With our arrival in Spanish Wells on the northern edge of Eleuthera, the weather for traveling north to the Abacos began to deteriorate. The fronts were stronger and the winds were staying out of the north in between them. This meant that we would need to stay here longer than we had planned, since the winds were coming from the direction we needed to go and were kicking up some nasty seas. Luckily, this wasn’t too hard to take.
We left the next day for a short run to Egg Island to position ourselves for the hop to the Abacos early Monday morning. Leaving at first light, we passed through Egg Island Cut easily but soon found ourselves heading into 8 foot swells. These moderated as the day progressed, as the wind gradually died. With what little wind there was just a few degrees off the bow, there was no sailing to be done (once again). It made for an easy passage into the Little Harbor cut though, and water so flat in the anchorage, we could see the bottom clearly all around us down 15 feet or more, as we anchored off Lynyard Cay.
After a quick trip to Cherokee Sound, another harbor on the east coast, we had to head back home, since time was passing quickly and we needed to get back to pick up Roger and Annie at the airport. The storms of the passing front arrived just after they landed, making us glad we had decided to pull into a dock to greet them.
Not surprisingly, we still are dealing with the rudder leak that has plagued us for some time. While Dave tries to find a permanent solution, we are trying different things to manage it. Our biggest concern is a longer run back to the US, where it will be tiring for the person on watch to pump out the water at short intervals. Although the water will eventually find its way to the bilge (which has an automatic bilge pump), the route would be unnecessarily messy.
While in Marsh Harbor, Dave found an automatic bilge pump that he installed in place of the manual one by the rudder. With a diode he found at a local electronic repair shop, he was able to wire it so that it would run automatically (testing every 2.5 minutes for water) without the alarm sounding. It would still be triggered by the float switch and could be turned on manually if desired. This should do the trick for any longer passages that turn sloppy.
While on the dock at Spanish Wells, we took advantage of shore power to fully charge and then equalize the batteries. We also used time on the dock to defrost the freezer, top off the water tanks, and last, but by no means least, make lots of ice. You’ve got to set your priorities.
We’ll be making short hops from here around the central Abacos before heading north of the Whale cut and positioning for a crossing to the US in April. We’re hoping for fewer fronts and warmer temperatures, but we’ll take what we can get.