Tues. Mar. 29, 2011 (Week 26, Day 176) Happy Birthday Bruce! Destination: Elbow Cay to Marsh Harbour Departure: 1310 hrs. Arrival: 1545 hrs. Mileage: 9 SM/ 7.8 NM Weather: cloudy am, very warm & humid, then clearing to blue skies & sunshine Winds: N-->NE-->E 6-10K
Non predicted, non forecasted winds! 0130 hrs. there was a soft sprinkling of rain & we were pointed in NE direction then an increase in wind strength from calm to 15-20K; at 0300 hrs. we were still experiencing 15-20K NE winds but heavier rains then calm at 0630 hrs. No NE directional winds in any forecasts! In fact, absolutely no predictions of any north winds predicted all week! Only SE 15-20K with squalls of 30K today, S 20-30K with squalls of 30-35K tomorrow & similarly winds Thurs. & Fri.! As of mid afternoon this did not transpire, which left us in a quandary as what to do & where to go. We met Jody & Joe at Coffee House in Hope Town at 0915 hrs.--> great coffee, raspberry white chocolate or cinnamon apple scones & a great couple of hours of chatting. We all walked to Vernon’s & Graeme & I bought the last key lime pie ($15.00) but more to be made, so Jody & Joe will get theirs at about 1500 hrs. We said our goodbyes hoping to meet up on Fri. at Nippers’ Barefoot Man Concert on Guana Cay. We dinghied to the infamous lighthouse & climbed the 101 stairs to the outdoor 360 degree balcony--> breathtaking 360 view! We made another detour to say hello to ‘Texas Dreamer’ who had just anchored closeby; had a tour of their catamaran, shown all the sea glass they picked yesterday off the Atlantic Beach on Tilloo Cay that a local had directed them to & sold Graeme a case of Bud Light beer ($25.00) because they had too much beer. After lunch we up anchored & motorsailed NNW under full jenny (4.5K) towards Scotland Cay because the skies were very variable with thunder clouds building in the southeast & clear skies in the northwest. At the level of Marsh Harbour we made a decision to turn in that direction instead of onto Treasure Cay for the following reasons: a) unable to hail the Morrows on VHF & how was Lynn making out, b) 2 missed calls on my Canadian cell & were the calls from them, c) the Great Abaco Island fires & smoke still in progress & with NE winds smoke heading in the direction of Treasure Cay, d) what will the weather forecast be tomorrow & will there be 30K squalls, e) we were staging to be at Guana Cay for Barefoot Man Concert at Nippers on Fri., f) then staging to cross the Whale Cay Passage followed by the crossing to Florida mainland with the appropriate window, & g) have the final laundry & grocery projects in place for the crossings. The anchorage was quite full but we found a suitable spot fairly close to Mangoes. We spotted ‘Walkabout’ anchored. There was no response from ‘Twomorrows’ when we hailed them so we dinghied over to learn that Lynn required emergency treatment yesterday pm for probable pneumonia! On our way home we went & said hello to Jean & Bob on ‘Walkabout’. A cloudy sunset. Supper= sloppy joes. A dark night, stars & anchor lights+++ & fires in the southwest sky.
Wed. Mar. 30, 2011 (Week 26, Day 177) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: very warm especially in the sun, humid, mostly sunny with cloudy periods Winds: definitely the factor of the day; ESE-->SE-->S building throughout the day from 8K at dawn to 15-20K
A few “ugly days” ahead expressed by CP & confirmed on the Net, especially tomorrow & Fri. with some relief apparently on Sat. & Sun. (perhaps our window to cross the Whale) & another cold front Tues. & Wed. Lynn called herself on VHF 63 this am; another baby step of improvement! The guys were going diving today. Some housekeeping tasks undertaken by me while Graeme emptied some water & diesel jerry cans into the boat tanks then to shore to refill the diesel jerry can. I prepared my computer backpack & laundry supplies to wash our comforter. To shore after lunch to do the one load of laundry ($3.50) & Graeme did 2 water jerry can runs + few emails; the others downloaded to Windows Live Mail to see offline later. Congrats to Steve Hall in successfully obtaining his Level 3 Ski Instructors! We met Jean & Bob (Walkabout) under Mangoes gazebo doing internet. We met Larry & Kevin after their dive. It is most unfortunate that it is looking as if we may have to leave Marsh Harbour before Lynn is given the O.K. to depart by the doctor & she gains some strength; we need to get back to Deltaville as early in May as possible & in Ottawa by early June. I am very sad with tears welling up in my eyes just thinking about it. Most of the afternoon the skies were plagued by smoke fires, very close if not off Don McKay Blvd. here in Marsh Harbour. By sundown smoke filled the anchorage & ash was falling on boats. Sunset was obscured by clouds just above the landmass. Supper= breaded boneless chicken breasts & peas. Although the night skies were clear with stars the smell of smoke was most unpleasant. There is no money, no resources & no manpower to fight these fires that have spread up from the south since Mar. 10th!
Thurs. Mar. 31, 2011 (Week 26, Day 178) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: very warm (82F) & humid, mostly sunny, smell of smoke & presence of smoke clouds Winds: S to SW calm a few hours before dawn & at dawn, then increasing to 15 to 20K; in late afternoon there were gusts of 25K+
Unstable weather again today with an approaching cold front; nevertheless we continued to make all preparations for departure in the next few days. To Mangoes & did 3 loads of laundry ($10.50)+ internet, posting week 25 of my blog, while Graeme did ? errands on my bike. Lynn had improved more by this am--> no oxygen; Larry & Kevin were taking the ferry to Hope Town for the day. Once laundry was done, I took the bike to Island Bakery for their last coconut bread & a loaf of cinnamon raisin ($6.30), then to Maxwells for some fresh fruit & vegetables & meat. We checked in with Lynn but she was experiencing some shortness of breath with minimal activity therefore re-established her oxygen. We returned the laundry & groceries to the boat; of course the winds were gusting 25K. Smoke smell & smoky skies south & further east than last night. We returned to ‘Twomorrows’ after 1600 hrs. just as Larry & Kevin arriving back from their excursion to Hope Town. A short visit & drink, then we loaded the folding bike into the dinghy & back to it’s storage spot on the boat--> stored on the Morrows’ boat while anchored in Marsh Harbour. We were entertained by a band on shore near Union Jack dock. Sunset happened behind heavy clouds. Supper= leftover sloppy joes. Don on VHF 09 at 1930 hrs. included rain, lightning & thunder during the night in his evening weather report. Boat showers X 2 as we both felt grungy. Dark skies, many stars & some cloud. I guess March was going out like a lion.
Fri. April 1, 2011 (Week 26, Day 179) April Fool’s Day! Destination: Marsh Harbour (? last day) Weather: very warm, sticky, mostly cloudy am, heavy rains midday, mainly sunny pm & cooler, less humidity by evening Winds: S to SW 15-30K as cold front passing with 3-4 ft. chop in the Sea of Abaco, then winds clocking W to N & decreasing to 10-12K
Lightning in amongst the clouds & very little thunder during the night. No transmission from CP as his antenna had been knocked out from a ? tornado in Florida. The only weather was from the Net that uses Barometer Bob reports (barometerbob.org)--> an unpleasant day of high winds, chop & rains forecasted. Breakfast, shower & dressed & packed a small bag each for a day on Guana Cay for the Barefoot Man Concert. We tied the dinghy up to the Morrows’ boat. Lynn was feeling another step of improvement; her lungs auscultated with my stethoscope & sounded pretty dry although decreased air entry on the left side. Kevin got away fine. We took the 1030 ferry ($27.00 X 2) to Guana Cay with Jean & Bob, with a short stop at Scotland Cay. There was lots of wind & chop but the ferry was well handled. We slowly walked up the hill to Nippers, met Jody & Joe & had lunch over the noon hour as the skies opened up & 2 bouts of heavy rain fell; good for the fires on Great Abaco Island. Then the skies slowly cleared & Mr. Barefoot Man played for 2-1/2 hrs. without a break. The event was well attended by young & old & all in between, many scantly clad in swimwear attire; lots of dancing & drinking without any raucous; a fun time! We took the 1645 ferry directly back to Marsh Harbour & checked in with the Morrows re the doctor’s report--> they were unable to go due to the high winds, low tide & inability to get off the boat & the smoke fires; another appointment setup for tomorrow at 1630 hrs. We were invited to stay for dinner & what a fine, scrumptious dinner we had--> Mediterrean Chicken with basmati rice (Yummmm!) & homemade key lime pie for dessert (WOW!) We made our way home at 2100 hrs. in the dark under clear skies & stars. A truly fun day with friends!
Sat. Apr. 2, 2011 (Week 26, Day 180) Destination: Marsh Harbour still, damn it! Weather: cooler (78F), drier air, sunny & blue skies once the mist or smoke haze burnt off Winds: near flat calm, gradual increase over the noon hour to 10K from SE then calm 1-1/2 hrs. before sunset
Tornados had indeed hit Florida yesterday & had toppled the 2 trees in CP’s yard both on each of his 2 antennas, thus no transmission yesterday; today’s report indicated that it was to be light & variable, building tonight & tomorrow & further Mon. & Tues. with 20-25K & squalls of 30-40+K; no squalls Wed. but still 20-25K winds! Great, stuck here till Thurs. or Fri. even after commiserating with Lynn & her sources! We have been here a month & have seen so little of my wishlist! My frustration level was over the top today & I had many a meltdown. The anchorage is near empty. Yes, the Whale was good to cross today, but where was everyone going to hold up for this clash of fronts from the north & south? Not everyone could hide in Green Turtle. Graeme was of no help whatsoever; he has no plans or fails to share any but is always fast to say “I don’t know.” He spent all afternoon in the main cabin as usual drinking beer, eating popcorn & reading or sleeping; sorry, he scrubbed the cockpit floor with probably saltwater, which makes it tacky. I pouted in misery trying to read on deck but thinking how I want to be home or at least be able to move towards home. One gets very complacent staying in one spot too long & then insecure to move. And the fires seemed to erupt again today filling the sky with smoke & ash. Supper= pork chop with garlic sauce, potatoes & peas for Graeme & I had his leftover chicken & rice from last night with peas. Clouds concealed the sunset; a red sky. Wedding & music at beautiful house/resort on the north side of the harbour with loud less appealing music on the south side. The water was like a mirror; clear skies & stars.
Sun. Apr. 3, 2011 (Week 26, Day 181) Destination: Marsh Harbour, unfortunately Weather: thick mist of haze & smoke hung over the harbour & land till well after 0900 hrs. then sunny & warm (78F) Winds: mirror calm with gradual increase about noon from the SE at 10-12K & after sunset E
We woke to the smell of smoke & dense smoke haze over the harbour. We heard the weather portion of the Net as I showered & dressed for Church. The church bus was early & I caught it on it’s turn around route to St. Frances de Sales; a little late starting Mass, a whole hour service with great music & singing, & coffee & cake afterwards. Lynn had a good night with 7 hrs. of sleep. Internet under the gazebo & Graeme snuck in a shower before we headed back to the boat for lunch & some reading on the deck. Then we dinghied over to the Jib Room, walked over to the small beach & each of us individually snorkeled Mermaid Reef--> fair coral & excellent variety & number of fish. We squeezed in a beer at the Jib Room before they closed at 1600 hrs. We checked on Lynn; unable to nap & energy level was still nil. Back on the boat we rinsed off ourselves & bathing suits with fresh water on the transom, then read till suppertime about 1915 hrs. Supper = pork chops with garlic sauce, rice & beans. Low clouds interfered with the setting sun above the landmass now near 1930 hrs. A fresh evening breeze, red sky amongst the clouds & a few late arriving boats. The star filled night sky was dark as the moon these days was still rising & setting during the daylight hours.
Mon. Apr. 4, 2011 (Week 26, Day 182) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: sunny with cloudy periods, warm (80’ish) in the sun Winds: E to ESE 10-15K but gusting to 20-25K after dark
A scratchy reception from CP; unstable atmosphere & still predicting high winds & squalls 30-40K & possibly up to 50K Tues.; Barometer Bob predicting lesser winds & no mention of squalls but 20% chance of rain. Who do you believe? Boats mostly entering the harbour, but a couple of charter boats from Moorings/Sun Sail left. Two boats were anchored too close to us for my liking, especially with the possibility of 30-50K squalls tomorrow. Some reading on the deck before & after lunch. Mid afternoon we dinghied to Mangoes as the Morrows invited us for an early Happy Hour with Bette & Bill (Sea Mist); we met them 2 yrs. ago in the Spring in Charleston & again in St. Augustine. We first checked our emails, then it was catch up time for the 6 of us chatting away over munchies & drinks in the Morrows’ cockpit; Lynn tolerated us for 2 hrs. without oxygen. It was windier out in the anchorage but certainly not the 20Kforecasted; I’m pissed to think that we could have moved. Clouds settled in the west before sunset; some pink sky. Supper= Knorr’s cream of wild mushroom soup--> very good. Just before bedtime gusting winds kicked up to 15-25K; guess I’m not pissed of now. Stars, very few clouds & dark.