Thursday, April 10, 2014

A day of weirdness

Usually when we sit down to write a post there is some pervading theme that calls out to be summed up, or some one thing that begs to be dealt with. Not today. Today was a day or weirdness, an odd mix of new things and good things and tough things and unexpected things and beautiful things, a day that defies summing up. I guess that's what makes cruising so captivating. Where to start?

First, can anybody identify this bird? We've never seen one like it and would like to know what it is. Sorry about the quality of the pictures but I was trying to use a long lens while he was soaring overhead. He soared over our boat for at least an hour, dipping occasionally to catch a fish. As you can see, he has a split tail, a white spot on his chest, and a curved tip beak. He spent most of the time gliding and not flapping very much. He was completely quiet. Any ideas are greatly appreciate as our bird book doesn't have anything very close to him.

Next to our boat at the mooring field this morning there was another visitor, this one pecking the bugs and crabs and little fish out of the newly exposed sand from the low tide. Not sure what he was either. 

 Shortly after that, the incoming tide brought a host of unwelcome guests, some jelly fish that they call "thimbles" because they're about that size. There were literally millions of them floating around the boat.  Not a good picture, I know, but try taking a picture of something that small through the water from the deck of a boat. Yeah. Right.

 While we were waiting for our water tanks to fill and we were looking at the thimbles, along floated this giant thing through them that we were told was a web of fish eggs. Anybody ever see anything like this? It was several feet long. You can see compared to the thimbles which are each about an inch across.

Approaching Current Cut
After waiting nearly all morning for a fishing boat to clear the dock so we could get water and gas, we were finally on our way. The first part of our sail was fantastic - almost downwind with the headsail out full, surfing the waves and going 6 knots. It was fantastic. Right up to the point where we had to turn toward Current Cut. From then on, we beat hard to windward in 3-4 foot waves at 4 second periods. As we approached Current Cut we rolled in the headsail and motored through. The cut is a pretty serious piece of navigating, a 250ft wide cut through rock, a current of 6-8 knots, and several zig-zag turns through spots of coral reef and rocks. You have to plan this venture to have slack tide coincide with the wind direction or you will simply get your butt kicked. Tim did a fantastic job of navigating through with Garmin. After clearing the cut the wind picked up to nearly 25 and the waves were right on the nose, 4+feet and 4 seconds. We flew just the staysail to stabilize the boat while we motored. It was a pretty brutal 6 hours. We had originally planned to sail to Hatchet Bay, but  and the entrance into Hatchet is very narrow and unlit and we were no way going to make it before dark since every set of three waves was leaving us less than 3 knots of forward speed. We opted instead to head for an easy approach anchorage north of Hatchet called Annie Bight. It's kind of a cool place with cliffs all around it and a few houses. We dropped the hook at 6:00 exactly, both of us exhausted. We had a chance to eat before the wind picked up again and brought with it a surge wrapping around the point south of us. It's hard to believe that we're rolling the way that we are because we're tucked in behind some 60ft cliffs but the wind has been howling for days now over 20 and the water is just piled up wave after wave, even in here. Tomorrow we'll be looking for a new place to stay. A calm place. I gotta say that so far we've liked the Abacos a whole lot more than Eleuthra.

The East side of Current Cut

The cliff at the south side of our anchorage from around which the surge is beating us up
It is a beautiful place


Amber said...

Your bird looks to be a female Magnificent Frigate:

Sorry we missed skype yesterday - hope to talk to you soon!

Brilliant Star said...

The other bird is a Whimbrel. It's a type of Curlew.

In the Bahamas you may hear the Frigate Bird refereed to as the Man O' War Bird. Bahamians consider it a harbinger of weather change and high winds.

The Egg case is likely that, but it could also be chained organism called a Salp.

Matt Mc. said...

That Blue...