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Onward to Eleuthera- sailing southward

A really interesting site about Eleuthera history, ruins, caves and wrecks:

Back to work getting ready to sail southward to Eleuthera.  We filled Velocir up with food, fuel and propane.  We have been sailing to different places based on the wind and have not really used any fuel since we got here!!  But we did get some for the dinghy.

The produce boat had just come in and our fresh food was a treat.  We had lamb chops (from New Zealand) and fresh strawberries.  The next day we worked on the boat and waited for the right weather to sail to Little Harbor, our jumping off point for Eleuthera.Velocir

The sail to Little Harbor was relaxing and felt like a day sail.  We caught two barracuda.  One was huge—the other tiny!Beach Debris by Velocir

In the anchorage of Little Harbor, Abacos there is a sandy spot with a few trees ornamented with a collection of “treasures” washed up from the ocean beach on the other side—a short walk away.  Old floats, a diesel can and plastic bottles in as many shapes and sizes as you can imagine.  We took the path to the beach and looked for ourselves at what a modern beach strewn with plastic bottles and nets looks like.   There is so much trash that it is not trash, it is a scavenger hunt of lost items, only sadly they will never decompose.

Beach Debris by Velocir

Of particular interest was a ??????? At first it looked like a plane because of the window, but on closer inspection it has a giant hook on the end of it and Amelia decided it was a rigid life raft from a cruise ship or something.  Hopefully she is wrong because, well…..this is all that was left of it.

The weather was holding up in the reports for our crossing at E 10-13 kts, moderating throughout the day. We left the next morning at sunrise.  The conditions were a little more choppy than anticipated but acceptable.  We don’t want Velocir to take on too much or else her foredeck is awash with water and she is plowing into the waves all day.  This was good enough that she wasn’t getting wet, and wasn’t losing boat speed.  Instead we were flying at 7-8 kts of speed with our main, reefed jib and engine on.  We were happy to motor and get there well before dark.

During the crossing our inflatable dinghy, Raptor, which was deflated and lashed to the shrouds, jumped ship after overcoming it’s ties and slipping through the lifelines.  On its way overboard it made a small thump Amelia didn’t think much of, but Grant looked back and saw what had happened.  (Possibly some expletives followed)  Luckily it was during the day and we could see!  We quickly brought in the jib and put the engine in neutral to slowly sail around and come up to windward of the floating blob.  Amelia was at the helm and couldn’t make it to windward, but got aside just downwind of it.  Grant reached over and grabbed it but it was so heavy and slippery he could not get a good hold.  We could see it was slowly sinking and taking on water.  Grant let the main sail down and Amelia revved up the engine, once again getting just downwind of it.  This time both Amelia and Grant reached over and were able to get a good hold.  It was tremendously heavy!  But we managed to drag it into the cockpit.  Luckily our boat is low on enough on the water that we were physically able to do this.  We are glad this story has a happy ending.  We love our dinghy and need it.  It will make us think twice about how we tie it down next time.  Just before we left Marsh Harbour in the Abacos a boat had lost their dinghy (towing it behind them) in the small Sea of Abaco and weren’t able to find it.  It could have easily been lost.

We anchored in Royal Sound, which is a protected anchorage just west of the popular town of Spanish Wells. It was earlier than we could have hoped, so we happily had dinner and went to bed.  The next day we went to explore the abandoned mansion on the island.  Getting our dinghy inflated was a bit more difficult because we first had to drain the tubes! Abandoned Mansion on Royal Island by Velocir

The mansion has a worn jetty that we tied up to.  It is very overgrown, but we could see that the steps leading up to it had long trellised gardens on one side.  The story is that the mansion was pretty spectacular, but sometime about 50 years ago the caretaker left and locals looted it.  Literally everything was taken from the buildings except for the blue tile throughout.  Not sure how true the story is of course.

Abandoned Mansion on Royal Island by Velocir

It was an open layout with many buildings.  The bathroom was separate from the living room, and there was a separate building with a bar table.  The doors had been taken off their hinges and the windows ripped out.  It must have been quite something once.  A large paved driveway and road led down to a larger jetty on the other side of the island.

Royal Island by Velocir

It was fun to explore, and we are looking forward to seeing Spanish Wells and other parts of Eleuthera.  A lot of cruisers don’t come here.  The protected anchorages can be few and far between, and in general we realize it is not as protected sailing as the Abacos.  With a limited schedule we would probably be in the more popular Exumas.  (A couple on a trawler randomly came up to us and asked if we wanted to buddy boat to the Exumas and when we said we weren’t going there they actually tried to pressure us!!)  But luckily we can travel where we like, and we’ve heard Eleuthera has some pretty spectacular beaches (even some with good surf) so we will be exploring here for a little while.Small Hermit Crabs by Velocir

Grant and his handful of mini-hermit crabs!

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January 2012