Rock Sound, Eleuthera to Georgetown, Exuma
When we last left you, I'd promised I'd tell you about Rock Sound. However,
that was based on weather at the time, which would have had us leaving to
Georgetown on Friday afternoon. We'd intended visiting the town on
Thursday, getting the lay of the land and exploring the ways to get to the
inland Blue Hole known as Ocean Hole, so widely touted by all who have been
When we arrived in Rock Sound, Boto had preceded us, and, despite the
chart's scary (well, "interesting") shallow depths - all sandy, but who
needs to be stuck?? - we had no difficulty anchoring right next to a dinghy
landing only a short walk to the best grocery on the island. Our friends
the Warners, mentioned in my last, were expecting to give us a ride,
assuming that we anchored near Boto, but, while they saw us coming in, dark
was approaching and they wanted to get home while it was still light.
In the end, it was of no account, as the walk to reprovision was very short,
and, the next day, we got stocked up. The "plaza" there had a gas station, a
hardware store, and a few other interesting points of supply as well, which
we didn't need, but which might serve cruisers well.
Back to the weather, our exploration plans were ruined by a quick change in
the forecast, with nasty winds and seas expected, or, alternately, if we
waited, no wind, so, we reluctantly moved our schedule up.
With no exploration, as well as dead reckoning planning, we wound up
sleeping in, preparing for our overnight which, by calculation, would have
us reaching Georgetown in the morning, but, should winds die on us, would
still allow us a daylight entrance to Conch Cut, a twisty-turny experience
once through, in order to avoid both the shallow spots and the numerous
coral heads on the way down Stocking Island in Elizabeth Sound. However, we
also wanted to avoid the shallows and other potential issues on the way out
of Rock Sound, preferably while it was still light.
Accordingly, at 2:45, we sailed off our anchor in relatively light winds
favorable to our exit, and had cleared the harbor entrance by 3:15. Once
out, we set our course for 310*T for Davis Channel, a relatively (not VERY!)
deep area between sand bars, some of which were dry at low water. Winds,
once free of the harbor, picked up at 4PM to an apparent 10-14 knots from
the west, putting our relative wind at 45-60* on our starboard bow. We were
pleased to see us progress at 5.5-6.2 knots, quickly reaching the channel at
Once there, we had to turn, of course, and the wind and waves, as forecast,
were building, now to 14-18 knots. As we made our turn south, that moved
the apparent wind astern slightly, to 90-100*, so our speed picked up, too,
rewarding us with 5.7-6.4 knots on our course over ground at a relatively
comfortable angle of heel, stabilizing our home in the seas.
Davis Channel, a nail-biter for our 7' draft, was soon traversed, and we
were able to turn for Powell Point, the end of Eleuthera's Whale Tail, by
4:55. There's a large rocky area marked on our charts which we wanted to
give a wide berth to, so we stayed a bit off a rhumb line to there by
setting our course to 258*T, reaching our next waypoint quickly. Our
original thought had been to make a direct run to Georgetown, by way of
Chub, but after a while of rocking and rolling with the wind at 135-150*
apparent, made more tedious by the possibility, as the boat rocked, of an
accidental jibe as the wind got behind the main, as the apparent wind
dropped to only 8-10 knots, also dropping our speed to only 4.4-5.0 knots,
we abandoned that.
Because our dead reckoning had us still in Georgetown well within daylight
hours, and we were in no rush, we turned slightly upwind, intending to jibe
as we reached the other side. The extra 20 miles or so was of no account to
our objective, other than extended time at sea, never a concern unless we're
trying to make a tricky channel in the dark. Our calculations put it that
we'd successfully be able to duplicate our wind conditions as we moved from
a starboard tack to the port side, if we got pretty close to the islands
across Exuma Sound
So, we reset our course to 218*T. That stiffened the boat considerably as we
moved the apparent wind forward. The waves were mostly astern, and while
there was a fair amount of motion, it was very smooth, making for a very
easy ride. By 5:15, the wind and seas started to build again. We were back
to the 12-18 knots of apparent wind, so our 135-150* on our stern not only
kept us relatively upright, but gladdened our hearts with progress in the
6.8-7.2 knot range. As this would be a full overnight passage, I went down
for a nap at 6:30PM after our dinner.
The conditions remained the same until Lydia came to awaken me, 9:30 being
well past cruisers' midnight. Not only that, our speed had brought us
relatively close to Warderick Wells, and we'd have to jibe soon. Some work
with our chart program in the computer revealed that if we jibed now, we'd
be able to keep a direct course to Conch Cut, missing the curve in the Exuma
Chain on the way.After getting caught up on the realities of what was
happening (no change, really, and not a single boat in view either by lights
or radar), we jibed our sails and I took over as Lydia went down for her
Because of the varying speed and wind direction, it was another night of
playing the wheel to keep her pointed in the right direction. That's not
really a problem, as the constant checking and adjustments kept me awake.
Our jibe put the apparent wind of 9-13 knots, with the same 135-150* on the
reciprocal heading as we made our way at 143*T. Our speed at that point was
a comfortable 5.4-6.0 knots, easily putting us into Georgetown in full
As the night progressed, by 11PM, the winds got fluky, varying widely in
direction and speed, which kept me awake as I kept the sails full, a good
thing. I saw all the way from 6 to 18 knots of apparent wind, but it was
still an easy ride in the 110-135* attitude I kept our sails in. With all
the rolling going on, I had to head up slightly to avoid the potential for a
jibe, but all that work also allowed for a 5.2-6.8 knot speed over ground.
It also allowed the waves to be in a slightly better position for Lydia's
sleeping, a nice thing.
A glorious night for sailing, all the stars shone brilliantly as the
occasional meteor streaked across the sky. Unfortunately, the flukiness of
the wind increased, as, by 2AM, it backed slightly and died a bit. So, to
counter all the possibilites for a jibe, I came up 5* on our course, while
our speed dropped to only 4.4-5.5 knots.
Of course, all things are subject to change when you're cruising, and at 3AM
the wind picked up, while still being very directionally unstable. However,
at 8-18 knots (a pretty big spread!), we now improved our speed to 5.4-7.9
knots. The higher end of that range is where Flying Pig really shines, so
we were well on the way to an early arrival. All this fluky business,
however, meant that I was constantly playing the wheel, moving the apparent
wind 10* one way or another as the wind died or filled. As it died, as our
speed dropped, I'd have to head up, due to the increased roll. However,
anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes later, it would fill, again, and I'd
have to head downwind, both to avoid the genoa's luffing violently, but to
take advantage of the greater speed. Indeed, there were moments where we
exceeded 8 knots, throwing off a huge bow wave as we plowed along.
All the wave motion wakened Lydia at 4AM, which was a good thing, as I was
starting to go bleary-eyed from watching the wind instrument so closely. I
filled her in on our progress, and, after she'd made her coffee, I went down
for a nap at 4:30, waking again as the sun streamed in, at 7AM. Our
conditions had persisted in that time, and we were only 12 miles from Conch
Cut. With the surf as it was, it would be a good thing to have two active
minds during our approach, as the seas were now at 5-7' on a 5 second
interval, a very choppy motion!
However, the wind was also picking up, and, since it was well within our
comfort level, we were pleased to see 8.2 knots. With all the changes in
direction which would be needed on our way through the entrance after the
cut, I furled the genoa at 9:40, just outside Conch Cut. We were very
impressed with not only the rollers, but the surf crashing on the rocks as
we came through, but our continuing passage, following the excellent
Explorer Chart waypoints, was uneventful.
By 10:45, exactly 20 hours to the minute from when we'd pulled it out of
Rock Sound, our anchor was firmly placed in front of Chat'n'Chill on
Volleyball Beach. Despite our slower speeds in and out of the harbors, and
the times when we were slower, we averaged well over 6 knots on our
passage's anchor-up to anchor-down time. We continue to be enthralled with
our life afloat...
Once in the Georgetown neighborhood, I eagerly turned to the cruiser's net
channel, 72. Hm. Silence. Must be too far out... So, once I got in, I
hailed one of the very few boats to ask when it started. My source told me
that the usual anchor/control wouldn't be in for over a week. Heh.
So, I grabbed the reins, modified my notes from when I was anchoring the net
in Marsh Harbour, and started it up the next day. Off to a slow start due
to the only-30ish boats here at the moment, 5 days into it, it's coming
along nicely. I've heard from the control (Georgetown has so many regulars
that, from year to year, the same folks tend to run stuff during the busy
season), who's glad to have me sit in. So, until someone else more eager,
or, perhaps, more regimented in Georgetown "necessities" shows up, I'm it.
However, I've also heard from the same control, over the days that I've done
it, on more than one occasion, that there are a variety of complaints to
same about my net broadcast, the details of which I'll spare you, most
having to do with it not being the same as they've been expecting from past
experience. Fortunately, the apparatchik is in place, now, and their
regularly scheduled net will occur starting Sunday. As I spend a couple of
hours in prep each morning, along with about an hour after the net cleaning
up my notes from that day's data, I'll gladly sleep in on Sunday morning
while they get their regular programming in place :**))
The whirlwind of activities has started up again, so I played my first game
of Volleyball today, Lydia had her first day of (solo) yoga on the beach,
bocce was offered, but not used, and the like. In another 6 weeks, it will
be nonstop activity on the beach and elsewhere, for those interested. At
the moment, however, we're anchored across the Elizabeth Sound, tucked into
haven against the just-finished westerlies, and protected from some rather
fierce westerlies to come.
We've already been ashore 3 times, twice to the library, once, yesterday, to
select and the next to gather up the exchanges for the pile of books we
staggered out with, and once to go to the local "Top 2 Bottom"
everything-you-could-want for a new clevis pin for the boom, settling
instead for a bolt until I can get the just-right part. It's nice to be
back, especially with the very low population currently present.
We'll be here for Christmas, which we've learned is a real experience, and
on which, no doubt, I'll have something to say after it's over. You should
be able to see our track for another couple of days on
tinyurl.com/flyingpigspot, if you'd like, as they only store a week's worth
of notifications. Meanwhile, if you'd like to see pix of some of our recent
activities, you could click on the links below:
Picasa Web Albums - Lydia Fell - Visit to the ...
So, for now, we'll leave you.
Until nex time, Stay Tuned!
Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
See our galleries at Web-Folio -- Your Portfolio on the Web
Follow us at TheFlyingPigLog : Morgan 461 Hull #2, Flying Pig
and/or Flying Pig Log | Google Groups
"Believe me, my young friend, there is *nothing*-absolutely nothing-half so
much worth doing as simply messing, messing-about-in-boats; messing about in
boats-or *with* boats.
In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's
the charm of it.
Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your
destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get
anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in
particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and
you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not."