2009/01/07

9th January 2009

Before we begin with a continuation of our travels let us start by wishing everyone reading this a very, very happy, healthy, peaceful and dare one say it (given these economic times) a prosperous New Year. We hope that all your dreams and aspirations come true in 2009.

We left the Great Sale Cay anchorage at 06.00 hrs on 29 December, since we had a longish day planned to the Manjack Cay anchorage. An uneventful day through peaceful and quiet waters, with little wind and what wind there was, was on the nose. One landmark passed is Centre of the World Rock, which has always amused us!
Manjack anchorage was crowded with about fifteen other boats when we arrived – clearly we are now getting to the more populated part of the Abacos, but we found a spot with no trouble and had the anchor down and well dug in by 15.30 hrs. The other cruisers who had left West End at the same time as us slowly came in after us and therefore by the time night was falling there was quite a lot of boats about. We were again treated to a beautiful sunset and night sky and a very calm anchorage.

Once again it was early to bed as we needed to get underway in good time in order to try to make very close to the high tide in order to get into Hope Town harbour. We were under way by 06.30 hrs and started off in a calm but with building clouds and rain threatening off our stern. We missed the majority of the rain but did get to view some very colourful rainbows across our stern

This part of the passage included the notorious Whale Cay passage. This is a narrow passage between rocks and shallows and where the bottom goes from the usual Bahama Bank depth of sixteen to eighteen feet to fifty to sixty feet in a very short distance. It is also open to the best of the Atlantic rollers so you can imagine that if the weather is bad it can be a very nasty place indeed – known as the Rage, with white water across the whole passage. On the day we passed however it was a very gentle motion indeed and the Whale passage was at its most friendly. We called this information into the Cruisers Net, which is a daily forty five minute chat show of interest to any cruisers in the area on VHF channel 68. You can in fact hear it by logging on to - www.barometerbob.com – and following the prompts on the left side of the page, should you so wish.

After the rain had passed the wind came up from the north and thus we had a good sail under genoa alone through the islands until we were off the Hope Town harbour entrance. We made a slow and stately entrance into the harbour taking care to stay on the leading marks, remember this is where yours truly put us aground not once but twice last year, and were greeted by Rudy who showed us to our mooring. Then it was getting the boat tidied away and the dinghy (our new pride and joy) launched, engine mounted and tested and we are happily ensconced !!!

Our new cruising mates from “Gone Away” were moored next door and we had a drink with them to celebrate our safe arrival. Then it was off to town…. nothing has changed since we were last here, open an account with Vernon’s grocery store, buy some fresh milk and we were pretty much set. The crew of “Gone Away” kindly invited us out to supper on the 30th evening and we spent a very pleasant time in a very crowded Cap’t Jacks, a couple of beers and a grilled Wahoo burger and then back to “Solitaire 1’ to gorge on one of Vernon’s home made key lime pies…… just delicious and there was enough left over for breakfast the next morning !!

We went for our first walk on the beach and stopped by Dovolena for a spot of tea on the way back to Soli…

We spent New Year’s Eve day quietly and then invited Harvey and Mary Helen from “Gone Away” for a barbequed turkey breast, sprouts and sweet potato supper accompanied with the requisite wine which they kindly supplied. The evening passed very quickly and before we knew it, it was midnight and the New Year. Hope Town, once again outdid itself with the firework display at midnight and then it was time to light our guests back to their boat and for us to clear up and go to bed. 2009 has started!!

Today has been once again a quiet day. Our starboard fresh water tank emptied and so I did three trips into the marina with our two five gallon jerry cans for water… six cans or thirty gallon to each tank is roughly right. In doing so I was reveling in our new dinghy (car) …. It is a joy to drive and keeps me nice and dry with lots of room and spare freeboard with full water cans. This afternoon a longish walk on the beach with our friends from Bournemouth, David and Hannya, but it started to get chilly as the sun went down so back to the boat for a quiet evening a deux aboard.

It has been very windy, but sunny, today and another joy has been to see our Kiss wind generator and solar panels doing a marvelous job of keeping our batteries charged even with the fridge working. Fingers crossed we seem to have that sorted. The fridge appears to be cycling on and off as required and keeping things frozen and chilled as necessary, whilst the Kiss generator and the solar panels are doing a wonderful job of keeping the batteries fully charged. It is amazing to think that we have been here for three days and have not had to use either the small Honda generator, that we bought last year, or start the main engine to keep our power requirements under control. Long may it last !!

That brings everyone up to date with life aboard the good yacht “Solitaire 1” so I shall close and leave it up to our blog editor to post this screed and perhaps put a few pictures to go with it.

Bon soir.

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