Monday, January 31, 2011

Black Point

Sunday, January 30
Black Point, Bahamas

Yesterday was our sleep in day with Lorraine getting up at 745 and Phil about 830am.  Today, we decided to take a walk down the road in the town.  Along the way we saw the police station, medical clinic, school, regatta point, and the highlight of our walk, the Garden of Eden.  Willie Rolle, who is the uncle of Lorraine of Lorraine's Cafe fame, gathered driftwood and wood on the island and has made sculptures of it.  He gave us a tour and talked about the different sculptures and how they resemble animals - flamingos, lions, tigers, bears, iguanas, and others and different people - a ballerina, pregnant woman and others.  Then in the back yard which is a lot of rock, he showed us all the fruits and some vegetables that he was growing - mostly in little depressions in the rock that has some soil in it.  He grows Guava, noni fruit, tamaran fruit, mangos, papyras, pigeon peas, sweet corn, and some lettuce that was going to see.  I can't remember everything he is growing.  He is quite a character and I'll try to upload some of the photos that I took.

In the evening, we went to Lorraine's Cafe for buffet dinner - she has BBQ ribs, chicken, fried fish fingers, peas and rice, bahamian macaroni and cheese and chocolate cake for dessert.  Andy from S/V Sisu (see sue) played the saxaphone and then Lorraine's relative played the guitar, so music was also provided with the meal.  All good time was had by all and we also met Steve and Judi for S/V Adanaco.

About 730pm we went back to the boat and knit/read until bed time.

Monday, January 31
Black Point

Hard to believe this is the last day of January.  It's warm and breezy.  This morning we went in separate dinghys to fish south of Blackpoint around a point about 1.5 mi south of here.  Phil and I put the 8hp engine on the dinghy.  We weren't successful in catching any fish but had a good time.  Phil and Steve were snorkeling and the rest of us were fishing.  Wish that I had a lookie bucket - which is a 5gal pal that has the bottom cut out and plexiglass in it's place.  Lets you see under the water very easily.  I hope there is one that I can get - or at least buy the bucket and plexiglass separately so Phil can make one.

Today was also laundry day - 3 loads this time.  Met up with Dawn and Randy of S/V Nirvana Now, whom we originally met in Hampton, VA.  They will come over for supper and cards about 5pm so I'll need to leave soon to get ready.

We are planning on staying tomorrow here and then leave Wednesday to go to Farmers Cay for their festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  It looks like the weather has a good chance of being good.  Then next weather window go to Lee Stocking Island and then to Georgetown.  I don't know what the internet signal will be there, but hope to have some.  At this time we have cell phone for our Bahamian Cell phone.  It's hard not having regular contact with family and friends in the States.

Of course I worry about Rachel and Katie and hope that everything is going well with my sister-in-law's pregnancy.  From what I hear, everything is good. 

We heard what the salt water does on boats, and it sure if affecting Changes.  This is hard for Phil as he has always keep up with her upkeep.  Yesterday he did polish the chrome to get off as much rust as he could.  He also wants to check the holding tank, but can't think about doing that job until we get to Georgetown. 

I see that there is another storm coming to the north so hope everyone stays safe.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Black Point to Cambridge Cay to Black Point

Mon, January 24
Blackpoint, Guana Cay

This morning we went into to town to wash clothes and see what the markets had available for provisions.  We washed 3 loads of clothes, so that finished up what we had left that we didn’t wash last time.  We included some sheet with that.  It doesn’t take long for salt water to get spots on the sheets, even though we try to keep the salt out of the boat – it seems that it’s a losing battle.  Before we bought provisions, we defrosted the freezer.  There was a heavy coat of ice on it – so now there is room for more meat to buy.  Charlie of S/V White Seal, who we met in Charleston, SC visited us in his dinghy.  He rows his dinghy all over the place and very well too.  They are planning on leaving to go to Cambridge Cay tomorrow, so will take a rain check on the invitation to play cards.  There are dark clouds west of us and the wind had picked up to E 13-14kts with Gust 17-20 kts.  Good thing that we have good protection from the east!  I made spaghetti for supper and we have enough left over for another meal.       I have started reading the ebook “Knitting for Dummies”.  I have been knitting for a while, but decided to read what they had to say.  Then I took the time to type a few of the instructions for items to knit into my laptop for future use.  With the ebooks I get from the Library, I have them only for the lending period and then I can’t access them any more, so wanted to take the chance to get what wanted while I still could.  Then I started reading the 4th book in a series called “Happy Ever After” by Nora Roberts.  I think Katie checked it out for me so thank you Katie, as I’ve been waiting for this book a long time.  I was tired from the long day and went to bed at 930pm.

Tuesday, January 25
Black Point to Cambridge Cay, Exuma Park
Distance Traveled:  23.67 nm
Total Distance:  2497.05 nm

Chris Parker says that there is a cold front that is expected to come through tomorrow afternoon with winds clocking S to SW to W to NW – all directions that are not comfortable in the Black Point anchorage, so we have decided to go to Cambridge Cay in the Exuma Park.  They said the winds in the squalls could be 30-50 knots!  Charlie had showed us on the chart the best way to enter the mooring field so that’s the way we’re planning to go which is around Bell Cay.  So as soon as Chris was finished with the weather, Phil started the engine at 740am and we raised anchor at 757am.  By 805am we let out a reefed head sail as the winds were E 16-17kts and by 820am were E 20-23 kts.  The wind angle was 150-160 degrees to starboard, so we were almost down wind.  I started steering at 825am as usual, it’s hard for the autopilot when we have quartering seas.  By 905am we were once again able to engage the autopilot as we had changed course so that we could stop at Samson Cay for diesel (17 gals), water (20 gals) and SHOWERS ($4/ea for 8 minutes).  I would say this is our first shower that we had with continuous running water since Chub Cay when we first entered the Bahamas.  Phil just washed up and didn’t use his full 8 minutes, but I did.  It was wonderful but it didn’t last long as we were sprayed with salt water when going upwind getting to the channel to get to Cambridge Cay.  We were trying to get to Bell cut before the tide starting going out.  For a lot of the cuts here between the islands, the current is strong when ebbing (going out from the Banks to the Sound) and the waves really kick up when you have a east wind (the tide and the wind are against each other), which is what happened when we had to go 2/3 of the way out of the cut to the sound before we could start turning to go around a rocky bar.  Changes is built like a tank, so we weren’t worried or afraid, but once we got the mooring ball and talked to friends, they said that they were able to see most of the keel when we went over some of the 8’ standing waves.  They said that we didn’t need to clean our bottom. J  We picked up the mooring ball at 112pm N 24 18.196’ W 76 32.481’  The mooring balls here are on a first come first serve basis and there were 4 left.  By the end of the evening, all the mooring balls were taken.  Unfortunately, we don’t have cell phone signal here and no internet so have turned off the cell phone to conserve energy and will turn it back on again once we have cell phone signal again.  We decided to take a walk to the sound side of Cambridge Cay and by 2pm were landing the dinghy on the beach.  We walked to the Exuma Sound side following a path lined with conch shells and it was beautiful with the waves crashing.  It must have been even better at high tide.  I took some videos – so will look to see how they turned out.  There is a path up the hill to the Bell Cut so we decided to take it after we had our fill walking on the beach.  I’m glad that we did it then, because who knows if we’ll get back to the beach again during our stay.  It was pretty windy there on the bluffs and we can just imagine how dangerous it would be if the wind was 30-40 knot up there.  There isn’t much to hold on to so you don’t get blown away. 

Once we were back at the boat by 4pm we were hungry, so I made smoked sausage, rice and pigeon peas in the pressure cooker.  I have been trying to use the dehydrated food that I brought, so put 2 pkts of dehydrated stewed tomatoes in with the mix.  I have to say this was not my better concoctions.  I should have put in more water for the tomatoes than I did.  We ate most of it and have enough left over for one person.  We spent the evening reading and Phil made popcorn for me.  We’ve paid for 3 days mooring so will be here to leave Friday if the weather stays good.  After the front goes through, it looks like Thursday through Mon or Tuesday has N to E winds max 10-15 knots – good weather to start going to Georgetown.  Phil wanted to be there in February and February is almost here.  We’ll see how the weather forecast goes before making the final decision.

Wednesday, January 26
Cambridge Cay
Exuma Land and Sea Park

Turns out that the cold front is going to be a bust for us – Small chance that a squall will go through and if it does, it won’t be as strong.  The disturbance ahead of the cold front is affecting the NW Bahamas – but now us in the central Exumas.   When we woke up, the anchorage was glassy – near low tide so good for going snorkeling. But when we got dressed, had breakfast, the winds had increased to 9- 12 knots and a chop in the anchorage.  WE want to wait to see what happens with the weather and keep an eye to the SW, which is where a squall will come from today.  The sole was dirty from salt water and sand so this is a good time to clean it.  While I cleaned the sole – Phil worked in the cockpit sawing off the end of the conch to make the horn.  There was a lot of dust in the cockpit, but he used the dirty water left over from the floor to wash it down.  As he figured – there was a lot of sand in the cockpit so why should he go to the foredeck to do this?  After lunch, we decided to try our luck at snorkeling.  Meg and Charlie from S/V White Seal where there.  This morning when it was calm, we had removed the 4hp motor and put on the 8hp motor.  We raised it with the main halyard on the port side, and it worked much better being able to use the main sheet self-tailing winch and also to be able to maneuver it through the gate.   The plastic handle used to lift it up off the mounting block is broken, so we had to tie a line through a metal loop instead.  I’m sure that once we get the hang of it, we’ll have an easier time getting it on and off the dinghy. We left at 130pm to Conch Cut to try to do snorkeling but we left too late and had a very strong current as the tide was ebbing.  We’ll try another day.

Charlie, Meg and their daughter, Mary, are coming for dinner and cards afterwards at 530pm, so after we were back at the boat, I started working on supper. I made Dried  Scalloped Asparagus casserole and  a dried peach upside down cake.  I’ll cook the ham where they get here.  They are bringing potatoes and canned green beans.  They live on their boat with no refrigeration or ice box!  Brave them.  Their instant potatoes were delicious; best I ever had.  They like my asparagus dish, but I didn’t.  The dessert turned out well though.   Mary went to visit her friends at S/V Sisu and Charlie and Meg stayed to play 10 Penny.  We had a great time and Phil beat out Lorraine with the wind by 5 points.  Charlie and Meg went back to the boat shortly after 9pm as they had to get Mary and are leaving tomorrow morning for Blackpoint.

Phil and I read some more – finished up the last 2 pieces of dessert so that Phil could wash the rest of the dishes.  I’m currently reading this e-book “Wendy Knits” and she has some good patterns in there that I have been working on typing into M. Word.  She has a instructions for socks that you knit from the toe up – so of course I typed that.  It’s really different from the socks directions that I have used, so will have to give that a try when I next knit another pair of socks.

This evening was pretty warm as the current from the tide is keeping us at right angles to the wind – so not much gets down below.  We had another humid day and most everything is damp.  Phil and I did a mini wash up (I said that shower we had yesterday didn’t last long) and then tried baby powder to sock up some of the moisture.  It’s really hard for me when our bedding is damp and for some reason, it is especially damp at the feet.  Tonight I got up and put a towel down on top of the sheet.  Wasn’t too long until that was damp too!  Phil says I need to ignore it – but I can’t seem to do that.  Now I know why Rodney and Sue have a dehumidifier on their boat Glenlyon.  I want one too J though I know that’s one thing I won’t get.  But I shouldn’t be complaining as it seems likes it’s been a hard winter up north.

Thursday, January 27
Cambridge Cay

This morning it’s cloudy with the cabin temperature (CT – inside the boat) and air temperature (AT) both 78F with the wind from 30degrees 8-9 knots.  The current is slow enough that we are actually pointed into the wind.  Yesterday, I pushed a button that caused it to try to sync with the satellites – which didn’t happen and it reset my watch to 1-1-11 12am – so now I don’t have the correct day, date and time.  This has happened to me a few times and the sync feature didn’t work last night  - so I still don’t have the correct information.  For some reason, it doesn’t want to sync up today.  I’ll have to bother Phil until I can get it fixed.

This morning we are going to the Sea Aquarium in the Exuma Park off O’Neills Cay.  Low tide is 811am so we left a little after 830am to get there when the current is less.  It’s was still cloudy, but maybe some of the clouds will dissipate by the time we get there.  This is the time that the 8hp motor comes in handy.  They had 2 dinghy moorings there and we timed it right as there wasn’t much of a current when we were there which is good for me.  Boy was this beautiful.  I took photos, and not sure how they will come out as the water was a little murky and the sun wasn’t out.  The coral reef went down the sides of the small island and I bet that is was at least 20’ deep.  The sergeant major fish came right up to our faces.  There were many fish there and much coral.  This is definitely the best snorkeling that we’ve had on this trip!  Too bad Katie couldn’t see it – maybe next time.  Once we had our fill, we went back to the boat and got there in time to see White Seal, SiSu, Adanaco, and Maggie M let loose their mooring balls and head out Bell Cut to head south.  Now there are only 6 boats left on the mooring balls, and we have decided to go to the mooring ball closest to shore.  We are running the engine and then plan to go to honeymoon beach on the south end of the island to take the trail to see Conch Cut.  While the engine is running, I downloaded my 145 photos and videos and typed up the blog so that when we get internet I can easily post these messages.  I’m sure everyone is fine, but I don’t like to be out of both cell phone signal and internet too long.

We are planning to go south tomorrow.  We’re go to Blackpoint and then continue south.  Tomorrow the winds are to be N 12-14 knots, Saturday N 12 decreasing to 10 knots, 070degrees 12-13 on Sunday and Monday.  So that gives us 4 days to get to Georgetown before we have to start worrying about the next cold front that may or may not get that far south.  Next Friday is the regatta at Farmers Cay which is always a big event.  We are interested, but we’ll have to see how the weather is.  The anchoring isn’t good there and the mooring balls were iffy last time we heard.  Maybe we’ll get the chance to use our cruising shoot that Colin sent to us and that we haven’t used yet.  I hope so!!

Friday, January 28
Cambridge Cay to between the Big Majors
Distance Traveled: 14.1nm
Total Distance: 2511.25

We woke to cooler weather and continued clouds.  We decided that we would leave but where to?  Samson Cay, Staniel Cay or Blackpoint?  I started making bread in the morning about 830am and after I had set it to rise, we decided to leave Cambridge Cay.  It was calm going out O’Neil Cut, unlike when we came into Cambridge Cay and were sailing mostly downwind.  After passing conch cut leaving Exuma Park, I put out the trolling fishing line with the Cedar Plug.  The winds were 10-13 knots to start and then started building to 15-17 knots, which was fine as the winds were coming off the lane so on Exuma Sound it was still relatively calm.  But with the increasing, we decided to stop between the Majors instead of going to Black Point.  They don’t have protection from winds from any W direction and we heard on the radio that it was pretty rocky anchorage.  We hadn’t anchored between the Majors before, but it’s the best place when the winds are from any Westerly direction.  I don’t know my log book with me for precise info – but we anchored early afternoon and set the anchor well.  There were about 4-5 other boats there and the anchor set very well.  This was a good choice as it was very calm here as you can see if you use the satellite view on the GPS spot page.  I worked on knitting and Phil was reading a book.  It would be rocky on the dinghy to go to town so we didn’t put together the dinghy.  As I was looking through a locker for something else, I found what I think is the last jar of homemade sauerkraut – so cooked it for supper with smoked sausage, potatoes and canned corn.  I continued knitting in the evening, trying out different patterns and Phil read until we went to bed at 11pm.  It really cooled down this evening (for us) and we got out one of the quilts.  Most of the bedding was dry so I hope we’ll have a good night for sleeping.

Saturday, January 29
Between Big Majors to Black Point
Distance Traveled:  8.1 nm
Total Distance:  2519.35

This morning it was 68F outside and 72F inside the cabin.  The humidity was also down – 74% in Georgetown.  It was cool enough that both Phil and I put on sweatshirts or fleece to start off the day and pants.  We raised anchor a little after 9am and was through the Cut 15 min later.  The current was strong in the cut and we have 2-3ft standing waves, but it wasn’t anything like we had just experienced.  We started sailing with the wind angle 120degrees off Port and then went to 130degrees.  We put out the head sail and left the engine on idle to charge the batteries.  I put out the trolling fishing line and then a little later, Phil attached an sinker to it where we attach the leader to see if it would help it get down deeper.  We got to Dotham Cut about 1015 and were anchored by 1030am.  I rolled in the fishing line – no lucky today.  The anchorage had calmed down as the winds are from the north now and we went to our typical area that we usually anchor in.  There are about 14 boats now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we got more later today.  I fix lunch using the bread I baked yesterday and then we went into town to get internet.  There were some Bahamians that had fish and lobster at the dinghy dock, but when I asked about buying lobster, then wanted $20 ea which is too much for us.  Too bad!!  I was glad to chat with my sister Robin and Katie on Facebook.  Can’t Skype or anything similar to that here. And check email too.  

We plan to be here a few days and then go to Farmers Cay south of here for the Class Bahamian Boat Races next weekend.  They are expecting a cold front, but if we're lucky it won't go past the NW Bahamas.  Then we'll go to Georgetown for a few weeks.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pipe Creek to Black Point

Monday, January 17
Martin Luther King Day
Big Majors to Pipe Creek
Distance Traveled:  8.22nm
Total Distance:  2460.32nm

This morning we woke and listened to Chris Parker, as usual.  The weather is looking good for use to sail to Pipe Creek.   This is a location that many people are scared of going into because of the depth and coral reefs, but we feel that’s we’ll be find if we go in on the rising tide.  High tide in Nassau is 540pm so we think that if we arrive late afternoon, that we’ll be ok.  Patty and Gary of S/V Last Tango said to contact S/V Maribelle – Becky and Kevin to guide us the last way in and we’ll do that when we get a little closer.

We tried to get into Staniel Cay this morning, but with winds from the South, once we turned the corner of Big Majors, we encountered 2ft waves and taking on too much water, Phil turned around to go back.  I had some urgent business to do, so on the way back we stopped at S/V White Diamond, whom we had met yesterday on the beach.  From our discussions, we knew that he had a WiFi antenna to get the signal from further away.  Lucky for me, when we stopped, they were willing for me to use it, so I got the urgent need taken care of.  Of course, then we visited some and met Ron’s wife Evelyn.  Their boat is a Beneteau 51’ with 2 forward cabins ea with their own head.  On the starboard side there were two small desks that came perpendicular to the hull for 2 laptop computers. On the Port side is a large U-shape settee with a settee in the center along mid-line.  There is also an aft cabin with it’s own head too.  The boat was a charter boat in a previous life.  By 11am we were on Changes and we decided to go fishing.  Lorraine has really been trying to catch a fish to eat for supper but hasn’t had a luck and today followed the same.  We went back to the boat at 1230pm, had cheese and kidney bean quesadillas and read until 130pm when Phil started the engine.  By 132pm the anchor was raised with the winds SE 10-12 knots.  After we cleared land, the wind increased to 15-17 kts with a boat speed of 6.15 knots and we changed course to Sandy Cay way point.  By 2pm we were alongside Pipe Creek and Becky and Kevin on their dink guided us in once we rounded the corner close to Overyonder Cay that has 8 wind generators. (These are the only wind generators we’ve seen in the Bahamas.  I heard later that this island is privately owned and the owner is trying to be Green).  We dropped anchor at 312pm and were told that everyone had out 2 anchors.  Becky and Kevin were going to the beach to clean conch and then they would come back to help us drop the 2nd anchor.  Next job was to get out the 2nd anchor in the anchor locker and the rode from the sail locker and put them together.  When we dropped anchor the first time, we dragged some before it caught and as time went on, we were getting closer to S/V Tides Inn, a 38’ Island Packet.  After trying to pull in the anchor rode and we were still too close, we then decided to raise anchor and anchor a little further away.  By about 4pm, we re-anchored at N 24 14.01’ W 76 29.338’.  Then Kevin took Phil on board and carried our other anchor to put it down 180 degrees to the first one.  Heather and Murray Rand on S/V Windswept IV (from Port Stanley Sailing Squadron) picked up Becky from our boat and set the 2nd anchor for us while Kevin and Phil went to help S/V Bantana set their 2nd anchor.  We really didn’t know how to get the other anchor in since this is the first we’ve anchored with 2 anchors.  Next time we think that we’ll be able manage it without others helping us.  

Pipe Creek is an area that is anchored to the north and south by Compass Cay and Sampson Cay. Moving southward on the West side is Pipe Cay, Little Pipe Cay, Rat Cay and the Mices which are very small islands just East of Rat Cay.  Moving southward on the east side is Joe Cay, Thomas Cay and Overyonder Cay (private island).  It’s great because once in here there is really 360 degree protection and at low tide there are a lot of areas that are dry in the areas with a lot of fetch.  If you take a look at the Spot GPS Messenger page, I’m sure that you’ll be able to see what I’m talking about. 

We were invited to play games on S/V Maribelle so after washing up, we brought the tortilla chips and homemade salsa.  Sue and Mark from S/V Tides Inn joined us and we talked until 9pm – not playing any games after all but having a good time getting to know each other.  We read after getting home and then went to bed.

Tuesday, January 18
Pipe Creek

We woke to sunny skies with winds but everything is damp and humid and 76F inside the boat. Yuk!  We had cereal and then went to the beach on the Exuma side of Thomas Cay.  On the west side, the beaches are narrow and clean – on the Exuma side, there is all this man made debris scattered along the beach washed up by the waves.  It’s such a shame!  The cruisers call it “East Marine” instead of West Marine.  It looks ugly to me.  We had a nice time watching the waves and looking for shells and sea glass.  Lorraine got quite a collection of shells and of course many photos were taken of the waves and beaches.
Beach on Exuma Sound Thomas Cay

Debris washed up
In the afternoon, we stopped by to visit Heather and Murray Rand from S/V Windswept IV a 40’ C&C with an aft cabin.
Murray & Heather Rand and Phil on Windswept IV
Phil knew them from sailing on Lake Erie and went to their going away party in 1997 when they first went cruising.  For 8 years, they worked at a marina in the North Channel which stopped after the management started hiring high school guys (they didn’t get along with each other – making it WORK) instead of the college girls they had the previous years.  Heather and Murray decided to have a change and bought a house 20 min from where Murray grew up.  They have been cruising in the Bahamas all these years and it’s been great to meet them.  Heather gave me the grand tour and also gave me bread, rolls, and English Muffin recipes.  Here, there are not many stores close by except at Sampson Cay Marina – so Lorraine is going to start making bread. We left late in the afternoon and Lorraine made the English Muffin Loaf (made 2 loaves of bread).  It turned out OK, - needed to let it rise more and think needed to add a little more flour to get a rounded top.    We relaxed in the evening.

Wednesday, January 19
Pipe Creek Area

At 630am we had fog that quickly cleared after the sun rose.  Kevin stopped by and asked if Phil wanted to go dive fishing with them – YES and I went along too to fish from the dinghy.  Lorraine is determined to catch a fish for supper!!  But before we went, Phil went to S/V Maribelle to try out their Evinrude 8Hp 2 cycle short shaft outboard engine on our dinghy

They had bought this first to use with their dinghy, but found out that they needed a long shaft engine.  By 930am we were off with both of us wearing wet suits.  We went to the cut to Exuma Sound between Thomas Cay and Overyonder Cay and put out the dinghy anchor just north of the cut.  While the guys were in the water, Lorraine was swinging her hand line in a circle above her head and then throwing the line out.  After about 3 tosses, she caught a 2” trigger fish (she found out later).  What to do as the fish had swallowed the hook.   
New 8hp Evinrude 2 cycle engine
Queen Trigger fish caught with hand line
I was able to reach Murray’s attention who was kind enough to get in his dinghy and come over to remove the hook.  Not too much later, Phil got back to the boat.  Success!!!  They said that it’s a good tasting fish too.  Joe of S/V Just Ducky caught a large (3-4” lobster).  Kevin’s dinghy starting going out to see, so someone else fishing went out to capture and retrieve it.  Turns out that he we so excited to fish that he forgot to put out the anchor when they changed locations.  We have learned that the best time to fish is early morning and at dusk.  Lessons learned.

About 1130am we were back at Changes and Phil cleaned the trigger fish.  Their skin is really tough, so we left the scales and skin on.  We’ll cook it whole and that will come off easily.  Kevin came by to see how we were doing and invited us to go conch hunting at 130pm at low tide.  We read and had a baloney sandwich for lunch and took off at 145pm.  Mark and Sue from S/V Tides Inn also joined us.  I didn’t have any luck finding a big enough conch but Phil found one and Kevin and Becky found 4.  I did find 3 sand dollars and a trumpet shell found in a pile of many empty small conch shells.  
empty conch shells

Conch moving on the beach
It looks to me like some animal had eaten them.  We went to the beach and cleaned the conch together, this time being shown the best way.  Phil had more success taking off the skin.  Kevin had a drill so drilled a hole in our conch so that we can make a horn out of it.  We learned the trick of inserting a ice pick in the hole and our conch fell out this time.  Everyone saved the through away parts of the conch for me to freeze to use as bait for future fishing.   I was given hint to soak the shells in water with fabric softener and then wipe with Liquid Gold to shine them up.

Pipe Creek Yacht Club
430pm we went to the beach to visit the “Yacht Club” and had appetizers.   

Yacht Club "Meeting"

On our way over we heard S/V Messenger calling for help from S/V Windswept IV as they were on a coral reef when coming in to Pipe Creek close to Rat Cay.   It was a long day and Lorraine was tired and ready to be home as the sun was setting.  While at the beach, we met Judy Long and Stephen Sellinger of S/V Bentana and John and Anita of M/V Anjo.

Once home, we read and heard on the radio that S/V Messenger is ok – they hit 2 separate reefs and a sand bar when coming in with guidance.  They came in at 4pm so didn’t have the sun at their back to be able to read the water well.  Just glad that they’re ok.

Thursday, January 20
Pipe Creek Area

Once again it is very wet inside the boat.  The past 2 nights it’s been difficult to sleep.  The night before water was dripping on me through the forehatch and I moved to the port settee.  The bedding was damp again last night and I again moved to the port settee to sleep. I really hope that this changes soon!  It’s been worse as the winds have been very light.  We woke to the anchorage being very glassy.  The winds are supposed to increase from light and variable to SE 5-10 knot later in the day.  There is talk of a cold front coming through Saturday to Sunday, so we will be staying here until after the cold front passes.  Chris Parker uses the GFS and Euro models and they don’t match up today, so we’ll see how back it gets.  As the winds are quiet this morning, we went to Sampson Cay marina to get water, wash 3 loads of clothes ($4/load each washer and dryer) and get some provisions.  Boy was it nice being able to plane with the new outboard and  it’s great to have idle and reverse.  Can you tell that I want Phil to buy this????  Samson Cay Marina store is pretty well stocked and we were able to get a case of Diet Coke for $1/can – better than the $1.25/can at Black Point and Staniel Cay.  We found out later though that the 4oz Coppertone sunscreen cost $18.00!!   Sampson Cay Marina has a 2 for 1 pizza special on Thursdays, so after Kevin/Becky and Sue/Mark went to Staniel Cay in their dinghy, we met up at 12 noon just after we finished laundry and had pizza together along with John and Anita.  We decided to pay for both pizzas so that we could have some for lunch another day.  We can’t remember since we’ve had the last pizza – we think sometime last summer.  While sitting outside, a Bahamian skiff (a 18’ center console) pulled up with a pile of conch.   I went over and they would sell me some – so I got 2 at $4/each – and they cleaned it (and saved the throw aways for more bait).  I think that I’m set for bait now for the rest of my trip here if I had to guess.

We got back to the boat at 225pm and went to Tides Inn to play Up and Down the River with Kevin, Becky, Sue and Mark.  It’s been a LONG time since we played this game and as the first game progressed, we kept remembering the rules.  I have written them down so will be easier to play next time, but was challenging for everyone as you can imagine.  It was great to play it and brought back memories of playing it with our friends back home.  We miss everyone! But don’t miss the bad weather.  Though when everything is damp inside and out, it’s not very comfortable.

Lorraine made the V-berth just before going to bed so that everything didn’t get damp after being dried in the dryer.  This night she stayed in the V-berth all night.

Friday, January 21
Pipe Creek Area

We woke up to S 10-14kt winds and light dew and less dampness. Yah!!  The weather has been clarified more for this weekend and it looks like the winds are going to be as strong if not stronger than forecasted yesterday.  Good decision to stay here.  As we’re listening on the VHF radio, we hear people discussing the weather and where they are going to go to get protection from the west winds.  Warderwick Wells is full except for Emerald Rock which is on the west side of the island with no protection.  In this part of the exumas, there aren’t many places for protection.  There were some boats that were thinking of coming into Pipe Creek area until they heard of S/V Messenger hitting bottom so they went elsewhere.  We have been hearing that boat are going into Compass Cay and Sampson Cay Marinas at $2.50/ft and $50 for electric a night – not metered.  Chris Parker talked about a gale in New England States – glad we don’t have that, but it has been pretty hot lately.  Wind are forecasted to be SE 10-15 kts this morning with maybe a stray 30kt squall tonight.  We won’t be going anywhere until this evening when we’re having a joint conch appetizers on Tides Inn so Lorraine made the Bob’s Red Mill 10 grain bread mix.  It takes 3 risings, so good to start in the morning with it 80F inside the boat.  1130am just as the bread is about ready to come out of the oven, Becky picked Lorraine up to go to Tides Inn to plan this evenings food.  We decided instead of having appetizers to have a meal with cracked conch appetizers, seafood chowder that Becky will make and bread that I will make.  We’ll meet at 430pm.  When I got back to the boat, the loaf of bread was baked a little longer than it needed to be, but not burnt.  We tried it, and  it’s was good.  With 2/3rd of loaf left, I decided to try Heather’s Bagette bread recipe with the rapid rise yeast.  I use 2 c whole wheat flour for some of the white flour and added 2T sugar.  During the 2nd half of rising, I took a nap, put it in the oven and continued my nap.  Hey – not working so nap time it was. 

We got to Tides Inn at 435pm and enjoyed the cracked conch that Sue made.  Her’s was much more tender than mine so that tells me that I need to pound it more than I have.  Good to know for the conch in the refrigerator.  All the food was great including my bread and we were back home at 7pm.  At 715pm the wind was W 12-14 knots.  We read the rest of the evening and went to bed – Phil at 930pm and Lorraine at 11pm.

Saturday, February 22
Pipe Creek Area

We woke this morning to sunshine to the south and clouds to the north – warning us of the front to come.  The wind has picked up about 4am and is now WSW 13-15 knots with a light dew.  There are ½ - 1ft waves in the anchorage and we are bouncing a little bit.  They are predicting SW 15 knot increasing to 25 knots by sunset and clocking to the NW after the front has passed being 25-30 knots all night, but the squalls should be over.  Tomorrow is to be better starting at N 20 kts at dawn clocking to NE 12-10 knots by evening.  Monday it will be at 70degrees 10kts or less, so we have decided to go to Black Point tomorrow leaving at high tides which  should be between 1030 – 11am.  We have to wait until the tide turns so that we are pointing to the main anchor.  Then we can let out the anchor rode and reverse over the 2nd anchor, raise that anchor and then raise the main anchor.  We hope to go out the cut between Thomas and Overyonder Cay (is a wide cut) and then go down 3 cuts to Dothan Cut and into Black Point.  If the weather is too bad, we’ll either go along the Bahamas Banks or stay another day.  At Blackpoint we’ll have internet, water and maybe do the laundry as we didn’t do it all last time.  I could kick myself for forgetting my laptop when we went to Sampson Cay, so really want to check email and post on the Blog before we go to Farmers’ Cay. 

Both Phil and I were on the computers while the engine was charging the batteries working on creating playlists to put on our Ipods for listening to using the radio.  Then I started working on typing up the blog so it won’t take long tomorrow.

Kevin stopped by mid day and talked to Phil about the 8hp Evinrude.  Phil wasn’t going to buy it but Kevin gave him the deal to buy for $300 and we took it.  Now we have to figure out how to lift it and where to store the 4hp engine.  Actually, we’ll see if we can use the Main halyard and a block off the end of the boom and put it where the 4hp engine went.  I’m really glad that we’re able to have this new engine; makes me feel more comfortable when going thru the cuts with large current. 

About 4pm we went over to Maribelle and picked up the 4hp engine and then visit Just Ducky to get their boat card. For now Phil has put the 4hp engine in the cockpit

Cold front coming
The clouds for the front are coming.  It looks beautiful.  Time to start pounding the conch for supper.

Sunday, January 23
Passage from Pipe Creek to Black Point
Distance Traveled:  13.06 nm
Total Distance:  2473.38 nm

This morning we woke to clear skies and cold (for us).  It was 74F inside the boat and 68F outside with winds NNE 16 knots.  It was much calmer in the anchorage. The weather has been very humid with most fabric items on the boat damp.  You just can get things dry here unless you keep them in a bag.   S/V Maribelle and Tides Inn took in their 2 anchors each and left to go through the cut between Thomas and Overyonder Cay at 945am.  S/V Just Ducky gave them a nice send off blowing both their conch horns.  We then started raising our 2nd anchor first on the line rode @ 1020am, put that away and then raised our primary anchor at 1038am.  After talking to Kevin on S/V Maribelle and hearing that the Exuma Sound had 4-6' waves and NE winds 10-15 knots, we decided to go to Black Point on the Bahamas Banks.  Even then we had NE winds 10-18 knots.  We came into the anchorage at 1245pm and had dropped our anchor at 1255pm close to where we were anchored before.  Not too long after we were here - 10 sailboats also came into the anchorage making about 20 boats at anchor.

By 230pm we had the dinghy put together using the 4hp outboard engine and came into Lorraine's Cafe to use the internet.  I had sent text messages to a few people to let them know that I would have internet and be able to chat on FB and was able to talk to my Mom, Katie, Cheryl and my friend Nancy.  It was good to talk to them and have some of my concerns put to rest for now.  Lorraine's Cafe is now packed with many cruisers here eating, using internet, watching the Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears playoff game.  

Phil wants to stay here tomorrow, so we'll do laundry in the morning, fill with water, listen to the weather and decide where we will go on Tuesday.  There is to be a cold front coming but we don't have the particulars yet to decide what where to go when.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Staniel Cay - Big Majors

Friday, January 14, 2011
Big Majors/Staniel Cay

The weather was still 13 - 18 knots from the NE, but we decided to go into Staniel Cay Yacht Club anyway, dressing in our foul weather gear for the wet trip in and boy did Lorraine get wet!  But when we arrived we took off the foul weather gear and was dry underneath except for her seat.  We both had  a Mahi Mahi sandwich and was it good.  We saw Irene and Jim from S/V Escapaid at Staniel Cay Yacht Club and invited them to play cards.  It was decided that we would go to their boat at about 530pm today.  After I was done on the computer, we took a walk to the 2 grocery stores that were close by.  The grocery stores are very small - usually one room or 2 small rooms - about the size of the houses here which are small too by U.S. standards.  There isn't much there, but they do have freezers for meat and refrigerators where they keep drinks (usually not milk) and produce.  We went to Pearls Pink Market (the building is HOT pink) but they were closed and then went to the Royal Blue Market (insert photo).
Grocery Store
After the market, we walked by the Library, which is also the oldest building on the island.  Phil had stopped by earlier while I was on the Internet and exchanged some books - so he's set for a few days.
After we went back to the boat, I fixed Gingerbread using my new hand mixer.  Boy does it work good compared with doing by hand and it tasted so much better we found out later.  Off to visit Irene and Jim and we had such a great time talking, that we never got out the playing cards.  Jim is a builder and built the house they currently own.  Irene use to own a quilt shop many years ago and current does rug/pillow hooking so she showed me her current projects.  Hopefully we'll see them again in our travels.

We got back to the boat at 945pm with the wind 13-14 knots Gusts to 18-19 knots.  It was very dark but we didn't get too wet as we are in a protected spot.  I finished my pair of socks and am into a new secret knitting project.  Not being able to find the start for the inside of this skein of yarn, Phil helped me to roll it into a ball.  It got a little tangled, so I completed this and Phil read after our return to Changes.

Saturday, Jan 15
Big Majors/Staniel Cay
After we listened to Chris Parker weather, we decided to try going fishing. We had bought some basic hand fishing gear - siinkers, line and hooks, and below is a photo of Phil tying knots to put them together using our hand Cruisers fishing guide book as a reference. 

Phil making fishing line

We didn't have any yoyo's to use to wrap the line around, so we made do with empty mixed nuts and cashews cans putting the sinker and nook inside with the lid on.  See below.  We didn't catch anything, but had a good time trying.
make sift yo yo with completed hand line

After fishing, we went back for lunch of reheated tuna pot pie and then went into town about 2pm to use the Internet again (I bought 3 days - 750MB of data for $25) and to watch the Pittsburg Steelers vs Baltimore Colts Division Championship game.  Turns out that we didn't stay too long as the TV was WAY TOO LOUD and Phil wanted to get back to the boat before it got completely dark.  Below is one of the beautiful sunset that we had, though not this night's.  I have a feature on my camera that takes wide photos, so able to get a wider view of the beautiful sky.
sunset from Big Majors
After our return, I fixed Chicken and rice in the pressure cooker.  I like to mix the grains that I have on the boat, so mixed them in a bowl (brown rice, red lentils, yellow split peas, Trader Joes mixed brown rice,Quinoa, and barley)  and then after using what I needed tonight, put the rest in a quart canning jar.  That way I can have a mixture and be able to cook smaller amounts each time.  Looks pretty too.  Today was the big day that we washed up including hair.  Felt good!  Last time that we had a regular shower was in Fort Lauderdale.   Winds are NE 60 degrees 8-13 knots, about what they were yesterday.

We met someone in Blackpoint that suggested that we have more flushes when use the head - so have been having 7 pumps of water instead of 3, and it does help with the odor in the head, but now we are starting to get more smell in the V-Berth again!  That is the hardest for me to deal with this smell.  Wish we could find the source of the leak and fix it for good!!

We have decided that we'll stay tomorrow so I can use the internet again - trying to upload photos and then leave about 1pm to go to Pipe Creek.  We need to arrive about high tide, which should be later in the afternoon.  S/V Marabell is there, friends of Patty and Gary, so we'll give them a hail and see if they can pilot us in.  It's a beautiful place but a little tricky due to coral heads.  As Phil recalls, this is the place that Andy had trouble when he was here with his wife Kathy.  We'll stay there a few days, go to Blackpoint to do laundry and fill up with water, Farmer's Cay, Lee Stocking Island and then to Georgetown where we'll stay for about a month or so.  While we're in Pipe Creek, I expect that we won't have internet.  We are checking into getting an WiFi Antenna to put on the mast so that we can pick up signals up to 5-7 mi away.  Time will tell.

Sunday, January 15
Big Majors to Pipe Creek
Distance Traveled:  to come
Total Distance:  to come

We woke up later today - 830am to blue skies and the say wind - 60 degrees (NE) 8-13 knots.  It's nice to have the sun.  Heard from Katie via email and it's been hard for her going from sun all the time to gray skies in Dayton. I'm glad that the days are getting longer now instead of shorter.  She likes her teachers for her classes this quarter, so that's good.

We stopped at a beach this morning, and then came into Staniel Cay Yacht Club to finish using the MB data I have paid for.  We met Dawn and Randy on S/V Nirvana Now at the YC along with his brother and brother-in-law, which is the last of the visitors they're having since November.  Soon they'll have the boat all to themselves. 

We also met some more French Canadians, Suzie, Hughes, and friend Helen on S/V Carpathia a Beneteau 47' anchored closed to us.  We enjoyed chatting on the patio and I helped Suzie figure out some items on blogspot.  We hope to see them again too.

I am uploading photos that go to the older blogs in the Bahamas, so you may want to go back and check them out up to for January 2011.  I don't know when I'll be able to post for feel free to text me on the phone and send emails.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Black Point to Staniel Cay - Big Majors

Sunday, January 9, 2011
Black Point, Guana Cay

We had thought about going to church this morning, but decided to get some work done on the boat since it was glassy and calm in the anchorage.  I washed up after I heated up some water while Phil took the sponge and wiped down the bottom of the boat.  In the photos, the water was so clear; you could see clouds of the red bottom paint.  It was warm with the calm winds, so we put up the Farouck – first time in a while. 

Since it was calm, dry and warm, today is the day we decided to fix the stern rail deck attachments.  They have been loose and we’ve assumed they leaked like a sieve (as Phil says).  I emptied the quarter berth and then with Phil inside and me on the deck we removed the screws and used Dolfinite 2005W to bed the forward port deck attachment.  Since we were in this – in for a penny, in for a pound, we check the stern attachments - yes they’re loose - so decided to bed them (two attachments) also.  These were a little harder as Phil had to lie down and have his arm up to his shoulder in a hole ALL the way so he could touch the screws under the deck.  Insert photo Two hours later we were all finished and glad that job was done and won’t have to be repeated for years.  It was something that has needed to be done for 6 months.   

By 2pm, we decided to go into the town to get water.  They have a faucet not too far from the Government dock that has free R/O (reverse osmosis).  The couple from S/V Stormy Weather was also there to get water after we were done.  We left the jerry jugs in the dinghy, took the computer  and walked to Lorraine’s Café so I could used the internet (we were the only ones there) and then had the fish dinner we saw others having yesterday.  It was very good and we ate it all!  Nothing like fresh fish!!  Just as we were almost finished, two and a half couples came into the café.  One couple is from S/V Nauticat and their crew Ann Gates who owns S/V Krazy Lady talked with us.   After we got home, I hailed Patty of S/V Last Tango to invite them over, but they were tired from their activities today so declined.  We’ll get together tomorrow morning when we go to the Laundromat and decided what to do together.  Phil emptied the dinghy and Lorraine uploaded photos from the new camera while Phil read for the evening’s entertainment. 

Monday, January 10, 2011
Black Point, Guana Cay

Laundry Day!  Boy did we have laundry to do.  Both the laundry bags and our 3 big sail tote bags were full.  We weren’t sure when the laundry opened so as soon as we heard our part of the weather, we went over iin the dinghy.  There is a small dock there so you just walk up some steps and you’re there.  Unfortunately, they didn’t open until 8am so we had a 45 min wait.  15 min later Gord and Suzanne came and then more trickled in.  Once Ian from S/V Stormy Weather said that the front door is usually unlocked and if you have the tokens, you can use it on Sunday, everyone carried laundry to the front.  As you can imagine, the late comers started taking the washing machines until I spoke up that we had been waiting first so they were kind enough to give us the machines we needed.  Here you use different tokens for the washing machines (straight on two sides and curved about the size of a quarter on the other two sides) and circle tokens for the dryers – both $3.50 each.  Next time we’re here, we’ll be sure to buy tokens ahead of time if we’re here on a Sunday.  Our laundry was done and we were back at the boat by 11am.  We had lunch and then got ready to meet Patty and Gary at 2pm.  But before we were done, Ian from S/V Stormy Weather was kind enough to drop off a foot long fish he had caught with a spear.  He had originally caught it for himself and then caught a 24 to 30” fish that they were keeping for themselves.  Did we want it!  YES!  As we really don’t know how to clean a fish, I got out the handy dandy Cruisers Guide to Fishing and read it off the directions to Phil on how to clean a fish.  Worked out ok and we decided to take it with us, along with the steaks we had gotten at the local Market to share for our dinner with Patty and Gary.   We were about 30 min late for the appointed time but not to worry as they were detained and had just gotten back to their boat.

We had a great time playing card with Patty and Gary.  I think they are about my age from Connecticut.  Gary is a Electric Engineer and Patty is in medicine so we get along well with them.  They taught us a fun card game “Canadian Upside Down Fruit Basket” and we taught them Canasta, interrupting the 2ndgame for supper of fish, steaks and chicken on the grill, salad and rice/grain dish that I brought.  We then finished the game and then they taught us how to play Cribbage.  Not so hard as it looked reading the directions in out Hoyle’s Rules of Game book.  I had bought a Cribbage game in the states and we haven’t played yet.  It was fun and is not the thinking game that we thought it was.  Now we can tackle it ourselves!!  We had such fun that we didn’t leave to come back until 915pm.  We will be going to the Big Majors/Staniel Cay tomorrow and they are continuing south.  We look forward to seeing them in Georgetown when we get there.

As it was a warm day, we both washed up and were in bed by 1030pm.

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2011
Passage to Big Majors/Staniel Cay
Distance Traveled:  8.31 nm
Total Distance:  2465.19 nm

We started the day by getting more water in the jerry jugs and washed the V-berth quilt.  While the clothes were washing and drying, I was at Lorraine’s Café on my laptop (had set the timer so that I could in the dryer on time).  Unfortunately when Phil got there and it was time to take the clothes out of the dryer – they were still wet.  I must have forgotten to push the start button – drat.  We’ll try to dry the clothes on the line after we’re in Staniel Cay.  We raised the anchor at 1225pm  with the wind SE 10 kts.  By 1228pm, Phil let out the head sail while Lorraine fixed lunch in the galley.  We motor sailed the entire time to charge the batteries but were sailing at only about 4 knots.  145pm Phil rolled up the head sail and we dropped anchor at 205pm (N 24 11.017’ W 76 27.514’.  Phil quickly put together the dinghy so we were going into Staniel Cay at 230pm to the dinghy dock for Isle General  Store.  Another gentleman was sitting at tables and chair in the shade waiting for the store to open.  The Cashier had gone to the airport and would be back soon.  Remember this is Bahamas Time. J  We didn’t have long to wait and had bought the 2cycle oil and a few other items before heading over to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club gas dock.  After we got the gas, we went inside the yacht club for rum drinks.  The Grotto where Thunderball cave that was in the James Bond,  Thunderball Movie is very close by and there are photos on the wall taken on the crew sitting at this same bar from 1964.  It’s very cool there.  Lots of yacht flags hanging from the ceiling.  We met Irene and Jim for S/V Escapaid,  O’Day 37 who is anchored behind us.    We had nice time chatting with Irene at the bar.  We also stopped by S/V Nuvo, Larry and Kathy, who was on the mooring ball next to us at Waderick Wells.  They are planning on re-anchoring inside the more protected harbor tomorrow in preparation for the expected cold front that is to come through.  At home (for our boat is our home), I reheated the bean and cabbage stew, cooked potatoes and corn that I had rehydrated earlier today.  The corn tastes like canned corn to me but was good.  It was a hot day so I warmed up water and did a bird bath as my sister, Robin says.  It has been too hot lately for me to use the flannel sheet, so will try a plain cotton sheet tonight and see if it helps me to sleep better. 

Wednesday, Jan 12, 2011
Big Majors/Staniel Cay

We listened to the weather and then quickly made preparations to go to the Grotto to see Thunderball Cave while it’s low tide and the current is less.  We left at 710am – a record for me getting together – wearing swimsuits under our wet suits.  We were the only ones there and I’m glad I had the wet suit on as I got chilled before Phil even with the wet suit.  We had timed it right as we could go in the cave snorkeling and not having to dive under the opening to get inside.  They had an anchor with floats so that we could tie the dinghy to one of them.  Phil went in first to check that we had the right place and then I went in too.  The current was pushing us out of the cave but I was able to overcome the current to get inside and was it worth it.  There are so many fish in this area and they come right up to you that I expect they have been fed by people before us.  Then we went to another part of the cave that is curved like a ball with an opening at the top.  We took some photos, but with the dimmer light, they didn’t come out like we hoped.  I went back to the dinghy and am proud to say that I was able to get inside myself.  The trick for me is to bring my left leg and get it inside the dinghy, grab some lines that I had left in position for that purpose and the roll my hips and me inside.  This is a big deal for me to be able to do this more easily than last time when I could hardly get inside.  Phil came and got the camera and went inside to take more underwater photos for me. Insert photos  The best photos are outside the cave as it was too dark inside to have natural light for the photos.  On the way back, we stopped at a C&C 27’ S/V Julie and introduced ourselves to Jon.  Isabel was down below, so we didn’t get the chance to meet her.  They are from Montreal Canada (where else?? – there are sooo many Canadians here this year).  We got back to the boat at 830am and then Phil took the dinghy to the pig beach to put Water Weld on the side of the dinghy where he have had a leak.  Turns out there was a hole where a screw was, so hopefully that’s fixed.  We stayed at the boat all day as we were expecting the winds to gradually increase about noon time and didn’t want to get caught out in the dinghy with higher winds. Also there have been dark clouds on the horizon and rain coming down south of us and we didn’t know how fast they would arrive.  It takes us about 15-20 min to dinghy into Staniel Cay.  As it turned out – the winds didn’t start building until 4pm.  We now wish that we had gone into town to check out internet and the sights.  I’m expecting an email from Rachel as I have offered to fly to Colorado Springs to help her with health concerns and am waiting to get a response from her

I spent the afternoon sewing the vinyl cubes on the Viking sewing machine to put my clothes into on the port settee shelf.  I got a med and large made and they work well I think.  As I was sewing, the winds started increasing: wind direction 245degrees @ 4-6 knots at 2pm, clocking to 20 degrees 13 kts at 4pm and up to 15 knots by 445pm.  We had a pretty sunset so I took many photos experimenting with the wide and panoramic modes on my camera.  The wide is 2 shots vertically and the panoramic is 3 shots horizontally.  I made chicken enchiladas for supper as I’m on  Mexican kick.  By 11pm the winds were still from the N but 15-21 knots.  Phil and I read and then played 2 games of Canasta with Phil winning both games L. 

Thursday, January 13
Big Majors/Staniel Cay

It is till cloudy with winds NNE 15-20knots.  Another day that we’ll be spending on the boat.  Friday the wind is to be N to NE <20 ks  decreasing to 16-17 knots by afternoon and Saturday 060 @ 13 kts Saturday.  It got pretty rocky last night and is continuing as there is quite a fetch where we have anchored.  WE have decided to raise the anchor and move more north closer to land which you’ll notice with the SPOT GPS message we sent out just to show our new location.  It is much calmer here and will make it easier to tolerate being on the boat another day. 

Time for haircuts with the Flowbee.  I trimmed my hair and cut Phil’s hair to ½” all over since he doesn’t like to comb it.  (insert photo)  I think it looks good and hides where it is thinning some.  It’s hard for us both to be on the boat 2-3 days in a row. We are getting adjusting more to each other being together all the time, but still there isn’t much to do for Phil.  Me I have sewing, knitting, blog writing, and putting captions for the many photos that I have taken on the trip to keep me occupied but all of Phil’s hobbies take up a lot of space.  We also talked some about when to do this trip again.  Next year vs doing it every other year.  I made Tuna Pot Pie for 230pm supper as it’s cooler today.  We listened to music on the I-pods – first mine and then Phil’s until 9pm.  Music we found after we turned it off, helped to block out the sound of the wind blowing and made the boat feel more homey.  A nice bonus.
Our plans for the next few days are open.  It depends on the weather, of course We don’t know if we’ll go to Pipe Creek  about 10 miles from here or if we’ll go to Farmer’s Cay and then as soon as there is a weather window to Georgetown.  It’s about 50 to 58nm from here to there and we have to go on Exuma Sound to get there.  We need the winds to be not out of the East or <10 knots if they are out of the East to go into the cut safely. 

Phil called Ken Blythe from S/V Sail Away to see how he’s doing.  He’s in Coconut Grove just north of Miami with Rob and Deb on S/V Kajon and another boat.  Kajon is going to stay in Florida this year but Ken hopes to cross over with the other boat.  He is single handing the boat so wants to pick the best time to cross the Gulf Stream.  We hope to see him again when he gets to Georgetown.

So I’m almost done with the 2nd pair of socks and have typed up the blog to be uploaded next time that we have internet connection.

We have found that text messages are very cheap on our cell phone and want to recommend that as a good way to have communication with us. I do miss talking with my family and my daughters.  I’m planning on turning on my Verizon cell phone once I’m in the states and bringing my laptop with me.  I’ll ask Virginia to send mail to where I’m staying once I know and also get some items that are hard to find here in the Bahamas to bring back with me. 

I wonder how big Pat, my SIL is getting with her pregnancy.  Hope that she’s feeling good and the triplets are doing fine.   I’m sure she doesn’t want photos passed around but I would love to see how she looks.  Hope everything is going well and that she carries the triplet past their goal of St. Patrick’s Day.  Glenn, continuing the game you were playing on FB – I was thinking that names for the girls would be:  Hope (as you’ve been hoping for children for a long time), Faith (as I think it’s taken a lot of Faith to get to this point) and Grace (as by the grace of God you are having the children you want and 3 at that).  Just in fun mind you.

Take care and feel free to send text messages to us on the Bahamian Cell phone.  Just think of this as an opportunity to gain new skills for those that don’t know how to yet.  Try the T9 word option to make it easier and faster.

One thing we have found here with internet in the Bahamas is that it’s often slow.  It’s important when sending emails to us to send only text messages – no photos, no videos and no graphics or wallpaper in the email messages.  Often the internet connection cannot handle too much data and often crashes when there are too many users.  It’s ok to send us a link for us to be able to see the photos or the web pages but keep the attachments to a minimum unless necessary.  Then we can determine if we have a good enough connection to go to those pages.