Thursday, February 27, 2020

Our Southern Most Point

Today we completed a 9 hour passage from Staniel Cay to The Marina at Emerald Bay, just north of Georgetown.
It was a glorious passage.
It was a tricky one to plan with various moving elements to it: wind that was not the same strength nor from the same direction. And tide and current, which affects which cut to go through and at what time.
A cut is a break between two land masses, usually islands, that a boat can pass through as long as the tide is high enough and the current isn't against the wind (or else get the bucket ready!)
Going between these cuts allow you to go back and forth between the Bank side of the islands (west) or the deeper Sound side (east).
The Exumas Banks have much shallower waters so you have to be very careful when going through coral heads and sand banks, especially at low tide. However, they are often more protected from the big Atlantic waves. Normally you can find good anchorages on the Banks side, although hiding from westerlies can be tricky.
On the other hand, you can choose to sail down the Exumas Sound where you are in the deep blue Atlantic ocean. Choosing this side allows you to sail with little worry about running aground or hitting coral heads because it is hundreds of feet deep. However it has very little protection and if there is big swell or a long fetch, you are in for a real ride. Again, get the bucket ready.
This morning we left at first light and entered Galliot cut right at high tide, 10am, crossing over to the Atlantic side. It was easy-peasy, thanks to all our planning and research.
Besides one squall which descended upon us and had us scrambling to reef the jib and mainsail VERY quickly, we had a really gentle sail all day with 9-15 knots on the beam and very little swell.
After having done so many passages together now, each of us have our own roles which we do better and better every time.
We are like a well-oiled machine and we all know what we are responsible for, depending on the situation (ie docking, anchoring, leaving a dock/mooring/anchor etc).
It feels good to work together and when it goes off without a hitch, it feels REALLY good.
Also, I've finally discovered what my trigger is for sea sickness: caffeine and sweet baked goods.
Every long passage we do now, as long as I don't drink coffee and eat a cinnamon bun or something equally sweet before we leave, I'm all good. Amazing it only took ten months for me to figure this out!!
Anyway, today's passage is monumental because it is the furthest south we will be going on our cruising journey.
After a few weeks here, we will point north and start the trek back to Florida where a new chapter awaits.

This is basically what we saw for 9 hours on passage today.

Hello from Thunderball Grotto in Staniel Cay.

Nurse shark just inches away from Tai!!

Inside the cave - amazing light!

Looking up inside at Thunderball Grotto.

Proud of the kids who really couldn't swim independently when we started this journey and now snorkelling through underwater sumps and not panicking when a shark cruised by as we explored the cave featured in the James Bond movie, "Thunderball".

Underwater Tai.

Coral at Wardericks Bay.

Tai's journal. Gotta work on those capital letters!

Tai's journal continued.

Aila is actually thrilled to be eating her Mac and Cheese but 
yes she hates her picture being taken.

After doing some laundry and having a SHOWER, we treated ourselves to dinner out.

Playing Exploding Kittens in the exploding heat.

Thank you Sheree Ng Nikkanen and Matthew Nikkanen
and kids for the marine wildlife treasure hunt! We've been tracking what we see!

Tai will whip through at least one book per passage. 
Thank goodness for book exchanges at marinas and with other kid boats!

Roald Dahl books are the latest addiction.

Homemade pizza, a beer and Shaun the Sheep!

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