Bahamas & Bermuda

We arrived in Georgetown the 22 of April during the regatta week, that gave us the opportunity to have very god view of the classic boats from our anchorage

Race day Georgetwon 4

Race day Georgetwon 5

We manage to get some nice pictures.

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As Bahamas is so beautiful, I’ve chosen not to write to much but let the most pictures speak by them self.

Staniel Cay

The “original” pig beach I believe

Staniel Cay Pig 3

Rather large beasts swimming around

Staniel Cay Pig 1

Kerstin, on its way to get to close

Staniel Cay Pig 2

Better size to get close to.

Staniel Cay fish

Not only pigs in the waterStaniel Cay Clear water

Which is Chrystal clear

Staniel Cay Anchorage

And beautifully turquoise

Wardericks Wells

Warderic Wells 4

Warderic Wells 3

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Warderic Wells 7

Kerpa in the background rather far out due to shallow water, a good dingy is a plus in Bahamas for exploring and to reach land as one often anchor fare from the shore.

Shroud Cay

Shrouds Cay 3

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Exploring Shroud Cay

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We try to exercise regularly, but we are no health Taliban’s

Shrouds Cay Exercises 3

As we enjoyed a protein drink with chocolate taste after this exercise with a bit of Rhum in, think it is called Lumumba

 

Kerpa need a good bottom cleaning

 

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It is worse than it looks on the pictures, and does not get off easily, Copper coat ????

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I used my new hookah dive gear, powered by a 12 v 1 hp motor. As I’m not 100% confident to work under the surface it takes long time and it is hard job to scrape the bottom, I only manage to clean away maybe 30% plus the propeller, before I got to tiered and stopped, need more practice.

Shrouds Cay Anchor

Anchor is well dug in, but we have noticed that it breaks lose to easy when wind shift 180 degree, it has happened to many times this season. We have dragged several times when wind has shifted 180 degrees and it takes too long time before it grips again. I have googled it and it is several others who have had the same problem, so we will buy a new anchor. After some research on the web it will most likely be a Spade. Tests show that they do grip very well and regain grip very quickly after a wind shift.

Towards Spanish Wells

Next port after Shroud Cay was Spanish Wells, but to get there we had to pass a large shallow stretch of  waters with a LOT of coral heads and a sand bar with charted depth less than two meters

Chart with coral Heads

On our way among the coral heads.

Outlook for coral heads

Kerstin at the bow keeping lock out for coral heads, the depth was between 3,5 to 4 meters most of the time with the black coral head sticking up, most time only a foot or so above the bottom, but some definitely was to shallow to pass. One must have the sun rather high to see the coral heads and be able to estimate the depth ahead of the boat, unfortunately that time coincide with falling tide so hit a coral head or later on hit the sand bar would not be good at all.

Coral Head

Passing a coral head, you can see on the pictures, a few small ones closer to Kerpa, you can also see the bottom everywhere, less than 4 meters depth as long as one can see

Sand bar

Here we have passed most of the coral heads and have only the sand bar to negotiate. Slow progress over the bar and we saw no less than 2,7 meters so as soon we have crossed, we both felt a big relief. Unfortunately, I can’t post any videos on the blog but video clip visualizes the coral heads and the shallow water much more dramatically than still pictures. Anyhow we celebrated the passage with a glass of cold wine and some snacks.

Spanish Wells

We had some rain and wind when taking the ca 2 Nm dingy ride from Meeks Island where we anchored to Spanish Wells as compensation we were greeted by some dolphins.

Spanish Wells 1

Spanish Wells 2Spanish Wells 3

During our three day stay we did some provisioning and had some sun-downer with another Amel SM owner Ian and Margarete on Luca Lolo II, always nice to meet other Amel owner to get ideas on how to improve an “almost” perfect boat.

 

Bermuda

The 800 Nm trip to Bermuda offered mixed weather, heavy rain, thunderstorms, and some squalls, we manage to avoid most of the thunderstorms and the squalls were not too bad nothing over 35 kn. Else the wind was less than forecasted so our Volvo Penta had to work more than expected.

No luck with fishing either as to much Saragossa weed

sea weed

No fish for dinner, only vegetable soap! Supposed to be healthy.

Despite the rain and thunderstorms we had some very nice sunsets

Sun Set

And sunrise

Sunrise 2

Despite the relatively easy passage we had a lot of break downs

The most major one was the top swivel for our head sail

Broken top swivel

but also the out-haul mechanism broke down

Out haul

A broken bolt easy to fix, but what was the reason for the bolt to break? I have a spare gear box, but I could not get the shaft out it was stuck. It is a more major task to get it out so finally I just replaced the bolt. Rather easy to set up a system with block and rope to manage the out-haul from the cockpit if it breaks again before we get back “home”

When we took down the head sail, we discovered that it was almost ripped off ca 4 feet from the top.

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Finally, the line feeder on the main sail self-tailing winch became bent, handling problem in the dark. Several things that broke, bad luck? Yes and No, we are very happy it happend on the way to Bermuda and not a few 100 nm out on our way to The Azores, that could have caused some real problems.

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It is a joy to approach Bermuda one is obliged to call a few hours before arriving and one should pre-announce arrival on internet before departing Sounds a bit frightening first, will it be very strict and cumbersome clearing in procedures?

Not at all, we called up and on an extremely polite and clearly spoken English, we were greeted welcome to Bermuda, asked if we had detailed charts, did we know were to clear in or did we need any assistance to find the customs jetty? Everything went very smooth. It is a joy to listen to Bermuda radio calling up or being called by other yachts. At more than one occasion they called up yachts and said you are to close to the reef adjust your course.

We were not the only one with break downs, we saw many yachts being towed in with sails in rags and not working engines. Bermuda radio arranged with towing boats coming out to help, calling other sailing vessels if they could consider helping to tow in a boat. An excellent example for others to learn from.

St George

The first thing we did in St George was to find out if one could get a new Swivel from Amel in France, and luckily, they had it in stock. We arranged with Bermuda Yacht Service a marina just at the dingy dock to take delivery of our package from France and again a very correct and polite treatment.

The delivery time was just over a week, so I had time to get our sail repaired, and prepare for the replacement of the swivel. But first I had to get up to the top of the mast to determine if there were any damage on the foil, and I who DO NOT LIKE HEIGHTS!!!!!.

Just to “bite the bullet” I have been up a few times to fix things but newer to the top, and I always feel nervous and shivering a bit. But very strange this time I did not felt very uncomfortable at all being hosted to the top of the mast, strange but maybe because I had no option?

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Kerpa from the top of the mast

Top of Kerpa 3

Nice view

No major damage on the foil, just some filing and sanding to smooth the surface.

Swivel repair 2

The old swivel

Swivel repair 1

Dismantle the foil from the Furling engine is no major job.

Swivel repair 7

Get furling mechanism off is a bit more tricky, one does not want the foil to fall down as it is lose on the wire, one does not want the wire to disappear in to the foil, which it did, but we manage to get it back out. Was a bit nervous for a while that I have taken on a task beyond my capability. The really difficult thing was to get the wire back through the furling mechanism and attach the furler to the foil, but a lot of strings that held everything in place made it possible and soon it was back in place again.

Swivel repair 3

A block and a piece of Dyneme string attached to a halyard helped.

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A lot of knots, slings and halyards to put things in place, I’m glad I installed a new halyard for the yet non-existing gennaker.

Swivel repair 6

The new swivel in place, without Kerstin’s capable helping hand it would not have worked.

Swivel repair finnished

Finally, everything in place and Kerpa back in business again, what a relive.

It was not only maintenance work going on, the wind shifted a lot and our Rocna broke lose so we had to re-anchor a few times, even after dark in rain and strong wind, finally the wind became steady and we could relax a bit.

OCC Raft

We have via FB contact with several OCC (Ocean Cruising Club) members who also planed to crossing The Atlantic to The Azores. We meet several of them in St George, hear we rafting up with some OCC members having some nibble and sun-downer together.

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Steve and Suzanne Hollis which are port officers for OCC in St George invited the OCC fleet to their home for a cocktail, very nice. They also run the sail loft, they repaired our head sail very swiftly at a reasonable cost 95 USD/h for the work. If you are in Bermuda with a torn sail, you have no option, I guess they can take any price.

Which they do in Bermuda, groceries are the most expensive we seen so far and to have a beer or a drink at a bar do cost, that is for sure. If you get to Bermuda, make sure you stock up well before.

Else St George is a well-kept up-market area, probably the most prosperous place we been to in the Caribbean, maybe with exception from St Barth.

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Town-Square

St George street

Nice old houses

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Several fortresses of various age, this maybe from the turn of the last century

St George small harbor

A harbor with a great challenge to enter even for the experienced local mariner, look at the entrance not very wide and very many shallow reefs outside!

St George water

A nice and secure place for a swim

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Good but crowded dingy dock, with garbage deposit as well as deposit for old oil, paint etc. Well arranged for us cruisers.

On the VHF a sport fishing boat announced it’s arrival talking to the Bermuda radio. If one google Sport fishing boat in Swedish, this is what comes up first.

sportfiskebåt

Rather more modest than the one showing up in St George I said to Kerstin when I heard it on the VHF, that I guess it is a 18 meter long fishing boat with a high tower, but I was wrong it was a 26 meters long fishing boat with high tower!

Sport fishingt boat

Crew of Utopia

Petrus, Johannes and Anna from Utopia, youngster from Sweden which had caught a Mahi Mahi which Kerstin made a soup on that we enjoyed together on Kerpa. Now they are halfway to the Azores we hope.

Rough weather

It has been rough weather out there, we saw many boats coming in with damage sails,

Boat with problem

This boat was 500 Nm out from Bermuda when the spinnaker wrapped it self around the head sail, preventing them from unfurl the head sail, they choose to return the 500 Nm to Bermuda!

And several boats have had very tough going. The Swedish boat Andante an Allegro 33 that we meet in Puerto Rico rolled 360 and had to be abandon. The person aboard was picked up by an oil tanker heading for Huston, and at least two other boats has been abandoned. Hopefully we find a better weather window than they did.

 

Hamilton

Hamilton is a larger city-like place, about 14 nM south of St George, less charming, but better for provisioning and to purchase tax free diesel.

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Hamilton is well kept with many impressive buildings. We are now in Hamilton, our crew is coming tomorrow, and according to Chris Parker our “weather routing man” there is a weather window Tuesday and Wednesday, probably we will leave for The Azores on Wednesday.

 

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