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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Crossing the Northwest Providence Channel

Well, we’d been debating it all evening long last night, as the OPC (Ocean Prediction Center) forecasts for today were looking somewhat more favorable for a crossing down to Egg Island. When I awoke, Ron was working out and when he realized  I was up, he came scrambling down from the flybridge to say the seas were the calmest we’d seen all week. We checked the weather yet again, and yes, seas were more favorable today: 4-6’ east of the Bahamas, 2-3 seas west of the Bahamas. Thus, we decided we would go for it: prepare and batten everything down, and take a look out the channel. If things looked ugly, we wouldn’t have to go out, but simply return to re-anchor in another snug spot.

So...in between the raindrops of a passing squall, we made ready: we pulled up Eclipse on deck, stowed the bike trainer and folding bike, tied down the table, chairs and extra cooler on the aft deck, pulled in the sun shades, tied down the salon furniture, stowed every, any and all items that could move, did engine rooms checks and then double-checked our efforts. It took us a good two hours to batten everything down, but finally satisfied with everything, we hauled anchor. We actually timed our departure rather well, as we went through Little Harbor Channel on the waning end of the incoming tide so waves, winds and tides were in concert, and happily exited without concern. 
The easterly swell on the Northeast Providence Channel 
The first four hours we rode a beam sea with waves of 4-6’, with an easterly 2’ swell. Winds were east at 15-20 knots. Comfortable, really, and Equinox loped along, making good time at 8.5 knots. The skies cleared nicely too, so that it was sunny and bright. About halfway through, in the middle of the Northeast Providence Channel, the winds shifted slightly becoming more northerly, so that we were getting more of a quartering sea on the aft port side. This made for a loopier ride, but again, not bad at all! It's always reassuring when the boat is handling the conditions so easily, with things aboard all snug and ship-shape, stowed safely and securely. It was also nice to know it's only a 6-hour passage and not an all-night crossing; we arrived at the western end of Egg Island in by mid-afternoon and had the hook down on the western side of The Current, Eleuthera by 5:00 pm. 

Another perfect evening on anchor!
After a glorious sunset to the west, we are now preparing dinner and relaxing for the evening. I for one, am delighted that we are farther south and tucked in on anchor....nothing better than this!!

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