Snippets...November 2009
   my first crossing...
Saturday,  November 14,  Rock Sound, Eleuthera, Bahamas  N 24°51.8'  W 76° 09.7'


Jack here again...

586 nautical miles (same as 677 statute miles) from Beuafort, NC, USA to Spanish Wells, Eleuthra, Bahamas. Seems like 2 years before the mast...2 years without sweet land smells, just layer upon layer caked on people wearing the same clothes 5 continuous days, confined to their private corners of the cockpit room. Their goal was to cross this infamous Gulf Stream ASAP...full throttle into a lumpy unorganiized sea...before the strong northerly 35 knot winds created a scene of havoc. Not a one of them would spend more than minutes below, so I had one lap after another to mold into. Humans acting canine 20 of 24 hours a day in snooze mode. You know who ran the boat? Bernadette the autopilot, named after a stuffed baby hippo doll lost at sea on one of BTW's previous voyages. Bernadette did it all while they just touched her nobbies, tinkering with chartplotter toggles to hasten the ETA, estimated time of arrival. Too bad Bernadette doesn't prepare gourmet; but then they had little desire until the Gulf Stream was astern. Me...I got that same dry lower gut blocking kibble with a rare flying fish retreived from the starboard trampoline...the port tramp reserved as my depository. Daylight would descend into night as each took 2 hour watches skirting the rare ship, weaving between the dark ominous cells hoarding angry squalls like souls of Dante's seventh descending level...obliterating the full moon. "MF's" Bob calls them.
Laughing off the ebbing darkness, the flood of morning light would show them collecting around pot after pot of coffee, telling tale after tale of previous place and adventure; each hour congealing their time together into a memory bank. So it went day after day until the Mrs. called 'Land ho' and they all searched the horizon for a barely decernable sliver.


Hold on there Jack...just where in hell are you going with all this verbal verbose crap! Your readers don't plug in to read 9th grade them pictures of your first the photographic star, always leaning against someone or folding into their lap.


Bob here...suspect Jack is on target...we need to take more pictures, and thus bring the reader on board. By luck here in Rock Sound on the southern tip of Eleuthera, we might be able to carry a laptop ashore plugging into ethernet WiFi to upload pictures of the crossing. We're far ahead of fellow cruisers having jumped offshore that first week in November; 'they' inching down the Carolina to Florida coasts, circling to await timed bridge openings on the ICW, or rocking to the streaming screaming Bertram wakes, before they quickly jump the Stream to Nassau...points south along the Exuma chain or east to the Abacos. It will be Thanksgiving before boats arrive here. We on Navigator had a fortunate short weather window as well since subsequent 30 knot NE winds haved pinned cruisers on the other side of the Gulf Stream. You would be crazy to cross a 4 knot NE flowing current confronting a 30 knot wind blowing SW. And now hurricane a strong cold front moving in...we had a fortunate weather window. One pictures packs of fellow cruisers huddled around their SSB radios listening to weather guru Chris Parker on 4045kHz at 6:30 EST...waiting for the light to turn green.


Rock City...small; one road through town; a convenience store Dingle's; 2 small restaurants; a Catholic church; and everyone knows we are the folks on the sailboat. We are the only boat...not counting the small skiff tied to the pier. No power boats, no TowBoatUSA; no fishing boats; no other sailboats; no ferry...maybe a mailboat arriving once weekly from Nassau. It is a 1.5 mile walk across the island to the gorgeous 'Nort' beach looking out across reefs towards an Atlantic Ocean roaring in. A Bahamian widow has built a small restaurant there over eight years using driftwood, conch shells, fish netting, and plastic items washed up after 2500 miles of ocean rollers...simply the best grouper I have ever tasted...and washed down with a frosty Kalik (Bahamian) beer.
In Rock Sound, every passing vintage car honks or slows to wave. Over a counter, "You the folks on the sailboat?" The recycled blue Maine State Trooper's car slows to wave...the yet older yellow school bus with uniformed girls in plaid skirts and white blouses makes the twice daily run.
The town "Rock Sound", actually "Rock Sound Settlement", is the only cluster of buidlings along the 5 mile by 2 mile Rock Sound Harbor, open briefly to the SW. There is only one boat in all of Rock Sound Harbor...a catamaran built in Maine. We are anchored in 4 feet of water over white sand (yes..both Nancy and I dove on the anchor), about 200 feet off the dinghy dock. At the northern edge of Rock Sound Harbor is the other dinghy dock...where it is but 100 yards to the Rock Sound Airport terminal and twice daily flights to Nassau.


The lady who took in our laundry will be back in a couple of days...
Now coming up on 6:30 AM and Chris Parker and the weather...





 home             top             comment