Our time in the Bahamas has been spent in the three major island groups, Exumas, Eleuthera and Abaco.  The least amount of time we spent in any group was the Abacos and that was due to weather and timing the crossing back into the states.  We sailed into the southern end of Abaco and worked our way through quiet anchorages and then into Marsh Harbor which is the third largest city in the Bahamas.

The weather had turned  rainy, windy, and cloudy so each anchorage was not as easy to explore and enjoy.  Several days we were "stuck" on the boat waiting for weather to clear so we could get into shore with out a major soaking by the rain storms.  This year was the first since the early 1900's that two major tropical depressions were named before June, and those affected the weather quiet a bit.

When we arrived in Marsh Harbor the talk of the cruisers was you will not believe how incredible the grocery store "Maxwell" is.  Most of the stores we have been in are OK but the stock is limited and sometimes the weekly mail boats do not bring everything to restock the shelves so you just deal with it.  So when we got to Maxwells we were surprised to find it rivaling some of the U.S. stores for variety and volume.  This was a very pleasant find and our supplies grew as we got some items we had just gone without for the last 5 months.

Typically people will leave out of the Abacos and head back to the states, either by a day trip into Florida or much longer passages to head further north.  One boat we knew went to Bermuda and then up to Rhode Island, each leg of the trip is 5 to 7 days.  We decided to take the 3 day/3night trip to Charleston S.C. and another catamaran "Good Trade" also left at the same time.  During a several day trip it is nice to be able to talk to another boat and see how their seas and winds are doing -  you know - misery loves company. 

The trip started out with very light winds and 2 foot seas.  The wind picked up and so did the seas but both were out of the SW so it was behind us/on our beam, not a bad direction.  As the trip continued the winds clocked to the West and then back to the South so we were able to use all of our sails aboard.  In the end we made better time than we had planned, the majority of the trip we averaged 7.1 knots, had been planning on 5.5 knots, so the boat did great.  The crew also did ok, the first few days it took some getting use to the 3 hours on and 3 hours off but by the end your sleep and eating pattern had adapted.

We had planned on arriving in Charleston during the day light but with the faster times we made port at midnight.  Coming in during the night is never a good idea, but "Good Trade" had saved a track on thier chartplotter to an anchorage just inside the entrance to the harbor, so we felt safe following them.  We only had a couple major container ships coming out and one barge/tow boat to worry about.  When we dropped anchor at 2 am and finally fell asleep it was a very restful sleep.

We spent three nights at a dock in Charleston, and thoroughly scrubbed the boat with unlimited free water.  Kris did 9 loads of laundry and washed every bit of fabric she could find.

We will hang here for a few weeks.  Our friends Bob and Anne on "Baloo" should arrive, and we will head north again.


 

 

 

Update: 06/06/12 Abaco recap and onto the US

the baths on Eleuthera Island

Glass Window, Eleuthera Island , ocean on left, Bahamas on right

not great weather for seeing the sites

banana plants/trees/bushes?

Marsh Harbor on a nice evening

taking down the Bahamas cruising flag

we did see 10 knots, (very fast :)
 
the seas do not look too bad
 
Charleston harbor, much nicer seas
 
crew of
"Good Trade" - Ross, Ashlyne and Kyler on 44' PDQ catamaran