S/V Solitaire 2010 Cruise Log #3
Friday, December 4, 2009
Departed: Nassau, New Providence Island at 07:49
Arrived: Shroud Cay, Exumas at 14:38
Enroute: 6 hours 49 minutes
Distance: 44.1 nautical miles
We were glad that we took advantage of the calm day to move further south and east; however, we’ve had to motor so much this trip that we may have to change out name to “Solitaire the Trawler”. The yellow banks between Nassau and the Bahamas keep getting easier and easier for us to traverse. We’ve learned to head a little further south than the published route in order to avoid the more dense coral heads.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Departed: Shroud Cay, Exumas at 09:09
Arrived: Exuma Land and Sea Park, Warderick Wells, Exumas at 11:50
Enroute: 2 hours 42 minutes
Distance: 17.7 nautical miles
Once again, we didn’t stick around for anything that Shroud has to offer; seems that we are always in the rush to get somewhere else. The weather forecast hints of a possible cold front, so we’re heading for the Exuma Land and Sea Park, which is a good place to be for nearly any type of wind. Besides that, it’s Saturday and we’ll be just in time for the weekly beach party. It’s a nice way to meet new cruisers. There have been a lot of changes at the park – a new administrator, warden and defense force manager – all Bahamians. The former warden, Tom and his wife Judy are now caretakers on a nearby private Island. Darcy has taken over in the office and Kevin still heads up the volunteer program. We finally found out which Island is owned by Johnny Depp and his family – it’s Halls Pond Cay, within the park boundaries and a bone of contention for some of the locals who are against any private ownership within National Parks.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Departed: Exuma Land and Sea Park, Warderick Wells, Exumas at 7:43
Arrived: Black Point Settlement, Great Guana, Exumas at 12:29
Enroute: 4 hours 25 minutes (with a brief fuel stop at Sampson Cay)
Distance: 29.3 nautical miles
We had a nice reunion with Mike and Kathy on Sapphire and Steve on Fine Lion, and met new friends, Chris and Anne on Mr. Mac. All came aboard Solitaire for a happy hour that started early and ended late. We’re keeping busy with boat chores, putting up the Christmas tree, and catching up with both local and cruising friends. Monday night we had a potluck on Steve’s boat with freshly caught fish and lobster (thanks to Mike and Steve). We finally have experienced a green flash at sunset; after years of waiting, we’ve seen it two nights in a row.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Departed: Black Point Settlement, Great Guana Cay, Exumas at 10:05
Arrived: Little Farmers Cay, Exumas at 13:02
Enroute: 2 hours 57 minutes
Distance: 11.8 nautical miles
Sometimes other cruisers are a frustration and an embarrassment. We pulled into Little Farmers and picked up a mooring ball. A trawler was anchored in the mooring field – which is not only inconsiderate to other boaters and stealing from the Islanders who own the moorings; it is also unsafe. We knew that when the current changed, the other boat would probably hit our boat. We motored over in our dinghy to find out if the person was aware of the currents in the area and that they were anchored in a private mooring field. They told us that they were there first, that they could anchor anywhere they darned well pleased and that if we didn’t like it then we’d have to move. We finally had to move to a further away mooring. What is so amazing is that the boat was sporting the burgee of “Seven Seas Cruising Association” Commodores. We are seeing incidents like this more and more from cruisers: anchoring in a mooring field or taking a mooring ball for the night and then leaving without paying; using someone else’s internet, water or facilities without patronizing their business; and a host of other inconsiderate acts.
We had a nice reunion with our friends on Little Farmers. The children had just received their first quarter grades; several proud parents stopped us on the road to show us report cards and brag about their offspring. We missed seeing Khadija, who has started eighth grade and is living with her aunt and sister in Nassau. Empty-nesters, Terry and Earnestine invited us to dinner one night – Carrot Soup, Lobster, Baked Potato, Salad and Fresh-baked Bread – probably one of Jim’s favorite meals. Our new “house” batteries arrived on the mail boat from Nassau so Jim and Terry tackled that job on Friday. In addition to solving our battery problems and catching up with friends, we had one more reason for being in Little Farmers.
The Administrator of the Bahamas, Ivan Ferguson, was coming into harbor and we wanted to meet with him to see if we could get an extension on our visas before we went to the Jumentos. Once a month, the government boat visits each of the five Exumas settlements to deliver the monthly payroll – in cash – to all government employees. This is the equivalent of the governor of a State visiting every city in the state once a month. It’s quite a sight to see the police boat arrive with government officials protected by guards who are armed with sawed-off shotguns. We had our private audience with the administrator and had some degree of success; but we still have to take a side-trip to Georgetown, Exumas and meet with Immigration officials in January.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Departed: Little Farmers Cay, Exumas at 7:08
Arrived: Black Point Settlement, Great Guana, Exumas at 9:32
Enroute: 2 hours 24 minutes
Distance: 11.6 nautical miles
We arrived back in Black Point just in time for Lorraine’s Saturday night Barbeque and a reunion with our friends on Veranda. Black Point is one of the best places we know for meeting up with people you haven’t seen in a while. We spent a lazy couple of days at anchor – catching up with boat chores, weaving, napping, reading, and movies. Christy and I walked the ocean beach from the settlement to the tip of the Island – picking up sea glass, shells and hamburger beans. When we got back to our boats, the wind had shifted and our guys were ready to sail north to Big Majors Spot.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Departed: Black Point Settlement, Great Guana, Exumas at 15:21
Arrived: Big Majors Spot, Exumas at 17:03
Enroute: 2 hours 42 minutes
Distance: 10.6 nautical miles
We arrived at our anchorage off Pig Beach just in time for happy hour. After two weeks in the Bahamas, we’ve finally had our first good sail. Think we’ll just stay put here for a bit and let some nasty weather pass through. We’re expecting squalls up to 40 or 50 knots by Friday with a period of west winds. We’ll no doubt rock around quite a bit; but the bay is wide, the holding is great and there are just a handful of other boats here.