Tuesday, March 10, 2015

School Day …

After getting up this morning I made sure my shirt was clean and there were no big stains on my pants. Coffee, breakfast, brush teeth, shave close, generally making myself as presentable as possible. Load up, dink into shore, head down the road. Destination? Fox Town Preparatory school. Once there Deb was introduced to the students in the First / Second grade classroom as an Author from America (which she is), and then she read the class Mr. Sun and the Super Sleepy Sunday. After the story she answered questions from the kids and then left a signed copy of the book for their library.

It was the coolest thing we have done since setting out. The children were as polite as could be and nearly as cute as my own grand kids. The Principal and Teachers were friendly, professional, and clearly dedicated to the little ones in their charge. It was a real honor to be a part of their lives for just a little while, and Fox Town is now on our “must visit” list whenever we come this way.

In addition to the school visit we found fruit, milk, and even ICE CREAM while shopping the three small stores in the town. Everyone greeted us with a smile and a wave. A 10 pound block of ice was ours for just $5. The only shortfall was water, 5 gallons cost $6.50 and you had to return the bottle. Since we have a few days left in our tanks we decided to pass on the water, though we are in full conservation mode until finding some place to fill the tanks. (Yes, a water maker would make life easier right now, but this is the first time in 18 months where water on board is a concern.)

Principal Curry with the teacher and assistant.

One more thing about Fox Town. The anchorage is one of the prettiest ones we have been in. It is surrounded by little islands of rock, reminding me of the northeast coast of the US. The water isn't that deep, it is a bit of a dink ride to the dock, and there is enough fetch to make the place a little bumpy when the winds clock up to 20+ out of the east. It is still better than Dinner Key for most wind directions, and Kintala had no problem finding a good place to sit for a few days.

Kintala in the background.

After our school visit there was still enough time in the day to get underway. The plan was to sail to Powell Cay today, roughly 20 NM. The forecast for the Abacos is in a bit of a rut, ENE winds 15 to 20 with seas of 3 to 5 feet. It has been that way for nearly two weeks, and is forecast for the same as far into the future as the forecast goes. So, if one wants to get anywhere, 20 knots and five foot seas is what one gets to go in. Of course, the course to Powell Cay put the wind and waves directly on the bow.

Kintala's crew has gotten used to 5 foot seas breaking over the bow. Kintala herself doesn't mind 5 foot waves breaking over the bow so long as she has enough push to shoulder them aside. Ah, but the WesterBeast... The Beast and I have come to an uneasy kind of truce. I check it every single day we are under way, keep the revs down, and basically treat it like some kind of temperamental VIP who demands all the green M&Ms be taken from the bowl and the bottled water be shipped directly from France. In return the Beast has rumbled along with no complaints. It isn't using any coolant, isn't using any oil, and runs at a constant 178°. (Amazing what a heat exchanger overhaul will do. But hp is not the Beast's forté. It will get us in and out of an anchorage and motor us along, so long as we don't task it with too many 5 foot hills to climb. Insist on that and boat speed will fall by a third in each 5 footer, bringing Kintala to a stop with the third hit in a row. A fourth will have her backing up, Beast or no Beast. Three, four, and even five consecutive hits greeted the bow once we turned on course. Twenty miles is a long, long way in those kinds of conditions.

The medical center in town. My granddaughters would love this!

So the decision was made to abort to Crab Cay instead. Roughly the same heading but half the distance away. An hour or so later it was still nearly half the distance away. The Beast was just no match for the waves, and there was no point of sail that would work to cover the distance, even with multiple tacks. Even it there were, time was running out of the day for making multiple tacks.

Off the wind lay Allan's Pensacola Cay, only four miles away and with an anchorage that would offer some protection for the night. Also a place we skipped last year and wanted to see, so changing destinations yet again was an easy call. Deb turned Kintala off the wind and I spun out the staysail. Where we had been struggling to keep the average speed above 2 knots, now we were making 5+. Definitely an easy call. An added bonus was that the waves were not quite as tight to the bow, though we were still running sluices of water down the toe rail to pour off the side decks. Within two hours the hook was down, the deck set up for the night, and I had a sandwich and cold Rum & Coke in hand – complete with ice.

The colors here are stunning. There is simply no way to capture them on film.

Tomorrow we will try and get a little further east by leaving in the morning before the winds start their daily ramp up. That is the plan anyway.

Kintala swinging in the light wind.
Kacey this one's for you. One of the local bars with the ever-present Kalik sign.

The anchorage at Allen's Pensacola


Unknown said...

Cool. Also, thank you for the new computer desktop pics.

Deb said...

John if you ever need a full-res version let me know and I can get one to you.

kcramerus said...

Mmmm. That looks like a good place to drink a Kalik. Thanks for thinking of me. Stay safe.