Tuesday 14 Jan, BHS day 15: Departing Spanish Wells, sadly.
Oana slept hardly at all last night. Lying down she couldn’t stop coughing. So she endured the night sitting upright on the settee. “Like on a long haul flight” she jokes. Poor her, she is exhausted this morning.
Despite loving Spanish Wells, we need to move on. We are planning to leave today but the wind is still blowing 20kts. When will it ever subside? It’s been a full week now. This afternoon we hope it will finally drop as forecast. Our departure is on a bit of a timeline passing through Current Cut, southwards into Eleuthera Sound. We must be there at high slack tide (around midday). Mid-tide currents can run up to 10kts apparently! Something to be avoided.
But first some last minute tasks. Oana stays aboard while I run ashore in the dinghy one last time. I want to refill the dive tanks and need to hand back the golf cart. To show how small this island community is, ironically I’m told that Bruno, the pilot we had to take us through Devils Passage, is our best person to fill the tanks. So I get to meet Bruno again. Like most people here, he is such a pleasant guy. So upbeat, helpful and very informative.
I have to kill an hour while the tanks fill, so I zip off in the golf cart. First to get a top-up for our local SIM card, then to the small but well stocked marine store to buy a waterproof epoxy filler. I want to put some on a damaged area of the rudder tip that met with some foreign object when anchored in Lauderdale. I don’t want any water to ingress the glass fiber, if I’m not already too late 🙁
By 10:30 we slip the mooring line and gently slip through Spanish Wells channel passed all the fishing and commercial boats. We feel a bit sad to leave this place.
Once out in the bay it’s quite choppy. We had planned to top up on fuel at the island’s power plant dock. The fuel is very cheap there. But in this wind and choppy sea we take the decision not to dock. We’ll just have to top up in George Town before heading over to Cuba. Also, if we had fueled up we may have missed the tide window for the Cut.
Although it’s a nice beam wind, we chose to motor. We need to make water anyway plus sailing over this shallow water doesn’t seem wise. It’s still only 3-4m even in the bay. Plus lots of coral heads around.
We arrive to Current Cut about 30mins passed our target time. The ebb flow has set in and it’s already 4 kts against us through the narrowest part. The waters are swirling all over the place and it’s a bit of a challenge to keep Cloudy in a straight line. It almost feels like she doesn’t want to go into Eleuthera Sound! Once through, it settles down and we thankfully get over the channel sand bars the other side with half a meter under the keel.
Once in the main sound we turn eastwards and get the wind at 25deg off our starboard bow. The wind has dropped to 15kts but there is still quite a sea running with this 12 mile fetch west of Eleuthera peninsula. So we put the mainsail out to stabilize us and help the engine a bit. The short waves are coming over the bow and everything is getting very salty.
The 12 mile leg east across the Sound takes 2 hours and soon we are in calmer water anchored up against the west coast of Eleuthera peninsula, with beaches and lushly covered limestone headlands. It’s very peaceful. Our first real anchorage away from everything, this season.
As evening draws on the wind dies to nothing and all we can hear is the lapping of water in the under-cut limestone shoreline. Really very tranquil. In the evening Oana makes bread (in the bread maker running on the inverter). I’m interested to see how much battery it uses over the 3 1/2 hour program. To date we have only made bread when on shore power or on generator. Once in the Pacific, we’ll definitely have to make it ourselves. But we should by then have the new solar array set up on the bimini – that will provide ample power.
After the bread mission is accomplished, we tackle another mission which has been long pending: finish the editing of raw video footage from Herrington Harbour yard. We do manage to edit it all, at long last!
And we get to bed passed midnight. No alcohol tonight though. We feel we need to dry out a bit after those fun evenings in Spanish Wells.