|Motorbike in DR....fine until the brake handle fell off!|
|Cave offshore on DR coast|
What a ride. The sail from Luperon to Long Island in the Bahamas, and on through the islands, has been some of the best sailing I have ever experienced.
First of all, there were the ‘fresh’ breezes out of Luperon that rocketed us towards Matthew Town on Great Inagua at an easy 8 knots until we were well out to sea. The winds then went behind us, making it more difficult to hold our course. Our speed fluctuated between 6 and 8 knots the entire night.
The next day, we found the boat surfing frequently to speeds well into the 9 - 10 knot range. It became a contest to see who could hit the highest speed as we roared along. First there was my 9.1 knots, quickly followed by a 9.3. Then, on his shift, Bruce nailed 9.4 and that held for quite a while. It took some time for me to best that with a 9.5, and that mark held into the next day.
Mattie wasn’t participating at this point, but then suddenly we hear: 9.3! Well, it wasn’t the top speed but Mattie was surely in the game now.
Arriving at Great Inagua approaching midnight, we searched in vain for the lighthouse that was supposed to be there, and at last found it. It wasn’t working, normal for this part of the Caribbean, but at least it looked pretty in the nearly full moon we had.
We took a considerable offing around the tip of Great Inagua, bringing the boat onto a close reach and then close hauled position as we came around. Up until now, we’d done nothing but running, the winds constantly being from behind.
Elbereth continued to rush along at over 7 knots in the 15 - 20 knot winds, even with the genoa half furled. Since we were now in the lee of the island, it was flat water, and very exhilarating. We made our way up to Matthew Town and crept to within 100 yards of the shore, anchoring in 12 feet of beautiful sand bottom.
And then we slept!
The following day, our destination was Hogsty Reef, a patch of coral halfway between Acklins Island and Great Inagua. The plan was to do a short day (37nm), get in some snorkeling, rest up, then continue to Long Island. The weather however, started to look questionable for an overnight on an exposed reef, so we changed our course and headed for South Point at the bottom end of Long Island - an additional 54 miles, to anchor out at Galloway Bay on the opposite side of the island from Clarence Town.
The contest continued, with Bruce nailing a 9.6, and then, 9.7 - with a reef in the main and a partially furled headsail. Were we having fun or what? Then, with a double reef in the main, Mattie hit 10 knots. However, because the engine was running at the time to charge the batteries, we couldn’t count it as official. Even on a small sailboat, there have to be some rules!
One of the highlights of this part of the trip was the night sailing in the strong winds we were experiencing. I could tell you about how fabulous it was, but perhaps this video of one part of our night sail will tell the tale far better...
Leaving Galloway Bay, our next destination was Long Island Breezes Resort (website here), at Salt Pond on Long Island. We wanted to get some coffee, or a grinder, a few other grocery items, and enjoy a swim in the fresh water pool here, and make use of the internet. The resort was closed for the season, but Mike, who owns the resort with business partner Jackie, set me up with the internet, thus providing you with my last post.
It had been a few years since I last visited Long Island, so we crept slowly and carefully into the bay, carefully monitoring the depth sounder. In part, this was because we were unsure of what, if any, offset was programmed into it. We might be reading six feet with only five feet, our draft, under the boat. That, as you can imagine, could cause a problem.
We anchored off the resort at sunset at high tide in about 9 feet of water, which was more than adequate allowance for the three foot tide. The full moon riding high in the sky, obscured by the occasional cloud, was gorgeous - and I thought of all of you, back home, hard at work....
What on earth are you thinking people? It’s a paradise out here, and life is wayyyyy too short.
(currently in Bimini, heading for the US tomorrow morning, back at my boat Monday sometime...will upload many photos and video then with a good connection...forecast is for 15 - 20 S, waves to max of 1 meter out of the south - this is gonna be another great ride on the Gulf Stream!)