Thursday, April 20, 2017


When we told fellow cruisers that we were having Windbird's last owner on board for two weeks of cruising from Georgetown to the Abacos, we got a lot of raised eyebrows. I'm sure all were imagining a domineering former owner from hell making life miserable. Clearly, they didn't know Judy Handley. In the eight months since we bought Windbird from Judy and Mark we've gotten to know each other over phone calls, emails, a few visits, and reading each others blogs, and Dawn and I have come to really like Judy and enjoy her company. And on the boat is no different, she's a wonderful guest...particularly since we were able to dispense with the boat briefing!

We did some more chores on Tuesday before Judy arrived, and afterward we moved the boat back over to our favorite anchorage between Monument and Honeymoon beaches. We then did a bit of a dinghy tour around Georgetown before dinner. Yesterday Dawn and I had to run back across to Georgetown with the dinghy for more groceries (the mailboat came late Tuesday) and to fill one of our propane cylinders. After we got back and had lunch the weather turned pretty ugly with a series of small squalls moving through the harbor followed by cold, steady drizzle. I was thinking of every excuse not to snorkel but Judy pointed out we'd be getting wet anyways. Touché. The overcast conditions made the underwater colors pretty drab but there were a ton of fish out, so it worked out. And in any case the weather improved steadily, so after snorkeling we had an early dinner at Chat-N-Chill, and then took Piper and some drinks to Honeymoon Beach where Jerome from Gamma Gamma had put together a small, weather-delayed beach party complete with campfire and strumming guitars. It was a really, really nice way to close out our time in Georgetown. Hard to believe we're northbound already, our time in the Bahamas has flown right by.

This morning we woke up at 5:45 to take Piper to the beach and then launched into our boat preparation routines. Judy volunteered to listen to Chris Parker while we got ready, which I really appreciated as this weekend and next week are shaping up to be fairly active, weather-wise, and potentially a bit challenging for northbound travel to Eleuthera and the Abacos. We had the anchor on the bow roller by 7:05 and were heading for Conch Cay Cut under full sail a few minutes after that. The cut itself wasn't terribly rough but Exuma Sound was a bit lumpy. The wind was mostly due east at 17-19 with gusts of 21-22 kts. We had one reef in and I considered putting in the second a few times but never did, and we made really good speed: it took us 8 hours to go 53 miles to Black Point. Both Dawn and I felt a little seasick a few times but helm time alleviated those symptoms...we were handsteering as the autopilot once again proved incapable of keeping up with conditions. It underscored that I really, really need to get the autopilot working well before we take off on any extended offshore passages - such as going straight from the Abacos to South Carolina. There is a software update I can try; I'm thinking I'll start there and then get some help from Garmin Support.

I really like Black Point, especially since the anchorage isn't rolly this time (there was NW wind when we were here with my parents one month ago). We took Piper for a walk soon after arrival and the same young Bahamian kid who asked to walk him last time again approached and asked us if he could walk Piper. Too cute. We ran into some cruisers from Spirit who invited us to Cruisers Happy Hour at Scorpios Bar & Grill, so we went back to Windbird to retrieve Judy and then headed back into town. It was a fun hour or two hanging out with Rich and Ruthie from Spirit and Jim and Chris from Radio Waves. Since we got back we've been planning our passage up to Warderick Wells for tomorrow and deciding where we're going to snorkel when we get there, we had a dinner of grilled jerk chicken, and Dawn renewed our BTC data package so Judy and I could catch up on blogging. Between the early getup and the long, fun day of sailing I'm pretty bushed, so I'm heading to bed...but really looking forward to our fourth visit to Warderick Wells tomorrow, during which we'll see our friends Dan and Isabelle on Epiic for the first time since Ft. Lauderdale!

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