Our Kadey Krogen Trawler

Our Kadey Krogen Trawler

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Bahamas 2018 part 2 & homeward

Bahamas 2018 part 2 & homeward
Our run to Spanish Wells timed the passage through Current Cut perfectly – we experienced minimal chop and even picked up a positive current to speed us on our way.  This passage can be tricky if the tides and winds are opposed since water can reach 4 knots through the narrow cut on changing tides. (Figuring tides is also a good trick in the Bahamas!) We also were lucky to get one of the two empty moorings in the harbor. While the boats looked to be closely snuggled, we trusted the owner/manager Bandit to assign us the one that would fit our boat.  The mooring saved us a much longer and wetter run from the anchorages outside the harbor as we took several days to explore this unique stop in Eleuthera. Spanish Wells is the town on St George Cay and is one of the most prosperous local communities that we have visited in the Bahamas. The harbor hosts the largest lobster fleet in the Bahamas and in spite of the hurricanes last fall, they enjoyed a good harvest. We also caught some of the stone crab harvest available here and managed to make them disappear quickly.  The homes in the village are typical Bahamian style but well maintained with cheerful gardens. There are a few automobiles, but most of the traffic is golf carts easily rented in the harbor area.  We choose to walk after several days on the boat since the big grocery store and local sights were not far from the harbor.  Steve even managed to find a barber – notice in the photo no signage.  It is a local secret that behind that door Larry cuts hair.  Our stay included the Easter Holiday weekend so most of the shops were closed for the Good Friday events, as well as Easter Sunday and Monday.  This gave us time to enjoy beach walks and a few evenings with friends in the local restaurants. OK, tough duty but someone must suffer.

low key Larry's Barber Shop

After our relaxing visit in Spanish Wells we headed out the pass for a long run north to the Abacos.  We were glad the seas gave us a reasonably good ride across this stretch of open and deep (almost 15000 feet) water.  Only a few freighters were spotted although we did not manage to lure any fish into the boat. A big bite stole the bait as we exited the harbor drop off but sadly he got away. In the deepest water we said a final farewell to our sweet Frank.


Along with about 13 other boats we spent the night at Lynyard Cay in an anchorage we used back in 2015. After a morning snorkel and beach walk as well as a chat with Kevin and Caroline on KK42, Redtail, we headed to a more deserted anchorage off Tilloo Pond. Again, the morning snorkel netted a few shells but zero conch. (Lobster are now out of season so it was a good thing none of those were spotted to tease Steve.) As luck would have it, fellow Krogenites on Confetti were able to save us a mooring in the crowded harbor of Hope Town on Elbow Cay.  There we reconnected with Mack and Vicki as well as Doug and Jan and met MariAnne and Rick on Renisance Woman – a Krogen Whale. Of course, a trip to Sip Sip, a local wine bar, was required to catch up and thank Confetti for the mooring service. 

Thanks Skip for the above photo of our group

Hope Town is one of the cutest – if most touristy – stops in the Abacos.  (Lots of photos from our blog entry 2015) Just wandering the streets is entertaining.  Most of the core is restricted to pedestrian and golf cart traffic and lots of bikes. 
Trash day is a challenge

The homes are mostly rentals and painted up with gingerbread trim. There are several good groceries and even a bakery so we could grab essential supplies easily.  We didn’t even have to leave our boat for the concert on Sunday afternoon. When we left on Monday there was a reserved “milk bottle” holding our mooring for an incoming Krogen. Since getting a mooring in that crowded harbor is a good trick, it was nice to pass it forward to a fellow Krogen.  We were wondering if the neighbors would even notice the boats had changed out????
another great view of Hope Town thanks to Skip

Our BAH departure was accelerated by a small dental disaster.  A tasty conch fritter destroyed one of the Admirals molars Sunday brunch.  So, grabbing the next window north became a little more urgent.  
Sunrise off Man of War

Monday we reluctantly departed Hope Town for a quiet anchorage off Man of War Cay, then Tuesday, we headed off shore to run up the Atlantic reentering the sound at Spanish Cay – we had hoped to get some Mahi but settled for a mackerel.  As we passed the Man Jack Cay area we heard White Raven on the radio and hooked up with them to anchor off Crab Cay.  The predicted squall hit us that evening a little earlier than expected – just before dessert – causing us to reset the anchor and scramble about in the wind.  Steve Strand graciously took to his dinghy in search of our BBQ cover that was in danger of sinking. After recovering my cover, they returned safely to their boat as the storm blew on through and we settled down for a more restful night.  The next day we moved on to the harbor at Great Sale Cay.  Although not especially a long trip, it was a rough and slow passage against a brisk northerly wind. (Lots of headwind makes for a choppy sea and uncomfortable ride.)   Our plan was to wait until the winds shifted around from that unfavorable northerly direction.  We were heading to Charleston for some dental intervention.   The trip would take between 50 and 60 hours (depending on how much boost we could get from the Gulf Stream) so we were looking for a long window to make this run.  With a major storm forecast to arrive on Sunday, we headed out midday on Thursday.  The travel across the banks was not ideal but definitely not the worst we had experienced.  However, as we turned northwest the winds shifted easterly as expected but remained brisk.  This left us with a nasty beam roll of at least a six-foot swell. Now, while not a huge sea, it was big enough to rearrange our salon as we rolled to port for about 14 hours. 

upside down this gives a more accurate feeling!  can you see the pot on the floor?

It also rearranged the Admirals insides although the Teddy Cat just seemed to roll with the boat.  He thought once again it was great fun to have at least one of his peeps us all night to entertain him. 

While nothing was broken, we both have a few bruises – for at least those 14 hours it was a “two hands for the boat” kind of ride.  Steve is convinced we have not endured anything rougher but as usual the boat did fine…never missing a beat of that trusty Ford Lehman diesel. Fortunately, the winds dropped – as expected and the remainder of the run into Charleston was fast and much smoother than the first chunk.  We did pick up the Gulf Stream even with the beam seas and averaged a little over 9mph which is much above our usual speed.  On arrival we were greeted by dolphin and about 250 sailboats enjoying race week in Charleston.

just a few of the boats Steve dodged on our arrival

With the help of friends – Greg Cobetto and his buddy, dental appointments were in place for a week or so of “fun” in one of our favorite stops – Charleston City Marina. Many thanks to Drs. Liptak and Chandler for double quick service!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Bahamas 2018 part 1

Bahamas 2018 part 1
We took a short window to cross from Lake Worth into Great Harbor in the Berries rather than wait another week or so for “possibly” better weather.  Although the gulf stream crossing was manageable, the squalls we encountered overnight were larger and arrived sooner than forecast. There was also a lot of big boy traffic in the Providence channel – at one time four inbound and three outbound with a couple more “anchored” (drifting) waiting to enter the Freeport harbor. Fortunately, the traffic thinned about the time the big storm caught us so we weren’t dodging freighters and cruise ships in blinding rain for a couple of hours in the dark. Our radar, AIS and chart plotters all worked fine as well as the boat, but it was not the most restful overnight trip of our travels.  We were glad to relax a couple days in the friendly marina at Great Harbor Cay and enjoy the company of other cruisers waiting for better weather.
The next couple of weeks found us hanging about in the Berries exploring anchorages that we had previously had to bypass on other trips in and out of the Bahamas.  We finally managed to get to the famous Blue Hole on Hofmans Cay. Not as impressive as the one on Long Island further east, but worth a few photos.  Steve was no even tempted to jump in and swim with the turtles.  Although that might have had more to do with the cool water temp! 

Several lobsters were found as well as good fishing off the boat – Steve lured them in with lobster heads and then speared them from the boat! Although weather was an issue as we hid from unfavorable winds, we did manage to have lunch at the famous Flo’s Restaurant on Little Harbor Cay.  Flo’s son Chester is now the man in charge and he provided a fine meal at this remote hot spot decorated with signed dollar bills, pennants and T-shirts. 

A few walks on deserted cays at low tide yielded a haul of beach glass – an advantage of visiting these lesser known cays.

 Surprisingly, we were rarely alone in our anchorages. Perhaps it was the weather, but we often had one or two or even three masts nearby. Sean and Louise on MV Vector greeted us as we hid behind the cruise ships at Stirrup Cay.  They passed on greetings from our friends on Changing Course who had alerted them we might be in the Berries.  We especially enjoyed meeting them because they have traveled down the Mississippi River – I have been reading Sean’s posts on AC (Active Captain). His were the only ones whose author and boat I did not know. Now having seen their boat which is larger than ours with a deeper draft, his entries are even more valuable to us. Besides all that, they are very interesting folks who have travelled widely on their boat. It was great to spend a few days over docktails with them.

When the weather finally calmed for a couple days we headed for Eleuthera about 80+ miles east.  Our goal was to find a protected spot for the next forecast storm.  We landed in Hatchet Bay – a keyhole entry to a deep basin with all around protection.  It did take a few tries to get the anchor set but then we settled in for five days snug in our harbor. However, we were not alone!  While we were told there were 30+ boats for the last storm, this time there were less than a dozen.  All nice folks from the couples we met over docktails and lunches at the local restaurants.  It was a bonus to being marooned to cross paths with new folks like Pat and Steve on White Raven – a couple with vast travel and boating experience.  
tiny entrance opening behind Steve

White Raven and Erben Renewal

Their current new to them boat is a beautiful floating condo where they hosted a group for dinner on a windy night.  It was a treat to pick their experience as west coast boaters to plan possible future travels.  Kevin and Barbara on No Plan also took shelter in Hatchet Bay and although it took us a few minutes we realized we both had spent part of the winter in Ortega Landing – just on different docks.  Their travels in the Caribbean have also been inspiring our planning as well. One lunch we were joined by Peter and Captain Nanci from SV Journey at the Front Porch – the pink house on the hill restaurant run by Francis. Nanci single handed her sailboat for years before convincing Peter to join her and together their stories entertained and inspired us for hours… a classic 4-hour lunch!  (We deserved that treat since we had spent the morning in the local cave. – see below)

The little town of Hatchet Bay is very welcoming to cruisers with a dinghy dock and several well stocked grocery stores.  

We also walked across to the Atlantic Ocean shore but found little sea glass on this well picked beach.  

The caves were another adventure to fill our days.  We caught a ride up to the entrance with a friendly Taxi driver – on his way to pick up a customer but giving us hitch hikers a lift on the way. The walk through the cave was amazing.  It is hard to believe the cave is open with no restrictions. A sign “try me” is the only clue to the entrance.  A tiny string guides visitors from the opening to the rope ladder exit a short mile away.  The walls are covered with new and not so new graffiti. Impressive cave formations came to life in the beam from our spot light. The walls sparkled in our headlamps as water dripped in this very active limestone cavern. Definitely an off-boat experience!

the Admiral does not like caves!

Exit tube and ladder - she made it

following the trail back to the road.....

Another crew in our hideaway was from Sag Harbor.  Michelle and Chris are a “young” couple in their 30s with a beautiful lab, Muddy Waters. We enjoyed meeting a couple who are not waiting for retirement to get in some serious cruising. Finally, toward the end of our stay we re-met Phyllis and Buddy who were among the group we crossed the Gulf of Mexico with back in January 2013. Since then they have changed out their boat – upgrading to a beautiful American Tug named Moxie so we did not immediately realize we had previously met. It is nice to know that we are not the only loopers from 2013 who are still on the water.
Pete's cat - a longtime visitor to Hatchet Bay

With a few calm days in the forecast we have headed north to spend some time in Spanish Wells – one of the stops we had to miss on our last trip through Eleuthera. 
P.S. Teddy continues to be a perfectly adjusted boat cat!

a favorite new toy or two

Teddy stepping into Frank's job as Steve's helper