Trip to Long Island
Valt & Sandy
Thu 14 Mar 2013 19:23
March 13, 2013
We raised the anchor with some apprehension. The community had organized a rally to Long Island, some 30 miles to the east of Georgetown. But there were conflicting weather reports. One said we would have light winds but 6' seas. The other agreed to the light winds but forecast 1-2' waves! One would be awful, the other great. Guess we'd just go poke our nose out and see. We made our way to Conch Cut, to the north. the cut is wide and open, normally an easy exit. but today the swells surged through it from several directions, make it rough and rolling. I regretted it immediately. We put down the lamps, laid flat the pictures. Then we were through the cut into the Exuma Sound and it was calm again. Although there were no wind waves, the swell from the NE was between 3-5', but 13 seconds apart. And on our bow quarter. This rendered the swells harmless, occasionally lifting us, but mostly unnoticeable. The sun cast diamonds on the water. The sky was blue. It was a perfect day to be on a boat.
Fishing rods out, we sat out back, watching and hoping. There was no boat traffic out. The rally boats were taking the more direct, shallow route to Long Island. We needed deep water if we were going to catch mahi. Still, we checked the helm station regularly. At one check, Valt noticed a "fish boil", complete with swooping birds. He marked the spot on the chartplotter to return to it, but before he could get back we had 3 fish on. Struggling with the lines we landed our first mahi! The three lines wanted to criss cross each other, so we had to move them around to untangle them. Soon the second mahi was brought to the boat, but leaped off just as Valt tried to gaff it. The third was long gone before we started bringing it in. Turning the boat around, we returned to our plotter mark. An hour later we found the school of mahi. Again they loaded up our lines. More mahi circled, hoping to get some of the bait. They were in a feeding frenzy. From the cockpit we could see 20 or more blue, yellow and green fish swimming around. We landed 2 more. Although we went back to the mark again, we would catch no more mahi today. The waves and swell continued to lessen, and by the time we neared Long Island's bank it was flat and we could see bottom.
By taking the deep route, we ended up at the north end of Long Island. The gathering was 25 miles south , in a very shallow bank. We followed the shoreline to Salt Pond. Fifty boats were anchored there. The VHF radio announced a cocktail party on the beach at 6:00pm. It was already 5:30 so we knew we'd be late. We launched the dinghy, bridled the anchor, ate some of our fresh catch, put on fresh shirts and headed over to see who was here. It was amazingly calm, no wind, no waves. Mother Nature was resting and saving her energy for the morning. 25k North winds would be our alarm clock tomorrow. But Salt Pond was protected from North winds. We would be safe here, and comfortable. But we may have to stay a few days. That was ok, we had a dinner invitation for Thursday night, a guided bus tour of the island on Friday, a dance on Friday night, and a dinner/dance on Saturday. Phew.