Monday, 5 February 2018

Low Flying In Skinny Water

Crystal Blues At Tilloo Cay Anchorage - Unusually Deep At 3.5 Meters
Welcome to the beauty of the Bahamas, where we are (finally) enjoying some warm weather and quiet days.  For blue water sailors, relaxing here requires some serious attitude adjustment - everywhere is just so damn shallow!

Skimming across the flats in 3 to 4 meters of water is exciting, feeling just like low flying. However it is stressful to someone who for years has had the shallow depth alarm set at 5 meters - heck the alarm would be sounding continuously here! Many harbors we simply cannot approach, our 2.1 meter depth being way over the available water depth.

At Grand Cay, where we cleared customs and immigration, we eased our way through the entrance channel with 10cm under the keel, to find an anchorage that was just over 3 meters deep. So we often anchor outside the harbors and the dinghy gets a real workout - we traveled 5 miles each way in the dink to visit beautiful Hope Town on Elbow Cay, which is surrounded by 1.0 to 1.5 meter sand banks.

Hope Town Harbor, Elbow Cay, Bahamas

Hope Town Light House

In Hope Town we toured the magnificent lighthouse, the last in the world still operating with an oil burning lamp and a clockwork rotational mechanism. With strong community support it is maintained in working condition, and is open to tourists six days a week.

One great positive - turtles are making a come back here, now protected by government legislation. We see them every day, and two days back saw nine in one small lagoon.

Over the past two weeks we've used the periods of nice weather (very few) to catch up on maintenance - cleaning the hull being the big job. Whilst the images may look sunny, it really isn't warm here in winter, most days between 20 and 25 degrees C. And the sea is cold - wet suits are essential.

Cold fronts regularly move off the US east coast, wind directions clock 360 degrees in as little as 36 hours. Frequent moves are called for to stay sheltered as the winds change direction.

Hope Town was our last "town" visit in the Abaco Islands - tomorrow we're heading south 50 nautical miles to the northern end of Eleuthera Island. A growing group of boats is swinging at anchor here at Lydyard Cay, ready to make the ocean jump to Eleuthera tomorrow.

Hull Cleaning At Tilloo Cay

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