February 14, 2009.
Happy Valentine’s Day and yes I did remember to buy a card. We were up and underway by 0730 for a 60 mile trip across the Northwest Providence Channel to Great Harbor in the Berries. This channel is kind of like a tributary to the Gulf Stream and can be nasty at times. Fortunately, today was perfect for making the crossing.
It was a little cloudy and cool as we headed out but the day blossomed into a perfect day. The forecast was for light winds dead on the nose so we were expecting to motor all day. The wind ended up being about 25 degrees off the nose so we were able to motor sail. Having the sails up provided a huge boost in speed over ground as we were fighting an adverse current for about half the day.
We were only an hour or two into our day when Di on Far Niente announced that they were having fish for dinner. Jay had hooked and landed a large Wahoo. Shortly afterwards, Jerry on Bi Bi announced that we were all having fish for dinner as he had just landed a 48 inch Mahi Mahi. On Veranda we got plenty of exercise by reeling in one huge clump of seaweed after another……all day.
Today was another one of those days that AIS played a huge role. At one point I was tracking 12 ships on the screen. Even in daylight when you spot one of these big ships it can be very deceiving as to what you’re actually seeing. Throw in several ships of various sizes, various speeds and multiple courses and it can be a bit nerve wracking. Several times crossings went much smoother just because we could see exactly what the huge ships were doing. Even with the AIS one freighter had me a bit worried. He was making 22 knots and approaching from our starboard quarter. We were on intersecting courses and it looked as if it was going to be a close crossing. I ended up hailing him by name on the radio and he immediately replied. I told him I was one of the 5 small sailboats off his port bow and I wanted to know if he was going to be crossing our bow. I didn’t really care how we crossed, I just wanted to be sure somebody on the ship had an eyeball on us. Plus by chatting with him he would realize that I’m a prince of a guy and he would have reservations about running over and killing a prince of a guy. He replied that he was aware of us and would be crossing our bow with a CPA (closest point of approach) of nine tenths of a mile. I know that seems like a good margin, but out on the big ole’ ocean, that’s about the size of a city block.
Our chosen anchorage at Goat Cay had an easy approach and offers decent protection. As soon as the hook was down Christy and I were both in the water. I used the opportunity to scrape some tiny barnacles off the propeller. Then we took the dogs to a nearby deserted beach. Molly and Tucker loved it and spent most of the time running back and forth sans leash.
On our way back to the boat we stopped in to see each of our traveling companions and compare notes on the day. The one thing I noticed that we have in common is that many of us seems to be a bit sunburned. True to his word, Jerry gave us a huge bag of Mahi Mahi fillets when we stopped by. Christy had a recipe ready and served up a fabulous fresh fish dinner.