Swing Set

Apr 18, 201308:43 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Fox Town Little Abacos

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Before hauling anchor, we plopped two hunks of pork roast into our small crock pot that we brought from our condo, but had never used. I had the bright idea that running the crock pot during a long transit would provide us with a quick hot meal upon arriving at an anchorage and would minimize the use of our generator to make dinner. I added a packet of pork gravy and requisite cup of water, along with some pepper, set it on low and let 'er rip.

Once we got under way, I set the throttles at 800 rpm and let Rosie take the helm. While she kept a sharp eye to the east, I set out two fishing rods in order to troll for dinner on our way to Great Sale Cay. On one rod, the cheap one from Wal-Mart, I had a fake shrimp and also left one of the two bobbers attached to the line. Don't ask why, as I don't know why. I'd never used our new rod and reel that we got from Gary and Judy's neighbor back in November in Cape Coral. I set it up and attached the nicest lure I have to it, one I got from Denny Heisler at our going away party almost a year ago.

We arrived at Great Sale Cay after a very pleasant cruise. However, nothing struck our lines, at least as far as I knew. The bobber and lure was missing from the Wal-Mart rod, but our Ugly Stick, Penn reel and high-dollar lure were still intact. Good thing I know how to find locals selling fresh fish and lobster...I mean "summer crabs."

No one else was at anchor when we pulled into the northwestern harbor at Great Sale. We bypassed the advertised anchorage and snuck into much shallower water, where we had more protection from any southeastern winds that were predicted to come later in the week, if we decided to stay a few days. We were in grass, but I dove down on the anchor, and it was deep. I've discovered that anchoring in grass will work if you get the anchor set deep in it. We were in a similar bottom during the 35-mph blow in Key West and didn't move an inch. I also considered the direction we would drag to if we did drag, and it was to open water. No big deal. I also gave a quick look to our running gear and thought I saw some small barnacles on the exhaust housings, so a dive in the morning seemed necessary.

While we ate like royalty upon our slow-cooked pork and candied yams, over a dozen other vessels made their way into the harbor. All of them packed together around the one Active Captain advertised spot. Either it was the herd mentality at work, or we were in water too shallow for the other boats. Could've been both dynamics at work. We cranked up some Neil Young and took the picture above. Later, we popped in a DVD and watched a movie.

The next morning, we were up early after a cool, pleasant night. After a quick breakfast, I grabbed my mask and took another look at our running gear. Although some paint had come off of the exhaust housings and shafts, the trim tabs and trim tab bodies all retained their newly applied paint, and the hull didn't have a spot on it where the paint had come off or where any sea life had taken up residence. What I thought was barnacles, well, wasn't. This made me happy.

We'd hoped for an Internet connection at Great Sale, and we did get an occasional signal, enough to download email and get a quick report on Windfinder, but the anchorage wasn't as nice as we'd envisioned, so we picked a spot to the east and headed to it. I wasn't too comfortable with just a forecast from the radio station in Nassau for our travel planning. Fox Town, with its 200-foot BaTelCo tower on the Island of Little Abacos, was our intended target, just about 27 miles due east.

I left the rods in their holders for this transit but didn't deploy any line. As we left Great Sale, I'd planned to take a shortcut route south of the island, which was shown on our Garmin Bluechart Mobil chart, but it was not showing on the dash-mounted Garmin 640 chart. The app on the iPad had us traversing solid ground when we came through the Lucayan Waterway, and the 640 was right on, so I tended to agree with the dash-mounted plotter and took a course further south before heading east again. This made the route longer, but not as long as if we had gone aground.

As we neared Little Abacos, I realized that the Garmin 640 charts were not as up to date as the app on the iPad. The Garmin Bluechart app was showing details that the other one didn't have. They both agreed in terms of GPS location with our in dash Raymarine unit. For the approach to Fox Town, I decided to rely on the Bluechart app, having surveyed the route on the Explorer Chart earlier that morning. Details on the Bluechart app were visible in person.

If you're on a computer and can blow this photo up, you can see the rocks that line the harbor entrance, along with the wrecks. We were extremely nervous coming in, but we kept a close eye on the depthfinder, a tool that's always the determining factor in any situation. The water is so clear that it was hard to tell by looking at it just how deep it was, but we held at nearly eight feet all the way in. Fox Town came into view on our right as I again bypassed the Active Captain anchorage and made our way over a largely sand bottom and snuggled closer in to Hawksbill Cay, just across from town.

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