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.

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