A good day at Allen's Cay

Tue 6 Apr 2010 23:29
24:44.57 N
76:50.38 W

We're back at the scene of our worst day on the trip -- Allen's Cay, where we once spent 16 hours being tossed around at anchor by swell that refracted in from a strong northwester. Today we left Norman's Cay, sailed up to Highborne to top off our gas and water -- and buy ice cream. Then we sailed up here to Allen's just to see how it looked. It was a breezy day but not bad -- 15 knots from the ENE. We were able to sail briskly where we wanted to go, which was a great pleasure. And our anchorage was calm and the sun was bright.

The girls spent the day feeding and watching the iguanas, and we all snorkeled the clear warm waters of the little bay on Southwest Allen's, with the girls doing their usual incredible fish identification. We also saw two squid swim by -- we think an adult and a juvenile. Lilly and Rose spent a lot of time with them. The squid seemed as curious about the humans as the humans were about the squid.

Last time we were here, in late February, we had the beach to ourselves. This time no fewer than five zodiacs full of people came by at various times. Some from sailboats, some from megayachts. It must be high season here in the Exumas.

Today is my (Garth's) birthday, and the girls bowled me over with birthday surprises. They each made a card painted in watercolors featuring triopical fish, with shells glued all around the edges. And this evening Lilly made a coconut pie with shredded coconut and sweetened condensed milk -- it was awesome. I feel tremendously happy and loved. What a great place to spend a birthday. This whole trip to the Exumas feels like one enormous birthday present.

We keep watching the weather and calculating our return mileage and passage times over and over. Thursday may not turn out to be a good passage day, but Friday will be. Do we try to go all the way from here to Chub in one 15-hour day? Will Saturday be a good passage day? We hear that late Sunday and all Monday will be bad -- up to 24-knot winds. Tomorrow we'll probably go up to Ship Channel Cay, the northernmost Exuma, and explore that--the last of the wild places before the returning to civilization. Then we'll just wait to cross -- either to Nassau or all the way to Chub. We keep hoping, against all our experience, that maybe we'll get several mild days in a row. . . .