Windy Windy Windy

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Tue 28 Feb 2017 18:51
Williams Cay, Exumas – 23:45.49N, 076:05.26W
We’ve now left George Town after a sustained period of strong winds from strange directions. What’s a strange direction in these latitudes? Anything with a W in it. Generally speaking when fronts approach the Bahamas from further north there is always the possibility of a short duration of wind from the westerly sector but it doesn’t last long. On this occasion a low pressure system formed in the Gulf of Mexico just west of the Florida coast. It moved straight across the Florida peninsula giving the weather models some real problems in calculating exactly what to expect. What we endured was three days of wind in the westerly sector. The assembled fleet of some 300 boats in George Town that generally nestle close to Stocking Island to shelter from the traditional easterly trade winds could be found scattered in parts of the harbour they wouldn’t normally anchor in. We set up temporary home in the Masters Harbour area which is fairly remote with lots of dragging room.
Everything pretty much happened as predicted closer to the time and we sat onboard while the wind blew. Our only outside entertainment was the sudden arrival of a seaplane. After anchoring and waiting for half an hour a smart dinghy delivered some presumably fairly well-off folks who had shelled out some colossal sum to be whisked away and flown over the Exumas.
m_20170224_110425 m_On its way
Where did that come from!   Like us, these things need to drop an anchor to stay put                                  passengers onboard.....taxiing away followed by the dinghy
underway Take Off
Up up.....                                                                                                                                                                     .....and away  (Well, it was a little boring sitting out that weather event)
At night, the harbour looked magnificent as 300 anchor lights spread over a large area provided a vista that rivaled looking up into the heavens. Surely there are few places in the world where pleasure boats assemble in such large numbers!
With the wind eventually dying down enough to raise the anchor and head for the grocery store we found the place had been completely stripped bare by those that beat us to the door. The only bread left was the white ‘Nimble’ sandwich variety that we just can’t face eating even when there is nothing else. The current price for a half decent loaf of good cut wheat bread in the Bahamas is on the wrong side of $7.50 which is £6 in our money. Yes, £6 for a humble loaf of bread. But not to worry too much as the old Bahamian Happy Hour staple, a bottle of cheap rum, can be had for about the same money. Yes, yes it’s crazy we know but there it is. So we sometimes make our own. Bread that is not rum!
We are currently sheltering in Williams Cay with winds now from the more traditional north to east sector running at about 20 knots. There is yet another cold front to come towards the weekend then even stronger winds from the same direction into Sunday with speeds predicted to become 25-30 gusting to 40 knots for goodness sake! Great forecast perhaps if you were the captain of a tea clipper homeward bound from the Indies but pretty miserable for us. Despite the weather we’ve now begun our passage northwards as we want to be back in Titusville around the 2nd week of April which will give us around 4 weeks to put Ajaya to bed and catch our flight home on 10th May. Whilst it may seem quite a long time scale to make the 400 mile trip with current weather conditions it’s not much fun even on the banks side of the Exuma Sound. As for transiting outside in Exuma Sound – well we’ll give that a miss for now.