Cruising Through Bahamas Winter Cold Fronts

As we sit snugly in Black Sound (Green Turtle Cay-Abacos) on one of Donnie’s Marina mooring balls, one of the most significant “aha moment” realizations we’ve had is that the timing of winter cold fronts through the Bahamas becomes your cruising clock! What day it is won’t be as important as when the next weather system will arrive and change your rhythm. Time & tides wait for no man…eh?  The photo (right) is our mooring field looking from SV Take Me There.

Cold fronts (during winter in the Bahamas) dictate all that we do. Instead of moving (sailing) when you want, you sail between fronts. Instead of anchoring where you want, you select your locations based on wind direction and speed so that you are most comfortable on the hook, behind shelter of a wind break (island structure), when the winds pipe up on the barometric high after the front slides through with its associated squally weather. Looking ahead at the week’s forcast, we sure are glad to be in an all-around protected anchorage since expected winds late this week are in the 40 mph range for a day or two.

Sea temperatures aren’t exactly balmy (at least this year). We’ve seen an average of around 69-72 degrees on the banks and in the Abacos. We do get in the water, but with a wetsuit on, so we really haven’t begun the daily snorkeling excursions due to winds and sea temperature but we are expecting some sunny weather soon and are looking forward to seeing what’s underneath us.

With the sun hiding from us (recently) a better part of cloudy days dominated the early week so we did not see the true beauty of this island chain water below our keel until the sun broke on Tuesday. The waters around Green Turtle Cay are spectacular when the sun is high. The sunrises and sunsets are breath-taking and, since it is “off season,”we aren’t competing with weekend vacationers for access to unspoiled spaces or views.

When the cold fronts come through, that’s the time for shore excursions. David and Brandon rented a golf cart to explore the island first. The video is up on our YouTube channel.  We have visited New Plymouth Settlement on Green Turtle Cay. Other than the yacht clubs and marinas, this small village is about all there is in the way of culture on the island. We (Steve & Kimberly) are not “party people.” We prefer rural “social” opportunities and had just that in one visit ashore. Kimberly and I went to church. We were on our way to a scheduled service at the Anglican Church in town and passed by a Methodist chapel on the way. There was music coming from within so we poked our head inside and were invited to stay by the practicing choir. We stayed for services 2 hours later and had a wonderful experience; Got a good recommendation for a lunch spot and thoroughly enjoyed McIntosh Bakery and Resturant.

Cold fronts and unsettled weather aside, there is still plenty to occupy us in between boat chores and maintenance tasks. We tested all of our hooka gear to get ready for exploring the reefs and are planning some “in water” hull cleaning this week as we expect fair and dry conditions between fronts and troughs. Kimberly & David went ashore (by ferry) to Treasure Cay to hunt down a good SIM card for our Internet needs and we now have a SIM card! Brandon flew out on a volunteer mission on charter flight to escort a part (from our buddy boat-Pawsitive Latitude) to get it rebuilt in Ft Lauderdale, FL. He will return soon with some “oops…we need these too” parts like fuel filters and yeast packets that we can’t get here in Green Turtle. By his return, weather is expected to be pretty bad so – as that clock that Mother Nature provides cycles around to from stormy to fair winds and following seas…we will bide our time with a big smile knowing “this is the Bahamas, Mon”… everything’s gonna be alright!

I (Steve) went over to SV Pawsitive Latitude To help Brian & Joyce take down their mainsail for transport to the sail loft on Man O War Cay To Repair the torn clew. They still await their high pressure pump for their crippled engine but we ow know the pump is unrepairable and needs to be replaced. Since it is a Volvo, the part must come from England-uuugh…sorry guys, more waiting. We visited last night with Thomas and Charlotte of SV Cabbie. They brought over their daily catch of hogfish which went onto the grill and was amazing! Gus got in the water for the first time today and although he didn’t swim…he was close. We will continue to introduce him to deeper water – looks like he may like it!

kimberly and I golf-carted over to the Atlantic side of GTC to enjoy a walk on the beach together and then met our sailing buddies from Pawsitive Latitude for lunch at the Beach Bluf Bar on the North end of the island.

The SIM card is up and working! Two videos were uploaded last night and all is right with the world. Winds are predicted to reach near gale force over the next few days where we are anchored so preparations for the blow are underway. There is a steady stream of boats looking for shelter coming into Black Sound.  We are safely tucked away there with protection from all sides.

Stay Tuned!