This is an open ended and loaded question. So why do I throw it out there?
I don't know... probably to help clear our heads and layout the thoughts and issues surrounding our next move, and of course to inform you, our readers on what's going on.
There is so much to cover. I would like to talk to you about what it's been like living here on a sailboat at anchor, living like Nomads and the incredible departure it has been from our previous life of just a few months ago. I would like to tell you about how great it feels being out here or how lucky we feel, or of the constant nagging thoughts we have about whether or not we did the "right thing," or maybe about the minor melt down Cole had today, feeling very sad and lonley, missing his friends and everything he had back in our home on Vancouver Island.
But I'll leave that for another time.
So quick update.
We're sitting here at anchor in the Exumas, near the bottom of the Bahamas, in Elizabeth Harbour. It's also know as "Chicken Harbour" to Cruisers. It is right between Great Exuma Island at Georgetown, and Stocking Island with "Chat'n'Chill beach".
The holding here is great and that's a good thing because Storms have been coming at us off and on for over 3 weeks now. Last nights was the worst by far with winds gusting up to 40 knots. That's close to 75 kilometers an hour! Back home that kind of wind knocks down trees and power to thousands of homes.
We've got a great anchor though, (I really should review it on our Reviews page) and being anchored on a sand bottom with 130' feet of chain out, we haven't budged a foot since this latest Storm hit.
We made our way down the Exuma chain and had a wonderful time doing it. Krista's mom joined us. There are so many gorgeous Islands here and the anchorages are eveywhere. The sand color ranges from a bleached yellow to almost a perfect white and every Island has a deserted beach.
The water color is surreal with blues you can't find anywhere. On calm days the clarity of the water lets you see 30 feet to the bottom. If I were to drop my sunglasses, I could easily go retrieve them with a mask and a snorkel. In fact we did lose something valuable to us the other day. While enjoying Cole's new Kayak Sail, I (Brad) happened to push the limits of the little sail a little too far. I sought out the stronger winds and a gust flipped me over! I turtled the Kayak and the "Mirage peddal gear" that this particular kayak uses, a $500 replacement, fell from the Kayak and ended up on the bottom of the sea. At first I didn't notice, that is until I had righted the Sail. The Kayak and I had floated 150 feet away from the spot I had flipped at.
Cole and I looked and looked for it before returning to the Catamaran. I put on my mask and snorkel and Cole pulled me behind the dinghy back and forth over where we thought it would be. I was unsuccessful, but we returned the following day to search. This time Krista helped.
I steered the dinghy in a grid pattern, this time Krista with mask and snorkel let me tow her behind the dinghy while Cole kept watch over Krista. After criss crossing the area for over an hour, she finally spotted it in 25 feet of water. She did a remarkable free dive and brought the wayward peddals back to the surface with her! It was a crazy search and rescue. These peddals are a vital part of Cole's freedom, allowing him to use the Kayak to explore like a bicylce in all the harbours we anchored in. We were all heart broken at the loss and elated at our rescue! Great job Krista!
But that takes me off topic...
We have engine problems.
The Port engine is pushing out white smoke and the #1 fuel injector is leaking diesel. I noticed this when we first crossed the Guf Stream many weeks ago and diagnosed it as such.
As soon as I knew we would be in a place where we could receive a new injector I ordered one. Nothing is readily available in the Bahamas and least of all in the Exumas. The Exumas are a sparsely populated chain of Cays and Islets. There aren’t any traditional stores here and when you find a store, they usually have everything from laundry soap to engine parts and the stock they have on hand is very limited. So I ordered one from Florida. Problem is the company I ordered it from has a lazy and forgetful order desk. How do I know this, I’ve been in their shop many times. In fact they did most of the engine work on Saltair 3 back in Fort Lauderdale.
Why keep using them? Because they are the only ones. I was told it would take a few days for the part to arrive, then it would be a few more days before it would ship as the shipping company they use to ship to the Bahamas only flies once a week. I expected it to arrive in about 10 days and when it didn't of course a follow up call had to be made.
He had forgotten to order it. Long story short, I've placed an alternative order with a shop in Nassau. They have to order it from Atlanta but it was back ordered but they said it should be here any day now… or whenever… who knows really…
So here we sit, waiting.
We’ve been hit with a near constant barrage of storms too. Last night’s being the latest.
It’s hard to get much done while the boat in the wind and waves, bounces and swings around like an amusement park ride.
The rain is unavoidable when working in the engine rooms.
When we finally get all this stuff done and a safe weather window appears, we plan on setting off South again. We will leave the Bahamas arriving at the Turks and Caicos Islands. Then if the weather window continues we will too and it will be a big push for the Dominican Republic.
A 350 mile journey at just 5 miles an hour it will be awhile before we make landfall. This part of the adventure takes us along what is knows as the "Thorny Path,” a track to the Windward and Leeward Islands of the Caribbean that takes you on a constant course into the prevailing winds and seas. This can make getting to our destination of the Dominican Republic a long, rough, and uncomfortable, but generally safe journey, but it will be a night time passage.
I say this with a little doom and gloom because no one has ever talked about this part of the journey with smiles on their faces. It is a daunting part of the trip. If it turns out to be wonderful you can bet I will talk highly of the pasage.
Once we arrive and clear into the D.R. we will spend some time exploring this Island country. Then we will follow the North East coast of the D.R. to the notorious Mona Passage and onto Puerto Rico. This too will be a night passage and not known for it’s comforts.
Any crew out there looking or adventure!?
Then it’s down to the Virgin Islands where the sailing becomes fun as we begin to engage the Caribbean Trade Winds all the way south to Trinidad and Tobago! This itinerary will bring us to June or even July and the start of the Hurricane Season. The southern end of the Caribbean Islands is out of what is known as the "Hurricane Box." Hurricanes generally don't make landfall here. We have to make it to this latitude before July or our insurance will be invalid.
This is where we will probably haul out the Catamaran and do some much needed maintenance. Then we will probably fly back to B.C. for a visit with friends and family before returning back to the boat in September near the end of the Hurricane season when we will explore the Islands of the Southern Caribbean that are not inside the "Box".
After that our plans get confusing, but the Dream is to transit the Panama Canal and to sail onto the South Pacific, eventually making it to Australia!
Stick with us, our Blog has been sporadic but so has our internet connections.
The Exumas aren’t known for their Starbucks with fast free Wifi. In fact there are no recognizable stores here, only a Scotia Bank and a Shell gas station in an otherwise tiny village they call Georgetown. Largest of towns in all the Exumas.
Thanks for following!