UPDATE: Well, I haven't even posted this blog entry yet and I already have an update. When we put our engine on our dinghy, we lock it using a special outboard engine lock (click here). Well, we put the lock on the dinghy a week and a half ago, and now we can't find the key. As a result, we can't take the engine off, and we can't tow the dinghy with the engine on. We've searched EVERYWHERE. We have to wait until tomorrow to check the lost and found, and if we can't get out of the harbor by 9-9:30, we're stuck here for another day, which means that we don't make South Cat Cay, which means that we may not be heading across the banks on Thursday. Arghhh! Lesson learned? Make sure you keep all of your spare keys in one place, and make sure you have spares. Hopefully someone found the keys and turned them in.
Chris here... We're going to try to get out of here. There's a window on Thursday and Friday, if you want to call it such. Chris Parker, yesterday, said that the wind would be ESE at 12-17kts on Thursday and Friday, with waves of 3-5 feet across the banks and maybe 6ft on the Northwest Channel/Passage to Nassau. I was looking at his e-mail weather report today, and it shows a sea state of 8-9' for the Abacos, going to 10' going into Friday. His report shows slightly smaller seas for the central Bahamas. I have to find out which is right, so we're going to listen to his 6:30am broadcast tomorrow morning to find out. It's nice having someone watching out for the weather for you, but it's also good to learn how to read it yourself.
If all goes well, tomorrow we head to South Cat Cay at around 8am to take advantage of high tide out of the marina, and then on Thursday morning we'll head across the banks. It's about a 58nm trip across the banks, and we're not sure if we're going to continue through the night to Nassau (another 50nm or so) or try anchoring on the banks (with the waves - yuck) and continuing in the morning. The weather and waves will pretty much dictate what we do. The worst area is supposed to be when we cross from the banks into the Tongue of the Ocean - the very deep area (over 10,000ft deep in parts) that is surrounded by the banks and the other Bahamian islands. Where the banks and the Tongue of the Ocean meet there are a lot of confused currents, confused seas and confused winds. This can make for some pretty big waves. Can you tell I'm a bit apprehensive? With the forecast, it will be interesting (yeah, that's the word) to see what it's like.
Once we get to Nassau, we'll probably be staying at the Nassau Harbor Club (the harbor is full of big ships, big currents and the bottom is pretty much scoured clean - you CAN anchor there, but we've been heavily warned), or maybe the Paradise Island Harbour Club. Kristen's parents MAY join us for a few days depending on the availability of decently clean and decently priced hotels. I was looking at hotel pricing and it jumps from like $80-$120 all the way to $300+ a night, with nothing in between. There are interesting reviews of some of the cheaper places (this one for example - click here). If Kristen's parents come down, we'll probably look at staying at the Paradise Island Harbour Club since it has decent reviews, a decent price, MIGHT have availability and has a marina for us, plus a free water taxi that will take you to downtown Nassau.
We're only going to stay in Nassau as long as Kristen's parents are around. I need to check into pricing at Atlantis (check Atlantis out) because we thought it might be nice for the kids for one day. The last I checked, it was $4-$5 per foot plus water plus a significant electric charge. My guess is we'll probably skip it - our checkbook is getting very light with all of the marinas we've been staying at.
After Nassau, we'll probably be heading for Normans Cay towards the northern end of the Exumas and then onwards south as far as we can before we have to head back.