipated over the Straits of Florida. As a result, we both slept all night and prepared for the trip to west End.
There really isn’t much to say about West End. We had hoped to stay a day or two, but the weather reports indicated that the weather would be decent to cross on Wednesday and would deteriorate after that. It might be the following Monday before we could get across – if then. So, we decided to spend only one night at the Old Bahama Bay Resort and Marina and move on. Encouraging our departure was the cost of electricity. Now they can charge anything they want for dockage. But one assumes that the water and electricity charges would relate to the costs the marina pays for water and electricity. But $30 for electric and $15 for water? We didn’t even use any of their water and still had to pay. As for electric, thirty dollars for one night of electricity is atrocious. Oh well. As the sign in our salon says, “Paradise Ain’t Cheap.”
The crossing wasn’t as good as some we have had. We had beam seas that kept us rolling back and forth pretty well. My guess is that they were about 2 – 4 feet with an occasional five footer. Again, it was nothing we couldn’t handle, but it wasn’t especially comfortable.
|I don't know what to say about this one, but it was right off |
the ICW as we were coming in. I simply
HAD to take the picture.
We arrived at West Palm Beach at about 2:30 on Wednesday. But before we actually arrived, Ann had un-suspended her phone, sent a text message to everyone with whom she normally texted and was basically into the “phone mode” once again. Shortly after arrival, Ann called in our arrival to Customs and Immigration so we are now legally in the country once again.
ANN’S NOTES: Michael has pretty much summed up the events of the past few weeks.
Our time in Marsh Harbor was wonderful, it was nice to see the dockhands from last year that remembered us … and of course the BLT and onions rings. We had a good time making some new friends and reconnecting with some old ones. The dinner at Mangoes was fun and full of stories and lots of laughter.
Treasure Cay is still one of the most amazing and beautiful beaches I have ever seen. We took a long walk on the white sand beach. The color of the water is turquoise and in perfect contrast to the blue sky with just a few clouds, breath taking is the only way to describe it. However, getting the boat to anchor and stay in place in that anchorage is an adventure. It may take six drops of the anchor get it to stick but eventually we get it done.
The crossing of the Whale and the Gulf Stream were fine, I guess I am getting accustomed to the waves and the rocking and rolling that comes with living on a boat. Now six or seven foot waves would be a problem, we have only experienced those once and we made it just fine … not much fun but we were safe on Traveling Soul.
We are now waiting for the 26th of April to arrive and then fly back to Virginia to keep some doctor’s appointments for Michael. His heel is still not healing and we are hoping one of the many doctors we have seen will take notice and make his incision site and open infection heal. Send positive thoughts and since I am now connected by phone and e-mail, I will send updates.
|Just before we left West End we were visited by a TRi-colored Heron )At least that is what we think it was)|
Sunday 14 April 2013: Ann 2 Turtles Michael 3 Turtles many curly tailed lizards Treasure Cay
Monday 15 April 2013: 1 Dolphin (happy me) Treasure Cay anchorage
4 Dolphins…3 playing in our bow wake (happier me ) Sea of Abaco
Tuesday 16 April: 1 Spotted ray West End Bahamas
Wednesday 17 April 2013: 1 Tricolored Heron ( he/she bade us farewell as we left the slip) West End
Lots of flying fish as we crossed over to Florida
Thanks for reading…
Traveling Soul ….OUT