three hulls, two people, one trip around the world…

The Exumas Cays

While I was in Germany, in a parallel universe where winter reigned, Mathias took care of the SAN and his anchor app. He promoted it with posts on Polish, Dutch, Spanish and Italian forums (always with the help of DeepL). He spent a lot of time with James, who was lying next to us with the Carry On and was also alone on board. The suspicion arises that the two enjoyed the “woman-free” time to some extent. Almost at the same time, it was over and both boats were populated again.

During the time I spent in Germany, Mathias helped out when the Carry On went for an unusual repair. Using a crane jib, the anemometer at the top of the mast was to be replaced. It took several attempts and a whole day. At the end of the day, they had to cast off again against the strong sideways current. That is a difficult task with such a light boat.

Maika came to visit us from Germany and because we wanted to travel around the Bahamas together with her, we prepared for our quick departure. We had already been to the supermarket once, but we still wanted to buy a few things. First a rainy day got in the way, then we went ashore in the morning on the day of departure. The few little things cost over 300 dollars. It is simply very expensive here. But at least we found what we were looking for – it’s not always easy to find vegan food. We had breakfast with the crew of the Carry On before we said goodbye to each other once more. Since we have met the Carry On again and again in unexpected places, we are confident that we will meet in the future.

Our start to the trip was abruptly delayed. The anchor wouldn’t come up, or more precisely: the chain had snagged somewhere. Back and forth, criss-crossing, nothing helped. First Maika dived down the chain, then I did. But all we could both see was that there was a small boat on the bottom with the chain hanging in the middle. James had been watching us and now came over by dinghy. New attempts to free ourselves. Then James also dived along the chain. He could make out where the chain went on and gave a pulling direction. Then he set off to get his diving equipment. This was not needed, however, as we had manoeuvred in the direction indicated and somehow managed to free the jamming. The difficulty was that we had to get into reverse, so put the SAN with the stern against the wind. To do this, we turned the boat on the chain. Only after two attempts did I understand that Mathias didn’t need more chain to turn, but that I had to let out a little more chain at the decisive moment, namely when the chain went under the bow to the other side, or the bow went over the chain. After about 2 hours we had the anchor up. Why James was able to see the chain better in the sunken boat can have many reasons. Maybe he can dive longer and deeper, has better eyesight, or the water level was lower in the meantime 😉

The two hours of the manoeuvre were missing for the trip. It was quite windy and we sailed under motor because we were still in the shallow water area on the south-eastern side of the island chain from Paradise Island to Eleuthera. We didn’t drop anchor until dark. The next day we wanted to get to the other side of the island chain, but we had to pass through a narrow passage that was best navigated at high tide. However, our plotter probably showed the high tide at Nassau, in any case we didn’t time it exactly and still had 5 knots of current against us. It’s good that the turbo from the engine is working again. It was exciting, but all is well, that ends well.

Maika films upright 🙃

Anchored on the other side of the island and rested for the rest of the day. In the afternoon it rained, afterwards we enjoyed a little snorkelling. The fish population was not impressive, but we could see our anchor because it is not very deep here.

The next day brought long and rocky sailing into the night and a dangerous situation. Position lights appeared in the darkness and before Mathias could even think about how the associated ship was moving, the sound of engines could be heard and the lights were right next to us. Fortunately, our engine was running, so we were able to make a 180° turn and avoid a collision. I woke up to the loud engine noise, Mathias was shocked. The ship had no AIS symbol. A fisherman? Did it only switch on its lights when it got closer? But then it could have taken evasive action. In any case, it proved again that one person should always be awake on board. Bad luck that our radar is still non functional. That would have been helpful here.

Our first stop in the Exumas was Rudder Cut Cay. The island belongs to David Copperfield and he had a sculpture of a mermaid plus piano sunk in front of it. You can anchor in the area and dive or snorkel to the sculpture. There is quite a strong current at the anchorage. We therefore only swam with a safety line next to the boat or with fins.

At low tide we went to the piano by dinghy:

As a second stop we planned to visit the area around Staniel Cay. Half a day of beautiful sailing through turquoise water took us there. First we sailed through a passage again. This time we matched the low tide exactly (least current when the tide is reversed), but still the water bubbled beside us. We stayed a little out of the Staniel Cay area, the water wasn’t calm enough there, but we didn’t want to continue until the next high tide, because you still had to cross large areas of shallow water before you got to a good anchorage. So we changed anchor on the second day and have since been moored off Big Major Spot, the island on whose beach the swimming pigs of the Bahamas are frolicking. (That is, in the meantime they also exist on other beaches.) This group of islands is a good place to stay. The seabed is nice sand, our anchor is completely buried, Piggy Beach is in sight, there are three small grocery shops on Staniel Cay and another tourist attraction here is the Thunderball Grotto. A cave where scenes of the James Bond film “Thunderball” were filmed. And there is an airport. Instead of sailing back, we decided to put Maika on one of the island hopper planes. The return journey only takes half an hour instead of 2 days 😉 The airport can be reached directly by dinghy, it doesn’t get any easier than that.

So now we had enough time to visit the tourist destinations at our leisure.

Swimming Pigs

One of the pigs wags its tail joyfully and splashes water:

Thunderball Grotto

Of course, the day came far too quickly when Maika had to fly back. In the morning we went snorkelling in the cave, in the afternoon we took the dinghy to the airport. Exactly at this time, a dark weather front moved in and it started to blow strongly. Fearfully we watched the small planes as they landed and took off in crosswinds. We had taken the text on the webpage too seriously and were at the airport more than an hour before departure. The plane was not even there yet. The cloud cover widened a little and didn’t look so black any more. In the end, everything went well and Maika was in Nassau sooner than we were back on board the SAN. 🙂

Now we are almost alone on board again — there are new passengers:

We still have to find out whether they can get seasick.

We look forward to another month in the Bahamas…..

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