1064 Nautical Miles, 3 countries, $545 in customs fees all in 27 days!
It is hard to believe that we are already 1/3 of the way through this years cruising (St. Marys, GA to Grenada). But that is the good and bad news. Good in that we are all the way in the Dominican Republic and the bad is, we have already killed a third of the trip.
We knew that we were going to skip the Exumas this year because we wanted to spend the bulk of our time in the Caribbean but we did not anticipate covering as many miles in such a short time. But as always is the case in sailing, the golden rule is that weather rules. When you have good weather, you take advantage of it. Our journey thus far has us traveling southeast. Guess where the winds usually come from in this area? If you said southeast, then you are a winner. That being the case we turned our sailboat into a powerboat for most of the trip. Not much fun but we can wait for as little wind and waves as possible and high tail it. The other not so good news is that all this motoring cost us $441 in diesel just in the month of March. Not to mention that 5KNOTS is ready for another oil change.
Leaving Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera we stopped for the night at Kemps Point North (31nm) in the southern part of the island where we staged the next leg to Cat Island. The trip to Cat (59nm) was easy and we actually were able to sail most of the way. The next day we took off for Conception Island. However, once we were on the way we saw that the anchorage at Conception wasn’t favorable for the direction of the winds and waves so we decided to push on to Rum Cay. Once at Rum, we decided what the heck lets keep going to Mayaguana and ensure we were below the next weather front that was predicted to come with 25-30 knot winds with gusts up to 50. Needless to say that we did not want any part of this and even though we should have been a safe distance away at either Conception or Rum, why take a chance. So the original short trip turned out to be 152nm. But at least we were further south and a safe distance from the front. Dodged another one!
We could have skipped Mayaguana but we were in need of more fuel and we had to clear out of the Bahamas with customs and immigration. Mayaguana is the last island in the Bahamas heading south and the last place we could clear. You not only have to clear when entering a country but you have to when leaving.
We anchored in Abrahams Bay located in the NW part of the island. Easy in and out but the dingy ride to shore was 4 miles. Since the bay is protected by land on 2 sides and a coral reef the other, it was fairly calm in the bay so the ride was long but enjoyable. Once ashore, the customs office was a short walk from the dock and checking out was simple, just pay more money. Ann, our customs officer offered to take us to the gas station with our 6 diesel cans in order to fill them. It was a 20 mile ride each way. However, the station was currently out of diesel so we came back empty handed. While out, Ann took us around the settlement and showed us the schools, medical clinic and other parts of the island. She also recommended the restaurant just across the street from her office. We took her recommendation and had a great meal of Margaret (or Market) fish, beans and rice and corn on the cob. Ann also hooked us up with Skully who lives in the settlement and takes people Fly Fishing and provides other services. One of which is to bring fuel down to the dock but with a service charge. Needing the fuel for our next leg. We had no choice but to take him up on this service. So while we had our lunch, Skully went to get the diesel. All in all it worked out pretty good.