Saturday, December 26, 2009


We diddled around between Lake Sylvia in Fort Lauderdale and the anchorage between Florida International University and Oleta State Park in North Miami for a few days as new weather fronts seemed to pass through every other day.  We finally decided to cross from Fort Lauderdale (Franz and Louise dinghied up from their slip in Hollywood to wish us a safe voyage) on the second day of a two-day window.  It wasn't a great crossing, but it wasn't bad and we got into West End on Grand Bahama Island at 2:15 PM on December 15 after leaving Lake Sylvia at 7:00 AM.

We saw a couple of cruise boats heading toward Nassau and crossed paths with a car carrier which was riding the Gulf Stream north.
The Admiral often complains that the boat is too small so, to accomodate her, the marina at West End charged us as if we were 40 feet long (their "minimum").  They also have hefty mandatory surcharges for electical hookup and water use.  At least "free" WiFi comes with all this money, so we could communicate with everyone through email or Skype and get some good forecasts to cover the next 2 or 3 days when we knew we would be in a communications blackout until we got to Manjack or Green Turtle Cay.  NOT!  No WiFi and they seemed unconcerned about it.  So we settled for a print-out of a forecast from an unnamed source from the dock office.  It indicated that we would have a good trip to Great Sale the next day but would have to continue on the next day in somewhat questionable weather as the wind clocked around.  There was a lot of discussion around the docks about where to go since staying at West End could turn into at least a week's stay at very high prices.

We had a very quiet trip to Great Sale the next day.  It is a totally deserted island in the middle of nowhere, but about half-way between West End and the cays ("keees") of Abaco.  After a quiet night, we left in an increasing breeze with the intent of going to Green Turtle Cay and a night at the Green Turtle Club dock followed by some time at anchor in the harbors of Green Turtle.

The weather gods were not at all cooperative and we ended up beating into major head winds and seas that broke completely over the bridge (the skipper, needless to say, was operating from the lower helm station).  [Note that cruising blogs rarely show photographs of this kind of weather since the photographer is hanging on for dear life and doesn't even want to open a porthole for fear of drowning the camera to say nothing of himself!]  After about five hours of this, the skipper aborted the voyage at Allans-Pensacola Cay and found a relatively peaceful anchorage with four other power boats. 

The weather did not seem to abate much over the night, but we saw the other boats begin to weigh anchor and move around late the next morning.  A VHF radio call to Coco Nut revealed that they had gotten a forecast that the wind was going to swing around again before night, making our anchorage untenable.  The only option was to head on to Green Turtle in what we thought would be equally horrendous conditions as the day before.  Thankfully, it ended up being a much easier passage and we took the last slip in the marina in the middle of a downpour.

We ended up spending three nights on the dock.  There is a special "deal" that lets you eat meals at the restaurant and take the meal bill off the dockage fee.  It isn't cheap, by any means, and you tend to overeat for a few days! The Admiral bummed a golf cart ride into town with the owners of the boat in the next slip who were there for the entire winter and did a little shopping. 

After three days, we moved out to try the new anchor in the harbor and wait for the potluck dinner on Christmas Day.

We later discovered that a number of other boats had left West End the same day we did largely because of the expense they would incur if they were weathered in for a few days.  They went down to Lucaya/Freeport and stayed in slips for a fraction of the price until the weather cleared up a bit  and came back around a few days later.  We are all now together in White Sound, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco.

We hope you all had a Happy Christmas!
Happy New Year to Everyone!

To be continued when we have a better WiFi connection.

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