Windward to Little Harbour
The wind would have been perfect for sailing – if heading in the opposite direction. The entire journey to Little Harbour was almost dead into wind. Fortunately, though, it was mercifully light. So, it wasn’t the bow thumping, crew-soaking, experience that makes windward trips like this miserable. Actually, it was quite pleasant. The route to Little Harbour passes numerous beaches and shallow areas, bathing the sea in luminescent blues and greens of all shades. It was like travelling inside the painting of a seascape. I was so captivated by it that I forgot to take any photographs.
Our intention was to anchor outside Little Harbour so that we had options of when to leave for Eleuthera. The harbour is tidally constrained and its only possible to enter or leave close to high water. So we anchored near to the entrance at a spot recommended by the Active Captain community (the TripAdvisor for boaters). But after doing our usual thing of reversing the boat enough to simulate gale conditions, we heard a rumbling from the anchor indicating that it was dragging. A few minutes later, we tried again but still dragged.
Ain’t That Swell
I think it was Einstein who said that the definition of madness is trying the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. So, given that we are bonkers enough, we lifted the anchor and headed further away from the entrance to find a better spot.
This time we spotted a patch of clearly identifiable sand, and when we dropped the anchor this time we stayed put, and our sanity remained intact. But there was a problem. A bit of swell comes into the bay here from the east and sets up an uncomfortable rolling motion. It isn’t too bad, but it was enough for Maria to feel a little queasy. So, after a quick dinghy expedition into Little Harbour to see if any moorings were free, we lifted the anchor for the second time and headed into Little Harbour, just before high water, and picked up one of the two remaining balls.
The moorings here are owned by Pete, of Pete’s pub, foundry, and shop. Unfortunately, Pete’s pub only opens between Thursday and Sunday, so it wasn’t clear how to pay for the mooring. But, seeing some activity near one of the landing stages, we launched the dinghy and headed over to the crowd. The crowd turned out to be some folks on holiday from the US whose pinky red faces suggested they had been on the water for the day. Which indeed they had.
With their help, we located Pete who was in the kitchen wrestling with a lobster. I wanted to pay for the mooring and Maria wanted to know if there was somewhere to leave our rubbish. “Is that black trash or white trash?”, Pete said. “Eh”?. And this went back and forth for a while until the penny dropped. I don’t think I am known for my blindness to humour, but I wasn’t seeing it. But we did get clues as to where the dumpster would be. So, after paying $30 for the $25 mooring (no change was forthcoming) we headed over to the closed pub where we eventually found a place to put the rubbish.
The sculptures showcased outside the foundry and shop (also closed) are impressive. I understand that some of the pieces created here are on display at the Vatican. Clearly, Pete and his team have some impressive skills and we felt slightly disappointed that we couldn’t see more of their work. So, the tips are: don’t arrive on Monday and make sure that you have change for the moorings.
When we woke up the next day, all the other boats on the moorings had gone. I took another look at the weather just in case I had missed something. I hadn’t, so we settled down to doing not much at all apart from reading. Later that day, Teri and Jim arrived on Indian Summer. And because all the other boats had flooded out of the harbour, they were able to anchor and avoid the mooring charge.
That evening a research vessel came into the harbour and left this on one of the moorings. Spooky looking thing:
With high tide at around 0630 the next morning, we grabbed an earlier-than-usual-night and woke the next day just before 0600 to make sure we could get out of the harbour. And after a couple of cups of strong coffee, our brains sparked into some form of life just before the sun rose over the horizon. The wind forecast was for mild northerlies. So, with little wind in the harbour, we set the mainsail before letting go of our mooring and set off towards Spanish Wells. The wind wasn’t quite strong enough to sail, but it did give us a welcome boost. With the engine running, we motor-sailed along at 7 knots towards the north-west coast of Eleuthera.