Friday, March 28, 2014

Eleuthera 52 mile sail

as good as sailing gets.....
IP32 Morning Grace and IP38 Moondance
Today was a day to sail across the Bight of Eleuthera. East winds at 20-25 gusting to 30. Course Northwest, sailing angle beam to broad reach. Waves 2-3 on the starboard stern quarter. The ride, smooth and comfortable. The autopilot sailing the entire leg holding the boat on the selected wind angle of 135 degrees, starboard reach. Boat speed ranged from 5-7 knots. We motored one hour in the am to charge up the battery bank, and we motored one hour at the end of the day to run into Current Cut. Island Packets are heavy yachts, but they really sail well in this kind of breeze. Running with our new boat buddies, IP32 MORNING GRACE and IP38 MOONDANCE, we all three had a dream sailing day and a safe passage through Current Cut. Tomorrow we will move 2 hours up to Spanish Wells where we will dock at Spanish Wells Yacht Haven. We need to wait out some unsettled weather, so we have selected to do that at a dock and enjoy the town. We are looking forward to this new destination!

Here are a few sailing photos of the 120 pictures I shot today!
IP32 Morning Grace at hull speed, beautiful sailing for Julie and Dixey

Island Spirit surfing at 7.34 knots in 25 knots

The chartplotter screen showing 7.0 SOG and the island of Eleuthera

The beautiful blue water and view from the cockpit.
The 135% jenny is furled to 110%

IP38 Moondance surfing the large swells. Great sailing, Nina and Bob

IP38 Moondance at hull speed, look at the stern wave
IP35 Island Spirit surfing waves with the water rushing by

The day ended with a beautiful sky off our sterns at anchor
IP38 Moondance at sunset

Another great day sailing the Bahamas. This life is so fun, exciting, adventurous and enjoyable. Yes, we live by the weather and we spend too much time working on weather, but planning ahead makes for better passages like today.

I published a video of this sailing, but it blew up my BTCbahamas data plan when I tried to upload it. So I bought more data. I will try again tomorrow.....Data down here is $30 for 2 GB for 30 days only! I have only used 2 GB since March 1, today starts my second 2 GB plan. Not bad for all the blogging, photos and emailing I have been doing this month.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rock Sound Eleuthera

The waterfront building waiting for a rebuild....
While riding out the high winds from the gale up north and waiting to move on, Eleuthera is a great place to stay. Free water on the beach at a city tap, public pavilion for local events and cruiser gatherings, great grocery store, hardware store, service station and laundry with nice cafes and even a blue hole to explore. This harbor has a lot to offer the cruising sailor and it is easy to stay here. Now after 30 knot winds on anchor, we will sail the 20-25 knot winds northward through Current Cut and on to Spanish Wells. There we will need to ride out the next cold front on Saturday and Sunday. It has been a very windy winter and tough to move around at times. We are always looking for safe harbors.....

Note: We have not run into Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, who are hiding out here in Eleuthera. We think they are here at The Cove:

Here are some photos of Rock Sound, Eleuthera, Bahamas

Island Spirit off the docks on anchor

Do not break down here, because everything is expen$ive
Check this $78 bilge float switch!

Radeen showing where we are in Rock Sound

Good Friend Steve on IP38 SLOW FLIGHT. He makes great rum cake!

Good Friends John and Nina on IP40 Sunkissed

Buddy Boat IP38 Moondance Bob and Nina as we discover Sammy's for brunch

WOW, look at this beautiful store! You don't see this in Exumas

I love Island Architecture

Walking home with groceries. Imagine, no car for a year+

A good project house, this can be yours

A fixed up home for rent

Geno making fresh conch salad for us

Geno was proud of his salad, which we enjoyed with Julie and Dixey of  Buddy Boat IP32 Morning Grace

A sunset across Rock Sound, Eleuthera

Look, a gas station, hardware store and grocery store!

Radeen strikes a pose at the Ocean Hole, 600+ feet deep!

Sunset from anchor after the front passed by with 32 knots of wind

Next stop is a town new to us, SPANISH WELLS, on the northern tip of Eleuthera, where we will spend a few days exploring a prosperous fishing village. We have about 300 people a day visiting our blog and enjoying our trip. Thank you again for sailing along!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sailing to Eleuthra

A beautiful am sail....
The sail from Cambridge Cay to Eleuthra is about a 45 mile leg, and usually a good sail. Today, we were expecting to motor the passage because the forecast was for light and variable winds. We departed at 0730 and raised sails in Cambridge Cay and found a beautiful 12-15 knot reaching wind on our port beam. So, we had a wonderful sail for about 3-4 hours until the winds moved NE and ended up light and 30 degrees off out port bow which we can not sail.

So we left the sails up and fired up the engine and motor sailed the rest of the way into Rock Sound where we dropped anchor. The winds are to build from the southwest tonight and blow 25-28 knots all day tomorrow, so we anchored off the western shore of this massive 1.5 mile by 3 mile harbor. If we want to run the tender to town, it would be a 1.5 mile run from this side of the harbor. So, we might just hang out here until the winds move NE. When that happens we will then pick up anchor and move the 1.5 miles to the other side of Rock Sound where we will be right off the town dock. There are about 15 boats anchored in here for the weather, and about 6 or maybe 7 are Island Packet Yachts. So, it looks like an IPY minivous!

Here are a few fun GoPro sailing photos taken today...

A very cool angle with the GoPro looking down the Main Sail to the deck

Sailing with the staysail and the full jib and main, making 6 knots

GoPro Camera out on the boat hook

Island Spirit sailing and running all on solar panels

Buddy Boat IP38 Moondance sailing full 

Blogging tools

As for our weather, THIS IS what it will do Tue and Wed, this is showing 25-30 knots of NW winds. This is WHY we anchored on the WEST side of the harbor.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cambridge Cay Beauty

Look at this area with satellite....
This is truly the most beautiful seascape on earth....hands down. #1. The endless variety of colors of blue water, the beaches, the reefs, the mooring field, the Exuma Land and Sea Park management all make it a wonderland.

It is simply too beautiful! I can't even get close to capturing the beauty in my photos. I tried to capture it by shooting over 300 photos in 2 days using filters, polarizing filters and even an underwater GoPro camera. Nothing captured the true scene. You need to add this spot to your Bucket List of destinations!

Here are my best 12 photos, of 300+ taken!

Johnny Depp is a SMART man to build here...
The SEA AQUARIUM is a wonderful snorkel site
Beaches, Beaches, Beaches, and no one on them!
Sea side where Bell Rock is located
Our fleet of 3, Island Spirit, Moon Dance, Morning Grace
Radeen with our beach umbrellas
Snorkeling one of the many reefs
Swimming back to the dinghy which is anchored in sand at Honeymoon Beach
Radeen explores the Sea Aquarium
Soft coral on the ledges at the Sea Aquarium
Elkhorn Coral formations at Tom's Elkhorn Reef, south side, ocean side
Sea Aquarium as we swam the entire island
Study this location and turn on the satellite view then zoom in and look at all the reefs, beaches and beautiful waters...Tomorrow we make the run to Eleuthera and on to Abaco...

Friday, March 21, 2014

Black Point

Black Point Settlement is our identified southern most point, as we only have 3 weeks to explore these islands of the Exumas. This is the second largest settlement in the Exumas with 200 residents, Georgetown is the largest. Here at Black Point it is customary to visit Lorraine and her Mother. Lorraine opens her home for dinners and cooks the best meals and her Mother bakes the local breads. Rockside is the most impressive laundromat anywhere in the entire world. It is spotless and modern, with WiFi, Cable TV, a store, coffee and pastries. And then there is the view! 

No laundry has a view like this or a dinghy dock like this. This is the #1 laundry. So, while Radeen did 3 loads of laundry, I had the pleasure of rebuilding the head, you know, the toilet! Yes, stupid us, we had the Island Packet Factory rebuild all hoses, pumps and valves to the head, but did not tell them to replace the 4 year old toilet. Lucky for me, I had bought a new replacement head pump on our last day in Miami. The rebuild was easy, simply a matter of swapping out the pump assembly. 
While here at Black Point , we enjoyed our first meals out off the boat since leaving Miami 16 days ago. This was a real treat, especially after the yacht services and jobs. We enjoyed Scorpio's for chicken BBQ with Bahamian mac 'n cheese and Lorraine's for lobster tails and rum punches.  It was a special treat to have Kathy and Dan of IP-440 Sea Star join us both evenings!

Sadly, with only 2 days here at Black Point, we will sail out and north up to Cambridge Cay, back into the Land and Sea Park. Cambridge Cay is reported to be many cruisers' favorite place with great snorkeling and protection. 

Here are some Black Point photos

The well water pumps and front door view from the laundry

Our view from anchor at Black Point

The dinghy dock and our boat on anchor

The school house

Walking out of town

The one and only GARDEN of EDEN


Driftwood sculptures at the GARDEN of EDEN

The source of our connectivity, Batelco

Returning home with the laundry

Harbor water is so clean

Out to dinner with Julie and Dixey

Fun times at Scorpios

Out to dinner with Bob and Nina

The mailboat arrived and almost sunk our joke....we had to run for it
Spare head pump...a last minute buy in Miami. Good decision!

How to take apart the head

Head removed, made it easier to rebuild

Swap out the new pump

Reinstall the head....all in about one hour
Life on a cruising boat is the best.....when all systems are running smoothly! Cruising = Fixing your Boat in Tropical Locations :-)