Monday, April 21, 2014

Heading back to the Jumentos and Raggeds

This morning we are anchored back in Thompson Bay, Long island after a stormy sail from George Town yesterday. We left Red Shanks anchorage early in the morning with S/V Taia expecting to only be able to sail for a few hours, then motor the rest of the way in light winds based on the forecast. The sailing was great for a while but the clouds kept building. Then the rain and lightning started. The wind was still good but since our cockpit is open I (Paul) got absolutely soaked while the kids and Staci were holed up down below. We saw many lighting strikes to the north of us but felt pretty safe as they were a few miles away. In a matter of seconds the wind clocked around 180 degrees and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees. Running downwind now the boat slowed considerably. Then a massive lightning bolt hit the water just a few hundred yards from the us with a boom that shook the whole boat. Code Brown!  I fired up the engine and throttled up to 6.5 knots to get into Thompson Bay as quickly as possible. An hour later we were anchored, the storm passed and the sun was shinning.

Since our last post we travelled from Rum Cay up to Conception Island which is a national park. While there we did a little snorkeling and took the dinghy into the mangroves at high tide. The mangroves are like a nursery for sea creatures and we saw turtles, rays, small sharks, and baby barracuda. We joined people from about ten other boats on the beach for sundowners and a bonfire but managed to escape before the gin and tonics got the better of us and the kids ended up missing another bedtime by 2 hours.
Playing with hermit crabs at Conception

We raised sail the next day and headed back to George Town to meet up with some friends. We had a great sail back but didn't catch anything despite trolling three lines behind us. We anchored at Monument Beach and caught up with our friends aboard Perry and Taia. All the kids had a great time running wild for a few days.
Kids playing at Volleyball Beach

Boogie-boarding the dunes

The last day we were in the harbor Matt, Ernesto and I went spearfishing but had no luck. Just as we were about to leave Ernesto came swimming back toward the dinghy saying there was a dolphin next to him.  We ended up playing with the dolphin for about a 1/2 hour. It was an incredible experience to be so close to a wild creature in its habitat. We could hear him echo locating as he swam toward us. We swam all around him but he would not let us touch him. It appeared he was having as good a time as we were.

So, now we are on our way back the Jumentos and Raggeds with S/V Taia. Our friends on Perry are using this weather window to head south toward Grenada. We will spend the next couple of weeks in the islands and then we are hoping to have good weather to sail non-stop back to Marathon,Fl along the north coast of Cuba via the Old Bahama Channel.

Roasting marshmallows 


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