Our time in the Virgins finally had to come to an end so we set a course for the Bahamas. The first question was where to go? There are a jillion islands along the way so we put up the sails and headed to the first island that matched a good sail angle. Unfortunately, the wind was not too cooperative and we found ourselves motorsailing much of four days. We finally fetched up in Mayaguana, the only island in the group to retain its original Arawak name. We spent three days anchored in swimming-pool water; the bottom covered in more starfish than stars in the sky (if you live in a city). Not another boat in sight the entire time. Eventually the wind shifted and we had to move on.
We wandered up the chain, trying Lady Slipper Cove on Ackland Island but the entrance was breaking so we kept going, another overnight sail to Conception Island. Another idyllic anchorage with crystal clear water and a beautiful beach. Until you land on it that is. The entire shoreline at the high water mark was littered with PLASTIC! Bottles and chairs and fishing crates and nets and…. This is endemic to all beaches throughout the islands that have a leeward element to them. While we were there the wind came from the north so it was a calm anchorage, normally it blows right into this cove, hence the trash. The second day there we were forced to move around to the west side as the wind shifted. This side was just as pretty, with no trash on the beach.
We then moved with the wind up to Long Island where we anchored near a mosquito haven. Those babies treated poor Nancy like a pincushion. Then in 15 minutes they were gone! Their bloodlust sated I guess. Finally we had to move along towards our destination in Beaufort. Unfortunately the wind didn’t cooperate and we motored or motor sailed for 111 hours straight. Fortunately, at 1800 rpm we moved at 6.2 knots and burned only 1 gallon per hour! That is incredibly thrifty. The first two days the sea was so smooth you could see your reflection on the surface. Ooh scary! I’ve never seen it so calm. Finally, about 30 miles from Beaufort the wind came in with a vengeance. From 10 to 30 knots in about 5 minutes. We were steppin’ and fetchin’ to get the code 0 down on deck. I even gave myself a bloody nose. The wind settled down as we came in the inlet but we were against the ebbing tide and it was a slow, bouncy slog in. By dusk we were anchored in front of town and toasted our passage after 18 days without seeing any other people.
The next morning we moved around to Town Creek Marina to tie up for a couple days. We had kept Zephyr there for nearly two years while we put in a new mast and other work. Steve and Carol run the best, friendliest marina I have ever been around. The dockage is all new, the facilities are first-rate, the service crew is knowledgeable and kind. We hated to leave three years ago and were welcomed with hugs and handshakes upon our return. Alas, we could only stay for two days. The huge Big Rock Billfish tournament is next week and our space was reserved for a big sportfishing boat. As an aside; there is a lot of discussion about the animosity between “stink potters” and “blow boaters” but at this marina everyone has the same objective: to have fun on the water. That spirit transcends politics and even vessel type. People help each other and share experiences openly. When I show the fisherman my outriggers and down rigger, they are amazed and share rigging methods and fishing tips. This place, this town, has a strong specific gravity for us, it is hard to leave. So, we didn’t. We moved back around to the front of town and dropped the hook. We may leave Saturday and we may not. The first time we were here, 23 years ago, we had to keep going to get to our wedding. Now we must keep moving to get to my baby sister’s wedding.