Monday, 4 May 2015

Turks and Caicos

Well, I obviously have way too much time and internet on my hands, lol. Three blogs posted in less than a week !  We are currently anchored off of Monument Beach, Stocking Island in the Exumas, Bahamas. We moved over here from the anchorage outside of Georgetown, Exumas three days ago because of expected high easterly winds and bad weather. Yes, the weather has been bad. Windy, overcast( this is the second day with no sun) and wet. We have not had weather like this since, um ..... I can't remember when. Honestly, we have had sun everyday for months now. Oh well,  a good time to catch up on blog posts.

 We had checked out of Culebra, P.R the previous afternoon and were ready to up anchor the morning of Tuesday, April 14th heading out for the Turks and Caicos. This was to be our longest voyage (460nm) yet with just the two of us on board.  When we are preparing for a passage Ian looks at the proposed route on the computer. He puts in waypoints between our start point and destination and by inputting our expected boat speed we can get an expected time of arrival. Working back from this we then figure out our time of departure. We much prefer to arrive at new destinations mid morning/ noon, even if that means departing at night, so that we can get anchored and settled in during daylight hours. Obviously, it's much easier to leave a harbour at night ( follow your in bound track on the chart plotter) than it is to enter an unknown harbour at night.

 The passage went well, the winds were light, just the way I like it. Ian was hoping for more wind to which I say, careful what you wish for! I prefer our passages and sailing to be drama free!!  We settled in to our three hour watches between the hours of 7pm to 7am. This way the off watch person gets enough time for a deep sleep ( hopefully).  I have found reading my Kindle during watch a good way to pass the time. I also seem to snack constantly ( not good). I must say, we had some beautiful nights. The stars were out, the seas were calm and I was treated to a beautiful golden moonset one night, quite lovely.  Still, after three nights I found myself quite sleep deprived and was very glad  to arrive at the Caicos Bank and French Cay on the fourth day.

The change in water colour as you go from thousands of meters deep to around ten meters is very dramatic. There is a line in the water, one side of which is deep blue and the other an amazing shade of turquoise.  French Cay is a small spit of rock and sand on the edge of the Caicos Bank, about twelve NM from Providenciales. It is home to hundreds of sea birds and is in fact a protected bird sanctuary, no humans allowed.   That was fine with us. We dropped anchor in the protection of the Island and relaxed, looking forward to an uninterrupted nights sleep.  The next day we had a good trip across the bank, keeping a sharp look out for coral heads as we approached Sapodilla Bay, where we dropped anchor.

 Sapodilla Bay has a small sandy beach and we spent several days there hanging out. There are no nearby stores but we did have a very nice lunch at the Las Brisas restaurant.

  This is how Ian likes to spend his day. In a comfy chair, under an umbrella, reader in hand and his boat ( on the right) in the distance.

  We rented a car for the day as we needed to get groceries and other boat items. We ended up here at Blue Haven Marina for a delicious lunch. This marina is relatively new and looks very nice, a good place to stay next time we pass thru!

   After a couple of days at Sapodilla Bay we moved the boat over to an anchorage off of South Side Marina. There was no room for us in the marina partly due to the fact that there were already two Antares yachts there!!  There are only 48 Antares ( our boat brand) launched in the world so it is a very rare occasion to have three of them in the same location.  So, naturally, we met up with Christian, Dayna and Caspar from SV Blue  and Alon and Dawn from SV Blue Dawn. It was a real pleasure to meet and spend time with them all and interesting to hear of their sailing adventures.

 Time to move on again. Most of the boats we met in the marina are heading south for the season, we seem to be the only one's heading north? hmmm.   Oh well, we checked out of T& C and motored in complete calm to the edge of the Caicos Bank, this time near West Caicos, where we dropped anchor and relaxed in preparation for our overnight trip to Mayaguana, Bahamas.  

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