We had a great Christmas in Blackpoint Settlement and made some good friends along the way. Dinner on Christmas Eve on a neighbouring catamaran was fun, as was dinner ashore on the big day itself. We went along wearing some novelty reindeer antlers much to the amusement of most people there but soon donated them to the DJ and the restaurant owner as the evening got underway. On Boxing Day we hosted dinner aboard Tumi and had another fun evening, so all in all a big success despite the very high winds!
This time of year is known to have predominantly north-easterly winds, perfect for us to sail south-east from the Bahamas to the British Virgin Islands .... or so we thought. With all the lows in the northern hemisphere, we are seeing unseasonally strong trade winds blowing from the south-east, and forecast to continue doing so for the next week or more. Not what we want or need when we have friends flying into the BVI on 15th January. So we've decided to try and hop down in stages and yesterday saw us complete the first and short stage down to Georgetown on Great Exuma. The forecast ENE at 16 knots actually translated into winds of 22-28 knots just south of east, making for a beat into wind and swells but we managed to sail all the way. Yet again it's shaken our confidence in the accuracy, or otherwise, of the forecasts.
Stage two will see us depart Georgetown for the Turks and Caicos islands where we plan on spending New Year subject to the marina there having availability ..... fingers crossed! And then stage three will be a 3-day sail to the BVI later next week when we're hoping the wind strength will have lessened and that there might be a little bit of north in the forecast. Fingers crossed. We've never stopped in the Turks and Caicos before so it will be nice to see somewhere new.
In the meantime we're giving our new bbq a go tonight for the first time. It's a free-standing affair, double-skinned (the outer skin doesn't get hot - or at least that's the theory) with a small fan underneath the small charcoal chamber to regulate the air flow. Good old German engineering .... sounds almost too good to be true!