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Sailing Vessel Beruta Ship's Log

Provo (TCI) - Mayaguana (Bahamas)

19 April 2012

The day before in the afternoon I went to the customs ashore for outbound clearance. The lady officer there asked me ironically "How much did I pay when I had cleared in?" From this moment I understood that I had to pay 50 dollars again! Damn it! It's so freaking expensive sailing Turks and Caicos. No wonder I see only one or two boats on anchorages here. Sailors do avoid these islands for financial reason. I have already mentioned in the last log that if you stay in TCI longer than 7 days, then you need to buy a $300 cruising license in addition to $100 clearance fees.

Oh, well, I just smiled and paid. The grocery bill from my favorite IGA supermarket that I found using Google Earth on the main highway approximately 10 km away from the anchorage in Sapodilla Bay, was also doubled compared for example, to Curacao bills, which are also not cheap.

I decided to sail to Provo overnight because of good 15 kts north-easterly wind. I left Sapodilla Bay 20 minutes to 5. When the sun was touching the horizon, I passed the bank and entered deep water. I only needed 4 kts to get to Abraham's Bay at sunrise. It has a barrier reef and very narrow tricky passage to the inside on the east side and wider more straight forward one on the west, which is about 4 miles from the town. So I wanted to use the eastern entrance but under only genoa with 15-18 kts wind I was making 5-6 kts. Too fast!

20 April 2012

Luckilly, at about 3 o'clock in the morning the wind subsided and the speed dropped to 3 kts. I arrived at the reef by 5:30. It was still dark. I took away genoa and was slowly drifting towards the entrance. When I could see through the water, I kept moving under bare poles making 1.5 kt and still was able to maintain the maneuverability of the boat. It had never been less than 1 meter under my keel except when I anchored. The depth meter showed 0.8 m.

It was quite far from the shore, so I lowered the outboard from the pushpit to the dinghy. The fisherman on the beach told me where the customs office was - just 5-10 minutes walk on the main road where the communication tower was. They open at 9. It was 8 when I tied the dinghy to the dock.

While I was waiting for the customs, the local guy in sunglasses on the bike approached me and introduced himself as Scully. He gave me the leaflet that described his services (mainly bonefishing and touring) that had been written by one of sailors as he claimed. He liked chatting and I spent probably an hour listening to the hospitality of the local fellow. Later when I cleared in (the fee was $150, which included not only a cruising license for a year but also a fishing license) Scully told me what to see and where to bike on the island.

That was exactly what I had done: returned to Beruta, grabbed my bike and was cycling aroung Mayaguana for few hours. I visited the northern shore, the airfield with junk airplanes and discovered the historical NASA Thor Missile station that was abandoned when Bahamas became independant. Two three-storey concret buildings are still in place and have some typical writtings on their walls but no litter or excrements that one usually finds in such places.

I also met a young American couple who arrived in the Bay last night from Luperon anchorage in Dominican Republic. We agreed to sail together to the west side of the Bay for snorkelling, spearfishing and marlin bbq on their boat later that night.

When I returned to the dock, I immediately realized that in the morning was a tide - water dropped at least half a meter. Hm... Got back to Beruta and went swimming: water level was at exactly my height - 1.7 m. Turned on the depth sounder - yes, only 0.3 m under the keel.

At 4 o'clock in the afternoon as agreed we sailed to the west side of the Bay, well, Mike and Sarah did, I motored - shame on me. It was just 3 miles from the place where we were. Went snorkelling from the dinghies on the reef. Guys were spearfishing and I photofishing. Once Mike mentioned sharks, I grabbed my camera when I should have probably taken at least the knife. Oh, my god, the lobsters here are huge! No sharks though.

Later we had good time drinking wine, enjoying conversation, the barbequed marlin and spanish lobster with potatos and papaya.

All pictures from Mayaguana are on Picasa.