Sunday, May 20, 2007

Little Farmers to Big Galliot Cays, Exumas, Bahamas

4.8 nm
Wind: E-SE 10-15 knots, heavy cloud cover and rain
Latitude: 23°55.42’N
Longitude: 076°17.31’W
Maximum speed: 4.4 knots (under sail)
Average speed: 3.1 knots

Our struggle to be better sailors continues every day, even today, wrestling only five miles to windward, and having our third race with the folk on Pegasus. Our main was still reefed from the storm we got into the other day, so we left it reefed, and tried to sail with a furled jib. Our sails are extremely old, which means they’re baggy and not well-shaped, which makes it hard for us to be good sailors. You can’t be very effective when you can’t sail well reefed.

Coming into harbor, rather than short-tack, something that Karl hates to do because he has to do most of the hard work, we gave up and started motor-sailing. The ketch-rigged Pegasus, under full sail, executed gorgeous arcs and tacks, angling right into harbor and anchoring under sail. Come to find out they thought we were sailing that whole time too, although how in the world they thought we were getting that kind of speed under only a reefed main I have no idea. We anchored directly on the anchor marked by the Explorer charts, in the northeast lee of a little island called Big Galliot Cay, right off its beach.

A gigantic powerboat was anchored right near us, full of bikini-clad youngsters, with the captain on deck with arms folded while we motored by. I waved and he didn’t wave back. Methinks he wasn’t too excited about us anchoring nearby, although with a nor’easter blowing in he can only expect everyone to get us much shelter as they can, and we anchored a perfectly respectable distance away. If he has asked us to move, we would have, but instead he and his guests upped anchor and motored away. Karl guessed that it was David Copperfield’s kids and entourage out in daddy’s boat for the day, wanting an island all to themselves. David Copperfield’s island is supposed to be the next one over--maybe we’ll have to wander over there and see if we can find the fountain of youth.

So we’re anchored by ourselves off a beautiful little beach (Pegasus found a different spot, not liking the current here), and there are caves right around the corner and allegedly great fishing, with yellowtail snapper swarming the place. It should be a good place to wait out a northeast blow. Although the engine-less dinghy does hinder our exploration. It’s frustrating to be stuck a place, as we were at Black Point, for days and be unable to leave the boat because of currents, strong wind, and swell.

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