After days of watching the racing, enjoying the music, and sampling all the food and drink, especially the pina coladas, we had to think about the trip home. Where in the world had all the days gone, we wondered, as we sat in the cockpit enjoying one of the most beautiful sunsets of the entire trip. When we arrived in Georgetown, it seemed we had an endless number of days to enjoy this area and to possibly explore some of the out islands to the south, but as we looked at the calendar and considered our promise to be home for the birth of another grandson, we knew we had to plan out a long way to cover the return miles, allow for weather and other necessary stops along the way. If you remember, we had hustled on south planning to take our time on the sail back.
We looked across the harbor at some of our neighbors, took a deep breath, and thought more about the return trip. Laundry, provisioning, fuel needs, and other essential stores had all been sorted out while tied up at Exuma Docking Service. We would take our laundry a few blocks down the street in the morning, and by noon, it was all done and neatly folded for $10 a load. Had we done it ourselves it would have cost $6 a load, and we would have spent half a day waiting for the machines to do their magic. An extra $4 a load well spent in our minds. Obtaining fuel was a 5 minute trip to the fuel dock instead of an hour from the anchorage. The grocery was less than 5 minutes on foot, just across the street from the marina. So there are obvious benefits to spending a little time tied to the dock So what was left to do?
Well, we had to think about all the places we wanted to see, some for a second or third time, others as a new experience. Plotting the courses, figuring the sailing time, the exploring, the additional stops along the way for fresh foods, fuel, whatever, and more exploring. All these tasks take precious time. On days when we had been boat-bound either due to wind, rain (only one day of that) or whatever, I’d completed all the boat maintenance bit by bit. And yes, you really do have to work on the boat while on an extended cruise; that’s one of the definitions of cruising “getting to work on the boat in exotic places”, but really, our last minute tasks covered the essentials of preparing the boat for sea. We look her over carefully, inspecting every cotter pin, every piece of standing and running rigging, every fitting and attachment, all the sails, the navigation equipment, and on and on. We have comprehensive check-off lists that we follow each and every time we get her ready for a big trip. Too many cruisers we know have a very laissez faire attitude about these things, but our safety depends on my thoroughness, and I always take safety very seriously.
The Angel was ready, and with a forecast for beautiful following seas and 15 to 20 knots wind we weighed anchor at 0900 on April 25th, kind of a late start for us, but we planned a short day trip back to Cave Cay Cut and figured we would be on the Exuma banks no later than 1500. And so we were, safely anchored at 15:15, slightly more than 6 hours after hoisting the Rocna, our new friend, into the chocks. Southwesterly winds of 15 to 20 meant that we could not anchor up under Cave Cay as that would leave us a lee shore of hard coral rock to worry about overnight. Instead we felt as if we were out in the open water, but in reality, we anchored close in to tiny Lansing Cay which has a gradually shoaling beach that gave us at least some protection from the rolling surge common to many Caribbean anchorages. In the distance to our east we could see beautiful Musha Cay Resort where we thought of anchoring, but it was completely exposed to the southwest, and the boats lying there were visibly rolling with the surge. We rolled, but barely.