March 30, 2016
We are up at 6:00 and prepare the boat for sailing. We also listen to Chris Parker's weather report on the SSB radio on station 4045. We are unsure of the weather. There is cloud cover everywhere. Chris Parker is also unsure about the weather because of all the cloud cover in our area. He also states that the northern Bahamas will be hit with squalls all day with winds up to 30 knots. He says the storms will head east but may go south in the evening. We want to head north today but we do not know what we are going to get ourselves into.
We pull anchor with light winds and overcast skies. We put up the main and motor sail around Fernandez Point with Mañana taking the rear. Once we round Fernandez point we set a course directly for Little San Salvador. The winds are at our back so we prepare to go wing on wing. I put the spinnaker pole on the genoa sheet and ease it out. I then ease out the main and put the preventer on the boom to prevent an accidental jibe.
Once we get out into deeper water we put out our fishing lines in hopes of catching a fish. We motor sailing downwind wing on wing. We see rain ahead and bring in the headsail in anticipation of a heavy blow. We also remove the preventer from the boom and bring in the mainsheet. We leave the main out to stabilize our ride.
Just a we are about to get rained on, one of the reels begins to sing… I back down on the throttle and I bring in the other fishing line while Karen works on bringing in the fish. Just as it begins to rain the block on the mainsheet fails and the boom crashes over to the shrouds. I try to bring in the main but crash has pulled the bottom of the main out of it's track. I run down into the main saloon and get my screwdriver and go back up on deck to start stuffing the main back into its track. Once the main is stuffed back into its track I roll the main in and secure the boom with its now broken blocks. When the shackle broke the lines jumped the sheave and got stuck between the block housing and the sheave.
Karen is yelling for me to get the gaff so I can bring in her fish. I grab the gaff and try to hook the fish with the gaff but is too rusty and will not hook the fish. I get frustrated and just grab the leader to bring her fish in but the leader breaks and the fish gets away. I am in the doghouse now.
We motor past towards Powell Point past Bannerman and then up the channel to Rock Sound in the rain. We are hoping for protection from the winds once we pass Powell Point but again we are disappointed. The waves are now breaking over the bow and the salt from the spray is now all over the boat. At least the rain has stopped.
We motor into the anchorage and drop the hook in nine feet of water at high tide. We have a lot to do if we are going to cross to Blackpoint tomorrow so we drop the dinghy and head ashore. We need to find a new shackle and pick up some food. Mañana heads in with us and we tie up at Wild Orchids. We Walk to the hardware store and do not find the shackle we need. We then go to the grocery store and pick up what we need there. We then head back to our boats and put our food away.
Karen and I then make two trips to the Esso station to fill up our diesel tanks using our four five gallon jugs to carry the fuel from the station to our boat. Once that is done we head over to Mañana's boat for a quick happy hour. We then head ashore for dinner at Sammies.
We arrive at Sammies and Janet greets us as old friends. We ask how her walking is going and she tells us she is now doing 2.5 miles a day. We tell her that's great! We have a good meal with good friends and then head back to the boat. We say our good byes to Mañana and talk about meeting back up in the Abacos.
April 1, 2016 April Fools Day
We plan to get up early but do not wake up until 6:30. We pull up our anchor at 6:45 and head out with 16 knots of wind out of the south just as predicted. We head into the wind until we round the point and then begin a down wind run. We put out the jib and main but leave a reef in on both. I have rigged a block on the main but am unsure how strong it is. After yesterday we are a bit gun shy and do not want to put out our full sails. We also are unsure of the wind direction. It looks like the wind will be too close to our nose to sail to Blackpoint.
We make our last turn past Powell Point and then try to get as close to the wind as possible with the sails still up. We are about twenty degrees below a straight sail to Blackpoint. We are still in the lee of Eleuthera Island and we hope that once we are clear of the island we can sail closer to our objective.
Sure enough, as we clear the island we can point up further and can head directly for Blackpoint Settlement. We do not put out any fishing lines today. We have a long way to go and do not want to lose any time fighting a fish. I want to hit the Dauphin Cut at slack tide so we don't have to fight the tide going in. We figure slack tide is about 15:30.
The further we get out into the Exuma Sound the better the winds get. I point up three degrees more to put some distance in the bank in case of a wind shift. The winds begin to slacken so we shake out the reef in our sails and press on for Blackpoint Settlement. The seas are still running pretty high. Every once in a while we will hit a big wave that will drive us down below four knots and then we will slowly regain out progress above six nots.
We arrive at Dauphin Cut a bit early and the tide is still running out. The breakers run out from the cut about a quarter mile. We come in close to the islands to avoid the breakers and then enter the cut . It is quite a ride. The current is running at three to four knots and the breakers are running three to six feet. We battle our way up the cut with the current pushing us side to side for about twenty minutes and then finally get out of the strong current.
We arrive at Blackpoint in relatively calm waters. We drop the hook in nine feet of water just off the Laundromat behind a few other boats. We have had a long day. We clean the salt from the dodger and then chill for the rest of the evening. We have been sailing for three days. It will be nice to sit in one spot for a while.
April 2, 2016
It is time to do some laundry. I drop the dinghy while Karen sorts our the laundry. We take our dinghy to the laundromat dock and carry our loads inside. There is no one there. I then have to hike down to Deshamas Restaurant to buy some tokens and then bring them back so we can start the laundry. It costs $37.50 to wash and dry five loads. Doing the laundry in the Bahamas is not cheap!
I head back to the boat while Karen does the laundry. The boat closest to the Laundromat leaves, so I pull anchor and take his spot. I end up too close to the guy behind me, so I pull anchor again and move up a bit before dropping the anchor. Now I am too close to the guy to my right, so I pull the anchor and move a bit to the left. Finally I am in a good spot and not sitting on top of the boats nearby. A bit later the two boats near me leave. All that concern for nothing.
Karen calls me on the radio and tells me that she has finished the laundry. I come in but we hang out for a while and use the internet to catch up on what is going on in the world. We head back to the boat and chill for the rest of the day.
Boats are moving in and out of Blackpoint. It seems that half the population of boats leave every day only to be filled in by new boats coming in. Some boats are heading north and some are heading south. It is really quite active for what we have normally seen at this location. It must be getting late in the season.
Blackpoint is beginning to look quite wealthy. Most of the buildings are in great shape and have a new coat of paint. Lorraine's Restaurant has expanded and added a new deck. The number of local motor boats has expanded from about 3 to over 15 in the harbor. Every morning there are many people hanging around the Government Docks waiting for their rides to work. There are motorboats running in and out of Blackpoint shuttling people to where they need to go. There is even a tour boat that arrives each day carrying about 20 people from Barreterra to see the Blackpoint Settlement. It no longer is the sleepy town we used to love. Things change.
April 3, 2016
Not feeling well today. Feeling nauseous. Hanging out on deck hoping this feeling goes away. I then go ashore to pick up water in the water jugs and fill the tanks on the boat.
Later on we head ashore and head for the beach on the Exuma Sound. We collect sea glass on the most southern beach and then head north to search the other beaches for shells and sea beans. We find that the sand on those beaches have mostly washed away. We walk them for a bit and then give up and head back into town. It is Sunday so none of the shops are open. The settlement looks prosperous.
We head back to the boat and chill for a while. It gets so hot that we take a dip off of the back of the boat for a while. Once we have cooled off, we rinse off at the back of the boat and continue to chill for the rest of the evening.