Storms over Nassau

Saturday April 19, 2014

rainbow over Atlantis

As antsy as I was this morning to finally get a move on so we could finally get to the Exumas where anything but a south wind would bring us closer to George Town and our friends, the wind whistling through the rigging before I even slid out of bed had me doubting if it would actually happen. Knowing that we would have had to time our departure with high tide or at least something close to it, we planned on leaving in the late morning and had allowed ourselves to finally sleep in for once instead of being awoken by an alarm clock at sunrise. Stepping outside though, not only were the winds as strong as they had sounded from in the salon, a constant 25 knots, but they were coming from the direction of 150 degrees. Even if we detoured north to Allen’s Cay, it would have put us on a course of 135 degrees and too far into the wind.

The chance to sit around and do nothing all day beside a few minor cleaning projects was actually welcoming, and spreading those projects out through the day so we could enjoy more important aspects such as a good book and gourmet coffee, we were both happy with the decision to stay put, even though it was putting us a day further behind in eventually meeting up with our friends. Once the sky darkened in the mid afternoon and thunder threatened on the horizon, we were especially glad we stayed. Or at least, I was. After dodging so many storms on the way to get here, I wanted to sit back and watch one come in from the safety of a harbor, watching the lightning contrast with the dark skies while not having to travel though it. Matt on the other hand, wanted to be anywhere but here for this storm. He reasoned that we could have easily dropped anchor and ridden it out in the banks, but here we had to be mindful of ourselves dragging, or worse, everyone else dragging into us. We had already spent most of the morning watching a boat crewing six young guys fiddling with their anchor after they had become much closer to us than they were when we first woke up.

Splitting my day between reading a book in the cockpit and watching a movie down below, I excitedly shut of my movie and moved myself back outside once things looked like they might actually get interesting. I had been hearing thunder for awhile and was ready for my lightning show to start. That is, as long as it didn’t pass over us. Dark looming clouds came over us as they worked their way northeast. Based on their rippling effect it looked as if we’d be in for a very good storm. Sitting patiently outside in the gentle rain that began to patter, I sat quietly waiting for my show to begin. And waited, and waited, and waited. This storm, for all it’s menacing looks, so far wasn’t packing the ferocity that I’d expected. Winds picked up to 25 knots, the rains hardened, and I watched as unfortunate power boaters were taken by surprise and hightailed it back to shelter through the rain. My doom and gloom though, eluded me.

Too hopeful to call it a day just yet, I stood on the steps to the companionway while the boards were put in place to keep out the rain that was pelting us from the west as the currents pointed our bow east. Eventually I did get some of my lightning, but with only one or two clear and jagged bolts. The rest came upon us in a blinding rain so thick that I could not even make out the cruise ships or the outline of Atlantis. Defeated, I took shelter below, drawing my computer close for a distraction while Matt slept away the rain with an afternoon nap. I want to be disappointed that I didn’t get the show I was hoping for, but I guess I should be thankful, as a mariner, that nothing more did come of it since I know I wouldn’t want to be stuck in anything like that myself if I was (traveling) on the water.

It was kind of fun to watch the mega yachts line up in the harbor to seek safety after their day of cruising had been ruined by the weather. Visibility so bad that they must have had every kind of radar and infared gadget going. Oh well, I guess that’s why their captain’s get paid the big bucks.

 

P.S. motor yacht Milk Money…this is the third time you’ve showed up in the same harbor as us.  If you’re going to keep following us, the least you could do is invite us aboard for drinks one evening.

storm clouds over cruise ships

storm clouds over Nassau

storm clouds over Atlantis

wave runner in the rain

storm clouds over Nassau

rainbow over Atlantis

Come Snail Away

Thursday April 17, 2014

Matt walking Gorgie

Tuesday evening found us in a little anchorage between Frazier’s Hog Cay and Bird Cay in the Berry’s. It took us until 6 pm to drop anchor there, having spent 11 hours at sail to make around 38 miles. This slogging and beating into the wind is starting to drive me crazy. The day that we get down to Georgetown or Long Island will be a day of joy, because at that point we’ll be turning around to head back to Miami, and should have the wind at our back, or at least on our sides, the rest of the way back. No more getting stuck for days at a time while waiting for the wind to shift off you nose. Why go back to Miami you might ask? I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it yet or not.

Miami is going to be our new jumping off point to cross the Atlantic. It was originally going to be St. Martin, but our extended stays in Isla Mujeres and Ft. Lauderdale left us without the time to get ourselves all the way down there by mid-May to prepare ourselves for a June departure. Unless we wanted to skip everything along the way. Then it was going to be from either Georgetown Exumas or Calabash Bay in Long Island, but while taking Georgie to the vet in Ft. Lauderdale for her rabies titer test, something that’s required to get her pet passport which will allow her into Europe, we were kicked in the butts with a nice little surprise. After her titer test came back, four to six weeks later, she needed to be checked out by the USDA before finally having her paperwork stamped that she was rabies free, healthy, and free to enter any EU nation. Well, by the time her results actually came back and she would be allowed to see the USDA, we’d already be long gone for the Bahamas. So now, we go back.

It’s not to bad actually. We’re having to hurry a little bit more than we anticipated, but we both think it will be good to do last minute preparations and provisioning in the states. Everything we need to get will be much easier to get in the states than in the Bahamas. I’m sure it’s not going to be until the week before we leave that we think to ourselves ‘Oh crap, we need to get x, y and z, and they can only be ordered online. Time for Amazon prime!!!’. Since that’s kind of how it worked even when we were just leaving for the Bahamas. You’d think that we’re prepping ourselves for two months at sea, or headed to a developing country, none of those being the case, but it’s now our minds work. ‘I want/need this. I can get it here. I should do that’.

So those are our near future plans. But for the moment, we’ve still been trying to slowly make our way to our friends in the Exumas. Yesterday was spent in the anchorage, waiting out SE winds that of course shifted north by 11 am. What would have been perfect sailing conditions for us to get to Nassau. So we made the most of the day and took Georgie on another shore leave. Just a little bit different than the Florida Keys, she was much more content to stick right by our side for the first 20 minutes until her interest got the better of her and she began running away. Right into a thicket where I had to hunt her down and pull her out…in my bare feet. Which, when I put her down for two seconds so I could pull thorns out of my heel, she ran right back into them. We made sure to keep a tight grasp on her leash after that.

Georgie in Berry Islands

Georgie on beach

Georgie inspecting coral

Today we made, ugh, another slog from the Berry’s to Nassau. Only 10 hours for that 35 mile haul. After a few hours of motoring the wind actually shifted enough that we were able to turn off the engine and motor sail alone. Just as I was thinking that things were finally going our way and had gone below for a late morning nap, Matt woke me up 45 minutes later to let me know a storm was coming and we had to pull in the geneoa. Which took away all of our speed and our pointing capabilities. All of a sudden we were back to pointing straight down to Andros. An hour later it passed and we were able to get the headsail back out again, but for the rest of the afternoon we watched storms off to our left and right and prayed they wouldn’t come any closer to us. Three of them off our starboard side seemed to collide with each other just behind us and form one mega cloud of nastiness that I am so thankful we were not caught anywhere near.

We pulled into the bustling harbor around 5:30 and at that point, it could have rained all night if it wanted to. I just wanted to get our anchor down before it happened. Once more we were surrounded by cruise ships and the glittering lights of Atlantis in the distance. Visiting the first island that we’d already been to last year, we’ve now come full circle. Now if only we can get out of here ASAP and check out some of the islands we flew past last year. The sunken piano on Musha Cay, Boo Boo Hill on Warderick Wells, Duffy’s at Norman’s Cay. I’ve already got my list going.

storms going to Nassau

storms on way to Nassau

Atlantis at night