We never intended to spend any time in the Bahamas. We really want to get to the Virgin Islands so I can clear up some remaining mysteries in our family history and so Jack can see how much has changed since he lived there in the 70s. We also want to get to Puerto Rico for the same family history reasons and also because we both like it.
We stopped at Spanish Wells with the hope that a fair wind would find us and give us a lovely fast 1000-mile passage but it was not to be. The winds howled from the east for the entire time we were there making us glad we’d picked up a mooring. Boats came and went but mostly heading south to the Exumas, north to the Abacos, or west back to Florida or other east coast destinations. No one went east because it was impossible.
For the non-sailors: sailboats can’t sail into the wind. If we want to go in that direction we have to zigzag back and forth, or tack, just like a skier slaloms down a hill but in reverse, because we want to go uphil, or windward. The alternative is motoring and that not only gets expensive, but we can only carry so much fuel onboard so we have to factor that in to any decision.
We saw that Friday and Saturday the wind was to turn SSE, then Sunday and Monday east again but very light. We figured we’d make some time sailing eastward Friday and Saturday, then continue under power Sunday and Monday and that would just about get us to 65 degrees longitude where we could turn south and enjoy the SE trradewinds all the way to the Virgin Islands.
That was the plan. We moved the boat to Royal Island to be in a better position for a fast exit to the Atlantic and I spent all afternoon and evening Thursday making food so we wouldn’t have to cook for the first few days. I made a pasta salad, a wild rice salad, curried lentils and tofu, tuna salad for Jack, faux tuna salad for me, and hardboiled a half dozen eggs. We also have the “snack bucket” which is perpetually filled with packets of crackers, granola bars, nuts, trail mix, gum and whatever else our guests may have left in it. We’re ready.
Ivanhoe…that’s his name and his nickname too, showed up 3 hours early to de-barnacle Escape Velocity. That’s a change of pace. He had just finished working on Lenny Kravitz’s boat, who knew? He worked hard but carefully. Money well spent.
Slipping #3 mooring was trickier than usual because of the peer pressure from all the skippers in the field kept making me come out before the storm and reeve another line to the mooring ball. What a mess. Of course it was blowing quite hard which always complicates these things. Marce powered into the tempest and I unwove the cats cradle, I think we handled it well and did our classic pirouette right into Ronald’s fuel dock, we were showing only an eighth of a tank, ouch this is going to be painful at $5.96 per gallon plus four percent surcharge for using a card. She only took 50 gallons. Now dear readers math, not being one of my talents, caused me to scratch head, because we only have a 100 gallon tank. It may be time to find the official Manta graduated fuel stick, every Manta has one.
One last glance at Spanish wells and we were off. As I nosed her out of the inlet, more concerned about shallow water than anything, I noticed that we were running at 7.6 kts with very little throttle. Thank you Ivanhoe.
Our goal for today is to stage ourselves at Royal Island anchorage for an early morning departure in an attempt to get as much Easting as possible before the Trades fill in and make it very difficult to get out to 66 degrees West before we can head South to the Virgins. Yeah I know, It takes patience to sail, this adds hundreds of extra miles.
Other than a narrow entrance Royal Island has a beautiful anchorage, and supposedly Roger Staubach’s resort development company started developing this island and you can still see some ruins and a gone to seed golf course, but first one must ask permission to tour the grounds, what where are we Fort Lauderdale?
As a general rule I enjoy seeing impossibly successful guys screw up but we passed on this one, and stayed on EV. Very peaceful after Spanish Wells. So peaceful there’s no WIFI, no cell, no Sat. phone, no SSB. but it is beautiful. Marce says she hears voices in the SSB radio!