Rose Island, north of New Providence

 

Today we head for Rose Island :-). We had planned to run back to Warderick Wells for a 10 day stay, but my brain has been acting up. So we will head for Rose  Island which has sweet anchorages on its north and south side and is only 7 miles away instead of 55.

Watching a charter boat weave its way in to the marina (Palm Cay, southeast New Providence


Joe, our friend has flown back to the states. Scupper is sleeping on Joe’s pillow, a sign he misses him.


The little cafe at the marina had a soft opening. I enjoyed a great cup of tea and brian had a cappuccino. The manager was kind enough to give me samples of local Bahamian tea, which grows wild on Atkins Island. 


Atkins is one of the Islands that was wiped out in hurricane Joaquin. The woman who runs the tea company lost everything. So if you are looking to try a very good cup of tea, please buy some of her tea and help her get back on her feet. The marina said they would hold any orders at the office for folks who will be traveling through. So you could have the tea mailed to Palm Cay c/o your vessel, and they keep it safe till you can pick it up.


Provisioning day.

 

Everything stowed, heading out of Palm cay marina.

 

The folks who work at the marina and restaurant are so sweet, we feel very blessed to of met them.

 

 

 
 

You can easily see the coral.

 

We are leaving at low tide so we will give all coral heads a wide berth

 

We had pretty rough wave action, at times we could only make about 3.5-4 knots. But we finally arrived at the south west anchorage of Rose Island

 

Reaching Rose Island, we tucked in between the reef and shore.


I dove the anchor and watched it set at around 3000RPMs in weedy sandy bottom. Water was very cool. Ever since the hurricane, the water has been noticeably cooler. I had to hype myself up to get in the water. Brian always works the throttle while I’m in the water to make sure the anchor sets well. He did offer to get in the cool water instead of me, what a gentleman:-).


Rose Island is about 9 miles long, a very long narrow island with lots of coral heads.

 

Blue dot marks our location.

 

Shallows up fast as you head west into the anchorage.


Rose Island

Sun is setting. The weather is really cooling off. 

Crazy beautiful sunset.

 

Next day. The smattering of rainbow was right over the big casino at Nassau:-)

 

Drift diving along the southeast side of the anchorage.

 

Brian drifting along watching the beautiful scenery go by.

This is what we are dodging when we talk about navigating around coral heads. This could do some serious damage to the boat and the coral would not likely survive such a collision.

Scupper, back aboard and bathed, lounges in one of his favorite spots.

 

Nice sunrise at Rose Island 

 

One of the many big yachts we see around Nassau. The dark vessel couldn’t seem to set his anchor and drug all over the anchorage. Grrr.


It’s cold again. I put on my 3/4 wet suit to stay warm and swam around the boat. When I say cold, I mean it is 84 degrees with a dry gusty breeze :-). Pretty darn perfect.


Lots of cool critters under the boat 🙂


The fish that got away, sigh, I clearly didn’t frame this shot properly. But to be honest, I didn’t see him till I was two feet away :-)I was focused on the soft coral. he dashed out before I could get another picture.

This little guy was only about 3inches long.

 

Pretty seaweed.

 

Rain Dog

 

 

Moon has been quite bright these last few nights.

 

Sunrise at South Rose Island

 

This beautiful creature was soaring over the boat, looking for a meal. Winds are shifting to a more southerly direction, so we will make for Green Cay on the north side of Rose Island.

 

Pictures Of Our Trip North, Up The Exuma Chain.

 

 

Emerald Bay Marina. Came up from George Town for water and to get a deep charge on our batteries.


Emerald Bay Marina is located in the northeastern side of Great Exuma. It gets a bad rap for having a lot of wave action due to it being open to north winds. It is considered by many not to be a good hurricane hole. But when we arrive a couple days after hurricanes Joaquin, the marina facilities were up and running, no boats were lost except one derelict boat received some toe rail damage. Since the marina only allows one boat per two slips for hurricanes preparations, each vessel has finger piers on port and starboard, and can be situated in the middle of the slip, avoiding damage due to wave action. So having seen what we have seen from a cat 4 hurricane with mostly north winds, we consider Emerald Bay to be a good hurricane hole.

 

So glad to have Joe aboard.


Bird of paradise as tall as a tree!

 

We needed fuel too. Now onto Rudder Cut 🙂

 

Holy smokes, we were able to sail the spinnaker! This is from Emerald bay to Rudder Cut.

 

 

Just came into the entrance to Rudder Cut Cay, looking back out to sea.


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Nice beach on uninhabited island.

 

 

Looking north.


Finally got to swim the mermaid at piano sculpture. Was very beautiful.

Joe’s Cruise Through The Exumas. George Town To Warderick Wells, Then On To Nassau

 
 

 A good friend flew into George Town to crew aboard Rain Dog. This is the log of his journey from George Town to Nassau for his friends and family to enjoy. 🙂

 

Rain Dog.

 

George Town is on the Island of Great Exuma

 

George Town anchorage


Joe is flying in today to crew for Rain Dog, yay! We are just recovering from the big hurricane that blew through. Rain Dog was in a hurricane hole a few miles to the south and took no damage. There are two damaged boats in this picture, one is a beautiful houseboat that sunk( foreground) and the other vessel ended up on the rocks ( background right, hard to see).

 

Joe, our friend from Austin, Texas.

 

 

Chart of the Exuma chain. We start out in the south at George Town ( Socking Island). Joe catches his plane flight back to Austin in Nassau ( Athol Island). We have two weeks to get to Nassau.

 

Redeeming Emerald Bay Marina, Great Exuma

Just a quick note to folks that were wondering if Emerald Bay Marina could survive  a hurricane. We are at Emerald Bay, it’s been a few days since the hurricane hit. The only damage was a ripped out cleat. No boats were lost. One abandoned boat did get rub rail damage( you can buy it for 1,000). They did have a breach in the main water pipes that run under the pier along the bulkhead . So, if anyone is contemplating riding out a storm here, I think it would be a good choice if you tie up properly and it’s not a cat 5!

Emerald Bay Marina entrance faces the northerly. Hurricane force winds came from the north.

 

Boat is abandoned. If you pay for survey, you can have it. Needs survey for Marina to obtain title. The harbor master plans to sink her to make a good five/Snorkeled site. She is very very rough. Rotten cabin top. Teak decks have been painted so you know they leak. Bowsprit broken in half near base, rot at top of mainmast, many chainplates, that are not outboard are bad. Hull and some hardware is salvageable.

Heading out today for Rudder Cut. Going to swim with the mermaid and piano statue. Will post pics as soon as I can.

Hugs

E

Red Shanks to George Town Post Hurricane Joaquin

 

~~~~~~~After Hurricane~~~~~~~~~

 

 

Our first sunrise after the storm, back aboard Rain Dog, boat and crew safe. Sweet.


We were anxious to get out of Red Shanks, the hurricane hole, but the tides were not in our favor. We didn’t move the boat till Monday.


Lil Sister, a catamaran that rode out the storm just north of us. He said conditions were very rough and windy in the anchorage.


Looking towards the mainland.


Glory hallelujah, it’s time to jump the sand bars and leave this anchorage:-)


Thanks Red Shanks, for taking such good care of a Rain Dog.


We cleared the shoals and make for George Town. We have a friend flying in on Tuesday to spend two weeks cruising the Exumas with us.

 

Passing Isaac’s Bay. The marina took sone damage but the big boats hauled out seemed to be well tied down and in good shape.

Looking out into the Atlantic towards Long Island (20 miles away). They got the brunt of the storm and did not fair well.

 

There is a coral reef just off Elizabeth Island. Two yacht maintained markers help vessels avoid the reef.

 

Coming up to the big reef, we only see one marker.


The ( looking north) starboard marker is in good shape and, from what we can tell, is still is the proper place. The mooring balls looked like they were also ok. Since we left the anchorage I continually scanned the shores for lost dinghies and such. I did not see the lost marker anywhere.


Since the storm there is a constant flow of air traffic towards Long Island. Pray everyone is recovering well.


Stocking island.


Made it to our anchorage. Can see the sunken houseboat and the big powerboat we saw broke free when we were riding out the storm at the hotel.


Scupper, catching up on his sleep.

 

We picked up our crew and are now heading north through the Exumas and will end up in Nassau in two weeks. We know about invest 91, don’t worry, we wil keep a sharp eye out for storms and take the necessary precautions. There are several good hurricane holes in the Exumas. In fact, we will be within 10 miles of a safe harbor almost the whole way. When we get to north Exumas, where there isn’t a real good hurricane hole, we will hop over to Nassau, only 6 hours away, if we need to. 

 

Not sure when I can update. Joe, our friend visiting from Austin Texas, was kind enough to bring some ship’s supplies, including a wifi booster. So hopefully my blog updates will be more frequent.

Hugs and lots of love to all. Thank you for all the kind well wishes.

Erika

Hurricane Joaquin

 
 
 

Tuesday before hurricane Joaguin.  We are in George Town on great exuma island and decide to sail down to Crab Cay to ride out what we thought would be a small squalls with northwesterly wind. NOAA and our weather router all say no chance of hurricane force winds or even tropical depression force winds. In fact, for the last four or five days watching this system, this storm was not even expected to come anywhere near the islands, but to harmlessly head north out into the vast ocean.

Crab Cay

 

We are the blue dot, Crab Cay. The anchorage is open to ENE through S winds.


Close up of Crab Cay. Good protection from the west. There is a deep narrow channel cut into the rock due west of us. Not sure it’s purpose. Wish we had the time to explore.

  

Back aboard rain dog I double checked the anchor. Yep, it’s dug in :-). There is a nervousness about, a feeling that this anchorage is not going to work at all. But the next high tide is after dark, so will need to wait till morning, reevaluate the situation.

  

Crab cay. I felt very claustrophobic here, just felt…wrong.

 

Tuesday night before the Hurricane. Though NOAA and Chris Parker still think the storm will turn north and not hit the Bahamas, they now give a 20% chance that it will impact the Bahamas. 10% chance it will be hurricane strength winds. But we decide it’s just too risky to stay at this anchorage.  The “non storm who cannot possibly hit us” is getting closer and closer. Traveling at 4 knots on a 240 degree heading. Wednesday we got up at 6 am, and after conferring with some locals, Chris Parkers latest info, and NOAA info, we attempted to get a mooring ball in one of the hurricane holes at Stocking Island but all the balls are taken. So plan b is Red Shanks hurricane hole anchorage. This Storm kinda sprang up and surprised many of us including best and brightest at NOAA, who still think that it will turn north before getting close to us. This storm has not done what any of the computer models said it would do, so why would we believe the predictors that it will miraculously become predictable. We must prepare for a storm.

 

So by 8:45 the next morning (Wednesday), we left Crab Cay and headed south, on a rising tide, threading our way through the shallows to the second hurricane hole at Red Shanks. Rain Dog is marked with a Blue dot above Burrows Cay.

 

Closer view of anchorage. The blue dot marked Browns is where we ended up leaving our inflatable RIB and motor.

 

Even closer, showing depth. 

You can see the very shallow sand bars we had to cross. Our charts had this water at 3.9 feet in some places, but we were assured by locals and cruisers that we could make it with our 5.5 draft. Plus, there were no other hurricane holes that were close enough without adding the risk of running out of time. Thankfully, it really is considered the best hurricane hole around. We made for the anchorage on a rising tide in case we run aground we would be able to get free. Running aground and having to wait for the next high tide , this late in the game, would be disastrous. 

 

Satalite view of our hurricane hole, Red Shanks.


Very close satellite view of anchorage. We are surrounded by land, protection 360deg along with a lot of shallows to tap down the wave action. There are no boats in our direct area( old satellite pic)

 

To our north is a Catamaran in the next hole who will ride out the storm aboard. He had several anchors out, they all held.

 

Leaving Rain Dog. Praying we will see her safe and sound. At this point the forecast is for 45-50 knots, but we can see the potential to get big and strong fast, so we are not taking any chances. The decks are stripped except the main sail which Brian wrapped with line. All potential water ingress sites are duck taped to seal against driving rain( solar vents, anchor rode hawse pipes) all scuppers clear, all unneeded through hulls closed. I have two layers of chafe gear from cleat to past anchor roller on both the snubber and anchor rode. The rode is captive on the anchor roller with a large fast pin that is also secured from coming loose. 

 

Anchor tackle. We had to anchor twice because we were not satisfied with the first setting. Second time was a charm.  I dove the anchor as soon as brian dropped it to adjust the position. Brian wanted the anchor in a position that it would have higher seabed all around, so that if we drug, it would need to drag up hill. The seabed here is very hilly, like hundreds of big ant hills. I positioned the anchor in between these hills, with a rather large hill downwind( a north wind). After allowing the anchor to settle a bit, I signaled Brian to back down on the anchor, engine at 1500 RPMs. A few minutes later I signal for 2500 RPMs, and finally 3500. The whole time watching what the anchor wanted to do under the loads of the engine in reverse. At 2500 RPMs I watched the anchor dig deep. At 3500, the anchor dug even more, now the only visible part of the anchor is a piece of shank, even the big roll bar was buried. Satisfied the anchor was as good as it could be( perfect really) I swam back to the boat, the seas were getting rather rough, even in this protected anchorage. The ground tackle we are using is 150 feet of 3/8 BBB chain, spliced to another 200 feet of 5/8 braid. Brian attached our snubber at the end of the chain rode( 150 ft). He then payed out another 30 feet of rode (5/8 braided line). If the snubber breaks, the anchor rode will snatch up and the 30 ft of braided anchor line will act as a snubber, absorbing the shock loads. #####We are in 10 feet. Brian calculated the surge and #######

 

Chafe gear was velcro’d and then duct taped to the snubber and anchor rode. Chafe pads were positioned at anchor roller where jumping anchor tackle may rub.


The windlass was a big chafe causing concern as our tackle runs very near to it. On a bucking deck the lines could chafe against the windlass.

 

We put a rubber boot over the engine start panel, a reminder to open seacocks before running the engine again.


The newer nicro vents can not be positively locked closed. So duct taping is our best option till we can revamp the vents. Note: gorilla tape came off clean 4 days later. We used cheap duct tape when prepping for hurricane Erika, we removed the tape 2 day later and  it took the finish off the vents and left residues.

 

I packed up clothes for four days, dog food, scuppers first aid kit, toiletries, boat papers, passports, chargers, all medications, and some sheets, pillowcases, towels, flashlights, and anything we cannot afford to lose. Top of that list is my mermaid engagement ring and kaela’s ashes, our beloved dog that passed away a few years ago. Everything we own is aboard Rain Dog.  Since the weather was already pretty squally, I packed everything in dry bags.


Time is running out. We have a long dinghy ride back to town and the wind is gusty.

 

 
 

We started for George Town in the dinghy, planning on storing the dink in lake Victoria. The wind was gusty from the north so we motored into the waves. We were soaked within minutes. We all three had life jackets on ( not inflatable!!) and had an emergency kit with small epirb, VHF, and flares, just in case. The red line shows our track north. But when we crossed February Cove and approached the last point to round, it was clear the harbor was way way to rough. We were already in conditions that swamped the inflatable RIB and needed bailing a few times. We did not think it was safe to go any further. We spotted a small Marina with a local man watching our progress. We dink’d over to him and asked if we could store our boat there. He apologized and said that they were evacuating all boats, no boats were allowed at the dock. Pointing south, he said the bast place to store our dinghy was at Browns Marina, that was where he was taking all the boats tied up at his docks. So we turned around and headed south for Browns Marina. At least it was downwind and the trip, though still very wet, was not as rough. The dotted red line shows how close we were to our destination. We had to go the long way to Browns, we tried to make the cut to approach from the north, but with the dark sky and water, we could not find it. So we went with the safe bet, though longer ride route.

 

We made it to Browns Marina.


We used the IPad blue charts to navigate our way around the back channels and mangroves

 

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It was a total of a couple of hours in the dinghy. Very wet and rough!! We were all soaked and tired, ready for a hotel room.

 

Scupper perked up as we neared Browns.

 

Brian’s looking fatigued. No pics of me, I’m a mess, perks of being the photographer. Later when we showered, we both had dried salt crusted in our ears as if packed with table salt :-). Now that’s salty sailors!

 

Brian cleaning out the dinghy and bailing it one last time before they haul her out and secure her to a trailer.


Browns marine was so sweet. Even though they were extremely busy, and I said we would call a taxi, they took the time to give us a ride into town. T/T Rain Dog as safe as we could get her, up on land, using one of their spare trailers.

 

Soaking wet from the dinghy ride we piled our meager possessions into the car. We packed everything in dry bags, so our stuff was fairly dry.

 

Tow Turtles Hotel

 

Two Turtles Hotel is where we, and many other cruisers, found rooms to ride out the storm. It was on high ground and seemed sturdy. Turns out, part of the Two Turtles used to be a bank. 

 

The Bunker. Remnants of the old bank, carved out of rock buried in the hill.  Wednesday night, crew of Speck, Judy and Irwin scoped out the bunker and assure it would be unlocked. Judy and I went room to room to inform everyone (9 people total) that the bunker was our plan b if the hotel rooms became unsafe. I even had an air horn to blow during hotel room evac so everyone would know we were going to the bunker. The now hurricane Cat 1 is still heading for us and weather predictions still call for a turn to the north. They now give us a 15% chance of seeing hurricane force winds, 40-60% it will head north, missing us completely.


Clean, simple furnishings, a/c, and TV 🙂

 

Our hotel room was on the second floor facing into the courtyard. Brian, sunburned from the long dinghy ride but freshly showered and happy to be dry again.

 

Hurricane Joaquin 5 pm on Wednesday.


Wednesday afternoon. Long lines for gas.


The locals are organized and helpful getting the important buildings protected 🙂


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There are still a few boats out in the harbor, but most are near or in Kid Cove, which has a north wind protection. There are two or three boats with crew aboard who plan on riding out on their boats.

 

Horseman Trimaran out in the harbor. The captain will ride out the storm aboard. He has one anchor out. He had a 40lb Bruce with 5/16 high test chain. After a couple snubbers parted (5/8 three strand), he ended up with all chain, no snubber. His rode was attached to a chain stop. No damage to boat, no dragging.