As you can probably tell, we are not dawdling quite as much as we typically do. Even though it feels like we just got here, it’s actually been a few months and we need to start thinking about the timing for sailing back to Connecticut. We would love to stay longer, but we also want to spend some time in Connecticut and in the Chesapeake as we go south again. As Jeff pointed out, it took us so long to get down here that in order to get somewhat back on track, something was going to have to get cut short.
We decided that a maximum of three months in the Bahamas was going to have to suffice this time. We’ll make up for it next season. We need to get back to Connecticut by the end of June for doctor appointments, so as a result we’re skipping up the Exumas with an eye towards crossing back to the United States by the end of April. However, we are definitely taking notes on where we’d like to spend more time when we return at the end of the year!
One repeat visit for us already on this trip was Little Bay on Great Guana Cay. Looking at the forecast we were going to be getting some westerly winds in the mid-teens for half a day before the wind clocked to the northwest and around. One thing that the Exumas lacks are an abundance of anchorages with westerly protection. Little Bay was only 10 nautical miles away from Little Farmers Cay, and while it was open to the west, we could tuck in and get protection once the wind turned to the northwest. Bonus points for it being a lovely anchorage and a 45 minute walk into Black Point, which is a settlement where we hoped to be able to pick up a few provisions.
We had a nice, lazy, jib-only sail of 12 nautical miles from Little Farmers to Little Bay. Although the wind was supposed to be light, it started turning west and picking up speed as we approached Little Bay. By the time we anchored we already had two to three foot swells in the anchorage. Good times – not. Tom and Anita from S/V Lone Star pulled in a few hours later and although we had planned to get together that evening we decided to postpone until the next day given the conditions.
As the evening progressed the wind started to shift, but the wave direction didn’t. This put the waves on our beam with Pegu Club rolling side to side, side to side, around 20-30 degrees at a time. It was an absolutely sleepless night for both of us. I wanted to set a swell bridle but we had never done it before and Jeff didn’t want to set it up in the dark. While in hindsight this was obviously the right decision, it didn’t make the night any easier. Finally we both fell asleep around 4:00 a.m. The rolling hadn’t stopped, but we were so tired it didn’t matter.
The next day Tom and Anita came over and cheered us on while we rigged up a swell bridle. The relief from the swell was immediate, and we won’t hesitate to do that again in the future. Tom, Anita, and I decided to walk into the settlement while Jeff opted to stay on the boat and rest, feeling especially tired from our sleepless night. I was on a quest to buy some bread from Mama, who reportedly made the best bread in the Exumas.