Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Amazon Adventure # 23. The big storm.

Over the next few days we explore Nassau and visit the Canadian consulate to collect our Christmas mail. Then we sail to nearby Rose Island to do some snorkeling on the coral reefs. What an amazing experience! The wind pipes up and we make a windy dash back to Nassau harbour for shelter. While other yachts put in a scary night anchored tightly packed together in the open harbour, Amazon creeps around in the shelter of Paradise Island as the wind shifts and spends the night tied into the beach in a thunderstorm as the wind roars through the casuarina pines on shore.

The journal:

Woke up early this morning to get ready for the big day ashore - boat people becoming tourists. Made lunch to put in our Current Island baskets. Put on skirts ( some of us) then piled into Hippo. What a come down! We wallowed and splashed our way ludicrously to shore with Bill, Anne and Elaine paddling valiantly against the wind and all of us trying to keep the yellow and blue dye off our finery. Stashed the boat on a corner of the public beach - suddenly we were in the middle of city traffic.... Heather.

Jan 21st.
... Finally got our refilled propane cylinder and battled waves and wind to Rose Island. Arrived at a beautiful beach -clear, clear water. Just as soon as we got there a tourist excursion boat ( a fake Spanish galleon that we called ‘The Thing’) came along and dumped tourists onto the beach. They were noisily here while we were snorkeling. Finally left. What to do with the peace and quiet? Why turn on the tapes of course!

There`s still a south-east wind but in a couple of days it should go to north 30 -gusting to 90 knots. Maybe the worst will pass to the north of us, and the wind not too strong so then we can make it to the Exumas? Anne.

All but one of the yachts anchored in the lee of Rose Island left for Nassau - they must have been conferring on the weather. We drifted partially out of the island`s lee ( the wind was way stronger farther out) and anchored beside a coral reef. We all went in and were wowed by the coral, fishes etc. H`s first snorkeling and the girls first real reef. Very, very impressive.

The other yacht ( Penopscott) left and we followed. We lashed everything down and left the lee of the point. Heather and I took turns on deck wiping the salt spray from our eyes. A fast but wet trip in 30 to 40 knot wind. We tucked into the lee of Paradise Island in a little bay near the golf course and had a pleasant afternoon with the wind roaring overhead. The girls went swimming for ages and Heather cooked supper in advance all the while expecting the thunderstorm front and a change in wind direction. A security guard ( Tony Russell) told us of a bay farther around the island so at five o`clock we motored around to a small bay backed by a sandy beach and tall trees to give shelter from the north where we expect the next lot of wind to come from. Only trouble is, the bottom is rocky and the anchors will not hold so we end up in a compromise situation with two lines to land and an anchor off to one side in the sand to prevent us swinging broadside to the beach. The tide is out and we are bumping on the sand but hopefully things will improve with a rising tide and a north wind to hold us off the beach.

We are now on the edge of the front with rain, and lightning on the horizon. We are trying the small backpack tent tonight. We are all crammed in for supper. Hard boiled eggs, salad and cold rice pancakes. We called Penopscott and told them we were safe and sound. Betty had offered to take the girls overnight as they were worried about us but in the end they themselves had an horrendous night at anchor amidst ‘the fleet’.I`d rather be tied into shore in our own little bay than mixed in with a lot of other boats ( anchors dragging etc.) in an open anchorage. Wish we would stop bouncing on the bottom though. Goodnight, dear diary. Bill.

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