The weather for the past several days has been rather unsettled. Periodically windy (25 knots) periodically rainy–sometimes VERY heavy rain. I have a bit of catching up to do with our adventures…
We did get a chance to do some fun snorkeling at Palmetto Bay. It is an area with dense swarms of fish, but in the interior lagoon the coral growth is limited to a small election of gorgonians, and the ubiquitous fire coral. The small cays had populations of the largest blue tangs I have ever seen, and a fair number of snapper and grouper. The snapper and grouper have obviously been targeted by spearfishers, as soon as you get close, they dart into the nearest hole in the rock.
We took our time heading north, with a final destination of the island of Spanish Wells. A large settlement where we knew we could replenish our provision lockers, which were getting a bit hollow after three weeks away from stores.
We sailed for a few hours each day, and anchored in the most protected spot we couple find overnight. The sailing was really fast, with the wind on our quarter, and blowing hard. How fast? Karen insisted that we grab a photo of our instrument display…
On a sailboat, 9 knots (10 miles per hour for you landlubbers) is really quite fast. It always amazes me how effortlessly Harmonie moves even when she is galloping along. To give you a feel for this, Harmonie’s 74 horsepower engine, at full throttle, moves her along at 8 knots. To push that up to over 9 knots, the sails are generating well over 100 horsepower.
One of our challenges on this trip was the passage between the western most extension of Eleuthera, and Current Island, a narrow passage called Current Cut. We managed to time our approach just right, so we did not have to deal with the raging tidal currents from which it gets its name, but it was still a very narrow passage with an approach characterized by shifting sand bars.
The gusty winds and scattered downpours that greatly reduced visibility didn’t help. It turned out to be an interesting, but uneventful passage.
Our final stop before the “big city” was one of the few harbors here with all round protection, Royal Island Harbor. An island with no current signs of human activity, but prominent ruins. We stayed in this harbor for two nights while the weather varied from calm to furious.
With a forecast for continued unsettled weather, we decided to take a marina slip to do our sightseeing and provisioning here. Our initial impressions of Spanish Wells are very positive. Stay tuned for more information!