Thursday, June 15- 17, 2017 Allan’s -Pensacola Cay heading to Savannah, Georgia
Day 1: June 15
Today we set out for my first offshore, overnight sail, back to Savannah, Georgia but first we had to attend to some chores to ready for the trip. Minnehaha came with two sets of rudders which are changed out depending on the water depth in which we will be sailing. The Bahamas have shallow waters so we had the shoal rudders on the boat. Doug and Rowland took on the 3 hour chore of changing to the deep water rudders – no easy task since the rudders are heavy and have to be hoisted with winches to and from the storage locker at the front of the boat to be positioned under the rear of the boat.
My chore was to stay out of the way, something I am quite adept at doing. I elected to head for the beach. Allans Cay is a beautiful, quiet location with wonderful sand beaches. It was perhaps our prettiest anchor site. I spent a couple hours walking the beach and snorkeling. Very relaxing. I could do this ‘chore’ all day long.
A little after 1 pm we raised anchor and set sail and kept our fingers crossed that the autopilots would not fail. We had to contend with rationing our fresh water since water maker was still out, but we were not in crisis mode. I pointed out that if we used all the potable water we could melt ice in the ice maker. Yes, we are really roughing it. In fact, that evening Doug and I watched our first movie, the apropos Finding Dory (a great movie I might add, though not quite up to Finding Nemo).
Sailing was a dream. We zipped along and it was so peaceful. I sat in my bean bag chair at the front of the boat and almost forgot I was on the ocean until I looked up at one point. We set up 4 hour watches for each of us. Mine was 4 to 8 – a.m. and p.m. Watches are tedious, in my opinion, but necessary to watch for not only other boats, but floating debris, approaching squalls and changes in the wind.
Day 2: June 16
I woke at 3:15 am and went up to relieve Doug for my 4 am watch. I was a bit apprehensive since this was my first watch at night alone. We had switched to motor sail earlier that night, to keep up our speed. It was lovely sitting on the front deck watching the dark ocean zip by as well as the stars and the moon. It was so peaceful- thankfully. I did not see another light or boat and I got to enjoy a glorious first light and sunrise.
I saw dolphins, I saw dolphins. Every day, I ask, “will I see dolphins again”? Today there were dolphins swimming behind the boat, a good day.
Around mid-morning we got hit with a couple of rain squalls, which were welcome indeed. I washed my hair in the fresh rain water and we used buckets to collect several gallons of rain water to add to our fresh water tanks- another day of lifesaving water 😊. Shout out to Mary Grace and Frank Stich for the large ice bucket they had given to us as a gift while we were in Florida – we used that to collect water as well. It was very fun, actually, for all of us to ‘play’ in the rain…and what a welcome relief from the humid, salt water, sticky feeling. Major plus, the rains wash all the salt water off the boat.
Evening brought with it another glorious sunset. I have not become immune to the beauty of sunrises and sunsets – I hope I don’t. If you are reading this blog, expect to see more than a few sunset, sunrise pix.
Day 3: June 17:
It was harder to face the 4 am watch this morning. Last night we sailed through the night with only sails, so watching for wind shifts was an added concern. It was also darker out and more ‘traffic’ on the radar screen to be watched – sign that we were getting closer to our destination. I also felt a bit seasick. At one point, I woke Rowland to check out a light in the distance – did not want to run into a fishing boat. Not a relaxing watch- spent the time with eyes on the radar and navigation screen and walks around the deck.
No beautiful sunrise – day break brought clouds but no squalls. The rain is welcome but the potential high winds are not.
Around 10:30 am, about 25 miles offshore, we picked up WiFi, our first connection to civilization. Soon we all assumed the familiar pose of heads bent over cell phones rather than on the horizon.
We headed to Thunderbolt Marina in Savannah. Dan Sammis, the HH rep located in Jupiter, Florida, has been a huge help to us as we’ve dealt with various system issues. He made arrangements for us to dock at Thunderbolt where we can get needed repairs. Huge THANK YOU to Dan – he has really put an effort into making arrangements and contacts for us. He is coming to Savannah on Monday – a big hug will welcome him.
We are expecting to be here at least 10 days for fixes /repairs but we are learning that getting things done promptly in the marine industry is not always feasible. Neither of us have been to Savannah before and I am looking forward to some sightseeing and exploring. We have already received some recommendations from friends about places to see – thank you – and would welcome more. It’s a possibility we will be here over July 4th and would be interesting to see how this historic, old town celebrates