We’re here! Yes, I know, we’ve been ‘here’ all along–the trip is the destination. But now, we’re really HERE, in the Exumas where we were headed since we left Baltimore in mid-October. And it’s spectacular!!
To backtrack on the past few days, we left Marsh Harbor on Friday. Both Lady of Lorien and Onward left early in the morning while the tide was high. They anchored in the harbor to wait for us to complete our mission–buying some minced conch to make conch chowder. After walking to the seafood store and making our purchase, we cast off the lines and left Marsh Harbor. It was a perfect day of sailing. With only the headsail out, we had a lovely sail back to Lynyard Cay. I made conch chowder for dinner using Eva’s recipe and putting in my own twist. Everyone loved it!
We were to leave early the next morning for the ocean crossing to Eleuthra. I don’t know if it was my usual anxiety or the bright full moon that kept me awake most of the night. The alarm rang before dawn and we quickly raised the anchor and headed through the cut into the ocean. We raised the mainsail before heading out when disaster struck–the potty mat flew overboard! We circled around but since it was dark, we lost sight of it. Well, all is not lost. We still have another piece of the rubber mat that I plan to tie on securely.
The wind was more than we expected and eventually we reefed the headsail and then the main. We sailed most of the way to Royal Island before the wind lighted up and we turned the motor on. After we anchored in Royal Harbor, we quickly brought out the grill and cooked supper. Both of us were starved because it was much too rolly to go below all day, much less prepare lunch! After not having much sleep the previous night, I think I fell asleep at 8pm!
On Sunday, we started out at the more civilized hour of 7am. Bailey did his business on deck and has been doing so for the past few days. He just goes right to the mat and does it–he’s the smartest dog in the world! I won’t talk about it any more ( for you, Dan!)
We motored to Current Cut and followed Lady of Lorien as she showed us the way through very strong currents. After that adventure, the rest of the trip was motoring across beautiful calm seas. I took care of lots of chores–I cleaned below decks, showered and even gave Bailey a bath in the cockpit. We anchored near Pineapple Cays off of Ten Bay beach. Taking the dinghy ashore was a challenge because low tide made it very shallow close to shore. Bailey enjoyed running on the beach and, his favorite, fetching sticks. Mike and Angie caught their first fish today, a small mackerel. They shared it with us as a first course before Joe’s pasta dinner. I don’t think I’ve ever had fish that fresh–it was delicious! Skip made banana pudding for dessert. We planned the trip for the next day and turned in early.
Monday, we left really early for the final leg of our journey to the Exumas. A nice rain shower fell right after sunrise and cleaned the salt off the boat. After a few hours of motoring, we stopped at Cape Eleuthra marina for one last opportunity to top off fuel and water. For the next 30 miles, we motor sailed across the deep waters of the Exuma Sound. Angie had called the Exuma Land and Sea park to notify them of our arrival and reserve moorings. We arrived at Warderick Wells late in the afternoon and were happy to find out that all 3 of us were in the North mooring field which will be well-protected when the next front goes through.
We pick up moorings all the time in Annapolis so we didn’t expect to make such a spectacle trying to grab one. The usual process of heading upwind to slow the boat while picking up the mooring pennant didn’t work very well since the current was much stronger than the wind and in the opposite direction. After one failed attempt, we followed Mike’s advice that he hollered to us as they went past and turned into the current. A neighboring boater also helped by coming over in his dinghy and handing me the line. How embarrasing! Now we know how to pick up a mooring in strong current…
I declared a celebration on Moondance for our arrival in the Exumas. We enjoyed Rum Tings along with a nice spread of appetizers.
Today was a perfect day in paradise–no alarm clock! Skip made a big breakfast (his favorite meal!) We relaxed all morning before eventually taking the dinghy ashore to sign in at the office. We plan to stay here at least a week. A series of fronts are coming through that will bring strong winds. Actually, I could stay here for a long time but there are no facilities for fuel, water or trash so we’ll eventually have to leave when our supplies run down.
After lunch we took a hike along one of the many trails on the island. The trail went over to the other side of the island that faces the Exuma Sound. The peak of Boo Boo hill has a pile of signs left by visitors. Along the trails we saw curly tailed lizards and land crabs. I didn’t see any of the native rodents called Hutia (that’s okay with me!) I’m looking forward to exploring more of the island over the next week.