Tues. Feb. 1, 2011 (Week 18, Day 120): Destination: Lee Stocking Island Weather: sunny with occasional clouds; pleasant temp about 23C Winds: ESE to SE 18-->10K & at night time 10-13K
0630hrs: Chris Parker--> verified predictions of last 3 days of prevailing east winds in the 20K range. Leaving Adderley Cut under these conditions would not be fun; winds tomorrow decreasing. There was a profound desire by many of us to do the tour offered on Tues. & Fri. at 1000 hrs. by the Perry Institute for Marine Science; also there was the capability of laundry services with a donation. Therefore our decision to stay was quickly made. A leisurely breakfast of French toast with maple syrup & coconut bread--> good! Unfortunately Lynn had some sad news to pass onto us from Ian Joyce & Patric Collins re the fatile snowmobile accident of Taylor Bruce, son of Peggy White & Gene Bruce. At 0900 hrs. 3 of us went ashore to start laundry while Graeme did an oil change. Eric conducted the tour at 1000 hrs. of the marine science facilities & studies--> excellent & highly recommended! Tori & Eric are wonderful representatives of this operation. The Dargavels gave a generous donation. Lynn & I could easily stay for a few more days. By noon the winds had decreased & the laundry was done. Lunch, beds remade & laundry away. Greg went ashore with Larry to repair the laundry machines as much as possible. Pam napped, Graeme read then went ashore & I read on deck. Mid afternoon Pam & Greg snorkeled near the shore marked by a buoy--> lots of fish & I talked to Tori re my blog. Afterwards we cleaned up as we were invited to the Morrows for a scrumptious spaghetti dinner! A phenomenal red evening sky. A dark & clear night & with fewer boats in the anchorage tonight (only 4) the stars & milky way were superb!
Wed. Feb. 2, 2011 (Week 18, Day 121): Destination: Lee Stocking Island to Black Point Departure: 0805 hrs. Arrival: 1350 hrs. Mileage: 33.11 SM/28.79 NM Weather: sunny with few fair weather clouds, perfect temp. Winds: ESE at 8-13K
Chris Parker at 0630 hrs. Easy departure from mooring ball as well as through Adderley Cut into Exuma Sound. We rolled both sails out, on broad reach through 1-3 ft. rollers. We noticed an increase number of boats travelling from one destination to another. Near noon we passed through Galliot Cut with a small amount of sail, wind on our beam onto Bahamas Bank; a little rolly. There was a local motor boat in the middle of the cut lobstering. A nice flat sail (without rollers) at about 5-5.5K passing Little Farmers Cay--> boats already there staging for the 5F Festival this weekend; all mooring balls had been booked. It is best for us to stage ourselves at or close to Staniel Cay with Super Bowl this weekend & with the Dargavels departing from there early Mon. am. All the lovely beaches along the west coast of Great Guana Cay looked most inviting. Lunch was on the run just before arriving at our destination. We anchored at Black Point; 8ft. depth & 60 ft. chain. Some R&R in the sun till 1530 hrs. then we all dinghied to shore & walked straight to DeShammon for internet & drinks. But the island lost it’s power for an extended period of time so we departed. I was unfortunately unable to email my family or post 2 weeks of my blog. Super= curry chicken & rice (one pot meal). A quiet evening with all of us longing for a reasonable hour to go to bed; 2000 hrs. was a bit early, so a shower & journal entry then to bed. Sunset happend but I did not observe it to describe the event. Another dark night with magnificent stars.
Thurs. Feb. 3, 2011 (Week 18, Day 122): Destination: Black Point to Emerald Rocks, Exuma Cay Land & Sea Park Departure: 0840 hrs. Arrival: 1300 hrs. Mileage: 26.5 SM/23 NM Weather: partly sunny, partly fluffy white clouds, temp about 22C Winds: NE 8-10K--> 10-13K
Yes, Chris at 0630 hrs.; some 15-20K NE winds blowing in this pm & a significant front next week. A pancake breakfast with real maple syrup for a nice change. We motored out of the anchorage via the southern/deeper water passage & flew our new DRS for the second time! It was perfect wind direction & speed. Our boat speed 6.5-7.0K. A course change was necessary at Harvey Rocks (Staniel Cay area) so the DRS was taken down smoothly & the main & jenny were unfurled & carried a speed of 6.2- 6.9K. Our approach towards Emerald Rocks lent itself to change sails to the DRS again but the skipper felt we were doing well as is. On the VHF 16 we hailed Exuma Cay Land & Sea Park, switched to 09, requested mooring balls for ourselves &’Twomorrows’ at Emerald Rock location. Since we were both members we had priority & were assigned E20 & E21. Snagging the mooring ball & tie up went smoothly. Lunch in the cockpit with a beautiful environment surrounding us; magnificent sunshine beating down on the stunning sandy beaches & emphasizing the varied hues of turquoise water! Greg, Pam & I dinghied to the Park Office & each paid for a night’s stay ie $15.00 X2 nights= $30.00. We admired the scenery from the office balcony then walked ‘Powerful Beach’ at low tide (conchs+++), followed by the trail to Boo Boo Hill & the Blow Holes--> recognized many boat names that we have heard over the last month. The Atlantic side was quite calm for an east wind so the Blow Holes were not activated. Back to the boat in time for a dip with 2 yellow tailed snapper/tunas about 21/2 ft. long that we not scared of us at all; unfortunately fishing is not allowed in the Park. Happy Hour on our boat. We saw a sunset & an amazing green flash! Supper preparation which involved using the oven on bake mode= shepherds pie--> great. A dark night again. Where is that moon? And the stars & milky way like you have never seen!
Fri. Feb. 4, 2011 (Week 18, Day 123): Destination: Emerald Rocks Weather: mostly sunny with a fresh warmness in the air due to the wind factor, temp= about 22C Winds: ESE to SE averaging 15K
Chris Parker (CP from now on) at 0630 hrs. then we forgot to listen to Warderick Wells & Staniel Cay broadcasts at 0800 hrs. while having breakfast. Prepared Japanese cabbage salad for part of supper tonight then washed up all the dirty dishes. Larry educated us that the friendly fish of last evening were horse eye yellow tailed jack; some are O.K. to eat while others are poisonous. So not to get too salty wet the 3 of us decided to dinghy to Rendezvous Beach just in front of us; we walked the ruins, continued to the far wall that led to Exuma Sound as far as Slave Dip; the waves were crashing pretty good today with a heavy component of east wind; the blow holes probably would be good today. We retraced our steps back because the hike towards Boo Boo Hill & the blow holes then across the island to the west shore would have taken several hours & we wanted to fit in some snorkeling by early afternoon too. Lunch= warmed up leftovers. 1315-1415 hrs.--> snorkeled the coral reef at Emerald Rock; the coral is alive & well with bright colours & little bleaching, multiple varieties of colourful fish of many sizes. The water was warm but chilled by the 15k wind. We rinsed ourselves down back at the boat with the transom shower. Naps & reading. Popcorn for snacks then we dinghied to the swim platform where 3 other couples had gathered to watch the sunset; beautiful but no green flash; red sky followed. Supper= ham & pineapple, potatoes & Japanese cabbage salad & cookies for dessert. We played a card game called ‘screw you buddy’ till 2300! A sliver of moon positioned in the sky like a bowl tonight! And of course those phenomenal stars. Another exciting highlight of the day was my 1st & 2nd time driving the dinghy today under the supervision & encouragement of Pam & Greg!
Sat. Feb. 5, 2011 (Week 18, Day 124): Destination: Emerald Rocks to Staniel Cay Departure: 0745 hrs. Arrival: 1120 hrs. Mileage: 21.5 SM/19 NM Weather: sunny, blue skies with clouds in the periphery Wind: SSE 6-8K
15+K winds of yesterday suddenly ceased just before daylight. CP at 0630 hrs.--> next couple of days sounding O.K. Once off the mooring ball we motored out onto the Banks & of course the winds were smack on our nose; there was no hope of sailing. We motored into Staniel Cay & anchored by Thunderball Cave by rounding east of the Grotto rocks then through the deep water narrow cut against current & dropped the anchor in sand in 16 ft. water with 100 ft. of chain. It was good timing as there were many boats that followed suit. Lunch, a dinghy ride to the beach south of the yacht club, a walk to the bakery (thank you Pam!) & then to the blue grocery store for a few basic supplies, then to Staniel Cay Yacht Club. At 1530 hrs. it was time to return to the boat, gather our snorkeling gear & experience the Thunderball Cave as it was low slack tide. Wonderful variety of colours of coral in good shape, in fact more than I remember from the last time especially outside the entrance of the cave & a fantastic array of fish. Lots of people snorkeling--> too many. Pam & Greg each had underwater cameras that they used extensively, but Greg’s had not worked; he thought he may not have loaded the card correctly from the previous day so formatted the card & will hope to try tomorrow again. Near 1700 hrs. it was a rinse down, a superb sunset but no green flash. Supper= fettucine alfredo with turkey strips & awesome rum cake (thank you Pam once again)! An early bedtime. Clear night sky, dark, sliver moon, stars+++ & milky way!
Sun. Feb. 6, 2011 (Week 18, Day 125): Super Bowl! Also presumably just over mid point of our trip Destination: Staniel Cay Weather: sunny, blue sky, very few clouds; few dark clouds that could have given a shower but did not in the late pm; more humid as the afternoon wore on Winds: SE about 6-8K
A few sprinkles of rain during the night but otherwise quiet. Fresh cinnamon raisin & coconut bread, toasted for breakfast. Pam & Greg returned to the cave at high water slack so Greg could reshoot some underwater movies of the coral & fish that had not worked yesterday. The current was too strong to enter the cave but he successfully acquired shots at & around the entrance. Graeme took me ashore for the 1100 hrs. church service at Mt. Olive Baptist Church & purchased some diesel from SCYC. There not many people at the church service but nevertheless it was very animated, musical, warm & welcoming; I skipped out early at 1210 hrs. as Graeme was picking me up, but apparently the service went till 1315 hrs.! Lunch, Graeme went off to the yacht club to save seats for us for the buffet dinner & Super Bowl game while the rest of us napped or read or practiced complicated knots (Greg). Luggage was prepared as much as possible for the Dargavels’ departure tomorrow, we cleaned ourselves up then departed for shore for the football festivities. Happy Hour was from 1600-1800 hrs. with snacks provided then buffet dinner of BBQ pork & chicken, wild rice, vegetable medley of broccoli, cauliflower & carrots, mixed salad & a variety of cake desserts= $18.00 compliments of Pam & Greg! And a good Super Bowl game with Green Bay being victorious. The dinghy ride home was warm & beautiful in the dark under all the stars. A celebratory shot of Nassau Royale, a pleasant liqueur served cold.