We have left Chicken Harbor, otherwise known as Elizabeth Harbour near Georgetown, Great Exuma. After looking at the forecast for what is currently Tropical Storm Chantal, we headed east from Georgetown to Salt Pond in Long Island.
While The Exumas run more in a northwest to southeast direction, Long Island lays just east and runs more north and south. The Grand Bahama Bank sits in between and the southern tip of the Exumas stabs Long Island almost directly in the center of that island, just about where the Tropic Of Cancer lies, and that is where we headed.
When we left the anchorage this morning, we were hailed by another vessel, Island Girl, a sailboat. The captain said that they'd be following behind us, also heading to Salt Pond. We also met another small sailboat on the way out of the cut, a guy we had met during our two weeks in Georgetown. He was heading east too.
Tropical Storm Chantal is developing southeast of this area, and the five day outlook for probability places Chantal just about everywhere in The Bahamas, and most of Florida. There is no running.
Depending on how early Chantal "hooks" to the northwest, we can possibly avoid the majority of the storm by this move we have made. We will be staying north of the storm, maybe, but lots of factors come into play. We'll be watching the forecast with each update. As much as we appreciate our friends' concern about our well being, we want everyone to be rest assured that we get all the alerts we need via email, don't feel obligated to send us what we are already looking at.
Running further east to the Ragged Islands, or Turks and Caicos, would put us well north of Chantal, but running in the open Atlantic Ocean when there are already wind and rainstorms brewing, is not an option. Coming across the shallow Great Bahamas Bank today was strenuous enough.
The stern harness on the dinghy, (stainless steel cable) is starting to break. I did a emergency repair while underway this morning. The twisted strand cable is nearly broke in two. I'm going to make another harness out of line. It won't be as pretty, but it will be strong.
Our crossing today was almost five hours, and we were pounding headwinds pretty hard for the last three hours. We made our way into Thompson's Bay, and steered Swing Set to the tallest hill along the shores of Long Island, and finally anchored in six feet of calm water, as we are protected from the wind whipped waves by the coast.
We're taking a breather for the rest of today, and then we'll decide if we want to travel twenty one miles north up the coast to Joe Sound, a dandy hurricane hole with a tricky entrance, but sheltered water once entry is gained. The unknown is how many other vessels have the same thing in mind. The hole only holds six boats, and we don't want to be number seven.
As a last resort, we'll stake Swing Set down with three anchors in the best place we can find and seek shelter on the island somewhere. The dinghy would probably be lost if we do that, and the boat may be too, but we aren't riding out a hurricane on the boat unless we are in a hurricane hole, and maybe not even then, but this storm is not predicted to build to hurricane status.
There are a few other boats anchored here, just out from the Long Island Petroleum Company. We stayed away from the other boats as it lessens the chance for calamity if the wind gets crazy.
The next couple of days will tell the tale. We have good Internet here, so I wanted to get this blog posted. We'll be sending SPOT reports to those of the receivers list. Please pass along that we're OK to anyone who you think may care.