Saturday, March 5, 2011

Warderick Wells to Spanish Wells

Saturday, February 26
Warderick Wells to Rock Sound
Distance Traveled:  44.14 nm
Miles to get Home:  129.75 nm
Total Distance Traveled:  2817.48 nm

As you can see, today was a long travel day crossing the Exuma Sound arriving in Rock Sound, Eleuthera.  We released the mooring ball at 7am and going out the cut to Exuma sound we had a 1.7 kt favorable current with the waves only a 1-2’ chop in 22’ of water.  The winds were a little SE (150 degrees) 13-14 kts so we let the head sail out at 713am, but as we didn’t put up the main sail in calmer waters, we motor sailed the entire distance.  I listened to the weather reports on the Ham radio with headphones and we’re expecting SE to S @ 10 kts.  I took a Marezine at 730am and wished that I had taken it sooner as we were had quartering seas which the autopilot doesn’t like, which means I don’t like the motion.  I did let out the trolling fishing line – as hope hasn’t died yet of catching a fish.  Then I went down below to try to sleep off the slight seasickness.

Late morning we saw a sizeable rain cloud in the distance and kept watching as it got closer to us to see if we’d have to get out the foul weather gear, but we were lucky that it moved to the north ahead of us and died out leaving us dry but giving us a increased wind to 13-14 kts when were under the surrounding clouds.

Noon Phil called and I caught a fish.  Excitement! – the disappointment when found that it was a barracuda.  Too risky to eat in my book so we let it go.  (insert Photo).  I did let the line out again, but didn’t have any more luck the rest of this trip.  By 140pm we saw Rock Sound in the distance and dropped anchor at 210pm.  We made good time today.  There are 2 sailboats and 2 trawlers sharing the entire large anchorage.  We are expecting to stay here tonight and tomorrow, so we quickly got the dinghy together to go into town.   It is quite warm today as we walked down the main street going in the various stores that are open.  We got directions to get to the big grocery store so decided to walk there.  It was quite a ways but we also found a bank so Phil was able to withdraw some more money.  There is a little strip mall that has a liquor store, hardware type store and grocery store, so we got a few things and then walked home.  Next time we’ll take the dinghy down a little ways so don’t have to walk as far.  The liquor store had case of Diet Coke for $15 – good price here but we had to pass as too heavy to carry.

To appease Phil, we each had a half lobster tail plain (about 8 oz each) with potatoes and vegetable.  It was good.  That leaves a half of a tail left to make another meal out of it. 

I worked on knitting preemie hats and Phil read.

Sunday, February 27
Rock Sound, Eleuthera
Sunrise At Rock Sound

Even though there isn’t a weather report today, I woke at 630am.  Phil made French toast out of the coconut bread from Black Point.  It’s good bread, but we don’t care for coconut so glad we tried it  but probably won’t buy again.  Tamure left at 810am so that leaves us with S/V Trumpeter in the anchorage.

It is still warm, so we decided to take a walk in town and visit the Ocean Hole that’s close buy early in the day before it gets really hot.  By 930am we were walking to the Ocean Hole Park.  (insert photos)  This ocean hole is very big in our opinion and it’s said to be bottomless.  There are fish here – most of them placed by fishermen though there is no fishing allowed.  You can swim in the hole and there is a ladder down to the water.  It’s said that the hole does get to the ocean, but Jacques Cousteau had dived in it and wasn’t able to find the opening.  I don’t know if it’s this hole or another hole, but his son Philippe died while diving in a blue hole.  There are picnic tables around and is a very nice park.  After visiting the park, we walked some of the streets and came to the main street to the other side of the island.  Not knowing how far it was to the other side, we started walking up a hill.  Can in the distance see the ocean looking east and looking west have a nice view of the harbor.   We waited in the shade for a local guy to give us an idea how much further it is to get to the beach – seemed like not far – around the bend and at the end of the road – so we kept walking to get to another hill where the road is cut through rock.  No beach and doesn’t look very close.  We are hot, my hip is aching and Phil’s knee is hurting. – time to turn around.  Not going to see the beach on this day!   
On the way back we took another side street and came to Sawyer Enterprises that had a door open and a market inside.  Surprise as being Sunday, we didn’t expect anything would be open.
(insert photo of Even and Phil)

This is really nice and the thing that strikes us is that the vegetation is very lush here.  There are lawns here – haven’t seen grass for a long time.  There are also trees growing on the island; real trees not the stunted trees that you see in the exumas.  And there is soil here also – not just what is growing in the rocks.  We like this change.  We got a few items and a couple cold diet cokes and Evan Gibson at the cash register struck a conversation admiring us for leaving and cruising – following our dreams.  We had a very nice conversation – he owns the store and other businesses here that his kids are not interested in – led to philosophical conversation about can’t take it with you and do things while you can.  We enjoyed chatting and he signed a quilt square and allowed us to take a photo.  (insert photo).  We decided to go back to the boat and then come in again to get the jerry jugs filled with diesel as now it’s past 1pm – the local gas station that you also get wifi with is open.  10 gals of diesel at $46.81 later and $10 for wifi we are back on the boat and in business using the wifi antenna.  I’m getting 2 bars so can and do check email, stocks and I look at larger sailboats for most of the rest of the afternoon.  As I had just posted on the blog, I don’t post this time.  I did get a message from my brother, Glenn, that they have received the preemie hats I made – loved them and the right size for the girls – so I’m very happy they got them and should work well for them.  We did check weather on the computer and it looks like NE winds are to come late Wednesday, so want to get to Spanish Wells by Wednesday before they come. 

I made supper of Newfoundland Boiled dinner – ham, carrots and cabbage with potatoes.  We played Canasta and this time Phil won both times.  Then we read till 11pm

Monday, February 28
Rock Sound to Governor’s Harbor
Distance Traveled:  25.82 nm
Miles to get Home:  155.57
Total Distance Traveled:  2843.30

Phil was tired of leaving late, so we raised the main sail at 639am and raised anchor at 640am.  Phil wants to try to sail away but with the wind less than 3 kts, we needed an engine boost so the sails could pick up the wind.  We listed for Chris Parkers fill in, Ed, but after 1 hour – nothing was heard on the radio except other people having radio checks and a quick comment that he hasn’t started yet. 

I think – guess know – I forgot to do the Spot GPS Messenger OK check in the harbor, so did a quick one here.  Forgot to do it while we were in Black Point too – don’t know what I’m thinking – or really not thinking so will try to be better about that in the future.  At 715am we heard S/V’s Winsome and Mytyfyne, who we had hoped to travel with, but when I was able to try to hail them on the VHF radio after listening to BASRA weather, they couldn’t hear me.  Maybe we’ll see them in Spanish Wells.  It still looks like Wednesday will be the day for us to go to Rock Sound so after spending the night in Governor’s Harbor, we’ll go to Hatchet Bay and try to get a mooring ball.  We past the point out of Rock Sound harbor at 720am and got some rain at 730am.  740am Phil started the engine to charge the batteries, but kept in in neutral as we let out the head sail at 750am with winds 140 degrees 14-16 kts – good to sail in.  It wasn’t too much later that Phil put on the Barberhaul and let out some of the reef in the head sail.  Our final course was North at 5degrees and the wind angle was 135 degrees to starboard.  The boat speed was 5.93 kts – very respectable.  An hour later Phil let out the last of the reef iin the head sail and winds varied depending on whether we were under a cloud or from from 12-13 knots (no clouds) to 19-20 knots and a boat speed of 6.93 kts under a cloud.  At this wind angle, the autohelm doesn’t do well so Phil took the helm at 931 and turned off the engine at 1035am.  We will take 1 hour long turns at the helm.  1122am we rolled in the head sail and picked up a mooring ball at 1135am as there is not good holding here.  We don’t know who owns the mooring ball but figure if they want money, they’ll come and get it from us.  We want to go into town this afternoon so decided to paddle to get to shore instead of putting the 8hp engine on the boat.  We are protected from the wind enough that there are minimal waves and no current. 
Phil by huge vegetation at a home
 We had a nice walk through town here – stopped at the local market and checked out some of the stores, but many are closed for the lunch hour – so decided to walk up the hill.  It’s a pretty steep hill but there are many nice homes along the way and a few stores to go into.  There are many large home here in estates – smaller homes on the estates are available for rent and there are also homes for sale.  (insert photos).  The road is one way up the hill – then we cross over – and go one way down the hill.  The views of the harbor from the top of the hill a fabulous.  We really like this place – Phil said he could live here.  Very lush – Real trees – lawns – nice people.  On the way up the hill we see a sign for Starbucks coffee so after we’re down the hill, we go up again to this café – but find out it’s closed.  Too bad, but across the street is Buccaneers Café that is open – so we get drinks there and enjoy sitting outside in the shade and relax for several minutes. 

There are huge old pine trees (insert photos) – some of the biggest trees we’ve seen in the Bahamas – that are close to an old Library built in the mid 1800’s that is still a library today.  We go inside and find that wifi internet costs $5 for 1 hour -  a little too steep for me – so we pass on that and walk down Cupid’s Cay which is the spit of land that comes out to make the harbor.  The Bahamas head of government use to be here on Cupid’s Cay before it moved to Nassau, which explains the beautiful estates that were built long ago.  We walk down the cay and look off the rock cliffs to the water and then walk back.  After this, we’re both tired and get back to the boat at 335pm.  I knitted some more while Phil read and then we had supper of left over ital sausage, rice and green bean dish after watching S/V Lucky Touch a 44’ Shannon try to pick up a mooring ball and then when that doesn’t work, anchor.

WE played card again tonight – Phil won both hands of Canasta again and then we played the Queen upside down game and he won again.  When we play cards with couples – we do fine, but playing against each other, we’re too competitive and have sore feelings – so we have a decided not to play cards just with each other.  No point in having bad feelings about this.  We both read and then went to bed.   The month of February is gone now – we’ve been cruising for almost 5 months now and have been enjoying our time since the bad weather left us early January in Warderick Wells.

Tuesday, March 1
Rock Sound to Spanish Wells
Distance Traveled:  43.29 nm
Miles to get Home:  193.86nm
Total Distance Traveled:  2886.59 nm

We listened to Chris Parker – there is lots of static from lightening strikes so can tell it’s not Ed – think it’s Chris.  We were able to gather that the NE winds are suppose to arrive Wednesday night – BASRA weather said Wednesday is NW 15 kts in am with squalls and NE 20-25kts in afternoon.  We also catch snatches that it’s light are variable tomorrow but I would like to leave for Spanish Wells today and bypass Hatchet Bay – and Phil agrees to go straight to Spanish Wells – a long day but doable.  We start the engine at 7am, raise the main sail and release the mooring by 712am.  By 715am we have left Governor’s Harbor with waves 1ft.  By 720am the wind has increased to 13-14kt with gusts to 15 at 165degrees.  The wind angle to the boat is 120degrees so I start hand steering at about 9am.  Phil lets out the head sail and turns off the engine by 915am.  We once again are sailing with 2-4 ft seas. 930am Phil lets out 2 wraps on the jib and unrolls it the rest of the way at 10am and takes his turn at hand steering.  Another day of 1 hr turn at steering as yet another day the auto helm doesn’t like the seas and wind direction.

During my watch, Phil made sandwiches and then took over.  By this time we are starting to get close to Current Cut so Phil starts the engine and we roll in the head sail and jibe the main sail.  So far we are 31.56 nm into our trip.  We go thru Current Cut at 1230pm and it’s called that for a reason!  Good thing the current is going in the same direction we are as we had maximum GPS boat speed of 8.7 kts versus Boat speed of 5.8 with 35’ water under the keel.  On the other side of Eleuthera, the waves are calmer – 1-2ft verses 2-3ft before the cut.  Much nicer for us but it’s not too much later that we change course and are heading almost directly down wind.  We take down the main sail at 155pm and by 225pm we have motored through Spanish Wells Harbor and pick up mooring ball #4.  S/V Iolite with Faune and Alec are on Mooring ball #3 and S/V Just Ducky are on mooring ball #5.  Iolite are who we need to catch up with, so this makes it very convenient for us. By 3pm the main sail cover is on the 8hp engine is on the dinghy and the Farouck it up as it’s very warm and sunny. 

We motor over to Iolite and have an enjoyable time chatting with them and partaking their beer and wine.  We have supper of left over and revised Newfoundland Dinner – adding that last of the fresh Italian sausage, more potatoes and carrots.  Now we have enough left over for one person’s supper.

I knitted and Phil read until time for bed.

Wednesday, March 2
Spanish Wells

It turns out that it was good that we arrived yesterday.  The cold front has come down faster than predicted and instead of light and variable winds it’s N 11-15 kts @ 642am and predicted to get to NE 15-20 kts  with gusts to 25kts by mid day.  We’re both glad that we made the decision we did yesterday.  It’s not that we can’t sail in these conditions, but glad that we don’t have to.  We are going to stay on the boat this morning, so I continue working on making preemie hats, this time starting a jester type hat with slightly thicker yarn.  Phil starts making bread at 830am.  Iolite leaves quickly at 925am to get to the Yacht Haven Marina before the winds really pick up.  They have friends arriving on Saturday so want to get to a place so clean and organize for their visitors.  S/V Lucky Touch is planning on using their mooring ball so everyone is on the lookout for them.  I also spend the time cleaning the rust of the bottom of the SS pan that Phil uses to heat water for coffee and tea each morning.  It’s pretty bad so really takes some elbow grease to get cleaned up.  I’ve found that it’s better to get the rust off when it’s minor rather than waiting this long, so Phil will try to let me know when it’s needed sooner when he washes the dishes.  While I’m at it, I clean the bottom of the 4qrt pressure cooker. 

By 1120am the winds have increased to 19-20 kts and Alec has stopped by to drop off a package for me.  We are very protected here from the extreme waves as there is a low water area about 150-200ft away so even though we aren’t protected from the winds, we are from the waves.
Soon S/V Lucky Touch comes into view and we watch while Joe and Carol in their dinghy from Just Ducky and  guy from Walkabout on mooring ball #2 gets in his dinghy to help them get the mooring ball.  It’s very difficult in this wind and his wife isn’t prepared – no boat hook and no line attached to a cleat at the bow.  First time the boat come in with the wind to their beam and they are blown into the dinghies.  Reverse and another try this time the wife has a line at the bow – but come is with the wind to beam and the line isn’t long enough – blown into dinghies again.  Third time – longer line and come in to beam and then turns so stern is to the wind and they get the line through the mooring ball – attach the mooring ball line to cleat.  Then they spend the next 15 min getting a line through the mooring ball line – having to power up into the wind to get slack on the mooring ball line.  Excitement over – we have lunch and then at 130pm take the dinghy into town at low tide when the waves are less.  We find the Islander and I buy the Bahamian Batik fabric made in the Andros for my quilt at $11.50/yd.  I was thinking I may have to pay $20/yd so I’m happy.   It takes me a while pulling out the rolls and looking how the colors look together, but with Phil’s help we do it and I buy enough of one of the colors to make a sleeveless shift dress at some future time.

We walk down main street (there is only one main street down the center of the islands) and then walk to the marina and stop by Iolite at 430pm to pick up Phil’s hat left there yesterday.  More cocktails and chatting about the SS arch Alec had installed on the back of the boat for mega bucks.  First time the guy didn’t follow Alec’s plans – at sea and it’s moving back and forth so then went to another man in Nova Scotia and had more supports added to stiffen it for another few thousand – but now it works great.  I took photos to use as example is Phil adds an arch to Changes.  M/V Second Star a 36’ Kady Krogan and M/V Monk’s Vinyard a 36’ Monk are at the dock on either side of Iolite so we talked with both them about Harbour Island.  They had just been there yesterday taking the fast ferrie the Bo Hengy II there - $40/ea round trip plus $40 for golf cart to get around the island for 4 hours.  It was nice there, but was disappointed.  They like Spanish Wells more, so now we have to talk about whether we will go there after all.  It’s a lot of money by ferry for an afternoon and $60 for a pilot.

By 530pm we’re back at the boat and taking down theFarouck as we’re expecting 35kt winds tomorrow.

I made the last of the crawfish(lobster) tails into crawfish tettrazini – was good and enough left for another meal for both of us.

I worked on knitting preemie hats and Phil read.  It’s turned a lot cooler for us – so emptied out the quarter berth and dug out the larger V-berth quilt and put away the smaller one before we went to bed at 10pm.

Thursday, March 3
Spanish Wells
At 625am the winds are 14-18 kts – think from NE – Cabin temp is 72F – Air temp is 69F.  I know that sounds pretty good to you, but the breeze is chilly and we’re putting on warmer clothes.  Our blood has thinned on this trip.  Phil says what are we going to do when we get back to Ohio? – we’ll be cold and I have to agree. J   According to the weather forecast by Ed, the higher winds are to continue through Saturday then decrease rapidly on Sunday; but then another cold front to come through on Monday or Tuesday.  Not a big weather window to go out on the Atlantic to get to the Abicos.  Chris Parker is back tomorrow morning so maybe we’ll have a better idea once we get closer to the weekend.

Today we plan to rent a golf cart for $40/day and tour the island.  After breakfast of French toast that I made to use up the rest of the coconut bread, we left the boat at 945am, picked up the golf cart not too far down the harbor and go to the Islander for me to pick up some crochet hooks – then we go to Food Fair – an bonafide grocery store.  The Eleuthera Express freight ship was in yesterday, so they’ve had a chance to put some of the new groceries and produce on the shelves.  We get fresh broccoli and a bag of key limes, fresh milk and other items.  I’m planning on making a key lime pie so pick up a graham cracker crust shell too.  We go back to the boat and put away the groceries that have to be refrigerated and then go back to do more sight seeing. We stop by the Ponderosa Shell Shop that is open at 12-1pm and then later.  Great shells but we want to think about it before purchasing.  We visit the pink sand beaches and look for shells.  It is very winds – blowing our clothes against us and sometimes we have to lean into the wind.  (insert photo)

 Then being close to 1245pm – we stop at The Gap Restaurant for lunch as it’s closest. Some restaurants are open for lunch and then close at 130pm not opening again until supper.  We hit the jackpot with this restaurant.  It’s small – with the wall behind the counter with many shelves loaded with candy (insert photo).  WE have the chicken and stuffing special – Phil with mashed potatoes and I with potato salad.  Is it this chicken and stuffing terrific!!  We haven’t had food like this since before we left – good enough for Thanksgiving dinner was the stuffing.  They have huge portions – and I shared Phil’s cole slaw and we couldn’t eat it all.    After lunch, we start driving around the island – stopped again close to the grocery store to go in the computer store – and found out they can make business cards for us.  Will try to get that done tomorrow as don’t have the disc on me now.  We drive all over the island and onto Russell Island, but there is a storm that’s coming – not sure if it will hit with full strength so we go back to the golf cart rental and wait under their awning before we had out again when the sun comes out – only sprinkles here.  By 245pm we are done with the golf cart and return it.  By 312pm we are back on Changes and the winds is 75 degrees 18-20 kts with gusts to 22kts.  We’re able to get internet via the wifi antenna so Phil gets on to do his financial matters that need attention.  We get only 2 bars so don’t want to risk posting on the blog.

We have the left over crawfish tettrazini for supper and I spend the evening downloading 347 photos and adding captions to them.  Phil is tired – falls asleep on the settee at 8pm and get up to go to bed at 9pm.  When I go to bed at 11pm the winds are 20kts sustained and the cabin temp is 74F.  I got an email from Ken on S/V Sail Away – thinks he broke his prop strut so sent him and mail with the phone number of the local boat yard and hope to catch him on SSB in the morning, though still don’t think our signal is getting very far.  He’s in Rock Sound.  Will sleep with the forehatch closed tonight due to the high winds.

Friday, March 4
Spanish Wells

Chris Parker is back giving the weather.  Many welcome backs here heard from the sponsored boaters.  Looks like the winds are going to get worse today – some but not moderation tomorrow and a lot more on Sunday but the seas are 10-12’ and not decreasing too rapidly.  There is still a cold front coming but looks like light and variable winds on Monday – so that’s the day we are tentatively thinking of going to the Abicos.  We will not go to Harbor Town this trip due to a few people saying it’s not as good as it use to be visiting it.

At 745am the wind is 17-18 kts, Air temp is 71F, Cabin Temp is 74F.  We washed up today heating water on the stove.  The last time we had a shower/washed up was in Rock Sound and I’m more than ready for this cleanup!  Phil replaced the port salon light with the round light removed from the head.  Was the project because the light was in the most aft lock in the quarter berth.  I removed and replace the items so he could get the light.  This is great and now we’ll see how it works tonight.  I fixed egg sandwiches for breakfast.  At 10am the wind is starting toclock and is at 100 degree 23 kts gusts to 29 to 30 kts.  We will wait until low tide when we have more protection and the waves are less to go into town to buy internet, get water and diesel in the jerry jugs.  Since we weren’t going anywhere soon, I cleaned some of the rust off the oven, we cleaned the bilge and then I washed the sole and other woodwork.  Phil also put 8.5 gals of water in the tank and was surprised that we didn’t use as much water as he expected since we last filled up in lack Point. 

We weren’t hungry at lunch, so I made sandwiches, packed diet cokes and put them in the cooler back pack and we went to town, getting diesel at 1pm.  10 gals cost $48.25.  We got 20 gal of water at Yacht Haven for $.15/gal or $3 total and invited Faune and Alec over for supper.  Phil dropped me off at Harborside for me to start internet at $15 for our entire stay and went back to the boat to drop off the water and diesel jugs.  Laura and Graham on Sweet Charriot II are on the internet also, so we chat while we’re on the table outside.  I was able to chat with my niece Heather, on FB so that was great.  She has honors at the Aveda school and may stay for the manager’s training.  I downloaded ebooks and audio books since I haven’t had a good internet connection for that and was able to get the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day book I bought from Barnes and Noble onto my nook.  Yeah!!!  By 430pm we’re back at the boat and I start making Key Lime Pie and thawing chicken breasts for supper.  Will cook them in the pressure cooker and have broccoli and mashed potatoes to go with them.

Making the Key lime pie didn’t go as I expected.  I don’t know if you’ve seen key limes before, but they about about 1 ¼” dia at the most.  The recipe calls for 3 lime or about ½ c juice.  Well I don’t know what their limes are, but I had to juice at least 20 limes for my ½ c juice.  I put it in the refrigerator and will hope for the best, but don’t think it will be stiff enough to eat for supper like I hoped.

Faune and Alec arrived on time at 6pm and we had a great time chatting.  They have had C&C’s as their past boats so feel at home on ours.    After supper, I tried the key lime pie – looked think enough at first glance, but then after cut it, realized that it was like pudding.  We had it anyway – tasted good and they were good sports about it not looking good.  Alec had a second piece so I’m sure he didn’t mind at all.

I start knitting hats and want to listen to I-pod but it’s not working right. – I’m hoping that Iolite’s guests will need to make a layover in the states and can mail them to Glenn and Pat for me – not sure but they will check tomorrow, so continue to be a knitting fiend to get them done for them.   So I reformat the Ipod and then transfer the music and new audiobooks to it.  We’ve had some rain tonight so will have to be careful about having the hatch open.  At the end of the reformatting – my Ipod works correctly, so I’m happy.

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