Thursday, December 8, 2011

Defeating The Whale

It wasn't much of a war though. The Whale Cay Passage was more like a pussycat this time, thankfully. There were 3-5 foot long rollers and hardly any chop at all, with light wind. New Horizon did a bit of rolling herself, when we were beam to the waves.

We had everything, inside and out, stowed and tied down. The skiffs are towed at different lengths so they don't run into each other. Green Turtle Cay fades in the distance.

One year the waves were so steep as the they 'felt' the bottom rising up from deep to shallow water, that we barely made it out the pass. We couldn't turn around though, once we made the decision to head out. If we got beam to the sea (sideways) it would have hit us broadside and rolled the boat over. The waves were breaking almost across the whole cut that day, but luckily the freight boat Legacy (sistership to the Legend that we took to Green Turtle Cay last year) was coming the other way, surfing down the waves, so we knew where the deepest water was. Perhaps we shouldn't have trusted her captain, because just recently the Legacy went up on the rocks in another cut, trying to come in from the ocean in a rage. It took days to get it towed off and brought to Freeport for repairs.

Here is Whale Cay, and on calm days we have anchored behind it on the Sea of Abaco side with the skiff and hiked to the oceanside. I can't believe that Dave has even hiked out as far as this light!

You can see the difference in the water color between the deeper ocean blue and the shallow sandbar in the Sea of Abaco.

Out in the ocean Dave drives, as the boat rolls from side to side.
For me it was "one hand for the ship" and one hand on the camera...what I do for blog material...ha!

We passed the 'Leopard', a commercial fishing boat that is used as the mothership. The four skiffs that they towed then go out fishing during the day, and return at night.

The channel back into the Sea of Abaco is much easier to transit, since it is much deeper than the northern side. Back in in the late 1980's Disney bought a portion of Great Guana Cay and turned it into one of their island paradises that their cruise ship visited. They had to dredge out and mark the channel and turning basin (we actually saw the gigantic equipment that did this). Unfortunately they hadn't taken into consideration how bad the sea could get and the ships rolled so much at anchor, they abandoned the whole project after a few years (a fun place to explore the ruins). The channel and markers are still there, which really helps us boaters. This little island is called Shell Bank Cay, and is really just a spoil bank made from the cruise ship dredging material. We remember when it wasn't even there, and now there are even trees on it.

As we continued motoring on south, we passed the Vi-Nais, the temporary replacement freight boat for the Legacy, that brings in supplies to Green Turtle Cay.

Since all systems were working fine (except for a bad exhaust leak filling up the inside of the boat with diesel fumes, that needs to addressed..SOON) we motored on to Hope Town and picked up our mooring. Even before we arrived people were calling on the VHF radio greeting us. Once settled, we did some harbor touring and visiting. It's great to be back!

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