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Friday, February 13, 2015

Back in Thompson Bay

For the most part, our stay at Dollar Harbor was a dream. The blinding brightness of the white sand and turquoise water was surreal. We explored almost every river in and out of there and walked the beaches on the south side. The sand flats that surround the harbor are not for walking. The sand is soft and we would sink into it, wondering if we could get our foot back out. We discovered a couple of aspects of the anchorage when we had a pre-frontal trough and two fronts linked to the same low come through in a 36 hour period. One item is the strong sustained southwest winds, 30 knots, pushed a lot of water onto the banks which reduced the effectiveness of the protection from seas by the shoals around us. The other aspect is that the sand we anchored in, while normally good holding, was light sifted sand that allowed our anchor to creep in prolonged gusts of 35 knots or more. It was only a creep of an inch or so at a time, which more than 10 hours of such winds amounted to several feet. We re-anchored closer to the windward shoal and slept fine the remainder of the blow. As to the current, we found Hold Fast would turn partially toward the wind, like she was hove-to, and create a slick that calmed down the seas and let the dinghy ride quietly on the side. She only did her current dance when the wind was directly opposite the current.

On Wednesday and Thursday, once the winds were 15 knots or less, we rode around in the dinghy seeking a deeper route out of the harbor, rather than so close to the rocks on the west point of Dollar Cay. We used the boat hook to test depths and were pretty confident in a route that we tried out on Thursday. High tide did not come until around 2 pm Thursday, but we figured we had enough water around 1 pm, when the chart showed 1.8 feet over datum at Clarence Town. Our new route was deeper by four feet or more, until we got to the sand bar well outside the harbor. There was no changing that part of the route. By the time we got out to that bar, the tide was a little more than 1.8 feet over datum, and we saw the same shallow depths as when we came in.

Our focus on Thursday, besides a successful exit of the harbor, was to fish the drop offs nearby. After a few hours of fishing, in over 400 feet of water, we had a double hook-up. It turned out to be two substantially sized barracudas, cockroach of the sea. We were both getting discouraged. But we kept at it. Then Myron found a scum line and followed it toward another drop off. We had a big hook up that took a lot of line down deep and bent the rod into a scary arc. We wondered if the rod was going to break. We took turns working the reel and the helm. At one point I thought I saw a shark approaching our catch, but it was submerged trash in the scum line. When we got the fish alongside, the excitement peaked as we realized it was a yellow fin tuna. What a fighter. Tuna is so stout. This one was 38 inches long with a girth of 23 inches. We caught a larger tuna in the Sea of Cortez, but this was so far the largest we have landed in the Atlantic waters. After that fight, I wonder about catching anything larger. We will need to do repairs to our blue and white tuna plug.

We knew we would have a sail back to Thompson Bay during the night, but that was the price we were willing to pay for a fishing opportunity down south. And the trip was made all the more sweet knowing we had more than 20 pounds of yellow fin tuna in the refrigerator!

We hope to catch tonight's Bahamas Tourism festivities at Salt Pond. They told us we needed to come back from Dollar Harbor for the party. The word got out and there must be more than 20 boats in the harbor. I need to get going so we can RSVP and sign up for an appetizer. A walk would feel good as well.

Love to all,

{GMST}23°21.39'N|075°08.04'W|2/13/2015|11:07 AM{GEND}

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