We decided it was time for us to move south and leave the Abaco Islands. Our route took us to Tilloo Cay where we waited a couple of days for some windy weather to pass.
On our way from Marsh Harbour to Tilloo Cay, we were joined by our new Canadian friends, Ian and Margret. They also have an Amel (same brand as Cream Puff) called Loco Lola II. We first met Ian and Margret in Green Turtle Cay. They motor sailed past us and teased us on the radio about being sailing purest. We were sailing veeeery slooowly in about 10 knot winds. We are not really sailing purest. We just hate to hear the sound of the diesel engine when we can enjoy the sound of turquoise waters gently passing under the hull. We have done our fare share of motor-sailing these past few months. On this day, we were not in a hurry. We snapped a couple of pictures of them as they passed and agreed to meet up later. When we anchored near them, they were already settled in with an adult beverage and invited us over to join them. We think they gave us a couple of drinks because it took us three times to get Cream Puff’s anchor to set. They must have enjoyed the show. Ian and Margret left for places south the next morning. We waited another day.
From Tillo Cay, we moved to Lynard Cay. This was our jump off point to Eleuthera. The weather in the Abaco region has been “iffy”, at best for the past few days. A long weather window was here offering great sailing on moderate seas. The route south takes us out into the Atlantic Ocean once again. Within a few feet of the shore the depth drops from a few feet to thousands of feet deep. This can cause a “rage”. When we exit the Sea of Abacos we sail over a reef. Waves that have traveled all the way from Africa build up in the shallow water. If the wind is up and the tide is strong, these passages between the reefs are known to rage and are impassable. It is important to have a good weather window. When we reached Lynyard Cay, we anchored among twelve other boats, all of whom were waiting to go south the next day. It was reassuring to know our decision to leave was substantiated by twelve other boaters. We spent the afternoon roaming about the desolate Lynyard Cay before making our final preparations to sail at first light. The island is very sparsely populated. We found a trail leading to the Atlantic side and followed it to the rough beach. There we found some blow holes. Blow holes is where the ocean has eroded a tube into the rock and as the waves crash in the air is pushed upward sending spray into the air with a whooshing sound, sort of like a geyser.
Sitting on the back of the boat that evening, Cindy sighted two dolphins. We had recently read that dolphins in the Sea of Abaco are rare. There are only about 20 of them. The population has dwindled due to pollution and lack of food. We thought that dolphins would come into the Sea of Abaco from the Atlantic Ocean, but apparently this is not the case. Once they are gone, they’re gone. I was sitting facing an opposite direction from Cindy when she cried, “Look! Dolphins.” Of course, I turned around and saw nothing. For a few minutes, I scanned the area where she said she spotted them. Nothing. But, knowing the dolphins eventually had to surface for air, I kept looking. Then, my neck got tired and I turned back. “There they are”, Cindy laughed. We never saw them again that night.
Our sixty mile sail in the Atlantic Ocean was very uneventful. Uneventful is the best kind of sail. We dropped the Anchor in a small bay at Royal Island on the northern tip of Eleuthera. Royal Island is private. There is a resort that has gone belly up and is partially built. The caretakers on the island require visitors ask for permission to go ashore. Since we were only spending the night and were off again the next morning, we decided to stay aboard that evening and enjoy the nice quiet calm harbor. We enjoyed chicken quesadillas and called it an early night. It is good to be on the move again and off to new places.