Friday, July 31, 2009


June 17-July 14, 2009

Hope Town, Elbow Cay Overview
Hope Town, Elbow Cay Overview

No, we didn't manage to get the camera working again, nor did we purchase another one! I dug into the photo archives of previous trips and picked out one of my old favorites to brighten up the page a bit. Photos used from events after July 3 are generously supplied from our cruising buddies on NO CALL and SUN DAZE. This final entry about our trip to the sunny Bahamas is being posted from the home dock, for reasons that will become obvious after reading about our time in the Abacos.

The Weather Was In Control

When that thunderstorm at Lynyard Cay finally moved on and we were able to get down our anchor, we were pleasantly surprised to recognize two other boats anchored nearby that we have been friendly with the last couple of years of cruising the islands. VHF communications with them indicated they were in a state of malcontent, having had the most miserable weather they could ever remember. Hearing them talk about the constant winds and daily t-storms made us thankful that we had elected to spend the first part of our cruising season farther south. In fact,when we saw them 10 days later, having been beaten by the weather, they ended up returning to Florida almost a month ahead of their regular return date. They weren't alone though, from what we could hear on the radio chatter, many cruisers had just given up waiting for better weather, or had spent too much of their money going into marinas where they felt more secure rather than getting bounced around at anchor. For example, on July 3, whether it was from poor weather or less cruising because of the economy in general, we anchored at the same spot last year and had 30 boats; this year there were only 14. We would end up waiting until July 11 for our first “ideal” weather day!

The root of the weather problem was centered around winds that were consistently blowing from a westerly quadrant. The Abacos just aren't laid out for cruisers to have comfortable anchorages with those winds. They also have a tendency to bring awful thunderstorms with lots of lightning and the dreaded waterspouts. One brand new Grand Banks we met at Conception Island went by us again and was without its Bimini top and upper deck canvas. I called the captain and asked why he was cruising with the “bald” look and he told me he had lost it all in a thunderstorm while he was in the “protection” of Marsh Harbor. Despite the loss of all that expensive canvas, he was happy that his anchor had held and no other boats dragged into him.

We dealt with thunderstorms lasting 4 hours; fortunately the majority of them occurred during daylight hours. At least then you have a better chance to keep your bearings and those of other vessels in your vicinity. However, the day we had to go pick up Eddie after he returned from his reunion, we debated about whether or not we should haul up our anchor early enough to where we could anchor in an area close to the ferry dock where we had agreed to meet Eddie where we could watch for Eddie's plane to go flying by. The debate ran for so long, time finally ran out and we left in time to what we thought would put us where we needed to be without anchoring or waiting long. I would stand off with FLUKE while Wayne hopped in the dinghy to go to shore to pick up Eddie.

As we neared the rendezvous site, a bad storm approached. The winds and rain picked up. When I read 45 knots on the wind gauge I remarked to Wayne that it probably couldn't get much worse. Another squall line burst through with pounding, blinding rain, and we clocked 60.1 KTS! I was at the helm and couldn't see the bow of the boat and couldn't tell what direction the wind was coming from without looking at the wind gauge. It is important to keep the bow into the wind to try to maintain a steady course. Plus, we were towing the dinghy and we needed to try to protect it by keeping it behind the boat as much as possible. We were lucky there were no other boats in our vicinity, and the worst part of the storm moved through quickly, but we missed the rendezvous time because we had to spend more time underway trying to control the boat and move through the storm. When we got into a clearer area I saw 4 other sailboats, one whose dinghy had flipped over, that appeared to have hauled anchor to ride out the storm underway too.

After we were headed toward the airport dock again I saw a ferry leaving the dock and called the ferry operator to find out if Eddie was aboard. Our plan had been for Eddie to take the last ferry over to New Plymouth where he could try to rent a room if we had not shown up for some reason. The ferry operator told me Eddie wasn't aboard. So, we motored up closer to the airport dock where I could look through the binoculars and see Eddie on shore, acting like our tardiness was no big deal! He had been able to see us underway, and that's why he didn't get on the ferry.

We were all glad to see Eddie again, and he was glad to be back aboard. He had a great time seeing all his old schoolmates, but the weather in CT was cold and damp, and he decided he liked fermenting with his shipmates better.

After we successfully got Eddie aboard, we went back to where we had been anchored earlier that afternoon. The owner of the boat that had been anchored next to us came over and said that after we had hauled anchor and the storm moved in, lightning either hit his boat, or close to it, and 30 different pieces of electronics were not working!

The rain didn't do any good for helping to cool things off and only aggravated the high humidity and water clarity. One day, while fully underway, the pilothouse thermometer read 92°. Most days I couldn't tell any difference between sitting in the dinghy or going in the water, unless I was 20' down .

Making the Best of the Alternatives

These contrary winds forced us into finding more creative places to drop the hook, which was fine with us because one of our goals was to try anchoring in places we hadn't been to over the past years. Other cruisers reading this blog should take note of the places, as they may find them interesting. Our criteria in choosing an anchorage include the following: good holding with our Delta anchor, wind protection, plenty of room to maneuver (and not be crowded by other boats), possible snorkeling potential, and opportunity to land the dinghy for a walk on shore.

Since conditions weren't appropriate to anchor in Baker's Bay, we elected to explore the area around Water Cay and Archers Cay, off of Great Abaco. We found good holding just a bit north of where the creeks enter into the Sea of Abaco. We explored the area by dinghy, but it would probably be interesting to take a kayak into the creek area; we saw lots of juvenile turtles in the creek basin that looks to have a wooden bridge (damaged by a hurricane) connecting one of the small cays to the mainland. On high tide you can land the dinghy and walk on the cays or on the “road” from the mainland where the bridge begins. At lower tide a piece of metal will be visible sticking out of the water near the mouth of the creek with the bridge If you snorkel that area you will see a whole array of construction equipment underneath the water, along with car bumpers and axles. Lots of fish have made this wreck site their home. Snorkel on a rising tide; the falling tide brings too much turbid water in from the creek, and you can't see anything!

After we passed through Whale Cay Passage, we anchored right off Carleton Point, tucked in as far as our 5.5' draft would allow, which is a surprisingly far way up towards the beach and still had plenty of water under us to feel safe if we started bouncing around. Look for a sandy spot between the grass patches to get the best holding. This anchorage will only be good if you have steady winds with a westerly component; otherwise you will get surge from around the point.

If you are a beach walker, you will love having access to land your dinghy and walk for miles on the famous Treasure Cay beach (it is dog friendly!). You can even access the marina facilities and shops by cutting through one of the condo complexes. We managed to find the plaque mounted in the rocky cliff right on the outermost end of Carleton Point. It commemorates the 200 yr. anniversary (1783-1983) of the first Loyalist colony in the Abacos. The colony was formed by a group of people who left New York because they didn't support the American colony's efforts to break free of England. The Abaco colonialists thought England would quit trading with the American colony and trade with the Abaconian colony instead, but their agricultural attempts failed, causing the colony to break up and move to other places. I think those Loyalists must have gotten some bogus information about the viability of the land in the Bahamas and just been so miserable with the idea of true democracy and real freedom that they rationalized their relocation without the facts to their own detriment. The plaque site yielded another treasure, too, a Geocache that we inadvertently stumbled upon, so I felt like a real treasure hunter and even added written comments to the cache's log.

The charts indicate anchoring right off the airport ferry dock in westerly winds. Rather than contend with all the commercial traffic, garbage, and wakes associated with the landing, go a couple of miles north where you can see a sandy shore, but stay south of the string of rocks that parallel the mainland. We have always found good holding in that area. Plus, it is interesting to snorkel the rocks, cuts, and mangroves. I observed a guide taking customers bone-fishing in the shallows behind the rocks on a daily basis. We only caught a barracuda dinghy trolling, but at least it was an outing. Our friends, Dave and Kathy, from Lady K, anchored nearby and spent a fun evening with us for dinner and catching up on a year's worth of news since the last time we had seen them.

Moving farther north up the western side of the Sea of Abaco, past Cooperstown, you will reach Angelfish Point. A lot of cruisers go around Crab Cay and drop the hook on the west side of the point. When we have westerly winds, we like to anchor on the east side of Angelfish Point, short of the cut between the point and Crab Cay, close to the 30' high peak of land. We get good protection from the wind. With all the big rocks along the shore it is a great place to snorkel and troll. Last year we caught a 15# Cubera snapper; this year we only caught a jack, which I ended up giving to a Bahamian fisherman on the shore. We will also remember this anchorage because we had the best pizza party ever aboard FLUKE this year with the crews from NO CALL and SUN DAZE in attendance Wayne made the delicious dough from the recipe he has managed to perfect, we topped the 2 big pizzas with lots of cheese, mushrooms, pepperoni, pineapple, olives, and sausage. Who needs to call in for a pizza?!!

We finally had the “opportunity” to visit the anchorage on the north side of Allans-Pensacola. We accessed the area by staying close to the shore on the southeastern end of AP Cay and then cutting northward, staying clear of all of the rocks on the northwestern tip of Big Hog Cay, always watching our water depth and proceeding very slowly,moving westward to clear all the Money and Murray Cays before turning towards the beach. You have to look around for a sandy spot to drop the hook. We had good holding with our Delta, but our friends could not get their Super Max to dig in well, but both anchors held when a 30 KT squall moved through that had a slight northerly component to it. You would not want to be in this anchorage with any winds from the north or east as you would be exposed to some Atlantic Ocean rolling in, unless you had a shallow enough draft to try to tuck in behind the Murray or Money Cays, where saw several boats anchored. I found this anchorage to be one of the most picturesque in the Abacos. Plus, it is also a beach walker's paradise with several stretches of beautiful white sandy areas and interesting rocky outcroppings. The anchorage provides ready access for traveling out to the line of offshore reefs and nearer shore patch reefs.

Stranded Naked Again, July 3, 2009

Waiting to Eat
Waiting to Eat

You just have to learn to deal with the weather and not let it beat you down altogether. If all else fails, go to a party. After attending the Stranded Naked party last year we decided if it worked into our travel schedule to be able to go to the party again this year, that's what we would do. Hundreds of others had the same idea and landed their vessels on tiny Fiddle Cay for a day of food, drink, and merriment.

This event is sponsored by the company that sells a line of swimwear called Stranded Naked. The party is the season opener for Regatta Time in the Abacos, an annual sailing competition. At no charge, the company gives away hamburgers, fries, and all the rum punch and margaritas you can drink, and all the Jimmy Buffett music you can stand to have blasted at you from 5' high speakers run off a generator. The company sells artfully decorated T-shirts to help offset the costs. The shirts are so popular, party goers wait in line for hours waiting for the sale to begin. There really is no such thing as a free lunch!

Wayne and Ursa Said the Food was Worth the Wait
Wayne and Ursa Said the Food was Worth the Wait

34th Regatta Time in the Abacos, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, America.

This was to be a big day of socializing for the crew of FLUKE. We spent the morning spearfishing with our friends from NO CALL, Bruce and Janet, who were our spearfishing mentors. Eddie caught two nice grouper so everyone got together on FLUKE for delicious fresh grouper sandwiches. We had to celebrate the July 4 holiday and Eddie outdoing the Master. You know your mentor has done a fine job when the student finally prevails!

Carol and Janet Waiting for the Parade
Carol and Janet Waiting for the Parade

In the late afternoon, we hauled up the anchor on FLUKE from her spot near Manjack Cay to move over to Green Turtle Cay for the evening so that we could attend the Bahamian-sponsored party held at Settlement Point in New Plymouth for the Regatta Time in the Abacos celebration, with this year being its 34th anniversary. We invited Bruce and Janet to ride over with us since it would be their first opportunity to cruise on a Whaleback. The harbor area was filled with boats, many of which had competed in the sailing competitions held earlier throughout the day.

Boats Wearing Their Party Clothes
Boats Wearing Their Party Clothes

Settlement Point was filled with various food vendors from local eateries and organizations selling traditional Bahamian dishes. It was fun to be able to sample some of the different fare, piecemeal at a time. Sponsors supplied free beer and rum punch from a huge tent with fast-moving lines. Eddie was standing in line and a woman came up behind him and squeezed his butt and put her arms around him and whispered “Guess who?” in his ear. Our friends Kathy and Dave were right behind her and wondered what was going on. They all really got a good laugh when Eddie turned around and the woman exclaimed “Oh, no, you're the wrong man!”

Eddie Hoping to Find That Woman Again
Eddie Hoping to Find That Woman Again!

A big stage was set up to give out the awards for the sailing competition and to provide a platform for the live band that played all kinds of music. Following the golf cart parade, came the most interesting “music” from the drummers who were the main event for the Junkanoo-style parade. It was amazing to see how these drummers with a lot of heart pounded on their drums and made a coordinated and catchy beat. Many of the party goers fell in line behind the drummers and bumped and ground themselves until the parade ended.

Pounding out a Beat
Pounding out a Beat

In the Final Stretch, July 5 – 13, 2009

Partied out, we decided to haul up the anchor from Manjack and begin our north and westward move to what would be our final destination for our 2009 Bahamian adventure, Wells Bay off of Grand Cay. There would be no chance of getting another WiFi connection. We made intermediate stops at the anchorages described earlier: Angelfish Point and Allans-Pensacola.

For the final voyage, the flotilla of FLUKE, NO CALL, and SUN DAZE left Allans-Pensacola on July 8 with seas calm enough for us to travel offshore, north of the barrier reef so that we could troll in waters in the 200-300' depths. After the 10 hour cruise, FLUKE had boated the most fish, with the best haul being 3.5 tuna. The .5 tuna still yielded 2.5# of tuna steaks. When I had that fish on the line, I felt a strange vibrating sensation which was the predator fish, probably a shark, ripping through my tuna. I knew I had lost most of the fish when the weight on the line suddenly became less. Ready Eddie was on the ball with the fillet knife and had all the fish “processed” before we even entered the area where we were going to anchor.

We spent 5 nights in Wells Bay. Every day was the same: spearfishing, either in the nearby cuts, patch reefs, and around the derrick wreck off of Walkers Cay. Overall, we didn't even see as many fish as last year. Maybe some of it had to do with the poorer visibility, but we all just thought there were less fish of all kinds, not just the species we were targeting. We had to spend more time looking at more locations, but it was still fun and we got a lot of exercise. Everyone managed to get some good fish, and was the “winner” on one day or another.

Carol With her Winning Grouper
Carol With her Winning Grouper

Besides spearfishing, we spent time doing the regular boat chores. I was insistent about getting the slime scraped off the waterline so that it didn't have to get done at the home dock where swimming in the river water would not be as enjoyable as the water in Wells Bay by several magnitudes. We endured an afternoon of loud rap music played while the locals celebrated Bahamian Independence Day on the nearby beach. I was thankful that the local mosquito control efforts were nil, forcing the celebration to end by 7:00 p.m. before the thirsty blood suckers could crash the beach party. SUN DAZE hosted a great dinner party with Richard's special recipe seafood chowder (conch, snapper, shrimp) served on a bed of yellow rice. Janet from NO CALL brought a delicious ambrosia salad, and Wayne made a braided Italian bread. We all laugh when we have people ask questions about what we eat while cruising, usually with the idea that we have to eat canned foods or find restaurants.

Fine Dining
Fine Dining

The Grand Finale, July 14, 2009

We had to leave today; we had a great 2 day weather window to have calm passage back to Florida. Our plan was to go to Mangrove Cay, about 4 hours away, get up at 0230 for the 15 hour ride back to the home dock in Vero Beach. Since we only needed to go 4 hours, we decided to leave about
3:00 p.m. since there was no point in getting to Mangrove and just sitting there sweltering the whole day. It is only a little speck of a mangrove island in shallow water in the middle of nowhere.

That said, we decided to make one last spearfishing expedition. It was only about 10:00 a.m. when we arrived at the first coral head. The tide was low, and there were quite a few clouds, making it difficult to spot the shallow heads. We hit a coral head and chipped one of the prop blades, so we were restricted in how fast we could go with the dinghy. We weren't having any luck finding much until we made a final stop at a patch reef that had quite a few fish. I speared a nice sized grouper, but it was strong enough to bend all 3 points on my spear and got off the spear and holed itself. I looked for it,with the hope of spearing it with another spear, but had to give up because sharks showed up to look for it too. Everybody back in the boat, please.

It was about 3:30 by the time we were finally ready to haul up the anchor. Wayne went to start the helm computer that runs our navigation software and it wouldn't power up. He tried various things in hopes of getting it started, but nothing worked. We have the backup software for the Bahamas and Florida on Eddie's laptop, so Wayne hooked that up. We were able to leave by 4:30. (It was a good thing the software had already been loaded because when we got back to Vero and Wayne tried to load more charts the CD drive wouldn't work, and we had to replace it.)

We planned to troll on the way to Mangrove in hopes of having one last chance of getting a mutton snapper, the only fish on the list we hadn't gotten any of this trip. We only caught a couple of barracuda. Then, one of the reels got a gigantic birds nest in it, and we had to spend 2 hours trying to untangle the line. It was stinking hot, late in the day, my hair was still stiff with salt from the morning dive, and I needed to cook dinner, so I was not happy working with Eddie on trying to untangle the line to say the least. Calling me a sea witch at that point would have just been a compliment!

Fortunately we managed to get up on time and had a great Gulf Stream crossing, topped off by catching a nice dolphin. We even made it to the home dock before dark and without an afternoon thunderstorm.

Stay Tuned . . .

We are hoping to leave Vero Beach at the beginning of August with our intended goal being the Erie Canal. We should have better WiFi access, a new camera, and more motivation to keep the news current!

Friday, July 03, 2009


Highbourne Cay and Norman's Cay
June 12 – 14, 2009

We had the anchor up to leave Little San Salvador by 0615 and had a tuna in the boat by 0730. We were allowing extra time to take a more circuitous route so that we could fish drop offs in hopes of getting more trolling action. We boated a huge dolphin only to have it break the hook off the line and flop back out the transom gate. It had taken me a long time to get the fish to the boat and then we made it over that difficult hump of getting it inside the boat, only to have it take one look at Eddie and jump back out again. I had to hold back tears out of frustration and trying to hold my temper. At least the seas remained calm for the long crossing across Exuma Sound.

With the weather forecasting winds with a more southerly component we decided to anchor for the night at Highbourne Cay, in North Cove, where we had anchored before; we knew how to get in and out of there safely and the fishing is usually good in that area.

After one night at Highbourne we decided to head south to Norman's Cay. This would give us a chance to troll a lot of cuts between cays and when we anchored off of Norman's we would still be just outside the boundary of the Exuma Land and Sea Park. We wanted to be able to try spearfishing the area, and no fishing of any kind is allowed in the Park so staying at Norman's was the best plan.

We boated a dolphin by 0800. We had two huge jacks on at the same time, and it gave the FLUKE fishing team some practice in handling 2 lines at the same time. The seas were calm enough for Wayne to put the boat on autopilot and go down into the cockpit and pull in the fish when Eddie and I got them up to the boat. It was amazing how well things went for us during that operation: both fish in the boat, minimal yelling, and no injuries. Eddie got right to it, cleaning the dolphin while we were underway.

We set the hook down in the sandy area toward the southern end on the western side of Norman's. A little out island airstrip occupies most of the land nearby so we watched the small planes landing and taking off. You can park your plane and walk across the runway and have lunch or dinner at a popular Exuma hangout known as The Beach Club (formerly McDuff's).

We decided to go to The Beach Club for lunch to get conch burgers; a treat, being the only meal we will eat out at a restaurant. Plus, we don't collect and clean conch for ourselves, so the conch burgers are always our choice. We also wanted to use their WiFi. We landed the dinghy on the beach, walked through the underbrush, across a small patch of the runway (yes, we looked both ways to make sure we wouldn't get hit by an airplane!), and rinsed our sandy feet in the water tub outside the door to the restaurant.

We all sat at the bar. The atmosphere is truly out island, with lots of charm. However, TBC doesn't sit right on the beach. There are a couple of cottages, I presume they are a home/rental property between the bar and the beach. So, even though it is slightly elevated off the ground (if it wasn't, it would be at sea level), it is surrounded by enough vegetation so there is no view of anything and it gets very little air movement. They had fans going, but the humidity was at its saturation point, so it still felt really sticky.

I struck up a conversation with the Bahamian sitting next to me. He told me he was a pilot and had just flown in from Great Exuma (they call it the mainland) with the customs officer who was supposed to clear a shipment of building materials that had just arrived at the dock on an inter-island freighter. I told him we had seen both the freighter at the dock and then some building materials being transported on a truck down the runway (multipurpose pavement) and also a structure under construction close to where we were anchored. He smiled and said “There be lotsa buildin goin on, but don't know if there be any finishin”. We have always noticed how slowly, in some cases even abandonment, building projects take.

Finally our expensive lunch arrived: per person-conchburger $15, fries $3, and a warm can of soda served with a glass of ice, $2. The food was very good, but trying to get a refill on the ice and any condiments took way too long, especially to justify the high cost of the meal. To make matters worse, the WiFi was inoperable from a lightning strike a couple of days earlier. Our spirits were lifted when 2 couples, cruising friends from years past, walked in unexpectedly. We spent the next couple of hours catching up with them, exchanging information about anchorages, boat maintenance, and future plans.
Beach combing and snorkeling the many nearby cuts, reefs, and coral heads rounds out the time here.

Having a deadline to meet, we needed to get to Nassau by June 15 so that we could drop Eddie off to catch a morning flight out on June 16. He was headed to Old Lyme, CT to attend his 50th class reunion. He had been looking forward to this all year.

June 15, 2009

Try saying Athol Island fast 3 times in a row! We are anchored here because it is right outside the main harbor in Nassau and we hope we will be able to get in and drop Eddie off at a dock so he can catch a cab to get to the airport for his flight. Other than that, this isn't a great place to anchor as the deep water channel to get to where you can drop the hook is very narrow and winding. We came in on good light and could see the shallows well, so we didn't have any problems. However, the cruise and ferry boats use the channel for a short cut, causing a lot of wakes. Since we pulled up in the late afternoon their business is almost over for the day, and then it will be quieter. The great news is that it looks like we shook that voodoo hex that was plaguing our computer as Wayne managed to tap into someone's WiFi connection (we are close to the opulent megamansions on the east end of Paradise Island) so we can post and receive email.

Search, But No Seizure

Shortly after we were settled we heard voices approaching from our stern. I looked out back and saw Royal Bahamas Defence (they use the English spelling) Force boat P114 pulling up to the swim platform. They asked to see the captain of the vessel and said they were going to board and search the boat as a matter of “routine procedure”.

We had to present all our boat papers, our passports, and the customs and immigration papers we had received when we cleared 5 weeks earlier in Bimini. They asked where we had been, why we were anchored at Athol, and where we planned to go next. They were afraid of Ursa. Even though she wasn't making a fuss, those beady eyes, pointed snout, and curious personality packed into that compact 15# black body was just too intimidating to suit their tastes, and so they told us to tie up the dog.

One man handled all the paperwork while the other one began the search of the boat. He looked in the cabinets (of which we have so many), drawers, under seat cushions, in the refrigerator, and under the mattresses. It takes 2 people to move the master queen mattress so that the compartment underneath can be accessed, but he wanted to see what was under it, which wasn't much since it is too difficult to get to. He was very polite and didn't mess things up in the drawers, just picked up things, feeling for who knows what he was really looking for. We even had to lift up the hatch in the main salon so that he could look down into the engine compartment. His eyes got as wide as black saucers when he saw Visitor sitting next to the bed just staring at him. He gasped and said “Is dat cat part pantha? You be feedin him too much food!” I said he was definitely on porcine side (he is bigger than the dog), but he was friendly and the g-man could pet him if he wanted. He had the cat in the same category as the dog and didn't want anything to do with that “panther”, other than to tell his partner about it.

Well, we passed the search; they didn't find any of what they were looking for. We had to sign a paper saying that they were polite and courteous and didn't cause us any obvious grief. Although their P114 scow managed to slam into our swim platform one time really hard; hey, what's one more chip out of the fiberglass, anyway?! We were their last “project” for the day, so they were headed back to port, in the main harbor. Oh, on a good note, they told us where to drop off Eddie.

Bon Voyage

So, the next morning, with a slack tide of good luck, we dropped Eddie off at the tee dock of Nassau Yacht Haven. Things were so calm, and Wayne did such a fine job of pulling up alongside of the dock, I only grabbed a piling with the boat hook, and Eddie stepped up onto the dock. I must admit I was sad seeing him walk down the dock pulling his suitcase behind him, but I knew he would have a great time and the rest of the crew of FLUKE would do fine handling the boat ourselves.

Right after we dropped Eddie off it began to rain quite hard for the next hour. We were able to fill the water tanks all the way to full again, so laundry would be on the agenda for later in the day. Trolling only yielded 2 barracuda and a spanish mackerel, all released back.

For the night, we anchored just north of Current Cut, on the west side of the island in nice sand with good holding. Current Cut is just a small opening located between the southern tip of Eleuthera and Current Island. The current is as swift as 5 knots at times, so underpowered vessels need to exercise caution in trying to get through it when the tide is really flowing. Even though we were anchored north of the cut, the current flowing along the shoreline was still strong enough at times to hold FLUKE against the direction of the wind.

Fortunately we had a calm night and we got an early start the next day for the big trip across the open ocean to get to the Abacos. Our plan was to pick Eddie up again on June 22 at the ferry landing where he was supposed to be flying in to the Treasure Cay airport. We needed to have several days of travel to get that far.

Seas were calm, the weather was good, but the fishing was lousy. We didn't get anything! Plus, it never ceases to amaze me how we can be in the middle of nowhere and one big tanker can appear in the far distance that just so happens to be on an intersecting course with us. We have to carefully monitor its progress to figure out how to adjust our speed so that we don't get run over by the ocean giant. This one that passed us was riding so high above the water line, obvious empty, probably on the way to the fuel refinery at Freeport.

We passed through the cut at Little Harbor, in the southern part of the Abacos, in the midst of a thunderstorm. We had to wait quite a while to get the hook down on the west side of Lynyard Cay. Little did we know that that was only the first of many storms that we would be facing during our stay in the Abacos.