C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Friday, June 14, 2013

North to Abaco - A 50MN Atlantic Ocean passage.

Yup, 2 days in Spanish Wells and we are headed back out for another offshore day long passage.  

Time for another round of Island geography…

 The google earth screen capture above displays the area in which we have spent the past couple weeks.  The darker blue waters are deep, very deep, thousands of feet deep.  Some of the land masses are labeled above, but I’ll run down the list.  Starting at noon and moving clockwise…

·          Noon - The Abacos.  Little Harbor is the area we came ashore after departing Spanish Wells. 
·         Three – Spanish Wells and our rolly anchorage off Egg Island
·         Four – the long skinny island of Eluthera with Y shaped land mass at the southern end.
·         Five – the northern tip of the Exuma Island Chain
·         Six – New Providence Island and the city of Nassau
·         Seven – Andros Island
·         Nine – The Berry Islands
·         Eleven – Freeport

The deep channel that runs northwestward from Nassau and squeezes between the Berry’s and Abaco before being hemmed in by Freeport  is the Northwest Providence Channel.  The deep water extending southeast below Nassau with Andros to the west is the Tongue of the Ocean.   Off the north and east coasts of Eluthera, Spanish Wells, and the Abacos  lies the North Atlantic Ocean.
 In general the Northwest Passage and the Atlantic Waters have a 1 to 2 knot northwest current that feeds into the Gulf Stream off the coast of Florida.

The prevailing winds are from the southeast.  In typical conditions it is difficult to sail from north to south (top to bottom in the image above) or from west to east (left to right in the image above).  Travel in the opposite directions (south to north or east to west) is aided by the prevailing currents and winds.

When we departed Spanish Wells the forecast was for 8 to 13 knot south winds diminishing to 5 to 10 knots and clocking to west in the afternoon.  Scattered showers and a chance of thunder storms.  Clearing Meeks Patch, a mere 1.5NM out of Spanish Wells the first squall appeared off our port bow.  The rains and wind engulfed C’est la Vie as we slipped between Egg  and Little Egg Islands.  Emerging from the first shower, we turned north and entered the Atlantic Ocean.  What I anticipated to be a nice sail on a broad reach turned into another day of motoring around rain squalls.  We set and struck the sails repeatedly in response to fickle winds dictated by the nearest cloud burst.

Anne resting atop the cabin watching rain squalls
Fortunately the seas were relatively calm. Aided by a 1.5 knot current we averaged over 5.5 knots for the entire day.  The only truly threatening storm met us as we drew close to Little Harbor Cut, our chosen entrance to the Abacos.  Lightening stuck the water less than a mile away on several occasions. Fortunately the dangerous winds and blinding rain remained over the land to our south. We transited the cut with no difficulty.  In the fading light we turned north and dropped our anchor off Lynyard Cay.  We are happy to be back in the Abacos!

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