Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Thursday, January 30.2014 Tahiti Beach

Chuck baling the dinghy after last nights downpour!
The Cruisers’  Net this morning gave us a favorable weather report for the next few day.s  After visiting with Ilene and Billy to let them know what our plans are, we figured we’d meet up somewhere on Sunday.  They can’t go with us to Tahiti Beach because Ilene’s sister, Kathy, and her two daughters, Erin and Amanda, are flyin gin tomorrow for a week.  They won’t be able to leave the dock until sometime Saturday.  I then called sv/Whisper and spoke with Rita.  I wanted to invite them along on our trip but knew their plans were to stay in Marsh Harbour through Sunday.  They  wanted to watch half of the Super Bowl XLVIII at the Jib Room and the second half on their boat.  We’re all hoping we can mee up somewhere!

Of course when we decided to back out of the dock, the wind started to kick up.  Chuck had to do a
lot of extra backing and forwarding to maneuver our sailboat.  The wind was hitting our starbo
ard side and making it a bit harder to swing the bow of  Happy Hours II around.  Chuck throttled her down hard and we were now moving out of the tight fairway…scary but impressive! This was at 9:30 am.  We motored out of the harbor and turned to starboard heading once again to Matt Lowes Cay.  Navigating these waters is getting easier and easier.  We have so many tracks on our chart plotter to follow plus we are recognizing the different land marks.  The winds are blowing from the SE so it’s time to pull out the jib.  In fact the winds are a strong 15-20 mph so we aren't even going to bother to raise the mainsail.

Chuck asks who wants to man the helm and Bev didn't have to be asked twice.  She had us sailing along at 5.6 with only the head sail…until we turned toward Hope Town on Elbow Cay.  Then the wind was on our nose.  Still,  what a great day to be on the water and what a great sail!  We all feel so fortunate to be in the Bahamas!!  Once we got as close as we dare to Elbow Cay and turned south, we had to furl the jib and motor the rest of the way to Tahiti Beach.

Near Tahiti Beach, I took the wheel and snooped around to find a sandy place in about 7 feet of water.   Giving Chuck and Rick the signal, they dropped the anchor, splash,  and let out about 70 feet of chain.  When I back down on the anchor, it grab the bottom hard!  This is always a good time to relax and make sure the anchor is securely set.  So, Bev and I made sandwiches and we ate before hopping in the dinghy and heading for the beach.    Tahiti Beach is a picturesque strip of white sand extending like a small peninsula into the Sea of Abaco.  It’s even more beautiful today because more sand is exposed due to an extreme low tide.  Oops, we can’t get the dinghy in any closer with the motor because of the shallows.   
Bev volunteers to jump out and lightens the load while pulling the 3 of us in
the dinghy!  What a woman!!  As soon as the bottom hits sand, we all jump out and the four of us each take a corner, pull the dinghy up on the shore, and set the anchor in the sand.   This way if we’re not paying attention when the tide comes in, we won’t have to worry about the dinghy drifting away!!  That’s all we would need.
There is so much white sand!  It hooks out and around just like the point at Hatteras.  Chuck and Rick went snorkeling out toward Tilloo Cut while Bev and I walked the beach, shallows, and pools of tidal waters. Bev found a sand dollar and  I found 3 small live conch.  Then, we came upon a 6 legged starfish.  All the starfish that I’ve ever seen have 5 legs.  When I have time, I’m going to have to search the internet to see if this was just a freak of nature.    Continuing our beach walk, I started to see outlines of starfish in the sand.  When I dug
around these shapes, I found live starfish.  They must cover themselves with the wet sand to keep cool and damp until the tide reaches them again.  I couldn't wait for the water, and picked each one up that I found and threw them back into the water.

The McKee Boys
Rick and Chuck came back from snorkeling empty handed….no fish, lobster, or conch.  The tide has turned and the water is quite remarkably making its way back up the shore.  The tidal pools are quickly disappearing and blending in with the rest of the water.  The guys lose interest in the beach and water and decide to look for fresh coconuts to crack.  They came back with 2 coconuts but someone already punched a hole and drank the milk.  Bev tried to crack one with Chuck’s help but it was rotten inside.  Oh well, this is good experience in case we find ourselves marooned on an island somewhere!!  LOL

             Chuck cracking coconuts to eat!

It’s getting late in the afternoon and we know it’s time to head back to the boat.  Rick wants us to motor over to an area where there are docks.  In fact, there are quite a few docks and many of them are empty.  He’s curious as to the depth around the docks.  Once there, our outboard dies!  Oh not…maybe we will be stranded on an island for the night!   The problem was that we were out of fuel and once Chuck put more gas in the tank, she fired right up! We wanted to take our boat showers before the sun set so it wouldn’t be quite so cool.  Our external hot/cold shower hose makes it easy to shower while sitting on the transom steps of our boat.  The only trouble is that 70 gals of water gets used up quite quickly when four people are showering each night.  We find that out in a few days!  Playing out in the sun, sand, and surf helps create a big appetite!  Our choice for tonight is grilled hamburgers and salad.    It tasted so good!!    After our ‘hour of reading’…do you believe this?...we all were ready to hit the sack.  The winds were predicted to blow out of the S but now Happy Hours II has just done a 180 degree swing and we are facing N.  As soon as we fell asleep, Bev was the only one who heard our anchor alarm.  She nudged Rick.  Rick woke Chuck and me and we all gathered in the cockpit looking at our surroundings as well as the chart plotter.  It didn’t look like we had dragged…back to sleep. The anchor alarm goes off again!  What is going on?  Okay, let’s try to outsmart the chart plotter.  Chuck and Rick set a mark on the chart to watch the distance the boat is from the mark.  I think each of us woke up throughout the night to check on our position in relation to the shore.  The time I woke up, the Happy Hours II was facing S again….go figure.  It was so dark out, it was tough at times to determine our location.   I personally don’t think we dragged….but it made for an exciting night, that’s for sure!

Happy Hours II at anchorage 
sunset near Tahiti Beach

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