Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Back in the United States - Fort Pierce, FL

Monday, March 28
Green Turtle Cay to Great Sale Cay
Distance Traveled: 54.09 nm
Miles to get Home:  387.68
Total Distance Traveled:  3080.41 nm

We listened to Chris Parker Weather and it looks like it should be a good day to go to Great Sale Cay with the winds predicted to be SE -S - SW 5-10kts - 15kt at times and should be decreasing as the day goes on.  They are predicting squalls for tonight - so we'll see what the weather is when it gets to tonight.

Since we have a long day ahead of us, we raised anchor a little before 7am and exiting the channel by 711am and near the exit of the channel saw 1ft of water under the keel.  We raised the main sail and then rolled out the head sail @ 805am - with course set at 315 degrees the wind is 8kt at wind angle 120 to port.  By 830am we were coming up to S/V Water Hobo who we chased all day but the winds also increased to 17 kts so we turned off the engine and sailed.  As the day went on the wind continued to clock until it was NW - NOT predicted and gray and cloudy. By 1211pm we rolled up the head sail and started the engine and were sailing into 17kts of wind at 41 degree angle to port.  We continued motor sailing until we rounded Great Sale Cay and went inside.  There were 5 boats that were anchored in the NW Anchorage completely exposed to this wind.  Why I can't imagine. But when we lowered the anchored at 525pm we were glad to be in a safe place.  The winds are predicted to be N to NE tonight so we will stay here instead of taking a nap and leaving.  We'll see what the winds are tomorrow to decide whether to cross the Bahama Banks or not.

Tuesday, March 29 to Wednesday, March 30
Passage Great Sale Cay to Fort Pierce, FL
Distance Traveled:  109.1 nm
Miles to get Home:  496.78
Total Distance Traveled:  3189.51nm

We listened to Chris Parker and he recommends to do the crossing to Florida tonight, but this morning the sky cleared, the wind clocked to S and we decided to leave this morning at 10am so that we'll get to Florida at dawn.  

in preparation for the crossing, I made sandwiches for us to eat during the passage and also prepared some fish hash to cook up later for supper.   A little early, we raised anchor at 955am with the Main Sail up.  The wind was light - 5 kts and there were no waves.  Quickly we got on our course of 279 degrees to make it to Little Bahama Banks waypoint.  We contacted S/V Water Hobo and we decided to keep in contact throughout the crossing.  Later in the day, they will download the Grib files (weather reports) and pass them through to us.  By noon, we had lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches since the last of the home made bread is stale, and canned peaches.  Most of the day the wind was from 70 - 100 degrees ranging from 3- 8 kts. By 530pm the wind increased to 10 kts and we were seeing small white caps on 1 ft waves and the wind angle gradually became down wind.  By 721pm we had made it off the Bahama banks and we lost depth sounder readings.  We are officially in the ocean.  During the day, we took 2 hour watches but starting at 6pm after we ate supper, we started the 3 hrs watches with me starting a 6pm.  Water Hobo has been behind us all the way on the horizion and the last that I saw her was at 8pm a dot on the horizon.  At this time our course was 290 - 295 degrees - 56.8 nm miles left with ETA 6am.  Once we get through the gulf stream we may slow down to arrive at light.  Throughout the night, we were not able to maintain radio contact with Water Hobo but we did hear her hail us. 

Crossing the Gulf Stream was as good as it comes, even though the current made if very bouncy, making it difficult to get sleep for the off watch person.  Phil encounter a few freighters during his watch and when I came on at midnight we saw one in the distance.  He decided to stay above to watch this freighter and I'm glad that he did.  The freighter didn't have a light on the bow and so it was difficult to determine the direction it was going - towards us it turned out.  Once we determine that we were on a collision course, Phil turned the boat in a U-turn (headed back East) until the boat passed.  My heart was pumping and I'm very glad that Phil was at the helm!!!  Phil went down below to get some shuteye and even though I saw a couple more freighters, there were too far away to be of any consequence.  Between 2-230am we got out of the Gulf Stream and I changed course to SW to head towards Fort Pierce being almost 3nm right of the rhumb line - as the Gulf Stream pushed us north.  The weather was very warm for the crossing and then cooled and got damper. 

Phil took over at 3am and I slept very well waking at 540am and coming out to join Phil.  Phil decided not to slow down our approach and so we were in the well lit channel coming into Fort Pierce.  We turned left onto the ICW and anchored at 615am just before and on the left of the Fort Pierce North Bridge.  Then we took down the Main Sail.

Phil went to sleep and I cleaned up a little and did some knitting after calling my Mom at 7am.  Our US phones are working, charged and on so any calls from friends and family are welcome.  The internet using our MiFi from Verizon is also on so I hope to make more regular postings to the blog.

We are sorry to leave the Bahamas but it's time now for us to be in the States.  Our plans are to get some rest and then go to Vero Beach Municipal Marina, pick up a mooring ball and stay there until we get mail from home.  Mail to us can be addressed to:
S/V Changes, Phil Dolsen, c/o Vero Beach Municipal Marina.
3611 Rio Vista Boulevard, Vero Beach, FL
Marina phone is 772-231-3829 

Both of us look forward to catching up with family and hearing people's voices we haven't heard in a long time.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Treasure Cay

Saturday, March 36
Treasure Cay

We started out the morning renting a golf cart (the last one that came in just as we requested one the 2nd time) that we shared with another cruising couple, and went to the Nautical Flea Market.  There weren't as many vendors as we were hoping for - maybe next year it will be better.  But I was able to buy 2 long lengths of used line for $5/ea so now I have some line to make mats for the boat.  We were there less than a hour - which included time chatting with other boaters and then came back to the marina.

We went back to the boat to get ready to go to the Beach.  Treasure Cay has the #1 beach in the Caribbean and I can see why.  The sand is so fine - doesn't hurt you feet - and also it's so white that even with the sun beating down on it - it doesn't get hot - not like the sand at Headlands Beach at home.  We rented 2 beach lounge chairs and got a free beach umbrella for anchoring so we were set to relax for a while.  Phil went swimming and I stayed and knitted - continuing to make my pink and gray socks.  I'm not working on the legs.  About 1230pm we went up to the Cocoa Beach Bar and Grill and had cheeseburgers and french fries for lunch.  Back to the beach - Phil read and then went swimming again.  He said the water was wonderful.  It's was a calm day with the wind from the south.  As the tide was coming in, it was great to see the waves break over the reefs and see how the color of the water changed as the depth changed.  We had enough about 2pm and went to the Golf Cart, since we had it for the day.  Coming out of the marina, we turned left to go to the flea market so this time we turned right and went down to the far point both on the bay (beach) side and also on the Sea of Abaco side.  A few more shells here, but not many at all.

Back to the boat we got my computer and I check email and facebook.  For supper I fixed the Mahi Mahi with a pasta sauce mix and canned peas added.

We have been having lots of discussion about whether there is a sufficent and good weather window for us to go back to the States early this week or not.  WE talked to Randy on S/V Lipari about this.  He gets a email from Chris Parker and there is to be some rain and squalls on the north route (the route that we are going to take).  So as of tonight, we have decided to stay at Treasure Cay for the rest of the week and go for the weather window April 4 that may come.

Sunday, March 27
Marsh Harbor to Green Turtle Cay
Distance Traveled:  17.85 nm
Miles to get Home:  333.59 nm
Total Distance Traveled:  3026.32 nm

So we woke up later this morning and Phil decides that he wants to go to Green Turtle Cay today because you never know for sure if Chris Parker is right - meaning that the weather changes easily and maybe it will change favorably.  We had breakfast and came into land.  I went on the computer and Phil went to the grocery store to stock up on New Zealand Butter and this will be our last change if we leave to come back Monday.  Phil bought 3.5#'s which is great.  This is good butter - nice flavor, so we'll have some for in the states.

We got back to the boat about 1030am and then got ready to leave.  This is the first time since we've been in the Abacos that we've put the 8hp engine on the boat.  By 1052am Phil starts the engine and in quick succession the Main sail is raised and we raise the anchor.  We are leaving a just past low tide but think there will be enough water in the channel, and we are right - 1.4ft under the keel is the least that we see.  S/V Lipari is at the gas dock probably loading up on fuel and water.  As we go out the channel there is one boat ahead of us, one directly behind and as we are farther out - 7 more boats are leaving.  The wind is from 295 degree at 15-16 kts.  By 1120am we let out the head sail and then put the engine in neutral - so we are sailing and charging the batteries.  It's warm and the breeze is a relief.  We are going about 4.75 kts max.

We are going to Spoil Cay to go collecting sea shells and drop anchor at 1244pm.  Lipari is following us and are kind enough to pick us up in their dinghy - Randy stays behind to wash the bottom of their cataraman and Janet, Phil and I go to the beach.  There are many shells here and we collect about half a gallon bag full.  Mostly regular kind that you get many places, just in large numbers.  We say good bye to Janet - that's one of the hard parts - saying good bye to the friends that we've made - and are back on Changes.  We start the engine at 201pm, raise the mainsail and then the anchor is up at 206pm.    The wind is down to 9-10 kts and we are motor sailing for the rest of the trip.

We went out the loggerhead channel across of 2 mi of the Atlantic ocean and in Whale Cay Channel.  Here they talk about going in the Whale.  This can be a dangerous to go through even though hit gets to be 35' deep, but today there are 1' swells about 9-11 seconds apart and 1 foot chop. 

Tomorrow Katie turns 21 so today as a treat for both of us, I called her and wished her Happy Birthday.  She starts another quarter of school tomorrow and I didn't want to chance not having cell phone signal.  Shortly after the call, we got to the channel to get into White Sound on Green Turtle Cay.  There is a narrow channel and even though we were going close to high tide - the least amount of water seen was 1ft under the keel.  Now we are worried about getting out tomorrow morning, but Phil has checked the tides on the GPS and there is .2 less feet of water when we are leaving tomorrow so we should be ok.  WE drop anchor at 424pm.   Then the next job is to get the dinghy on the foredeck.  We have figured out a way to make it easier for us and after about 12-15 min - the boat is on board.  Then Phil cleans the bottom and straps it to the deck.  It is hot and even though there is 2 hrs left until sundown, we put up the Farouck.

I get on the internet and chat with Katie a little more before she has to go eat supper.  I have turned on our US cell phone using the internet - so they are up and running for when we get into the States.  We don't want anyone to use them yet until I send out an OK message on the blog or we call you.  

The past 2-3 weeks, many times I've wanted to go back to the States, and now that the time is near - in many ways I don't want to go back.  It's beautiful here in the Bahamas - The Abacos are much or civilized than the Exumas - so we're both glad that we decided to come here at the last minute.  We have discussions about taking off a year and then not taking off a year and go again this fall.  I still would like a bigger boat and Phil still wants to keep Changes.

We have checked the weather - and the winds are to have mostly some southerly direction to them, but there is some rain coming.  At this time, we still plan to leave.  So either I'll post a message that we're in the States - or you'll get one that we'll be here for a few more days.  The weather will tell.  We are planning on checking into Customs at Fort Pierce and then go to Vero Beach to wait for mail to be sent to us.  We haven't received any mail since we entered the Bahamas Dec 15 so I'm sure we'll have a stack.  I still have photos to upload - will do that in the States.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Great Guana Cay to Treasure Cay

Hi everyone,  Sorry that it's been so long since I last posted.  Have been working on backing up 62GB of data from my laptop hard drive to an external hard drive.  Also downloading 911 photos from early Feb to now - Wow!  Can use only so much electricity on the boat at one time and I've been really pushing it lately with the backup.  Below are posts from March 17 to yesterday.  We have now traveled over 3000 nm's. 

Thursday, March 17
Hopetown to Marsh Harbor, Abacos
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Distance Traveled:  7.69 nm
Miles to Home:  284.59
Total Distance Traveled:  2977.32 nm

We woke to very nice weather and hardly any winds.  We got underway at 710am and motored all the way to Marsh Harbor as the winds were 3.4 – 3.6 kts at 180degree wind angle.  The water was so glassy that we could see the bottom and saw many starfish and some sea urchins.  We left this early as High tide was 645am and we needed the extra depth to get out of the harbor.

As we were coming up to Marsh Harbor, it was smoky outside – still from the woods fired I guess – and we entered Marsh Harbor @ 840am and dropped anchor at 858am.  We tried to go to the deep area (6’ under keel compared to 2.7 – 3’ under keel)  but there are mooring balls there – so had to go somewhere else.  Soon afterward, Phil went to take the garbage to the dumpster and S/V Winsome anchored behind us while I stayed on the boat and worked on the knitting pink socks in the cockpit.    Sometime after they anchored, Jim came over and picked up my 1 terabyte external hard drive and will be transferring music and movies that he has on his computer to my hard drive. The transfer will take 4 hours.

Tonight is the St. Patricks’s Day Party that we bought tickets for from the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club to start at 5pm so after my afternoon nap, we started getting ready.  We are going to walk over with Mike and Chris Link on S/V Missing Link and then take a taxi home so we arrived at the Jib Room at 4pm and left about 430pm.  We were one of the first ones there.  The Link were concerned about getting a place to sit, but turns out there were assigned tables.  We had a great time, had the requisite Corn beef, cabbage, carrots and potatoes and there was an open bar.  There was a DJ, so that music was good – lots of oldies from the 1940’s and 50’s.  It interesting how many of the songs of that era were slow songs.  By 9pm we got in the taxi and then back to the boat by 915pm. 

I knitted and Phil read until we went to bed about 1030 – 1045pm.

Friday, March 18
Marsh Harbor

I overslept this morning and missed most of the synopsis for the weather from Chris Parker.  With my ear plugs in, I couldn’t hear the alarm go off @ 625am.  Darn!  The wind is to be from the NE low to mid teens through Sunday and then be 20-25kts on Monday.  But I had the luck that I could listen at 8am and was able to get the synopsis then. 

This morning we went to Skeggs and wholesale seafood/market that is at the east end of the Harbor.  We bought frozen lobster meat from 2 tails for $10/lb and 3 Mahi-Mahi fillets.  We were also able to get most of what was on the list there, but then after putting the fish in the boat freezer, went to Maxwells to get the rest of what we needed.

We were back at the boat shortly afternoon and Phil turned on the engine so that I could burn some of the music on the hard drive that we picked up from Winsome on our way back from the grocery store.  I burned a couple CD’s (we need to get more in the States – add it to the list) and then I tried to start backing up my Sony hard drive to the external hard drive – The trial version wouldn’t let me do it even though I have bought the full version over a year ago. Of course being in the Bahamas – I can’t call the company – too expensive and the 800 numbers don’t work.

On a good note, I chanted with Cheryl and Katie on Facebook, but I’m very upset about the lack of communication here in the Bahamas and the minor inconveniences.  Feeling sorry for myself I’m teary.   I just want to be back in the States!  Poor Phil, he doesn’t know what to do.

Good thing that we are having supper with Jim and Linda on S/V Winsome.  I make fresh mozz and tomato salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette and at 5pm we go to visit our friends.  Linda make some beef stew from canned beef from Brinkmann farms close to Findlay, OH.  It’s good and the beef is good – in broth not gravy.  We had a great time chatting with Jim and Linda and returned to the boat about 835pm.  I continued knitting by pink/gray toe up socks and started on the gusset.  Phil read until we went to bed.

Saturday, March 19
Marsh Harbor

We woke to a beautiful sunrise and glassy water in the harbor.  So glassy that I was able to take photos of the clouds reflected in the water.  (insert Photo).  Phil went to the Hardware store to get some parts to work on his project for the bow of the dinghy which I had breakfast and knitted some more. Then I started a loaf of the Artisan Bread.

After Phil returned and has his breakfast, we emptied out the V-berth and started on the all important project of checking out the holding tank.   Turns out what he put on to seal the crack didn’t work as the contents leaked out.  But the long narrow brush to get lint out of the dryer vents and worked well in cleaning as much as can be cleaned around the holding tank.  After 3 buckets of salt water rinsing, it’s better when.  The V-berth is put back together by lunchtime. 

Still not a good day for me being in the Bahamas.  I still want to be in the States, generally not fun for Phil to be around me – I finally go to the V-berth and cry and take a nap.  Randy from S/V  Lipari comes to talk to Phil and hears how bad I’m feeling.  Once I wake, Randy offers to the use of his Magic Jack phone at the Jib Room and his laptop.  How nice – gets me choked up again.  Off we go and I’m able to call Barnes and Noble and find out that if someone in the states uses my account online and orders the book for me – I can download in the Bahamas.  I talk to my Mom – bad connection for us both but good to hear her voice and I will send email with instructions for her to buy the “Toe-up Sock for Everybody” book for me.  I also talk to my sister, Robin.   It’s amazing how the act of kindness from Randy and being able to talk to family and get to sock instruction book does for me.  THANK YOU RANDY!   I feel much better and we’ll have to get a magic jack phone for our next travels out of the states.  It’s a $20 phone that connects to the computer and goes through the internet and costs nothing besides the internet connection. 

Today is the Full Moon – it’s the closest and brightest full moon in 20 years and with the full moon, that means extreme low and high tides.  We leave the Jib room when I’m done with the computer and go to drop off garbage.  It is now low tide and the dinghy dock is resting on the ground.  There are a couple men standing in the water – it being not quite to their knees.  WE leave the dinghy in deeper water – really a misnomer- because we have to tilt up the outboard and use the paddle to pushing against the ground to get close to another inflatable dinghy.  Leaving out dinghy out as far as we can, we clamber over the dinghy and walk to the garbage toter. 

This evening we treated ourselves to steak dinner and a rake and scrape and limbo at the Jib Room.  The steaks are cooked on a grill and 1.5” thick – so Phil and I split the steak and I got extra sides.  The food was delicious and more than enough.  We were disappointed in the rack and scrape – not as many people there, but the limbo was good.  I took some photos of Nancy from S/V Pegasus and will email them to her once I download them to my computer.  After the limbo, we went across the harbor to Snappas as we heard there was a live band playing starting at 9pm.  The band was good so we stayed to dance through their first set.  BTW – I was able to download the book my Mom bought online.  After getting home, we were still able to listen to the music until after we went to bed.  It was a good band so we didn’t mind.

Sunday, March 20
Marsh Harbor to Fishers Bay, Great Guana Cay
Distance traveled:  8.24 nm
Mile to Home:  292.83
Total Distance Traveled:  2985.56 nm

Today we are going to Man of War to get mooring ball for the increased NE winds that are to come.  We raised anchor at 842am with the wind from 50-60 degrees at 8-10 kts.  We put out the head sail and the winds increased to 11-12 kts with the wind angle at 50 degrees from starboard.  We heard Patty on S/V Last Tango that is at Man of War Cay going to Great Guana Cay.  It’s upwind with lots of tacks to get to Man of War Cay so we change our minds and decided to go to Great Guana Cay.  By 917am we have changed course with the wind angle at 76 degrees, waves down   to 1 foot.  We are motor sailing at 6.05 – 6.15 knots , then down to 3.93 to 4.15 kts with the engine running to charge the batteries but in neutral.  We don’t have far to go so can afford to actually sail.  It’s a nice sail and by 1033am we have dropped anchor in Fisher’s Bay.  At first we were dragging the anchor, so had to let out an additional 20’ for the hook to set.  We have 6-7’ of water under the keel so won’t have to worry about the low – low tide.

It’s not too long that we take the dinghy into town to explore.  The dinghy dock is a Grabbers and both Phil and I get a business card – buy one drink and get one free.  We walk into town, and walk to Nippers.  Just like Hopetown, the “road” is really like a wide sidewalk big enough for golf carts and a narrow car.  Nippers is on the beach on the Atlantic Ocean side.  The beach is nice but there isn’t much on it to collect except sea weed.  We do see these purple triangular floating objects – looks like what we say in Hopetown.  There are lots of people around – some sitting in tidal pools of water on the land side of rocks sunbathing.  WE walk down the beach and come to a couple of older ladies reading and sunning on a large flat rock.  We stop tochat and find out that Judy and Sharon are sisters (I can remember their names as I have an Aunt Judy and aunt Sharon).  Sharon has been coming to the same cottage since 1959 for 6 weeks in the winter.  Her husband doesn’t like coming here – not enough to do – so he goes to Cape Cod instead.  Judy has been coming here for a couple weeks each year since 1984.  We had a nice chat – they also knit and told me about a knitting only store in Marsh Harbor.  Sharon always looks for the beads that come from Africa each year and knows when she finds them that she’ll be back next year.

We walk back to Nippers and Phil buys a T-shirt and I get a Nippers Tevias glass with a free 16oz frozen rum punch.  WE also meet M/V friends Mike and Jana and Jerry and Linda whom we met in Warderick Wells in January.  We can tell that it’s spring break because there are many college age kids around.  Phil really enjoys the views, particularly this one young lady in a bikini with a nice backside.  He’s sneaking taking photos – Need I say more??

I’ve had plenty to drink so we go back to the boat after stopping by Last Tango to talk with Gary and Patty.  Gary’s sister and brother-in-law are staying with them so we say hi to them also.  Back to the boat I take a nap until 5pm.  Phil’s not too hungry, so I warm up the Trader Joe’s beef hash in a foil pouch and a can of corn.  Good and easy. 

We were going to go into Grabbers, but the predicted bad weather finally arrives with rain and then at 734pm the increased wind.  We decided that it’s better to stay on the boat and Last Tango get to their boat from Grabbers just before the rain started. Then we read for the rest of the day.

Monday, March 21
Fishers Bay,
Great Guana Cay

The winds are to continue to be NE 15-20 kts today and tomorrow according to BASRA weather, but Chris Parker at 8am says it will be ENE 20-25 today and tomorrow and Wednesday 5-8 kts.  I spent the morning burning a CD and backing up my Sony HD to the external hard drive.  For some reason it’s working.  Of course this uses us a lot of electricity so half the time + Phil is running the engine so I don’t drain the batteries.  We are looking for a 12 vlt to 20vt converter so I can run the laptop off the batteries and not the inverter.  Put it out on the Abaco Cruisers Net and no response so will have to wait until we get into the States to get one.  Without this converter, using the computer really uses up the juice in the batteries so have been asking Phil to run the engine for a couple hours or so and just do a little each day.

After lunch, Phil and I went into town again.  It is MUCH quieter than yesterday.  All the college students are gone.  We had ice cream in a cup at Pirate’s Cove.  Tasted good but a little skimpy on the servings, but that’s the Bahamas for you.  We walked to Nipper and the waves breaking on the reefs are much bigger today and beautiful.  We decided not to walk the beach again and instead turned around.  We saw the crew from Last Tango at the liquor store and stopped to chat.  We got back to the boat at 230pm and I started making fresh pizza with the last of the refrigerated dough.  Not greasing the pan or putting cornmeal on it, the first pizza stuck but good to the pan.  Phil pried off as much as he could – it tasted good.  I put Monterey Jack and Feta cheese topped with sliced fresh tomatoes, canned chicken and seasonings.  The 2nd pizza was in the oven and cooked enough to be able to pry easily off the pan and I sprayed the pan with Pam.  That worked well and we couldn’t eat it all.

I continued knitting the pink/gray socks and reading.  Have turned the heel and is now time to split the yarn in half with the remaining skein so I have 2 balls.  I had used the smaller skein in making preemie hats for the triplets. 

Pirate’s cove is having the movie “Walk the Line” on a 8’ screen after sunset so we left the boat about 715pm.  The speakers weren’t working correctly – something to do with needing to convert the digital signal to analog to work on his speakers.  Someone had disconnected them and he can’t figure out how to do it.  We had seen the movie before, but it’s been awhile so we enjoyed it.  Just sat close enough to hear except when the golf carts drove past on the “road” during the quiet scenes.  By 930pm the movie was over and we walked back to the boat.  It was DARK – the moon had not risen soon so I was glad that I had brought some of our head lamps so that we could see as Grabbers was closed and so they didn’t have any lights on.  As Phil says “Darker than the inside of a cow”.  I made some popcorn and Phil got out the Walk the Line Soundtrack on my Ipod Nano and played it on the radio while we read until we went to bed at 11pm.

Tuesday, March 22
Great Guana Cay

I was woke up this morning by a wake rocking the boat at 642am – too late for Chris Parker synopsis and Abaco weather forecast – will have to wait until 8am.  There is also a lot of static on the radio so hopefully the propagation after sunrise will improve.  Phil has been wanting to take a snorkeling trip and the weather is to be ENE 5 kts today so we called Dive Guana and got the last 2 seats on a all day snorkeling, island hopping trip.  We leave at 10am and to return about 430pm.  There were 20 people including a 4year old and 3-10-11 year olds just starting to turn into young ladies.  First we went to Fowl Cay Reef, part of the Bahamas Sea Park and were able to see a good reef for about a hour.  (insert photos).  Von is the certified diver and lifeguard.  There were reefs on both sides of the boat and on the way back from the 2nd reef, we saw 2 good size barracudas.  About 1115pm we then left for Hopetown and lunch at Abaco Inn.  I had the grilled Mahi-Mahi with French fries and coleslaw and Phil had a burger and fries.  We had lunch with Troy who owns Dive Guana and another couple, Dave and Mary from the Chesapeake down here on vacation in a cottage.  He bought a Sidleman 30’ sailboat for $4000 sight unseen.  This boat became available when the man who owned the boat was killed when he fell between the boat and the dock at night. It was so dark that they weren’t able to find him until the next day and he didn’t wear a life jacket. His wife just wanted to get rid of the boat so Dave bought it. 

After lunch, we had until 2pm to walk around town.  To save us a walk around the harbor (2-3 mi) we were taken over to the Hopetown Lighthouse which is still being run on Kerosene lantern and has to be round up every 1.5 hrs throughout the night.  Phil and I walked up the 101 steps to the top and had a great 360 degree view.   Back on the boat again, we were given rum punch to drink as Man of War Cay is a dry town.  We had about 45 min to walk around town and see the sights.  Man of War is where the boats in the Bahamas were made year ago and is still the place where the Albury Brothers still make boats.  It’s a good place here to get your boat fixed.  (insert photos)  One of the stores had the canvas Androsia canvas fabric for sale for $27.50 per yd.  Boy did  I want to buy some to recover the pillows inside the boat, but I resisted.    On the way back, Von put on his wet suit again and in 25-30’ deep water went conch shell hunting.  He picked up a king helmet shell and a conch shell and then the boat pulled him along while he hung onto the back of the swim platform as he searched for more with his mask and snorkel tube on.  He brought up 5 more in one dive!  2 were too immature to eat so were tossed back into the water.  Von took over helm on the boat and Troy gathered the kids and adults to show them how he prepares the conch for the salad.  I got first dibs on the King Helmet shell and will take it with me at the end of the trip.  Everyone who wanted some had conch salad while getting off the boat. 

When Phil paid for the trip, Troy said to tie a line around the foot and hang the shell from a tree for a week so that it would die and fall out.  Then the ants would eat what is remaining inside the shell and it won’t smell.  The back of the shell is covered with slimy/hard stuff and so will need to be cleaned off.  At this time, I have the shell in water until I can decide when I can have it somewhere for the ants to help me with the cleaning.

We were back at the boat at 515pm and took sun showers after we added some cooler water as the water in the sun shower would have been too hot.  We decided to put the Farouck up and then Phil ran the engine while I spent more time backing up the hard drive.  So far 26.9 GB has been backed up and I have 42.5GB left to go.

I cooked Steak with sweet and white potatoes, zucchini, and carrots in one pot.  Phil went to bed at 9pm and I read and went to bed at 1030pm.  I have been writing in composition books and am now finished with my 6th book for the trip. 

Wednesday, March 23
Great Guana Cay to Marsh Harbor
Distance Traveled:  7.51 nm
Miles to get home:  300.34 nm
Total Distance Traveled:  2993.07 nm

The past couple weeks while listening to Chris Parker, there have been many boats that are asking for information on crossing the Gulf Stream to get to Florida – usually Lake Worth to Fort Pierce.  Believe it or not, there are still some boat that are crossing from Florida to the Bahamas.  The wind is to be S to SW to WSW most of the day today and WSW 10-15 kts tomorrow which is not a good direction in the anchorage we are in.  We have decided to go to Marsh Harbor today to do laundry and see if we can buy so blank CD’s to burn music on.  So after weather and breakfast, we raised anchor at 9am with the wind from 200 degrees 3 – 5 kts.  We are going to motor the entire trip and have left the Farouck on.  There are no waves on the Sea of Abaco today.  While the motor is running, I have continued to back up my hard drive getting to 42.0 GB done and 28.2GB remaining by the time we are in Marsh Harbor.

We enter the harbor at 1033am and have dropped anchor at 1038am with Knot Tied and Valient 40’ and Sweet Chariot II in front of us.  WE got the dinghy together – no problem as we didn’t take off the 8Hp engine, and Phil took me to the laundry and he went to get water put in Changes and bought almost 20 gals of diesel.  Phil says that we have enough diesel on board to go 400mi, which is more than enough to get us to Florida.  The 5 loads of clothes were done by 2pm when I saw Phil coming across the harbor to pick me up.

Back at the boat we had ham and tomatoe sandwiches and then at 330pm went into town to see if we could find some CD-R’s to buy.  Ardcom had them for $1/cd – then and electronics store down the way had a pack of 50 for $35.  We stopped in a video store where they will download and burn any movie available on the internet for $10/movie or 3 for $20.  They had CD’s for $1.50 ea so we have decided to wait until we get to the states to buy CD’s.

We stopped by to invite Laura and Graehme of Sweet Charriot II to play cards with us this evening and were invited aboard for drinks and a chat.  We found out that Winsome decided to leave on Tuesday to go back to the states.  This was too good of a weather window for them to pass up.  Merlin and another boat also left to go to the States.  We can tell that many boats have left the anchorage.

By 430pm we went back to the boat and noticed that we were pretty close to Knot tied.  We let out 20’ of anchor chain and ---- went nowhere!  Phil chatted with guy on Knot Tied letting him know were on the bottom and he’s ok with how close we are to him.  Phil has always said that if we were able to find a good deal on a Valient 40’ that he would buy it – so now is the time to be searching for us.  There is also a C&C 40’ Center board in St. Augustine that he’s interested in for $81,000.00.  Maybe we could trade in Changes and get the price down a little.  I can wish anyway. 

I made ham slice with cabbage, carrots and canned white potatoes for supper and baked a rum cake for us to have for dessert with our guests.

About 7pm Laura and Graehme arrived.  We had the rum cake which was good but I think I didn’t quite cook it long enough in the silicone bunt pan.  We played 10 Penny and had a great time.

We are planning on leaving tomorrow to sail to Treasure Cay to pick up a mooring ball. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011
Marsh Harbor

Today the sky is clear but it’s windy.  Wind is 250 to 255 degrees 13-14 kts and we have 0.9ft under the keel.  I’m sure that we were on the bottom at low tide in the middle of the night again.  The Cabin temp is 72F and it’s pretty chilly outside with the wind.  Phil and I talk about it and we decided to see what happens with the wind before deciding whether to go to Treasure Cay.  It would be 15 miles upwind – and not that we can’t do that, but we just saw some gusts to 18+ and  there is no reason to beat ourselves up.  After breakfast, Phil takes me in to the Jib Room so that I can work further backing up the hard drive and get some internet.  By 1130am when Phil comes to pick me up again, I have 63.3 GB backed up and 16.6GB’s to go.  Phil hasn’t run the engine yet today so will work on it some more this afternoon.

Back at the boat – it is more windy and the wind has clocked to the West – dead upwind.  The wind is going down the harbor so it’s wet in the dinghy on the way back.  We need bread and Phil again doesn’t want to make some so I start to make some light wheat bread and put about ½ cup wheat bran in.  By 240pm the bread has risen twice and then a third time in the loaf pans and is in the oven.  As the afternoon progresses, I think the wind has clocked  some more as it’s not quite as bouncy as it was at lunch time. By 240pm I have 66.8 GB backed up and 13.0 GB’s to go.  We’ll both be glad when this job is done.  Once we’re in the States, we’re going to try to get the computer worked on.  I didn’t bring the software to bring the computer back after a re-formatting the hard drive and we don’t know where we stored the software in Ohio?  Our guess is that it’s in the Fairport Harbor storage but where there is anybody’s guess.

Our friend Ken on Sail Away had fixed his broken prop shaft and the prop shaft and has decided to go to Bimini to meet some mutual friends on Glenice and then in a couple days sail to Florida.  He’s to meet a friend around Daytona and we hope to see him once we cross to the states too.  He bought a Bahamian Cell phone so will try to reach him.  We tried at lunch and it didn’t go through.  Probably the phone company’s fault as I have $18 left for phone calls before we leave for the states.

Just a little while ago, Phil saw a C&C 24 or 25’ anchor in the channel.  He said it’s the smallest C&C made.  I don’t know why he anchored there – seems to me he would go closer to the other side to get out of the waves more.  We keep waiting to see if the Defense force comes and asks him to move.  The boat name is Agassiz and on the stern it says he from “Earth” instead of a town name.  It’s been a week since I’ve posted, mostly because of the back up.   I also need to download photos, which I’ll do after the backup also so stay tuned for more in a day or so.

By 355pm - the backup of 62GB of data is complete!  I'm so glad.  
We had ham, left over peas and rice and frozen peas and carrots for supper.  As you can see, the wind did not go down so we stayed the afternoon and evening on the boat.  Tomorrow we hope to go to Treasure Cay for the weekend.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Marsh Harbor and Hope Town, Abicos

Friday, March 11
Marsh Harbor

We heard about the earthquake this morning from Chris Parker in case there was anyone on the Pacific Side to warn of possible tsunami's.  This is terrible and can't imagine what the people of Japan are living through.  Today we're to have winds 320 degrees 20 kts with Gusts to 25 kts and  is supposed to be N at 17 kts in the morning and decrease to 12 kts by the end of the day.  There was lots of static from lightening strikes on the ham radio so wasn't able to hear BASRA weather this morning. 

As I look back from my log book I don't have anything written down excepting on the internet (a red letter day for me here :)  ) and that we wernt to Snappas Baf for Happy Hour at 5pm, but as I was typing other days on the blog, it all came back to me (hey isn't that a Celine Dion song?). When we were at the Jib Room, I ordered to get the Toe-up Socks for Everybody book on the internet, but haven't been able to download it.  I originally ordered in on the Nook and that was my big mistake.  Now won't be able to bet this book on my Nook until I get in the states I suppose.  I have it on my laptop, but it takes too much energy to have my computer on while knitting.  Oh well.

Today we rode the bikes over to Boat Harbor and dropped of the package with the hats I made for Glenn's daughters with Shade Mor who has guests that will take it back to the states and mail it for me on Monday.  We listened to the Royal Marsh Harbor Yacht Club meeting that's on ch 78 8am every M-W-F.  Then on the way back, we stopped at Java (you guess it, a coffee shop) and saw Randy from S/V Lipari there on his computer.  I got on my nook  and tried to download the book again.  No luck and we walked with him back to Harbor View Marina to see where the laundry room was.  Janet was finishing up their laundry so we had a chance to chat.  She had hurt her back and I'm glad to see that she's feeling much better.  We bought tokens for the washer and dryer ($4/ea) so that we can do laundry tomorrow.

After visiting with Janet and Randy, we continued biking through town all the way down to Home Fabrics where I picked up some more coordinating fabrics for the Bahamas Quilt I'm going to make.  I'm well over 100 signature squares and figure that they would have fabric that would match the Bahama Batik fabric more than at home.  We are starting to get use to riding the bike on the left (wrong side to us) and though there are a lot of cars here, it's not nearly as bad at in Nassau.  We must have ridden more than 3-4 mi all told today. 

So let me tell you about Happy Hours.  Snappas is really nice and casual.  They have their bar that is on pilings and looking through the cracks in the floor, you can see water.  It was cool and windy, so they have eisenglass windows above the half walls so keep out the breeze.  Later in the evening, they turned on the propane standing heaters and it was very cozy inside.  Once we got there, we saw our Canadian Friends that we met in Little Harbor at a table so we joined them.  They are a lot of fun so we enjoyed chatting.  The rum punches were free so Phil got two and boy were they strong.  I was feeling it when I had drank half of one.  Of course they were too sweet for Phil, so he got he bought a couple rum and tonics.  Alice was sitting next to Phil and across from me so it was great to get to know her.  They had free BBQ meatballs and teriyaki Chicken wings available and they were quickly eaten up.  The Canadian are going to Hopetown tomorrow, so hope that we see them again while we're in the Abicos. By 725pm we were back at the boat and by 845pm I was in bed and Phil followed an hour later (I heard the next day).

Saturday, March 12
Marsh Harbor

Last night it got down to 66F inside the boat.  That's the coolest it's been for a long time and we definitely used the quilt.  It's hard to believe that it's time to move the clocks back for daylight savings time.  Chris Parker will be on at 630am but will only have 30 min initially and then will be on again at 8pm.  I'm sure that we'll get enough information in the first 30 minutes.   The next week has wind predicted to be about 10kts +/- so we'll do some traveling this week.  The different island to see are no more than 15 mi away and many are less than that so we hope to get some sailing done instead of motor sailing.

To start of the day, we dropped of the 10# propane tank and then dingied over to Harborview Marina.  Today we washed 4 loads of laundry arriving at 830am.  The office doesn't open until 9am so good things we got the tokens yesterday.  We were the only ones there until I had the 4th load of clothes in the dryer (they have 3 washers and dryers).  While I was watching the clothes, Phil walked to Java and got some breakfast egg and ham crossants for us and then got 20 gals of water. After that he went to pick up the propane tank (fill was $15) and then picked me up at 1130am laundry all done.  Then he dropped me off at Curly Tails for me to use the internet and went back to the boat to wait my call on the radio. 

About 1230pm I called Phil, but wasn't able to hear anything  but static in response.  Not to worry, Phil came to bet me at 1pm - perfect timing.  I called Barnes and Noble and need to speak to the audit dept, which will have to wait until we get in the states.  I have a direct number, but at $.80 per minute, the waiting time adds up quickly.

We are having Jim and Linda from S/V Winsome over for supper today, so once back at the boat, it was time to get the boat chores done in preparation.  It sure doesn't take long for the sand and dirt to accumulate on the floor inside.  Wish that we had a teak grate to have in the bottom of the cockpit so the sand doesn't come inside the boat so easily. 

I fixed poached grouper fillets for supper with a mushroom white wine sauce.  I had to cook down the liquid the fish was cooked it and unfortunately the sauce got too thick though tasted good.  WE also have Bahamian peas and rice and dried cauliflower and fresh carrots.  Linda brought dessert and after chatting after dinner we had the dessert.  We had a great time and the grouper was very good.

Sunday, March 13
Marsh Harbor

No Chris Parker today and because of the time change (my clock changed but we forgot about it) we missed the Abico net program.  We aren't the only one as there were a few who called in at 915am thinking it was 815am wondering when the net was coming on.

This morning I made a loaf of the Artisan bread that had been refrigerated for 3 days.  During the resting and cooking time, I read.  About 10 am Winsome was leaving the harbor, pulled up close to us and we exchanged magazines and books.  They are planning on being back for the St. Patrick's day Party by Royal Marsh Harbor Yacht Club (RMHYC).

Today we're going over to the Jib Room taking the Sailrite sewing machine to see if I can help Diane and Phil on MV China Doll with some velcro fix on her shade panels.  We are also invited for an late lunch.  But before that, we dropped off the garbage and stopped by S/V FinniRish - They pronounce it like Finn Irish.  They are from Cinncinnati, OH so we had to stop and say hi.  We are going to visit them later for happy hour.

The company and dinner at China Doll was really good.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to fix the screen as they had the loopy side of the velcro instead of the hook side which was needed.  Tomorrow they'll go into town and get the hook velcro and in the meantime, I'll leave the sailrite sewing machine on their boat.  I don't know the type of motor boat they have, but it is very nice and roomy for a 36' boat.  Fore and aft cabin and a nice size galley and salon sitting area.  I believe it's 12' wide and very easy to live in.  Phil said they have one engine and a bow thruster.  Phil made clam pasta dish and Janet brought coleslaw.  Both were very good.

So about 430pm we arrive at FinniRish, earlier than we expected.  We had a nice time chatting and having appetizers.  Jim and Elli are actually between Cinncinnati and Columbus.  He's was a Public Defender and Elli had various jobs through the years but ended up in Hospital Administration the last 10+ years and they are now retired on their Catalina MKII 36'.  They usually go to the Chesapeake for the summer and then down south for the winter.  Just was it was starting to get dark and cooler, we left to go home.  I made myself a sandwich later in the day and spent the evening reading before bed.

Monday, March 14
Marsh Harbor to Hopetown, Abicos
Distance Traveled:  10.71 nm
Miles to get home:  266.19
Total Distance Traveled:  2969.63 nm

We are planning on going to Hopetown today, but have to wait until very near high tide in order to get into the harbor which is close to 4pm this afternoon.  So first Phil got out the folding bikes and we went into town so that we could get tickets for the St. Patrick's Day event by the RMHYC.  We talked to Mike  on Missing Link and they'd be happy for us to be their guest (nothing like inviting ourselves eh?)  On our way into the dinghy dock, we stopped by S/V Fair Spirit a 38' Irwin CC (Center Cockpit for the non-sailors) and talked to them about their boat.  They have a 4'6" draft, which is perfect for the Bahamas and it's not too big.  We weren't invited aboard to take a look at the interior, but I think it was because they had people still sleeping on board.  They feel like they have enough room for guests, except that the guests have to move their duffle bags from the V-berth to the settee when they sleep at night.  They did said they wish they had a 42' once and then that wouldn't happen.  But for us, I think it would be better and have more storage space.  Now I'd like to check online to see if there are any for sale at our price.  I can wish can't I?  

By 905am we were at the dinghy dock and putting together the folding bikes.  Saturday there was a black bahamian man with 2 kids that stayed at the dock helping people with their dinghies - grabbing the painter line and helping to get aboard.  He helped us and it was welcome as the harbor was very bouncy, but today when it was quiet, there were 2 youngsters around.  One helped us and I gave him a tip, but felt forced into it. 

We got to M/V More Attitude and were able to pay the $60 for the St. Patrick's Day party and had a chance to chat with Peggy.  Then time to get to a computer/office store with the goal of printing out some instructions so that I can start knitting some toe-up socks since I still can't get the book on the nook and I'm on the waiting list to download from the Library.  The first place, Office Dept, had printers, but no availability to insert CD and print from that but we had a referral to another place closer to the harbor.  This place worked, but we waiting while he inserted Microsoft Office 2007.  It was a little pricey but now I'm ready to be able to get started after I finish the hat I'm currently knitting.  We happened to see Mike and Chris Link so stopped to chat.  Worked out that we'll leave the dinghy at the Jib Room, walk to the party with them and then share a taxi to get home.

1130am we're all set and go over to the Jib Room marina and work on Diane's screen.  She was able to get 1.5' wide black hook velcro which is perfect.  She also worked out where she wanted the velcro, so an hour later, the whole project is completed and she's planning on getting a Sailrite too.  By 1230pm we're on our way back to Changes and immediately get starting getting ready to leave ( clean out the dinghy and took down the Farouck).

By 1pm Phil had started the engine and raised the main sail,  The wind is 110 degrees at 9-11kts, so we are planning on sailing today as much as possible.  114pm the anchor is raised and we are on our way.  By 130pm we're going upwind and the jib of out with the engine off.  We take this opportunity being out of a harbor to use the mascerator pump and I go down below to take a nap, asking Phil to wake me if he needs me.  5 tacks later, we're close to the Hopetown Channel and I am above in the cockpit to help.  321pm Phil starts the engine again, we roll up the head sail and lower the main sail and have picked up the mooring ball in the harbor at 343pm.  Good thing that we waited as long as we did because even though we're close to high tide, there was 0.5' under the keel at the skinniest point.

It's pretty here in the Harbour.  The mooring balls are very close together.  Some are white, others have red and green fenders on them as there are about 5 companies that have mooring balls in the harbor.  From 4- 515pm we take the dinghy around the harbor and don't see many people we know except S/V Walk About.  Phil did remind  earlier and after looking up in one of my little black books, I called Rocky whom we met at the St. Mary's Thanksgiving and left a message that we were here.  Turns out that he stopped by in his kayak and chatted with up at 530pm  He had stopped by Walkabout and it's a small world -he had sold them his boat and then came over to chat with us while I had spaghetti warming up in the ziploc bag. 

AFter supper, we tried the external wifi antenna and learned that the wifi signal here is so good that we don't need the external antenna.  Great!  Phil got on his Apple Computer and I was on mine - looking up the irwin 38's.  There is one in Fort Lauderdale and another in upper Michigan. 

Tuesday, March 15
Hopetown, Abicos

After listening to the weather reports, Phil started making bread.  I cooked up the fish head and bones from the grouper so that took up the morning.  About 1045am I invited  Bob and Jeanne from Walkabout for supper and they accepted, but Jeanne isn't going to eat the fish chowder.  Both of them had gotten Ciguatera poisoning from Hog fish Snapper that the ate in Spanish Wells.  She is still suffering some nerve pain and muscle weakness and is playing it safe so will bring some macaroni salad to share.  Check out the link above for more info.  That is why we bought a small Grouper (6#'s) and released the barracudas. 

After lunch of sandwiches made with the fresh bread (couldn't let it go to waste right?) we went into town and found a entrance to the beach on the Atlantic side. (insert photo)  There isn't much to pick up in the way of shells, but there is a lot of seaweed and we found what we think are jelly fish that were on the beach, most tangled in the seaweed.  (insert photo)  We walked over a mile down the beach with me looking for hamburger beads (didn't find any) and then after crossing over some rocks, turned left and found a path back to the main road.  I have to said that road is really a misnomer.  All the roads are one car width wide and most of the vehicles used in town are golf carts.  The "road" we came to was a dirt/sand road.  It was hot being sheltered from the breezes but was a pretty walk.  In front of some of the houses, there was a paved road, and then it turned into to sand/dirt road until we got very close to town.

They do have power lines here - first town that we saw and some of there were low enough for Phil to be able to touch.  We thought of our friends George and Phil, CEI linemen, and they could just work on the lines here from the ground except at the poles.  (insert photo)

Once we were in town, we stopped at a coffee shop for Phil's coffee and a rest after walking about 2 miles.  I downloaded a few free sample books on the Nook and then we took another street away from the harbor and found Bob and Jeanne finishing up an ice cream cone.  Vernon's grocery store was initially closed for lunch then after it opened Jeanne and I looked around.  It's small (what's new)but they had some wheat bran that I bought for Phil to add to the loaves of bread he makes for fiber.  About 240pm we started along to view the Wyannie Malone Historical Museum.  We were able to watch the last half of a video of the area and then toured the museum.  It's very interesting and worth the $3/ea for the entrance fee.  They usually close at 3pm but didn't mind staying until we were through at 320pm.  Back to the boat to get ready for our visitors.

Jeanne and Bob arrived at 420pm and we had a nice evening eating the fish chowder (was good they tell me), Phil's fresh bread, macaroni salad and apple crisp for dessert after we played a round of 10 Penny.  It's nice having it get dark later in the day as they sat in the cockpit with Phil while I finished up in the galley.  We had a great time and hope to see Walk About again soon as they're expecting to leave for Man-O-War Cay tomorrow.  We are planning on staying one more day so that we can climb the Hopetown Lighthouse and then leave early Thursday for Marsh Harbor.  Higher winds are predicted for Sunday thru Tuesday, so not sure if we'll stay in Marsh Harbor or go to Treasure Cay.

After our guests left, we read books with Phil going to bed at 930pm and I went to bed at 1145pm.

Wednesday, March 16
Hopetown, Abicos

It is a grey day today.  WE had 3 rain showers last night so most of the night the forward hatch was closed.  We are planning on going to the lighthouse today but have been having on and off showers.  What happened to the 30% chance of rain?  Phil and I can't remember the last time that we were in the boat because of rain - and not because of the wind.

We washed up with hot water this morning and have been using the time to read or be on the internet.  Phil checked online about the points in the US where we can check in for Customs.  Looks like it Fort Lauderdale, Cape Canaveral and the Cape Canaveral canal is closed for repairs not to open until late April.  The past 3-4 days, I am really ready to be back in the States.  We've been gone for 6 months now and I would like to be able to talk to family and friends on the phone and not have to think about it.  Would like ready access to internet and be able to download books to my Nook!  I'm not going to have us rush thru the Abicos as we might not be back here again, but I don't want to make our stay longer than it has to be either.  Oh we'll, will get through this too.  Phil is talking about getting a watermaker and then we'll need less tankage for water.  I think he thinks can fit in in the same space.  That would be nice - could really get washed up and while wouldn't waste the water, I wouldn't have to worry so much about it either.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Marsh Harbor, Abicos

Wednesday, March 9
Passage from Little Harbor to Marsh Harbor
Distance Traveled:  21.67 nm 
Miles to get Home:  264.04 nm
Total Distance:  2958.92

Phil made french toast for breakfast and we had a lazy start while we waited for high tide to arrive so that we could leave Little Harbor and sail to Marsh Harbour.  Chris Parker predicted winds E 15 kts, which would be good sailing weather and it being about 15 miles away, we will have plenty of time to sail instead of motor sailing.

We made it out of the channel by 1030am hitting three times again on the way out.  Once out, the wave quickly got 3ft + and I started getting sea sick so took over steering to help with that.  Once we were past the cut, the waves calmed down as well as my stomach, but I continued to steer as I like it.  Phil pumped the head using the mascerator pump, even though it didn't need it that much, but keeping up on it really help the smell not get unbearable.  About 1048am Phil put the engine in neutral to charge the batteries and we were sailing 5.9 - 6.13 kts. with the course 6 degrees.  The wind angle was 110-116 @ 13-14 kts.  Today we had all points of sail getting to Marsh Harbor from dead downwind, downwind, broad reach, reaching, close reach and hard on the wind and then we had to roll up the head sail and motor in around Matt Lowes Cay into the Sea of Abaco.  It really was a great sail and there were 2 other boats close by and was great that we were able to point higher then both of them.  It was about 145 that Phil started steering and we took down the main sail while the autopilot steered.  By 202pm we dropped anchor close to the Channel in the deeper part of the harbor.  S/V Walkabout is anchor just behind us.  We got the dinghy together and by 303pm went to visit Bob and Jeanne on Walkabout.  After chatting and the obligatory drinks, we went over to visit S/V Winsome, Jim and Linda.  More chatting and drinks ensued.  About this time we saw thick heavy smoke rising on land at the side of the harbor and it covered a lot of area.  Wonder what's burning?  About 5pm we started back to Changes as it was getting cool.  The fire continued burning into the night - continuing even at 11pm.

I fixed spaghetti tonight, this time trying to cook the spaghetti noodles in the sauce, adding extra water.  Worked good and saved having to wash another pan, but need to add either less noodles or more water as was a little think.  We read the evening away and Phil went to bed at 840am and I at 11pm.

Thursday, March 10
Marsh Harbor

This morning we listened to Chris Parker.  There is a cold front to come through this evening or later tonight, but the wind is light from a southerly direction so the boat is pointing in another direction.  Today is the first day that I listened to the cruisers net here.  Tried to find someone to take the mail back and was told that have to find someone personally to do it and not on the net.  They're funny here about packages.  Then I started my first batch of Artisan bread - no kneading and let it rise until it falls so should be good to let rise when we are in town.  This is a bread that you keep in the refrigerator for up to 14 days and cut off what you want to make each time.  After breakfast, we left the boat about 930am to go to S/V Winsome to pick up the Jabsco pump assembly for the head.  He had an extra one and that's the type of toilet (head) that we have.  We talked about plans for the next few days.  I was invited to go on a girls day to an art show and lunch on Saturday so accepted that and then tonight there is a Cruiser's Happy Hour at the Jim Room.  Cruisers bring the appetizers and we buy the booze there.  After chatting, Phil and I continued to go into town and scope things out.

First we needed to drop off the garbage.  It's a big town here and so of course, we went the wrong direction and some cruisers helped us to find the right place further down the dock and not on main street.  Then we walked around - got a map of town at the Ministry of Tourism Executive Office, and continued with more of an idea where to go.  We went into a couple of hardware stores - they are really big here.  This is a large town.  The largest we've been to except Nassau., with many cars and stores around.  We also stopped at Island Bakery and picked up a loaf of bread (Phil doesn't have time today to make) and 2 roast beef sandwiches on sub sandwich bread made there.  Very good.  We also visited an office supplies shop, 2 camera shops trying to find an extra battery for my Pentax Camera.  There is a John Bull around, but too far to walk to today with all the other walking that we did.  We saw a Save A Lot store in the distance, but then decided not to walk there as we were getting tired and still needed to get to Maxwell's Grocery Store.

Maxwell's Grocery Store is the best one we've seen in the Bahamas - even better than Nassau.  On the outside it looked as big as the grocery stores at home.  We really didn't need a lot, so kept it to fresh produce and fruit, eggs, half-n-half and fresh milk. 

On the way back to the boat, we saw S/V Gorma (pronounced with long A) and so stopped by to say hi.  They invited us on the boat and we said yes so that we could see the layout down below (Morgan 38')  It's very nice, lots of wood down below.  Has a bigger galley and head and more storage than we have.  Still have a quarter berth which they also use for storage like us. 

We didn't stay long as we were tired, had to put away groceries and rest. My bread looks like it rose and fell like it was suppose to, but a crust formed on the top.  Will put it in the ziploc bag and refrigerate and hope for the best.   We decided not to go to the arts and craft event at 4pm - would be a 1mi walk there and back and too much for us with the walking we did today.  While I relaxed on the boat, Phil took the dinghy to the dock and worked on putting 2" dia clear plastic tubing over the thimble on the bow of the dingy close to the shackel.  At 350pm the wind clocked to SSW and the smoke from the fire that continues to burn is now blowing over the boat so that we can smell it.  About 415pm Phil noticed some ash on the boat.  If the wind continues to clock like predicted, then it will stop blowing in our direction.  At least it smells like wood burning and not something awful smelling.

Need to go to get ready for the Happy Hour.  Will write more later.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Little Harbor Abicos

Saturday, March 5
Spanish Wells

Tomorrow still looks like the day that we’ll be leaving to go to the Abicos entering at Linyard Cay Cut.  The winds are even higher this morning being steady 20-24kts with higher gusts.  Serge on M/V Bandit came by a little after 8am and we paid him for the mooring ball through Sunday night @ $15/day.  He said that there is a washer and dryer at CW Grocery so we are planning on going in with the laundry.  Too bad we didn’t think to do this yesterday while we had the golf cart, but we have the rolling cart so will work out ok.  I typed up the blog this morning, while Phil ran the engine.  We also have plans to get more boat cards made at a computer/office store by Food Fair. 

So after lunch, we walked to CW Grocery and instead of Laundromat, it’s one washer and dryer out back inside a little shed – but they worked well and we did 2 loads at $4/machine/load.  The dryer worked well drying even the heavy items the first time.  While the first load was running, I walked down the street and dropped off the disc for the business cards.  The person there didn’t know how to make the cards being his 2nd day of work, but not to be deterred; I asked him if there was someone he could call to walk him through it. (originally he wanted me to find someone else – but I didn’t know someone else to go to)  He called the owner and it was determined that the owner would come in at 2pm and the card would be ready at 230pm.  I left a boat card with our Bahamian cell phone number for him to call when ready.  After we didn’t hear from them by 315pm , Phil walked to the store and it turned out they had a hard time.  We’re to be there at 5pm and the 200 boat cards will be ready, which is what happened.

By the time I got back to the laundry, Phil had put in the 2nd load so we waited until the loads were done and then walked back to Harborside for me to use internet.  When I haven’t had internet for a while, I can be on a long time – so spent the time after posting to the blog downloading updates to my computer.  Usually there isn’t enough bandwidth for me to do this so I took full advantage of the availability now.  By 4pm, Phil was rushing me to get back to the boat so that he could get something to eat and we could get ready to go to a happy hour on the dock at Yacht Haven Marina.

Happy Hour was good.  We met Jim on M/V Fanfare.a 50’ Hatteras built in 1965 and his mom’s boat.  His father’s passion was sail boats and his mom wanted a power boat.  This boat has been used through the years taking the family to the Bahamas.  Jim has memories of being on the boat, he had his kid grow up on the boat and now they have grandchildren, I would guess between the ages of 3-8years old that love to be on the boat.  He gave us the tour and it’s very well maintained and beautiful.  When you think about the size of boats in the 1960’s this was a motor yacht for those times.    Jim said that Harbor Island, Samson Cay, Hope Town and Yacht Haven are the 4 places he would and has left the his boat and feels that it would be safe when he’s not on it.  He and his family through the years have used the same Bahamian Pilot, now in his 80’s and now retired.  We enjoyed chatting with him and seeing the boat.

After Happy Hour we came home, had grilled cheese sandwiches and read the evening away.

Sunday, March 6
Spanish Wells

The winds died through the night and it was unusual to wake up to quiet.  The weather still looks good so we will leave tomorrow to go to the Abicos.  There has been much discussion amongst the boaters about whether to go to Royal Island and stage there today or to staying in Spanish Wells and go through Ridley Channel.  At first we aren’t sure what we want to do.  First Phil had said that we would go through the channel, and then thought to go to Royal Island as so many are going that way.  After looking at the charts and much discussion, we have decided to stay on the mooring ball and go through the channel.  There are many who have decided that it’s not safe enough to go through at 6am but Phil and I have looked at the charts and notice that it’s deep water (< 25 feet) and we have the Explorers Charts on the Garmin GPS so we can follow the line.   Bandit has said that it you follow the line on the GPS that you’ll be fine.

While Phil makes bread, I spend the morning knitting another preemie hat in a slightly larger size.

Phil's bread - yum
This time he lets the dough rise twice before putting in the loaf pans to rise again and the texture of the bread turns out better – not as fluffy and should be easier to make into sandwiches.   I’ve wanted to get done as many hats as I can in case Iolite’s friend can take them to the states to mail.
Hats for Lauren, Riley and Teagan

By the end of the morning, I have another finished and started another, but also wanted to get on the internet again to download some audiobooks so after a quick lunch, we go into town.  Phil drops me off at some concrete stair where the ferry docks and then continues to Iolite to talk to them.  I’m the only one on the internet.  I’m knitting while waiting for things to download and also chat with Katie on Facebook.  Our hand held VHF radio is not working so Phil comes up late to update me that no one was on Iolite where he visited.    Katie downloads Oovoo and we get to video chat. This internet connection has plenty of band width for this activity and It’s great for both of us to see and hear each other but we need to leave all too soon so we can put the dinghy on Changes foredeck in preparation for travel tomorrow before sunset. 

On our way back, we stop by Walkabout and it’s decided that they will follow us out Ridley Channel in the morning leaving at 6am.  We start working getting the 8hp engine on board when the couple from S/V Blue Jacket that moored while we were gone came over to chat.  Donna and Jerry are friends of Joe and Carol on S/V Just Ducky and sounds like we’ll see them again in the Abicos after their week stay in Spanish Wells.  We put the dinghy on board and did something new – after getting the boat on the foredeck, Phil attached the line to the port aft line connection and I cranked on the 2-speed winch to help get the dinghy turned over.  This method worked great – so much easier doing it this way with 2 people.  Boy it was much easier doing this job when we had Katie on board cranking on the winch.  We will definitely use this technique again when we cross into the Gulf Stream.

 We were to have chatted with Phil’s daughter, Vic on Facebook at 530pm but didn’t get done with our chores until close to 630pm.  We were able to get a good enough internet connection for Phil to chat with her.  She has a new job as project manager at UCLA and start March 22.  This is great and we’re happy for her; will mean regular hours and regular pay with benefits.  Nick has a new contract and Henry and Calvin are doing well.  The hats I made them are a little big, but they’ll grow into them.  Phil and I have decided that we’ll try to see if someone in the Marsh Harbor area will be going to the states and mail the preemie hats for us.  That will give me time to get this last one done and included.

For supper I adjusted a chicken recipe and used canned beef with gravy, broken up spaghetti noodles with cream of mushroom adjusted sauce and canned green beans baked in the oven.  Turned out good and we had just a little left.

I finish the last hat while Phil goes to bed at 9pm and I go to bed at 11pm

Monday, March 07, 2011
Passage Spanish Wells to Linyard Cay, Abicos
Distance Traveled:  48.51nm
Miles to get Home:  242.37 nm
Total Distance:  2935.10 nm

We wake to darkness at 525am but get up to prepare to leave at 6am.  The winds are <5 knts and Phil contact Walkabout to finalize the time we’re leaving.  By the time we leave, it is light enough to see and the sunrise is in full glory.  It’s beautiful as we are motoring out the channel.  We have taken off the damp mail sail cover and put it in a grocery bag so it won’t get other things wet down below.  The no see ums are out as the winds are so light.  By 630am we are through the Ridley Channel and are glad we made this decision as we didn’t have any problem at all.  By 645am we have lost the depth sounder reading and are in the Atlantic Ocean.  Wind are 210 degrees 6-7 kts and the Main Sail is raised.  I put out the trolling fishing line in hopes to catch something edible.  Phil takes the first watch at 7am and I eat a slice of bread and try to catch some sleep.  9am I take over.  The wind angle is 75 degrees starboard 3-5 kts.  Boat speed is 5.8 kts = GPS speed is 6.2 kts so we have a favorable current.  11am Phil takes over and I go down to sleep.  I don’t know what it is, but whenever we are traveling like today, I get tired and really sleep at least one of the watches Phil’s on.  While I was asleep, the wind clocked to coming from starboard and the main is on starboard tack.  125pm Phil is hailed by Walkabout and we change course for the most southerly cut into the Abicos just at Little Harbor – 5.6 mi to go to the waypoint.  The winds have picked up due to clouds and on and off light rain.  Wind is now from 35 degrees 9-11 kts.  Boat speed is 6 kts and GPS speed is 6.6 – 7 kts.  We continue with the favorable current.  At 145pm we are 1 mile from the way point so I call Phil to come up.  By 204pm we are through the cut and it was easy.  We were surfing down the rollers but didn’t have any problems.  225pm we dropped anchor behind Linyard Cay – 7 other boats are already there and we are the first of the many boats coming in from Spanish Wells today.  We see 3 other boats initially in addition to Walkabout behind us.  They there are many more – ending up with 26 boats anchored here before dark.

As we’re recovering from our trip, I see SV Lipari motoring south and hail them.  This is Randy and Janice whom we met in Annapolis.  They are going to anchor close by until the tide has risen enough for them to get a mooring ball in Little Harbor with M/V China Doll (whom we met in Emerald Bay marina).  We start getting the dinghy into the water and Randy comes over in his dinghy and gives us a ride back to their boat.  They look good and it’s get to catch up on our travels.  They have been in the Abicos since mid January wanting to stay close to the states for family reasons in case Janice needs to fly home.  Their kids are doing well.  We hope to see them more while we stay here in this area.

We are back at Changes by 5pm and I fix supper of Kielbasa, potatoes and cabbage in one dish, One of Phil’s favorites.  Phil falls asleep as I’m cooking supper and after supper we are both tired.  I take a nap and still have a hard time reading my book.  So I get out the laptop and start typing the blog in M. Word and transfer audiobooks to my I-pod Nano.  Phil goes to bed at 9pm and I follow later.

Tomorrow we are thinking of getting a mooring ball at Little Harbor instead of going up to Marsh Harbor.  Randy and Janice say that internet is more available here and can pay $100 to have for a month.  Not bad when you pay $10/day at most places.

Tuesday, March 8
Little Harbor, Abicos
Distance Traveled:  2.15 nm

This morning we decided to go to Little Harbor just across the anchorage.  We started the engine at 930am and raised anchor 3 min later.  The wind was at 130 degrees at 10-11kts but just motored over since it was so close.  We weren't actually sure if we could get through the channel into the harbor as at low tide the depth is 3.5 ft, but we went through just about high tide and hit bottom 3 times softly pushing through the sand.  It didn't even slow us down but then that could have been because we were going 1.6 knots!  We picked up the mooring ball at 10am with 4.2 - 4.4 ft under the keel.  

As we were sitting in the cockpit, a dinghy came up and the couple started chatting (never did get their names) from Canada - of course!  They asked us about Changes - as they raced a C&C 30' before cruising.  Then along came 2 more dinghies - more Canadian friends - and we had an impromptu raft-off party as we were chatting.  But after several minutes, the strain on hanging to changes was too much and they went into town.  We followed at 11am paddling instead of taking the time to put the 8hp engine on the dinghy.  It wasn't too bad and we went to the closest dock.

 Town is really a misnomer - there is an art gallery.  A local artist has a foundry for making statues.  Phil got at Pete's Pub T-shirt that has "Rehab is for Quitters" on the back.  Made us think of some friends back home which will be nameless.  Then next door is Pete's Pub and then there are some houses. We had some drinks at Pete's Pub and met up with the Canadian group rafted off the boat.  We met Corine and Greg on S/V Gorma (pronounced Gourmet) a Morgan 38' while we relaxed on Adirondack chairs.  The business was picking up for the lunch crowd, but we decided to go back to Changes for lunch as the cheapest meal there was $12 for a burger (not cheese burger).  We've more than spent our allotment for lunches in Georgetown.

After lunch of burgers and some relaxing, we went back to town about 3pm.  We walked down a road (sand/dirt road) and came to the Lighthouse path and of course followed it.  We came to a beach that is covered with seaweed.  In some areas it's piled about a foot deep.  This beach is close to the cut and facing the Atlantic Ocean.  There are some debris on the beach but not anything like seen on the Exuma Sound.   We also joined Mike and Jana and Jerry and Linda in their walk to the Lighthouse.  Actually it's an old dilapidated house - the floor boards on weak and the roof is gone.  They have a tower that has a light on top powered by a solar panel. It wasn't too long that we went back to Pete's Pub and found a wood raised walkway that takes you over to the Atlantic Ocean at the back of the pub.  Of course we had to go down the beach looking for shells (not many) but what we did find were live Whelks - first that we have seen and Curbs - (insert photos).  I saw a huge Whelk - about 4"- that I wanted to keep for the shell, but as it's a no take zone I had to leave it behind.  We decided not to get a drink at the pub but to go back home instead.  We have plenty of liquor on the boat.

The wind is picking up so we took down the Farouck and THEN the sun comes out.  Good things we did take it down as the wind continued to build and it got colder so we went down below while I warmed up leftovers for supper.  I was also able to buy internet from Bahamas WiMax for $105 for the month.  Not bad considering often it costs $10/day.  The signal is so good here that Phil was able to get on using the Apple and I don't need to use the external wifi Antenna.  We expect to be able to get this internet most places that we'll be visiting in the Abicos so let us know if you want to chat on Facebook - the easiest way we have found here and if we're lucky we'll  be able to talk to family and friends on OoVoo.  Our username is Changesgoingsouth.

I was trying to download a toe-up socks book on the Nook but wasn't able for I don't know the reason.  I want to start making socks starting knitting from the toe.  I have directions on my laptop, but it takes up so much electricity that can't keep it on while I'm knitting.  Having it on the Nook would work great.  I'm hoping once I get to Marsh Harbor or a wifi hotspot that I'll get it to work.  But while I was on the internet I ordered a couple toe-up sock books and 4 long circular needles so that I'll be able to knit both at the same time.  I look forward to when we're in the states and get mail again.

Tomorrow the wind is suppose to be from the east - so think that we'll sail to Marsh Harbor after we leave at high tide which is about 1045am.  It's about 15 miles so we have the time to sail even if going at a slower rate.
They are expecting NW winds 20 to 25 knots starting tonight and thru Friday so we'll be safe there and able to get to town.

Also we are planning on getting to the States early April and then will turn on our Verizon Cell phone.  Will be looking forward to long chat with family and hearing from friends.

Since I'll have good wifi for the next month, look for the posts to the blog to be every few days instead of weeks.