Tuesday, December 28, 2010

10 day updated from Frazers Hog Cay - Allens Cay to Nassau, Bahamas

Since we have been in the Bahamas, it’s been very difficult to get regular internet access. This is a long post as I continue my daily updates and make take a little time to load.  If it’s too long, let me know and I’ll see what I can do to make it better.  I forgot to download the latest photos, so will try to insert into this post later.

Sunday, December 19
Frazers Hog Cay

The winds died tonight at about 3am and the waves decreased so the motion of the boat was better in the morning when we woke and also made it easier to sleep.  The wind was NW 20 kts and the skies were sunny though 65F outside.  As it’s Sunday, there is no Chris Parker weather to listen to.  Berry Island Club has internet access for $10/hour so Phil and Katie dropped me off mid morning and then went to the beach closer to where we are anchored to relax and explore.  After my hour was up and getting some directions from a local, I walked down the road towards the beach.  I saw a turn off to the right and took that which turned out went to the rocky part west of the beach.  Wearing my Vibram 5 finger shoes, I decided to walk down the rocky area to the sandy beach.  I’ll remember next time to just continue walking down the sand road as it goes very close to the beach further down.  The shoes worked pretty good protecting my feet as long as I was careful not to step on the really sharp rocks.  When I got to the beach, turns out that Phil had taken the dinghy back to the Berry Island Club to get me: too bad that we didn’t think to work our arrangements before they went to the beach.  Since Katie is majoring in Biology, she just loves being on the beach, walking in the water and exploring what is in the shallows with the tide out in the ocean.  She found a tide pool and brought back some of her finds to show us.  I talked about how she should leave what she found alive there and Phil didn’t worry as the Bahamians do worse to their environment.  Phil and I followed her to see her discoveries with her and found a starfish and sea urchins amongst some coral.   She did take an empty conch shell so that she can make a conch horn to blow in the sunset and some other treasures she found.  There was a 4pm Happy Hour scheduled on the beach so about 3pm we went back to the boat to get ready. The wind then started to rise and it started to get cooler so long pants and long sleeve shirts were the order of the day when we went back to the beach.  Insert photo    We had photos taken of all of us by Chris from S/V Felix the Cat.  By 530pm and sunset, it was time to go back to the boat.  I decided to cook supper of pork with rice and tomatoes in the pressure cooker.  It turned out a little too much juice and not enough rice even though I had doubled what they called for, so after serving us, I added couscous to what was left and it absorbed the extra liquid so we could use it for another meal.  After Phil did dishes, we read for the rest of the evening.  The weather forecast is for winds to be NW to 20 knots with seas increasing from 4- 6ft late today.  Tomorrow the winds are supposed to be N 15 knots down to 13 knots in the afternoon with seas decreasing so we have decided to leave tomorrow to go to Nassau.

Katie’s  Notes:
While on the beach I found lots of animals and shells. I found 6-7 starfish, plenty of shells, and at the tidal pool there were tons of finger coral that were still alive (the living parts are green) with this black slimy stuff on it. There was also some small pieces of brain coral and sea urchins that were wedged in the crevices in the rocks. I wanted to get one of the sea urchins out to get a closer look but they were so wedged in there I couldn’t get one out. Later in the day at the happy hour I talked to this guy Skip about what I had found. He wasn’t able to get on the beach since he had to work on his engine. He told me how his anchor had dragged and the only thing that saved his boat was his kayak.

Monday, December 20
Passage from Frazers Hog Cay to Nassau, Bahamas
Distance Traveled:  40 nm
Total Distance:  2163.97

Today we listened to Chris Parker and raised anchor at 715am to go to Nassau, Bahamas. This time we got the mainsail ready in case that we will use it today.  The winds are predicted that we may be able to sail (vs motor sail) to Nassau.   S/V “It’s About Time” left 15 min before us just as we were finishing up listening to the weather.. We cleared Frazer Hog Cay about 740am and rolled out the head sail with winds NW 330degrees 11-15 knots.  Our boat speed was 5.3 – 5.6 knots and the waves were 1 feet.  By 745am we lost the depth on our depth meter (too deep now) and by 805am we put out the Cuban Reel to troll for fish.  It’s About Time has put out two lines and the one who catches the most fish will be sharing the spoils. I started steering as after we cleared all land, the wave quickly built to 5-6 footers off our port quarter.  So much for decreasing winds and seas!  I started hand steering as the autopilot doesn’t do well when we have quartering seas and Changes tends to yawl so hand steering is best to keep her going as straight as possible..   I had to be sure to keep Changes in the right angle to the waves so that we didn’t heel over too much when the waves hit us.  I continued at helm until 11am when Phil took over.  By that time the winds were 18-26 knots and we had 12.3 of the 40 nm left to go.  Katie stayed down below the whole time on the port settee with the lee cloth up.  At Nassau Harbor everyone has to call Nassau Harbor Control to have permission to enter.  She ( this time) also wanted to know where we came from, our document number, and if you’re anchoring or going to a marina.  We called when we were about 1 nm away and received permission to enter.  We entered Nassau Harbor at 1pm and were anchored before the twin bridges to Paradise Island and Atlantis Casino and resort by about 125pm.  Sally on S/V “It’s About Time” had caught a mahi mahi and at 305pm, we met up in the dinghies as they were kind enough to share some for our supper  even though the 30# fish they caught was tangled and mangled in the fishing line.  We didn’t catch anything as we were going too fast for the lure to be below the surface for fish to bite.  They had used a cedar plug to catch the fish they had so it looks like we need to add one to our arsenal.  Sally suggested that we use pink, red, orange or white lures with skirts to catch fish.   I had brought our cooler backpack, so put the dressed fish in a pocket with ice and we continued to go looking for a dinghy dock to tie up to that’s closer to the grocery store than we are.  The dinghy dock with the Texaco Station now charges $10 a day, so we stopped at Nassau Yacht Haven along with Jerry and Diane of S/V Babe.  He said that he had talked to them and that it would be ok to tie up there for fee.  We walked to the City Market and got groceries.  Boy, are things expensive here.  Next time I’ll have to remember to get crackers and aluminum foil in the states before we cross over.  A 200ft roll of regular length aluminum foil is $10!  We bought some local brand crackers for a more reasonable price than brand name.  That’s being in a foreign country for you.  After grocery shopping, we went next store to Radio Shack and bought a Bahamian Phone (the cheapest they had) plus the Sim card and a $20 of prepaid minutes for $110 out the door.  Daytime minutes to any Bahamian phone number is $.40/min and $.20/min at night after 7pm.  It’s $0.80 to the states.  Needless to say we won’t be using it that much, but is good to have when needed and for emergencies from our family and friends in the states.   The phone number is 242-467-4102.  It should work when we’re close to a cell phone tower but it’s still a pretty primitive system compared to the U.S.    We hear talk that there is another company that may be taking over BTC (Bahamas Telephone Company) and upgrading the system. Our groceries distributed in the backpacks and bags between the 3 of us, we walked back to the dinghy and went home.  After I put away provisions, I cooked the Mahi Mahi and it was delicious!! and cooks very quickly on the stove.  We had warmed up couscous and fresh broccoli to round out the meal.  By this time I was very tired and cranky and exhausted from the day’s sail –so went to sleep at 8pm.  I can’t wait and hope that we catch our own fresh fish sometime soon on our trip!

Katie’s Notes:

I didn’t do much today until 1pm when we got to Nassau. I could tell the boat was moving over pretty far with the waves and suspected that if I saw exactly how far the boat was heeling over I would freak out a little. After hear how mom and Phil had put out the fishing stuff and were unsuccessful, I read the book that they had bought about cruising while fishing. It turns out that they were using the wrong lure. They need to use a lure with skirts and feathers and they need to put a weight and bait on it. They don’t have weights and bait and probably won’t buy it so I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t catch anything. At least we got that little bit of Mahi Mahi to eat.

Tuesday, Dec 21
Nassau Harbor, Bahamas

We listened to Chris Parker weather on the SSB radio as usual.  Tomorrow the winds are going to be NE 5kts to light and variable winds so we will go to Allen Cay.  If the weather holds, we’d like to go to Norman Cay before we come back to Nassau which it looks like will be Saturday as they’re expecting a cold front on Sunday with increasing winds by mid morning.

Today is going to be a day of going to Doctor’s Hospital to try to get Katie medicine.  Phil was out in the cockpit as usual, and saw a gentleman from a Canadian boat with blue jerry jugs going to the Green Parrot dinghy dock and come back with them full.  That reminded him that we need to also get water and diesel, so that took up most of the morning.  Turns out that water is free water across the street from the Green Parrot bar in a spigot which use to be where they watered the horses years ago.  Phil put 15 gals of water in the water tank from jerry jugs and then we got 20 gals more – put 7 gals more in the water tank and filled up 4 of the 2.5 gal jugs so that we have all the fresh water that we can carry on board.  It’s not unusual to pay up to $0.40 per gallon here.

At 1130am we had a quick lunch and then left to walk to Doctors Hospital.  I had called earlier and if we go to the ER, they will be able to help us get Katie’s medication to tide us over the 3 days.  We actually got 5 day prescriptions at the Pharmacy in the hospital without having to see a doctor and they had everything except the 30mg strength of one of her meds, but as we had the 60mg strength, that should be enough for the 2 days before she gets home.  It cost a lot but better than her being in pain and off kilter.  I’m glad that this is set as it’s been weighing heavily on my mind. This is Something to try to do different next year.  So after the Doctors Hospital, we walked downtown to see the sights.  We found an ice cream store close to the Cruise Ship dock and Phil treated us.  It was very good and has been since St. Augustine since we last had any.  While we were downtown, we found a jewelry/watch shop and were able to get Phil the watch he wanted for Christmas, but he has to wait until Christmas to wear it.  It’s just better to have him help pick it out. We also found a duty-free liquor store and were able to find liter bottles of Pineapple Rum @ $11.75/bottle, Jamesons Irish Whiskey @$ 18.50 and Sambuco @ $21.  All very good deals compared to what we get at home.  We caught a bus close ($1/person) to the Cruise docks and were back at the Green Parrot very quickly late afternoon.  As we had a lot of laundry to do, we gathered it and all went in the dinghy to the laundry at Nassau Yacht Haven.  Phil had remembered to bring the white light that goes on top of the outboard engine, and good thing as it was dark when we were coming back to the boat.  At the laundry there, you go to the office to by tokens for $2/ea.  One token is needed for each load in the washer and dryer and we needed 2 tokens to get the jeans and towels dried completely.  We met a woman (didn’t get her name) from Miami, FL on a Tayana 48 S/V Seanna (?sp) that is docked at Nassau Yacht Haven Marina.  They have done a 5000mi circumnavigation of the Carribbean 3 years ago and now cruise from Miami, FL to the Bahamas each winter for a few weeks.  They are to be meeting friends from Detroit before leaving tomorrow to cruise to the Exumas for a couple weeks.

After we got back I fixed supper and then we read until ready for bed and an early start tomorrow morning.  It seems that even when we have a lay day somewhere, it’s not a day of rest with all the errands and things that need to be done just to live.

Wednesday, Dec 22
Passage Nassau to Allens Cay, Bahamas
Distance Traveled:  33.5 nm
Total Distance:  2226.94 nm

Time to go to Allens Cay while we have a chance before a small cold front comes and the wind direction changes making it hard to get there.  We raised anchor at 747am and cleared Nassau Harbor after obtaining permission from Nassau Harbor control on ch 09.  Winds are SE 5-6 kts. We decided to trying trolling for fish even though we weren’t going through really deep waters.  We put out the fishing line with the red skirted lure about 840am.  Before 10am we let out the head sail when the wind was from 165 degrees 7-8 knots and motor sailed until we got to Allens Cay and dropped anchor at 135pm after motoring around to find the best spot.  S/V Babe whom we saw at Frazers Hog Cay.  Jerry had been out diving and caught a huge lobster with a 2# tail and several conch for their supper.  I’m envious as haven’t had my first fresh conch yet.  Mike from S/V Sea Sharp came to visit us in his dinghy.  They were anchored at Rose Island last night and got here just before us.  Judy and their cat, Chopin, didn’t like the crossing and are recovering. S/V R Sea Cat (a catamaran) anchored and went and saw Jerry on S/V Babe.  They had on wet suits to go diving for their supper.  We heard later that they found a couple lobsters and conch for their supper. I made chicken and rice/grain mixture in the pressure cooker and had fresh broccoli for supper.  I left the chicken skin on so tasted very good and have enough for leftovers for one person or so though I was wishing for my own lobster and conch to cook.

Katie’s Notes:

            Today was an easy sailing day. Right when we arrived at the Cay we went to the beach to look at the iguanas there. They all lay out in the sand or on the rocks to keep warm. You have to be careful to not get to close because they are not afraid to let you know when you have gotten too close. I got plenty of pictures. I was walking through the water in the beach and found tons of live baby conch. You can’t harvest these because they are too small but I found one shell that had been harvested (it had a hole cut into the shell). On one of the beaches I thought I saw a bright orange/pink lizard but I wasn’t sure if it was a lizard or not. I tried to get closer to find out but one of the iguanas didn’t like how close I was and started chasing me until I ran away. There were plenty of young people my age but since they were French I just took the chance to people watch. The guys from R Sea Cat were cute and good swimmers.

Thursday, Dec 23
Allens Cay, Bahamas

We woke today to high winds that started in the night. Changes is being rocked side to side and it looks like a day to endure.  Katie, like usual, slept in to mid morning. We listened to Chris Parker weather and it’s to start being less windy and shift to the N and have decreasing winds Friday.   After much discussion and agonizing, we have decided to stay here today and tomorrow.  The anchorages at Norman’s Cay won’t be better than what we have here, bad as it is, and Saturday still looks like the day to go back to Nassau before the next cold front arrives on Sunday.  Phil hopes the weather improves enough to go snorkeling. Today is another day to endure.  I took a nap as was getting slightly sea sick in the morning and it’s hard to sleep at night when we’re bouncing around. Early in the afternoon, Phil and I took the dinghy to the small beach on Leaf Cay, which is a smaller island next to Allens Cay.  Katie was reading on the starboard settee and decided to stay where she was.  There was some shade there for us to be in while we sat in the beach chair just to be on solid non-moving ground.  It turns out that it was cooler than we expected it to be.  I was prepared bringing the bottom of my convertible pants and my hoodie and fleece top, but Phil was wearing only a T-shirt and shorts.  We spent a couple hours there reading, eating almond butter sandwiches and enjoying not moving around.  There are also 45foot + power boats from Island Adventures  that come to show the tourist the iguanas.  There are many iguanas out sunning themselves but they quickly move out of the way where there are 40 people piling out of the boats to see them.  Phil and I were glad to be on the small beach where they don’t come to.  All too soon it got cold and we went back to the boat.  We had leftovers warmed up by the Ziploc bag/hot water method.  The cook (me) didn’t feel like cooking with the boat motion.  We spent time reading and about this time I was longing to be invited aboard a cataraman to have calmer motion in these seas.

About 430 – 5pm there was a Canadian Beneteau 43 that was trying to anchor.  They were in a good spot initially, but decided to pick up their anchor and anchor too close to us.  Phil yelled to them that they were too close and they were arguing with us that there was enough room.  It wasn’t until Phil angrily there wasn’t enough room because of the currents that they finally moved.  Why couldn’t they have moved in the first place??  The currents here which are similar to what we saw in St. Marys Basin with the current dictating how the boat is situated instead of the wind and it can be different for each boat.  Good thing they did move as about 9pm just as I was getting ready to go to bed I saw an anchor light that seemed to be too close to us out the companion way hatch.  No we weren’t dragging,  Zero to Cruising was close to us!  Phil had been asleep for about an hour now, but I woke him as 2 catamarans – S/V Zero to Cruising and a Motor Cat where moving around towards each other and it seemed to another sail boat.  I tried hailing Zero to Cruising on the radio, as they were sleeping, to no avail.  We did see someone on the motor cat walking around and eventually the couple on Zero to Cruising woke up and were on deck.  S/V Babe was really sailing around on their anchor also, but no one hit anyone else and finally about 1130 -1145pm, we went to bed too.  We have always been glad that we have the 35# Delta anchor as it’s held us in place except one time we dragged.  At the moment, we can’t remember where we were when it didn’t hold.

Friday, December 24
Christmas Eve
Allens Cay, Bahamas

We woke at 615am and the motion of the boat is better.  What a relief!  The 15 boats in the harbor quickly cleared out to just us and the Canadian Beneteau.  By mid morning a sailboat from Florida arrived and then later in the afternoon a 40’ Island Packet arrived.  Phil and Katie went snorkeling along a small beach at Allens Cay.  Katie really enjoyed herself but got tired out more quickly than she would have liked.  There are small coral reefs close to the island’s rocky shore and she was able to see coral and fish and looked them up in a book I have just for that purpose.  After Phil brought Katie back, he went off again exploring the other smaller islands in the area.  While Phil and Katie were off snorkeling, I stayed on the boat to make pumpkin pie for Christmas dinner.  The wooden top to the stove that Phil made is just the right size for putting on top of half of the table for rolling out.  I have found that if I open the oven too much (even 1 time makes a big difference), the temp in the oven goes down quickly, so for the pie which required 425F heat, I put it in a cold oven and didn’t open the door until I thought it was done.  It worked well.  

Late in the afternoon a man with his Australian sheep dog came over to our boat.  Sid and Mr. Bojangles were from the Island Packet anchored behind us.  He had seen us in Nassau.  I have a soft spot for single males and supper, so invited him over for dinner.  He said that he had some crab and a salad that he’d bring about 6pm.  We cleaned up inside the boat and moved what we could to the V-berth so that we all four could sit down.  Katie was hoping that Sid would bring his dog with him and about 6pm, they both came.  Katie has been feeling pet deprived being away from the dogs and cats at her Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Jeff’s house.  Bo as he’s often called is a very friendly dog and like to have the humans shake his paw, but he doesn’t jump on people (that much).  When Sid said that he had some crab – did he have crab.  He brought half a plastic bag full of crab claws that he had gotten from some fisherman that he had helped a couple days ago on his transit.  They had run out of gasoline, and in 20 knot winds, he transferred a can of gasoline and some oil for them to be on their way.  In return, they gave him a huge bag of crab.  On Changes, we had an assembly line to crack the crab claws.  Sid used the meat tenderizer and cracked the claw, then Katie, Phil and I share the hand nut cracker and Phil used large channel locks to further crack the smaller pieces and pull the crab meat out which was put on a platter.  (insert photo) We had a large mound when we were finished.  I had fixed rutabaga and potatoes ( and also cooked the sweet potatoes for tomorrow’s dinner) to go along with the green salad and crab that Sid brought.  Mr. Bo was mostly out in the cockpit, but then came down below for attention and then slept at the base of the companionway steps.  We had a great time chatting.   It was wonderful to have some fresh seafood and there is enough crab left over for me to make a quiche to use up the extra pie crust which I didn’t need for the pumpkin pie.

Sid and Mr. Bojangles left to go back to their boat in a VERY dark sky.  We had been having a fairly large moon lighting the night and what a difference it makes when that moon is not out and there are no extraneous lights around.  After our visitors left we read a little and then went to bed.  It sure isn’t like the Christmas Eves we’re use to, but wouldn’t want to trade the warm weather for the snow and cold.

Katie’s Notes:

Today I was able to go snorkeling for the first time. I had a hard time getting used to using the snorkel and I kept on getting water in my mask. I was able to see tons of coral and the lacy fan kind were beautiful. I was starting to get tired be kept on going further and was glad because Phil found this spot with tons of fish. It was this mini coral reef. Sometime you will find coral but this was a mini ecosystem with the reef and the fish and seaweed. After that I decided it was time to go back. My ankles and legs were getting tired and I was out of breath and with the water in my mask I kept on breathing in water in my lungs. I had to stop a few time to cough up water and Phil swam backwards to make sure I was okay. It felt like I was kicking my legs but not going anywhere. Anyways I got back fine and was glad I went as far as I did even though I had a hard time making it back.

Saturday, Dec 25 Merry Christmas
Distance Traveled:  35 nm
Total Distance:  2261.47 nm
Allens Cay to Nassau Harbor, Bahamas

This morning we woke to blue skies and calmer winds.  We raised anchor at 705am and put 2.5 gal of water in the Sun Shower in hope of having a shower later in the day.  There is a strong cold front that is to come through about dawn Sunday, so we are going to Nassau while we can have favorable winds to get back as Katie will be flying home on Wed, Dec 29.  The winds were from the E – to ENE at 10 knots, so we raised the Main sail and turned off the engine shortly after 9am having us on a starboard tack.  We were able to sail at 5.6 to 6.7 knots after Phil put the barberhaul line on the head sail.  It was quite a nice sail and we continued as the winds gradually dropped until at 1128am we started the engine.  Phil said that his goal was to start the engine when the GPS said that we’d get to our destination at 1pm.  It wasn’t too long afterwords that we rolled up the head sail and were motoring at 6 – 6.5 knots.  We entered Nassau Harbor about 1245m and dropped anchor for the first time at 105pm about the same place as last time.  Phil didn’t like it though.  He thought we were too close to S/V Two of a Kind (a catamaran) so we raised anchor.  The next two attempts we dragged the anchor, so we decided to go further west in the anchorage and this time we had a good set at 131pm at N 25 04.708’ W 77 19.812’.  I had been trying to call my mother since a couple days ago and it wouldn’t go through.  First I had tried with 01 in front of her number.  Then I heard that we didn’t need to use it.  It’s hard for me to tell if I was dialing wrong or if it was the Bahamas Phone system.  Anyway, I tried using “1” in front of the US phone number and that was the key.  It’s $.80 a minute to call but it was good to talk to her and give her our phone number.  It’s 242-467-4102 and we can be called for emergencies but I hadn’t been able to give that number to any family members since didn’t have internet access at Allens Cay.  Phil also called Victoria and left a message and then called his sister Virginia. Turns out everyone was at her house for Christmas so he was able to talk briefly with Kathleen.  I was also able to reach my daughter Rachel so that was good too.  Christmas just doesn’t feel like Christmas so it was very good to talk to family and learn that everyone is doing ok.  It turns out that we didn’t get that shower though.  The water in the sun shower never did get warm enough from feeling it on the outside. 

We didn’t have a formal exchanging of gifts today.  I did give Katie a pair of glove mittens and Phil a watch that we bought together when we were last in Nassau.  Phil says that he owes me a new digital camera.  It’s hard as there isn’t a place for wrapping paper and we are together all the time, so not able to have surprises.  But we do have this opportunity to be in the Bahamas so that makes up for the difference.

After the calls, I started fixing Christmas dinner.  As I had cooked sweet potatoes yesterday, I put acorn squash in the over while I put together the sweet potato casserole.  Since my oven is so small, I was able to have both in the oven by putting the acorn squash pan on the middle lip for the shelf on the left and rest it on the top of the sweet potato casserole pan on the right.  Worked well!  We had canned ham, which worked.  It’s only slightly like spam, and rounded out the meal with mashed potatoes.  There was so much to eat, that we didn’t have the pumpkin pie for dessert.

Just before I put supper on the table, Rich from S/V Island Maid a small Island Packet came over in his dinghy to introduce himself. We had been watching him anchor and get his boat settled after traveling.  He’s from Florida and very friendly.  I hope that we have a chance to get together in the future.

Phil got tired early and went to bed at 630pm while Katie and I while knitting socks watched the “It’s a Wonderful Life” DVD on the computer listening with the headphones – one in her ear and the other in mine. Katie has gotten to the point in her socks of turning the heel for the first time so she wanted us to do it together.  By 9pm it was over and I went to bed myself.  It’s nice to be in a calm anchorage after having spent a couple very bouncy days.

Sunday, Dec 26  Boxer Day
Nassau Harbor

The cold front that they are predicting is starting to arrive.  We listened on the VHF radio ch 72 to the local weather and to the Waterway Net for more extensive weather.  We heard that it’s 39F in Jacksonville, FL and we guess it’s in the upper 60’s here.  The winds were pretty calm through the night and started at 530am.  By 630am they were S 9-12 knot with Gusts to 6 knots.  At 810am the winds are most SW from 7 to 22 knots.  The clouds are moving fast in the sky.  Phil made pancakes this morning for breakfast and I’m going to get the blog caught up and then we’ll going into town to see if the Starbucks is open either today or tomorrow.  They have good internet service.  Phil is out in the cockpit enjoying his coffee and Katie is sleeping (or trying to through the noise from the Ham Radio Waterway Net).  So far the boat movement isn’t too bad.

About 10am we had a couple with their daughter stop by in their dinghy to drop off Christmas Cookies and a card.  Jeff, Liz and Jenny Armor are from S/V Boundless a Morgan 462 that is anchored closer to the channel and further west than we are.  He teaches children how to sail here and also charters their boat.  They use to have a 28’ boat that they use to cruise in before they started chartering. Their daughter Jenny is in third grade here on winter break and they will be leaving to go back to Virginia, their home.  Jeff will come back in a couple weeks for charter bookings and Liz and Jenny will return in February for a month.  They are a great family and he was very helpful in giving us suggestions about where to get things, ie hardware store, shopping and internet services.  Looks like we’ll take a bus trip to Marathon Mall or go downtown for camera shopping.

About 1045am Phil noticed that it was going to rain soon so he started a quick washdown of the boat using salt water and soap in the hope that it would rain hard enough to rinse off the salt water.  It did rain hard for about 6 minutes and then rain continued for another 6 minutes.  The wind is now clocking to the west at 22-30 knots with waves 1 foot at 1120am and at 12 noon the waves are 1-2 feet.  One sailboat has left and another smaller one has anchored since we last looked.  Good thing that the waves are coming down the bow instead of hitting us abeam.  This type of rocking is much easier to tolerate.

I have been typing the blog in Microsoft Word in preparation for when we get to an internet café most of the morning and Katie wants to charge her Nook, so Phil has started the engine to recharge the batteries.  Our viewing the movie last night did in the one battery last night and I’m sure the computer and Nook will do in the 2nd without action on Phil’s part.  Katie is reading so much that her Nook lasts about 2 days before it’s almost dead and has to be recharged.  Katie is also talking about wanting to come out next year we do this in Jan 2012 to spend a longer time with us so I guess that she is having a good time.  I know that it’s been a good vacation being in the sun and warmer weather.  The gray days take a toll on her emotionally back in Ohio.

Phil and I are experiencing some challenges adjusting to being together all the time.  We are both tired of how much stuff we have on the boat but I don’t know what we can live without yet.  I, as always lately, dream of having a bigger boat and Phil loves this boat so doesn’t want to sell it yet if ever.  I know one thing that needs to be fixed as soon as we’re in one place long enough and without waves long enough is the smell from the holding tank in the V-berth.  This continues back from when the holding tank was overfilled and we haven’t had the chance to empty out the V-berth which includes the mattress and everything below it to get to the problem.  The smell drives me nuts much more than Phil so you can guess that it’s a real issue for me.

I’m planning on using up the last of the crab meat and make a crab quiche for supper, warm up the rest of the sweet potato casserole and fix peas.

Monday, Dec 27
Anchored in Nassau Harbor, Bahamas

It’s been a rough time this past day and a half.  The front has come through and boy is it a cold front!  The winds have been steady in the mid to upper 20’s with gust up to 34 knots throughout yesterday afternoon, through the night and today.  Still hasn’t slowed down much thought there is more blue sky.  They have nickname this area “drag alley”.  There were 2-3 catamarans that started dragging mid to late afternoon that raised their anchor and anchored in other areas close by.  S/V Boundless who was delivering the cookies also started dragging while they were gone and they have moved and reset their anchor.  M/V First Nanny decided to get a dock at the Marina, which doesn’t offer protection from the wind and waves but does make sure they don’t drag.  About 930pm all of a sudden there was a shudder and we dragged the anchor for about 20 feet and then it caught again.  Phil thinks it’s was from the anchor turning around as we were faced in the opposite direction when the anchor first set.  After that, Phil let out all the anchor chain and a little bit of line anchor rode.  Phil decided we needed to do anchor watches throughout the night just to be safe.  Katie took the first one from 1030pm to 1am then Phil until 4am and then me until 7am.  There is a boat S/V Island Gal II and old hunter that had chafed through one of the 3 lines that was connected to the anchor cable before dark.  Phil told me that at 155am it let loose and was gone going under the bridge.  The mast hit the bridge and it’s down there against some of the working boats.  It’s a Bahamian boat that is stored here in the anchorage.  All the marinas are full and if we knew that the weather forecast was going to be soooo off, we would have gotten a spot in a marina too so that we wouldn’t have to worry and so that we could have gone on land and gone to the Junkanoo – a special holiday here in the Bahamas.  It’s cooled off quite a bit – was 64F in the boat this morning as had to have the forehatch open a little due to the smell.

Mid morning I baked butter biscuits which helped to warm up the boat, but I’ve been wearing long underwear bottoms under my jeans and 3 layers on top.  I thought that I would have left that behind.  Then I warmed up the rest of the quiche for lunch for Phil and I and then took a nap. 

230pm I got Phil to start the project to check out the holding tank.  We removed everything and found the missing dark chocolate.  Yeah!  We need some chocolate about now.  About 20 years ago, there was a crack in the holding tank on top along with a connection that Phil patched with 5200.  That has worn away, so he kneaded some of the Water Weld and placed it over the crack.  He also cleaned as he could the dried residue – which was mostly on my side with Greased Lightening.  I got buckets of sea water and he rinsed it.  Then we put some bleach in more buckets of sea water and let that sit a few minutes and rinsed with more buckets of sea water.  It still smells, but I hope it will be better.  What really needs to happen is to take the water tank out, clean everything really well, wash with the bleach water and put back in the water tank.  I’m not sure if that can happen realistically or not but I’m hoping.  By 430pm the V-berth was put back together again including the bedding.  I also wrote down everything that we had re-stored and put the milk powder and the dark chocolate in a more convenient place now that we’ll be accessing it more.

Both Phil and I think that we have had to endure a lot of bad weather since we have come to the Bahamas.  The winds are supposed to be decreasing tomorrow to 15-20 knots and clock to the N then East.  We hope that we’ll be able to take advantage of either a window to get to Norman Cay Wednesday after Katie leaves or stay here through New Year’s Eve though it would be good to be in Staniel Cay for their regattas scheduled for this weekend. 

I started making beef vegetable barley soup using some of the dried green beans, carrots and cauliflower.  I’ve been cooking it really low temp to try to give the green beans a chance to rehydrate without being hard.  Hasn’t worked yet, but I’m still hoping.  There are some people with bigger dinghies that have gone into shore, but we’re not one of them.  I’m hoping for tomorrow.  We also haven’t had showers since the last sun shower, which is way too long for both Katie and I.  Maybe I warm up water for us both.  Small things go a long way when you’re feeling miserable. 

The batteries have been running down for some unknown reason, so I’m writing this post while the engine is running.  We’re also charging both the Nooks, though Katie doesn’t have any books to read since we haven’t had internet since the Berry Island Club.

No comments:

Post a Comment