Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March 5, 2009.

Before I get started let me say that its good to be back in touch but it will only be for today. We ran into a new wifi source that will only be available to us while we're in the Jumentos.

We’ve made it to Flamingo Cay in the Jumentos. It’s one of my favorite cays of the Bahamas. Flamingo possesses 3 of the essentials that we enjoy most, beautiful beaches, some hiking trails and a bit of snorkeling.

We hauled anchor at 0600 in Thompson Bay and headed out. We left at first light so we could transit the skinniest water of our day on a rising tide. There was a calm breeze out of the north so we covered the ten miles to the Comers East waypoint at about 6 knots.

The Comer Channel is about 11 miles of fairly shallow water. The bottom is all sand so running aground after low tide would be nothing more than an inconvenience. We draw about 5 ½ feet and we never saw less than 9 inches under our keel. The Far Niente’s were a little closer to the bottom dragging their 6 foot keel with them, but all went well.

The rest of the trip was spent alternating between sailing and motorsailing. The forecast had been for 10 to 12 knots all day but Jay on Far Niente got too generous and gave all our wind away. He had been talking on the VHF to another boat that was becalmed several miles away. He was amazed that we were able to sail as he had practically no wind. While signing off, Jay promised the guy some wind and next thing I knew we were starting the engine as our entire forecasted breeze was gone.

We arrived at the 2 Palms Anchorage in Flamingo Cay around 1500 hours. The wind was from the north so we had some protection from the breeze, but the northwest swell was still rolling into the anchorage.

Our first night the anchorage was a rolling mess. The wind had come around to the northeast so it was getting better, but it was still not great. Our first full day at Flamingo was spent hiking and snorkeling. We spent the morning walking over to the northern anchorage where we once again came across the wreckage of our friend Gary’s plane. The past years hurricane season has eroded some of the familiar beaches and has added a bit of sand in other places. Part of the plane that once sat atop the beach is now practically buried.

After getting back to the dinghy we decided to go down to the next beach and climb to the light tower at the top of the island. Just like last year the view from the tower was outstanding.

After lunch at the boat we headed down to the southern end of the cay to do some spearfishing. My favorite reef had no fish of intriguing size so I headed over to an area I like to call “The Bowl”. The Bowl is about the size of a football field, and it drops off to about 20 feet deep from a surrounding depth of only 4 feet. The vertical sides are home to several schools of fish, including some of good size.

At the bowl I was able to take a pair of large Triggerfish. After that Christy followed me in the dink as I swam the backside of the cay on the way back to our boat. While swimming the backside of the cays I often find random smaller coral heads that are home to some good sized fish. It was on one of these small non descript knobs of coral that I was able to spear our second lobster of the year.

To be able to cover more area Christy will often tow me behind the dinghy. I lay face down holding the tow rope while she drags me homeward. If I see anything that looks like a good opportunity I just let go of the line and she circles back to collect me and hopefully our catch.

In the evening we decided to get together on the beach for cocktails and a little garbage burning. When the tide is low you can dig a fire pit, stack some driftwood, build a roaring fire and burn all of your boat garbage. Down island it’s a necessity so it’s only natural that it becomes a social event.

There were 2 other boats in the anchorage so I dinghied over to invite them to join us. The first boat declined as they were tired from just having arrived. When I arrived at the second boat, a large power cat, they accepted our invitation and upped the ante.

Instead of meeting at the beach they asked us all to come over to their very large boat. Ummmm….okay. So we spent the evening aboard the power cat Magic. We had a great time, made new friends and no, we didn’t bring our garbage. There’s always tomorrow.

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