Monday, February 11, 2008

Off On The "Thorny Path" South

Abrahams Bay, Mayaguana, Bahamas
22 19.7N 73 01.7W

We joined a convoy of boats leaving George Town on Thursday, about 20 having an informal race to Long Island and another 20 bound for the Dominican Republic. For many the trip to the DR is their first sail in the ocean, and this combined with the need to get a good weather window means everyone leaves at once.

The first leg for the cruisers was a great sail to Conception Island and as there were 20 boats going it also turned into a race. Matsu was in great form eating up the miles and we placed very respectably - first in our opinion!

The next morning most of the boats left for the DR, we chose a different approach based on our read of the weather forecast, so we stayed for the day snorkeling on the superb stag head coral formations and enjoying the beach and the water, before leaving on Saturday morning.

We had anticipated having to motor the whole way to Mayaguana, but the wind ended up doing us proud and we had excellent sailing for well over half the time. No events of great note except for hooking a marlin on our fishing gear! We heard the reel screaming and went back to put the brake on, which sent the fish into a frenzy and we were witness to the classic "Fishing Adventures" film clip of a marlin leaping out of the water doing back flips and tail dances as it gradually stripped all the line off the reel, before with a final jump it broke the line and left us relieved that we hadn't had to work out how to land a fish bigger than either of us!

Sadly the weather window has closed up quicker than the forecast so we will now be here for a few days to a week waiting for the next one to get further on, meanwhile the boats that left a day earlier are already there (but we got to eat lobster for dinner!). We have two options, hopping from here to the Turks and Caicos, or heading out to sea for a dog leg route into the trades and going directly to the DR, either way we hope to be in Luperon next week some time.

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