Hog and Buena Vista Cays, Jumentos Bahamas 4/14-16/10
Hog and Buena Vista Cays, Jumentos Bahamas 4/14-16/10
Good morning (here, anyway!). We left you, still exploring Hog Cay or
waiting out weather for an appopriate window to move north. The forecasts
were for continuous relatively high winds, and, while not of the velocity
forecast, likely due to our sheltered anchorage, they were still pretty
On the 14th, I'd gotten bean-hunted out, so wasn't enthusiastic about
another trip ashore. To help Lydia with her cabin fever, I got out the bench
grinder, using the wire brush to clean off the new conch shells I'd found
out on the platform, first, and then, moving to the workbench, removing the
wire wheel, substituting a cloth wheel from my tool inventory. Digging out
my Tripoli rouge (a polishing compound in stick form), I showed Lydia, who'd
been very afraid of the process for fear of injury, how to use the wheel.
We chose the worst of her beans for our trials, as we didn't know how fast
the tripoli would cut. Moving gingerly at first, we found that we could
apply significant pressure without damage. The severely weathered and
checked heart bean shed its grunge and slowly started to glow.
Even though it's not appropriate (well, not efficient), we cleaned off the
wheel (raking with a screwdriver), removing the Tripoli, and went to the
next stage, a cleaner/polisher for boats which included a rubbing compound
designed to brighten aged gelcoat or paint.
Even better results! Following that with a straight polish from Collinite
gave a beautiful finished product. Once Lydia was convinced that the wheel
wouldn't injure her, she set to with a vengeance :**)) From this point on,
we'd do all the rough cuts (Tripoli rouge) first, then move through the
other two stages, on all the beans found so far.
During all this, we were bumping slightly as the low tide approached, due to
the now-building fetch providing some lift and fall to the boat. So, that
evening, just before sunset, we moved, slightly, to deeper water due north
of us by a few hundred feet. Sure enough, despite the wind and wave
conditions persisting, we no longer bumped bottom. I'd done my
windy-weather prep by putting out the same 200' of chain (in the water; the
remainder was above in some slack and the snubber which takes up the shock
should the chain ever become fully tight), and we were once again very
The morning of the 15th dawned with even more wind, and, with the prospect
of a very wet (due to wind-driven spray) and bumpy ride to anywhere we might
like to explore, I spent the day reading. I used to be a voracious reader
many years ago, but sort of dropped out of the library club as my time
became more demanding of other activities.
However, with all the book swaps and long-term libraries in the Bahamas
(Georgetown, for example, gave me a dozen books from the lending section, to
be returned whenever I came back to the area, as well as the 5 I'd taken
from the trades section, having brought books I'd already read, and Green
Turtle, mostly cruiser-exchange other than the books for the local children,
provided another dozen or so), as well as discovering several authors which
I enjoyed but had never explored before, I've drastically enlarged our
on-board library. I've been plowing through a book or more a day when
conditions allow. The 15th was one such :**))
Lydia, on the other hand, spent the entire day on her computer. She's not
put out a log in a very long while, so she had to winnow through all the
great experiences we've had since her last. It was a nice break for both of
us. What a privilege to be able to wake up in the morning and have nothing
to do other than what strikes our fancy, and, in particular, with such a
bounty of choices from which to chose!
Friday, April 16, we got an update from Chris Parker, our weather guru, and
the expected conditions which prompted our tentative departure proved
propitious. Asking him for the weather from Hog to Buena Vista, and the
likely conditions for the next few days showed that not only would our
passage likely be ideal, the conditions for the next several days were
suited for a stay in Buena Vista.
Accordingly, we started getting ready to go. My first step was to
send an "OK" signal from our SPOT, something I'd not done in the last
several trips, usually forgetting to start it up until the last minute...
Before we left, Art, our co-bean hunter/polisher from our neighboring boat,
Winterlude, came over to say goodbye. He'd heard us talking to Chris
earlier in the morning, so he knew we were leaving. We agreed to set a daily
contact over VHF; they expected to go up to Racoon or Double Breasted Friday
or Saturday, as well.
In the intervening time between this and the previous log, Lydia's attack on
some of the many beans she'd picked up was very successful. Her work was a
product of having been envious of one of the hamburger beans our friend had
taken a Dremel tool to, ending up with a glowingly polished result, albeit
at the cost of an entire day's labor of love. He'd showed us his first
effort, which was a heart bean, during our "heavy hor's d'oevres" visit a
few days ago..
Unfortunately (driving our initial caution with the wheel), he'd overdone
it, and ate through the surface. Once there, he went ahead and cut through
it to see what it looked like. It was sort of like a finely veneered wood,
dark on the outside, and light underneath. He was suitably impressed with
our first efforts, on what would have been cast-offs for many experienced
bean hunters :**))
As they were preparing to move north as well, he came aboard to look at the
charts and hear of our experiences in the Racoon, Johnson, Double-breasted,
Maycock and Margaret Cays. We spent an enjoyable hour with him, reliving our
travels and discoveries in the area he was going to visit next, and then
said our goodbyes.
The wind was brisk, but not stiff, and it looked like it would be on our
starboard the entire time. When we finished breakfast, the wind was still in
the ENE, but only about 10-15 knots. As we'd prepared for 40-knot squalls
which, we're thankful, never materialized, I first removed the spinnaker
halyard from its counterwound position around the genoa, taking the halyard
back and fouling it on the spreaders before securing it.
Fouling the halyard will make it so it won't slap against the mast during
higher winds, protecting it from unnecessary wear as well as helping keep it
quiet below. While I was at it, I also put a bungee on a couple of halyards
which HAD been slapping occasionally. It took some waiting for gusts to
identify the culprits, but the port side spinnaker pole slider (controlling
the height of the part attached to the mast) and the genoa halyards would
sometimes hit the mast in higher winds.
Due to the nature of their installation, it wasn't possible to foul those
around the spreader, so, trying to keep them away from the mast was the next
best thing. Fortunately, I'm both tall and gorilla-armed (38" sleeves in
dress shirts, from my distant past), so I was able to get pretty far up,
allowing a larger triangle for separation, and reaching out to the aft
shroud, was able to attach the bungee, keeping them under tension and away
from the mast, albeit only slightly.
Securing the remainder of the boat followed - retrieve and stow the Honda
Generator (which has had very little use lately, what with all the sunshine
feeding amps through our solar panel - we've run it perhaps 3 times since we
left Long Island two weeks ago), the fuel can and electrical line to the
shore power inlet, both serving the generator, secure the gates (three entry
points on the boat, but only the stern gets used, usually, at anchor), tie
down any loose items on deck, hook any possible "escapees" (drawers and door
fronts) below should we encounter any radical heeling movements, and stow
the breakfast dish rack and contents.
Once secured, I prepped the topsides for sailing off our anchor. The first
step was to start our SPOT's tracking mode (which involves turning it off
again, the first step only sending the OK message, and restarting it in
tracking mode) to provide those who were interested a track of our travels.
Fortunately, I believe I finally have the sequence down successfully, and
our trasmitter does, in fact, transmit, when we want it to!
Those receiving the log (the yahoo group mailing list in my signature,
below) directly (or up to a week's storage time later, as that's all the
website keeps) can follow us in real-time on tinyurl.com/FlyingPigSpot.
Sending this to my son over winlink, our Ham email link, he posts to the
list for me within a day or so at most; the rest of those seeing this later
having to wait until I'm back in internet range.
The PortaBote was already in place for towing, but I unzipped the Mack Pack
sail cover for access to the sail, moved the traveler (the bar on which the
main sheet block slides from side to side, when wanted) stops all the way to
the ends and slacked the main sheet so the boom could easily move from side
to side during our raising of the sail. The final prep was to pull out the
excess rolls in the genoa furler - we'd pulled the furling sheet all the way
to the end in preparation for the unarrived blow, allowing the most turns
around the furled sail possible.
All set, all intruments on and satellites acquired, giving us our GPS
position on our charts, I pulled out the first 150' of the 200' of chain we
had in the water. With only 50' left, we had about a 3-4/1 scope, fine for
short periods (so long as you remained vigilant for the anchor dragging, but
helpful in loosening the anchor for raising it, as the short scope would
help loosen it in the waves.
Up went the sail, and I pulled the remainder of the chain into the locker
with our Lewmar windlass. The anchor came up without an argument (sometimes
I have to get right over it and, bump-by-bump, shorten the chain on the
nose-dip, and yank a bit on the chain/anchor on the rise as the wave passes
under us), so I stowed and locked it.
As it happened, however, as our anchor came up the last few feet, our nose
was pointed such that the wind was on our port, so, wheel hard over
starboard, we gained momentum, pulled in the sail tightly, and jibed our way
to our starboard tack. We were under way at 10:40, to our first waypoint
which took us at 270* COG (course over ground), due West, in brilliant
Initially, we set out a bit south of our intended line so as to be sure to
clear some shallows before locking on to our rhumb line to the outside of
the Margaret Cay shoals. The wind was directly on our aft, but knowing that
we'd be coming up a bit, we put the main and genoa both out to port. Of
course, the genoa just flapped, being blanketed by the main, but in 10
minutes or so, we came up to our course of 287* COG.
Our first half-hour or so was at 5.4-6.0 knots SOG (speed over ground) in
2-5 knots of apparent wind. The wind, due to the rolling caused by the waves
on our beam in such light winds, varied between 140-170* on our stern, not
really uncomfortable, but not very efficient in point of sail, either. Had
we had a longer time on that point of sail, we'd have headed downwind a bit
and poled out the genoa, but we knew this would be brief.
Indeed, by 11:25, we came upwind to our initial adjustment of 330*T (true,
vs magnetic). That produced an immediate increase in speed, both in apparent
wind and our travels. As we turned upwind, of course, the apparent wind not
only didn't have us running away from it, but with our speed increase, we
contributed to the apparent wind speed.
Now making 6.7-7.2 knots, we had ~13 knots of apparent wind on our beam (90*
from our bow). However, our rhumbline to our destination was nearly due
north, 357*T. Accordingly, 15 minutes later, at 11:40, we turned upwind
Once more, Flying Pig surged forward, with our remainder of the trip showing
6.8-7.9 knots SOG. The wind, of course, also apparently increased, to 14-19
knots at an apparent angle of 60-80* That's nearly an ideal (beam reach is
ideal for stiffness, as the wind is directly in line with the hull) point of
sail, as it's not far enough forward to require "pinching" nor expending a
lot of energy in overcoming the close-hauled wind.
So, our total distance not being all that far, we sped to our turn-in point.
Buena Vista has a shallows/reef area sticking out to the west at its foot,
so we had to approach from a little ways out. Because of forecasted
potential squalls in the upcoming light-but-unsettled weather in the next
few days, we wanted to be able to back down, hard, on our anchor.
Accordingly, we turned on Perky for the first time at 1:20, motored into the
wind, struck the sails, and, by 1:30, were snugly at anchor about in the
middle of the 1.5 NM (nautical miles, which are 1.16 statute miles)
Because we expected some potential squalls, as well as a wind shift to the
West, we anchored further off the beach than we might have otherwise,
allowing for our 200' of chain to swing the other way. The charts showed
"sand and marl" - marl being a very hard surface under (or sometimes
exposed) the sand, so we were very careful to be certain of our set.
Indeed, on my initial drop, where I allow the anchor to catch before doing
my multiple let-out-and-jerk anchoring routine, the anchor dragged for a few
feet. As the wind was still very brisk (up to 20 knots), we had our bow
swing very quickly, allowing for lots of momentum to set the anchor
repeatedly. Very shortly, however, it bit, and subsequent let-out/jerks
confirmed that we had a good set.
However, by the time we had our 200' out, we were well over from where we
started, and, as the bow came back into the wind, I was alarmed to see the
chain jerking, without any apparent tension. Had the chain broken? The
anchor, somehow, come off??
It was just that it was in such a curve that it took time to take up the
slack, however, so, when it did, I had Lydia back down. Oops! We're still
sort of sideways, with the chain out to starboard, and, since we have a
starboard walk (the stern moves, rather than going straight back) in
reverse, all we were doing was coming further around.
Not to worry, once we let the chain straighten and the bow come into the
wind, a long period of 2500RPM in reverse did nothing other than raise about
50' of chain out of the water and stretch the snubber. Thus secure, we set
out to explore.
However, this is long enough, of course, already, so we'll leave you here, ,
securely at anchor in 11' of water, at 25*25.722N/75*50.382W, and ready to
discover some of the attractions of Buena Vista Cay.
Until next time, Stay Tuned!
Skip and Crew
Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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