|The beauty of Royal Island|
We stayed in West Bay for a few days watching over Island Tyme while Don and Gail flew back to Florida for a major family event. They returned on April 4th and we quickly agreed to start our next leg of this journey the next day. Our two boat flotilla headed out of West Bay to round New Providence on the north side. Our goal was to reach Rose Island which would be a 24 mile trip. We love these shorter trips.
Once we cleared the reefs surrounding West Bay we turned north and found great sailing conditions. Plenty of wind and reasonable waves. We thought the sail was going to be awesome. No motors running and the GPS's reading 5.7-6.0 knots. Unfortunately after a couple of hours our new heading turned us to a tight reach facing the waves and as we soon found out a strong counter current. Oh well, turn the poor motors on once again. If you ever go cruising on a sailboat, buy one with a big new motor.
We made it to Rose Island after seeing the Atlantis Resort buildings off our starboard sides for way too long. The fishing was a bust for Wrinkles, but Gail did a great job of hooking a big one. Unfortunately the big one was their wind generator. The line caught the wind generator blades and quickly spun lots of line onto itself. The line eventually stalled out the generator.
|Don on Rose Island|
The entry into the north anchorage was fairly easy to navigate other than having large snorkel excursion boats hogging the skinny portion of the channel. There must be some good coral reefs here because there were three to four excursion boats all anchored right there. Once past the excursion boats we found good sand for our anchors in 12 feet of water with a perfect view of a sandy beach. We unhooked Gail's catch of the day and after hitting the reset button the generator was purring once again.
As soon as the excursion boats left for the afternoon we picked Don and Gail up for a walk. We beached the Ernie T and wandered the now deserted beach. Brenda and Gail walked the shoreline while Don and Mike enjoyed a couple of cold beers in the shade of some trees. We wandered a little on the trails and just marveled at the beauty of the area. We mentioned more than once how lucky we were to be experiencing this on our own sailboats. This is exactly what we dreamed about when we decided to go cruising.
We had fun getting all four of us back into the dinghy and launching it out through the waves coming ashore. It wasn't pretty or graceful, but we all ended up in the dinghy headed back to our boats. Gail offered to cook dinner on Island Tyme, so after getting cleaned up (living on a sailboat has altered our expectations of "cleaned up" a bit) we motored over for a wonderful supper and sunset celebration. The weather looked pretty good for the next day's sail with just a few scattered thunderstorms worrying Brenda.
We got up at 6 a.m. to get an early start to our 35 mile sail. We knew the anchorage we were headed to was going to be filling up early as it offered protection from an advancing cold front. Brenda checked her weather one more time and was concerned about the thunderstorms headed our way later in the day. We conferred with Don and Gail who said, "Let's go." At 7 a.m. we had our anchors up and were headed northeast toward Royal Island near Spanish Wells.
The wind and waves were just a few degrees starboard of our stern which meant a fun and fast passage. We motorsailed just to make sure we arrived early enough at Royal Island to find a spot to tuck into. We averaged 6 knots all morning which got us to our cozy anchorage about 1 p.m. and found plenty of space to drop our anchors. Once you figure out the tiny cut into the Royal Island anchorage you enter a wonderfully protected spot. It had been an awesome day on the water even though once again the fish outsmarted us as our lures came back in empty.
|Entrance to Royal Island Harbor on the right|
The anchorage filled up as the afternoon wore on making us especially happy we had arrived early in the day. A couple of the boats that were here when we arrived loved to yell at anyone who came even close to anchoring by them. They seemed to think that since they were first they should get special treatment, but we needed to fit a lot of boats in for the night.
During the night the cold front arrived with a wind shift to the north and some rain. It sure was nice to be tucked safely away. Mike checked on the anchor a few times to make sure we were staying put. We love our 44 pound Rocna anchor and 250' of 5/16" chain.
Don and Gail did a smelly boat repair in the morning (boat heads suck) and then agreed to explore the ruins on shore with us. We picked them up in the Ernie T and headed over to the rocky shoreline. Little remains of the flat concrete docks to the original settlement, but there was enough for us to scramble ashore.
|The Ernie T at the "docks"|
The W. P. Stuart house and outbuildings are in ruins, but there is enough left to give you a wonderful feel for the grandeur it once possessed. Terraced gardens lined the stairs, Spanish influenced stone structures featuring many different designs of tiled floors, walkways, arches, paved pathways, stacked stone fences 8' thick,views of the water........ Wow!
|View from the back side of the island.|
|Almost every building had a different tile floor.|
We checked out the buildings and then hiked some of the paved trails. One trail ends on the west shore and looks to have been the landing area for small supply boats. We spent a long time just wandering this area and eventually just sitting on the old sea wall enjoying the spectacular view with good friends.
|Brenda, Gail and Don|
|Royal Island Harbor|
We may have to spend another day or two here to explore some more.
|Wrinkles at anchor in Royal Island Harbor|