We have had bad days, good days and great days. More bad at the beginning and then trending up. And as time went on we got some more good. Then mostly good with a sprinkling of great. Then predominantly great. Today was perfect. A gem. The reason we quit our jobs and left. A day that makes every other part of this journey worth it. It was great weather. It was the best sailing we have had EVER. It was the joy of being on the water, working together and moving along to whatever and wherever is next.
So how did this shake out?
The plan is to leave our little slice of paradise in Cambridge Cay and head south east (always south east until we turn around) to Staniel Cay. Where we would pick up a little food, a little water and explore a bit. Twelve(ish) miles, so short day. No need to rush. So we don’t. We sleep in, make some pancakes and coffee for breakfast, walk the dog and at about 9am, we start our journey.
Our course is WSW for a couple of miles, turn to the left (or port as the Navy says), then to the SE for a couple of miles, turn left and head to the NE for a couple of miles and we are there.
The weather is gorgeous. The sun is high in the sky, there are few clouds. The winds today are out of the ENE at 14 knots. No gusts. No increase or decrease in wind speed. One direction, one speed. We got our sails up with absolutely no issues, set our heading and on the long SE leg had the wind at 50-60 degrees off our bow. For our cat that is really close to the wind, but we clipped right along; the sailing Gods were smiling upon us!
There were waves. Tiny, little waves that let you know that you were in water and gave a sense of speed, but certainly not large enough to ruin the glorious day. And all around us were sailboats. Full sails, cutting through the water.
Our trip lasted a bit over three hours. We passed our destination and then tacked back so that we could extend the sail longer before turning on the engines. And we nailed the maneuver barely losing any speed on the course change. When we got within a mile of our destination we fired up the engines, quickly dropped the sails and motored into the anchorage, escorted by two trawlers who were close on our stern1
We looked around and ended up anchoring at the north east side of Big Major’s Island. Pig beach to our south. Provisions just around the corner. There are a TON of boats here; it is a good place to stay out of the East winds that are the forecast for the next week or two.
Staniel Cay (2/6/18-2/8/18):
Staniel Cay is quite the bustling island. For the Exumas. There is an airstrip, a couple of grocery stores (Pink and Blue). A marina, restaurants, vacation condos and homes owned by outsiders (non-Bahamians). It has the Thunderbolt grotto, featured in the James Bond movie of the same name as well as the swimming wild pigs which are right by our anchorage. We need some groceries, some water and a beach day, in that order. And Staniel fits the bill.
Once anchored, we drop the dinghy and head around Great Majors Cay to Staniel; about a mile and a half trip that takes about 15 very bumpy minutes. We beach the dinghy and head up to the Blue and then the pinks store, get two small bags of groceries for $80 and then head down to the marina. We get the information on water, fuel and check out how the rich half live (well, apparently), and then back in the dinghy for the ride to the beach to check out the pigs (FYI: They looked like, smelled like and swam like pigs) and finally back to the boat.
I take Lucky to shore and spend 20 minutes talking to Emily; we have seen her and her husband (and daughter) on again/off again since Bimini. She gave us some information on our next anchorage, Black Point. Then back to the boat where I picked up three water cans and headed back to Staniel. Except I made a pit stop on the way at the trawler that had the great loop flag. It was a couple from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We did the cheese head butt, talked for 20 minutes or so, THEN to the marina. Where I filled up the cans. And talked to the nice lady at the marina for about 30 minutes. About the island, swimming with sharks, weather, the meaning of life. Then back in the dinghy and back to our boat. Only an 90 minutes to do a 30 minute task!
Wednesday was school and beach. School in the morning, lunch and then we all packed up and sat on the beach. Our new Republic of Donnelly.
Tomorrow? Black Point Cay.
And for those of you keeping track at home, day recap:
Start: Cambridge Cay mooring field, 0919
End: Anchorage NW side of Big Major Cay, 1221
Total Distance: 15.45 nm
Average Speed: 5.1 kts
1Small world. One of the trawlers was flying a great loop flag!