Tues. Jan. 25, 2011 (Week 17, Day 113): Destination: Sand Dollar Beach Weather: partly sunny, partly cloudy, warm Winds: E to ESE at 12-22K
Despite velocity of wind we were protected enough that we were not rocking & rolling or pitching. Poor reception for Chris Parker this am then something happened & no reception--> winds predominately E today & with increasing winds it was not ideal to relocate to Kidd Cove till tomorrow, but the Dargavels were arriving tonight & I have a need to do laundry & grocery shopping. I spent the am restocking storage jars, making up the V-berth bed with fresh linen, cleaning the mats & a quick wipe of the cockpit. R & R & reading on deck in the sun till the clouds rolled in. We dinghied to the Morrows to see how Lynn was doing with her sore throat & achy joints as well as to pass a novel on to them. A boat shower for each of us & anxiously waiting for the arrival of our guests, hoping all goes well without any hitches, while the cruisers had a gathering on the beach starting at 1630 hrs. which was well attended. The Dargavels’ flight from Miami was late leaving. Due to the rough waters & the direction of the wind we would not be able to meet Pam & Greg at Exuma Markets & asked Luther Rolle (Taxi 29) who met them at the airport, to call for the Water Taxi; he pointed out to us that he may have finished working for the day, but Elvis came through & safely delivered out guests. The Morrows were our communicating liaison as our VHF still does not transmit any great distance. Chat+++, supper= tamale rice dinner then bed. No stars & no moon so a dark night except for the mast lights & George Town lights, & it remained windy.
Wed. Jan. 26, 2011 (Week 17, Day 114): Destination: Sand Dollar Beach to Kidd Cove Departure: 0700 hrs. Arrival: 0745 hrs. Mileage: 1.32 SM/1.24 NM Weather: beautiful warm & sunny day with a few clouds Winds: ESE winds laid down about 2400 hrs.; S to SW about 10K & decreasing till nil at night
Chris Parker’s transmission was not clear this am; listened till 0700 hrs. then relocated to Kidd Cove, anchoring in 6 ft. turquoise water with 60 ft. of chain. A quick & simple breakfast this am. Pam & I did the much needed laundry & grocery shopping that I was unable to do the last 2 days; in Laundromat we met Dee Dee & Peter. Greg & Graeme did water, garbage disposal & beer purchase (Kalik cans= $40.00). We all met up at Denny’s & after returning to the boat with clean laundry & groceries returned to shore to enjoy a good but again very slow service for lunch. Denny’s was a place adjacent to the dinghy dock so we always met up with crusiers we had met along the way & also new ones also enjoying some lunch or a cold beer. Pam & I walked to Sandpiper Boutique, then met the guys at Pet’s Place--> internet. Once back at the boat a time of relaxation & socializing with the Morrows finally meeting the Dargavels. We heard of Dave’s (Firecrest) bad news when he hauled his boat today & he & Patric discovered a serious problem with the shaft; the best & quickest remedy for now would be for Dave to fly back to T.O. & get a new shaft from EMS, then return & install this new shaft & whatever else is necessary so as to slowly start back to Canada in the Spring when we can haul the boat & complete the proper repairs. After such a late lunch & then munchies at happy hour no one was really hungry. Therefore supper= rest of the tamale rice with nice fresh buns, celery & carrots with artichoke & spinach dip. The sun set was behind the landmass followed by a red sky. At night stars +++ & lightning around, moisture+++, little to no wind & flat calm water& later in the night a 2/3 moon was clearly visible.
Thurs. Jan. 27, 2011 (Week 17, Day 115): Destination: Kidd Cove to Long Island Departure: 0705 hrs. Arrival: 1330 hrs. Mileage: 40.7 SM/36.3 NM Weather: gorgeous very warm (28C/80F) & humid, sunny with clouds in the periphery Winds: E less than 2knots;>
Chris Parker was clear this am--> light winds clocking to N or a north component predicted for the next few days. From the anchorage via Elizabeth Harbour we made our way to Three Fathom Channel to Middle Rocks at 0800 hrs. Exuma Sound (Atlantic) was calm, like flat calm, mirror like, only ripples extending from the stern. There was a line of nearly 20 boats crossing over to Long Island through the perfectly clear turquoise water. The water was so clear that we could always see the rippled sand bottom, patches of tufts of grass & starfish . Pam & I spent the voyage at the bow chatting & reading in our bathing suits of course while the guys made sure Auto was doing the work correctly. 18 of us anchored in Thompson Bay close to the community of Salt Bay & ‘Sweet Chariot Too’ anchored in 8 ft. & 60 ft. of chain. After a late lunch we slowly organized ourselves to dinghy around Indian Hole Point where we walked the golden sand beach with mega tiny shells & coral & took a dip in the refreshing water while friends tried fishing from their dinghies to no avail. More swimming off the boat (83F) then rinsing off with fresh water with the transom shower. Graeme & Greg worked on soddering some loose connections from our VHR radio which hopefully is the cause of our communication problems. Nibblies & drinks, then we enjoyed supper in the cockpit = BBQ pork chops with potatoes & pork ‘n beans & oreo cookies (only 2 allowed) for dessert. A lovely sunset, red sky, flat calm water with boats facing all directions & a night sky of millions upon millions of stars. We did not stay up late enough to see a moon but got up in the middle of the night to see it.
Long Island Info: Long Island is located 160 miles SE of Nassau. It is only 4 miles at its widest part & 80 NM long. The Tropic of Cancer crosses through at the settlement of Simms. The Gulf Stream warms it’s waters in the winter & the Trade Winds cools it’s shores in the summer. Long Island is unique with characteristic high cliffs in the north, wide shallow beaches, historic plantation ruins, caves, churches & quiet self-reliant people who farm for themselves & as a major export to the rest of the Bahamas. It is made up of 35 quaint villages or settlements & farming towns named after plantation owning families spread out along Queens Highway. Of note are the churches many of which were built by Father Jerome, an architect, Anglican then Roman Catholic priest.
Fri. Jan. 28, 2011 (Week 17, Day 116): Destination: Thompson Bay, Long Island Weather: warm, humid, sunny with increasing clouds, in fact dark clouds & rain at North End Winds: SW clocking to NW, calm to 15K by noon time.
Chris Parker promised us a fine day with light winds. A short but informative session by Michael from Long Island Breeze at 0830 hrs. on VHF 18. Toast & egg breakfast then we readied ourselves for a day of touring Long Island in a rental van for the 6 of us from Stan Pinder (Blue Runner) because Hill Auto Rental had no rentals available. We landed our dinghies at Long Island Breeze, a beautiful, well managed resort by Michael. Graeme was the designated driver; right hand drive + drove on left side of the road. We drove Stan home first then continued north passing through several settlements starting at Salt Pond followed by Thompson Bay, McKanns, Millers, Wemyss, Simms, Millertons, Burnt Ground, Glintons, Seymours to North End. We were not allowed to drive to Columbus Monument because of the treacherous road but tried to find the lighthouse--> chose the wrong path. We did walk to Adderley Plantation Ruins, then lunched at Stella Maris Resort which overlooked the Atlantic. On our return trip we checked out Club Washington & Thompson Bay for dinner & because of our late lunch & nobody was hungry we continued driving south past Salt Pond settlement down to Cartwrights till dark then turned back. We had a very lovely dinner at Long Island Breeze. A 15K west wind was smashing into the dock & shoreline--> very rough such that the dinghies were pitching +++ at dockside & we were to dinghy home in this! It was now 2200 hrs. & pitch black. We were unable to get our dinghy motor to run. Plan of attack was for Larry to dinghy Lynn & Pam home--> waves over their heads! Meanwhile Michael lead the way in his vehicle to Thompson Bay Beach while we followed in our van; we would not have found our way. Then Larry picked Greg, Graeme & I up from Thompson Bay Beach--> much calmer & drier than the other’s trip. There were so very many more boats in the anchorage. It was right to bed as we were all very tired. A dark night & gazillion stars.
Sat. Jan. 29, 2011 (Week 17, Day 117): Destination: Thompson Bay, Long Island Weather: mostly cloudy in the am (threatening rain); a clearing trend mid am & beautiful, much less humid & sunny pm. Winds: clocking N to NE 8-12K, increasing as the day progressed.
0630 hrs.--> Chris Parker. 0700 hrs.--> spoke to the Morrows as prearranged; both Lynn & Larry unwell & would not be joining us for the ½ day tour to the south IF we were able to get the dinghy motor to run. 0730 hrs.--> Larry made 2 trips to drop the 4 of us off on Thompson Bay Beach; retrieved the van & drove to Long Island Breeze where the guys worked away on the motor engine. They opened the shaft which took some doing finally locating the impellar; a little bit of dirt but otherwise not bad & unable to find a replacement then reassembled. The carburetor was dissembled & cleaned, new spark plug installed & the floater valve was noted to be spewing gas; carburetor was removed again & the valve was readjusted, every opening & part was sprayed with carb cleaner & the idle engine speed was adjusted. Pam & I did some emails, returned the van & did some grocery shopping. Finally by 1530 hrs. the engine seemed to be running again. The whole day was gone! No Clarence Town, no Fr. Jerome Churches & no Blue Hole at Deans (Turtle Cove), the highlights of Long island I so very much wanted to see. And yet another wet ride home in our dinghy followed by happy hour on ‘Twomorrows’. The sunset sky was lovely. Supper= hot dogs then leftover pizza. A dark night, stars+++ & may mast lights in the anchorage. An early bedtime for most.
Sun. Jan 30, 2011 (Week 17, Day 118): Destination: Thompson Bay, Long Island to Sand Dollar Beach, George Town Departure: 0705 hrs. Arrival: 1350 hrs. Mileage: 44.04 SM/35.86 NM Weather: partly sunny, partly cloudy Winds: NNE 10 increasing to 15K (beam reach); 1 ft. rollers with curling white tops which increased in pm to 3 ft. E wind by night at about 10K
Being a Sunday there was no Chris Parker broadcast. An early start & with winds on our beam we convinced Graeme to fly our new DRS (drifter, reacher, spinnaker) as Pam & Greg were experienced with flying a DRS. At 0745 hrs. we made our maiden hoist! The boat was humming along at a speed of 7-8K on a course of 294 degrees. By 0845 hrs. the wind had increased to a steady 15K & it was necessary to stay up above the upcoming shallows so the DRS was pulled into it’s sock & we sailed on full main & jenny; the literature did not give us a guide as to the maximum wind speed for such a sail. A dolphin scooted across our bow a few times. Time spent on deck sunning & reading. The wind shifted slowly to our stern & it was necessary to head down, so a few times we tried to sail wing on wing. A sloppy point of sail + waves at Middle Rocks. ‘Escapaid’ caught a 4 ft. tuna in this location. A dolphin surfaced as we were anchoring at Sand Dollar Beach in 15 ft. water (80 ft. chain). Pam & I rowed to shore in the dinghy, walked the beach, walked the path to the Atlantic side & walked some more there. When we rowed back Tom & Phyllis (Cocoon II from B.C.) whom we met in Miami Beach & again in Bimini & Staniel Cay were visiting. Swims & showers as the Morrows were arriving for dinner. First hummus & pita bread as appetizers then delicious BBQ steaks with fried onions , potatoes & green beans for supper followed by fried bananas with butter & rum topped with chocolate sauce--> yum, yum good! Unfortunately we once again discovered dirty, salty tasting water in the same 2 floor compartments as previously; no clue as to where this is coming from. A dark night but unbelievable stars!
Mon. Jan. 31, 2011 (Week 17, Day 119): Destination: George Town to Lee Stocking Island Departure: 1130 hrs. Arrival: 1620 hrs. Mileage: 32. 7 SM/28.4 NM Weather: partly but mostly cloudy with sunny periods in George Town; clearer sunny skies as we headed north Winds: NE 13-18K; seas out in Exuma Sound ranged 2-5 ft. with whitecaps on the rollers
As usual was our 0630 hrs. listening to Chris, then we up anchored & reanchored in Kidd Cove to replenish water, diesel & gas, purchase minimum groceries & quickly use free internet at Pet’s Place. Another wet & salty trip back to the boat. We up anchored at 1130 hrs. at low tide motoring our way out to Conch Cut, then deployed the jenny & motored sail along at 6-6.5K out in Exuma Sound. Everything down below was well hunkered down as we hit a few good rollers. It was approaching 1600 hrs. when we were motoring through Adderley Cut on high tide into the calmer water. We picked up a first come first serve mooring ball #6 (brand new & more to be installed) in front of the research center--> $15.00 donation; anchoring is permissible. Tori was a young, informative full time employee that answered our many questions & told us a bit about the center--> free to hike the many paths, good snorkeling around a coral head, use of washroom & washers (3) & dryers (3) for a donation; airstrip, watermaker, WiFi an issue at present time. We are considering a tour at 1000 hrs. (1 hour in length) tomorrow before departing. Supper= hamburgers, leftover potatoes & beans & oreos. An evening of journal entry for me as I am several days behind, sleeping for Graeme & card playing for Pam & Greg. A dark night & indescribable number of bright stars.