Thursday, February 24, 2011

Georgetown and now starting on way back north

Wednesday, February 16
Monument Beach
Georgetown, Bahamas

This morning we heard on the SSB before Chris Parker’s weather that Last Tango was in Hog Cay in the Ragged Island waiting for a weather window to get to Staniel Cay by Feb 26 to pick up guests.  We also heard the sad news that S/V Maribelle’s dog, Danny is missing about Feb 9 and that Becky fell down the companion way steps and broke some ribs.  We are so sorry for their troubles!

This morning Phil went to the Ham Radio Meeting to learn about sending email over SSB and Ham Radios.  I also went to St. Francis and posted on the Internet.    By 1245pm we went to VB Beach.  Phil got us cheese burgers at Chat N Chill and I attended a seminar on how to make mats with old line.  I had bought some clothesline and found out that I need 3/8 to ½ inch line to make the best mats.  I am now on the lookout for old line and will ask if there is anyone on the net that wants to get rid of there’s.  Line for mats are $.50/foot here – too expensive for what I want to do.  Mats for where we step on the boat and on the bridge deck would be helpful for keeping the sand out of the inside of the boat.  After the seminar, I worked on my Ocean Platt until 4pm when we went to Changes and got ready to have supper on Enchantment.  Michelle made steak, potatoes and broccoli (VERY good) and then we played Canasta.  Vern had been into town so we retrieved our filled propane from him.

Thursday, February 17
Georgetown, Bahamas

Since we have been in Georgetown, our morning still start with Chris Parker Weather, but then we listen to the Georgetown Cruisers Net on Channel 72 starting at 8am.  They start with weather.  Then local Business can advertise specials, then they cover Community information which includes upcoming seminars and info pertinent to the entire boating community., Regatta information and then comes Boaters’ General where anyone can ask questions, announce something they want or want to get rid of.  The usually take about 30-45 min total time to run.

Today’s agenda is to pickup my hat that I left on Enchantment, go to S/V Lady Ray to buy a Extra Ham study book as Phil has decided to take the Extra Ham license exam scheduled on Thursday, February 24.  Then we are going to St. Francis Marina for Phil to attend an seminar on how to live longer and I will be on the internet.  At 1130am, we ate lunch here and Phil was on the Internet to pay bills and check financial information.  At St. Francis Marina, you can buy 80 minutes of time for $2.00 or 25 MB for $2 which can be used anytime within a month.  I bought 3- 25MB tickets to use.

About 220pm we packed up and went to visit S/V Winsome as they had called us when we requested if anyone had a wifi antenna on the net the other day.  They have one – an EnGenius brand, which we were able to look online today to check out and it looks interesting.  It’s really hard for both of us to not have internet access on a regular basis and we want to get one while we’re still in the Bahamas to see how life is when you do have better internet signals.  Winsome 2 is an Hunter 40.5 and they have a Senao Num 362ex – you hang it up with a halyard and plug in the computer via USB cord.  They don’t have the software for the Vista software, so will need to go to St. Francis with the antenna plugged into computer to see if we can download the correct software drivers.  We decided to try that right away and were back at St. Francis @ 4pm and able to download the software driver about 445pm after waiting for internet to come back on again.  Turns out Georgetown lost electricity and it was to be back up at 430pm. So now we go back to the boat and see if this antenna works.

Friday, February 18
Monument Beach to Kid Harbor Georgetown and Sand Dollar Beach

Today we are taking the big boat across Elizabeth Harbor to anchor by Exuma Marina and Kid Harbor instead of taking the dinghy over as the winds are in the mid to upper teens from the East – just the type of wind to get very wet in the dinghy.  We raised anchor at 845am and drove towards the cut to use the mascerator pump to empty the head – the tides is going down so will carry the liquid out into the sound and not into the harbor.  On our way back to anchor in Kid Harbor, we passed Ranger and got him on the radio.  Our last day in Emerald Bay Marina, someone had left a electric razor outside the shower area – I had hailed on Channel 16 to let the boaters know it was there – not response – so as there were many boats that left this morning and went to Georgetown – I decided to take it there to find the owner.  Long story short – Ranger owned the Razor – how to get it back to them.  On the net heard that Jillian from S/V Baroda was going to Emerald Bay to visit Spice of Life and she’s willing to take it to them.  I called the marina off and they passed on the message to Ranger to get the razor.  I couple days later I found out that Jillian had forgotten to drop it off so I arranged to get it – today in fact – at Chat N Chill.  So I was very glad to see Ranger and give them the information so they could pick up the razor.  He called me at 10am and let me know he had the razor – What a relief for me!!

Today Phil put together the folding bikes and we rode them north of town on the road along the coast to  AID (Automotive Industrial Distributors) for a florescent light bulbs (which we didn’t find) but got sand paper and some fishing items.  Then we went a little further down the street to Smith’s Pharmacy – which had a little market and got a few items there.  And a little further we went to Danville Lumber – got PUR 3-stage filters, a nail, and no florescent light.  It was a good ride though there were a few hills so I was tired by the time we got back.  We raised anchor about 3pm and anchored at Sand Dollar Beach – actually anchored twice as we were further out the first time and it was too bouncy.  The 2nd time we were much closer to Winsome and were ready to visit them to pay for the antenna about 530pm.  They had already eaten supper so we had a nice time visiting with them.  Jim is an EEE so he and Phil spoke the same language and enjoyed each other.  Linda knits and we get along well together.  She was kind enough to give me a few extra leftover skeins of yarn and a couple patterns for kids and adults hats as she knows how I’ve been working hard on making hats for Glenn and Pat’s triplets, Lauren, Riley and Teagan.    We left about 8pm and then I fixed supper of Cheese broccoli pasta sauce mix with Tuna and dehydrated cauliflower and some of the fresh broccoli we got at the market.    We  ended the day with me knitting and Phil reading.

Saturday, February 19
Sand Dollar Beach to Volleyball Beach

This morning we are taking the big boat back to the Harbor at Georgetown as the wind is still high enough that it’s too wet for the dinghy and we are planning on taking the bus at 11am to visit the Horticultural Fair.  We raised anchor at 840am and dropped anchor 1.46nm away at 909am.  Phil added 17.5 gals of water to the tank and we are planning on filling the water jerry jugs.  We passed some of the time visiting Tropical Accents.  This is a store that has many items that have been decorated with shells.  I found a print of a Bahamian boat racing and wanted to get for a memento of our trip, so will stop by after the Fair.

We left on time in a small school bus and went about ½ mile further than we had gone on our bikes.  This Horticultural fair is a very small county fair at home.  There were a couple building with vegetable competitions and crafts that adults and kids had made.  Outside there were local crafts – basket weaving and jewelry – for sale.  There were also local vendors selling Bahamian food.  They have a nature trail and we decided to wait for the nature tour instead of walking the trail by ourselves.  The tour was great but we wished that we had also walked it ourselves.
While there we tried Guava Duff – a Bahamian dessert – which is a dense cake with chopped guava and a creamy pink sweet sauce with diced guava on top.  It’s very good and rich tasting.  We also had pumpkin bread  - but it’s different from our pumpkins.  The bread is orange but their “pumpkins” are more like dry squash.  The bread was good that this was our lunch.  After getting back to Exuma Market on the bus, we walked around town and went to a shop across from the Peace and Plenty hotel that had clothing and paintings and photos made by local Bahamians.  There I found a Bahamian Gourmet Cookbook and decided to get that and not the print from the other store as a mementos of our visit. There are many recipes for conch, crawfish (lobster) Whelk, and other Bahamian specialties.

We got back to the boat about 245pm and raised anchor at 305pm to anchor at Volleyball Beach.  We were going to anchor at Monument Beach but noticed that a whole had opened up off Chat N Chill and decided to take advantage of being close to the action.    Judy of s/V Bantana invited us for cocktails to their boat, so I made a layered Mexican dip and went to Bantana a 41’ Gulfstar ketch at 433pm.  We enjoyed Rum drinks, dip and stayed until 630pm when we went back to Changes.  I continued knitting and finished the pink hat and Phil read for the evening.

Sunday, February 20
VB Beach
Georgetown, Bahamas

We were spending time on the boat.  Steve and June on S/V Wind Rose had a leach line seam on their head sail loose the stitching, so they came over about 10am and I with my Sailrite Sewing machine went to their boat and I stitched up the seam for them.  The Sailrite machine worked great and they were relieved that they didn’t have to hand stitch the seam.  They showed me their boat and at this time a 42’ Tatoosh is the boat that I want.  They took me back to Changes and invited us to come over late afternoon so they can show the boat to Phil too.  There is one that was damaged in a hurricane in St. Maarten that is for sail around $25,000.00.  This is a boat that both Phil and I could live with. 

We went into VB Beach Sunday afternoon to socialize with the other cruisers there.  I spoke to the ladies basket weaving and Phil read a book.  We stay until about 4pm and then went back to Changes to get ready to visit Winsome.  We got there about 430pm and had a complete tour of the boat.  Phil likes Wind Rose too so Steve sent an email to the broker to see the status of the boat.  Phil does wonder though if this boat would be too much for him to fix without assistance. Steve grew up in his Dad’s boat yard and continued to work there and built small boats prior to cruising on Wind Rose, so for him fixing this boat wouldn’t be a problem.  Just a little glass job – right!  We enjoyed crackers, cream cheese and smoked oysters so didn’t need anything major to eat for supper after we got home about 830pm.  We finished out the evening as before with me knitting and Phil reading.

Monday, February 21
Volleyball Beach
Georgetown, Exumas

After our typical morning weather and GT Net, we transferred Phil’s Ham radio license that Virginia had scanned and emailed to us (Thank You) and burned to a disk.  Wind Rose has a printer on board and offered to print it out for us.  Phil needs this to take the Extra Ham license exam.  So we went over about 9am and June was able to print out the license w/o any problem.  Thanks to them.  They are living on their boat for 5 years and June decided that since they have enough room, she was going to have a printer.  She just wishes that she had bought a printer/scanner.  We got back to Changes a little before 1030am.  Unfortunately I came down with a bladder infection but being prepared, starting taking the antibiotic that my doctor had ordered in case this happened while on the trip.  Time to start drinking more fluids.  Since I wasn’t feeling well, we stayed on the boat until I started feeling better about 3pm. Phil made good use and looked at the Ham radio finding the folder he thought that he had brought with him and then fixed the outboard 4hp engine so that Ken Blythe could borrow it when he left later this morning.  About 3pm we decided to go into VB beach to socialize.  I met Ann from M/V Borrowed Horse who was working on making a basket from Palm fronds. Linda from S/V Winsome joined us. She told me that Sue from S/V Nice N Easy anchored next to use, was really good at this and willing to teach.  I guess that she makes triangular baskets.  We had a nice chat and then I started searching down Phil.  He was sitting in the Adirondack chairs with Charlie and Meg from White Seal and others, so I joined them and started knitting.   I also met Linda from M/V Escapade.  We stayed until it started getting close to sunset and the beach was emptying out.  It was also getting cool so by 545pm we were back on Changes.  Supper consisted of spaghetti with canned carrots added.  Thankfully the water is calmer now than earlier in the day, but at no time during our visit (except in Kid Cove harbor) has the water been so rough that I’ve felt like we had to endure it.  While Phil washed dishes and then started reading and I knitted, we listened to Phil’s I-pod.  I started making a gauge with some of the pink yarn I got in Nassau, but not liking how it was feeling, I started on another hat with some of the sock yarn I have.  By 1015pm we went to bed.

Tuesday, February 22
Georgetown Exumas to Lee Stocking Island
Distance Traveled:  30.34 nm
Miles to get back home:  30.34 nm
Total Distance traveled:  2718.07 (not including trips back and forth across the harbor in Georgetown)

We listened to Chris Parker this morning and the weather forecast has changed a lot from what we heard yesterday.  Previously there was to be <10 kts of wind and many time light and variable over most of the Bahamas this weekend.  Now there is more wind and even more concerning to us is predictions of 30kt + winds middle of next week where we want to be.  We have decided to go back home through the Exumas to Warderick Wells and then cut across east over the Exuma Sound and go to Eleuthra – Rock Sound & Spanish Wells.  Then we want to visit the Abicos on our way north out of the Bahamas.  Originally, we were going to get together with S/V Winsome and  S/V MytyFyne Wednesday evening and talk about traveling together, leaving Friday or Saturday.  At 730am we decided to leave TODAY.  Phil feels like it’s more important to take advantage of this weather window than for him to take the Extra Ham license exam and I agree. I had hoped to make more hats and then send them with S/V Bad Boy who is going to be in Miami this Saturday, but instead we stopped by and put Henry and Calvin’s hats in an envelope and then the 3 hats I do have completed for Glenn’s girls in another and he’s happy to mail them from the US for us.  So Vicky and Glenn – be on the lookout for big white envelopes in the mail next week.  By 820am, we quickly raised anchor even as the Georgetown Net was going on and went across Elizabeth Harbor to anchor so that we can go into town to get some provisions and money from the bank.  By 830am we were in Kid Cove and getting in the dinghy to go to town.  It’s a little rough with the dinghy bouncing up and down, but not as bad as we’ve seen it earlier this week going under the bridge to Lake Victoria.  I was able to get some money out of the bank, but for some reason the bank machine said that Phil has already taken out money today, even though he hadn’t so none for him.  This is the 2nd time this has happened.  Hopefully he’ll be able to get cash in Spanish Wells.  By 10am we were back at the boat.  The 8hp engine was on the boat and the engine started by 1013am.  We’re getting good at this. 

We raised anchor at 1015am with the wind coming from 120degrees (SE) at 9 knots.  We passed a C&C 34 S/V Skimmer from Steamboat, CO and hailed across the water as we were passing them by and found out it was built 1981.  It’s the same color Changes was before she was painted after the floor.  As we were motoring down the harbor, I hailed Enchantment and said goodbye.  They said visit us in Panama next year. It’s been great to meet then and we look forward to watching their progress on their blog.  Then I hailed Wind Rose and said good bye to them too.  The best part of cruising is meeting the people!   S/V Shazza is also leaving motoring just ahead of us.  Painkiller came on the radio and asked me to email Phil’s bread recipe to them as his turns out so good.  I really enjoyed Georgetown  - it’s like a summer camp for adults and you can take part in as many activities as you want or none at all.  For Phil it was ok.  Just not as much his cup of tea.   Next time I would like to be here for the Cruisers Regatta – we’ll see what happens in the future.

It was a little rolly and we expected to be going down wind, so I took a Marezine and we made the final turn to enter the cut @ 1105am.  There are 2’ swells from the east and a 1ft wind chop;  Really good for Exuma Sound.  The wind is now 150degrees 10-11 kts.  Once we were far enough away from the cut, Phil used the mascerator pump and by 1115am we lost the depth sound reading.

Our plan is to be in Lee Stocking Island later this afternoon and then leave tomorrow to get to Blackpoint where we’ll stay 2 nights to do laundry (it hasn’t been done since Emerald Bay Marina).  We’ll stop at Samson Cay Marina for gas and diesel and then continue to Warderick Wells.  Ken on Sail Away left yesterday for Emerald Bay Marina, so we are trying to reach him to let him know our plans have changed and to see if we can meet up so that we can go to Rock Sound together.  I put out the fishing line and brought in the empty line just before we came through the cut for Lee Stocking Island The wind angle was between 154degrees to starboard at first so I started hand steering at 1122am, the head sail went out at 1129am with the wind from 180 degrees at 7-9 kts and Phil took over at 1154 while I made sandwiches for lunch (with Phil’s good bread).  We did notice that the stitching has come out of the head sail about the height of the spreaders leaving the leach line exposed, so that will be a job to fix when we’re in Black point.  By 1230pm the Marezine had kicked in making me sleepy so I went below for a nap for over an hour.  When we entered the current for Adderly Cut at 1237pm we dropped down to 2.8 kts per GPS.  Slower but not bad.  By 310pm we had picked up mooring ball #5 without any problems and had the Farouck up by 320pm. 

I have started a new category for keeping track – Miles to get home as we have now started our way back North and to ultimately Ohio.  Will be interesting to see how the miles differ with the different way we come back home.

In the mooring ball next to us was S/V Horizons a Vagabond from Sandusky, OH.  We got the dinghy together and at 345pm paddled over to say high.  Gary and Carol with their son Kris and his girlfriend Emily have been cruising down her since September.  She let us know that Leemington Marina was hit with a serious tornado last year and there are only 8 slips available this year, so they didn’t visit.  She will make of list of must see places in the Abicos which they have already visited. 

We had the sun shower out on deck during this passage, so both of us took showers with very warm water – almost too warm.  It felt good and we had left over spaghetti for supper and I made Banana Fritters from a Bahamian Cookbook I got in town Saturday after the Horticultural Fair.

I finished a larger teal hat and started working on the gauge for the Bernat sport baby yarn that I have.  It’s still comfortable sleeping and we still are using a quilt at night.

Wednesday, February 23
Lee Stocking Island to Blackpoint
Distance Traveled:  30.60 nm
Miles to get back home:  60.94
Total Distance Traveled:  2748.67 nm

Now the weather is not looking quite as bad as it was yesterday, though they are still talking about a cold front next week.  We haven’t been able to reach Ken on the VHF or SSB radio, but heard him respond to radio check in Emerald Bay so know that he’s there.  We’ll try to reach him by email when we get to Black Point.  We started early today starting the engine at 733am and releasing from the mooring ball at 736am.  On our way to the cut, we passed S/V Galaxy at ketch from Hamburg aground a little too close to land.  After we passed them, they were able to power off and get into deeper water.  We think that they hit ground again, but eventually before we got out of the cut at 8am we saw them round the corner.  B 804am we changed course with the wind at 125 degrees 6-7 kts.  There are NO waves on the sound today – amazing.  By 812am we were on our final course of 330 degrees with the wind clocking so apparent wind is 90degree from starboard.  At 830am we listened to the Cruisheimers net hoping to hear Ken check in, but no luck though we did hear other boats that we met.  Volantis was on it’s way to Blackpoint.  We met them in Vero Beach and will have to look for them.  Phil raised the main sail at 840am in hopes to take advantage of some winds as we were reaching, but the winds went down to < 5 knots, so both the head sail was rolled in about 12 noon and the main lowered about 1215pm.  By 1230pm we entered the heavy current at Dotham Cut with our slowest boat speed per GPS 1.6 – 1.8 knots though boat speedo read 5.5 kts.  It took us a while to get out of the current as the tide had turned going to low tide.  We anchored at 105pm this time a little closer to the laundry dinghy dock.  I felt like it was reunion time as there were many boats that we had met along the way but hadn’t seen for a while:  Last Tango, Bye Bye Blues, Maribelle, It’s About Time and others seen in Georgetown.

First order of business while the winds were low was to get out the Sailrite sewing machine and take down the head sail.  After we had started, low and behold Patty from Lost Tango came up on her way back from Rockside Laundry and came aboard to help man handle the sail.  I set up the machine on the cockpit table and her help was greatly appreciated.  We got the full story on Maribelle misadventures in the Jimentos and unfortunately, Becky is not feeling better. There was quite the search party looking for Danny and I hope he’s happy in doggy heaven.  They will be getting her to Staniel Cay and fly her home so she can get better medical care.  Kevin is looking for someone to help him get the boat back to the states and then they’ll put her up for sail.  They miss the snow of Colorado and their home.  With Patty’s and Phil’s excellent help, I was done with the stitching by 315pm.  Gary came over at 330pm and invited us over for lobster pizza.  Conrad on It’s About Time caught a few big ones and donated them for supper for a crowd.

At 330pm we turned on the new wifi antenna and I was able to get internet service from Lorraine’s Café on the boat.  Great – read the emails and sent one to Ken to update him where we were and where we might be able to meet on the way through the exumas.  I checked facebook and glad to see that Riley is off the ventilator.  Hope that Lauren and Teagan are doing well too.

5pm we left to go to Last Tango and were join by Becky and Kevin from S/V Maribelle, Conrad and Sally from It’s About Time so that made 8 of us.  I got an olive oil bread recipe that doesn’t require kneading and can be refrigerated and used within a week.  We had a great time visiting and eating the great lobster pizza cooked on the grill.  For dessert, I made banana fritters which was just enough sweet to satisfy everyone and easy to make.

We got back to Changes by 840am and once again – ugh – the florescent light fixture in the port salon doesn’t work.  Phil was able to change the bulbs and get the fixture on the starboard working so at least we have some light in the salon.  While we listened to Phil’s I-pod, I knit and Phil read.  We haven’t been playing Canasta since I won 3 times in a row.  Go figure! J

We will be spending the night here and tomorrow so that we can wash clothes and hopefully give Ken a chance to catch up with us.

Thursday, February 24
Black Point

Last night was a good sleeping night.  They are still expecting a cold front to come through late Tuesday into Wednesday but not sure in the Central Bahamas how far south the cold front will get.  North of the front they are expecting North winds  20-25 kts clocking to the East.  Ahead of the front will be light winds.  Where Rock Sound in the Eleuthras will be in regards to the front will be hard to tell until the time comes.  We are still glad that we left when we did!  We got to the Laundromat after breakfast at 815am and were the first ones there today.  Great as it took 6 machines to wash all the clothes that we had.  We were done at 11am  - not bad for Laundromats and met Gary and Pam from S/V Sea Rose II at 43’ voyage catamaran.  They are from Dover, New Hampshire and have been cruising for 7 years.  They are very friendly and invited us to stop by any time.  After putting away the clothes and making the V-berth, we went into town to have lunch at DeShamons Restaurant and use their internet.  At the Government Dock, some Bahamian men were selling lobster tails so I picked out 2 big one and gave them $50.  This is the only way that we can get lobster at least this year.  Unfortunately, as soon as I got connected at DeShamons, their internet went down and stayed down.  I had a fish burger and Phil had a cheese burger with fries.  I worked on typing the blog and made a lot of progress.  We got some great New Zealand butter and oil and then came back to the boat to post on the internet.  Ken from Sail Away is anchored close to us, but he wasn’t home.  Once on the boat, I can’t get the internet signals strong enough this afternoon so will finish typing the blog in M. Word and maybe go into town to send at Lorraine’s Café.  445pm Ken rowed up in his dinghy.  He was at Galliot Cut last night and wants to take his time going through the Exumas since he rushed down to get here.  He still needs the connector for the 4hp engine he’s borrowing, so Phil will see if he can get the hose that Kevin offered him and Phil refused so that the 4hp engine will work for Ken.

I hope to go into town after supper to be able to post this blog.

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