Of course my post is late, but following along my version of reality, from Hope Town we left to go to Marsh Harbour to get our mail. Considering what you pay to get your mail, it really isn’t worth it. But I needed some stuff so we sent it to Mangoes, our favorite marina in Marsh Harbour. I always expect that these little backward voyages (remember we were trying to break the void and head south) would be zippy quicky, but we ended up staying 5 days! However, we also spent time visiting with our Green Turtle friends Bob and Gracie on Gracia, and our friend Patrick on Thistle Dew. We made two new friends on Dogonit, Laurie and Anthony. We (Patrick, Anthony, Laurie, Chris, me and the kids) got together on our boat and ate and drank and played Cranium. I have to say I can’t remember laughing that much in a long time. While all the people we have met have been super nice, it was cool to hang with people closer to our age.
At the end of the week we wrapped up our errands and headed off for Little Harbour and Pete’s Pub. Patrick stayed in Marsh, but Dogonit left too. Marsh Harbour is north of Hope Town, so we again headed south, bypassing Hope Town and cruised down to Little Harbour. Although technically there are other places to stop in North Abaco, most people consider Little Harbour the last stop before the trek to Eleuthera or to Nassau. Unfortunately we didn’t get to stop at Lubbers Quarters, where we have a friend from Green Turtle, but you have to sail sometimes! Iolar (our friends Walt and Lynn) were already there. We had planned to all sail over together to Eleuthera, which we did. Group sailing, or buddy boating, is not for everyone, but I know it makes my Mom happy! I was just as glad, not that it is that far to go (65 miles), but it was our next longest passage since FL. After two nights in Little Harbour, we left on Sunday 3/13. Chris and I had done our prepping so that we would have our ducks in a row when crossing. By this I mean we put up bungy cords where things had previously fallen, tidied up, checked the oil, we went over the MOB (man over board) steps, and entered our way points ahead of time, etc. So we were feeling pretty organized. We went to bed and had planned to join the others outside the Harbour, where they had anchored because they had deeper keels. When we woke up we realized that due to daylight savings, we would have to wait an hour to see the buoys to get out of the harbor. Jeez! We didn’t want to run aground, so we just hoped everyone didn’t want to be too punctual, as we discussed leaving at 6:30 a.m. As it turned out, they couldn’t see the shoals either, so the trip commenced around 7:30 a.m, and we reached Royal Island around 4:30 p.m. There were 4 boats total – Iolar, Dogonit, Romany and Wind Spirit.
Both the kids did pretty well. Although they felt somewhat queasy, no one was sick – a real plus. They have learned to stay outside and just enjoy the ride. Shane does not like the fact that he can’t walk in the front, and Kelly is not one with her life jacket (of course she wears it; she just doesn’t enjoy it) but that is not too bad. We eat lightly when underway. But I have to say the most amazing thing was the size of the swells. If someone said to me, oh I sailed in 10 foot swells, I would think that they sailed in a storm, or if they said the difference between the bottom and the top of the swell was say, 20 feet. But these swells were easy enough. We just went down (where we could not briefly see the boats next to us) and then up again, and down again – you get the picture. But they were large. The sailing was really nice, 5.5-6 knots or a little faster, which is no race statistic, but it works for us. Reaching Royal Island was a nice end to a nice jaunt. It was crowded with boats when we arrived, but there was still room to anchor. There is virtually nothing there, save a failed resort initiative, so it is literally just a resting spot. I chuckled, as the next morning the place was empty except the four of us, which shows I don’t yet keep a sailor’s clock (up with the sun and down with the sun). We were now, officially, finally, on a new island. The jump for us was as important psychologically as it was physically, since friends had been calling for us to come for some time. But I can say I understand why so many just stay in North Abaco – it really is a cool place.
Here are a few photos of the boats we sailed with. One is Iolar (green hull) and the other is Dogonit.
Here is a family photo that Anthony and Laurie took of us.
In my next entry, we’ll cover Eleuthera, which is very different than North Abaco, and then on to the Exumas, where we are now.