Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mar. 15-21, 2011 (Week 24, Day 162-168)

Tues. Mar. 15, 2011 (Week 24, Day 162) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: warmer today (75F+), dark clouds at dawn, sunny & cloudy periods during the day Winds: vacillating from E to ESE about 12K
Slow to rise this am (0730 hrs.)--> read too late last night & less light at 0630 hrs. since DST, but listened to CP while lying in bed then made & ate breakfast listening to Cruisers Net. I made a pot of chili with some ground beef that had defrosted & needed to be used; now Graeme not subjected to leftovers again tonight. He likes chili vs stir frys. We prepped all our supplies for going ashore. The Morrows have been such great company especially for me all this winter; how can I ever repay them for their kindness & generousity? I decided due to Lynn’s physical limitations, Larry’s loving acts to take up duties Lynn’s unable to do + more, their overnight & long & tiring flights back next week & only a few days before Larry’s brother, Kevin arrives, the least I could do to help out would be to clean their cockpit, cushions & transom. In fact it gave me great pleasure instead of sitting around on my ass. Graeme took MY bike to do errands. A late lunch back on the boat, then back onshore, now 1430 hrs. Graeme went to see OB (works on Jeanneaus at Moorings) re the welded engine elbow & our electrical issues; I rode my bike, 1st to the dog sitter (Annie Pinder) to see how Murphy was making out but she was not home, then along Queen Elizabeth Dr. out to Port of Marsh Harbour & government docks & Customs & onto Dundas Town & the edge of Murphytown, when I decided since I don’t have a map I should turn back. At Port of Marsh Harbour I took a left/ inland to a road that went west to Murphytown & east to Marsh Harbour; I turned east to familiar territory. I bought some butter at Save Lots then back to Mangoes via some back roads. Then the prize, ah, a long warm shower with lots of soap & body scrub! So good!!! I can’t even remember the last good shower I have had. I checked for any new emails & charged my batteries while waiting for Graeme to show up, then for his shower. 1745 hrs. it was back to the boat as OB was coming to go up the mast to change the LED light to non LED (static from portable am radio when turn anchor light on), to check the antenna (poor transmitting power, but O.K.)& electricals (suggests a new relay for the alternator & engine blower). Sunset about 1915 hrs. Supper= chili. Stars, some clouds & 2/3 moon.
Wed. Mar. 16, 2011 (Week 24, Day 163) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: dark clouds all day, brief periods of fine rain in the pm, damp & cool (no way it reached the predicted high of 71F) Winds: ESE to SW about 8K to nil at sunset & W to NW
After CP, Cruisers Net & breakfast, Graeme dropped me off at Union Jack dock with our shopping/laundry cart while he did his errands via my bike. I first checked in with the dog sitter (Annie Pinder) & Murphy doing O.K. Then I walked to Maxwell’s (grocery store) for a few supplies; the supply boat apparently comes in on Tues. & perhaps Wed. pm rather than am is the best time to shop, but this morning the stock for the most part was quite good. Then to Island Bakery; no coconut bread--> maybe this aft or tomorrow; settled for raisin bread ($3.15). It was a painful walk back to the dock. Back at the boat I put the groceries away & made lunch. Graeme placed some new treads on the steps down to the main cabin while I read in the cockpit. We had a surprise visit from Carmen & Bill Hilliary, members from NSC; John Mahan had introduced us a while ago. The skies in the east were getting darker. To Mangoes gazebo to use their WiFi & Graeme used my bike for more errands. This is a great place to meet people as the laundry, BR/showers are nearby. Mid to late pm it was dark, damp & cool & a fine rain was falling. On talking with other cruisers we have met, we will stay in Marsh Harbour for St. Paddy’s Day, hopefully meet up with Karin & Patric (Artful Dodger) who are expected to arrive tomorrow from Hopetown, then join Mike & Jana (Second Star) & Gerry & Linda (Monks Vineyard) as they move on to maybe Man O War Cay & Tillaloo for a couple of days. A fine rain was coming down as we dinghied back to the boat. Supper= leftovers, chili & pork Thai Pod. I can’t remember our last day of dull weather; we have been so very fortunate it certainly has been a while. A clearing sky in the west just in time for a very picturesque sunset, followed by red sky & a rainbow in the SE sky. A cloudy night sky.
Thurs. Mar. 17, 2011 (Week 24, Day 164) Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: ideal, fabulous, perfect day; T= 75F, sun, crystal clear blue sky & fair weather clouds Winds: by am we were facing NE direction, mirror flat calm; early pm light breeze picked up & increased to 10K by sun down
Same leisurely am routine. Graeme went to shore to pick up a new drill he had purchased yesterday. I washed the cockpit cushions & cockpit with fresh water & soap. It was warm enough to lay out on the deck & read before & after lunch. ‘Artful Dodger’ & ‘Firecrest’ arrived about 1400 hrs.; all came over to caught up on each other’s news. We dinghied to shore to check the fridge/freezer on ‘Twomorrows’, for real showers at Mangoes & a quick look at new emails. To Snappas for 1700 hrs. for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations--> parade, beer specials starting at 1700 hrs. Karin & Patric were already there & Dave joined later. Supper = Snappas Philly & Mahi sandwich. We met up with ‘Second Star’, ‘Monks Vineyard’ & ‘Two Roads’, a Hylas 46. The anchorage over the last 2 days saw many boats leaving & few new arrivals, but today there were a significant number of new arrivals. In fact when we returned to the boat at 2030 hrs. a trawler had parked on top of us; there was barely any swing room from it’s stern & our bow. And no one was aboard to voice our discomfort! Graeme stayed in the cockpit until trawler’s owners (Claire de Lune) arrived back; no he was not moving & how dare we have 150 ft. chain out. I had gone to bed & fast asleep. A clear night sky with few clouds, stars & near full moon.
Fri. Mar. 18, 2011 (Week 24, Day 165) Destination: Marsh Harbour to Scopley Rock, Man-O-War Cay Departure: 1015 hrs. Arrival: 1120 hrs. Mileage: 4.4 SM/#.82 NM Weather: another prefect day with temp about 73F, clear day, sun & wispy fair weather clouds Winds: N to NNE 10-12K
I don’t know about Graeme, but I slept through the night, not worried about the trawler. Graeme rose just in time to catch CP’s broadcast while I listened from bed, then dozed till 0730 hrs. Why do I feel so lazy & don’t feel like getting up early? Talking to our people later in the day, they too have been sleeping in. My other observation was since DST, CP has been very succinct & as informative but finishes his 0630 broadcast by 0715 hrs. Dave from ‘Firecrest’ dinghied over to see if we were O.K. with the close proximity of the trawler; we arranged his haircut with me after the Net. The Net this morning was probably the poorest in terms of poor transmissions & several step-ons. We dinghied to shore & I checked on Murph; she had followed Annie out of her house so was in a cage in Annie’s workplace going nuts with other dogs beside her; she was not paying any attention to me. Also she had her bark collar on & apparently eating & drinking O.K.; she had not been clipped yet. I buzzed Dave’s hair on his boat; I’m getting pretty good at this barber thing. We started to up anchor (every bit of our chain was out); I had to push off the stern of the trawler with up anchoring the 1st 20 ft. The trawler finally up anchored entirely instead of just pulling forward as he was right over our anchor & circled as we raised the rest of the chain & anchor. There was a good wind as we moved to Man-O-War Cay, but of course right on the nose. We anchored in 10 ft. water with 100 ft. chain off Scopley Rock. Lunch & reading in the sun out on the deck. It was so noticeably peaceful & tranquil here with crystal clear water unlike Marsh Harbour. From 1330-1700 hrs. we walked the North Beach (Atlantic side) at low tide with the cruisers from ‘Second Star’ & ‘Monks Vineyard’. There were numerous purple, balloon jellyfish, that’s right portuguese man-o-war washed up on shore; hence perhaps the name of the island? We walked the upper & lower main roads, stopping for ice cream, looking at Albury boat building & sailcloth bag store. Beautiful homes with landscaped yards befit of Bahamian vegetation line the road to the south beach where our dinghies were located. Supper= BBQ hamburgers & fried onion & potatoes. Fabulous sunset at 1917 hrs. with a green flash! Anchorage was a bit lumpy for a while then flat calm. A bright full moon & fair amount of clouds in the night sky.
FYI re Man-O-War Cay: The residents are deeply religious, most industrious & many are descendents of original settlers. No liquor, beer & smokes are sold. The harbour is complete protection with Dickies Cay on the west & is parallel for 1/3 of it’s length. “As clean as a new pin”. Employment is boat building, boat repairs, sail making & ferry services. Bahama Mama-->ice cream & sandwiches Chambered Nautilus Gift & Dive Shop Well stocked groceries stores X2 Joe’s Studio--> handcrafted items of Abaco hardwoods Sail Shop--> canvas bags, duffles, hats & jackets
Sat. Mar. 19, 2011 (Week 24, Day 166) Destination: Man-O-War Cay to Marsh Harbour Departure: 0915 hrs. Arrival: 1520 hrs. Mileage: 15.7 SM/13.63 NM Weather: night clouds dissipated to mainly sunny day with small while clouds in the periphery, fresh temp especially while sailing (high= 71F) Winds: light ESE to SE 4-9K & variable from one minute to the next
Officially today is full moon & Spring Equinox, but the full moon last night was like a bright light, pouring through our aft cabin port into my eyes. CP & the Net were both predicting heavy NE to ENE winds coming in through Sun. of 20-25K & Mon. with possible thunderstorms & squalls of 25-30K & diminishing & improving weather Mon. night & Tues. Therefore we had to change our plans for the next few days & seek protection for these coming days. It would be best to go back to Marsh Harbour; hopefully it is not too crowded in Marsh & we would be able to get off the boat with amenities at Mangoes. The other option was Hope Town, but not sure what the mooring ball situation was in Hope Town. This was another day when it was hard to believe how conditions can change from perfect to ugly overnight. The wind today although was light it was favourable to sail; we decided to make a day of it. On a beam reach we sailed the Sea of Abaco from Man-O-Cay past Scotland Cay, Great Guana Cay all on starboard as far as Spoil Cay; the Whale Cay Passage was flat calm. We turned around, turned the boat engine off & sailed close hauled between Foots Cay on port & Fish Cays on starboard towards Marsh Harbour. We took a while to look around for a good spot to anchor without being too far from facilities & finally dropped anchor at absolute low tide on the north side of the channel in 5.1 ft; we wanted to have 100 ft. chain out for the blow & south side did not lend itself to that. I sat in the cockpit fine tuning some info I wish to add to my blog. Supper= cubed steak with fried onions & potatoes & corn niblets in the cockpit as the sun was setting at 1918 hrs. The conditions were prefect for another green flash that we could not see with land in front of the horizon. An extra bright full moon reflected almost perfectly off the flat, calm water; difficult to see the stars in such a bright but clear sky.
Sun. Mar. 20, 2011 (Week 24, Day 167) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: partly sunny & partly cloudy; dark clouds & a spitting of rain at sunset Winds: NE to E8-10K during the day but increased significantly to 15-20K after sunset
Up at dawn & not ugly as anticipated; winds had increased but very doable. A boat shower for me & dressed for Church. Later Graeme took a real shower at Mangoes while I was at Church. We dinghied to Mangoes for 0830 hrs.; met a lovely lady, Karen from Alaska while waiting for the school bus to take us to St. Francis de Sales. The bus was full today, both white & black folks & children. Mass was better attended today & more upbeat than last week--> Amen! Back at Mangoes we checked new emails. Lunch back on the boat & R&R reading; a bit cool when the sun hid behind a cloud. Jim & Linda (Winsome, N.J.), a Hunter anchored just ahead of us, came & introduced themselves to us--> how nice; they leave their boat at Green Cove Marina, Florida. We dinghied to the Jib Room, a family run restaurant affiliated with Marsh Harbour Marinas but closed on Sundays. We met & had a lovely chat with Peter Ross (Summer Tilt, TO); stores their Monk 36 at Green Turtle. His daughter Tracey Ross from NSC is getting married this July. We then dinghied across the harbour to Mangoes to check emails again while chatting with some regulars under the gazebo & to close the Morrows’ enclosure. It was still calm & in hindsight we could have stayed elsewhere last night & return this pm. Dark clouds rolled in approaching sunset; a bit of red sky. Supper= homemade pizza. Scant rain, gusting & howling winds about 1 hour after sunset.
Mon. Mar. 21, 2011 (Week 24, Day 168) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: fresh especially in the am, sunny & cloudy periods all day Winds: E 15-20K all day only decreasing well after sunset
Easterly winds blew all night long; wind gen worked it’s heart out. I listened to CP lying in bed. I changed the bed linen & washed the main cabin & aft cabin floors & shook their mats while listening to the Net. At 0930 hrs. we climbed into the dinghy with our foul weather gear donned over to Union Jack dock. Our first errand was checking on Murphy; in a cage in the working house going nuts in the presence of other dogs. I asked Annie to clip Murph’s nails in addition to clipping her rough coat & bathing her as Larry requested. Then it was off to several shops along Queen Elizabeth Dr. & Don McKay Blvd. No coconut or 8 Grain bread till after 1330 hrs.; I guess white bread is their big seller & others are baked later. After lunch we said hello to Patric then tied up at the Morrows’ boat, checked the frig/freezer, charge & surroundings, then 2 wash loads= $7.00 each & 2 dryers= free, while checking emails. On our way home we stopped to say hello to Jim & Linda (Winsome). Then I did some relaxing reading in the cockpit until OB & Bubba arrived to again problem solve our unoperating blower fan on the engine & charging system--> OB discovered the ground wire from the newly installed alternator in Sept. ’10 was improperly installed + the wire was also broken underneath the plastic coating; once repaired the blower fan worked, the charging system increased to 14.2 & the electric windlass still worked. HURRAY (I hope)! We will get receipts for these 2 jobs. Sunset occurred but there were heavy clouds in the western sky. Supper= leftover chili & pork Thai Pod. Phosphorescence seen in the water around the stern. Dark night, mostly cloudy skies, a late rising moon & considerably less wind.

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