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We had been in Georgetown for over a month and were ready to head out and explore. Georgetown was really comfortable – it is a place I know well, has everything you really need and lots of activities to keep the kids and adults busy. But we had come on this trip to explore and we wanted to get out there and test our sea legs, sailing skills and island hop around. Unfortunately the weather hadn’t been cooperating. But there had been a Rally to Long Island organized and we decided to join in, along with many of the family boats we had gotten to know in Georgetown. The rally waited for the winds to decrease and switch to a favourable sailing direction, but alas after a week of waiting, it was decided to motor sail into the wind to get there.
After being stationary for a month, there were a lot of things to get ready to head out: our stuff needed to be stowed, charts needed to be consulted, the dingy needed to be raised on deck. We headed out, navigating through the cut into the ocean and into large swells breaking over our bow, making sailing impossible. We had talked the night before about the possibility of heading to the north end of Long Island, which would allow us to sail. The Rally was going to the south part of the island and it would be many hours of motoring into large swells. We opted to change our course and head to the north and had a really nice sail. The bilge pump kept going off, which was a little unnerving (it pumps water out of the floor of the boat). We quickly realized that we had forgot to switch our water tanks off, corrected the problem, but continued to keep a close eye on the over active bilge.
When we arrived in Long Island, we realized we had lost half our fresh water. We also had left the front hatch open a crack and even though the dingy was covering the hatch, with the bow crashing into the waves, we had a wet bunk to deal with. But we made it! We had dolphins swimming at our bow as we approached our anchorage, which was pretty amazing. We even managed to navigate our way into a tight, protected anchorage at Hog Cay for the night. The next day, we sailed down to meet the rest of the Rally in Salt Pond.
The Rally had organized many activities including bus tours, a special dinner night in a cave, Bahamian food and music and a sailing race. We (and especially the kids) were pooped after a few days with so many activities on our social calendar. The Rally is now over and we are waiting for the strong Easterly trades to diminish. We have had winds over 30 knots/hr for the last few nights, which results in poor sleep as I wake regularly to peek my head out and make sure we are staying put on anchor. We have been having a great time with all the family boats and once the weather improves in a few days, we will be going our separate ways and will hope to meet up with them as we head north. We will head back to Georgetown and then start working our way north through the Exuma chain.
|Our first passage – headed to Long Island|
|Lovely sail via to the north of the island|
|Our anchorage at Hog Cay, Long Island|
|Bus tour of Long Island|
|At Dean’s Blue Hole|
|A great Bahamian band|
|Catholic Church, Long Island|
|Happy kids at cocktail hour|
|Gavin very happy about his pop|
|Miles, our star snorkeler – he loves it!|
|Dean’s Blue Hole – 663 ft deep|
|Dinner at Stella Maris Cave|
|The view from Paul’s office|
|Happy birthday to Paxton!|