Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mar. 22-28,2011 (Week 25, Day 169-175)

Tues. Mar. 22, 2011 (Week 25, Day 169) Destination: Marsh Harbour, boring but not really Winds: E to SE 5-8K refreshing breezes during the day to S to SW & calm after sunset
A peaceful night led to a peaceful morning. Graeme had difficulty getting CP this am until it was nearly over; not a big deal as we weren’t going anywhere. We listened to the Net then Graeme wanted to do the eggs & bacon breakfast at Mangoes ($7.00 each). I was brought back to the boat & Graeme returned to Mangoes, unfolded my bike & did errands--> bought another BIG can of cashews at Save Lots ($19.99), some fuses & who knows what else. I cleaned rust stains & used Prism to touch up some stainless--> the windlass & bowroller almost looked like new. I laid out on the deck reading a new great book that I started yesterday; it was recommended & loaned to me by Fraser Robidoux (“Honey, Let’s get a Boat”—a cruising adventure of America’s Great Loop by Ron & Eva Stob); I highly recommend it to the readers of my blog, because the author expertly describes places we have travelled, nautical terms & techniques vividly & with simplicity for those of you who are not sailors/boaters, & most importantly for me expresses so well the psychological stresses & emotions I have so poorly tried to convey, stresses & emotions that “I individually am the only one who feels this way”; on the contrary, I find I am no different than other cruisers, I am not alone. A late lunch then we gathered shower & computer supplies & to shore. We checked new emails, Graeme showered, then off on my bike again, then a 3rd time after my ride to Island Bakery (no coconut bread but 8 grain= $3.25) & over to the residential area on the north side of the harbour, while I was showering. It was 1730 hrs. before we were returned to the boat. Supper= pork chops & a vegetable medley of potatoes, corn, carrots, onions, pepper & garlic. The Morrows arrived as expected but dead tired, sick with colds & going right to bed. Sunset sky was fabulous (1920 hrs.)! The night was comfortably cool, calm, stars & a late rising moon.
Wed. Mar. 23, 2011 (Week 25, Day 170) Destination: fresh am, sunny & cloudless skies till mid pm, then a few fair weather clouds Winds: calm with very slight movement from the E till the later ½ of the pm when winds increased to 8-10K & shifted to S & SW
Much better transmission from CP at 0630 hrs.; good weather predicted for a few days. It was so calm this am that many boats left Marsh Harbour, some of which did the Whale Cay Passage. 8 grain bread for breakfast was absolutely divine! With Graeme in the dinghy with a long brush broom & I on deck adjusting the dinghy’s bow & stern lines as necessary, ‘Sweet Chariot Too’ received a partial bottom exfoliation. This may help with the sound of krill heard in the quiet of night since our arrival in Marsh Harbour. Larry hailed us on VHF 63 at 1000 hrs.; his cold & fatigue improving but Lynn was not well at all! On oxygen by nasal prongs, increased number of aerosol treatments, increased dosage of Prednisone & started a course of antibiotics & sleep. We introduced ourselves to ‘Honeywind’ whom we had met in the USA several months ago. We met Larry at 1100 hrs. & traded our new Mastercards for a couple of packages of chicken noodle soup for Lynn. I activated our new cards & verified with a call to them on Skype. I added minutes & service time to my TracFone but I noticed the phone did not display this addition. Graeme was off on my bike; obtained a receipt from OB for the work done on the boat & purchased a new camera as Lynn & Larry were not very successful in locating a new battery for his Olympus; that man knows how to spend money needlessly in my estimation. I babysat Lynn while she was sleeping when Larry picked up Murphy Brown. Back on the boat I read; with all this reading of good novels, except for 2 that I quit after a few chapters, I am not getting any planned needlepoint done. Lorraine & Phil (Changes) dropped in for a drink & invited us over for cards this evening. Supper= turkey alfredo. Sunset occurred but we were all in Changes’ cabin & missed it. We learnt a new card game called 10 Pennies. A dark, cool night with tons of stars but with a moon not rising till late.
Thurs. Mar. 24, 2011 (Week 25, Day 171) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: fresh day secondary to the wind, although the predicted high was 75F& low of 66F Winds: WSW all right but it blew howling winds of 15-20K, stronger than predicted
I’m afraid that I dozed through most of CP’s transmission but I did study Graeme’s notes & listened to the Net’s weather ( & although a weak cold front was coming through, these winds were a surprise. Why do I always pick windy days to do laundry? 2 loads at Mangoes @ $3.50 each= $7.00 & dryer free. Lynn was slowly improving this am. On the internet I posted week 24 of my blog, few emails & everything checked out on my TracFone (additional minutes) thanks to Graeme’s assistance. There were few boats anchored in the harbour’s calm yesterday but filling up today again. Supper was going to be nachos but I discovered that I had no salsa; tomorrow’s supper, therefore supper= leftover chili & turkey alfredo. The winds started diminishing about 1 hour before sunset & a beautiful sunset & red sky it was. Not as many conch blowers as some nights. Tonight was one of the few nights we remembered to listen to weather by Don on VHF 09 at 1030 hrs.--> weather for USA & Canadian cities & Bahamas; he stated that the winds today exceeded predictions & decreasing overnight & tomorrow & high temp. today was 77F (did feel like it). I finished reading Fraser’s book re cruising the Great Loop this evening. A dark night of clear skies, stars, no moon & music from land.
Fri. Mar. 25, 2011 (Week 25, Day 172) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: warm, mostly sunny, partly cloudy but in the pm cloud free Winds: WNW 10K
Yes, the day did begin with listening to CP & the Net--> the winds were to subside but move from west in the next few days to south, which is not a great direction for many places in the Sea of Abaco. I took my bike from the Morrows’ boat mid am & provisioned at Maxwells with the hope we can move elsewhere. Graeme seemed to be perfectly happy to sit here, drink beer eat peanuts & read or sleep down in the main cabin & when on land spends money. Needless to say we had a heated discussion about where to move with a southerly component to the winds till early next week. Lunch, internet at Mangoes, bike ride east to the end of the road. Lynn was somewhat better but still not mobile--> cabin fever. Larry did laundry while awaiting his brother, Kevin’s arrival. We regathered at ‘Twomorrows’ after 1800 hrs., saw photos of Jeremy’s wedding followed by supper at Snappas. Dark, threatening rain clouds at sunset; humid & no wind in the harbour. On returning to the boat we were looking at a mass of mast lights—quite pretty.
Sat. Mar. 26, 2011 (Week 25, Day 173) Destination: Marsh Harbour to Tilloo Cay, northernmost anchorage just south of Elbow Cay & Tilloo Cut Departure: 0910 hrs. Arrival: 1220 hrs. Mileage: 10.4 SM/9 NM Weather: warm & humid, partly sunny & partly cloudy with threatening rain clouds-->a handful of raindrops Winds: calm at dawn, 12-15K from SE by 0930 hrs.--> S--> SW at 10K by sunset
I have had my fill of Marsh Harbour; need to move on & see my wish list as time permits. Another morn of difficulty receiving CP’s transmission till it was too late; the Net announced light southerly component winds X several days. Lots of moisture on the enclosure. We saw Larry & Kevin in the Dive Abaco boat as they left harbour for Fowl Cay. It’s great Larry was getting a chance to use his newly acquired diving certification with his brother who is an expert diver; they are hoping to do a few dives during Kevin’s week of vacation. Unfortunately Lynn is not well enough to relocate the boat elsewhere; perhaps they all may take the ferry to Hope Town tomorrow. When up anchoring there was a lot of sandy muck on the chain & anchor; I actually used the deck water wash which had not been used in months (? 4 months)! The knotmeter had stopped working due to a fair amount of collected dirt--> too long sitting at same spot at anchor. The unit needed to be removed to be cleaned allowing a small amount of saltwater in the insertion area; this may have been the reason for the scant saltwater under the floorboard compartment. As soon as we left Marsh Harbour into the Sea of Abaco the water was no longer cloudy but crystal clear. We motorsailed with full sails south to Tilloo Cay. The anchor was lowered in 7 ft. water & 80 ft. of chain. There were only 3 of us in the anchorage, well spaced apart. Despite the winds clocking to the south then southwest & only 1 ft. chop the anchorage was not too choppy. A lazy afternoon of reading until the huge ball of fiery red sun slide through some remaining clouds & below the pine forest landmass of the Great Abaco Island at 1920 hrs. Supper= nachos, at last. A very dark night away from the lights of the big city, but the stars were brilliant.
Sun. Mar. 27, 2011 (Week 25, Day 174) Destination: Tilloo Cay Weather: a warm 80F but a breeze that made it feel cooler, no humidity & wall to wall sunshine Winds: S at 10-15K
Surprisingly there was no pitching or rolling action during the night & the wind gen worked steadily all night long keeping the voltage up. Only the Net to listen to this am & a subdued one at that. About 1000 hrs. we climbed into the dinghy over to Lubbers Quarters, a cay in the Sea of Abaco east of Great Abaco Island & west of Elbow & Tilloo Cays, surrounded of shallows especially well into the Sea of Abaco; we walked around Lubber’s Landing & Cracker P’s, both bar & grills that do much advertising on the Cruisers’ Net. Then over to Tahiti Beach on Elbow Cay as it was just finishing low tide; we walked the sandbar & beach, met a couple from Texas we had met only a few days ago at Mangoes, Jeannette & Harry (Texas Dreamer- catamaran by Jeanneau), walked a road of beautiful homes, some overlooking the Sea of Abaco & others overlooking Tilloo Cut & Atlantic. My knee has really restricted my ability to walk any distance & especially soft, sandy beaches since early Feb. It was a wet dinghy ride home against the wind at about 1300 hrs. We could see that fire & smoke had again erupted directly across from us on Great Abaco Island probably at the level of Murphytown, producing one large cloud; have these fires still been smoldering or is there an arsonist? It was an afternoon of reading on the deck until this smoke cloud suspended right over us blocked the sun & allowed the wind to be chilling, napping & trimming & tiding up Graeme’s hair on his neck. The sun set with fire & smoke surrounding it. Supper was eaten in the cockpit= sausages, potatoes & yellow beans. Once again a black night, skies filled with stars & large orangey red fires clearly visible in the west.
Mon. Mar. 28, 2011 (Week 25, Day 175) Destination: Tilloo Cay to Elbow Cay outside Hope Town Departure: 1010 hrs. Arrival: 1225 hrs. Mileage: 8.2 SM/7.16 NM Weather: hazy, secondary to fire smoke(?), very warm (80’sF) & humid, partly sunny & cloudy Winds: S to NNW, 13K to 10K
An unremarkable am--> CP, breakfast & the Net. Jeannette & Harry dinghied over on their way to Tahiti Beach for more shells & coral; both were successful fishing for their supper last evening! We up anchored & motorsailed on our jenny around Lubbers Bank towards Parrot Cays. We took the deep water route & anchored west of Elbow Cay, just south of the harbour entrance to Hope Town in 6.5 ft. water with 100 ft. of chain out--> possible chance of squalls tonight. We dinghied into Hope Town, tied up to the public dock & walked to the north end searching & successfully locating Cash House, where Jody & Joe Frost were staying X 1 week. They were not in so we left our boat card, then walked back towards the public dock, stopping for ice cream. Then we stopped in at Harbour Edge for a cold beer & hopped on the internet; we discovered Joe had left a phone number for his residence. And we did meet up at Captain Jacks, chatting a mile a minute over drinks & appetizers (supper). Just before departing we met Pete Worscht (Osprey) whom we had met here in the Abacos in 2008; another pleasant surprise. The winds & chop had calmed down for our dinghy ride home. A dark, cloudy night, Hope Town lighthouse at our stern & the lights of Marsh Harbour visible across the Sea of Abaco beyond our bow (SSW direction).

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