Saturday, December 09, 2006

Monday 4th December

Chub Cay to Rose Island, Bahamas

25 05.026 N
77 12.649 W

Belated happy anniversary to Jean and dad.

When we went to bed last night we’d talked about leaving for Rose Island at 10.00hrs so it came as a bit of a shock when Gerry woke me up at 07.00hrs and said he wanted to leave as soon as possible. He knows that mornings aren’t my thing so it’s a good job he didn’t expect an enthusiastic response. After a hasty cup of tea, breakfast and getting dressed I was just about ready to face the day – “you take us out and I’ll see to the lines” he said – this was a change to our normal pattern of who does what. I feel sure he was just testing me to see if I could make a fool of myself in front of the other boaties who were gathered in their cockpits greeting the day. So we left the haven of the marina, with no problems I might add, to begin our passage for the day – a 43 mile trip to Rose Island where we intended to anchor at a place called Bottom Harbour. The day seemed cool and calm so once we cleared the marina navigation channel Gerry prepared the main sail – we debated whether or not to put the first reefing point in but decided against it as the winds were mild, @ 10 knots and the sea was only up to 2 feet. At last we had a chance to sail rather than motor! Both of the big white flappy things were deployed and the motor was switched off – a blissful silence ensued and we were flying along doing 6.5 – 7 knots. This lasted about 2 hours with Gerry fidgeting around, tweaking the sails to get the most out of them, I read my book and the auto pilot had control of the wheel – each of us content to do our own thing and ignore each other!. The wind and seas got stronger and at 15 knots Gerry decided that maybe putting the first reef in the main sail would be a good idea, I took charge of the wheel - though I’m sure the auto pilot could have done just as good, if not better job, whilst Gerry hauled the main sail down to the first reef point and secured it, once this was achieved we still maintained a healthy 6 knots but the heeling over wasn’t quite so bad. Our passage continued without any surprises or mishaps. There were a lot of other boats on the water all heading towards Nassau the Bahamian capital – close to where we were headed. When we got to about 10 miles out from Nassau we saw an enormous building which we thought was probably Atlantis – a resort on Nassau – where sea world meets the Bahamas in luxury. We continued to watch this Building grow in size as we got closer; I even took photos of it as it dwarfs even the huge cruise liners that go into Nassau with thousands of passengers on board – it is a spectacular sight from the water, I can only guess what it must be like from the land. I was a little sad not to get to see Nassau as it is one of the largest tourist destinations in the Bahamas but I guess I would have hate all the shops and attractions anyway!
Once we had passed the Nassau marina entrance an extremely large cruise ship came out of the marina and began to follow us (that must be because we knew where to go!!). We decided to take down the sails and motor for the rest of the trip as we had to negotiate a few tricky rock outcrops and shallow waters with big rips running through them. With charts and books to hand and the GPS giving us it’s wisdom we managed to find our way through the could be dangerous bits and we arrived at our destination, Bottom Harbour at 15.45hrs, dropped the anchor in 10 foot of water let out 60 foot of chain and 15 foot of bridle to give us plenty of swinging room. We watched the sun set whilst drinking coke (OH YEA honestly). When all the lights came on over at Nassau the island looked like a Christmas tree turned on its side – very pretty. Another gourmet dinner followed and after showers we were ready to drop into bed. The anchorage was perfect, the wind and sea died away to nothing and the boat hardly moved all night, though it didn’t stop us from bobbing up and down to check that we hadn’t dragged anchor during the night, which we didn’t. It was a successful day, our first one of just sailing and we did the entire sail on just the one port tack.



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