Once again we found ourselves amidst unusual weather for these summer months. We were moored in a picturesque spot at Warderick Wells, home base for the Exuma Land and Sea Park. A low pressure system had settled across the Bahamas producing unstable weather for a few days. Northeast wind and steady rain kept us mostly on board for over a day.
Pearl had to break out and move her body. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, she doesn't let a little wind and rain stop her. Kayaks were available on the beach for any interested takers. Pearl was determined to try out her paddling skills, regardless of the weather.
A little bananaquit brightened our cloudy days, investigating its food opportunities. The girls were delighted with each visit and pondered its activities in its absence.
Finally, the rain subsided. Pearl and I managed a snorkel in the wind and waves. I'm thrilled to have a young daughter who is eager to experience everything, even in less than ideal circumstances. Her adventurous spirit payed off. We saw a nurse shark nestled beside a coral head and several lobster were peeking out from their hidey holes. After our snorkel, we went for a family hike.
Then we visited the boat moored next to us for a little jewelry making. They were excited to share one of their pearls with our Pearl.
And then we were faced with the decision about when to leave. We didn't particularly want to leave our beautiful setting.
But, provisions were running low and we had a special birthday party to attend on Eleuthera Island. We needed to make our way across the Exuma Sound, thirty miles of deep water. We wanted to stop at the southern end of Eleuthera to visit our friend, Annabelle, at the Island School. Then we needed to travel forty more miles north to Hatchett Bay for the birthday party. We needed to get started if we were to arrive on time. The wind finally shifted to the southeast. The seas had not settled much, but forecasts were calling for wind speeds to increase in a couple of days. So, we finally decided to make a run for it. We dosed the girls up with Dramamine. Well, we dosed Pearl. Juniper refused and paid the price.
The seas were about 4-6 feet with an occasional 7 or 8 foot wave. This was the biggest sea we had experienced aboard Mi Cielito. We sailed smoothly on a beam reach at about five knots with a reefed foresail. All was well for everyone, except Juniper. Then we started hearing alarming news on the radio. Boats were broadcasting information about a squall over the northern Exumas. Eventually we came to the realization that the squall was headed our way. We further reefed the sail, battened everything down, and got out the rain gear.
It came. It wasn't nearly as big of a deal as our situation at Allen's Cay. We were near our destination, but we turned back to the deep water for the worst part of the squall. We didn't want to try to enter a new place with big wind and limited visibility. I actually found it comforting out on the sea. In the deep water, you don't have to worry about hitting anything. All you have to do is keep the boat steady in the waves. Of course, Joey did that beautifully and the girls and I had a fine time down below.
The wind died down a bit and we made our way safely to the Cape Eleuthera Yacht Club and Marina. We splurged for a night at the dock to enjoy a hot shower and laundry facilities. We had dinner and drinks with friends, new and old, at the Island School. All we needed to worry about was the weather for our trip north. After all, we still had an important birthday party to attend, two days and counting.