Trip Start Nov 06, 2010
108Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
We got up this morning at 0700, got in our last shore head uses, and Pete fired up his computer for one last peak at the weather - we definitely have to be resourceful in getting our weather now as we can't just tune the VHF to the weatherfx or tap into an iPhone app for information. Luckily, people are happy to share such information, so that is extremely helpful. We said goodbye to Jon and Arline as they went off to walk their dogs, and we were on our way.
There were some big gray clouds in the sky and a steady breeze - we hoped it wouldn't be too much of a dozy. To begin with we had the wind on our nose, so we motored for a bit...and it was kind of a dozy. As we were going through some relatively shallow water heading toward significantly deeper water, the waves had stacked up and we plowed on through. We had to go up and around the very northern Berry Islands to come back around the eastern side so we knew we would eventually be going with the waves, but the time against was definitely a bit raucous
We had dealt with a couple of rigging issues while in Fort Lauderdale. Connor had stitched up the original jib, so we reattached that, and we also rerigged our topping lift on the main boom. When we set the jib, it went out just fine, but as I was starting to prepare the main to be set, Caleb looked at how the jib sheet pressed against the lifeline and, having only seen the thing set once, he even knew it was wrong. No big deal - we struck the sail, reran the sheet outside of the lifeline, and quickly reset it. We then set the mainsail - also no big deal. However, about twenty minutes later, Pete noticed that the topping lift had somehow detached itself and was swinging around the stays off the mast. He sent Caleb up forward to first catch the topping lift and get it unwrapped from around the stays. Then, while I sheeted the jib in as tight as I could get it, Pete steered us and played against the swell in such a way as to make it possible for Caleb to take the topping lift out and around the front of the jib stay - it was all a relatively tangled mess. Caleb succeeded and brought the topping lift cable back along the port side, and we just lashed it to the back railing to be reattached to the boom when we were ready to strike sail at the end of the day
Once we were turned down the eastern side of the Berry Islands, it was a much more comfortable ride - and we were hauling! I think I saw the knot meter top out at 7.9 knots. For having a general average of about 5.5 knots, it was definitely a speedy day. We could see the beach we'd hung out on the other day as we scooted past Great Harbour Cay from the other side. And in no time at all, we were turning in below Hoffman's Cay to where we would anchor for the evening. After so many "up before the sun" days on the ICW where we would then go until an hour or two after sunset, it was really refreshing to get into our anchorage and still have a couple of hours of sunlight to enjoy.
Even though we were going in as the tide was coming out, Pete managed to sail us all the way through the current to our anchorage. It was enjoyable for Caleb and I, but I'm pretty sure Pete was having an absolute blast - we even sailed onto the hook. He had the motor idling just in case, but it ended up being unnecessary. With the current, we backed down on our anchor quite nicely. As we came in, we spotted Hey Jude. We noticed their dinghy was gone, so we assumed they were off exploring, but shortly after we were in place, Steve and Judy came up with their dog Margarita to say hello
After Steve and Judy left, Pete got out the snorkel gear to prepare for a little anchor dive. He was up on the bow, ready to jump in when he noticed two men in a dinghy scooting around over where our anchor line was. We had added a little buoy to the end of the section of chain on our anchor line so we could tell where the actual anchor was approximately located, so Pete assumed they were just seeing what the buoy was - but then he saw them bring out a glass-bottomed bucket. They were checking our anchor for us! I'm pretty positive Pete was stoked he didn't have to go for a dip...
Once we chatted with our new anchor-scoping friends and an additional couple who came over to say hello, we got ready for a little dinghy adventure of our own. Everyone mentioned "the blue hole," so we went in search. It was a wet (okay, soaking) dinghy ride over to the beach, but at least it was warm and pleasant out. We got the dinghy secure and found the path to hike to this hole. It was a very narrow and winding path, but we soon came to an opening - I don't know that it was all that blue, but there was a big hole with a pool in the middle with some caves along the bottom
After taking in the blue hole, we decided to see where else the path led, and we were pleased to find Hoffman's Beach, all to ourselves. Pete had run down to the far end of the beach, but I was wading around in the water when I came across what looked like, for lack of a better way to describe it, a petrified manatee turd...curled into the fetal position. I called to Caleb to grab a stick. Upon poking it, we confirmed that it was not alive - totally rock hard. As Caleb and I started walking to the other end of the beach, discussing how it was probably some alien life form, Pete yelled that we had to come see the alien life form that he had found. This was definitely the same thing we had just seen, but it was still alive. Pete managed to get it out of the water, and when he set it on the edge of the water and lightly poked it, it was soft and it oozed some liquid. We're still convinced it's some sort of alien life form...but, more likely, it is a sea cucumber. Same thing.
We hiked back to the other beach to the dinghy and went back to Hejira for a bit of dinner. Once we were fed, we stopped over to see Steve and Judy
We enjoyed a beautiful moonrise, declared it time for bed, and bid them goodnight. They're pretty sure they'll head for Nassau in the morning like us, so we'll certainly be seeing more of them.