Friday, March 13, 2015



After a rough couple of days held up in a relatively sheltered anchorage behind Belle Island it was time to leave and head south to Little Bay. We’d had enough of strong winds and standing anchor watches two nights in a row as the wind howled a steady 25-30 knots. Finally, the front had blown through and it was time to leave.

After a quick twelve mile trip down the island chain past Staniel Cay and Black Point Settlement, we arrived at one of our favourite beaches in Little Bay, just south of Black Point Settlement. It had been a long past couple of days and we were all in need of a good rest.

After a couple drinks, Lew was in the mood for a little chilling out.
The sky was still cloudy but it was still very warm. Enough that we were able to go for a walk followed by an afternoon at the beach.
While Jan got ready, Ron & Lew took a dinghy ride around the point and stopped at Jean & Doug’s castle where Jean eagerly gave us half a bag of fresh tomatoes & peppers from her garden.
 There are two anchorages in Little Bay…… both well sheltered in any winds except from the west. We chose the northernmost anchorage as the wind was blowing from the northwest and was supposed to veer to the north. The cliff would give us good shelter.
As you can see the anchorage was extremely crowded with boats…..oops…. wrong dream!! We had the place all to ourselves.

Both anchorages have beautiful beaches.

A quick trip to the hilltop enabled me to show you just how pristine and beautiful this area is and Wind Warrior lies here in peace
A view out from the beach shows just how clear the water is as our tender gently floats in knee deep water and Wind Warrior sits on her anchor in 14 feet of water.
So, as we sit here enjoying a few cold ones we wish you all the best.
Tomorrow, it’s back up to Big Majors Cay for the night before heading in to Staniel Cay Yacht Club on Friday for fuel, food and some MORE relaxation before Lew has to fly home to Halifax.
(Gotta love the umbrella!!)
February 13th We arrive at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club.
We fueled up then proceeded to our berth. It was such a beautiful day……..
The dinghy landing area is very protected as you can see.
The dining room has been completely redone but it took away some of its former charm
After a great meal it was time to party. Everyone on the marina knew without a doubt that we were Nova Scotians. The Best of Atlantic Canada, McGinty, John Gracie and other great Maritime bands graced the air with our own vocals and spoons singing out.
To all this the local sharks had arrived to swim to the music.
How can such a beautiful evening turn completely into a terrible night with two foot waves beating on us all night. It was time to say “Good-bye” to our good friend Lew Page and get out of there as the wind was again building and he had a flight to catch. With help from the dock hands we were able to back out and head over to the protected anchorage at Pirate Beach on Big Majors Cay.
This morning (Sunday) it was off to the beach as all the cruisers headed in for an impromptu get together with live music from an electric piano, sax and great vocals all powered through a high quality sound system.
Jim from Valkyrie on the keyboard and his wife, Belle singing out the tunes.
The sax player was extremely good. The dinghies were all lined up off the beach and Wind Warrior sat comfortably at her anchor in the top right of the picture.
There was plenty of food and new friends were made. Today was a great day and tonight we’re in for another beautiful sunset.
Tomorrow morning Wind Warrior is heading north to Cambridge Cay again to dodge about four days of very strong winds. This seems to be the story of our trip this year.
We just got an email from our friends Jon & Joan Cockerline who are now anchored at Allens Cay and hoping to hook up in the next couple of days when we get back this way.
By the way …. You can always tell a Canadian boat by its hockey stick …. GO LEAFS !!


Feb 8, 2015 Warderick Wells - Big Majors Cay - Bahamas

February 8, 2015 – Big Majors Cay & Warderick Wells, Bahamas

Will this damn excitement ever stop???
This morning Lew and I are sitting out in the cockpit with our coffee, we admire this 50 foot power yacht towing its rather large dinghy leaving the anchorage area. As it approaches bow on, it’s very apparent that this guy on “Point of View” out of Boston, has no idea that as he is running down our starboard side, his dinghy, about 60 feet behind is passing down our PORT side and we were going to get nailed. Gotta love these idiots!!! Ron ran out to the bow screaming so what does he do? He stops the damn boat and tries to back up. WHAT AN ASS!
By this time Jan is awake and looking out the window in our cabin, all she sees is the side of this guys boat about five feet from colliding with our starboard side.
The dinghy keeps on coming, blown down by the wind, collides with our anchor chain and into the bow of our boat. As Lew explains to the guy “YOU CAN’T PUSH A ROPE AND EXPECT THE BOAT TO STOP”!!,
Well, with a little shoving and pushing, the guy finally sees that he can now gun it and drive away.

So much for todays excitement, so now we take you back a week after leaving Spanish Wells on our way to Nassau to pick up Lew Page.
The forecast in Spanish Wells on Monday was perfect. We could expect a nice warm day with light winds and very light seas. Thanks to Windfinder we decided to leave on our 35 mile trip directly across to the Nassau. Two hours into the trip, in probably the worst possible area for currents and rogue seas, the wind pipes up to at least 25 knots and the seas are a steady 4-5 feet on our port bow. Every third steep short period wave crashed right over our bow. We had already reduced the headsail with no mainsail and were motor sailing to try to keep everything comfortable. In hindsight, we probably should have turned back, but as Ron kept saying…. “We’re half way there and the island of New Providence will soon shelter us”. Unfortunately, to keep from wrecking the boat and the crew, we were on a course that was taking us 18 miles north of the island and we weren’t going to get any relief. With that, the decision was made to just take in the sail, hunker everything down and turn directly into the seas and go for it.

This turned out to be the best decision as we could more easily control our forward advance into the steep waves and although they continued to crash directly OVER THE TOP of the bow, after an hour they started to get a little longer apart and eventually a little calmer.
After a long day of pounding ourselves and the boat to death, we made the decision that in the future we are not going to Nassau to pick up guests ever again. It’s just too far out of the way and not worth the risk. As you might think, if we’d waited then the weather might have cleared. You’re right, except that that was four days later.
Feb 2nd – Nassau, Bahamas
We arrived in Nassau and when I called the Nassau Harbour Club for our berth assignment, I was very surprised to hear the response “Wind Warrior this is CASTELLO” . It was our good friend Peter and his wife France. They were fuelling at the same marina after returning from Staniel Cay and arriving about 30 minutes before our arrival.
We shared the same marina space and shared a lot of old memories and laughs from past trips. A few rums were also shared by all.

Feb 4th, Lew arrives and is surprised that as he walks down the dock he actually knows somebody. He had met Peter and France last year and recognized the boat. More rums and pizza and who should arrive but Tina’s cousin from England, Justine and her husband Richard.  They were passing through on their way to Marsh Harbour to stay with Lane and Tina on their boat. A great time was had by all.  It went well into the evening before they said their good-byes.
Feb 5th and we awake to a beautiful day. The winds are forecast at NE 10-15 knots so we head across Yellow Bank for the 35 mile trip to Highbourne Cay in the Bahamas. Well, did I say that plans change? The next day was now forecast for a strong westerly front to arrive bringing high winds and waves. We made the decision that since this was such a great day, that we’d head further south and find shelter on a mooring in a very well protected Warderick Wells. An email went off to the office and we were accommodated.

So much for the perfect day………. We thought we had this one cased. So as we approached Warderick Sand Bore, we find that it has shifted well west of its charted area and there is no way we’re passing over it. We turn the boat around and head for deeper water which took some time. Once in deeper water it was time to alter course and head up to Warderick Wells before that very dark, black, really scary looking storm cell cloud with lots of rain and extremely high winds came roaring down over us. NOT A CHANCE!!! About a half hour before entering the mooring field it was on top of us. Forty knot winds with strong down drafts and rain.  We were far enough up the channel that the surrounding islands broke the seas and we proceeded to our mooring for the night.
We could see it on the horizon that it was going to be bad.
Within about fifteen minutes it went from bad to worse. You can see how the squall line has formed. Man did it blow hard…… and RAIN !!!


The following day was no better with high winds from the Northeast so we decided it was best to stay. Lew and Ron made the trek up to BOO BOO HILL.

Ron had a mission to complete. Last year with Jill, Mike and the grand kids we had intended to make the same trek and leave our boat placard atop the hill with the others but we could not get a mooring so the opportunity was missed. Now we had our chance.
Up we went on the windy trail until we came to the top.
Once there, a small prayer was said to the gods to keep us safe and Ron posed for the tourist shot as he placed Wind Warrior’s placard atop the pile of souvenirs from other boats.

Wind Warrior is the last boat on the right.
So there we sit…. Officially atop Boo Boo Hill with all those other famous sailors like Christopher Columbus, Sir Frances Drake, Popeye the Sailor Man,……. OK probably not them but at least we left OUR mark.
Next it was time to take in the sights on the Atlantic side of the island.
It was pretty rough out there today with waves forecast to hit 10 feet in the afternoon.

The constant bashing of the island by the salty Atlantic Ocean makes it hard for anything to grow around here.

Back at the office the beauty of Warderick Wells can clearly be seen. This truly is God’s country.

Feb 7th and the nice weather has returned. Time to head south to Big Majors Cay just to the north of Staniel Cay and home those infamous pigs. We tucked ourselves in close to Pirate Beach where the usual soundowners take place on the beach after 3:30pm.

Officially it’s party time on any day ending in “Y”.
The collection of paraphernalia around the main table makes for an interesting read.
Time to go with the sun going down. This was to be a perfect sunset.









February 12, 2015 Spanish Wells

About four days ago we left the relative comfort of Marsh Harbour to continue our journey south. An early afternoon departure led to a windy motor down the coast of Great Abaco Island to anchor at Lynyard Cay by early evening. The anchorage was very pleasant and well sheltered from the northeast wind and high waves that were battering the other side of the island by the open Atlantic Ocean.
Six am came early and when we looked out the window, the two other sailboats that were in the anchorage with us were departing. It was still quite dark and I called the lead boat “GRACE” and asked Peter for a report on sea conditions once he cleared the reef just north of Little Harbour. Right on schedule at 6:45 we received a call that the pass was easily doable with about a four foot swell breaking on the surrounding reef.
At 7:15 Jan & I raised our 45 pound Bruce anchor and headed out with an expected 50 mile run ahead down to the entrance to Spanish Wells on the north tip of Eleuthera.
The crossing was uneventful and as we neared Spanish Wells the long northeasterly swell gradually reduced to about three feet from the 4-6 feet we had earlier. The test on this crossing was to avoid the numerous ship traffic that was transiting the New Providence Channel. Our AIS worked wonderfully and alerted us to crossing traffic even before these monster ships were visible on the on the horizon.
About ten miles out of Spanish Wells we were greeted by about ten small dolphins as they frolicked in our bow waves and did a great job entertaining us as they jumped and spun around clear of the water.
The entrance at Ridley Head through the crashing waves of the reef was pretty easy. The plotter was bang on and with the sun high in the sky the reef was very easily seen. After clearing in through the reef and rounding Ridley Head the waters took on that spectacular aquamarine colour the Bahamas is known for. We followed the channel past Gun Point and made our entrance into Spanish Wells.

 We tied to one of the mooring balls owned by Joch Morgan, the local harbour pilot. What a well deserved rest we were about to get on that evening.
This quaint little village is full of pastel coloured homes. Some big and some small.
The main docks are full of offshore fishing boats painted in the same pastel colours as the houses.
Yesterday, Saturday, saw continued 25-30 knot NE winds. Boy did it blow hard and it continued all night and all day today. Wait…….. I hear nothing ! After three days of high winds it has finally stopped. However, we have today to contend with first.
We watch daily as the fast ferry BO HENGY II passes through Spanish wells enroute to Harbour Island and again on the return trip to Nassau.
Sunday February 2nd – Superbowl Sunday
After sporadically sleeping last night with continuous high winds I awoke this morning at 8am to the thumping on the hull and that unforgettable voice of Joch  calling “GOOD MORNING….. I’M HERE TO COLLECT MY MONEY”!! With that I jumped up out of bed and answered. I didn’t expect him that early….. Oh well, such is life in the Bahamas. I got up and paid the man his $20 per day for four nights.
This morning I went about doing a few chores while Jan relaxed a little. She’s been sick since we left Marsh Harbour. Noon came and I told Jan that I’d had enough of working today and was going to take the dinghy down the main channel and check out the beach at the far end of town. On the way I visited the Stirlings of Wolfville. You might know them better for their Stirling apples and the infamous corn maze back home. We had a great chat for 20 minutes then I continued on out by the huge white sand beach and flats. The 6-8 foot surf could well be seen breaking on the outer reef so I headed back to the boat.
By 3 pm I was getting a little bored when suddenly a man on a 45 foot Beneteau  moored ahead of us, came running out into the cockpit and yelling help me, I’m sinking! Jan & I had earlier noticed that the boat was definitely a lot lower in the bow than it should have been. The bilge pump came on and pumped, and pumped, and pumped.
Ron immediately dropped what he was doing and went over to help out. After ripping up the floorboards and checking that all thru hulls were closed and not leaking, Jim said he was going over the side to look for a crack in the hull. I quickly suggested that he’d better have someone keep an eye on him. He quickly agreed and took his dinghy ashore to retrieve his wife while I continued the search for the ingress of water.
During the mayhem, I noticed that his wife had returned to the interior of the boat, climbed over Jim and started putting away all the hoses and such that we had removed from various parts of the bilge looking for the dreaded leak. As Jim quickly looked up, he whacked his head on the settee, he spouted out “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” The answer was simple…. “I’M CLEANING UP THE MESS YOU GUYS ARE MAKING”. Jim’s answer to that cannot be stated in this family orientated email.
With that, what is the next logical thing for every good wife to do ...... ??
That’s easy, turn on the tap and start making a cup of tea. She just didn’t clue in. I needn’t go on from here.
Well, two hours of working frantically to find the leak the ingress was still there and it was starting to get dark. I called the Harbour Pilot for local information on a possible dock with a depth of less than six feet at low tide. The plan was to take the boat to the dock, tie it securely and sit her on her keel at low tide. That way Jim could walk around the boat and look for the source.  The pilot was ABSOLUTELY USELESS and after complaining that the radio transmission was poor he went on to say that there is no way we were going to get help as this was SUPERBOWL SUNDAY…… EMERGENCY OR NOT. Thanks Pilot. Maybe it's just that I'm used to the harbour pilots at home that know every inch of our harbour.
Time to take matters into our own hands. We tried a few docks but the water was too shallow to get in. Finally, Brucefrom R&B Boat Yard came down in his golf cart and suggested that we head down and tie up at the dock outside of Pinder’s store and right beside the marine railway. I went on ahead in our dinghy to sound out the depth of water…… Geesh,  it was fifteen feet deep. The point of all this was to ground the boat on the bottom at low tide. NOT SINK IT AT THE DOCK!! Well, Bruce took over and explained that he had many pumps and the boat would not sink. He would haul it out of the water on Monday if need be.
On that note, with Bruce in charge I decided I’d done all I could to help out and went back to Wind Warrior in the dark. Jan had supper ready and I was beat.
As we ate, I jumped up and said “SHIT – WE CHECKED EVERYTHING EXCEPT THE STUFFING BOX”….. That gland in the back of the boat that with the proper packing and tightness is designed to lubricate the shaft and at the same time, KEEP WATER FROM COMING INTO THE BOAT !! In all the confusion, we’d forgotten to check that vital piece of equipment.
Well, Bruce is a salvage expert and I’m sure he’ll think of that. I felt stupid and tried to call Jim but his VHF must be turned off……. Or they sank at the dock. I’ll run down there in the morning to see how they made out.
Well, so much for being bored. It’s now 8:30pm and I’m telling you all about it.
Time for a nice glass of wine and a little relaxation before bed.
The saga continues tomorrow.
Addendum:  A bad situation had a happy ending. It’s 9:15 and Jim just came over to say that they found the leak. The threads on the toilet outflow had stripped and when he moved the fitting water came gushing in. The problem is now fixed and tomorrow a permanent fix will take place.
The End