Hiding out in Emerald Bay…

January 25, 2019

8’ breaking swells, followed by 4-6’ rolling swells times 5 hours will take its toll on your yacht. Beside the fact that my sea shells tried to hop back into the sea underway, my knife block wanted to wash itself in the galley sink, and my fake candles wanted a nap on the salon couch, there was no interior damage that a wet rag wouldn’t solve.

The engines however were a different story. All that rockin and rollin and whatnot churned up some crud in the drive generator, and once again, she stalled out. The only upside was we knew that was the problem and did not overly worry. However, unlike previous stalls, where Erik could somewhat safely tear apart the lazarette and replace the spent fuel filter, these seas were no joke and we would not risk a ‘man overboard’ situation.

So once again, with no drive generator, we put the house generator on low power and with a close reach, putted along toward the Marina at Emerald Bay to hide out from the impending front.

What should have been a 3 hour sail, took us 5 hours, and made me a little nervous. We time our arrivals and departures based on tides. High tide was 1:00p that day, and we were not set to arrive until after 2p. For those novices out there, slack tide is right after high or low tide, where you won’t get a lot of opposing current. However, for each hour after high or low, the velocity of the current shifts until approximately 3 hours after high or low when the incoming (high) or outgoing (low) reaches its full power. So an hour or so after high tide is reached isn’t too terrible, but at Emerald Bay, with its notorious cut, and on the heels of the morning’s dangerous sail across Farmer’s Cut, we were on edge.

Just before arriving at the inlet, we faced into the wind and took the main sail down, and then furled in the jib. Another vessel was in front of us making the cut and we listened to the directions the harbor master had provided. Watching the other vessel’s mast, we began to worry less as there wasn’t too much movement rocking the vessel between the rock formations at the mouth.

We hailed the harbor master and requested a port side tie and they provided our slip and dock information. Previously, I had downloaded the harbor map and was very glad I had, it made navigating around gas docks and narrow resident berths that much easier for Erik. The wind was about 12 knots inside the harbor, and Erik was nervous about the sharp turns to get into the E dock, aka the transient dock, the dock with no power, but the dock that was only $1/foot, so yes, that’s the dock we chose – way at the end, near the man-made concrete wall.

Docking was easy from my vantage point on deck. I had all 6 fenders out (yep, that’s right!) and tossed the bow line to the hand, then the stern, and finally, the spring. The hands know what they are doing, and besides, Erik will re-adjust and double tie off prior to the storm’s arrival.

The Marina at Emerald Bay is known for a few things.

  1. They are affiliated with Sandals Resorts
  2. They offer free laundry and unlimited hot water showers to marina guests
  3. Located on the sound side, they get a mighty surge in their harbor, so you’ll feel right at home on anchor tied to the dock

I was beyond happy to be safe and secure tethered to concrete, and beyond thrilled about the laundry situation. I made a plan right then to hit the laundry at 7a the next morning, sure that I would be the first to arrive and could wash all our sheets, towels, rugs, and clothes. Boy was I wrong. When I arrived, with only two sips of coffee in me, all machines were in use. What the bloody hell? I left my cart and laundry behind and went back to the boat, to finish my coffee and spy on the laundry room to see when others would come get their stuff.

After about 7 trips back and forth, and assured I’d gotten my 10,000 Steps in for the day, it was time for Sundowners with our neighbors on Barefeet. We chatted and drank, and laughed. It was a good day but the storm surge was beginning to arrive.

Notice how the winds will ‘clock’ and reach gale-force gusts? No thanks.

The next week would be much of the same for us: wake, drink coffee, heat water, take the bikes to explore, sundowners with other cruisers. And then I remembered this marina is affiliated with Sandals. I wondered how much a day pass would be, and then I also remembered I was on vacation! Can we say Spa Day at Sandals please?

I called and arranged for a spa day and our marina drove us onto the resort and we were pampered with citrus water, massage, bubble bath, and champagne. After our relaxing spa visit, we walked around the resort and stopped in at one of their restaurants for Steak Frites and Apple Crumble. It was really good – best part, it was INCLUDED! A couple hours later, we were driven back to the marina very relaxed and very spoiled! Besides, what a gorgeous sunset, right?

For the most part, there isn’t much to do or see on this part of the Island. I hadn’t been aware at the time that we were within walking distance of the infamous Fyre Festival, and it was a curious thing indeed now to look back at the number of times we walked by the defunct site and thought to ourselves “wonder what that was.” If you haven’t watched the documentary, I suggest you do – the event producers were INSANE. One word: psychopath. I feel badly for locals and ticket holders alike.

A week is about as long as I can sit still these days and each morning we’d check the weather and cross our fingers that we’d get out before day 7. Unfortunately, Mother Nature likes to take her time with these frontal systems and it wouldn’t be until day 8 that we would have our window to get out of the marina and south to Georgetown.

On Thursday morning, after a yummy brunch on board, we hiked to the sound and watched the surf pound the entrance. These were easily 12’ breaking waves with sustained 22 knot winds, and it astonished us when we heard boats announcing their plans to leave with slack tide that day. Fair winds guys, rolling my eyes.

Coconut bread french toast, bacon, and Dirty Mary – for the win!
I don’t think so…

By the next morning, the sea state had calmed, the winds had died, and the sun was shining. It was time to untie and head south. This was also the last working day of my vacation, and I was committed to having a great day. As we arrived into Elizabeth Harbor, I began recognizing many boats that we’d become friends with on Instagram, and was really looking forward to a 1-2 week stop here.

But that 1-2 weeks would turn out to be 7 (seven) weeks.

Next: More bad weather, dragging our anchor during a severe squall, breaking our boat, a trip back to Cali, and losing our minds

XOXO, Lisa

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  1. Robin Gardelle

    March 5, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    That’s so funny we just watched the Fyre Island documentary over the weekend and I got to see a lot of the cays that you have been to. So beautiful. That documentary made us anxious just thinking about the logistics and how were they going to feed all those people? Crazy!

    1. SailingMusicAndLyrics

      March 7, 2019 at 3:09 am

      Hi Robin! This country didn’t deserve how fucked up this festival was. The country, culture, and people are so sovereign and yet, so exploited. The waters are so pure yet over fished and I’m continually worried about their sustainability in the years to come. Honestly, as I embed myself in the culture of my host nation, I feel more concerned about them.

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