Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Breaking out of the Bahamas

After four months of sun and sand we were really looking forward to a new adventure and our weather opportunity opened up in a big way. Our goal was simple: move as far and as often as we could based on the weather. We knew this part of the trip was going to be more about traveling than cruising. But we made the most of it as we went and ended up having a great ten days even though it was all a blur. We traveled and planned our route independently but were always criss-crossing with a group of boats that departed the Bahamas at the same time. Eavesdropping on all their VHF conversations kept us from feeling too isolated. Everybody does it. They'd eavesdrop on us if we ever talked to anyone! This part of our route took us from Long Island (Hog Cay) to Rum Cay (the rolliest anchorage in the world), to Mayaguana and then Turks & Caicos. One of the highlights was seeing so many whales on their annual migration from the breeding grounds of the Silver Banks to the feeding grounds in the North.

Not long after we left Long Island, we saw a school of mahi and headed right for it. About two seconds after our lines were in the water we had a double hook up. Here is Drew reeling in the bigger of the two and Andy using the gaff to bring it in. This one fell back in a couple times. At the same time Evelyn was reeling in another on the port side. Exciting!

Everyone stayed in their undies that morning for good luck. It worked!

This is the anchorage at Mayaguana. We sailed a little over 24 hours straight to get here after a miserable night at Rum Cay. All of these boats converged on this anchorage around the same time. Once a window opens, everyone jumps through it. Most of them headed out the next day but we decided to stay so Drew and Andy could get their last fill of fishing before leaving the Bahamas. Our VHF buddies, Dirk and Nancy on Renegade, decided to stick around also.

This is the one that almost got away and the "three sharks were circling us" story no mother wants to hear.  A little team effort and some quick action brought in this large grouper with everyone's limbs still attached.  

The kids went over to Renegade to watch Dirk clean the fish and meet their cat, Captain Butters. These vacuum cleaners always show up when there's a fish carcass in the water. 

More goodies. We had a fish and lobster feast with Dirk and Nancy.

A pain to cook but absolutely delicious!

There are so many pristine beaches in the Bahamas. Unfortunately, though, most of the beaches on the windward side of the islands look like this. It's horrifying how much plastic shit and fishing netting washes ashore. Just sayin'

Always catching stuff. This crab was so annoyed it was waving a stick at us! Evelyn often rides her cardboard tube horse, Stormy, around since she can't get the real thing. 

When our goal is to make tracks we spend many hours and days on the boat. Sometimes it's too bumpy or hot or loud to be inside playing or watching a movie. And reading would cause instant barfing. So these two come up with all kinds of weird stuff to do. We sit at the helm and watch wondering what the heck they talk about all day. Apparently this topic was hilarious. Some people have wondered if the kids get bored. I'm sure we all suffer from some version of boredom at times but the word is rarely used and they prefer it to being in school all day and a jam-packed schedule so they never complain. 

Yup, we're watching you!

Getting busted added to the hilarity. We don't even want to know.

Arriving in Turks & Caicos after a night sail. It was kind of sad taking down our ratty Bahamas flag and hoisting the yellow quarantine flag. We cleared in and out of the Turks & Caicos at the same time knowing we weren't going to linger. We did get to fly the flag for a couple days, though. 

How could you possibly be bored when you can do THIS in Provo T&C? The excitement never stops.  

Snorkeling and collecting stinky stuff in the buff at Long Cay, Turks & Caicos where we spent one night after crossing the Caicos Bank.

A long dinghy ride into South Caicos got us dinner at a restaurant in what seemed like a defunct hotel just up this road lined with more of da funk.  

Sunset dinghy ride back to Tangent waaaaayyy in the distance. 

A quick visit to the beach in the AM before heading to our next anchorage. The kids were sad to come across this pile of cleaned conch shells that were mostly smaller than legal size. 

On our way to Big Sand Cay we saw many whales breaching. We were never close enough to get a good picture. There's one out of the water if you look closely enough. 

Big Sand Cay: The last of our turquoise water and white sand beach anchorages for a while.  Dominican Republic, here we come!

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