(This is an account from a First Mate who is not really particular with sailing terminologies so sailing friends, apologize if I use the wrong words! 🤪)
We left the anchorage of Big Major Cay on our Day 26 at 5:30pm and went to the channel on Staniel Cay to cross to the Exumas Sound. Sailing in this part of the Bahamas has two sides: Exumas Bank - where it’s shallow water and crystal clear usually 20 ft below our boat and Exumas Sound - where it’s the Atlantic Ocean and usually 3000 ft below! I think I can now handle both deep and shallow and to be honest I’m more afraid of the shallow water because our boat has a 3/4 keel and a draft of 6ft underwater (I’ll share a photo later).
Our journey was great but made me really dizzy on our first few hours.. We’re sailing downwind (wind behind us) and waves interval is 3 to 4 seconds but glad they were only 2 ft or less... on a monohull boat like ours it means we were swaying from the left and right! Glad this time I properly stowed away everything and locked all the cabinets!
We switched off the engine at 7:20 pm after both of our sails are up.. we were just sailing & doing 4 knots! It slowed down a bit and average 3 knots while Jonathan was on the helm but he’s dealing with tacking and hand steering because our autopilot couldn’t handle the waves and the sails!
It was Jonathan’s first shift when I went down inside the cabin to take a nap and to look after Captain Ahab who was also able to sleep with me. He had his dinner and used his litter tray while underway since he’s comfortable without the engine noise.
At 11:30pm, we did the switch and it’s my shift! Jonathan briefed me with our situation and asked if I want the main sail up and by this time we’re only 43.1 NM away from our destination.. I can handle the helm but I’m not really confident to handle the sails yet and what more on my own. I can assist Jonathan with the lines etc but I don’t know how to reef, tack, jibe or whatever they’re talking about. Lol!
Jonathan had to put down both of the sails and switched on the engine again for me.. now I’m motoring, he went to sleep and rest because he’d need to take over the helm at 6am before we arrive at the channel and shallows! I can handle the boat on my own when the autopilot is working and as long as I have my navionics and the Garmin chartplotter to follow while using our motor engine! Glad our engine is great!
Also, whoever is on the helm will also be free of obligations to look after the cat so he took Captain Ahab with him. And guys, Captain Ahab is starting to be really talkative like his mommy 🤪
Unlike on my other overnight passage experiences where I watch and talk to the moon, last night was so dark because the moon was hiding behind the clouds but I enjoyed watching the stars and all I can hear are the strong waves pushing us from behind (I even got splashed on my face twice!), glad the autopilot is working and I was pulling 4.5 to 5 knots! I had my headlamp and had to always check our dinghy.. Jonathan decided to tow our dinghy instead of putting it on the deck! He’s the Captain and I won’t complain! 🤣
During all of our overnight passages, I’ve been the one on midnight shift.. I usually have more energy during these hours while Jonathan can’t handle sleeping late or waking up really early! Well, win-win for us.. I prefer to do something else during day time!
At 6am we changed shift again after I finished 30NM and just 10 miles away from the channel.. he took over the helm and I went to sleep! I ended up waking at 7:30am because our radio won’t stop hailing us so I have to answer.. our friends S/V Moonshadow and Trimaran Tim already arrived in the Anchorage! They were looking for us and I have to talk to them..our radio is inside the boat so the one in charge of the helm couldnt run and our handheld radio’s frequency is pretty limited! Well, the great thing is that I was able to watch the sunrise and by that time, our cat is requesting a cuddle❤️
Sailing indeed is really rewarding but it’s also tiring.. glad we’re still young and can handle this! I was making fun of our friend, Stuart of S/V Moonshadow, he’s solo on his sailboat and with the waves last night, he said he wasn’t able to sleep or eat! That’s hard esp with his age 🤪 Big respect to old salty sailors! ⛵️😍
(Oops, I typed longer.. Will divide and have a part 2: Jonathan cooked spring rolls for us, we went to town to buy me a coconut rum and we went on a dinner and sunset cruise on Trimaran Tim!)
P.S. For long passages like this, we have our automatic PFDs with crotch straps and safety tethers. We have our radios on and also our EPIRB ready. Also if you remember, we have our marine insurance and Viking 4-man liferaft for emergency. Yes, we’re prepared for anything that makes me less afraid.
Sunset Cruise on Trimaran Tim’s Boat to Celebrate our arrival in George Town, Exumas
(Today is our Day 28 but I have a lot to kwento...Hahaha!)
First thing we did after anchoring the boat and checking we’d not drag was to go to town.. Stuart has a bigger dinghy (rubber boat) and he picked us up again.. we went to land and checked where to buy essential stuff! I badly need more internet data (I already used 30GB in less than a month time) and to buy myself a Coconut Rum to celebrate! 🤣
Jonathan and I rarely drink nowadays and we NEVER drink alcohol while on passage. Our mentors main advise to us is to be always SOBER and fully-aware when sailing. I know some people think that sailing and alcohol are intertwined, nope, it’s not esp if being full-time liveaboard is the lifestyle. We have our home and our cat, Captain Ahab, as our new responsibilities.
Anyway, back to the story (hahaha!).. before returning back to our boat, Trimaran Tim asked us if we wanted to go on a sunset cruise and dinner on his Trimaran (a boat with 3 hulls!).. we never experienced riding one! Well, I was supposed to drink coconut rum mojito but Stuart and Tim don’t drink as well so no mojito for me but instead a “mind-opening” sunset cruise!
Tim prepared spaghetti for us and we also had the fried spring rolls (lumpia) that Jonathan cooked! Great conversations while sailing in the Elizabeth Harbour and we were doing 6 to 8 knots at some point and the boat was pointing to the wind and it was stable unlike our monohull! Just wow! 🤩 By then and there, Jonathan said to me that our next boat is going to be a Trimaran and actually a very specific one - NEEL 51 Trimaran by 2020! 🙏I’ll share a photo below! It’s fast, massive, luxurious but we can still play with the sails like a real sailor would do and by that time we have more experience! Haha! 🤣
We love our sailboat, Empress (our Finnrose 37) and she’s our first boat and she’ll be teaching us all the basics we’d need to know about sailing in the next 2 years but for long term.. we need a bigger one since our Captain Ahab will grow bigger too! Hahaha! 😍 And if you followed our old travel blog (with our tagline “from monkey backpackers to luxury travelers”) you’ll know that we like dreaming big, visualizing and hopefully manifesting it with hardwork, the help of God and the goodness of Universe! So, yes, our next boat will be fast and luxurious! Haha! We just need 2 million dollars! Hahaha 🤣🤣
Anyway, back to the story (again)... We didn’t expect that we will return by 9pm back to our boat and made a mistake of not bringing our head lamp and switching on our anchor lights but glad we made it back safely on our boat.. thank you Lord!
And yes sad to skip my mojito but happy because it made us realize what our next big goal is! totally worth it! ⛵️🤣😍🙏
(Sharing some photos while underway on our passage, Sunset cruise with Trimaran Tim, Walk around George Town and one incredible shot of Jonathan in Big Major Cay when the cold front was coming!)