I believe we must be closing in on an inauspicious record. More about that later. The first and most exciting news is that we are no longer in Green Turtle Cay. Don’t get me wrong, Green Turtle Cay is a lovely place and we enjoyed our time there, but there are an awful lot of islands in the Bahamas and we’ve not begun to scratch the surface. So, after cereal, morning prayer, and Shakespeare, we listened to the Abaco Cruisers Net and heard many of the passages between the Atlantic and the Sea of Abaco were passable. There was no mention of Whale Cay passage, so I picked up the VHF and hailed anyone in or around the Whale Cay passage. Almost immediately, a vessel responded stating that they had just come through it and it wasn’t bad. That was all I needed to hear!
We awoke to a still, calm morning. There was a peak of brightness coming from the eastern sky where the sun was making its morning climb. Otherwise, all was dark and cloudy. Thunder rumbled and lightning flashed to the north and west. Soon, it began to rain, a rain that would not stop until we had finished our day’s journey. Around 11:10, we finished untying the myriad of lines with which we had secured Beatitude for the past month. We smoothly slipped out of our slip, crossed White Sound, and entered into the Sea of Abaco where we motored southeastwardly toward the feared Whale Cay passage. Approximately one hour after leaving the dock we entered into the Whale Cay Channel Cut and proceeded out into the Atlantic (if continuing on our course, the next stop would be in Africa!).
We were not unhappy to find the rage reduced to a whimper, and the Whale reduced to guppy. The passage out around the infamous Whale Cay was as comfortable as could be wished for. We encountered gently rolling 4-5 foot waves with a period (the time from one wave crest to the next wave crest) of about 5-6 seconds. The only breaking waves were seen on the channel rocks off to the northwest and on Whale Cay itself to our southeast. Thirty minutes after exiting into the Atlantic we returned back into the Sea of Abaco. It had rained since leaving Bluff House this morning. It wasn’t too uncomfortable or windy, however. While in Ft. Lauderdale, Cindy and I had both purchased some rain gear which worked perfectly for the passage. This is not foul weather gear, by any means. But it is light and durable enough to keep the rain off of you on a warmish Bahamian winter rainy day.
So… on to the record setting captain and crew of Beatitude. What is the world record for the number of times one can wrap a line around a prop. Yep… we did it again. We hailed Dive Guana prior to entering Settlement Harbour on Great Guana Cay to request a mooring ball. Having secured permission to pick up a mooring ball, we made a couple of attempts to pick it up with Cindy on the bow. We were unsuccessful so I decided to back down onto the ball and let Cindy pick it up from the starboard stern steps. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but the pennant from the ball wrapped itself around my starboard prop and the engine died. The good news is we were secured. The bad news is not exactly in the manner we had hoped. I dutifully donned my mask, snorkel, and flippers, and took an unscheduled snorkeling trip off the stern of our boat. The line was wrapped around five or six times. Thankfully, after a few moments of work, I was able to unwrap the line and secure our line through the pennant loops while still in the water. Then it was a simple task to secure the other bow line through the loop. At 2:20, we were properly secured and were able to relax for a while.
I showered to remove the salt water from my bonus snorkeling experience, and then we took Dalí to shore where we walked to Nippers, a bar/restaurant with a breathtaking view of the Atlantic. The food and drinks were good, but the view was worth the price of admission. Not far from the shore lies the third largest barrier reef in the world. Watching the waves break over the reefs while sipping from drinks was amazing. We were also privileged to have the company of Mike and Sharon, who are cruising aboard a 40’ Hunter named Monarch. They have lived aboard for 5 years and are nearing the completion of a one year hiatus from work in which they have cruised up and down the east coast of the U.S. and throughout the northern Exumas, Eleuthera, and the Abacos. We gleaned from them whatever information that we could in regard to our future cruising grounds.
A dark dinghy ride back to Beatitude concluded our day. Cindy and I are both tired due to lack of sleep last night. For some unknown reason, she just could not sleep well last evening, and I, for a known reason (if Cindy doesn’t sleep well, I don’t sleep well) didn’t sleep well. We’ll retire early and see what tomorrow holds. Will we stay here? Will we go to Treasure Cay? Will we go to Man-o-War Cay? Who knows?!