After two nights and one long day of an ugly swell, constant rolling, and winds gusting in the high 20s (again), I put my grown up sailor pants back in the bin and we got out of there. Just getting the hook back on board was a challenge. Deb constantly fought the winds to drive us up over the rode. Right after I got the snubber unhooked and stowed, the wind pushed us off to the side enough that I called for idle to get lined up again. Pushed back by the wind Kintala hit the end of her chain so hard that the clutch on the windlass couldn't hold, stripping chain out of the locker at a scary pace. That fire drill was quelled by prodding the Beast, the chain went slack, the bow dipped and swung in the swell, and the chain jumped the roller. Cue fire drill number two.
Anchor safely on board with all toes and fingers accounted for, we motored south out of Pelican Bay looking for refuge. Little Harbor Bay was even worse than Pelican Point, with a huge swell running through the cut. Little Harbor itself looked very crowded. We are unsure of the entrance and, truth to tell, I'm getting tired of paying someone $20-30 / day for the privilege of walking across their parking lot after I drop my anchor on the bottom of the ocean. (I don't need their parking lot, can't use their parking lot and, in fact, wish their parking lot was a stand of palm trees instead.) Sometimes the charge is for a mooring ball. I don't really need their mooring ball either and, in most places, would trust my ground tackle more than whatever it is they tossed into the water a couple of years ago and haven't looked at since. (I know, I know, mooring balls are supposed to mean you can pack more boats in there. Something I might believe if I had never been to Back Creek.)
Heading back north Lynyard Cay looked ugly and bumpy, in addition to being a lee shore. Tiloo was also a lee shore, looked crowded, and is exposed to west winds. We could see waves breaking on the rocks from two miles out.
Five hours after leaving Pelican bay we anchored less than a mile from where we were five days ago in Marsh Harbor, though we are on the other side of the Island. It was a bit of a long and unexpected day, but we are glad to be settled in protected from the winds (still blowing) and swell. (There is no cut immediately to the east of us.) The only poor decision that we made was staying in Pelican Bay as long as we did. My hope was that the wind switch to the west and north west would dampen out the swell, but it didn't work out that way. We thought we could stick it out, no matter how bad, until tomorrow. But 24 hours of motion sickness will be among the longest 24 hours in memory.
There were a lot of boats on the move in the southern Abaco Sea today. Several looked to be doing the exact same thing we were, northbound and looking for a place to be. A couple were headed south; it would be interesting to know where they end up tonight.
Tonight Kintala will be sitting pretty, with her crew well fed and catching up on some much needed sleep. If the weather turns better as forecast, we will head back to Lynyard Cay in the morning, gliding along on a modest north wind rather than motor-bashing into it. Friday – Saturday will be the run to Great Harbor in the Berry Islands. From there we will start the official trek back toward the States, next season's job, and time with friends and family.
But there is no telling how long it will take to get there; with or without my grown up sailor pants.