Since March 1st Sabrina and I have been looking for weather to head home.
The route home would be in mostly a northwesterly direction, and since March
1st the wind has seemed to be blowing from the west through the north. In
frustration one day I took the 7 day forecast and laid a line across it
towards home to the NW – the winds never varied for longer than 6 hours from
within 30 degrees of that line! That would make for a pretty impossible
journey, fighting wind the entire way. The weather has been pretty strange
because the prevailing winds at this time of year should be somewhere
between NE and East unless a front is passing.
Finally the winds were starting to swing, and yesterday looked like a great
day to leave Georgetown. Unfortunately, the huge winter storm that recently
moved across the USA was creating a large NE ocean swell headed for the
Bahamas. Sunday looked bad for the swell, so we pushed up our departure a
day to Saturday to try to beat the swell and escape to the bank side of the
We were motoring out of Georgetown Saturday morning when I started to smell
diesel. I quickly investigated and discovered a leak in the diesel return
line. We made an immediate 180 and dropped the hook in a nearby anchorage.
What I thought was a split diesel fuel line turned out to be a loose
fitting. After a second opinion from our friend Myron on Hold Fast I removed
and inspected the fitting for cracks and then tightened things back down.
The leak was fixed, so we were back under way (2 hours later than we
While I worked on the diesel engine, Sabrina took the dinghy into shore and
hiked to the ocean side to check out the sea-state. After she returned she
prepared the dinghy for passage and we took the time to get the outboard on
the rail. On our way out of Conch Cay Cut, the anchor got a wonderful
washing as we repeatedly buried the bow into the steep swells.
Saturday while heading north we were tight on the wind (it would have been
better on Sunday) but we were able to sail till mid-afternoon when we
finally had to start the engine to make sure we could transit Cave Cay cut
with enough daylight to see obstructions. It worked out well, after we
started the engine we managed to reel in a 4′ mahi, followed by a 3′ and a
30 incher. We took pity on the 30″ mahi and released him, the two larger
ones would provide us with plenty of food for the trip home.
Running the cut turned out to be fairly easy, and we found a suitable
anchorage near Cave Cay for the night. Sunday morning we awoke and tried to
figure out Daylight Saving Time and how it affected the tide tables. After
adjusting our watches and the chartplotters, we sailed off the anchor and
enjoyed beautiful winds to Shroud Cay. As we passed Galliot Cut we could see
breaking waves across the entire cut as the tide opposed the wind and swell.
We were very happy that we decided to reach the bank side of the Exumas on
This morning we left Shroud Cay with a forecast of diminishing winds
throughout the day. We had 65 nautical miles or so to cover, so we thought
we might have to motor in the afternoon to arrive into Royal Island Harbour
before dark. Thankfully the winds never diminished, we even had to reef the
genoa at one point when we were seeing 25 knots apparent! We raced up the
bank side from Shroud Cay to Royal Island, averaging well over 7 knots for
the trip, (occasionally hitting 9 knots in gusts.)
Our very fast trip meant that we arrived in Royal Island well in time for
cocktail hour. As we unwound and prepared for dinner we heard a boat
announce on the VHF that they had news regarding crossing to the Abacos. We
had already abandoned crossing tomorrow due to the reported swell, but we
thought it might be good news so we followed the VHF traffic. The boat
announcing had just called Troy at Dive Guana (the local BASRA
representative.) He urged all boats to stay off the water, reporting all
cuts into the Abacos as un-passable, and even said they had to rescue two
With that report it made our decision that much easier. We’ll wait till the
swell subsides later this week and keep an eye on the winds to continue our
Until then, we’re 150 nm closer to home, ready for the next jump.