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).

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.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mar. 8-14, 2011 (Week 23, Day 155-161)

Tues. Mar. 8, 2011 (Week 23, Day 155) Destination: Lynyard Cay to Marsh Harbour Departure: 0815 hrs. Arrival: 1230 hrs. Mileage: 22.8 SM/19.83 NM Weather: warm, partly sunny, partly cloudy, spattering of rain late afternoon Winds: ENE 10K increasing to 15-17K, 1-2 ft. waves, whitecaps, no swells of course
A good copy of CP at 0630 hrs. & we heard all transmissions from ‘Twomorrows’ from Marsh Harbour yesterday pm & at 0730 hrs. today, but our responses were not heard. Brownish, salty water was found in the same 2 compartments as previously this morning, but the transom shower was also found on; was there a connection? We up anchored as the Abaco Cruisers Net started at 0815 hrs. on VHF 68. The winds increased when we left the anchorage to 15-17K, whitecaps & rollers crashing as the Atlantic met the shallows of the Sea of Abaco. We motor sailed with only the jenny, jibbing her, rolling her in & out as we followed the necessary serpentine course of deeper water avoiding the shallows on a rising tide. I suddenly realized how comfortable & relaxed we seemed to be in these familiar waters despite the strength of the winds compared to 2 years ago. I suspect a lot has to do with the many miles & weather conditions we have encountered. We successfully hailed Lynn when passing Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club; Larry was at his scuba certification course. Once in Marsh Harbour we dropped the anchor but were hailed by another boater who diplomatically mentioned we were in a ‘do not anchor channel’, thus we reanchored further to starboard or closer to the southern side of the harbour closer to Mangoes Marina; 8 ft. water & 100 ft. chain. Lunch, sponging up a wee bit of salty water again from 1 compartment & motor on dinghy when Graeme discovered he no longer had his boat keys; he had laid them down but now unable to find them. Where did they go? Overboard? We dinghied to Mangoes to where Lynn & Larry were located & spent several hours catching up on each other’s news over the last week. I walked to the beauty salon at Memorial Plaza re a badly needed haircut; forget it, $30.00! Where’s the barber in town! I was able to hook up to the internet; new Mastercards seem to be at home in Ottawa. But I also received some very upsetting news about a friend from home. It was late by the time we returned to the boat; nothing defrosted. Supper= grilled cheese & an attempt to make French fries. Howling winds, howling wind generator, sliver of moon visible tonight, stars & few clouds.
Wed. Mar. 9, 2011 (Week 23, Day 156) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: coolish, although air temp= 74F & water temp= 75F; sunny & cloudy periods Winds: ESE, E to SE 12-15K but calmer by sunset
The day began as usual at 0630 hrs. with CP, then 0800 hrs. Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club (RMHYC) Net on VHF 78 on Mon. Wed. & Fri., then Abaco Cruisers Net at 0815 hrs. while consuming breakfast. While Graeme emptied the water jerry cans into the boat tank, I washed the main cabin walls, ceiling & shelves & the washbasin & toilet area of the head with soap & water. Boat showers X 2. We loaded my bike & ourselves into the dinghy & off to see Lynn as Larry was doing his final dive (#3 & 4) today. We introduced ourselves to Rey at Mangoes Marina office informing them that we would be looking in on the Morrows boat for the week that they will be away in Las Vegas at their son’s wedding. Graeme walked about & did his thing; I biked 1st looking for a haircut other than the salon at Memorial Plaza. Two were pointed out to me: (1) Catherine’s on Don McKay Blvd. by the traffic lights which was the first one I tried & took; $10.00 but she shaved my back almost like a man’s brushcut! Yicks! (2) in green strip mall near the post office. I visited the jewelry store & placed a deposit on a present for myself. I continued pedaling down to a comparable like store to Costco called ‘Save Lots’ & browsed--> coke= $12.50/ case (best price going ). I retraced back a bit & turned NE & discovered the newly built & newly opened Maxwells Grocery Store; Shop Rite was closed but they were one in the same owner anyway--> very big, modern, bright, clean, so mainland. The Laundromat was in the same location; washers either small ($2.00), medium ($6.00) & large ($9.00) & dryers= $0.25/2 min. whereas Mangoes = $3.50/ load washer or dryer & dryer dried apparently for 1 hr. Graeme used my bike to purchase a case of Sands Lite ($36.75/case at Bristol) then I returned to the jewelers with the balance payment for my gift. At 1730 hrs. we attended Ladies’ Happy Hour at Mangoes--> ½ priced appetizers & certain drinks; Graeme had French onion soup, Lynn & I had conch chowder soup with 2 baskets of fresh bread provided & we all shared 2 plates of conch fritters--> good! On returning to the Morrows boat I quickly checked my emails & our new Mastercards were mailed out to Larry’s brothers address in Ohio. We should have the cards by Mar. 21 or 25. We gazed at the night sky filled with stars, near ¼ moon, mast lights for the increasing number of boats anchored in the harbour & the blazing red sky from a fire in the west end of town as we headed for home. No further needed for supper. An evening of journal entry & reading. No dolphins sited now for a couple of days; they would not want to be in the cloudy, ? water of this harbour.
Thurs. Mar. 10, 2011 (Week 23, Day 157) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: mostly sunny, high temp of about 70F (in the sun I must add), cloud cover rolled in at about 1800 hrs. Winds: ESE 8-10K & slowly clocking all day long
Our usual morning routine with CP & the Net; winds are to clock eventually to the NNW with a high pressure after the cold front with winds of 20-25K from sunset & overnight & possible squalls of 30-40K after midnight; great! This is the weather we kept hearing about on SSB all winter long for the Abacos; & they say the weather in the Abaco is only 5 degrees cooler than the southern Bahamas?--> crap! It has been quite cool especially in the shade & in the evenings & it’s March! I prepared to do laundry at Mangoes & internet, & hopefully more meandering with my bike. Larry bought my tokens for the laundry at the office, then checked out a car rental for tomorrow. Mangoes laundry facilities= 2 washers & 2 dryers at $3.50 each, supposedly. One dryer, interesting enough, was vacated before the cycle was finished by a Mangoes employee; I did 3 washing loads & used that same dryer for 1-1/2 of my washed loads--> dryer still did not stop; I purchased a dryer cycle which did my remaining 1-1/2 washed loads & it too did not finish a cycle (each well over 1 hour). I wonder if any tokens were required in these dryers? 4 paid loads X $3.50= $14.00. I met Jeanne & Bob (Walkabout) under the gazebo at Mangoes doing some internet while waiting for the laundry. I worked away at replies to many emails until all internet access was lost for > 1 hr. It was too frustrating so I quit without all replies done & not being able to post my last week of my blog, but I did learn how to reset a password when connected up to the net--> right click onto Properties! Graeme did a few ? errands; learnt some info from OB (Moorings) re an ongoing problem with cracking elbows on Yanmar engines, learnt his camera & drill chargers were O.K. but the batteries were not from a local electronics place that checked them out--> Lynn & Larry will try to purchase a new battery (specific) for Graeme’s Olympus camera. Larry wrote & passed his scuba certification this pm with flying colours; Keith from Dive Abaco was an excellent instructor. The fires from last evening were in a pine forest; pine needles on the ground were so thick that the fires were still smoldering & with the clocking winds, waves of ash & smoke were headed in our direction. Back to the boat before the weather deteriorated as predicted starting at sunset with one stop to say ‘hello’ to Gorma, a boat from Winnipeg we met 2 years ago in Vero Beach; they know ‘SaYes’. A line of clouds rolled in before sunset; conch blowers but no visible sunset. The winds definitely clocked through to the S, W & NW by dark, with periods of calm, spits of rain accompanied by wind, more calm & clear skies thus stars, & more wind as the clocking continued to the E & SE. Again no meat was defrosted; supper= hot dogs & Japanese cabbage salad. By bedtime a ¼ moon had risen & we were still clocking round in a circle. Which directions will be facing in the morning?
Fri. Mar. 11, 2011 (Week 23, Day 158) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: cool, high only 68F; mostly sunny with some clouds Winds: after sunset yesterday NNW winds continued to clock N-->E-->S-->W--> & back to NW by dawn & fairly calm at 15-20K; no squalls of 30-40K overnight as predicted; although not on the boat since early this am, it seemed that the winds remained NW 10-15K
Happy Birthday Lynn! CP was late transmitting this am--> improving weather today & for the coming several days. A boat shower for me after breakfast. Graeme let out more chain (total now= 150 ft.) & we closed the boat up as we were spending the day with a car rental touring. No $65.00/day car rental so $75.00--> a Buick Century. At first we did a few errands in town -->Maxwells--> limited groceries for the time being, dog sitter for Murphy Brown when the Morrows leave for their son’s wedding on Mon., Bristol--> beers & Lynn’s wine, bank, couple of shops looking for Graeme’s camera battery, & Save Lots. Then we drove all the way to Sandy Point, the most southern settlement of Great Abaco Island, passing through several areas of smoke & fires in the Abaco National Park--> was this on purpose to get rid of underbush or an accident? We headed north toward Little Harbour stopping at Serenity Point--> a gated community in the works with roads, lights, surveyed lots, landscaping but no houses actually built, yet workers on the premises. Onto Pete’s Pub for lunch--> hogfish (delicious). I walked the Atlantic beach for some sea glass (poor shells & garbage) & a very quick look at the Gallery. We passed through more serious fires especially at Murphytown on the way to Treasure Cay. It was nearly 1700 hrs., the beach bar was closing & the marina bar, ‘Tipsy Seagull’ was beginning to open (expensive--> beer= $6.00); it was very quiet, very few people about. The wind was blowing directly onto this most beautiful, crescent shaped beach with powder soft white sand & the tide was rising; not good for shelling today. Back to Marsh Harbour at dusk. Supper = appetizer food at Snappas as we were not very hungry after a late lunch. Lynn was not feeling 100%; in need of rest. We dinghied back to the boat under mostly clear skies, few clouds, stars, ¼ moon, but quite chilly & the fires from Murphytown were very evident.
Sat. Mar. 12, 2011 (Week 23, Day 159) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: cool in the shade, temp maybe 70F; partially sunny & cloudy Winds: NNW at dawn 10-12K shifting to NE 8-10K
Happy Birthday Donna! Sunrise certainly has been earlier these last couple of weeks, soon after 0630 hrs., & now we’re switching to DST tonight (1 hr. ahead). Our usual morning listening programs, CP & Cruisers Net. Suddenly ran out of propane making breakfast --> 1-1/2 mons duration; switched tanks. We invited the Morrows over for dinner tonight as they leave on Mon. X 1 week. I owe them so much! They were my refuge, my saviour in so many ways! I prepped supper & even baked a dessert. Graeme washed down the cockpit & transom. I have been mottling skin for > week; exfoliated skin was everywhere; shook the carpets again. Once the the dishes were all washed up Graeme dropped me off at the Morrows boat while he went to the electronic store above the Jib Room Restaurant at Marsh Harbour Marina (north side of the harbour) located & introduced himself to Tracey Ross’ (Fleet Captain at Nepean Sailing Club) parents. Larry with much patience problem solved some computer issues; (1) not having mail going to Rogers + my gmail account,; (2) activate Windows Mail & creating a shortcut on my desktop, so I can download all new emails to Windows Mail when online & read later when offline. Graeme did water brigade with the jerry cans from ‘Twomorrows’ slip at Mangoes Marina. I took my bike & dropped in a few shops east of Mangoes & through the residential area by the Jib Room. Lynn & Larry got their projects done as well. Appetizers in our enclosed cockpit while the sun was setting behind clouds & the smoke still from the forest fires in Murphytown. Supper= curried peanut chicken. Just as the Morrows left, the music from somewhere along the south shore started up; loud & easily heard over the harbour water & continued till very late, although we were fast asleep. Half moon visible through the light cloud cover in the night sky.
Sun. Mar. 13, 2011 (Week 23, Day 160) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: coolish, about mid 60’sF, sunny with few clouds in am but increasing clouds mid pm Winds: E 5-8K
With DST there was less light at our usual time of waking. Boat shower for me & dressed for church; 0820 hrs. Graeme dinghied me to Mangoes & the school bus arrived there early to pick those of us waiting to go to St. Francis de Sales 0900 hrs. Mass; same driver, same route from Mangoes to RMNYC, turn around, along Queen Elizabeth Dr. to Don McKay to the Haitian community, then to St. Francis de Sales by 0845 hrs. Mass was quite reserved compared to other times, maybe because it was the 1st Sunday of Lent? & dedicated totally for Bruce! You are daily in my thoughts & prayers! Once dropped off after Mass back at Mangoes, found Lynn & Larry doing laundry, but the power went off x 30 min. or so; apparently this has been an ongoing problem that the Nassau news said was being addressed. Murphy Brown (Morrows’ dog) accidentally scraped Lynn’s leg with her claws during the night; now Lynn has a similar skin abrasion as her arm which is nicely healing these days; probably new abrasion will also require debriding. Back to boat for lunch then an afternoon of cleaning boat stainless steel starting at the stern & wearing my bathing suit; I was having feelings of withdrawal but had to work briskly to keep warm; Graeme piddled at things. There was a mass exodus by many boats from Moorings/SunSail operation at Conch Marina. At 1630 hrs. to the Morrows; I helped Larry take Murphy to Annie Pinder, the dog sitter for 10 days--> Larry quite reluctant, but I offered to check in on her. Larry downloaded my more recent photos on his stick. We offered to check their boat frequently & received last minute instructions, so we will be in the Marsh Harbour for several more days. We departed near 1900 hrs. wishing them a good trip & a great wedding. The sun had not set yet; smoke from the fires was still very apparent from Murphytown. We started the process of defrosting the freezer for the 1st time. Supper= pork Thai Pod. A calm night, ½ moon & stars.
Mon. Mar. 14, 2011 (Week 23, Day 161) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: warm sun but cool in shade & cool breeze; partly sunny & partly cloudy Winds: E 8-10K
Somewhat dark on rising this morning. The usual morning routine. The freezer defrosting procedure faired well; sheets of ice easily removed by morning, everything emptied, refrig/freezer units washed down & food returned to their respective places all by 0930 hrs.; a good job! The taxi picked the Morrows up at 0900 hrs.; flight was a 1000 hrs. Graeme took our empty propane tank to the hardware store before 0900 hrs. + bank + ?, then dinghied me to shore about 1100 hrs. I returned the cooler bag to the Morrows’ boat & retrieved the Mangoes Marina BR/shower key wrapped around a sleeve of oreo cookies left for our use; a good chuckle! No electricity or internet failure for a change so I was able to work on many email replies, cleaned up my mail boxes & studied my newly established Windows Mail program. My 1st new email of the day was from Lynn; their plane in Marsh Harbour ran into engine problems! What a way to start the day of long travel. I also charged my cell phone & camera battery. Graeme took some books to Buck-a Book & brought the cracked engine elbow to OB at Moorings to weld; will return it tomorrow. Back to the boat for a quick lunch at 1330 hrs. then returned to shore & a leisurely bike ride X 1-1/2 hrs. Propane tank refilled ($15.00) & picked up. I read in the cockpit till 1900 hrs. & the sun still had not set. I showed Graeme how to read his mail offline in Windows Mail. Some boats today had moved out of harbour & new ones arrived. Sunset did happen below the line of clouds & land mass. White & dark smoke was still visible all day from the fires at Murphytown. Supper= leftover curried peanut chicken for me & nil for Graeme as he said his stomach was feeling ill, yet he consumed chips & peanuts earlier. The night sky consisted of stars + light clouds + slightly greater than ½ moon. The harbour was calm & little wind.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March 1-7, 2011 (Week 22, Day 148-154)

Tues. Mar. 1, 2011 (Week 22, Day 148): Destination: Royal Island to Spanish Wells Departure: 0800 hrs. Arrival: 0910 hrs. Mileage: 7.2 SM/6.24 NM Weather: warm, sunny with cloudy periods; short period of dark rain clouds to the N & NE Winds: SSW 15-20K till mid am then decreased gradually to near calm after sunset & shift to W
The Morrows left shortly after 0600 hrs.; they called outside the harbour & said it was choppy. Hopefully the winds will drop as predicted by Acuweather (8--> 4K & swinging to the NNW). I pray they have a safe voyage & that their plumbing problem is rectified quickly & with ease. CP was back on air but perhaps not from his location in Florida as the reception was very poor & therefore we’re not sure about a big cold front arriving Wed. pm. (? 30-35K). When we left the anchorage there was only 2 boats remaining. We rolled out only ¼ jenny & motorsailed at >6K. We made several attempts to hail ‘Bandit’; the damn VHF! All these electrical issues need to be addressed! When we made contact we indeed had been assigned to mooring ball #6; hooked up with ease. It was much calmer here. A single dolphin played at our bow as an arrival greeting. Also we saw a colourful jellyfish + a white egret the size of a heron in the marsh grasses near us. From late am till early pm we walked about town & was given a golf cart ride to the large grocery store , Food Fair. Best to shop on Thurs. after the boat comes in early Thurs. I found prices better in Rock Sound. Also to note is lunch hour closure from 1200 to 1300 or 1330 hrs. at most business. Chatted with a couple from Halifax. I must remember to wear my knee brace from now on when walking--> pain has returned. Graeme filled the gas in dinghy gas tank & the generator & diesel into the boat tank & did an oil change. I, on the other hand, no longer have any ambition to do anything; I need to get home & get on with my life. Supper= leftover sweet & sour stir fry. A complete switch to calm conditions by sunset, clear skies & stars.
Wed. Mar. 2, 2011 (Week 22, Day 149): Destination: Spanish Wells Weather: sunny & cloudy periods, sometimes dark & threatening rain, but none Winds: concern for the next few days; increase to 15K & shift to the N during the night & further increase to 20-25K from NE by sunset
A good dose of rain in the middle of the night X 5-10 min. Sunrise definitely earlier these mornings. ‘Rainy Day’ transmitted weather & reception scratchy but understandable--> confirmed 20+ winds X several days through to Sun. Graeme did a fuel refilling run to Pinder’s with the jerry cans. I did floor & carpet maintenance + shower; I’m pleased with the frequent washing effectively keeping the interior mostly salt free unlike the exterior. Graeme insisted to take the ‘Bo Henghy’ Fast Ferry to Harbour Island at 1015 hrs. We met the couples on ‘Say Yes’, ‘Second Star’ (Crogan 38) & ‘Monk’s Vineyard’ also making the trip today. The outside passage was rough. The Tourist Office was our 1st stop of our walking tour for a map. We walked the area bordered by Dunmore St., King St., Bay St. & Clarence St. I lunched alone at a deli beside Bristol Wines. Loading back on the ferry opened at 1500 hrs. till departure at 1540 hrs. Once back in Spanish Wells, we walked down to the Lobster Processing Plant in attempt to connect to the internet like 2 yrs. ago but unsuccessful. We dinghied down to Yacht Haven Marina where ‘Say Yes’ was tied up because Wendy had the name of the location to buy internet--> Harbourside Gift Shop, Buggy Rental & Custom Brokerage for $15.00 for the length of one’s stay. We were invited to stay for a drink. Some pink sky at sunset; wind >20K. Supper= onion soup with pasta & onion bread. Graeme checked our mooring ball lines at my request. Stars+++ & some cloud in the dark night sky.
Thurs. Mar. 3, 2011 (Week 22, Day 150): Destination: Spanish Wells Weather: partly sunny, partly cloudy, temp probably about 20-23C but felt less secondary to the strong cool winds Winds: NE to ENE 20-30K
The winds & the wind generator were relentless & howled all night long, all day as well I’m sure but we didn’t spend much time aboard. Graeme did listen to ‘Rainy Day’ on SSB; not much change in the forecast; a short window Sun. & Mon. before the cold front leaves & a high follows. We dinghied to shore with full foul gear donned for myself: (1) to Harbourside to purchase WiFi; $15.00 for the length of stay, guaranteed, but only available at the building (table & chairs & electric plug ins) from 1030-1300 hrs.; (2) unnecessary but Graeme insisted to rent a golf cart X 1 day= $40.00, therefore to Food Fair grocery store for fresh produce & bread as this is Thurs. is fresh stock day; meat disappointing; (3) drive around Russell Island--> 3NM in length, country estate of Spanish Wells (larger properties & thus less dense), citrus & other plantings; (4) drove around Spanish Wells-->located on St. Georges Cay; 1.5NM in length, numerous streets across the length & width of sturdy built & well-cared-for homes, 75% Bahamian lobster fishing. It was extremely windy & thus cool & huge rollers beyond the many reefs around most of the island. In the past 2 years a metal retaining wall has been & still is being constructed on the west beach in the attempt to preserve & restore the beach that is disappearing. Very windy & rough on the beautiful fine sand north beach. Returned to Harbourside near closing time (1700 hrs.) as they kindly agreed to have me leave my netbook & notebook computers to do an antivirus screen overnight--> not done since ?Dec. We will resume our touring tomorrow till 1300 hrs. it was a wet ride home. And we discovered our newly hoisted Canadian flag & flag pole gone most likely due to the wind. Supper= meatballs in tomato & crab sauce with potatoes & a side salad. A dark night, cool temp, cloudy skies soon replaced by clear skies & stars+++.
Fri. Mar. 4, 2011 (Week 22, Day 151): Destination: Spanish Wells Weather: mostly sunny with cloudy periods Winds: continued to be a factor; ENE 15-25K & gusty
A sprinkling of rain from an overhead cloud. CP was back on the air at 0630 hrs.& there was not encouraging weather especially tomorrow + decreasing winds on Sun. but 8 ft. seas on Sun. & 6 ft. on Mon. with more weather approaching Tues. night & Wed. To shore wearing foul weather gear for 0900 hrs. to relieve my computers from Harbourside; full antivirus screens done & 0 issues; all protected once again after ?2-1/2 mons. We had the golf cart till 1300hrs. so tootled around till 1100 hrs.; Graeme continued his tootling & even took Bob from ‘Walkabout’ for the last hour; I got a lot done on the internet. Later Graeme too cleaned up his large share. I attempted to purchase more minutes for my TracFone so I would not lose service come April 4 & discovered both our Mastercards expired! How could I overlooked that! I emailed Mastercard to see what can be done. We met a stream of cruisers like us in a limbo stage. We finally dinghied home after 1600 hrs. Sunsets here in Spanish Wells are behind Charles Island so not a notable experience like the Exumas. Supper= homemade pizza with the thanks to Betty Crocker packaged pizza crusts & yes, I used the oven to bake the pizza. Some stars, some clouds & short spurts of rain but lots of wind.
Sat. Mar. 5, 2011 (Week 22, Day 152): Destination: Spanish Wells Weather: partly cloudy with sunny periods; sun was warm but temp. only about 18C secondary to cool winds Winds: ENE to E 17-22K, some 30K gusts & shifting to ESE after sunset
Another day that was too windy to go to the lovely sandy beach; I am in withdrawals. CP was very good & informative this am! A sponsored boat wanting to cross from Spanish Wells to the Abacos, our exact passage, called in; Sun. would be a good sailing day but the seas were 12 ft. today & would still be up at 10 ft. tomorrow with a prominent NE swell of 9 sec. Mon.= less wind but quieter seas of 6 ft. dropping to 4 ft. Floor & toilet & shower cleaning then to shore. Graeme caught up on all his emails apparently, then walked out & about ?somewhere. I worked again for several hours on some emails to address a few issues, cleaning up folders, chatting with Kim Hunt in Bequia & posted several weeks of my blog finally! Plus I sent a email out to my Bahamas category of people who requested to receive my blog notifying them of the several posts. Ken Pole, you have no idea how uplifting your ‘Ciao Bella’ makes me feel! We prepared our drinks & contribution to Happy Hour down at Yacht Haven Marina at about 1730 hrs. once back at the boat. There was a good attendance of both trawlers & sailboat cruisers; I think it was a release for all of us of the apparent confinement, lack of socializing & the howling winds for 3 very pleasant & enjoyable hours; just what the doctor ordered. A careful dinghy ride home in the dark avoiding unlit sticks in the canal marking shallows. Supper= leftovers of past meatball & stir fry meals. A very dark night, partly cloudy & partly clear sky with stars galore.
Today I finished my 1st 1.75L of Mount Gay Rum purchased in Vero Beach on Nov. 29; on the other hand Graeme did not keep track of the amount of his stash or refuses to admit to the number of cases of beer, number of large cheap rum for all morning coffees & number of sipping rum for his nighcaps.
Sun. Mar. 6, 2011 (Week 22, Day 153): Destination: Spanish Wells Weather: warm & a bit humid, dark threatening rain clouds in the am; slowly dissipated over the noon hour with warm sun & blue skies come 1400 hrs. Winds: E to SSE, variable from moderate to light, 5-10K
Suddenly the howling winds ceased & short lived rain fell about 0300 & again at 0500 hrs.; peaceful calm after 4 full days! No whitecaps & no spray off the whitecaps! The no-see-ums made their presence. We had not had bagels in a while; a nice change for breakfast with fresh coffee this morning. Boat showers X 2. I retrieved my bike from the garage to use to pedal to Spanish Wells Methodist Church (at 22nd St.) service at 1100 hrs. To shore early to check emails all dressed for church. There were no problems loading my bike or space issues in the dinghy, a scintch. I check new emails especially in regards to our Mastercards but no new cards at home in Ottawa. I merrily rode to the church; Wendy & Pat did indeed join me. It was my first time attending a Methodist Church--> quite different & only one hour long! I cycled up & down a few streets enjoying the well kept colourful gardens of most homes especially 15th St.--> the best kept garden in 2010. I also drove to the beach & gathered up lots of the baby powder fine pink sand. The seas were so much quieter today. But I have no idea what the plan is. It has become best not to rock the boat, not voice, but keep my opinions & thoughts to myself. How much more can I turn the other cheek? Now 1400 hrs. & another late lunch then reading in the cockpit in my bathing suit. Bob & Jeanne (Walkabout) checked out the narrow & deep passage out north of Spanish Wells; it is that, deep enough & narrow particularly at one spot. Still no decisions; leave tonight or early am or an overnight passage tomorrow? Then which route? High tide at Little Harbour, Abacos = 1000 hrs. & low tide= 1551 hrs.--> not ideal with a morning departure. The dinghy motor was hoisted up; we will pull the dinghy behind the boat as usual so the lines were prepared as such. Sunset at 1814 hrs. now. Supper= hamburgers & Japanese cabbage salad. A calm, quiet, windless dark night.
Mon. Mar. 7, 2011 (Week 22, Day 154): Destination: Spanish Wells to Lynyard Cay, Abaco Departure: 0610 hrs. Arrival: 1635 hrs. Mileage: 71.9 SM/61.69 NM Weather: expected high temp of 28C, warm, some sun, some interesting cloud formations Winds: light WSW 2-3K to start then NW to N 4-10K clocking to NNE about 8K
Sailing makes you more aware of weather & what’s happening around you. The changing clouds & cloud formations today were very interesting. ‘Walkabout’ & ‘Changes’ left the mooring field at 0600 hrs. & were going through the narrow passage between Spanish Wells & Gun Point. On the other hand, Graeme decided to go the long way around through the cut between Egg Island & Little Egg Island--> successful done at 0705 hrs. Many boats that had been in the marina positioned themselves Sun. at Royal Island anchorage. Lots of boat movement in & out of this area. Just out into the NE Providence Channel we were experiencing 1 ft. waves & 2-3 ft. swells which increased to 1 ft. waves & 5-6 ft, swells with about a 10 sec. interval--> very doable We were able to motorsail close hauled. Very dark clouds from the north fortunately passed over us, the winds shifted & increased to about 8-12K for a spell from the NNW (unable to keep sails filled), & the sun & blue skies with fair weather clouds appeared. We were moving between 5.5-7.4K but still we could barely catch sight of the sailboats & trawlers that left in around the same time frame as us. A third of the way across we changed to going with the current instead of against when we first set out. Disappointingly the winds clocked towards the north, thus directly on our nose so we furled the sail. The winds were predicted to be NE. It was for that reason that I did not enjoy the crossing—72 miles of motoring with winds from the wrong direction to sail but great sea conditions! A few miles from the cut there was cloud over Little Harbour but no precipitation. We received a lot of feedback from boats going through Little Harbour Cut; some positive & some negative opinions. There were large rollers to starboard of the cut with an NE swell but the passage through the cut was non problematic at 1605 hrs. at low tide. Lynyard Cay anchorage was calm; total of 22 boats. We anchored in 20 ft. of water, bottom all grass but a popular anchorage; we put out 120 ft. of chain. The land mass of Great Abaco Island interfered with the setting sun on the horizon but it was a picturesque sunset with the sun squeezed between a line of clouds & the land mass & lovely red sky followed. It will be a while before we will see an unobscured sunset. I have many fond memories of the Exuma & Eleutheran sunsets! A sliver moon before sunset, then a dark night of mesmorizing stars & Milky Way!

FYI: The Abaco Cays extend for about 130 mi. from Walker Cay in the north & Sandy Point in the south. The Abacos offer pristine water for swimming & sailing, reefs for snorkeling & diving, sheltered anchorages, deep sea fishing & beautiful beaches.
• The Northern Abaco Cays: Walker Cay to Allans-Pensacola Cay
They include 7 destination cays, 5 of which are uninhabited. They form a shielding barrier between Little Bahama Bank & the Atlantic, over 50 NM, running on a diagonal from NW to SE. There are four deep water ocean passes to or from the Atlantic, 3 in Walker Cay & the 4th is Moraine Cay Channel. Walker & Grand Cay are the only inhabited cays.
• The Central Abacos: Allans-Pensacola Cay to Great Guana Cay
It is a 35 NM run which includes 7 destination offshore cays. Reefs & cays to the eastern coast of Great Abaco form a barrier shielding a 3 NM wide shallow & largely protected water of the ‘Sea of Abaco’. This series of shallow banks that lie in the Sea of Abaco dictates 2 options when heading south: (1) stay on the western side of the Sea of Abaco & run along the coast of Great Abaco Island, (2) stay on the eastern side running parallel to the cays. An extensive area of sand running from Treasure Cay peninsula eastward to Whale Cay almost blocks the entire width of the Sea of Abaco; you must make a diversion into the Atlantic via Whale Cay Passage, totally no go in bad weather.
• The Southern Abaco Cays: Great Guana Cay to Sandy Point
A 48 NM span; 30 NM is the southern end of Great Abaco Island & is almost totally uninhabited except for Little Harbour, Cherokee & Sandy Point. Areas of interest= Man-O-War Cay & Elbow Cay (Hole Town) on the cay side & Marsh Harbour & Little Harbour on the Great Abaco side. There are 3 good ocean passes--> North Bar Channel & Little Harbour Bar are the exit or entry points to the Berry Islands or other islands of the Bahamas. These passes commit you to coastal Atlantic passages along the weather coast of Great Abaco Island which offers no shelter. Therefore one must be prudent of weather before exiting the shelter of the Sea of Abaco.

Reflecting over the last 5 mons., we have been so very lucky with our weather, certainly warm, & sunny for the most part, with a few blows that forced us to lay low in protected anchorages. The miles we have safely travelled, the number & variety of places we have visited. The people both cruisers & locals we have met. I realize how much easier life has been for me this time round on this new boat. I recall the hardships of basic everyday living from the last adventure. My only hardship this time that is not new but continues & is a constant is sadly the skipper & the loneliness I feel because of no conversation, no communication unless necessary, except with others in a social setting.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Feb. 22- 28, 2011 (Week 21, Day 141-147)

Tues. Feb. 22, 2011 (Week 21, Day 141): Destination: Highborne Cay to Rock Sound, Eleuthera Departure: 0700 hrs. Arrival: 1435 hrs. Mileage: Weather: sunny & warm (25C) & some clouds Winds: ESE 8-13K with 1 ft. seas & insignificant swells; decreasing & shifting to S to W at sunset, then NE & flat calm
A 0600 hrs. start to the day. A quick listen to CP at 0630 hrs. making sure there would be no sudden weather & sea changes. I expected many boats on the move today as the weather was predicted to moderate throughout the Bahamas, although still higher winds in the SE Bahamas. Despite near mid low tide, thus current against us existing south from the Bahamas Bank through Highborne Cut to the Exuma Sound, no problems encountered. The sails were set, engine revs were set at 1900 RPM for charging purposes & we were moving along at 5-6K from the crystal clear shades of turquoise into deep cobalt blue water. Fifteen miles out into the Exuma Sound we lost sight of the Exumas; 1030 hrs. we caught sight of Eleuthera. We required 4 waypoints starting from Powell Point to maneuver around shallows & coral heads to reach the large anchorage of Rock Sound. We set the anchor down in sand in 8-9 ft. water & 80 ft. of chain; the water was a brilliant aqua colour but translucent. Once settled & motor back on dinghy, we were off to shore where we walked about part of the settlement to get our bearings ie laundry facilities, shops, groceries, medical clinic. It was evident again of a bird population, their singing & actually visible. We noticed more boats had moved into the anchorage on our return. Sunset occurred behind part of the island of Eleuthera but the sky was picturesque all the same. Star filled night sky. Lots of moisture in the air & an odour in the air that smells faintly of urine.
FYI: New laundromat by St. Anne’s Catholic Church--> 0900-1900 hrs. Mon. through Sat. & Sun. 0630-1100 hrs. then 1530-1900 hrs. --> 5 washers, 2 dryers= $3.00 per load OR via Dingle’s where you drop it off one day & pick up the next for the same price
Clinic: nurse 0900-1500 hrs. each day & doctor on Wed. & Fri.
Wed. Feb. 23, 2011 (Week 21, Day 142): Destination: Rock Sound Weather: sunny & quite warm (25C), a few fair weather clouds, lots of moisture on the windows & the deck Winds: ENE to NE <5K
The day started off normal; listening to CP at 0630 hrs., Graeme utilizing the moist windows to clean off the some salt, readied the dirty laundry, washed the floors & dinghied the laundry into Dingle’s drop off laundry service. Larry dropped Lynn & I off at the wharf & we slowly walked to the clinic for someone to look at Lynn’s abrasion suffered 12 days ago, knowing that some loose skin needed to be debrided. We arrived soon after 0900 hrs. & then the day became unique, unusual, bizarre, a different experience to say the least. We registered, paid the $30.00 fee then sat in the waiting area. The waiting area was the center of the building with a T.V. & chairs; doctor’s office, treatment room, nurse’s room, dentist office, W.R., assessment room & registration were around the periphery. Now, there were few of us already seated; we were handed a card with a number on it according to our arrival; Lynn was #4 which made sense. We observed people coming & going, in & out of different rooms including the staff, nurses as well as ?other staff members. About 1030 hrs. a nurse called us to the assessment room & took Lynn’s weight, BP, age & purpose of her visit. She asked us to return to the waiting room, that the doctor prefers to see all out-of-country patients & that he was expected to arrive at 1100 hrs. We said we will wait outdoors where there were seats, like overflow seats. The parking lot was full. People continued to arrive & depart, walk outside & walk back in. A scruffy, unkept Bahamian male, walked out, sat smoking a cigarette & started talking aloud & gently making comments to others (born in cat island you know), then moved across the street & sat in scrub bushes at the base of a palm tree in the shade; later when indoors he sat by the T.V. that now was blarring with death notices, birthday & anniversary wishes that continued to repeat & suddenly this man got up & danced; we later found out he suffers from schizophrenia. A another Bahamian man had a sick youngster in his arms that had been sick for 3 days with a cold, had not eaten or drank & had lost weight & appeared to have a fever. A young Bahamian lady had an earache & a swollen side of her face--> something about a chicken bone. A young mother arrived with her daughter that had a cast on her arm applied by the doctor last evening & who now needed a letter to fly to Nassau for an xray of the child’s arm. 1105 hrs. & Dr. Smith arrived. Near noon we decide to return inside. Now there was a young Bahamian male drinking a rum punch from a can & kissing 2 rum mickeys & walking in & out of rooms. A grandfather & his granddaughter with #2 card sitting in the 1st seat of row one finally was called into the doctor’s office. The poor sick youngster, coughing in the waiting room, was asked to see the doctor next, then was taken to the treatment room, given an aerosol breathing treatment & an IV for rehydration. The doctor was in & out of his office, treatment room & assessment room. A Bahamian male who had arrived after us & who had been sitting behind us walked out of the assessment room behind the doctor then sat down--> how did he get in there & who called him? A mother with her son, obviously dressed in a school uniform had been chatting to all around; she stood up when he had left his office for the assessment room & said she would block the doctor’s way to return to his office because her son needed to be seen next & get back to school; he sat in the empty 1st seat of row one & when the doctor’s office door opened they entered. Lynn & I just looked at each other, making light of all the shenanigans & laughed then got back to watching the walking in & out of rooms of staff, often interrupting the doctor, the walking in & out of general public sometimes not even knowing where they came from. It was now after 1300 hrs. I tapped the young lady who was #3 on the shoulder & sitting in seat 3 of row 2 & we said jokingly that she was next & maybe she should seat in 1st seat, row 1; we all laughed. Lynn got called & the doctor asked the pertinent questions; he stated his intentions & proceeded to spray & inject local anaesthetic to the wound, then debrided it & applied 4 sutures to an area of the wound that continued to bleed, applied some antibiotic cream, suflatulle, a gauze dressing. We were done with instructions to return Fri. for a dressing change. We left at 1410 hrs. with a receipt for the $30.00 paid! Perhaps I have not given the whole scene justice; one really had to be there to see the humour of apparent organized chaos. I wonder what Fri. will bring? A delicious late lunch (conch fritters, cracked conch with potato wedges & salad) at a lovely restaurant north of the government dock called 4 Point Marina Bar & Grill. Home for an hour then happy hour for all of us in the anchorage on ‘The Big Catsgy’; most were moving a little further north tomorrow. Another lovely sunset, very calm night with star filled sky & barking dogs (continued for most of the night) on shore. Not hungry for supper. Tomorrow is Larry’s birthday & we are renting a vehicle & tootling north for the day.
Thurs. Feb. 24, 2011 (Week 21, Day 143): Destination: Rock Sound Weather: warm & sunny, blue skies, few dark clouds around but no rain Winds: SE 5-8K
Happy Birthday Larry! A celebration day out & around Eleuthera Island by rental car from Mr. Dingle. By 0800 hrs. we were driving north along Queen’s Hwy. Our 1st stop was at Palmetto Point Bay to see if the docks, etc. that we had been tied up to with ‘Sweet Chariot’ when damaged still existed--> still in good shape with no additional services (water, electricity) & the restaurant ‘La Dolce Vita’ was under new management & renamed ‘Chateau France’--> structural changes, only opened 3 wks., menu expensive & still the prettiest bathrooms. On the road to Governors Harbour; 1st stop was the infamous bakery for bread & breakfast--> busy; Cupid Cay to the Bacardi Shop for wine & cases of beer & soda pop--> good prices; filled a jerry can each with fresh water from the public tap; revisited Haynes Library; drove along a few of the streets & their large gingerbread architectured old houses. Next detour was Hatchet Bay & the village of Alice Town--> poor & most unappealing. Soon thereafter we visited a cave-->large & dark but filled with graffiti at entrance + stalactites but we did not have a flashlight to go far into the cave. This area is filled with remnants of banana palms & pineapple plantations & concrete & stone silos because one time farming was a major industry; now only small scale farms growing tomatoes & cabbage in the red soil. We stopped & tried to pick a hand of bananas growing but they were not ready for picking. Gregorytown is the pineapple center but the famous Eleuthera pineapple is a dwindling crop. We stopped at Glass Window in Northern Eleuthera--> a bridge that connects north & south at this narrowest part & where we can watch the ocean on one side & it’s reefs & waves (at one time a rogue wave in 1991 knocked the bridge 7 ft. to the west; impassable of some time) & the bank side on the other side & it’s glistening turquoise water. On through Upper Bogue & Lower Bogue then to the settlement of Current were we stopped for a picnic lunch & watched a fisherman fillet a catch of strawberry grouper, yellowtail snapper, trigger fish & porgy. From The Bluff Settlement to James Bay Liquor Store across from Spanish Wells was our turnaround point. We retraced our route back south except for a detour to Bottom Harbour directly south of Harbour Island--> poor road & a closed bar at the end. We had a superb celebratory supper at Beach House on Bank Rd. between Governors Harbour & North Palmetto Point. And finally back to Rock Sound at 2100 hrs. A fun packed day with clear skies & stars galore at night.
Fri. Feb. 25, 2011 (Week 21, Day 144): Destination: Rock Sound Weather: warm (27C) & sunny, blue skies & few fair weather clouds Winds: S 12-14K, whitecaps, decreasing to 5K & less approaching sunset & overnight & a shift to the E
AM began as usual with a coffee & listening to SSB weather; CP was in George Town X 1 week & his replacement (?Ed of Rainy Day) was terrible; a)started on time or early b)difficult to tune in c) missed most of the VERY short synopsis d) totally different presentation that would normally take Chris 20-25 min. took < 10 min. e) answers to SSB subscribers questions was almost 1 word answers. Hence we did not get an info re wind or seas. The Morrows discovered a major obstruction in their plumbing lines. A quick trip to Dingle’s to pick up laundry (3 loads = $18.00) & 1 jerry can of diesel. Larry dinghied Lynn & I to 4 Points dock to walk to the clinic for 0900 hrs.; arrived at 0855 hrs. & still locked. But we were the 1st in line with the doctor’s arrival time expected at 1100-1130 hrs. It was decided that Lynn would wait while the rest of us did the grocery & hardware shopping for a long rotorooter located in the hardware store with the help of Mr. Dingle. Larry & I did the shopping but no Graeme & no cart; now 1100 hrs., cart found in the dinghy but no Graeme--> out on his own agenda as usual without thinking of others. I returned to the clinic; no doctor but many people had come & gone that were dental patients & /or children for scheduled vaccination shots by the nurse. At 1220 hrs. the doctor arrived after having an overnight emergency till 0730 hrs. We indeed were the 1st to see Dr. Smith. The wound looked good; it was cleaned & redressed & we were given supplies & a disposable suture removal kit instructions. We arrived back to the 4 Points dock as several bus loads of tourists were arriving for their sampling lunch of Bahamian food, conch harvesting & Junkaroo dancing & music. Larry stated he delayed long enough from getting back to the boat to tackle the plumbing problem & in the end was unsuccessful; in fact he was unwell from the event. Despite a layer if clouds there was a lovely sunset just below. Supper simply BLT. Quiet, calm water, few stars & few clouds.
Sat. Feb. 26, 2011 (Week 21, Day 145): Destination: Rock Sound to Governors Harbour Departure: 1005 hrs. Arrival: 1440 hrs. Mileage: 28.4 SM/24.77 NM Weather: warm (28C), sunny with fair weather clouds till departure then a line of dark clouds from SSE with rain in some areas of the Exumas then clearing trend towards 1300 hrs. Winds: quiet, calm morning with gradual increasing E winds 10-17K; after sunset near flat calm
Chris’ replacement was better today--> no significant weather for the next several days. Some cleaning of the head & cockpit was done. Larry went ashore for diesel & draino type product; if this proves to be ineffective as well, they may look into help at Spanish Wells or Marsh Harbour. Up anchored & once out of harbour & past the coral head field towards Kemp Waypoint, we turned north & unfurled the jenny moving nicely at a speed of 5.5-6.3K. In the distance we could see the shoreline of all the places we drove through 2 days ago. We passed in between long strings of fish traps on our approach to Governors Harbour. Larry had his rod out & caught a good size barracuda & of course gave it back to the seas; no fresh caught again tonight! Yes, we have returned to Governors Harbour but have anchored & have verified that there was no inclimate weather in the forecast! Anchor sat down in sand in 15 ft. of water; we took Jerry Doucet’s advice & let out almost all our chain ie 140 ft. once the anchor hooked. Glen Gray from ‘Graynorth’ dinghied over & introduced himself; also from Ottawa & knows Tom Winlow well. The guys dinghied to shore X2 with jerry cans for water from the public tap. A magnificent sunset with a green flash! A joint effort for supper= 1st cheese & bread fondue, 2nd gumbo soup compliments of the Morrows. Governors Harbour was conducting a fundraiser for breast cancer--> a police marching band at 1700 hrs. followed by food concessions of fresh conch salad, chicken, ribs + Junkanoo at 1900 hrs. then amplified pop music till the wee hours of the morn. We dinghied to shore to watch the Junkanoo -->fantastic. A windless night, humid, clear skies, stars+++ & shore music.
Sun. Feb. 27, 2011 (Week 21, Day 146): Destination: Governors Harbour Weather: quite warm & sunny, little to no clouds Winds: ESE to SE from calm to 12-15K suddenly by mid am, then 8-10K by night
Dolphins made a few passes through the anchorage particularly close to our stern to say ‘good morning’ at breakfast time, gracefully diving & showing off their tails several times. Graeme took me to shore so I might check the mass times of the 2 churches close by the beach; (1) St. Patrick’s Episcopal at 1045 hrs. (2) Governors Harbour Methodist at 110 hrs. The SE wind had started kicking up & as I walked by the south most beach by Cupid Cay & saw how rough the seas were running horrific memories of 2 yrs. ago flashed through my brain & shivers up my spine. It has been a while but I did treat myself to a good boat shower & dressed for Church. All the other 5 boats were departing as I was taken into shore. It was approaching low tide so I had to row to get closer to shore then hick my skirt up & walk in the water the rest of the way; thank heavens for the town water tap close by where I rinsed my feet off before going to St. Patrick’s. It was a high mass that got started late at 1100 hr. with incense+++, singing+++, a 45-60 min. sermon! I thought Episcopal was the same as Anglican which is close to RC, but this was very old church style; the spoken church words were very British, but when Fr. Scott Brennan was giving his sermon I had much difficulty comprehending all he was saying because he spoke so fast. Length of service= 2-1/2 hrs.! Dedication & prayers for Guido & his family. Lunch then over to the Morrows; Graeme assisted Larry with his plumbing issues which were unsuccessful in the end; Lynn & I especially did hours of emails & downloaded updates. We missed the sunset but there was a great red sky. Lots of cars driving to the government dock--> weekend ferry arrived then quickly departed. Another joint supper= BBQ hamburger patties, baked beans & macaroni salad then Larry’s cookies. We were entertained by crazy Murphy Brown (Jack Russell dog). Because of the unsuccessful attempts at the plumbing system (non functioning toilet!), Lynn & Larry will head in the direction of Spanish Wells early in the am, contact R&B Boatyard by phone to see if they can do the job & how soon; that will determine future plans. We will take a more leisurely pace. ‘Twomorrows’ & ‘Sweet Chariot Too’ were the only boats in the anchorage tonight. A star filled sky, tame & quiet night in comparison to last night & pleasant, cool breeze & less humidity.
Mon. Feb. 28, 2011 (Week 21, Day 147): Destination: Governors Harbour to Royal Island Departure: 0800 hrs. Arrival: 1515 hrs. Mileage: 50.9 SM/44.23 NM Weather: very warm & sunny Winds: S to SE 10-15K & gusty at night; seas 2-3 ft. on east side of Eleuthera Island & 1 ft. on the west side
This was the last day of this short month; also the last day in Eleuthera Island. No CP or broadcast by ‘Rain Day’; someone said this was Chris Parker Appreciation Day. ‘Twomorrows’ left at 0700 hrs. & hourly checks planned starting at 0800 hrs. 0720 hrs. to shore to rid our garbage & purchase some bread at Governors Harbour Bakery, but no bread till 0830 hrs. Boo Hoo, back to the boat with no best bread in the islands & at the best prices! Once on our way we were headed in a WNW direction with the wind directly behind--> a bit rolly. We rolled out the jenny & cruised along at 6-6.4K. The dolphins were playing in our bow wake & the waves created by the wind. A couple of VHF correspondences from the Morrows; R&B at Spanish Wells do not do interior boat work; Marsh Harbour Boatyard contacted & they too do not do that kind of work but gave them the name of a man who works for Moorings that maybe of help --> O’Brien (OB) is able to do the job. Therefore they will cross tomorrow, head to Marsh Harbour & stay probably at Mangoes X 1 mon. (leave in 2 weeks X 1 week to their son’s wedding in Las Vegas). Of course we could hear this transmission but with our VHF problems our transmission was not heard. It was interesting to see by water all the settlements today by boat that we had done by car last Thurs.--> airport strip at Alabaster Bay, the entrance to Hatchet Bay, silos & farmland to Gregorytown, Glass Window, site where we had a picnic lunch at the defunct marina in Current. We passed through Current Cut with 1.8K current against us at 1345 hrs. Calmer seas on the west side of Eleuthera Island. We motorsailed to Royal Island, anchored in the SW corner in 9 ft. of water & 70 ft. of chain & surprised Lynn & Larry with our presence. 13 boats in anchorage tonight. We made popcorn & rowed over to ‘Twomorrows’. They are sticking to their game plan & crossing early in the am. Graeme admitted that he was tense during his stay in Governors Harbour. We called ‘Bandit’ in Spanish Wells over the VHF & are on a reservation list for a mooring ball there tomorrow. We may not be able to cross to the Abacos till Sun. due to weather predictions of high winds over several days. Sunset occurred behind Royal Island. Supper= sweet & sour chicken & pork strip stir fry with a medley of vegetables + rice. A dark night with stars+++ & gusting winds.

Feb. 15-21, 2011 (Week 20, Day 135-140)

Tues. Feb. 15, 2011 (Week 20, Day 134): Shroud Cay to Normans Cay Departure: 0815 hrs. Arrival: 0945 hrs. Mileage: 6.9 SM/6.01 NM Weather: cloudy am, slowly clearing to a partly cloudy & partly sunny pm, but heavier clouds again at night; sun was warm but fresh brisk winds chilled the air--> about 18-20C temps Winds: NE 12-15K increasing to 20K after sunset
It was fresh enough during the night to bring out the comforter again. We awoke about 0400 hrs. to a rolling boat movement yet the winds were still NE. CP was still predicting strongish NE winds today up to 20-25K & clocking to ENE tomorrow. For a change the Abacos were experiencing less strong winds whereas George Town & the SE Bahamas (Turks & Caicos) were experiencing stronger winds in the 20+ range & for an extended period of time. Due to the NNE to NE wind direction & speed + the falling tide it was not feasible to explore that northern Shroud Cay mangrove canal leading out to Exuma Sound. Hence we moved up one island north to Norman Cay as close to the west shore as we dare nicely spaced between 2 coral heads--> 8 ft. water & 100 ft. chain. There were 2 other boats in the anchorage but they departed soon after out arrival. Another lazy day of reading & catching a few rays sitting on the transom out of the wind. It’s been awhile but we both had boat showers as opposed to transom showers. Late afternoon we dinghied to shore to experience MacDuffs Bar & Grill; they were out of beer & no WiFi until they sign a contract with a new server! Just our luck! My family will have to wait longer to hear from us but they know no news is good news. And also I haven’t been able to email friends except when I can post new episodes of my blog. It has been more of an issue this time round. Unfortunately that is the state of affairs. So it was a round of drinks & I bought a loaf of bread ($3.00, a bargain) from the restaurant. Otherwise this was a very nice establishment. Another lovely sunset, but no green flash, a red sky, a near full moon till the clouds rolled in. We were only 2 boats tonight. Supper= leftovers. We watched another DVD tonight. The wind generator has been earning it’s price for several days now. We have seldom ever been under 12.4V showing on our domestic batteries. Throughtout the night the waters remained calm & the wind a steady 10K.
Wed. Feb. 16, 2011 (Week 20, Day 135): Destination: Normans Cay Weather: overnight clouds disappeared soon after sunrise to nothing but wall to wall sunshine & blue skies till later afternoon, then dark clouds; temps were warmer (23C) with no humidity Winds: ENE to E at about 13K-->8K-->20K by evening but more NE
The usual am routine especially listening to weather which dictates everything; Highbourne Cay broadcast called for stronger ENE winds than what Chris predicted. The morning & part of the early afternoon was spent reading another new novel on the deck. In hindsight, the Morrows thought today would have been a good day to cross to Rock Sound, Eleuthera, as they heard reports of ½ ft. seas out on the Sound, whereas all weather forecasts indicated 4-7 ft. seas. Conflicting forecasts vs actuality continues! We took the dinghy & looked at coral heads nearby via a look bucket, then to shore & walked the to the southwest end of the island & across the airstrip, then to MacDuffs to take photos & still no beer till tomorrow. When we returned to the boat there were several new arrivals, sudden & increasing dark clouds & east wind that suddenly increased with gusts >20K. Rain clouds swiftly passed over us to the west but rain was evident on the horizon at sunset. Sunset was seen as a white cloud on the horizon directly in front of the sun giving the cloud an orange colour & dark clouds all around. Supper= nachos. 14 boats tonight in the anchorage. A full moon was seen now & again as the sky cleared but the gusting winds continued to howl all night long.
Thurs. Feb. 17, 2011 (Week 20, Day 136): Destination: Normans Cay Weather: huge high pressure area persist bringing warm sun & blues skies again today Winds: NE to ENE but back to NE to NNE by evening at 10-12K but increasing in the afternoon especially at 1500 hrs. to 15K at least; high winds continue to dominate the Exumas & cause 4-7 ft. seas out on the Sound
This huge high over the Atlantic kept the wind & seas high & now predicted by CP & Nassau Weather to continue through the weekend with no break to cross to Eleuthera till Mon. now. Not the news we wanted to hear. The howling winds were having a negative effect on us. Some boats moving in & out of the anchorage & north & south on the Banks. I read for most of the day on deck & prepared a macaroni salad for future use; G ?--> hibernates most days when not on the move down in the cabin. Morrows were over for cocktails, snacks & to watch a picture perfect sunset with yes, a green flash! In the east, a full moon had risen. As the winds increased in the afternoon they became more NNE & it seemed that waves were curling from the east around the northern tip of Normans Cay & kicking up some chop. The waves created behaved as if the winds were generated from a west component wind, therefore bouncy. Supper (late)= steak & canned beans. A very bright full moon in a clear sky with fair weather clouds about. But it was the moon’s brightness magnified by the water that was fascinating.
Fri. Feb. 18, 2011 (Week 20, Day 137): Destination: Normans Cay to Highborne Cay Departure: 1000 hrs. Arrival: 1230 hrs. Mileage: 14 SM/12.2NM Weather: sunny & warm, mostly blue skies till 1400 hrs. when heavy, dark clouds rolled in for the night Winds: ENE to E at 15-20K & still howling
The damn winds did not weaken. This was the 8th day without communication with my family; I was getting antsy. I need to move somewhere close to a Batelco tower to at least use my Canadian cell despite the roaming costs! And it was not one of my better days emotionally; in fact one of the lowest. Tears were welling up in my eyes & spilling over & trickling down my cheeks. It was not even helping looking down at my LIVESTRONG armband. I couldn’t help of thinking of only sad thoughts. I was tired of this confining weather, this lazy lifestyle, this lack of ambition. I wanted to go home! I wanted to be home! We motored out of the anchorage in a westerly direction to avoid coral heads & shifting shallow sand areas, then turned north unfurling some jenny appropriate for 15-18K winds; boat speed= 5-6.5K. The anchor was lowered into sand in 14 ft. water with 100 ft. chain on the west side of Highborne Cay in line with the Batelco tower. Highborne Cay is privately owned & is the most northerly inhabited island of the Exumas. It was once a plantation of aloe & watermelon. There are 3 cottages for rent at Highborne Plantation. The skies clouded over from the ESE direction & continued to get thicker & darker, but no rain. A faint orangeness on the horizon where the sun set. I phoned Mom shortly after 1800 hrs. Further sadness added to the day with the news of the death of one of my parents’ close friends, Guido; the wake was today & the funeral is tomorrow. Tears were streaming down my face now. Supper= spaghetti but sauce was from a tin. The ENE winds were relentless & the moon was trying it’s damnest to break through the heavy cloud.
Sat. Feb. 19, 2011 (Week 20, Day 138): Destination: Highborne Cay Weather: by sunup clouds were dissipating; fresh sunny day with only blue skies Winds: brisk, howling NE winds settled down during the night; NE about 10-12K
All weather broadcasts indicated winds were to increase to 15-20K this afternoon & seas 4-7 ft. A thought was expressed about crossing ASAP. But the wind direction & passage direction were directly opposing (on our nose—a motor ride) & should the wind & seas increase as predicted it would have been an uncomfortable passage. Thus the crossing was dismissed. Instead we all ventured to shore. Highborne Cay Marina, a very nice marina with a very nice store but ridiculously outrageous prices (outdated white bread= $4.40, but “I didn’t have to buy it” you know; I was near desperate though). I walked over the hill to the beach on the Atlantic or east side, then we dinghied to the beaches on the west shore; Larry took their dog, Murphy Brown to shore where she ate sand, drank salt water & rolled in dead fish. I noticed the singing & presence of birds, surprisingly absent throughtout the Exumas. Early afternoon Larry & Graeme rectified ‘Twomorrows’ bowroller problem, then I gave Larry a haircut, a #6; I was rather nervous as his son’s wedding is in a month. By 1600 hrs. the anchorage was filling in; total= 14. Sunset = 1803 hrs.--> magnificent clear sky, perfect sunset, a green flash + reddest horizon! Supper= pork chops & pork ‘n beans. Thusfar the NE winds had not increased to the predictions; a constant NE 10-12K. Such a clear night sky & the stars were amazing until the full moon (officially today) presented itself! Guido, you & your family have been in my thoughts all day & will continue to be in my prayers!
Sun. Feb. 20, 2011 (Week 20, Day 139): Destination: Highborne Cay Weather: mostly sunny & warm (23C) with few clouds; suddenly about 1715 hrs. dark clouds swiftly rolled in from ESE--> scant rain Winds: NE to ENE about 10-12K; with sudden dark evening clouds winds shifted to E & increased to howling & gusting 15-20K.
There was unfortunately no opportunity to attend Church today but my prayers were dedicated to Guido & family. A little housekeeping in the am, then several hours of reading on the deck. Early afternoon we dinghied to the reef area extending from the northwest shore in a falling tide with hope to snorkel for conch etc. But the Morrows saw little but rock & grass with their look bucket. We dinghied to a shallow cove at the northern tip of the island where there was a lovely sandy beach, bench, tables & garbage container where we deposited our bags of garbage. We only saw small live conchs or old conchs already harvested & a lone stingray that we followed until it raised it’s barbed tail out of the water. Few boats left today & also some new arrivals; total= 12. A transom shower, prepared supper, read in cockpit hoping to see another great sunset tonight; but dark clouds from the ESE suddenly changed that possibility. Supper= meatloaf with macaroni salad. In short time the brisk east winds cleared the night sky --> stars! And the moon rose after 2100 hrs.
Mon. Feb. 21, 2011 (Week 20, Day 140): Destination: Highbourne Cay Weather: sunny & warm (23-25C), blue skies with few clouds Winds: ESE to SE about 10-15K & fresh
By all accounts tomorrow is suppose to be the best day to cross to Eleuthera, with seas at 4 ft. dropping to 1 ft., winds SE to S but on the light side of 10K & dropping; with an early start we hope to be able to sail. This am with the shifting winds, it’s strength & the falling to low tide the anchorage was a bit bouncy. Graeme cleaned the enclosure windows, lifted the dinghy motor & I baked 12 blueberry muffins & read+++. Few departures today but no arrivals, therefore total boats= 7. A lovely sunset, no green flash as we watched hosting social tonight. The crimson sky was replaced by a clear sky with multitude of stars & a late rising of the moon. This was our last night in the Exumas (Dec. 16 ’10- Feb. 21 ’11)! I have mixed feelings; of the enchantment & pristineness of the area & sadness of leaving all of it behind; & the sheer desire & magnetism to be home!