Since Mel last wrote, the Burnetts explored and provisioned in Provo and sailed to Mayaguana, Bahamas. Provo had the most American-ized grocery store yet, the Graceway IGA. Except for the $9.80 for a 12-pack of Coke Zero, that is. Ouch! Unfortunately, crappy weather prevented us from spending time on Grace Beach, officially the “Second Best Beach in the World” according to TripAdvisor (Mel verified this, as every beach claims this.) However, now we all know what a conch looks like. Let’s just say that if there is an “ugly stick” in the sea, here is a creature that got hit hard. There is a reason it stays in that shell.
We left Provo from South Side Annex, a fabulous anchorage that only fits three boats but is placid and deep enough for us. We ended up not staying at the the South Side Marina, as every day someone with a shallower draft than us kept getting stuck in the channel. The hurricane must have stirred things up a bit. Despite our success at avoiding a grounding while navigating around the TCI, we had an inauspicious start to our offshore journey. Let’s just say that it was one screw-up from beginning to end. The multiplication of screw-ups while sailing is an inevitable force of nature, like the wind. There was no guideline on the planet that could have prevented what happened, other than something that says: “Creativity is rewarded when anchoring, but not when weighing anchor.” (Fortunately, the injured fingers are already healed, and the only two witnesses to the debacle have sworn secrecy, joining our Sea Story Club. First Rule of Sea Story Club: No one talks about the screw-up they witnessed that allowed them entry into Sea Story Club.) The sail was unfortunately a bit upwind, with winds of 20-30 kts and 6 foot waves, but it was only 7 hours long, so we plowed through. I think all sailors should start their cruising adventure by beating for 4 days windward around Cuba. It puts things into perspective. This was cake.
We got to Mayaguana a bit late in the day. Once in Mayaguana, we dropped our anchor in the Southeast anchorage and our chain promptly wrapped around a bunch of rocks. One might want to try the western edge of the anchorage in the future. We were plenty secure overnight, but what a pain to weigh anchor the next morning!
As Mel writes this post, The Amazing Marvin is bobbing up and down on the choppy waves and 25 kt winds of Abraham’s Bay on Mayaguana. There are seven other boats here at the moment, all monohulls apparently waiting for good weather to head to the TCI. Abraham’s Bay is a giant, shallow, crystal-clear swimming pool surrounded by a huge reef. You have to anchor quite away from land, and so it feels like we are anchored once again in the Caicos Bank, in the middle of nowhere. It sounds idyllic, but the bay has a constant 3 foot chop in it that will soak you to your bones during the long dinghy ride to shore if the winds are over 15 kts. We squeaked in here at high tide the other day through the east entrance. We had no less than 4 feet of clearance – cake after Provo! Wow, Mel is hungry for cake…
It was very exciting to hoist our Bahamas courtesy flag. It was the very first flag Mel made, back when she lived on land!
The people of Mayaguana are just lovely. They have been very welcoming. If you try to walk anywhere, the next person driving down the road will stop to offer you a ride. Greg was given a tour around the island by a friendly chap who goes by either Kevin, Bubby, or Solomon, and we were invited to a great Valentine’s dinner at the local church. Talking to visitors must keep things interesting on this island of 300 people. At the moment, the kids are attending the local primary school in Pirate’s Well, and Mel and Greg just gave lectures on their careers for the high school, since the hurricane disrupted the school’s career exploration project last year. We did our best to make neurology and acoustic physics interesting!
The winds shift so often now. Acklins Island is next, when the winds allow it.