Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Back from the Abacos

Hi sports fans... even though dejected by the Miami Heat's performance today...
I arrive back yesterday after a successful 7 day cruise and learn in the Abacos with Ken and Elisabeth onboard their newly purchase 2000 Fleming 55. The first five days, the weather was "sporty" with 18-20 knot winds out of the ENE for a 6' crossing of the Gulfstream. Our route from Port St. Lucie to a waypoint north of Memory Rock had the waves just off our port bow. I have to say, I was very pleased with the Fleming's sea keeping abilities; a sharp entry forward and more than adequately sized NAIAD stabilizer fins, proved an efficient and moderately comfortable 10 knot crossing.
At the end of ten hours, we dropped the hook at Big Sale Cay, south of Walker's Cay (still closed). Big Sale is an excellent anchorage in soft sand and protected from northerly thru southeasterly breezes. The bonefish were tearing it up in the anchorage!!
Next, we docked at Spanish Cay and enjoyed outstanding service, food and refreshing pool. Dockage is a bit pricey at $2.75 per foot but R/O water was only 25 cents per gallon. But the best thing about Spanish Cay is the presence of Customs Clearance. Friendly and accommodating, the agent even help me by filling out the triplicate forms inbound. Easy to spot; Don Davis, the owner of Spanish Cay, also is the builder of the Richmond Yachts line of mega-yachts. His personal 150 foot triple decker, Status Quo, is docked there.
With the protection of the outer islands and reef, the Abacos are a sailor's dream. We pulled into Green Turtle Cay for a look-see and continued our next destination, Treasure Cay, where we spend a couple of days. Dockage was reasonable and freshwater is a flat rate $11 a day... needless to say, the Fleming enjoyed a luxurious bath.
Day 5 had us pulling a long 8 hour run back to Big Sale Cay for our last night's anchorage. The long run allowed us to work on our knot lessons, rules of the road and a few "man overboard" drills, which both the husband and wife did a satisfactory job helming to get back and pick up the "victim" within 2 minutes.
The final day's 10 hours run back to Port St. Lucie was the exact opposite of what we experienced outbound. Zephyr breezes and a slight seaway made for a nice leisurely watch rotation. Kudos to Ken and Elisabeth for a job well done. And to Mr. Fleming... nice boat.
Thursday finds me winging my way to Detroit to pick up a very well maintained Princess 65 for a run to Put-in-Bay for the weekend and then delivery to Florida via the Welland and Erie Canal system. My 29th Great Lakes voyage, I always look forward to the beauty of the Erie Canal and Hudson River Valley.
Photos and report to follow. Fair winds and calm anchorages.
John Wampler
Master Mariner

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