Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Northwest Channel to Bird Cay, Bahamas

21.2 nm
Wind: ENE 10-15 knots, dying to less than 5
Seas: 3-5 feet, dying to around 1
Latitude: 25°23.73’N
Longitude: 077°50.06’W
Maximum speed: 4.8 knots (under sail)
Average speed: 3.0 knots

Another month gone, another month closer to the hurricanes. I’m not really that worried anymore. I know we’ll be fine, one way or the other, either holing up in some mangroves or in Georgetown or in Hispaniola. Georgetown doesn’t really feel far away at all and the rumor is that you can get your boat hauled or stored there. I am a little worried about our capacity for weather forecasting, though. The SSB receiver was one of the things that we neglected to buy in our rush to get here. We both thought weather would be a little bit easier to get via VHF or AM. We’re finally out of reach of the Miami weather here, and our sources for Bahamian weather are not really pulling through. We’re finally in a sheltered anchorage in the Berrys tonight, and we’ll probably stay here for a couple of days to get some repairs to the boat done.

We had some excitement today, though. While pulling up our anchor at around eight, I spied some threatening thunderclouds looming on the horizon. I didn’t say anything to Karl, because I assumed he saw them too, but when we had gotten going I said, “Maybe we should reef?” He hadn’t even noticed them. It’s funny how sometimes I’m completely oblivious and he’s the observant one, and other times it’s completely the other way around. So we reefed, fast, or Karl did, and his time was a record--only twenty minutes! We ended up missing the thunderstorm anyway, it swept south while we raced north, but it’s still good practice. We’re both thinking all the time now about how to improve our sailing technique, how to make things faster and more convenient.

Other than that it was an uncomplicated motor-sail past Chub Cay and into a little cut between two islands where we’re anchored, completely alone, tonight. I keep checking off things on my list of perfection: abandoned anchorage--check. Clear blue water--check. Beautiful sandy beach: check. Still no coral to dive on, no grouper, no coconut palms, but we’re making progress.

It’s great, finally, after all these months to be somewhere where the first thing I do when we get onto anchor is to pull on my bathing suit and jump in the water. Today I was sunburnt and hot and cranky and when I dove into the water all of that disappeared. I snorkeled all around the boat, to the shore and back, and although there’s not that much that’s fascinating to see yet, I adore just being in the water. I could live in the water.

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