February 9, 2023
After a few days at Black Point we have decided to move south.
Black point was fun. We reconnected with Kory, met Grant and Agnes on Mabuhay and just tried to enjoy the spot as best we could with winds howling.
We did go for a few walks through the town and surroundings, and one of the more interesting local landmarks is the blow hole on the ocean side of the island. Really just a few hundred metres from the government dock. Here is Jinhee celebrating the explosion of water that blows up!
The cliff faces on the ocean side are also interesting to look at. You can see where the white sand comes from that makes up the geology. At the base of many of these cliffs and exposed rocks were piles of sand waiting to blown or washed away.
And although we have shown you the harbour in another photo, from another angle, it is perhaps a bit easier to see how busy things are at Black Point from this angle.
While we did work on a few minor work items (some cleaning, really), we both spent a lot of time reading. Jinhee’s was work related and my reading less work. I am fascinated however, by the destructive capability of nature, and have followed the quake in Turkey/Syria closely. A friend lost many family members and there are thousands of families in the same position. My condolences to all of them.
We have guests coming to join us in the Turks and Caicos later in the month and we are just 250 miles or so from the T & C, but the weather has been consistently unappealing for moving a boat. With consistent 20-25 knot winds from the East for almost two weeks straight and apparently for most of the next two weeks, we have made alternative plans to get to the T & C.
Ideally we would have cruised to Georgetown, then to San Salvador, then to Long Island. Following that a trip to the Acklins, and finished with a stop in Mayaguana before arriving in the T & C.
If you remember, this is what the wind map looks like. It hasn’t really changed in two weeks, and the windward side (east side) of all of these islands have reefs, tiny entrances (cuts) and will be facing 5-7 foot waves. Overall, it wouldn’t be pleasant.
Yesterday after much consideration and a little bit of evaluation, I decided that we would travel on the west side of Great Exhuma Island. It is shallow, there won’t be a lot of places to ‘hide’, from the wind, but the wind will be on the other side of land.
Now it looks like this will be the trip . . . note the notable lack of fun things to do during heavy winds on this side of these islands. 🙁
I have to give some thanks to the folks on the FaceBook page, “Bahamas Land and Sea”, where the best advice was ‘don’t worry’ and the worst was ‘you will be puckering your a** the whole way’, to the incredulous who thought it was a silly venture (many of whom thought I was sailing, which would make this run a lot less sensible). In any case, the ‘best’ advice has been right so far. There is absolutely no concern on this run.
The image below was (most of) my path today, and I think the lowest water I saw was on approach to the anchorage, where it got down to 8.5′. Most of the rest of the way it was between 11 and 18 feet. Easy enough.
The trip was still a bit of a slog, almost directly into the wind with very short wave periods due to 22-26 knot winds. Those short wave periods result in a lot of pounding into the waves and a lot of pitching of the boat, but overall it was a pretty easy run. At one point I knew I was being too careful, when a mailboat (they have about an 8′ draught) passed me on the turn at Galliot Bank on the inside of my turn. And by a quarter mile. Better to be cautious right?
Also worth noting that the same winds and the same pounding would have occurred had we travelled on the East side of the Exumas (to Georgetown) but instead of 12 -18″ waves we would have endured the previously mentioned 4-7 foot waves. Same pounding though. Ugh.
Tonight we are anchored outside of “Rocky Point”, all alone, in 15-20 knots of wind, but it is calmer than Black Point by a wide margin (see that picture, barely a ripple!) Given the weather we may stay here for another day or move a little further down the line. The weather and our willingness to suffer another couple of days of bumpy anchoring will guide us.
One of the lessons from all of this, is that having friends and family fly in to meet you too far ahead of your current location is dangerous. In our case, Andrew is coming to the T & C, and if we don’t make it in time, a hotel is reportedly in the 500-800 a night range. We know the boat can take the pounding if we have to move through really crappy weather, and Andrew will have a place to stay when he arrives.