Monday, February 15, 2016

Plan B. Clarence Town it is!

The Captain will later blame the Navigator for too much rum, too early in the morning for the wrong turn...
Mayaguana/Clarence Town:  We're sound asleep until 3:00 am when I hear a beep-beep-beep.  "What is THAT?!"  We're both get up but can't find the source. Anchor alarm?  No. Smoke alarm?  No.  Electrical panel?  No. iPad?  No. We go back to bed but neither one of us can go back to sleep.

I'm up before my 5:30 am alarm. It turns out we both have queasy stomaches. (At least Amelia the Cat looks perky!) Are we seasick at anchor 3 days of rolling?  Possible, but we both took sea sick meds last night. Nerves?  Maybe. Food poisoning. I hope not.  I feel better the longer I'm up, but with a 27-hour leg with a moonless night ahead, The Captain makes the tough decision.  We’re going to Clarence Town instead of Mayaguana. We need to be 100% and if not, then in a more secure harbor for the next wind clock. We notify Kelly Nicole & The Captain goes back to bed. I start our new route planning & prep the boat. My research shows the marina in Clarence Town has the best protection from strong north winds. Reviews are mixed about how they treat cruisers, so I fire off an email. We watch Kelly Nicole depart the harbor. (That sucks!)  We finally get moving by 8:30 ish and drop in behind the catamaran, Sol Searching. 

We have a decent day of long-period swells, about 2 ft high on the beam. The wind is 9-13 kts at our aft quarter with the genoa and one engine.   As we near Clarence Town, there is a procession of boats on our chart plotter including Neko, Pilgrim and of course, Sol Searching.  We navigate the tricky harbor entrance and make a pass through the desired anchorage. We don't see any room, so we drop to the end of the line for the night.

Anchorage boat count is 9.

Sunset from the harbor, facing out to the reef

Stats:  Total time 7:21, avg speed 4.8, total mileage 35.5.  Motor sail 2/3 genoa & one engine.  Motored 1/3. 

On the dock at Flying Fish Marina

Day 2:  We’re up by 8:00 am and the marina has confirmed our slip.  The Captain still isn’t a 100% but he’s happy about picking up anchor for the marina.  (It’s been 2 months since we’ve been to a marina!)  Boat count at Flying Fish is 4 sailboats, 5 sportfish, and 1 motor yacht.  Hot, long showers are the first order of business followed by lunch at the outdoor bar off our bow.  

The south end of Long Island was hit hard by Hurricane Joaquin.  When I check in at the office, I’m told most of the businesses were "flattened" by the hurricane and there is no word of reopening--only the marina and a restaurant are still open.  We go for a walk through town and even the church is locked (it's on the highest point and is supposed to have magnificent views from the towers).  We retire to the boat for an afternoon of TV (The boss is feeling better but still tired.  Must have been a stomach bug or 24-hour thing).  The Captain briefly troubleshoots our starboard alternator (he doesn't have the parts to fix it, so we elect to stay on the dock until departure instead of reanchoring, so our batteries are topped). There isn't really a dinghy dock at Flying Fish, but there is a ladder next to our slip so we get to say hello to all of our fellow cruisers including Sv Pilgrim (Boulder, CO. We first met them on Monument Hill in Georgetown). 

Day 3:  Lazy day.  sv Pilgrim departs. Winds clock through west at less than 20 but start to pick up as they go north. We're comfy, tucked in behind the restaurant. 

Here's at least five sharks in one picture

A close up
Local fisherman with their catch.  They were giving away fillets!
and the sharks get the scraps!

When we first arrived in Clarence Town, the clear blue water around our boat made a snorkel seem tempting. Someone has to check the anchor and there are a lot of reefs in the bay. Then The Captain saw a note on the chart plotter over by the marina--"Aggressive sharks reported by locals." Hmmm. Must be attracted by the sport-fish boats. When we arrived at the marina, I joked with the dock master about "missing the dock and going for a swim." "YOU DO NOT WANT TO SWIM HERE! Sharks." Hmmm. Today, walking back from the bathroom, I notice some fishermen cleaning a huge wahoo and tails splashing in the water. I walk over. As they clean & fillet, they throw the scraps in. Another fisherman gives me the free tour--"lemon shark, nurse shark of course, and the big 10 ft one is a bull shark--you do not want to be in the water with one of those. Oh, and tarpon & a big grouper." It is low tide--apparently, there are usually more. I've paid a lot of money to visit aquariums & see a lot less! At least two of the sharks were bleeding from the scrum. Our reef book says the lemon & bull are rare in the Bahamas, so it was a treat to see them up close (from the dock). Oh, and I'm off snorkeling for awhile. 

Butter poached lobster with baked potato and plantains at Rowdy's

There's a Super Bowl party at Rowdy’s Restaurant, so we walk over for dinner.  (You know you’ve lost touch with day-to-day happenings back home, when it takes a room full of cruisers to figure out when the Super Bowl is and who’s playing).  I have the most amazing butter poached local lobster.  However, after 2 rounds, we’re headed back home before the pre-game is even over.  I’m sure someone on FaceBook will tell us who won… 

Day 4:  Today is chores, but the power is out in the morning (all across the island, we’re told).  We manage to get the water tanks full before the marina accumulator ran out.  Sol Searching departs.  The power is back on by 10:00 am, so I scramble to do laundry and get a shower before it goes out again. We give up on trying to get a rental car (drive to back to Salt Pond to grocery shop) and decide to eat out to conserve our provisions (slightly schewed logic, but OK).  The Captain gets the spinnaker out to rerun lines. Our dock neighbor, sv Surprise departs. We hit the marina gift shop and stock up on “road trip” snacks for our overnight trip. A sportfish returns, so I head over for Shark Show, part 2.  The tide is higher and it’s actually a little frightening.  After I see a mouth full of teeth, I head back to the boat.  Early to bed. It’s chilly even with the hatches closed and we snuggle under a blanket.

The Atlantic side.  Note the white caps that develop as the waves come over the reef.

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