March 27, 2016
We plan to leave the Calabash Bay anchorage at 7:00 am. We are up early in anticipation of a good day of sailing. We wait for Mañana to start to pull their anchor before we begin to pull ours. We take the middle cut through the reef which shows that it has 13 feet of depth at mean low tide.
We pass through the reef keeping the coral heads on either side of the boat. There is plenty of room to pass through the coral heads at this location. As we are passing through we check on Mañana and see they are still in the anchorage. They are having a bit of trouble getting the anchor up but there are two other boats pulling anchor and heading out as well. Mañana ends up as the fourth boat in line headed for Cat Island.
The winds are out of the east blowing around 17 knots so we set our sails and turn off the engine. The winds are abeam giving us a good cruising speed just above seven knots. I set course for the Tartar Bank which is a mountain coming off the ocean floor to within about 40 feet of the surface south of Cat Island. There should be some fish there. Once we get into deeper waters, we put out our fishing lines with dark lures and hope to catch a fish.
The waters have been pretty flat but as we pass by Cape Santa Marina the seas get rough. The waves are running three to six feet with four second intervals. The bow is staying wet from the waves breaking over the bow. The waves are high and narrow. I am not sure what is making this pattern but the boat seems to be handling it well.
The crossing is uneventful. We do find the Tartar Bank unlike the last time we passed through here. We roll across the center of the bank which is running from 40 to 80 feet deep. Just as we pass to the north of the bank and it begins to get deeper I tell Karen this should be where we catch a fish. As if prompted by what I just said, one of the reels begins to sing.
I grab the reel with the fish on and tighten the drag so we don't lose all the line on the reel. The fish now begins jumping out of the water trying to get rid of the hook from our lure. Karen pulls in the other fishing line we have out and pulls in the genoa to slow us down a bit. We are now doing five to six knots. I ask Karen to ease the main to slow us further but it only speeds us up a bit, so we make the best of it and fight the fish doing about six knots. There are times we are losing as much line as we are pulling in. My arms are getting tired but so is the fish. Finally I get the fish close to the boat and we can see it is a Mahi Mahi.
I ask Karen for the gaff hook to bring the fish on board but we cannot get the safety tube off of the tip and I just grab the leader and pull the fish on board. This is a risky move, we barely have the fish hooked. Karen gets me the hammer and we dipatch the fish. I cut it behind the gills and drag it in the water with a rope tied to it to bleed it out. We plan to fillet the fish once we round the southern point of Cat Island and get into some calmer waters which is about five miles away.
We round the tip of Cat Island, gybe the main and start the engine. The flatter seas we were looking for are not there. The winds are now blowing 25 knots gusting to thirty. We roll in the main and I fillet the fish as we bash into it. There is no fun in this course. We abandon our previous destination of New Bight for a more protected location: Old Bight. We adjust our course accordingly and point closer to the wind. The winds are now steady at thirty knots.
After a long hour of bashing into the seas we arrive at our new destination. The shore is now giving us good protection and we go in as close as possible to get as good protection as possible. We are just a hundred yards off the shore when we drop the hook in eight feet of water off of the Rollezzz Beach Resort. As soon as we drop the hook the winds start to abate and drop to about 17 knots. Mañana shows up about a half an hour later.
After Mañana gets settled in we drop our dinghies to do some exploring on this part of the island. We run down the beach and view the abandoned houses scattered along there. It is hard to tell if they were abandoned before or after the latest storm. There are two huge three story houses side by side that were mostly built but now abandoned except for one room on the second floor of the northern building that seems to be occupied. Strange, there is not much roof left on the building.
We head back to the resort and beach our dinghies there. We walk the resort but there does not appear to be anyone there. The beach toys are out and the windows open on several of the buildings , we just do not see anyone on the grounds as it is Easter Sunday. We walk down the road along the beach for a while and do some further exploring. It feels good to stretch our legs.
After our walk we return to our boat. We cook the marinated fish on the grill and share a meal with Mañana. Linda brings along an excellent broccoli salad to go along with the fish and rice. There is nothing better than eating fresh fish. The entire meal was outstanding.
March 28, 2016
We leave Old Bight at 10:00 and head to New Bight our previous destination. We are in no hurry and only have five miles to get there. There is no wind and the waters are almost perfectly flat. You can easily see the bottom as we cross over it in twelve feet of water.
The breeze begins to build as we cross over to New Bight. We arrive at New Bight to find seven boats already anchored there. Two of those boats were the ones that followed us across from Long Island. We drop the hook in eight feet of water about a quarter of a mile from shore near the fish fry.
We go ashore with Mañana and park our dinghies by the government dock so we can walk up to The Hermitage. We cross the Queens Highway and sit at the benches near the Police station to clean the sand off our feet and put our sandals on. We drop our garbage at the cans there and then head up the road to the Hermitage. It is about a mile up the road and 206 feet above sea level making it the highest point in the Bahamas.
We run into several couples on our way up which is a lot more than our last trip when we saw no one else. The Bahamian schools are out this week so it is a good time for them to take their vacations. We visit with the locals while we are at the Hermitage and then head back. The day is beginning to get quite hot as we hike down through the bush and down the hot asphalt road to New Bight.
We walk down to Hidden Treasures and talk to Denise about dinner for tonight. We ask about lobster but she says that she does not have any. The winds have been too high so there has not been any good fishing, but she will see what she can do. We head back to our boats planning to return to shore at 17:00 for a shower and dinner.
The afternoon remains hot, so I take a dip to cool off and shower off the back of the boat. A bit before 17:00 we head ashore so Karen can shower there at the public showers on the beach near the Fish Fry. I head over to the Fish Fry and to Hidden Treasures to have a beer while Karen and Mañana have their showers.
When I get to Hidden Treasures Denise is not there. She has gone to the store to pick up some lobsters for us. She has really gone out her way for us. That is so nice of her. Karen, Linda and Nile show up a bit later. Karen and Linda have brought along some mangoes so that Denise can make them their Mango Daiquiris which Karen loves.
We move from the bar out to a table on the beach for our dinner. Denise's mother builds a fire with coconut husks to keep the flies away. It is pretty interesting to see a seventy plus woman hacking up a coconut shell and building a fire with it. We enjoyed our meal as always and then headed back to Mañana's boat for the evening to play Mexican Train.
March 29, 2016
We hang out all morning long. I work on the blog and Karen proof reads what I write. At 14:00 we go over and visit with Mañana for a couple of hours. We left Nile alone all day so he could get some chores done, which did not happen. Maybe they will get done tomorrow. We make plans to head to Little San Salvador tomorrow. Hopefully the weather will be kinder to us than it was for our last visit.