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.

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