Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January 20-21, 2014 Snake Cay


This morning, our 3 boats listened to the weather on the cruisers net.  We all decided we still wanted to go to Snake Cay even though tomorrow night doesn't sound too promising.  Today is predicted to be 5-10 mph out of the west at 72 degrees and tonight basically the same but a low of 65.....sounds great!  We all agreed to head back tomorrow unless the morning weather report improves.  Tuesday has a 70% chance of rain with 20-30 mph winds out of the NE.  We'll just have to wait and see!   We left the dock at 10:20 am after Circe II backed away from her slip.  The winds were perfect for each of us to raise our sails heading out of the harbor and as soon as we made our turn to starboard to Matt Lowes Cay we were sailing wing-on-wing! What an awesome sight!!  
Turning south around Matt Lowes Cay we sailed beside Sugar Loaf Cay and then west to Boat Harbor....south again being sure to steer clear of Lubbers Bank to Witches Point.  From here, it was an easy ride to Snake Cay, our destination!  What a beautiful day with perfect winds....Once we got where we wanted to anchor, the bottom posed quite a challenge to get our anchor to set in what looked like a sandy bottom…..sandy yes, but in many of these patches there was also sandstone or gravel.  After a few tries each, our boats seemed set and secure for us to go exploring.   

We were all anxious to motor around the ‘dock’ into Snake Cay Inlet and then into the shallows between the Great Abaco Island and these smaller outlying cays.  This water is suppose to abound with turtles, rays, starfish, and fish.   We had a great time looking over the sides of the dinghy into the water and now wished we had a ‘look bucket’.  

Chuck and I saw 2 rays, no turtles, and quite a few large orange-red starfish. It would have been easier to see the bottom if the wind weren’t blowing and creating ripples across the surface of the water.  The water was too cold to snorkel today!!  Because of the out-going tide, we had to head back to our boats or soon we might not have enough water for our dinghies!!  Happy hour/appetizers for tonight all of a sudden turned into a pot luck dinner on Circe II…Rita’s idea. She had made stuff cabbage and coleslaw and wanted to share it with us.  She a one super gal…and cook!  Irene made mac and cheese, and Chuck grilled kielbasa while I decided at the last minute to bake an Apple Cinnamon Bread that I’ve been dying to try!  Dinner was at 6:00.  In the meantime while my bread was baking, the wind died and the water around us was perfectly flat.  Chuck called me up on deck and when I looked over the boat, I could see everything that was on the bottom….11 feet down….it was that crystal clear.  David said that it was ‘mystical’ in our own private anchorage!!When we got together on Circe II, we all agreed that this was probably the cleanest, clearest water we’ve all been in.   The meal came together fabulously.  Everything was outstanding....even my Apple Cinnomon Bread.  I can always tell if it’s good when David and Billy want a piece for the next morning!! LOL  It is so dark out tonight.  I’ve never seen so many stars…even more than what we see in the OBX.  We are also getting a sparkling show from the phosphorous floating in the water.  It truly is mystical here!  Back on our own boat, Chuck got his flashlight and we walked around the deck looking down into the water.  We can still see everything in the water, on the bottom. Hopefully  tomorrow’s weather improves so we can stay at Snake Cay one more day.

We woke up this morning and so wanted the Cruiser’s Net to give us an improved weather report….it didn’t happen!  The winds are to be 15-25 mph during the day and higher tonight.  The chance of rain is still 70% .  It’s sure not looking very good.  After the net, the 3 boats called back and forth.  Circe wanted to stay for a few hours to get some more exploring in and then stop behind Matt Lowes Cay to maybe do some fishing.  We knew with S winds, that we’d have a challenging time maneuvering into our dock at 20 mph and really ugly at 25 mph.  The winds are light at the moment, so we hoped that the sooner we hauled up the anchor and headed out, maybe we’d beat the high winds.  Whisper decided to head out also.  We left our anchorage at 9:30 and knew we wouldn't have to be too careful dog-legging it around Lubbers Bank because high tide is at 11:14 am this morning.

Whisper and Happy Hours II both decided to fly only our head sail because we didn't want to have our main up and be slammed with an unexpected 25 mph gust.  We still were cruising at a good clip with the winds first blowing over our stern and then our starboard side.  Once we got to Matt Lowes Cay and made out turn SW, we had to furl our jib because the wind now was blowing like a banshee pretty much on our nose.  When we started out this morning, the water had ripples on the surface, progressed to a chop, and now we have 3 footers.  Chuck and I both commented that if this were Lake Erie with these winds, we’d be motoring into 5-6 foot waves, if not bigger!  Our poor little dinghy.  We were dragging it and now it was bouncing like a bobber!! When we entered Marsh Harbour, the waves subsided a bit but the winds increased.  I called the Jib Room a few minutes before we docked to let them know that we needed assistance at the dock.  Normally, Jason is the only one who comes to help.  Today, we had Jason, Desmond, and Mitch.  Chuck did  a fine job and put Happy Hours II close to the dock, but the before the guys could hand me any lines, the wind gusted and pushed us away.  We had to be muscled back.  It wasn't pretty but we docked without hitting anything! About an hour later,  Billy and Ilene came motoring into the harbor.  We walked around and over to their dock.  They had decided to just anchor out until the winds calmed down a bit, but when they saw us on their dock, they decided to ‘just do it’!  Billy did a fine job keeping the bow of their boat into the wind and with our help, they safely docked Circe II.

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