Since the beginning of April, we have been heading northwest and this week, we have taken another step closer … to home. I pick up where Tom left off, with Thalia tied to the dock at Orchid Bay Marina on Great Guana Cay, one of the out-islands which separate the Atlantic Ocean from the Sea of Abaco in the Bahamas. The four Grimmetts and our two guests from San Francisco (Martin and Nancy) wait, somewhat patiently, for the poor weather to pass. All told, we spent two nights here and were lucky to get some breaks in the weather which allowed for walks around the island. It is a treat for the kids to be able to jump off the boat onto solid ground without the complexities of using a dinghy! Caleb, our nine year old, seems to burn off his energy with less all-around anxiety when we are tied to a dock!
With enough time in Davis Harbor, Eleuthera to make our knotmeter grow weeds and stop working, it was time for us to shove off and move on! We left the marina early in the morning on Sunday, May 27th to take advantage of the high tide. This little marina had been our ‘any port in a storm’ haven and although it didn’t have a lot of amenities, we were glad to make its acquaintance. We knew we had many more miles to go, but a refreshing break without worries of dragging anchor or wet dinghy rides ashore was a real treat.
This week’s entry finds Thalia on the move from the Bahama’s “Outer Islands” to the central Bahamas, specifically Cat Island and then Eleuthera Island. We were feeling quite isolated and were eager to get closer to Great Abaco Island in the northern Bahamas so we can ensure our rendezvous with friends on June 1. We still have about 220 miles to go and plan to make it in a few hops in order to explore some of the islands along the way. Continue reading “Central Bahamas Ep. 54”
If they can measure aging from week to week, this has been one week that has tipped the scale towards convalescence sooner than nature intended! Does anyone know where Grecian Formula is available in bulk?! I guess we should have known this would not be easy, trying to put 800 miles under our keel from Puerto Rico to the northern Bahamas before the hurricane season officially started June 1st. But it wasn’t just the mileage that we had to conquer, it was the crazy navigation needed in these shallow and storm ridden Bahamian waters.
Having said good-bye to Tom’s father and step-mom yesterday evening, we got right to work this Saturday morning on moving Thalia along on her journey. May 5th was a busy day for us. Tom dropped me off on the dinghy dock early in the morning so I could drive the rental car back to the local airport and get a taxi back to the harbor. When I arrived back on the boat, Tom and the boys were nearly ready to get underway. We would move Thalia 50 miles west along the southern coast of Puerto Rico today. Both the wind and currents were in our favor and we had a great sail. The boys did school work after somewhat of a vacation while their grandparents were on board. It is always so difficult to get them back into the routine when it has been interrupted for a few days. How I sympathize with educators!
If there’s anything close to New York City down here, it is San Juan… and I mean that in a positive way! We had thought St Martin was a huge, bustling metropolis, but San Juan blows everything else away. It is a massive sprawling city, and the purpose for the multitude of power plants on the southern coast clearly made sense now!
We rented a car for two days and, with my Dad and June, drove from Ponce into the San Juan area. It was reassuring to know that Karen had not lost her New York driving skills, as she blasted us down the expressway, honking at anyone going too slow in the fast lane – clearly her inner child was coming out!
There’s just something special about being back home – at least the familiarity of U.S. soil one enjoys by visiting the US Virgin Islands. After our stressful overnight of dodging unpredictable thunderstorms, we welcomed the calmness of the harbor and the American-esque scene ashore. I had built a long list of errands that would be easiest to do in a place so connected to U.S. products and services, and we spent several days in Christiansted checking items off the list. The US Postal Service serves the USVI’s with their normal domestic US rates, and we took advantage of this fact to send out many packages to points back home. In fact, we did so many errands in the first three days in Christiansted, I have a hard time recalling what we did for pleasure – such is the downfall of a well connected island! While I can write about the joy we had in finding ‘Cost U Less’ a Costco-type store here that is a boon for a family of four trying to re-provision a sailboat, I don’t think you’d understand our excitement! However, here’s a picture of the net result… our loot ready to load aboard Hermes (name for our dinghy!) and then onboard Thalia.
Our last web entry left off with us just having explored the very interesting town of St. Pierre on the island of Martinique. We need to make a wake and keep moving northwest as we have to be in St. Croix (300 miles from Martinique) by the 24th of April. We figure that we must make a hop to the next island up in this chain of islands almost every day. We have built in a two day stay in Les Saintes (group of islands off south west point of Guadaloupe) to say a final “good bye” to our friends on “Heaven Won’t Wait”.
Here’s how we made the 309 mile northwest move on Thalia:
Sat. Apr 14 – left Martinique for Portsmouth, Dominica (54 miles)
Sun. Apr 15 – Hopped to Les Saintes for a two night stay (21 miles)
Tues. Apr 17 – Hopped to Deshaies, Guadaloupe for a night (32 miles)
Wed. Apr 18 – Hopped past active volcanic island of Montserrat to Nevis (70 miles). Spent three nights anchored off Charlestown, Nevis.
Sat Apr 21 – Hopped to the island of Saba (47 miles) and discovered it was too rough to remain there as they have no protected anchorages and the seas were running quite big. At 3:30 in the afternoon, we made the decision to sail overnight to St. Croix (another 86 miles) — one of the US Virgin Islands.
Sun Apr 22 – Arrived at 7 am in the morning, ready to stay put for a few days!
It’s true. After a lot of consideration and discussion the Grimmett family has made a firm commitment to stand strong “on the left”.
… you’re thinking, “great … here she goes with her political left vs. right, liberal argument against conservative views! Ha! Gotcha. No such luck.
You see, since our last web log, we have turned a corner, in the literal sense. Actually, a 180-degree corner — which is to say we have turned around and are now headed north/northwest where we have spent the previous five and a half months traveling in the south/southeastern direction! What does this have to do with the title, you ask? Everything!
We had some special guests aboard Thalia this week – my brother Todd and his daughter Julia. Todd, along with his wife Molly, live in Sacramento, CA, along with two additional boys. Given the distance – and they currently hold the record for the longest travel to be onboard with us! – they couldn’t all come together. Regardless, we had a very enjoyable week with the two of them; it is always fun to show someone else the pleasures of cruising in the Caribbean!