Back to Nassau

All good things must come to an end, and it was time for us to come home to the U.S.

After leaving the company of Aslan, we made a bee line back to Nassau. 

Our first stop was Allen’s Cay, and along the way Ransom took another look at the auto steering system, determined to get it rigged and functioning for our trip back.

Some zip ties, rubber, hose clamps, and some twine later we were in business!

Hans Otto Schteering!!!

Autopilot interface

Bugs be gone, Otto's on the helm!

We were well aware the system will have some bugs, but we quickly fixed the issues and had our very own jerry rigged autopilot.  We named him Hans Otto Schteering.

We departed Allen’s Cay for Nassau on the 15th of May.  There was a bit of a debate on whether or not we should try, conditions were not ideal.  The skies were cloudy and sprinkling and the seas were rolling.  We needed sunshine and relatively calm seas so that we could spot approaching reefs on the Yellow Banks.

We decided to give it a go and try and get to Nassau, but a strong gust hit our mainsail and ripped it along the lowest batton.


We returned to the anchorage and lowered the main to the first reefing point, reducing our sail area but allowing us to keep using it.

We decided to heed the warning nature sent us and delayed our departure for the following day.

Determined not to waste the day we went to shore and explored Leaf Cay.  We found some ruins, saw tons of iguanas, and found some beautiful shells on the beach.

Coarse grained carbonate conglomerate.  Geology in action!!!!

The next day we departed for Nassau and conditions were much better for the crossing.  We were even able to use Hans Otto Schteering!!

Back in Nassau we reunited with other boaters we’d met along the way.  Saying farewell to those we’ve sailed with for weeks feels a bit like the end of summer camp; exchanging information and promising to keep in tough.  Somehow, though, I feel we will cross paths again, somewhere out there in the great blue.


With Aslan (5/5/2012-5/14/2012)

We departed Big Majors on May 4th for Hawksbill Cay.  Once we cleared the anchorage we raised the mainsail and the jib and were cruising north with the engine off and the wind vane steering for us at a cool 4.5 knots, sometimes we reached 6 knots!!!

A good day of sailing does much to lift a land sick heart and encouraged us to keep going.

Hawksbill is part of the Exumas land and Sea Park, so there were really nice trails to explore.

The next day we did some hiking before setting off for Highborne Cay to meet Ransom’s parents on their boat, Aslan.

It was awesome to meet Bain and Curt in the Bahamas!  We’d been in the islands for a month and had lots to share with them.

View of the backyard

On the 6th of May we snorkeled the reef off Highborne and then made preperations to travel to Shroud Cay.

We tied Vitte to Aslan for a tow, and after a few adjustments we were all aboard Aslan with Vitte following close behind.  It was a bit surreal at first to see Vitte being pulled, but we soon relaxed and shook off our worries and enjoyed the day.

Towing Vitte

In Shroud we rafted the boats together for the night.  It was so cool to step off one boat and onto another!

Aslan has a really cool toy, an air compressor that lets you scuba dive without any tanks.  Ransom, Curt, and I went under to inspect our hulls and test out the equipment.  I definitely want my diving license now!

The next morning we packed up the dinghy and headed across Shroud Cay via a salt creek for the beach.  

Unearth the air, see it sparkle in the water

After lunch we loaded up in T/T Aslan (sans dogs) for Normans Cay to snorkel a sunken plane.  In the 70s, a drug lord, Carlos Lehder, ran a cocaine trafficking empire on Normans Cay.  Jets filled with cocaine from Columbia would land on the island and the supply was then divied up between small aircraft for transport to the United States.  The plane wreck we snorkeled is a remnant of this time. 

Sunken plane

You can't even imagine the beauty that lies beneath

Carlos's house

No lie, this was one of the most awesome reefs I have ever seen.  Coral was growing all over the plane: on the nose, inside on exposed wires, and on the wings and propellers.

There were tons of fish too!  Fleets of sergeant majors, french grunts, squirrelfish, grouper, angelfish, tubeworms, and more!!!

On the 8th of May we departed Shroud Cay for Hawksbill and grabbed two mooring balls for the night. 

The soles of Curt's shoes separated, but we were able to tie them back together using some twine found on the beach.


The next day we departed Hawksbill for Waredrick Wells.  After getting situated on the mooring balls and checking in with Darcy at the office, we geared up for some snorkeling around Radar Rock.

Bain and Curt


Queen Angelfish

Grey Angelfish

Nassau Grouper

It was awesome to be back in Waredrick Wells and be activity directors for Ransom’s parents.  We stayed at the park for 5 days and packed them full of activities!

Waredrick Wells

After 10 days with Aslan, it was time to say goodbye and part ways.  We departed the mooring field, raised Vitte’s sails and peeled north and Aslan increased her speed and peeled south.

Until next time, Aslan