Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Nassau to Normans Cay to Warderick Wells

Friday, Dec 31 – New Years Eve  to January 1, 2011 (1-1-11)
Nassau Harbor

I was late leaving Starbucks as we were suppose to meet at the dinghy dock at 1pm, but Phil got a Kalik beer (the local Bahamian beer and the accent is on the “lik” part) while he waited for me.  Then I got the run and pineapple juice, which my friends when we went to Belize remember being called a panty ripper.  We went to the boat and had an early supper of leftover steak, fried potatoes and canned green beans.  I made Apple Crisp for dessert, though we were too full to have any.  I called Bye Bye Blues to see if we could join them for Junkanoo, and it was decided that we would meet at the dinghy dock about midnight.  We both laid down to take naps at 8pm setting the alarm clock to wake us at 1115pm to get dressed for Junkanoo.  We were warned not to wear jewelry or take any bags with us, so just a few dollars were in our pockets and my camera was what I took. 

I have to say that the midnight fireworks were fantastic!!  The barge was on the other side of the river so close but we were not downwind.  I was able to get some video on my I-pod Nano, but don’t know how it turned out yet.  About 12:30am we met Able and Monique from S/V Bye Bye Blues and then Marc, Francoise and their daughter, Julian, joined us a few minutes later.  As we walked down Bay Street towards downtown (west), there were many New Years Eve Parties is full swing.  The Green Parrot had their party with the VERY LOUD rap music, which seems popular here, playing.  We got downtown about 1am and they were still setting up the lights for the parade.  
installing lights for parade
We scoped out the place and decided to go back to just before where the reserved seating started and stood behind the temporary fencing installed.  We had to wait until 2:30am before we had the glimmers of the parade in our sights though we could hear the marching band in the distance.  On a side note:  The predominate music played here is the rap music and marching band music heavy on the brass instruments and drums.  Since I had been in the marching band in high school, I like marching band music, but the rap music in just the opposite.  I took many photos, and with the new software from my Pentax Camera, I will upload to the internet and give you a link when I can.  But here are a few to see now.
Lorraine trying on Headdress
Phil is headdress in front of Green Parrot

Our spot to watch Junkanoo Parade
Jiillian, Francoise, Marc S/V Eau LeRi

Parade float - man powered
Another float - man powered
Please watch the video clips, as they give you a real flavor of what it was like at Junkanoo.  The costumes are fantastic and are made by the participants.  There are various groups in the parade and they usually go in a certain order.  First is a huge float with a man inside and also pushed by 3-4 men.  None of the floats have any engines propulsion – all are man or woman powered.  Then you have individuals with 15-20’tall costumes.  Some of the costumes have built in supports at the bottom so they can rest along the way and other are hooked over their shoulders or around their waists.  It’s quite impressive!  First was the “Wild Wild West” float so all the costumes and floats were in that theme.  Then there was a float with “Spring” as the theme so there were a lot of flowers and butterfly costumes.  Please see the link of all the photos I took in the side bar.  We stayed until about 5am and even though the parade will not stop until 10am or so, we were tired out and started walking home.  On the way home, there were many cars parked on the side walks.  Once home, we changed into our pajamas and then slept until about 10am.  It was sunny and the predicted 20knot winds never came.  We had the last of the Beef Vegetable Barley soup for lunch and then decided to go to the City Market for groceries.  The street were very quiet but we were lucky enough to catch the 7a bus which took us to within a couple blocks of the Harborbay Shopping Center.  This grocery store is a 24hour one, so it was open.  We each would not bet against the other that the store was open, as we weren’t sure.  We were able to get out of the Grocery store spending only $37 when it has been over $100 the last couple times.  They also had some of the items on the list I had last time we went that they were out of.  I was even able to get a 5.5# bag of whole wheat flour, which I haven’t seen before.  We must have gotten there shortly after they had a delivery.  Then we walked home which felt extra long as our legs were sore from all the walking we did the day before and for Junkanoo.  We decided after we got home not to do anything else that required walking.

I put away provisions and while Phil was in the cockpit watching what was going on around us, I was down below on the computer, downloading the photos and videos from my Pentax camera.  I tried using the Microsoft Live Photo Gallery and though I could hear the videos, I couldn’t see them, so downloaded the Media Impression software that came with the camera.  This new software will make it easier for me to share on Flix, Facebook and other sites so stay tuned for photos.  I hope that I’ll be able to send you to links so that you can see all of the photos that I have taken, as they are too numerous to put on the blog.

Later in the afternoon, Gord from S/V Camelot II came over to visit in his dinghy.  He said that he had our boat card, so we must have meet before, but we can’t recall when.  We also got their boat card.  I invited them to play cards and he’ll give us a hail after talking to Suzanne, his wife.  I made ham, potato and cheese casserole for supper with rutabaga.  Gord and Suzanne did come over for cards about 630pm and had a great time.  The ladies soundly beat the men and they went home soon afterwards as they were tired from attending Junkanoo themselves.  Phil and I went to bed at 945pm after finishing up the rest of the Apple Crisp.  I have found that bread pans are a good size for smaller casserole and desserts for the two of us.

Sunday, Jan 2
Nassau Harbor to Normans Cay
Distance Traveled:  45.41 nm
Total Distance:  2306.88 nm

We woke at 730am with the wind E 6-7 knots.  Unfortunately, we weren’t awake to get the weather from Nick (local Bahamian weather).  Phil started making French toast for supper and we decided to sail to Normans Cay as the bigger winds predicted didn’t arrive.  We started the engine at 849am and raised anchor approximately 855am.  There was some line caught on the anchor chain, so Phil used my rigging knife to cut it off.  By 9am we had permission to leave the harbor and by 915am with winds E 8 knots, we left Nassau Harbor.  There were 6 sailboats and 1 powerboat ahead, so we felt better that other boats were also sailing east.  The waves were barely 1-1.5’.  At 948am we left out the head sail as the wind angle changed to 85degrees to port, E 8-10 knots and we were motor sailing at 6.5 knots boat speed.  Starting 1034am, the wind started building to 11-13knot with gusts to 16knot by 1135am when we started going through the Yellow Bank – an area that has many coral heads that can be 3-4’ down from the surface.  The winds continue 13-15 knot at 12 noon with boat speed 6.7 – - 6.8 knots.  Phil started his watch at 1pm and by 2pm, the winds had decreased to E6knots so we rolled up the head sail.  By 3pm the winds had clocked to NE 10 knots, but Phil elected to not roll out the head sail not sure if the winds would hold or not.  We by to the Norman Cay waypoint at 329p and were anchored at 405pm at waypoint N 24 35.122’ W 76 49.382’ with 60ft of chain out.

I fixed Roast beef in the pressure cooker – cooked with rice and grains for another day, potatoes and carrots for today.  I tried the Southern pkg gravy mix and don’t like it too much as not enough flavor.  It’s very quiet here, unlike Nassau, and also very dark.  The wave action isn’t too bad, though it is a little rocky here.

Monday, Jan 3
Normans Cay

We woke at 625am in time to listen to Chris Parker.  We can hear him a lot better here.  We’re to have 3 days of good weather before a cold front with 15-20knot winds and some squalls is to come through on Thursday to Friday.    I called Exuma Park to see if I could get on the waiting list for a mooring ball in Warderwick Wells on Wednesday, but was told that I need to call VHF ch 09 tomorrow to get on the waiting list. 

It’s nice weather today, light east winds, calm waves so Phil dived to change to zincs on the prop shaft.  He said that water temp isn’t bad for him.  We decided to anchor closer to the beach as most of the boats that were here last night have decided to move on so by 1020am we re-anchored at N24 35.191’ W 76 49.207’.  I read that MacDuffs is closed for today so no internet service.
Phil washing Changes bottom

Rinsing with fresh water in cockpit
Our big event today was to take the dinghy around the sound part of the island to Boot Cay to beach the dinghy on the west side of Boot Cay.  Between Norman Cay and Boot Cay at low tide, there are sand flats that are exposed and we got there a few hours before low tide which was scheduled to be about 115pm.  We had a great time walking the sand flats.

animal tracks in the sand

NW of Boot Cay, was saw many immature live Conch.  Phil said that when Andy and he were here before, they saw only empty conch shells.  I’ve read that live conch don’t like to be where dead conch are so it’s important to not through the shells into the water after you have removed the conch inside.  We also looked for sand dollars on the north tip of Boot Cay.  I found a few broken ones and one whole one which broke when I tried to move the sand around it.  

Norman's Cay is also the place that had a plane crash and they left it in the water.  Use to have drugs smuggling here, but that's all gone now.
remains of crashed plane
plane underwater
On the way back, I did find a large whole sand dollar and then a pretty bi-valve shell. 
Lorraine with intact sand dollar
The sand dollar lasted all the way back, until Phil went to open the companionway hatch.  I had put it between the main sheet winch and the hatch thinking that was a safe place and I guess it wasn’t.  Oh Well.  At least I have photos and the chance that it would have made it back to Ohio intact is pretty low.  They are very fragile and brittle.  Phil was very upset that he had broken it.
with conch
We did find 2 mature conch that we brought back and it was quite a experience trying to remove the conch inside and then gut and skin them.  We went to the beach to remove them (before we read a book) and so had a difficult time removing the conch, but we did prevail.  Then back to Changes to prepare to cook them.  I couldn’t remove the skin on the first one, so Phil took over for me.
conchh out of shell


Afterward, I made the 3grain molasses bread that Katie likes and the banana bread, baking them at the same time in the oven.  Then I made cracked conch using up the 1 we had from when Katie was here with what we caught.  We had the warmed up rice/grain mixture, leftover rutabaga and carrots.  Both of us were very tired – Phil went to bed at 730pm and I followed at 8pm.

Tuesday, Jan 4
Norman Cay to Warderwick Wells – Exuma Park
Distance Traveled: approx 22 nm
Total Distance:  2328.88 nm

The weather is warm and mild today – the winds have finally clocked to the NE as predicted and Changes is pointing towards the beach.  Today the winds are to be E 5-10 knots, Wed SSE 10knot and quickly build Thursday morning SW 10-12knots at dawn to W 20kt by mid-day to NW 20 kts by Thursday night and Friday with a few 30kt winds with squalls.  Once it’s 9am, we’ll call Exuma Park and see what the mooring ball situation is.  Lorraine is worried that all the mooring balls will be taken if we wait to reserve one for Wednesday.  9am came and though we made it through at 9am, we were stepped on and couldn’t be heard until 920am, causing Lorraine great distress thinking we’d missed out of getting a mooring ball with others getting through earlier getting the mooring balls.  We did make it through and by about 930am or so was hailed back with the good news that we will be on mooring ball #6.  This is a little north of where we wanted to be, but at least we have a mooring ball and maybe the opportunity to talk about moving further south into the field tomorrow if we don’t feel we’re protected enough.  All of this is dependent on if anyone if leaves the mooring field.  Once you have a mooring ball @ $15/day you can keep it as long as you want.

Once we got our mooring ball assignment, we quickly got Changes ready to sail including removing the main sail cover.  Phil started the engine at 945am and approximately 950am we raised anchor.  The main sail was raised at 1005am with wind ENE 8 knots and 5 min later Phil let out the head sail.  He’ll run the engine for an hour to charge the batteries so by 11am Phil turned off the engine.  We are sailing once again which is very nice even though we’re going only 4.5 knots, but we have only 15nm to Long Rock Bore and then 2 more miles to the mooring field, so we feel that we can move a little slower today.  It’s nice to sail and while we are sailing I’m working on typing up the blog on Microsoft Word.  I heard that we can have internet access from the mooring balls, so I hope that’s true for us too without the extra antennas on the mast. 

We had warmed up left over roast beef with potatoes and frozen green beans for supper.  Playing cards and reading was the agenda for the evening entertainment.  We bought 2 days of internet access.  They cost $10 for 24 hours up to 100 MG of data so plan to start using tomorrow and then another day later this week.

Wednesday, Jan 5, 2011
Warderwick Wells, Exuma Park
Entrance into Park Headquarters

Exuma Park Office and Headquarters

View of Mooring Field from Park Office

This morning it was 73F outside with blue skies and SE winds 6-8 knots.  After breakfast, we decided to go snorkeling in the reef within the mooring field.  The tidal current was high so with Lorraine wearing her new wet suit, we went into the water.  Lorraine hung onto the green line which is a good thing.

Coral Reef in Mooring Field
We saw some coral and fish, but Lorraine didn’t see as much as it was too difficult to get to the good coral from the current.  Lorraine also had a very difficult time getting back into the dinghy – no upper body strength.  Then we went back to the via a visit with S/V Whisper and was invited to go with them to a small beach north of Warderwick Wells in the dinghy.  Lorraine fixed lunch and put it in the cooler backpack and we were ready to go by about 1145am.  2 other couples also came, Linda and Jerry on M/V Monks Vineyard and Jana and Mike on Second Star.  This beach is hidden in a little cove on one of the Barren Islands.  We walked around on the jagged rocks and saw many coral on the rocks.  There are also blow holes here, but only one was spraying any water as the tide was going out.  It must be really something to see when the wave are high and the tide is coming in.

About 155pm we started packing up so that we could get back to the boat to get ready for the 4pm Happy Hour that is scheduled on the beach close to the Park Headquarters.  Lorraine is going to take the Three Grain Bread that she made a couple days ago.  But first we’re doing the internet.  The bad weather is to start Thursday evening with the front going through just before dawn.  It’s to pass quickly and the winds should be less than 10knot by Saturday.  We’re planning on staying here until Sunday morning and then we’re not sure where we’re going to go next.  I have lots of photos, but with the small amount of data we’re allowed, I’m going to have to wait until we get a better internet spot.

Today we also have a 4pm Happy Hour on the beach.  As always, it's great to meet other cruisers.  Today in addition to the Canadians there is a couple from England and also people from the U.S.  We went back to the boat just after the sun set and I made a cottage cheese casserole for supper.

Hope everyone is staying warm.  Will probably check email tomorrow and then again Friday or Saturday.


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