Thursday, February 10, 2011

February 1 to 10 Black Point-Little Farmers Cay-Lee Stocking Is and Emerald Bay marina

Tuesday, February 1
Black Point to Little Farmers Cay
Distance Traveled:  11.33 nm
Total Distance:  2630.68 nm

This morning we heard that our friend Ken Blythe, S/V Sail Away, is at Compass Cay just north of us.  He’s hoping to be in Little Farmers Cay this weekend for the 5F Festival (First Friday in February Festival in Farmers Cay).  We are looking forward to seeing him again.

Saralane C&C 40 CB w/modifications
This morning Phil put 15 gals of water in the tank and on our way into town to get more water, we stopped by a C&C 40’ that has had major modifications, S/V Saralane owned by Skip and Madeline.  We had a great time chatting with them and it was particularly of interest to Phil as he learned what Skip did to put in opening ports in place of the original aft windows over the galley and chart tables that don’t open.  This is what we would like to do.  We have learned that when the current is stronger than the wind, which is usually the case, then the wind is blowing from the side instead of down the bow.  When that happens, there is minimal air circulation down below and it gets very warm (84F  +) down below.

After getting 10 gal of water, we took a walk down the road in the opposite direction that we usually go and met up with Scott and Beth of S/V Painkiller and met Stu and Tony of SV Georgia E.  It was nice to see the sounds from a high point
Filling 2.5 gal water jerry jug at Black Point public spighot

Tony from S/V Georgia E with Exuma Sound

Phil and Stu from owner of Georgia E

and then we turned around keeping in mind the time as we are leaving to go to Little Farmer’s Cay as close to 2pm as we could. 

At 219pm we raised anchor and this time left the 8hp engine on the back of the dinghy as the winds were 80 degrees (almost East) 7-8 kt with Gusts to 10 kts.  We went down the Banks with the winds quickly got to be 10-15 knots, which the dinghy didn’t like, but we got into Little Farmer’s Cay without difficulty and set the anchor easily at  425pm in the west anchorage at N23 57.458’ and W 076 19.719’.  S/V Messenger and S/V Meant to Be (cat) were the others boats there.  We had a sun shower before the sun went down and I cooked Pork city curry rice/grain, cauliflower and tomatoes.  The barley was a little crunchy for Phil’s preference but it was good.

We played Canasta after supper – Lorraine won.  Changes was sideways to the wind with the tide change and we had waves hitting the stern that made a slapping noise – we are thinking of moving a little around the point past the Hawks Nest (house on a point by the runway) to see if that will help tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 2
Little Farmer’s Cay

We woke to bouncy conditions and dark clouds around us.  Winds today are to be SSE 12 – 13 knots.  We turned on the engine at 815am and we anchored around the point at 825am in about 7.4ft water.  We didn’t like the depth, so we motored around to find a deeper spot and re-anchored at 840am.  We anchored on the lowering tide and took a calculated risk that at low tide we would have enough water under us.  By 955am we had the dinghy put together and went into town around the north end of the island.  We stopped by S/V Whisper – Vic and Marilyn and used internet there on my laptop.  I learned that Faune of S/V Iolite had received my package of yarn and needles and are planning on leaving Mon, Feb 7 to go to Miami and then cross to the Bahamas next weather window.    I also got a long email from Katie – seems like the weather is really bad – had a couple snow days from ice and lost electricity for 24 hours.  She used it to catch up on school work.   I was also able to chat with my Mom on FB, which is nice.  We’ve found that Oovoo or Skype takes up too much bandwidth here so chatting on FB works out well.

By 1130am we got into town and tide up at the wharf.  We met Raquel, a local Bahamian who works at the Market at Atlantic in Nassau but is here for the 5F Festival.  She is really nice and I met her husband Leonard and Mom, Tasha, who runs the local market.  Brenda’s Kitchen attached to the market is suppose to have the best cracked conch at $12/plate, but when I inquired, learned that she was waiting for the fishermen to come in with the conch.  That’s when we decided to see if we can wait around for the fishermen to come in and buy some fish and hopefully lobster.  Joy and Beth from S/V Slow Dancin’ also were interested so we waited together.

Before that though, we checked out the market and bought some Cassava – which is a potato-type vegetable.  Tasha showed me how to peel it and cook it.  I tasted it raw and it was good.
Will give it a try at $2/lb.  WE also met Dawn and Randy from S/V Nirvana Now and expect a lot more people to come in for the festival today and tomorrow.

About 1215pm, Phil wanted to leave to see how Changes was doing as low tide was approaching.  As we approached, we saw more waterline that we have in a long time – Changes was aground.  We came on board and then she started heeling to a max of 30 degrees.
Changes when we first arrived aground

showing list facing shore

Showing list when aground towards Bahama Banks

Phil called Ocean Cabin and they have 2 mooring balls they can activate and will save one for us.  We thought it would take a few hours to start to float, but turns out that we weren’t floating enough to move until 530pm – just enough time to raise anchor and re-anchor about where we were before.   Before we moved, we had supper of warmed up leftovers.  We were definitely the entertainment for the afternoon on the VHF Radio.  Tomorrow morning we’ll move to the mooring ball as soon as we can read the water.  While we were on the boat, Joy hailed us and we’re able to get 2 lobster tails @ $10/ea and 4 yellow tail snappers @ $1ea and $1 tip – cleaned with heads on.  Great deal for us – They will keep in their refrigerator until we can pick up tomorrow.  After we were re-anchored about 545pm, Phil reset the depth sounder so that at zero – we hit bottom.   This will be good and we’ll add 4.4 to 4.5ft to the reading to get the real depth of the water.

We read and had a snack of popcorn later before going to bed.

Thursday, February 3
Little Farmers Cay
Move to mooring ball
Distance traveled:  2.45 nm
Total Distance:  2633.13nm

Today we will move to the mooring ball but have to wait until the sun is high enough to read the water.  To prepare, we started at 9am and put the 8hp engine on the boat.  I timed it today and it took us 20 minutes this time.  @ 920am we started the ending and the anchor was raised 5 min later.  The wind angle from starboard is 80-90 degrees 9-10kt with gusts to 13.  We got to the mooring field that is right next to Great Guana Cay which is very calm and protected almost 360degrees.  This is the best mooring field of the 3 that are available.  We got to the 4th mooring ball and I got it on the first pass, but then wasn’t able to hold it, Phil helped and he dropped it and the boat hook.  We went around with me at the helm and Phil was able to pick up the boat hook standing on the side step at the boarding gate.  I then helmed the boat to the mooring ball and Phil picked it up this time by 10am.   S/V Wind Mistral is 2 balls ahead of us and S/V Enchantment is moored behind us.  We left the engine on to 1020am to charge the batteries.  We put the 4hp engine on the dinghy and we went to S/V Slow Dancin’ and picked up the lobster tails and fish, put them in the refrigerator on the boat and visited Vern and Michelle on Enchantment.  Back at the boat about noon, Dawn and Randy from S/V Nirvana Now stopped by to chat and then we had ham rollups and grapes.  Since we the wind at 70degrees to starboard was abeam to the boat, Phil put up the windscoop which helps immensely with air circulation down below.  This is a definite must when you can’t run fans to conserve electricity usage.  Unfortunately, I can’t reach the internet wifi signal from here so will have to go into the yacht club or at the wharf. 

We are planning on going to the Volunteer meeting at Ocean Cabin scheduled to start at 3pm so at 245pm we try to start the 4hp engine and it won’t start, no matter how many time Phil yanks on the starter cord (my term- don’t know what the correct term is – sorry J)  He checks the spark plug – put on the spares and we have no luck, so at 315pm we put the 8HP engine on, this time taking about 15 min and off we go. We missed the opportunity to volunteer but was able to see a short video about saving the Exuma Sea and Land Park from exploitation and building by the private land owners.  After the meeting, we went to the Little Farmers Yacht Club for happy hour and then had supper of Lobster, potatoes and carrots with ginger cookies for dessert.  I wouldn’t let Phil have the 2nd smaller lobster tail so that we could use it for another meal – but I’m sure that he’s not going to waste away.

One thing I wish that I had is a lookie bucket – a 5gal bucket with the bottom out and a piece of pexi glass in the bottom.  We’ll I hit the jackpot in that Vern found a 5gal pail for me to use and brought over a piece of eisenglass in place of the pexiglass.  Phil will make it tomorrow.  This kind of bucket is good to look in the water to check your anchor and look at fish in the reefs without having to get wet.  Phil read and I knitted until we went to bed at 915pm.

 Friday, February 4
Little Farmers Cay First Friday in February Festival

these little shells were alive and moving on beach
This morning I cut Marilyn’s hair from S/V Whisper on the boat using the flowbee.  She loved her haircut andit works very well.  Then I cut Phil’s hair again to a ½” length overall and then cut my hair – and then the inverter shut down almost at the end being too hot running the vacuum and flowbee with the engine running.  It didn’t take too long for the inverter to cool and I was back in business to finish my hair. 
The C-class Bahamian boat races are to start at 11am so later in the morning we got into dinghy and went over to the beach off the runway.  Of course, the race starts on Bahamian time which means that the boats started going to the start line 1 mi downwind from the beach at 11am and the race started about 1230pm.  To start the race, the boats are at anchor with the sails down, then at the start they raise anchor and raised sail and off they go. 
At the starting line

Dinghies at the runway beach for races

S/V Touch me Knot before broken mast
3 Bahamian boats during race
Touch me Knot with broken mast
There were 6 boats at the start and this is a 5 leg windward/leeward race.  Here are some photos of the race.  Thunderbird was the winner.  Once the race was over, everyone piled onto the beach and the pavilion for drinks and BBQ lunch you could buy.   We had some drinks and then decided to get in the dinghy to wait until the next race started.  As the start was downwind from the beach, after we cleared most of the boats anchored (there were many) we turned off the engine and floated.  There was another couple Lon and his wife, that had the same idea so we chatted until we were about ¾ mi out.  Then we slogged back to the back so that we could be in position to watch the finish.  We were lucky that we asked at cat if we could tie off on their boat to watch the finish and they were kind enough to let us.
We were in a perfect place for the finish.  During one of the legs, the blue boat’s mast broke in two – Lorraine saw it break and Phil saw the aftermath.  The committee boat went out to them, rush back and another boat went out to tow them in as these boats don’t have engines. 
  Thunderbird once again won the race.
Bahamiam boat in race

panoramic of harbor where dinghy races held
Back at the boat, I baked all 4 yellow tail snappers though 1 is a serving.  I flaked the fish to use later in for another meal.

Painkiller is at Farmer’s Cay, but we have been missing being able to get the powdered eggs, so Vern on his way back from the festivities, dropped off the 3# can for us.  We had plans to go back into town, but Ken from S/V Sail Away was back at the boat once we were ready to go, so we decided to stay at home for the evening.  Phil read and I knitted until we went to bed at 930pm

Saturday, February 5
Little Farmers Cay

Today we are going to go see a cave that’s on Great Guana Cay. We thought that we wouldn’t be able to go until tomorrow, as you need to have someone who has been there take you there as it’s hidden.  Vern and Michelle have offered to take a group over at 9am so Scott and Beth from S/V Painkiller let in their dinghy and met us there at Oven Rock.  Others from S/V Vivace and Kisadah also joined us.  At first we had a hard time finding the trail, but after a couple false starts we finally found the trail at the end of the beach.   It’s a hot day so any breeze is appreciated.   After a 20 min walk, we went through the bushes and got into the cave.   There is salt water surrounding center boulders and Michelle took a swim.  In the right light you can see the rock structures under the water.  Using the self timer, I was able to get a photo of all together near the mouth of the cave.  This cave was very much worth the effort to visit.
opening into cave

Group in cave when we visited

inside cave - Phil in white shirt

panoramic of entrance into cave

panoramic of back of cave - spotlights from my headlamp

It’s cool but very humid inside the cave and everyone was sweaty when we left.  Some went directly home but Phil, Ken Blythe and I with others decided to continue along the trail to the beach on the Exuma side.  Once again there is East Marine (East side of the island and lots of human debis).  I picked up a float that will be good to use for marking the anchor.  Phil found a 5gal gas jerry jug, but found that it had a crack in it, so that we left behind.  Ken found a smaller float that he took with him.   We left Oven Rock about 1130am to go back to Changes to wash up and then left to go to Little Farmers Yacht club for lunch and Ken Blythe joining us.  We had snapper, Bahamian peas and rice and a side dish for $12 each. 

One things bad about the 8hp engine is that is uses the gas much faster than the 4hp – and we were on our last 1.5 gals.  Officially there is no gas for sale, but Roosevelt at LFYC will on occasion sell some gas so we were able to purchase 3 gals @ $6/gal to tide us over.  We also bought 12.5gals of water $.40/gal.  Back at the boat I was charging the computer while working on typing this blog and then we went to the runway beach to watch the last Bahamian race for the series.  This time we remembered the dinghy anchor and anchored is a great spot at the finish.  The blue boat was able to get a new mast and so participated in the races today, winning the first race.  Thunderbird won the last race.  Now that the races are over, it’s time for the awards ceremony.  Everyone back to the beach and pavilion again.  The Exuma Youth Community Band played with a short program.   I took photos of the trophys.
Pavilion at Runway where party held

Trophies for race
close up of special trophies
Exuma Community Youth Band performance

We decided not to stay but instead go to little Farmers Yacht Club to use internet as Phil and I have some bills to pay.  Unfortunately, the internet connection was VERY slow so we went to the wharf – tried it first at the public benches – no connection and then was able to get at the yellow building – post office – but then ran out of battery power. 

By this time I was in a bad mood – hot, sticky, sand gritty on feet – so back to the boat and first thing washed up with warm water.  Feeling better I made spaghetti and had bread for supper.  Quick and easy and enough left over for another meal.

I went to bed at 915pm and Phil read coming to bed later.  It felt like in the middle of the night but was only 1015pm that the rain came down HARD and Phil frantically was taking down the wind scoop so that we could close the hatch.  Of course things got wet so had to get some fresh sheet and pillow cases.  Then it rained again about a hour later.  We like the rain as it washes the salt off the boat, just not getting wet. 

Sunday, February 6
Passage from Little Farmers Cay to Lee Stocking Island
Distance Traveled:   23.34 nm
Total Distance:  2656.47 nm

There is a mass exodus of boats this morning with many leaving out the cut.  High tide is  about 9am and so it’s important to leave before the tide starts going out.  After Chris Parker weather, we dropped the mooring ball @ 834am and were out of the cut (it went very well) into Exuma Sound by 850am and soon after the trolling fishing line was out – using the pink and silver skirted one.  Our course is initially 141degrees with the wind on the nose 9-12 knots.  Our boat speed is 4.3 – 4.6 knots and we’re to arrive 1220pm.  We saw a white Tartan boat going south of us but couldn’t see the boat name.  Seeing what the waves were like, I took a Marezine. 

I had mixed up pancakes to cook while underway but then once we were in the sound going up and down waves – it was out of the question for me to cook – so Phil was kind enough to cook them up for me.  I opened and used the dehydrated eggs and they worked just fine. There are a lot of boats that have the same idea as there at 10 boats behind us and a few way ahead of us.  By 951am the wind angle to starboard was 30-35 degrees.  We took advantage of being in the sound and used the mascerator pump.  By 1030am the wind was clocking to 35-40 degree wind angle and 10 min later Phil put out the head sail while I went down below for a nap (d/t Marezine).  By 1205pm we were heading towards the cut and taking in the empty fishing line by 1213pm.  There was 3-4 foot chop in the cut, wind angle was 170 degrees 10-13 kts.  There wasn’t any mooring balls left (have 4 total) and we anchored at 1248pm at N23 46.293’ W 76 06.323’.  S/V Plan Sea, and S/V cat Kookaburra are on either side of us with Endurance and Enchantment coming in a little later.

Highest point on Perry's Peak

Lorraiine at the top of Perry's Peak

Panoramic of north end of island Exuma on right
After lunch, we put together the dinghy with the 8hp engine and went around the point to the first beach.  We found at the end of the beach by the mangroves Perry Trail that went to Perry Peak – the highest point on the island.  It was really steep going up the hill but the view was fantastic.   See photos above. On the next beach around the point – there were hundreds of time thumb-sized black mussles attached to the flat rocks exposed at near low tide.
beach at Lee Stocking island w/mini mussles
close up of muscles and snails quarter size
This is the first time that we have seen this.  There are many sting ray (6+) and star fish (5+ seen) in this area.  We sent to Enchantment and visited with Vern and Michelle and were invited aboard.  Phil really, really enjoyed the homemade beer that Vern made.  We decided to do a joint meal, so went back to the boat so I could get washed up (notice that I have a low tolerance for being sticky J) and gathered fixings to make chicken/cheese quesadilla on Enchantment.  Vern and Michelle haven’t made these before but liked them so much that next time they go get provisions, will get the fixings for this.  We taught Vern and Michelle to play 10 Penny – Think Phil won and then went back to the boat for bed at 11pm.  We’ll teach them canasta next time we play cards.

Monday, February 7
Lee Stocking Island

We were hoping to be able to tour the research facility today, but those hopes were dashed when S/V Flying Fish called and the woman said that the guy had left and she was leaving shortly.  Tomorrow @ 10am it is.  The winds are 8-10 knos and the light dew dried quickly.  Today I’m going to make bread.  I have been bread making challenged – nothing has been turning out so I’m going to try something different today.  At 830am using Lynn Pardey’s recipe, I first tried proofing the yeast in 2 c. of warm water (100F) – not much results.  Phil said that I need to do it in smaller amounts.  Unfortunately, I didn’t put the lid on tight enough and the jar of yeast spilled upside down in the sink.  Adding water to rinse it down created a clogged sink that required Phil to open it with a wire.  Had tried a plunger with no results.  45 minutes later, I tried again and the yeast foamed up nicely.  By 940am I was kneading the bread – turned on the oven for 3 min and then turned it off as L.P. recommends.  Looks like the bread is rising nicely – turn one loaf pan around and it falls.  Darn!  Keep letting it rise and then started oven and took out at 1215pm  They look bad – big frustration here and bread is edible but dense.  Don’t know what went wrong – anyone have suggestions besides what Phil recommends which is decrease the salt from 2tsp to 1tsp and increase water temp.

1230pm Phil puts 10 gal diesel into tank and I invite Vern and Michelle for supper.  He (yes, he’s the cook on the boat) says how about if I bring bread – great!.  So I get the boat ready and putz around the boat until time to start cooking the leftover fish and 1 can white crab in  abborio rice with some of my dried tomatoes, mushrooms, fresh onions and celery in the pressure cooker.  I’m following, kinda, a recipe and also make a white sauce to which parsel and diced hard boiled eggs are added.  That along with the carrot and great bread that Vern and Michelle brought tasted very good.  A repeat for sure.  We played Canasta and the guys won  this round.  We were done by 915pm and to bed not long after that.  Did you know they call 9pm Sailors Midnight.  I’m sure our friends that went on Phil and Terri’s honeymoon to Belize remember the early bedtime hours.

Tuesday, February 3
Lee Stocking Island to Emerald Bay Marine
Distance Traveled:  17.64 nm
Total Distance:  2674.11 nm

Today Phil and I were having discussions about when to leave to go further south and compromised.  I wanted to leave to go today to Emerald Bay marine and Phil wanted to stay for the tour of the research facilities.  I have been concerned that we may not be able to get into the channel in NE winds and I really want to go first to the marina, which I have heard has wonderful facilities which include at $1/ft/day at the non-service docks (no water and electric or cable TV) internet, showers, free laundry and a good grocery store close by.   So we will stay for the research tour and leave as soon after as possible for the marina.  We took down the Farouk and got everything else prepared except for taking off the engine.

The tour was very good though it is very warm (mid 80’s).  The guy who did the tour today also did it when Phil visited in 2005.  The funding from the US and Bahamian government has been cut ($7 million) but they are still open getting funds from the colleges and universities that do research here, usually in the summer when off from school.  Oregon State is a college that has been coming here since the 1990’s.  They try to have outreach to the local school children so that they can help save the reefs and the environment.  Some body Perry bought the island in 1954 and in the 60’s to 70’s started building submersibles.  I took notes and wouldn’t you know my little black book is on the boat. There are dry labs and wet labs and they have 2 compressors for filling dive tanks.  They also have a hyperbaric chamber, but lacking the 2 technicians needed to run it, anyone who stays too deep or too long has to be flow out to Nassau.  Recently it took 4 hours to get a girl there, even though she followed all the protocols.   

We got back to the boat a little after 11am and and it took us 10 min to get the engine off the dinghy and started the engine at 1130am raising anchor 5 min later.  By 12 noon we were through the cut and onto a very smooth Exuma Sound.  The Wind direction was 370degree at 4 kts.  We put out another trolling fishing line and Phil had added 3 sinkers so it sinks down.  I went down below to work on the blog but started getting seasick so came aboard. 

About a hour before the channel, we passed a blow hole that had water shooting higher than the top of the island and it’s a calm day.  I’m sure it would be even better with more waves.  By 230pm we came to the channel for Emerald Bay marine.  There were a few boats ahead of us so we came in slowly and jilled a little in the basin inside getting to dock D24 by 245pm.  There are many boats here and people that we know.  We found out after our arrival though that the minimum payment for dockage is 40 feet and you can only pay with credit care (5% surcharge) and they add a 10% gratuity which makes if $46/day.  But this is wonderful facilities so will stay 2 nights. 

About 330pm we were taken to the grocery store in a golf cart and loaded up with provisions from the best grocery store (yes can call it that versus a market) since Nassau and found some things here that Nassau didn’t have.   After the store called the marina office, we were picked up in a van and brought close to the end of our docks.  There is minimal wind here and it was 86F inside the boat, so up went the wind scoop.  Today I could get internet on the boat. 

Phil and I took showers at 530pm as the sun was going down and then start washing 4 loads of clothes starting about 630pm.  Combined with waiting for some machine and it taking 1.5 hr avg to dry a load, I was finished at 11pm.  In between I was on the internet.  It was a late night for me as I went to bed at 1244am.

Wednesday, February 9
Emerald Bay marina

It’s another hot day that I spent a lot of on the internet chatting with family and washing another load of clothes that we forgot.  I saw ice cream at the grocery store but not wanting to eat a half gallon at a time, I decided to plan an Ice Cream Social for 3pm today (after checking with some fellow cruisers and they were interested).  Ice cream for cruisers is a real treat as the freezers typically can’t keep ice cream frozen.  I didn’t want to eat an half gallon immediately myself so with marina approval and an screen in covered patio – all that was left was to announce it and collect $1/person to pay for the ice cream.  We had 18+ boats participate and 52 people provided money.  As it got busy at the marina with new boats arriving, Phil and I with borrows soft sided coolers, biked to the grocery store – bought 4 1gal buckest $12.99ea of ice cream; vanilla, chocolate, strawberry swirl and neopollitan and were back to the patio by 3pm.  I cut the ice cream in the bucket with a sharp knife into 12 divisions and half of a division was a serving.  Boy did we have a great time.  Everyone was able to have 2 servings and we had some more people that arrived later, paid and was also able to have enough ice cream until all the ice cream was gone.  There were cheers for me, which I felt I didn’t deserve but appreciated.  Clean up was minimal and we were glad to have ice cream for a short time on a hot day.
Startingn to dish up the ice cream w/Michele and Chris

Eatiing the ice cream and still dishing up

Line to get ice cream

We finagled dinner of hot dogs, sauerkraut and macaroni salad on Enchantment and afterwards went to a jam session of fellow cruisers with their guitars, saxophone (andy) and various percussion instruments from 8-10pm then went to bed shortly afterward.  A good time was had by all and Phil has decided that we’ll stay another day here at the marina (yeah) so that we can have supper with Enchantment.  It really it great to be here for a short time, but tomorrow we’ll leave with others for Georgetown. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011
Emerald Bay marina

Today is breezy and warm.  I am going to wash the mattress pad for the V-berth, type up the rest of the blog and then this afternoon Phil and I will ride our bikes to the hardware store and other grocery store to see if we can get some Irish or New Zealand butter.  As I was typing, Phil decided to treat us to hamburgers at a restaurant so I’m finishing up this typing of the blog and then off we go.


view from restaurant

restaurant where we had lunch in wide view (why have break)
We went to Pallada restaurant in the resort attached. They have a covered thatch area to eat and a swimming pool that has a walk down to the beach that I think is on the Exuma side.

I also learned that my brother's triplet girls were born today by C-section and that they are doing well.  Praise God and please have prayers that they continue to do well.  Born 26 weeks 6 days.   

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