Chinook wrote:Hi Sum, You're making great progress. Your description of weather conditions confirms that you've had to deal with far rougher conditions than we experienced while down there. Just a few frontal systems hit us, and they were well mannered and past right by without excessively lingering. We don't get stalled fronts here in the NW, but back east they can really mess things up. ..., Mike
has been something. Another day of strong winds now. I'm going to try and leave here (Fox Town) on Thursdays. Winds are suppose to be 16 gusting higher but dropping as the day goes on. I'm hoping that it won't be too bad that night out on Little Bahama Bank and the next day I can make either West End of Memory Rock. Saturday looks like the day to try a crossing as the prediction is 15 dropping to 10 and 2'-3' seas. Sunday might be ok but then Monday it starts all over again. I guess there is a system in the Caribbean
that no one quite knows what it is going to do but wind
speeds are suppose to rise again from Sunday on.
Chinook wrote:Hi Sum, You're making great progress............ I'll be extremely interested in learning about your crossing of the Bight of Abaco, since I'm hoping to make that passage next March or April. Any info on waypoints, depths, anchorages, and entrance and exit points will be most appreciated... Mike
To tell you the truth the Bight of Abaco
was kind of anti-climatic. I think it has our imaginations up since not many boats do it. The night I got to Hard Bargain on the southern side there were two big (over 40 foot) cats there and they left going north over the Bight the next morning. I left the following morning and never saw them again. Sailed off anchor
and right away had a small squall brush by off to port. Winds went up some, not bad, and it rained pretty hard for a few minutes. The squall sucked the air out of the winds and when I saw another approach off to starboard I was almost glad to get some wind
back. It hit harder and the main tried to jibe over but having a preventer on (always have them on the boom when running) prevented that and I soon got things back under control More wind with this one but just a touch of rain. It moved off to the NE. Winds were non-typical being out of the SSW as they were clocking as the onset of the next weather system. This was Thursday and I wanted to be on the north side of Little Abaco by Saturday afternoon when the next wave of east winds hit.
I had planned on a few days in the Blight but with the next system coming it I decided to anchor
up at Basin Harbor Cay.
I didn't sail directly there as I wanted to check out Joe Downer Cays in case I got back this way. I sailed by them but didn't go into the small bay there, and it is small. They didn't do much for me and I'd have no real desire to go back to them. I had also thought about going by Norman's Castle which was a lumber
camp back in the 20'-30's. According to the guide book not much there and that looked to be the case using the binoculars so didn't detour all the way over there.
I got to Hard Basin Cay and dropped the sails
just off the Cay as by now the wind had picked up and there were a lot of waves going in the narrow cut to the inner harbor. Once in I first motored off to the SE side but a lot of surge with the waves running in right out of the SW and then went to the N side and the same problem and it shallowed pretty quickly (kicked the rudder). This would be a very nice place in normal east winds and very pretty with the high bluffs guarding the entrance. There is a house in there but looked deserted.
I made a retreat and cavitated the outboard
a number of times trying to get back out the cut and couldn't wait to get the sails
back up since the boat is so much more stable with them up. A few hundred yards past the entrance I did that and then sailed around the NW tip of the Cay and anchored in a small bay there. It proved to be a little too small as I got in close to shore and dropped the anchor but by the time I let the rode
out I was back to the mouth of the bay and in some surge there. Still not as bad as the other bay.
That night I tried something different. I know from your trip report that you are familial with the surge over there at times where the wind has the boat cocked one way and the reflected surge comes in a different way and rocks the boat hard side to side. You try and sleep and it feels like someone is yanking the bed
out from under you one way and then the other. I got to thinking that wind the waves and wind are on the bow I sleep like a baby as it is lifting me up and down over the length of my body. So what would happen if I slept from side to side in the boat? I put two oars from the dinghy
inside the cabin
from the settee on the port side to the one on the starboard side and put the settee cushions
, turned around, on top of them. I slept that way for the night and it was much better. I'm going to make a shelf like piece that will span the two settee's in a situation like that and sleep in the cabin
. Now when the boat rocks side to side it is lifting me up and down along the length of my body.
Part 2 of across the Bight of Abaco to follow...