For the most part we don’t have schedules with this lifestyle. One exception is needing to get our immigration Visas extended every few months. We find it odd how they do they do they do it here. You can’t request an extension until a few days before yours runs out. Some offices make you wait until the day before. I’m not sure what would happen then if they did reject your request then, it’s not like you could leave before it was up if that happened. The timing is about the most stressful part of the process. It was time to request ours so off to Rock Sound, Eleuthera we went.
Unfortunately I was looking over the weather as we sailed and noted that our current pleasant weather pattern was going to come to a screeching halt the next day and there was no sign of the winds dropping again for over a week. Had we not needed to go to immigration we would have sailed to the Exumas that day. Not an option. I wasn’t very keen on spending a week plus in Rock Sound, nor was it where I had envisioned spending Christmas. I had my heart set on Warderick Wells in the Exumas. I got to calculating. The trip would take about seven hours, the weather wasn’t supposed to turn for another twenty or so. We were about two hours away from Rock Sound. How fast can we get our passport stamped? Hmmmm…. Keith and I talked it over, if we did a night crossing instead of the normal day crossing we would make it to the cut about sunrise, the winds would be starting to pick up but would be from behind us, that means the seas should be nice and calm for the trip. The plan all hinged on whether we could get our extension in time. We also had to get gasoline and we really needed to run to the grocery store too.
As soon as we got anchored we got fancied up and headed to the immigration office. Too bad the road we had to walk down was about eight inches underwater. Our wet feet squished in our shoes as we walked across the polished white tile. We were hoping that they wouldn’t make us come back tomorrow. The Customs lady made us sweat it out, but did stamp our passports. Now, hurry, to the gas station! We stopped by the boat to change and grab the fuel cans, when I did I got the latest weather report from Chris Parker (the weather service guy). His latest report was calling for higher winds and for them starting during the night. He consistently reports on the conservative worse-case-scenario side but we started doubting our decision. About this time we found out that the herd of boats we were watching file into the harbor had just sailed from Warderick Wells and had come here for the upcoming winds. Do they know something we don’t? We don’t make decisions on what other people are doing, but still…. I just really wasn’t wanting to stay in Rock Sound for an extended period of time or for weather. Remember that crazy doracio storm we experienced last year? This is where that happened. Not that I was worried about a repeat experience, but I don’t have fond memories of this place either. We got gas, but by the time we went to the grocery store we had decided not to cross that night and only picked up some bread and tomatoes for BLT’s for dinner. Around dusk we started having the should we go discussion all over again. The arguments were still valid. The rest of the reports looked like we could make it in before it got above 22 knots. Even if we didn’t and it was higher than that, it was from behind and the cut we were going to was wide. If we wanted calm seas, this was the time to go because they would get kicked up over the next week of wind for sure. We were back on! One problem, we thought we didn’t need to do the grocery shopping so hadn’t. We are headed to the land of no grocery stores unstocked with anything fresh and only one stick of butter. Oh well. We have plenty of cans on board.
We left by midnight with a nearly full moon and a gentle breeze. It was calm and beautiful and we were thrilled to see our friend Craig had made the same decision. As expected it slowly and steadily increased through the night and we were making great speed. We were sailing directly downwind. (I know-that is twice now!) The seas began to build unpropotionally large from the wind, not sure where the unexpected swell came from but Keith took over for the autopilot around 5am because as we surfed down the boat would slip out causing the sail to collapse then snap back open which is hard on it. I think it is his surfer skills, but he did a great job of steering the boat and we didn’t have to change course. It was just starting to get sporty but we could see our cut. Kai got sea sick for the first time. Poor guy. We were all happy to sail through the cut to the settled waters of the sound by 730 am. Just a few more miles left to our anchorage and we are glad we made it in the cut when we did. The wind is still increasing (as expected).
Finally, we are headed to Warderick Wells. We’ve never been and it’s a place I have been anticipating going to for years!
Bye-bye Eleuthera we had fun, Helloooo Exumas!