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.

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