Freeport to Marsh Harbour

Trip Start Feb 28, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Bahamas  ,
Monday, March 14, 2005

I got to Freeport on Feb. 28th and helped the guys with some of the work that needed to be done on the boat and their brand new homemade dinghy.

After 4 1/2 days of that we left freeport on Friday afternoon to start the trip. The first day we mostly motored around the island a bit to the channel that cuts through. We anchored that night in the channel and got up in the morning, lowered the mast went under a bridge and then put the mast back up. Once we got out to the open water we tried to sail but there wasn't much wind and what we did have was coming from the direction we were heading. After tacking back and forth all day we had gone 30+ nm but only had made 8 towards the direction we were heading. Anchoring in the middle of nowhere the night was pretty rough and the tossing waves woke us all many times throughout the night. After that day the wind cooperated with us a bit more, not to say the weather did. We were cold and wet most of the trip, but we were making progress. The islands we passed were nothing like I imagined the Bahamas to be, mostly mangroves and some sea grass - not the beautiful sand beaches you see in the pictures.

On Tuesday the waves were about 6 feet and stacked one after then next as the wind blew and the rain pierced. The dinghy rope got twisted around the motor and was taking on water and leaking. It did a nose dive and flipped and continued to be pulled further under as we tried to bring it in and bail it. After that it had to be bailed several times, not an easy task with waves banging. Finally after struggling with this three times Brian and Rob decided to pull the dinghy up on the bow of the boat.

The next day we made it to Green Turtle Cay where we had decided we would stop for the night to get a peaceful night of sleep sheltered by the bay, find some showers and up our spirits by pigging out on Pizza. As we sailed into the channel the wind changed and we came withing 20 feet of running into an anchored boat. I took over the steering while Brian brought down the main sail and Rob started the motor. Simultaneously they swore, Rob because after endless tries he knew the motor was broken and Brian because without noticing it he had dropped the main halyard used to pull up the main sail and it had made its way up to the top of the mast. No showers, no pizza - we drank some rum and settled in for another rough night.

Thursday we headed to Marsh Harbour - to get there we had to pass through whale channel to move outside the reef to avoid shallow waters. Once again it was raining, not that it really mattered anymore, and the wind was howling. Waves in the channel were 7-9 feet and crashed over the bow of the boat as we swayed from side to side. I sat at the stern of the boat working the lines for the jib sail, it was like a roller coaster that kept going and going. I'm just glad I wasn't steering and I didn't have to move around at all! It took us a week to sail the 110 nm from Freeport to Marsh Harbour but we made it and pulled into the harbour under sail. A nice boater anchored next to us brought us into the marina and we finally got our showers (finally after 8 days) and pizza. The next morning I put on my climbing harness and Brian and Rob hoisted me up the mast to retrieve the halyard that had been lost a few days before. With every wave the boat swayed - what a strange feeling being at the top.

For the past few days now we have just been laying low, reading and walking around town. We have met many people at the marina wintering down here. It is a strange "community" with everything to Thursday social hour at the Jib room to the "Net" call in talk show on everyday at 8:15 am on VHF 68. We are more than a little out of place. Our little 27' sailboat is in pretty rough shape which is just accentuated when next to brand new yachts.

We will probably take one more day sail and then on Thursday night I will be heading to Nassau via the Mail Boat and leaving there on Monday to head to Guatemala.
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