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Thursday, March 15, 2007

01 MAR thru 15 MAR 07: Cape Eleuthera, South Eleuthera, Bahamas

GPS Position: 24°50'.126N: 76°20'.607W

Today was cleaning and shopping day. Kim and I washed and cleaned the entire boat (inside and out) and Kim did three or four loads of laundry at the marina Laundromat. It may cost a few bucks, but you can do so much more laundry in a lot less time than on board. In the afternoon, we went up to the Super Value store and got some much needed groceries for the coming week. What a difference we saw between the prices in Nassau and the prices in the Abacos.

Today, the 2nd, we’re going back into town and pick up our son, Patrick, and his girlfriend, Kristen, at the airport. We rode the city transit system to downtown Nassau where we met up with Gary Symonette again and he carried us out towards Cable Beach and the airport to get Patrick and Kristen. Of course, we had to make a side trip to the church where Anna Nichole Smith’s funeral service was being held and make an attempt at going to the burial. There were too many cars, however, and we turned around for the airport to escape becoming hopelessly ensnarled in traffic.

The kids got through customs around 1430 hrs (their flight arrived at 1315) and we were there to greet them. Gary took us all back to the marina and Patrickand Kristen stored their stuff and changed into shorts and T-ee’s. Patrick also brought a bunch of parts for the generator, so maybe we'll have power for the boat. We spent the night touring Atlantis, on Paradise Island, playing the slots, eating at Johnny Rocket’s, shopping in all of the specialty stores and visiting the shark aquarium. It was a lot of fun.

Everyone was up around 0700 EST and we got underway, leaving Nassau Harbour. The sea was pretty smooth and the kids got to see flying fish and porpoise. We were able to raise a sail for awhile, so the passage was pretty nice for a change. We arrived at Current around 1400 hrs and unloaded all of the stuff we’d gotten in the US for Rosie and, in only two dinghy trips, carried it into shore.

We had diner with Perry and Rosie and it was really great. Perry leaves in the morning to go on his last fishing trip of the season, so it was good that he got to see Patrick, his Godson, before he left. Rosie isn’t feeling too well. It may be the flu, so we’re not getting too close.

The next day, I began work on the generator and Next Generation had sent the correct parts for making the repair. I set the pulley with Loctite #290 to lock the bushing and pulley onto the shaft. After 6 hours of curing, the generator runs without failure of the pulley or bushing. We have power!!!

Over the next few days, we toured Eleuthera, harbour Island and Spanish Wells; went snorkeling and saw a rare Hawksbill Turtle. We had a great time and each day was full and interesting. But as always, our time together seemed way to short and, before we knew it, it was time for the kids to leave us.

On the 9th, we got up really early to get the kids to the airport. The weather was crappy and the waves in the cut were really choppy. We made the airport on time, however, and it was really sad to see the kids leave. I miss having Patrick around!

We went back to Current, contacted Chip and Kay and made arrangements to get together at noon and Kim and I took them down island to see the sights. We went all the way to Governor’s Harbour and everywhere in between. It was a really nice day with really nice people.

On the 14th, we departed our anchorage off N. Beach around 0930 EDST and headed through the Current Cut towards Gregory Town. The wind forced us to change our course towards Hatchet Bay to get into the lee of Eleuthera. The seas were 4 to 6 feet across the Bight of Eleuthera, as we wound our way towards Hatchet Bay.

We decided to pull into Hatchet Bay Harbour, as it’s the only secure anchorage between Current and Cape Eleuthera. The entrance is only 90 ft. wide and, from the sea, looks to be about three feet wide. We fought the swells, however, and shot through the entrance into Hatchet Bay. Once inside, there is little holding on the harbour bottom due to the sea grass there. But, there are about twelve moorings in the harbour that are free to the taking. The trick is that there are no lines on the moorings, so one has to hook on as best as one can to secure a mooring site. This took us about 20 minutes but we were finally set for the night.

Kim and I were up and ready to go and finally had the right conditions around 0825, at which point we pulled in our mooring line and headed for the Hatchet Bay Cut at full steam. The cut seemed even narrower going out of the harbour than coming in and there was a westerly swell that almost beat us back to the inside. We burst through, however, without incident and are on our way to the Cape of Eleuthera.

As we neared Palmetto Point, we heard BESO on the radio. Chip and Kay Marsh had been anchored there, heard us and called. We are going to stay with them for a while and see where the wind takes us. But, we’re still going to Cape Eleuthera, but the Exumas may have to wait as Chip and Kay want to go to Cat Island and, what the heck, Kim and I would like to see it too. We’ll discuss it in the Cape and make a decision there as to what to do and where to go.

The Cape Eleuthera Harbour is beautiful. Soon, there will be electricity and water at the slips, but for now, it’s just a safe place to tie up the boat and ride out the wind. With everything snug and secure, we’re off to explore the area around the harbour. We’ll stay here until the storm front moves through and it’s safe to travel again.

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