This season we hoped to boogie south quickly. We anticipate going to the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico....maybe further. Everything depended on our luck with weather!
Nope, just the Bahamas this season. So, maybe next year we will be luckier with weather, getting further south.
Most recent posts are first, so scroll down to the last update you read and read your way back up to the top!
May 5, 2011 – Thursday. This is our final update fior this season. We are home and it feels good. Coming in, we timed our arrival to get under the St. Simons/ICW bridge at low tide. Then, we anchored in the ICW overnight to time our trek into the Back River and home to Terry Creek. We wanted to begin on a mid rising tide. The tide and wind all worked perfectly to allow us through some skinny places and to push us to our dock. We threw a line, hooked a cleat and easily/happily ended yet another cruising season aboard MTB!
April 19, 2011 – Tuesday, departed St. Augustine, Florida. What a nice visit we had in this historic city, anchoring outside of the mooring field vs. taking a mooring ball for $20 per night. We had no hassles from the “local” officials for which we were appreciative. Sure didn’t want to have a “what’s legal” type discussion regarding anchoring in US waters. Once we were out the cut, we set our sails and hoped for the winds that had been forecast…SE 10-15. Well, we had flat seas and minimal wind. Two other monohulls left at the same time as us, but were powered up a little stronger than we were and passed us along our way. Though, on arrival at the St. Mary’s Inlet channel, we all arrived approximately the same time. We love this Fernandina, Florida area/anchorage and planned to spend a good bit of time in the area.
April 18, 2011 – Monday, St. Augustine, Florida. We love this waterfront for its beauty and convenience. This day took a long, almost three mile dinghy trip, over to the area of the St. Augustine Lighthouse. The water area is called Salt Pond and recently had been turned into a mooring field by the City fathers. This is a trend in many coastal Florida cities in their attempts to eliminate derelicts and live aboards. This City actually tried to say there is NO anchoring in St. Augustine, but we believe this to be an illegal position and we anchored in front of the fort, well out of the mooring field. Salt Pond was much larger than we thought and we enjoyed seeing the area. Here was a public floating dock where we tied up to go to shore. There was a nice park area that we all enjoyed walking through. Then we walked the grounds of the Lighthouse and visited the gift shop. Sitting on the front porch, so many folks stopped and played with Miko. So, we had a great shore visit in the beautiful area. We left Miko at MTB and headed for St. Augustine Municipal Marina. From where we anchor, we go under the Bridge of Lions. It was so nice to see this bridge’s renovation completed. For a number of years, construction crews were all around the bridge. Instead of wiping out the old bridge and building a new, typical 65’ ICW ugly bridge, they completed re-did the old, beautiful drawbridge.This was our first view of the completion and we were so pleased. After tying up at the marina, Ken went to buy gasoline for the dinghy, Cindy took the garbage and walked over to see if the bread was ready, though it was only about 4:30 pm. Nope, come back at 5:00 pm. K & C met back at the St. Augustine Ale house in front of the marina. We met a few locals and tourists, enjoyed a couple local brews waiting on the baquettes. We’d been watching the weather and decided Tuesday would be a moving day, so up went the dinghy, yet again.
April 17, 2011 – Sunday, St. Augustine, Florida. Great night sleep and anchorage as always. We just love it in St. Augustine. We put the dinghy down this a.m. and went toward shore down a little cut, toward a large cross in a park. We found a public area and pulled the dinghy up onto the mud (vs. beautiful white sand!) on shore. Due to the prevalence of clamshells along the shore, Ken threw the anchor off our stern to try to hold us offshore so we wouldn’t have an issue with them scratching the bottom of the dinghy. We walked through the beautiful historic waterside Water Street and enjoyed seeing the perfectly maintained large homes. Miko loved having a sidewalk and was very excited about all the grass around the historic fort when we got there on our walk. We went to “Faux Paws” as we told Miko on our crossing if she was a good girl, she’d get special treats in St. Augustine. She taste tested a peanut butter treat and that was the choice. She met every dog lover and child in the very crowded historic area, smiling the whole time. We visited our favorite Kilwin’s for our first great ice cream in months. Then, the next priority was baquettes from a tiny place near St. Augustine Municipal Marina named Café Lyonnaise. Chef Lyon bakes the MOST amazing crusty bread. Sadly, they already sold the supply they make for public sales. So, Cindy convinced them to make three extras when baking for the Monday dinner shift and they told us to be there on Monday at 5 pm. Yeah. We walked around a little more, and crossed back over to the Water Street neighborhood where we left the dinghy. Tide had gone down a little more so we had to schlep through some mud to push it back out into the water. Once free, we made our way back to MTB for the evening, being shot at from the fort again. We jumped with each big boom though Miko took them all in stride.
April 16, 2011 – Saturday, offshore Florida east coast. Ah, when daylight finally comes, it is such a boost to morale. Add some wonderful animal life to watch and life is even better. Miko hadn’t been willing to do her “business” on the bow because the seas were high. We were concerned about her welfare, health. So, early this a.m. Ken took her out for another attempt and happily had an early morning “thumbs” up event. Cindy was so glad and when fatigue and emotions took over….she actually cried happy, relieved tears for Miko’s success. Oh good grief. Shortly after the sun came up, we had a visit from a very crazy seagull. He would fly out and land in front of MTB, in a split second from our hulls catching him, he’d fly back around us and look in the cockpit. We figured he was used to tourists in Florida feeding bread to the gulls on shore. Well, he kept this up for a long time, keeping us entertained and our minds distracted for awhile, which was great. He finally gave up as we figured he wasn’t getting fed. After he left us, Ken spotted a huge sea turtle off our port bow. He rolled over on his back and we saw his white belly, then dove and came back up with his head held high, looking at us. Of course photo attempts just never are satisfactory, though we try. He was truly beautiful. Not long after, a pod of Dolphins started surfing and playing around us. They were spotted Atlantic dolphins…really beautiful animals. They also stayed with us a long time, front to back, side to side. Another photographic challenge…click 100 photos, may get one where you can almost make out the dolphin. These distractions are so great on these long passages. About 6 miles south of the St. Augustine inlet channel, the wind was down so we decided to drop the sails and motor on in. We again had the sailing gods looking out for us as in a matter of minutes…the wind was up to 25-30 knots from the southeast. Talk about good timing. We followed a monohull into the ship channel and we could see the current against him was strong. The winds caused huge breakers over the jetty we pass to come through the inlet. MTB is a strong vessel and we did fine, Miko just hunkered down in her crate and was ok as well. We came to the anchorage and found a good open spot to throw down the hook.. A monohull named Shanty approached as we were getting ready to set our anchor and he eventually anchored nearby. As the crazy 6.5’ tidal current changed and the wind built to 30 knots, Shanty got closer and closer to MTB. Neither of us were dragging, but our two vessels just responded differently to the conditions, resulting in being very close. We spoke with Shanty on the radio and because he was alone, he didn’t want to move/re-anchor. We all agreed to keep an eye out and just at dusk, we were so close, we decided though his fault, we would move. We pulled up and re-anchored about 200 feet further north and all of us knew we’d sleep better this night. Shanty was very nice and seemed appreciative of our willingness to move, though he caused the issue. Winds diminished through the night, making things that much better for all of us.
April 15, 2011 – Friday, offshore, crossing – By the am, we knew we would continue moving in the Gulfstream, around Cape Canaveral/Kennedy northwest toward Daytona or St. Augustine. Later in the morning, we knew that Daytona would not work and we’d be doing a double overnight to get us to St. Augustine by Saturday. These are hard and tiresome trips with just two of us. During the day, we were making great time in the Gulfstream, seeing a high of 11.2 knots but staying around 6-7 knots per hour. A few showers passed near us during the night, but no rain on MTB. The nighttime hours Friday night were tough as we were tired and sailing “close to the wind”. This meant we had to keep a very close watch on the wind direction as a slight change could make the mainsail “jibe”…flopping HARD from one side to the other. So, eyes stay riveted on the gauges on each two hour watch. Wind was strong and the seas built and were probably 6-8 feet. Luckily, the swells were behind us and helped push vs. crashing into us.
April 14, 2011 – Thursday, Powell Cay, Abacos, central west anchorage. We had planned to travel 20 miles this day to Fox Town. Although after hearing the weather reports for the next week, we reevaluated the plan. It sounded like it was a really good window to sail in the direction of home. And, if we didn’t take this window, it could be another week to ten days for the proper winds/weather. We have learned in past seasons, that when there is a good window, we should take it. So, we decided we’d pull up the anchor one more time and head west, see how it was going. We knew we could stop at Fox Town r Great Sail if we weren’t sailing well. By 8:00 am we were out of the anchorage and by 8:15 am, both sails were up and we were sailing…..slowly as the wind wasn’t as strong as the forecast indicated. Our first hour, we averaged 2.6 knots, whew! By 11:30 a.m , we added the starboard engine, pulled in the jib and motor sailed until just past Great Sail Cay. Great Sail Cay was about 40 miles from Powell Cay and we made it there around 6:00 pm. After clearing some shoals near Great Sail’s west shore, we turned onto a course more toward the northwest. At that point were able to once again sail with both the jib and main sails. We were sailing great and decided to continue across the Little Bahama Bank overnight. The seas were small, the sunset was beautiful, and the moon that had come up about 4 pm, was almost full and illuminated our way. We had hoped to exit the Bahama Bank at a point that would allow our arrival to Ft. Pierce by early evening on Friday. We did two hour watches, with both sleeping in the cockpit in between. Miko curls up and sleeps on crossings and is so laid back and easy, it is amazing. To keep sailing well in the wind we had, we had to chart a course for more northerly than expected which did not work for going to Ft. Pierce.
April 13, 2011 – Wednesday, Powell Cay, Abacos, central west anchorage. The crew awoke at 4 a.m. seeing lightening in the distance. So a scramble to wake up, get up, close hatches, bring rugs, cushions, etc. from out in the cockpit and batten down MTB. The 6:30 a.m. weather forecaster, Chris Parker, said radar showed showers in the northern Abacos but then the wind should diminish and clock around to the NE. We watched the storm front approaching us on MTB’s radar screen . It came through at midday and we recorded a high wind of 28 knots before the wind clocked around to the NE. Once it passed, the skies cleared and we decided we were going to get to shore yet again. On our was Tuesday, we picked up a long piece of bamboo and brought it back to MTB. With the dremel tool, Captain Ken routed out our boat name and the date of our visit to Powell Cay. So, our first stop back on shore was where all the other signs/flotsam were located to hang our bamboo boat sign. We found a nice horizontal tree limb and tied rope to both ends of our bamboo. The “sign” hung perfectly and these two old sign company owners were proud of our effort, taking pictures of it with Miko. Back to the dinghy we ventured south along Powell’s west shore and landed the dinghy on the end of the island. We played catch with Miko and ran her ragged. A well exercised Shiba Inu is a very happy Shiba. We took a lot of pictures on our journey exploring this side of the island and enjoyed our visit. Back to MTB we put up the dinghy in anticipation of making a “hop” somewhere on Thursday.
April 12, 2011 – Tuesday, Green Turtle Cay, New Plymouth Settlement. We had an easy and relaxed morning and after the normal two pots of coffee, began thinking about where to go next. The weather report changed and a cold front was coming through the area on Wednesday, bringing winds that were to clock from south to west to north. We thought we would go to Powell Cay this day. Although, there would be little protection there in south winds, and none from west winds. Though, the gradient wind was only going to be 10-15 mph, so we would be fine, knowing our equipment would serve us well. It was the forecast 30 knot squalls, wind/lightening, that caused us to second guess going to Powell Cay. Although,, after checking all our sources of weather, winds, seas, etc., we finally decided to mosey there anyway. We’re tough and there probably would only be a few boats anchored there due to being more remote and a less visited anchorage/island. The anchor went up at 9:00 a.m. and we had pulled out our jib only by 9:20 a.m. It was a slow 12 miles, but we were patient sailors and enjoyed having another “free” day without engines. We averaged a whopping 2.4 knots this day! The sky was clear, the water brilliant aqua and our books were good, so it was a nice lazy sailing day. On arrival, we were the only boat in the west side of Powell Cay, in the Sea of Abaco anchorage. We dropped the dinghy after lunch and were on shore by 2:00 pm. The island has beautiful beaches on both its Sea and the Atlantic sides. It was an easy walk from one side to the other due to being a skinny island and cruisers had marked a path with buoys, homemade boat sings, other sea “junk”…flotsum! This Cay is privately owned but with no development nor any indication that anyone plans to reside on Powell anytime soon. We didn’t see another set of footprints on any of the beaches, other than ours. It was a very hot afternoon and on the east side of the island, no wind this day. On our walk back to the path back to the west shore on the east Atlantic side beach we saw another couple walking north. We didn’t try to catch up with them as both Cindy and Miko were on the verge of being too hot. So, we went back to the Sea of Abaco side of the island where we left our dinghy and we saw the couple’s sailboat next to us in the anchorage. There’s was a monohull named “Challenger”. One person was still on board and waved to us as we passed. This vessel/crew were still were flying their “Q” flag. So, not sure if they forgot to put up their Bahamas courtesy flag or were illegally off their boat before clearing customs. Oh well, more about Powell Cay. This Cay has two shipwrecks, one being very visible. This is always a little disconcerting when coming into an unknown anchorage…especially knowing a commercial Captain went down there. The visible wreck appeared to be a work boat or mail boat and had a very rusted out old crane on the bow. This day’s wind was coming from the southwest at 8-11 knots when we returned to MTB and we hoped we would be ok here when Wednesday’s forecasted cold front passed through the next day. The Cruiser’s guide said do not to stay at Powell’s west anchorage if in a west wind. We looked at all the data, the holding, the isolated (few boats) area and decided this was where we wanted to be. Powell Cay was almost as far north as MTB would be going in the Bahamas. The next two “hops” would be westward, to stage for our crossing back to the States. Fox Town on the north end of Great Abaco Island, a town MTB had never been before, was slightly off the beaten path. We thought it may be our next stop. Then, from there to the last island we visit before ‘crossing”….Great Sail Cay. The weather on the coast of Florida was forecast to be squally through the coming weekend, so no hurry to get going across.
03-17-2011 Thursday, St. Patty’s Day, Brendon/Beth onboard until 5:30 AM. Kidds Cove, Georgetown. We got up and woke up B/B at 5 a.m. We were happy to see that the wind/seas had died down some through the night and it would be a more calm ride into shore. To save room in the dinghy only Ken went in with the kids to meet their taxi by the arranged 5:45 a.m. Before B/B left MTB, Miko saw their bags sitting in the salon and nudged each one, like she knew what was going on. We were all sad to see these young people leave MTB as it was great having them aboard. We enjoyed their visit very much, as they got us out doing things we may not have done. B/B were very considerate and easy guests to have onboard and we look forward to the next time they can be with us…..ah, Junkanoo 2012???? Once Ken was back to MTB and Cindy listened to the weather reports, a decision had to be made. If staying in Georgetown, another move was necessary to get to an anchorage with better protection. Strong winds/high seas were coming, Forecast said wind was to be sustained 20-25 knots for 7-10 days in the GT area. For MTB to sail somewhere….it had to be this one day. And, if sailing this day, it would have to be north or maybe north east due to the wind direction. So, we decided we’d sail out this day. We knew if we didn’t, it would be some time before the wind/seas would allow us to sail again. The wind direction was perfect and the seas were down to 4’ due to the moderation overnight. The ocean swell would be behind us, pushing vs. us crashing into it, as we did on our trip into GT. So, we pulled up anchor by 7:45 a.m. and put up the mainsail in Elizabeth Harbor. Off we went, heading north out the cut, not sure where we would end up this day. If the wind direction allowed, we hoped we could go to Cat Island. We announced our departure on the Cruiser’s Net and there were about 10 other boats out in front of us. Once we were sailing with the engines finally off, we threw out two trolling lines. We realized we weren’t going to Cat Island, as the wind direction wouldn’t work. But, we were sailing great with the swell pushing us and we were making 5-7 knots. It wasn’t long before it was “fish on”. Sadly, it was a barracuda that we were able to catch and release, alive. Then, “fish on”…..a Mahi…yea, but it slipped our lure. Finally, “fish on” just north of the Adderly Cut. This time, we landed about a 30’ Mahi and he was clean, cut, packaged and in the freezer in no time. We continued north to Dotham Cut, just north of Black Point, south of Staniel Cay. We never tried this cut before, so took it cautiously, without incident into the Exuma Bank. We just had to go around the corner and we were anchored by 4:00 pm once again in Black Point. They are going start assessing us property taxes due to being here so often. Too funny…when we got up this a.m., we never would have thought we’d spend this evening here. We had a great day, averaged 6.9 knots overall, sailing the whole trip of over 50 Nmiles, caught a Mahi Mahi and had wifi on board in the spot where we anchored. All in all, a good day (except for B/B leaving us this morning).
03-16-2011 Wednesday, Brendon/Beth onboard! Anchored south of Volleyball Beach, Stocking Island, Exumas in the am, but relocated back to Kidds Cove before lunch to assure we had a good spot. Brendon/Beth would have to leave MTB at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, so we knew we needed to be as close as possible to dinghy dock next to where their Taxi would pick them up. The winds had turned some and were coming in from the NE, stronger than past days. The anchorage was much more bouncy this day. We were anchored close to town, so decided to head in to do some walking, shopping and grab some “Bahamian” food. The ride in wasn’t too bad with the waves breaking behind us. We dropped our garbage off at the provided dumpster. And, after walking around town a little, we decided to do lunch at Eddie’s Edgewater. Brendon was able to get the cracked conch he’d been wanting while here and Ken had some really good fried local grouper fingers. Beth/Cindy burger, and fries…oh well. B/B found some nice gifts for friends and K/C bought some needed groceries $8.09 and a lot of rum after finding out there was a 20% discount for buying 6 bottles, just couldn’t afford not to do it!! $56 for 6 bottles…great as that will surely get us home! Sadly, with the waves coming toward us, we all got soaked on the ride back to MTB. We did out best to keep Miko, dry once again! Though the people were all soaking, Miko wasn’t so bad. Back on board, we did dinner and watched American Idol and then B/B started packing up their stuff L.
03-15-2011 Tuesday, Brendon/Beth onboard! Anchored south of Volleyball Beach, Stocking Island, Exumas. The Cruiser Regatta activities ended on Saturday, so boats were flying out of the anchorage, including a group that left this day for Long Island, doing a mini regatta race. We probably saw 30-40 vessels leave this a.m. Wind was from the east, running about 15 knots, so it was still relatively calm in the anchorage. We went into the closest beach this morning and Ken/Brendon snorkeled. Brendon has his new “cheat sheet” ….a laminated card with photos of fish, to help identify what/who he was looking at…great idea. We ran a piece of bungee cord through it to go around his wrist and it worked great. When we got to this beach, we could see a dog/man a long way down the shoreline. When they got closer, Miko realized it was her buddy from Black Point named “Windy” with her Dad, Paul on Dreamseeker. She went crazy. The pups played great together again and Miko was so happy, she was smiling. Windy jumped into our dinghy, wanting to stay with Miko. When Paul headed back to his boat, Miko was bummed and we could see that Windy was not ready to leave Miko again, either. Sadly Paul had the flu stuff that had been going around the cruiser community and we knew we wouldn’t be able to invite them aboard. Back to the boat, we crated Miko and headed in to Volleyball Beach as we heard folks played volleyball there around 2 p.m. We grabbed some Kaliks, dogs/fries and people watched for awhile. With a break in the action, Beth/Brendon were encouraged to join the “young people” team, which they did. They played several games and that offered even more “photo ops”. We saw another group on a sand court further away, so we went over to meet those folks. Come to find out, they were the entire crew from Mistere. We told them we’d been waiting for our happy hour cocktails invitation. They were apologetic, but said that since the owners weren’t going to be aboard for a few days, couldn’t happen. They said they have strict rules about not allowing anyone but crew aboard whenever the family is away from the yacht. They also were required to be very secretive and not answer questions about who owned the boat, etc. So, of course, that made us make mental notes to Google to find out that information! Back to MTB, we did dinner and just chilled out.
03-14-2011 Monday, Brendon/Beth onboard! Anchored south of Volleyball Beach, Stocking Island, Exumas. Wind was from the east this day, 15-18 knots, and it was more bouncy in the anchorage than the day before, but not bad and “doable”. We took the dinghy to shore this day and walked to the Atlantic side beaches. The walk across the island is along a dirt path, through local floral/fauna with scurrying lizards running around. Miko loves these walks, though we have to be careful not to let her bother the “critters” along the way. Midway across, kind cruisers maintain a plastic tub of fresh water and a sign “for the birds”. Rain has been scarce in the islands this season, so we knew the little winged fellas appreciate the help. Coming to the end of the path, one walks up a slight hill and the vegetation clears. This is when you get the first sight of the beautiful beaches on this side of Stocking Island. The sand has a pink hue from the coral in the area and the water is very clear. We walked, picked up shells and took photos. Someone had constructed a swing on a tree along the edge of the sand dunes and it of course called to all of us and was yet another “photo op”. One the return to the beach where we were anchored, the guys snorkeled again and the girls/Miko enjoyed the beach/sun. Back on MTB, Michele from Texas Two Step came by and it was good to see here again. She was bummed she didn’t have time to come aboard to spend time with Miko. Cindy and Miko stayed aboard and Ken, Brendon/Beth took the dinghy to Chat N’ Chill and St. Francis (two bar/restaurants at Volleyball beach area) to find out about bar hours and activities. St. Francis closes on Mondays but luckily K/B/B were able to enjoy happy hour drinks at Chat N’ Chill, talking with locals and patrons alike. When everyone was back aboard, we enjoyed LD’s, dinner and another old movie. Though, no one actually made it through the whole movie and went to bed early. Fresh air, exercise and the sun do tend to take us to bed earlier out here than anywhere! We still were waiting for our invite for drinks aboard Mistere, but it didn’t come again this day.
03-13-2011 Sunday, Brendon/Beth onboard! Time changed overnight…so darker this a.m. and later sunsets from now on. We departed Kidds Cove, Georgetown this a.m. and moved over to anchor off one of the beaches just south of Volleyball beach on Stocking Island. Sadly, once we got set, Cindy felt we were too close to the bow of another monohull. So, we pulled up anchor and found another spot. This time it was a good place, wonderful holding and right in front of a big whomping mega yacht named Mistere. We all had our fingers crossed for an invite aboard her for cocktails! The wind was SE about 15 knots and we decided to head into a nearby beach to get some sun, snorkel and give Miko exercise chasing her ball. Ken, Brendon and Beth all enjoyed snorkeling the colorful fish in the reefs. We had found this great location on a previous visit. It is so nice as one can just walk a short way off a beach and find several close in interesting small reefs. After a good beach walk, some Miko play, snorkeling and sun, we headed back to MTB to enjoy the sights around the anchorage overlooking crystal clear aqua blue water views. Following happy hour and dinner aboard, we all watched an old Hitchcock movie…Hounds of Baskerville. Yes, it was different for sure but it was at least entertaining and a good reason to enjoy some popcorn!
03-12-2011 Saturday, Kidds Cove, Georgetown, Great Exuma, with Brendon/Beth. Wind was from the East at about 20 knots so it was pretty bouncy aboard. We had a lazy morning/afternoon aboard and about 4:00 pm, we all went to shore, including Miko. We walked, shopped, bought a few Tshirts and enjoyed happy hour at Two Turtles (thank you Brendon!). Being outside at Two Turtles’ bar worked out great as “Cruiser’s Regatta” had its last function this year going on….a variety/talent show in town at Regatta Park. We sat at the bar and could see/listen to all the “talent???” It started getting cold, so we decided to head back to MTB. Sadly, it was rocky/rolly and we got wet on the ride back, especially Brendon. Though, we protected Miko pretty well. Yes, we know she’s a DOG. We had an easy dinner, enjoyed some drinks and listened to tunes outside in MTB’s cockpit the rest of this evening. We’d been surrounded by boats this day and after the “talent” show, the dinghy parade out from the dinghy dock in Lake Victoria was amazing. We wouldn’t have been surprised to hear the next day that accidents occurred.
03-11-2011 Friday, Kidds Cove, Georgetown, Great Exuma – This morning the anchorage was calm/flat so we pulled up and moved to a little deeper water. We ended up a little closer to one monohull than we like. But, luckily, later in the day, they finished their errands in town and left our anchorage. Folks went and came all day here and we knew we were really back to civilization! We wiped down the guest berth and the head surfaces and made up the bed with fresh linens. Wind built all day. We went back into town for some beer $18, miscellaneous groceries $14.17 and $11 for dinghy gas…$43.17 day…yep, need to stay out of town!! Brendon/Beth’s flight was to be in at 6:40 pm and after putting Miko in her crate for her first time in a long time, off we went to pick them up at the market/dinghy dock. Being in town after dark was nice, as no cruisers were around, just the locals and it truly was a different dynamic. We met a nice guy waiting for a guest who was coming aboard his boat, as well. But, he was smarter than us…he had a Kalik, a local Bahamian beer, to enjoy during his wait. When the two B’s arrived, we bundled all their bags up in big plastic trash bags, anticipating a wet dinghy ride back to MTB. We didn’t get soaked, but it was a bumpy ride out. Miko was so very happy to have Beth and Brendon aboard, new attention from company. Guess she’d gotten pretty bored with us only all these days. Brendon brought our mail and a new computer battery for us and that was great excitement. We snacked, enjoyed a few liquor drinks (“LD’s” per the kids!) and enjoyed a lazy night aboard.
03-10-2011 Thursday, departed Williams Bay, Exumas with the anchor up by 9:00 am. Sadly, there was no wind and we had to motor. The swell and seas were bouncy and it wasn’t they type of day we like….but it was a short hop and we had our anchor down in Kidds Cove, Georgetown by 2:00 p.m. Yea! Man, three hundred boats here and this year is seemed that most were sailing vessels. We heard there were issues in this part of the Bahamas related to the diesel supply. So, guess those folks having only motors were staying further north, in areas with more marinas, this season. We met Marty & Michael (girl), two really nice folks from Solace. They had their new kitty aboard their dinghy, named “Baja”. She was the coolest cat they rescued in Nassau. She could swim and almost climbed aboard MTB to come visit Miko who was crazy to see her. We went to shore and bought some Rum $31; groceries $27, a $58.00 day…need to stay out of town! We had very little water under us and knew if winds picked up as forecast, we would possibly be bouncing on the sandy bottom. So, we decided we’d need to move to a new locale on Friday.
03-09-2011 Wednesday, Williams Bay, Exumas. A beautiful day again this day. We did some boat projects in anticipation of our company arriving in Georgetown on 03-11-2011. Ken replaced the life boat locker’s hatches that broke previously. We bleached the white plastic wench hand holders from all over the boat. For some reason, these guys mildew rapidly and look awful if not bleached now and then. We made water again this day to make sure we were full for our guests and cleaned out the guest berth/bath that had both become storage areas in prior weeks for “stuff”. We walked on the beach, played with Miko….all in all, another laid back Bahamas day.
03-08-2011 Tuesday, departed Rat Cay, Exumas. This a.m. was calm, with light and variable NE wind 9-10 knots. The temp was 74 but humidity was 81% and that is never enjoyable. This am, water spewing up through the nearby blow hole was back lit by the sunrise and it was truly a beautiful sight to see. We loved it. Crazy us, this day we decided to head back north to some of the islands we had passed, retracing our Monday journey. There were places we hadn’t visited on previous trips, so north we went on the west “Bank” side of a few islands. Anchor was up by 10:00 a.m. Though shallow, we went at high tide and picked our way through, going along the rest of Rat Cay; by Children’s Bay; by Williams Bay Cay and Lee Stocking Island. There is an Ocean Research center on Lee Stocking but they only do tours on Tuesday and Friday mornings, so we missed the one this day sadly. We decided to anchor in the bay in front of Williams Bay, just south of Coconut Beach on Lee Stocking. Anchor was down by 11:00 a.m. and dinghy down by 11:45 a.m. By this time the temp was 78 and humidity down to 69%…much nicer. This was a beautiful location, nice sandy bottom and beaches on both sides of the island, with gorgeous aqua water to our west as far as we could see. We all jumped in the dinghy and visited three beaches this day, including Coconut Beach. No coconuts were on the ground and we tried to whack one down by throwing an old coconut at them; hitting them with a palm frond and jabbing them with a hunk of wood…no success with any of these attempts. We opened the lid to our clear bottom hatch to find a stingray directly under our dinghy….that was a surprise, and really very cool. We traveled 5 miles this day and USF beat Villanova….a good day!
03-07-2011 Monday, departed Cave Cay, Exumas. This day we had one mission only….try and catch fish. We had the anchor up by 9:00 a.m. and went out the Cave Cay “Cut” for our first time. We like experimenting with different ways to access the waters of Exuma Sound from the Exuma Bank side. This cut was straight forward deep and easy. So, one more way to cut through, to and from these two bodies of water. We put up the mainsail before heading out, but when in the Sound, we found no wind. We just wanted to putt along anyway and get out our two trolling lines. But, sadly we were motoring. We heard folks on the radio all around us announcing they had pulled in a Mahi, etc. But us, no such luck with our slow speed and motors on. We decided to keep going further south than we had planned, to the Rat Cay Cut to increase our fishing opportunity. The Rat Cay Cut was another one we hadn’t tried previously. We wanted to check it out as it is a little more N to S vs. other cuts that typically run E and W. We didn’t catch a thing all day, not even a bite after going further. So, went in, tucked into a nice anchorage on the SW side of Rat Cay. We had a lovely view of both Barraterre, the most northern city on Great Exuma Island. And. we could see a little rock spit that had an amazing “blow hole”. When the Sound’s swells crashed on its shore, the water spray went through the hole and towered over the rocks, beautiful really. It is so shallow in this part of the Exumas, that most cruisers have never seen Barraterre unless visiting there by a car. We could see across the bay that they had a BATELCO phone tower, so Cindy called her mom and checked in this day. We had a nice lazy day and evening, and we enjoyed being the only vessel anchored in this spot. Being “out”…the sunset, stars, and moon were spectacular here.
03-06-2011 Sunday, departed Black Point, Great Guana Cay (yes, yes we finally did it!). This morning we woke to east winds and a calmer anchorage. But, then we got the gully washer of all gully washers….a really really nice wash down for Toby and MTB. But, it blew through pretty quickly. So, since it was high tide and we could get into the bay beach shore….we ran Miko in for some exercise. And, we walked across the island to see what the other side (Exuma Sound/Atlantic), looked like. It was definitely “doable” and we were surprised it had laid down so much after the 3 days of sustained 20-25 knot winds. Back to MTB, we put up the dinghy and decided it was “moving day”. We needed to get south and we always make it our practice to move when we can move. After a quick post on Facebook that we would probably be without WIFI for a few days….the anchor was up by 10 a.m. As we motored out of the anchorage the nice folks on vessels named Amazing Grace and Windwalker radio’d us with their farewells. So nice. Both these vessels were going to head south on Monday so we all looked forward to re-connecting in Georgetown. We couldn’t sail this day as there was little wind and it was directly “on our nose”. And, we didn’t feel that tacking out of our route just to sail was worth the effort for our little “hop” this day. We wanted to make it to the “cut” that we would take on Monday from the Exuma Bank (water west of the Exuma Islands) over to the Exuma Sound (east). It was a lazy motoring trip with beautiful skies and water yet again. We really were nostalgic about leaving the Great Guana area as it had been a wonderful stay of almost two months. After our short trip, we anchored on the northwest shore of Cave Cay, and the anchor was down at 1:30 pm. The laundry was hung on our lifelines to dry by 2 pm. Rumor has it that Cave Cay was once owned by Oprah, but no one seems to know if that was still the case. But, with our white undies flapping in the wind we were country come to town we guessed! Cave Cay has a marina that is public, though the remainder of the island is private and off limits to cruisers. It is a pretty place and is a convenient stop between two really good, viable “cuts, between the two bodies of water, Galliott Cut is on the north of Cave Cay, and Cave Cut is on the south end of the Cay. We typically use Galliott but decided we would o further south and do Cave this season…always good to gain knowledge of as many of the islands, channels, marinas, cuts, etc. as it takes away the “fear” factor one has when navigating in and around new things. On Monday, our whole goal was to jump out into the Sound and FISH. We needed a Mahi Mahi in the freezer!
03-05-2011 Saturday, Black Point, Great Guana Cay. Still cool due to the very strong North winds we still had, N/NE this day 15-28 through the day. Cindy was up early (6:15 am) in preparation of listening to the HAM radio based weather programs. As is her normal habit each morning, she looked around MTB, checking to see that everyone was still where they should be anchored, etc. She noticed that Ajaya, a Prout catamaran anchored on our starboard bow, no longer had a dinghy tied alongside their vessel. It would be unusual for a cruiser to have already gone to shore so early in the morning. After the weather reports, while drinking coffee, we heard Ajaya do a general radio announcement asking for folks to be on the look out for their dinghy that had gone missing. This was probably due to not properly tying it up; a broken rope or the rope eye pulling out. The people of these islands know everything that goes on, so theft was not a consideration. Winds were high, sustained 20 knots and from the east so that dinghy could already be across the Exuma Bank, on its way to Andros Island. It was amazing it broke away and didn’t hit anything in the anchorage. We hoped he called all the proper authorities to ask for help. Dinghies are a cruiser necessity. They allow us to get to shore in beautiful remote anchorages, check our anchor positions, etc. They are the way we get to town if we need fuel, propane, supplies, water, friendship, etc. Without one, a cruiser would have to stay in populated areas and be totally dependent on the kindness of others, neither an ideal cruiser situation. We went to town this day (in a dinghy!), probably our last visit for this season, frowny face. Miko gave the kids who love her here many kisses. We swapped 5 books at the book exchange, dropped our garbage making a $2 donation, picked up two bottles of rum $36, bought some produce $12 and two loaves of bread $10. The bad part of being in town is that there are places to be spending money…a $60 day, geez. Rain showers came through late afternoon, so MTB got a nice fresh water rinse. We did a load of laundry this day, but didn’t dry it as we knew we could hang it out to dry on Sunday wherever we were.
03-04-2011 Friday, Black Point, Great Guana Cay. Cooler overnight so we all slept great. It was in the low 70’s and humidity was finally under 60% so nice. Winds built through the night, and this day were a sustained 20-22, and when we checked the gauges a few times, we saw gusts up to 28. But again, a nice anchorage with no worries. We were surrounded by a number of other catamarans. Seems there are more of us out here this season than any prior years, our vessels are growing in popularity, obviously. We had an assortment manufacturers represented all around us. We had our boat (a Robertson Caine), 1 Broad Blue, 2 Mantas, a Prout, a Fountain Pajout, and one boat that of unknown origin…maybe a homemade vessel. It was very interesting looking at the differences in our hull designs, how our sugar scoops, windows, etc. differed from boat to boat, manufacturer to manufacturer. We really see the differences coming back from the beach in the dinghy. We went in early to get Miko some exercise on the bay beach at high tide…easier in and out due to lots of water. While there, she got to play with Sky once again, her golden retriever friend. Her folks on “Windwalker” from Australia, Ian and Lee-Anne we nice and we found we had several cruising and Bahamian resident acquaintances in common. While we humans were chatting, we looked up to see Sky drop our anchor on the beach. She actually had ducked her head under the water behind our dinghy, “retrieved” our mushroom anchor and walked it in to shore. Her folks were so apologetic…but we loved it, such as sweet dog. We headed back to MTB when tide started going out, as we knew if we got stranded, it would be early evening before the bay water would be back up. Two dinghies did get stranded the whole day and the owners were brought back to their boats from town, having to have their dinghies towed back to them, crazy. On the way back to MTB we swung by “Amazing Grace” the Broad Blue catamaran in front of us, to introduce ourselves and say hello. John and Julie were aboard and seemed like super nice folks. They said they caught a Mahi on the way here coming from Georgetown on Thursday. So, we looked forward to fishing on the way south. Raymond, one of the local residents we met here previously, came by to see us. He needed a ride from his boat mooring back to the government dock. This man epitomizes the helpful, welcoming people of his settlement, good folks. He purposefully leaves his wifi unsecured so cruisers can access the internet/WIFI on our boats from the anchorage, now that is special. We were so glad to be able to help him whenever we could. We knew we would be sad to leave this place in the next few days. We probably wouldn’t get back this season. We had a weather window coming that would allow us to get south. That was great, as we would need to pick up Brendon and Beth one week from this day. We have been in this area for almost two months and have so enjoyed our time here very much.
03-03-2011 Thursday, Black Point, Great Guana Cay. The winds behind the front filled in through the night and we had 20 knots sustained this morning. It was 74 degrees and 60% humidity at 9:30 a.m. It was a day to be lazy, not fight the white caps to go to the dock or bay beach. Miko was well exercised on Wednesday, actually still pooped this day. We ate, read and enjoyed a clear day despite constant roaring high wind. We had great protection/holding here, so no worries other than running out of rum!
03-02-2011 Wednesday, Black Point, Great Guana – This day a cold front came through but it was mild, with winds backing vs. clocking….SE back to N/NE. The wind was light and variable in the morning, built through the day. All was great in the anchorage. It was so smooth our anchor chain was in a loop and the anchor just on the side of the boat. We saw a crab walking on the bottom and watched the Osprey fishing, grabbing big fish in his talons. A shark sucking Remora fish was hanging around MTB…strange looking fish that attaches itself on back of nurse sharks. Early in the morning, we took Miko into the bay beach, as we weren’t sure what the front would bring and wanted to make sure she got some good exercise. On the way back to MTB, two huge (5’ wide) rays were swam along side of the dinghy, amazing creatures and wonderful to see. Boats came and went all day. Eliora anchored behind us…with a sweet 3 year old Cockapoo, named Freckles. Chuck came by to see if we wanted to take Miko into shore so they could play. Miko was beside herself by the time we got to shore…couldn’t wait to run with Freckles. And run they did, for sure, until they wore each other out. Two trips for exercise in one day..Miko was a happy, but worn out pup. Back to MTB, winds backed to the N/NE and were building so we just stayed aboard. We could see storm clouds all around, but we didn’t get a drop this day. The mail boat came in and we’d hoped to get in to get a good shot at newly arrived fresh produce. But, we didn’t make it in. We had wifi so did some emails and online banking this day! We watched the 12 girls perform on Idol….and Thursday, would see which 5 guys, 5 girls would be finalists.
03-01-2011 Tuesday…O M Goodness, it is MARCH. Time flies out here in this big ole’ world. Black Point, Great Guana….yes, still there! It was American Idol night (1 of 3 this week), so we enjoy mindless entertainment sitting in this remote location. This a.m. was 77 degrees, 66% humidity, wind SE 10-12 and the anchorage was a little bouncy due to the S component in the wind. Though, it was to shift back E and diminish this afternoon. Wednesday afternoon a NE’er, stinkin’ strong front, with 20-25 knots sustained and showers gusting 35, was to come through. The high sustained winds were to hang around for several days. Boats were moving everywhere, finding protection to hunker down for the blow. We just stayed put and enjoyed the clear blue skies this day. We had ridden out several strong fronts in this anchorage and since we had WIFI, we preferred not to move. We put out a little more chain, as Cindy routinely likes to have 100’ of anchor rode (chain) out. Since it was crowded here on arrival, she only put 75’ out. “Experts” advise a 7:1 scope for storms, meaning for every foot of water depth one multiplies by 7 to determine the number of feet of chain needed. We were in about 10’ of water so we would be fine at 75’ though, more peace of mind at 100’! Isla Rose, with Miko’s buddy Frank aboard pulled out and headed north this day. We knew Miko would miss her sweet look-a-like playmate. Greg/Michele on Argonauta (had drinks onboard Sunday) left this day as well. We planned to go to town this afternoon, so, we needed showers, whether or not we had hot water. We only briefly ran the generator & water heater on Monday night. Each Tuesday from 4-6 Scorpio’s Bar has happy hour prices, so we figured we needed to get clean! We’d do a little shopping, drop off the garbage and grab a Kalik (Bahamian beers) at 2 for 1 prices. We shopped online and bought a battery for Cindy’s Toshiba laptop….as hers had lost all its “oomph” only holding a charge for minutes vs. hours. We shipped it to Brendon, and he could bring it to us in Georgetown on the 11th! We also arranged with UPS in Brunswick to overnight our mail to him shortly before he came to visit us…..love email/internet!
02-28-2011 Monday, Black Point, Great Guana. We awoke yet again after another great night sleep. We had SE winds 10-15 and a quiet, calm and blue anchorage in this weather sweet spot. We watched the news this a.m. to see the Oscar results. Not much going on this day other than the huge, normal decision…what should we take of the freezer for dinner. Now that is stress. New friends on Big Run were back to reality in the States, having crossed back on Saturday. Now, here comes the explanation of a “green flash”. Green flashes are something all cruisers watch for, with every sunset. The phenomenon occurs when the sun slips slowly downwards to a clear ocean horizon. Ever reddening as it sinks, soon only a thin sliver of the once hot disk is left. Then, as that too shrinks and lessens, it shines forth for just a second in a most vivid emerald green. Then it is gone, only the dark ocean remains. That is the green flash of fables. Yes, we can verify that these flashes do occur. Though, prior to this season, we thought it was only a figment of others’ consumption of rum punch. A clear atmosphere produces the best ones but it is not absolutely essential. Sometimes the flash is more yellow, very rarely it is even blue. They say if you are energetic and observe on a hill or dune, you can run up after the first flash occurs and you may see another one. Supposedly, there are sunrise flashes too, if you are alert for the very place and moment that the sun will appear. Though, we haven’t had that experience to date. So, our sunset “green flash” totals to date this season are: Ken 3, Cindy 2. At high tide, we decided to run Miko to the bay beach. And, it was wonderful as three other dogs (and their folks) joined her/us …..”Toby” from Taiga a white poodle; “Sky” a golden retriever from Windwalker, and of course her favorite “Frank” from Isla Rose…a white husky/lab mix. It was quite a gathering…folks from Georgia (us), Alaska, Canada and Australia…and we had such a nice visit while our dogs ran themselves to exhaustion. We spoke with Craig on the SSB/Ham radio this evening and got a weather report as well. Yet another truly wonderful day, but no green flash this day. .
02-27-2011 Sunday, Black Point, Great Guana, Exumas Island Chain, Bahamas. SE wind picked up overnight and was around 15 knots, gusting more in the a.m. Humidity still down, 66% and 74 degrees on another blue-sky morning. We stayed onboard all day Saturday since we had wifi, facebook, and etc. access onboard for the first time in WEEKS. So, we knew we better drop the dinghy or Miko would stage a mutiny. We had the stress of dealing with another call about our home security alarm going off again this a.m. This is so frustrating, being here and not knowing if we were being robbed, house burning down, whatever it may be. This time we quickly got an email from our wonderful neighbor, Jane Dail, who handled the call for us. She said there was nothing found with the police so it may be a system issue, maybe bad wiring. She also so kindly offered to meet a technician there on Monday and figure out what was happening. Once we had that peace of mind and follow up sent by JD, we went to shore. We explored several little beaches on the northwest side of the anchorage that we hadn’t visited in our past stays here over the years. Each of the three little beaches had a concrete block shell of a homes started, but never completed. Sad to see these unfinished places, as you know each was someone’s dream once upon a time. We found one where we could walk up and over rocks, through the thick vegetation to the dirt road in front of the empty houses. We knew that down this path was a river and inland lake that we wanted to check. We met Michelle and Greg on the path, coming form the places that we were headed toward. They were from Kentucky and Vermont and Ken invited them to join us on Meant To Be for sundowners, 4:30 p.m. today. So, after enjoying our walk, back to the dinghy and MTB. We saw that Isla Rose, with “Frank” aboard (Miko’s buddy from Little Bay) had come in and was anchored behind us. Then we noticed they were on the bayside beach with Miko. We started to head that way to see if we could get Miko and Frank together. But, about that time, they were getting in their dinghy. We turned around and went back to MTB, waited for them to come by. Miko was so happy to see her four-legged pal. His folks said they would call us on the radio on Monday when they were taking Frank to shore. We hoped to get these two sweet dogs together on the beach to play. We turned on the Arizona NASCAR race and sadly the Daytona 500 winner; 20 year old Trevor Bayne wrecked his car early. Michele and Greg from a monohull named “Argonauta“ came about 4:30 pm and we enjoyed getting to know them. She a retired CPA from Kentucky and he retired from the University of Vermont having worked in the AG research there. They were very sweet to Miko and it was a nice evening and we all saw a green flash…see tomorrow/Monday’s post for more info on green flashes. This was Oscar night on TV, though we didn’t watch. We knew a summary would be given on a.m. news shows, more condensed.
02-26-2011 – Saturday, Black Point, Great Guana, Exumas Islands, Bahamas. We had a really, really lazy day aboard MTB this day….curse of having WIFI onboard the boat for the first time in weeks. We got emails, sent emails, checked Facebook, posted on Facebook, did some internet research and online banking. It was a wonderful lazy mindless day this one! The weather was again perfect, anchorage flat, skies blue, winds mild, water brilliant aqua blue. Temp was 81, humidity 67% so we were really enjoying this weather sweet spot we still found ourselves in. On our arrival Friday, we anchored a little closer to the boat next to us than we like…just happened in our haste to get in. They were a trawler named New Horizons, and we’d met the folks on the beach in Little Bay though they weren’t particularly friendly to us. Regardless, we were relieved to see their dinghy was up as that meant they planned to leave this day. We were glad our closeness wouldn’t be an irritant to them and we wouldn’t need to think about moving MTB. About 8:00 a.m., sure enough, they were out front, pulling up anchor and told their buddies on the radio that they were ready to go fishing. But, then their windless (the motor used to raise/lower their anchor) died. We felt bad for them as they spent the whole day working on it. They had friends from “buddy” boats aboard assisting off and on through the day as well. Our distance from them was truly ok by normal cruiser standards (not ours) especially considering the mild conditions. We just like to be as considerate as space available allows us, to be well thought of cruisers. We were hopeful that their repair was a success and they got to go fishing on Sunday. We tried to get an FSU basketball game at 2:00 pm, but it was on a station we did not have on Direct TV. Oh well. Miko was doing her “bored teenage” impression this day, but she would be fine once we took her to run crazy on a beach chasing her ball on Sunday. Heard from friend Craig on Rum Tum Tiger, that he was back aboard his boat, with sweet puppy Winnie and waiting for Mary to arrive on Tuesday. He left the marina and was anchored off at Clarence Town on Long Island. We know he’ll be happy to have his wife aboard soon.
02-25-2011 Friday, Little Bay, Great Guana to Sampson Cay, to Black Point. Two weeks from this day, Brendon/Beth would be aboard with us in Georgetown. So, we guessed we needed to get some fuel somewhere and boogie south sometime soon! We heard Georgetown was out of fuel, so needed to find some in this area before heading that direction. “Ed” did the weather this day as Chris Parker was in Georgetown. It was not a great situation and he didn’t give a general forecast, having technology glitches, etc. So, we’ll rely on BASRA (Bahamas equivalent to Coast Guard) and our HAM radio files the rest of this week. Chris would be back on 03-04-2011. It was 76 degrees and 68% humidity this morning with wind from the south. Ken saw a small school of fish behind the boat this a.m. with a group of larger fish following them…survival of the fittest! It was a good day to sail north and we thought about moving this day. Yep, we finally pulled up the anchor at about 10:30 am after a last trip for Miko to “her” beach to play fetch, get some exercise. We sailed north to Sampson Cay Yacht Club, got fuel and turned back south, motoring to Black Point. Anchor was down about 5:30, in time for a beautiful sunset.
02-24-2011 Thursday, Little Bay, Great Guana. 6 boats here this a.m., wind NE/E 12-15 in the a.m. It got cloudy during the day and we had several rain showers. We love these showers (vs. squalls!)…as they give MTB nice fresh water rinses. Today’s breakfast was the last of the homemade cinnamon rolls and that was truly a sad situation! “Beans” and two other boats left during the day and this evening we were down to three of us. Ken installed new latches with keys on the front exterior hatches for better ease of use and to give us some added security for our “stuff” up front. Cindy worked on cleaning out the guest room, moving food and miscellaneous junk to other places. A clean berth will be needed when Brendon and Beth come aboard. So, we knew we needed to start getting it “guest” ready. The wind turned more southerly again bringing the swells that occur in this anchorage. We stayed aboard all day this day much to Miko’s dissatisfaction. She saw the “Potcakes” on shore this afternoon and barked at the dinghy, ready to go to shore. She just cannot understand why she can’t play with these wild dogs having so much fun running around crazy on the beach. We ran the watermaker and generator another two hours this night, as we watch Idol go from 40 down to the top 24. The show/new judges seem to be doing well.
02-23-2011 Wednesday – 2 week anniversary, living here at Little Bay….Great Guana! It is too funny how time flies. When we realize we reached yet another milestone, it amazes us. Craig on Rum Tum Tiger was to be back to his boat this day, following a trip to NY for the funeral of his wife’s (Mary) mom. But we didn’t hear from him. Wind was light and variable overnight so the anchorage was wonderfully flat. We enjoyed another breakfast of the homemade cinnamon rolls. Then, we got to work and had quite a productive day. We re-strung the lines on three sections of our bow tramps. We re-did one section last season, and our two front ones looked fine, so just three needed our attention. This good work will give us peace of mind as no more worry about us or Miko falling through! We heard a story about a guy out sailing, losing his life when a tramp line broke and he fell through. So, we didn’t want any of that action. Ken worked again on leveling the “Track It” TV system as it was still not yet “plumb”. The unit mounts on a piece of stainless rod that holds the lifeline on the port stern side. Ken felt working with the bracket somemore may make dialing in our signal a little easier. “Beans” a monohull next to us with grandparents, son and two little kids. We watched the little ones swim from the shore/beach all the way back out to their boat, and once close, they were yelling for the grandmother to take their pictures. It was very cute. After working out in the sun on the tramp, we jumped in for a swim and enjoyed the cool off. We finished out one tank of freshwater so had to switch over to the other. This night (and the next few days) we ran the watermaker for two hours to refill the empty tank. We were running the generator anyway, to watch American Idol…in Las Vegas and down to 40 contestants so getting interesting.
02-22-2011 Tuesday, Little Bay, Great Guana. What can we say…geez we’re just lazy bums, as it appeared to be another day of just staying put. Guess we needed to appoint ourselves Mayor and Chamber of Commerce President for Little Bay. This am, one of our local neighbors, a very noisy Osprey, was out hunting and his distinctive cry was our wake up call. He was back again around 10:00 am, still hunting. We love to watch these creatures swoop down, grab a fish in their talons and fly into a strong wind with the poor doomed fish flailing wildly. Overnight, our sleep was great as diminishing winds allowed moderation in the swell that had us rocking Monday morning. We had replies back to a number of emails sent the prior day. Sadly, one told us that our wonderful across the street neighbors/friends tentatively set 04-11-2011 as their move date. They’d purchased a retirement farm property near Augusta, Georgia so would be leaving our area. We knew we’d be making some road trips to Augusta…”no problem, mon”! Their new home’s location will be convenient though, as they will be near the route we typically take to/from Greenville, SC to see family/friends. Jane Dail and Peggy may get tired seeing our little camper coming up their driveway! Their move will be hard on Miko as well, as she LOVES their dogs. She will be broken hearted when we go home and they aren’t there any longer. She actually ran away the night before we sailed, headed straight for Abee/Clancy’s house, running with abandon. We were so sad knowing we won’t be seeing these wonderful folks daily on our return to land. But, they will be our buds forever; we’ll all work hard to make sure of that. It was “moving day” for boats today. We saw many vessels heading south, out of Black Point this a.m., hearing most were going to Georgetown on Great Exuma Island. Folks typically travel south down the Exuma Islands, along the west shores, in a body of water called the Exuma Bank. Once reaching the Little Farmers Cay area, the Exuma Bank begins getting shallow. So, to proceed further south, vessels must go through a “cut”. There are a number to choose from, going between two islands to the body of water called the Exuma Sound, on the east side of the island chain. Vessels must pick the proper conditions (tide, winds, etc) to go through a cut, as they can be dangerous in “rage” situations, wind driven waves against strong current. And, the sea states on both sides (Bank and Sound) have to be right, with wind in the proper direction. So, it takes some studying of conditions to pick the “right” day to go south if one wants to sail vs. motor. Obviously, many folks decided today would be their day! About 11:30 a.m., we saw 4 Potcakes running the south bay beach and wished Miko could have fun playing with them.
02-21-2011 Monday, Little Bay, Great Guana…yes, still here and realizing we arrived here two weeks ago this coming Wednesday. So, we keep feeling we needed to think about moving! Though, we still hadn’t heard from Brendon and were just in a holding pattern until we knew for sure if we would need to go south to George Town. The winds clocked through the night Sunday, more southerly. We had no protection from southerly swells so when we got up, it was really rockin’, rollin’ in the anchorage. As a result, by 9:00 a.m., everyone else left the anchorage, including the beautiful motor yacht named “Happy” that came Sunday eve. We were happily rocking solo again, and it was so nice to have an anchorage to ourselves. We guessed we were becoming hermits. We just so enjoy pristine places, beaches. This am, the wind was SE about 10-15 knots, 72 degrees, humidity 69%. Wind was supposed to diminish through this day and the next, so we hoped the south swell we were experiencing would improve. Several boats actually motored into the anchorage this morning but didn’t stay, once they saw/felt the swell. Both were trawler type motor vessels. Cindy did a wonderful experiment this a.m. Using a boxed “hot roll” mix, she made a large pan of homemade yeast cinnamon rolls. When shopping in town last week, the store didn’t have any ground cinnamon, just sticks. So, Sunday watching the race, Cindy had hand grated several cinnamon sticks for this morning’s rolls. For all the grating, mixing, kneading, raising, forming and cooking, the results were well worth the efforts. The frosted delights were yummy, making the rocking swells more palatable. Our alarm company called from Brunswick about an alarm that went off at our house on Saturday. We told them we didn’t know anything about it. They said it was a great room window alarm, they had spoken with our friend/neighbor, Jane Dail Roper and the police didn’t find anything. We’re out here in the middle of nowhere and can’t do a thing. We didn’t know if it was an attempted break in, a faulty system, or what...nothing good and we hated not knowing. But, several neighbors went by and we knew they were kindly keeping a check on things. By midday, the swell was laying down as forecast, and that was good. We walked on 4 of the 5 area beaches this day, getting good exercise after being aboard all day Sunday. One beach was being “raked” by a local Bahamian who we think is employed by the folks at O’brien’s Landing. They keep these beaches so nice, without all the seaweed and junk accumulations prevalent on most east side beaches of this Exuma Island chain. We drafted and sent a number of emails on the HAM radio. It was “CC Surpise” for dinner this night. Daughter Jessica named these dishes, made with whatever needed to be used or was in the pantry, when she was younger. Tonight was leftover pork, potatoes, onion, cabbage & muffalatta olive salad, all diced and sauted in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It was tasty, enjoyed by us both and something we’d do again.
02-20-2011 VVVVRRROOOMMMM, Daytona 500 Sunday, Little Bay, Great Guana Cay. Overnight, and this a.m. were calm, calm, calm, with blue sky and big puffy clouds. A.m. was 72%, 64% humidity, winds east 10-12 knots. No weather reports are given at 6:30 a.m. on Sundays, so we slept late to a whopping 7:15 am, woo hoo. Though, it required us to run our generator, we watched all the Daytona 500 pre-race broadcast and the entire race. It was a great one. They honored Dale Earnhart on this the 10th anniversary of his death at Daytona. Everyone went silent on lap 3, holding up 3 fingers. They earlier did a missing man fly over in his honor. For the first time in history, a 20 year old first timer named Trevor Bayne won. He survived 16 cautions, worries about having enough fuel and the tag teaming on the newly resurfaced track. It was such a fun race to watch. Cindy called her Mom afterwards to see if she had watched. She had and also thought it was the best 500 ever. We heard on the radio that “At Ease” a 28’ motor vessel was adrift about 10 miles off of Little Farmers Cay, having lost their engine due to motor trouble. We heard their first distress call about 2:00 pm. Later we heard that Royal Bahamas Defense (similar to our Coast Guard) was almost to them, around 6 p.m. At bedtime, as we were headed down to our berth, we saw the Black Point Settlement Police boat towing them past our location, north toward Black Point. They probably didn’t get in until 10:00 p.m. so, those poor folks really had a day of it. All we could hope is that while adrift, they caught a bunch of fish! It is always nice when these situations have positive outcomes. We saw 5 Potcakes (wild Bahamian mutts) playing on the beach in front of us this day. Miko went nuts, wanting to go play as well. These dogs typically are flea and tick ridden, never had rabies shots, etc. So, Miko doesn’t get to fraternize with the “locals”, much to her displeasure. Late in the day, a mega motor yacht anchored just south of us…”Happy”….what a gorgeous vessel. We were bums and didn’t get off MTB all day.
02-19-2011 - Saturday, Little Bay, Great Guana Cay. Broken record….another nice overnight sleep and a.m. NE/E winds 10-15 knots, sky blue, water aqua, no clouds. We pondered moving North to Black Point once again this morning but just never got motivated to pull up anchor. We still hadn’t heard final trip details from Brendon. So, before heading south to Georgetown, we were waiting for confirmation they had their passports and booked flights. We’d rather be going west or north, as the first two weeks in March in Georgetown is “Cruisers’ Regatta”. Being there with 400 other boats and a bunch of cruisers working hard at having “fun”, wasn’t our cup of tea. Though, we knew we’d have a great time, wherever we were, with Brendon, Beth & Brian aboard. After an international breakfast of French toast made with Bahamian coconut bread, Canadian bacon and a couple pots of Colombian coffee, we enjoyed our HOT showers. Now, time to brag as Friday, we had a text message from daughter Jessica. She let us know that granddaughter Audrey was being considered for her school’s challenge program due to her strong State standardized test results. We were so proud to hear of our sweet girl’s accomplishments. We also happily received an email from our dear friends in British Columbia, Wanda & Corstiaan. We met Corstiaan in ’08 in Daytona and crossed at the same time to the Bahamas, both vessels = first timers doing the trip. Corstiaan’s email said he planned to leave home on March 8, 2011, heading back aboard their Island Packet monohull named “Lily Pad”. Last season he, and friend Russ, went through the Panama Canal and left Lily Pad in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for the summer. Soon, he will see his beautiful boat once again and be happily sailing for Canada & home. It was sad knowing we would not spend time together here this season. This was even true for Miko, as there will be no surprise Milkbones from him this year. We miss our friend and wish him fun, fair winds and safe travel home. We decided to walk to town this afternoon, about a 2.25 mile walk one way in search of internet access. Miko was yet again a rock star with the kids, bunches as not a school day. Little Trent and Paige loved her the longest and got the most kisses, giggling each time. Sadly, we spend money in town! $29 (2) bottles of rum, $11 (2 drinks), $2 garbage donation, $14 misc. groceries. $56 day total. Back to MTB by about 4:00 pm and Miko was pooped.
02-18-2011 – Friday, ah, tranquility (Little) Bay, Great Guana Cay. Thursday, overnight, we slept great with somewhat higher, but still NE/E, winds. A.M. temp was 72 with 62% humidity. OH HAPPY DAY….the “Texas Navy” and groupies were all gone by 10:00 a.m. this day, leaving just us and two monohulls. So peaceful here once again, we decided to stay and enjoy the anchorage another day before heading north to Black Point. It is hard to explain the difference between looking out from the salon/cockpit and seeing a bunch of boats, vs. just seeing water and sunsets. Due to being a catamaran, we typically are in further toward shore than many boats because we don’t draw as much water. So, when an anchorage gets crowded, most boats anchor behind us, in our full view. We like looking out and seeing only nature vs. boats so this day was great. In th morning, we hung out our clean t-shirts, using clothespins on the lifelines down both sides of MTB. Due to brisk winds and great sunshine, they were totally dry and smelling fresh, in less than 2 hours. It is nice whenever we hang out laundry, as it reminds us of days growing up, when our Moms did the same. Ah, memories of sheets flapping in the back yard on a line. Ken decided since we were staying another day, he should get a couple of boat jobs off his “to do” list. Miko, the princess, arose at 10:10 am this day…guess all that ball chasing, on two beaches Thursday afternoon, wore her out. A well exercised Shiba Inu is a happy and sweet Shiba Inu! About noon, a trawler and a Manta catamaran named “Conscious Sedation” came into our peaceful anchorage. Oh well, it was a nice for two hours at least. The trawler anchored directly behind in full view. Funny, these little irritants really are so unimportant that we have to reflect and remind ourselves…ah, we aren’t freezing, we aren’t working, and we don’t have a schedule…we are in the Bahamas! So, its ok folks, anchor where you want. After a nice time on the beach with Miko after lunch, we could see squalls coming and boogied back to MTB. Through the afternoon/eve, we had several dark skies/squalls come through. Each brought high winds AND nice fresh water rinses for MTB. We ran the generator with the starboard hot water heater on this evening, so HOT showers in the a.m.
02-17-2011 – Thursday, Little Bay, Great Guana Cay, Bahamas. The morning brought NE/E winds, 12-15 knots. By 10:00 a.m., the sky was a cloudless, brilliant blue. Cindy started some seedlings for an herb garden in the morning. She planted parsley, oregano, basil and chives in starter cups, hopeful for good results. The group of boats, self named the “Texas Navy” organized a party with some friends in Black Point for this afternoon. So, the boats expected to pull out this a.m. sadly stayed put, delayed a day. Bummer. We thought about going to Black Point on Friday. Though, we knew we wouldn’t get to enjoy a once again pleasant, almost vacant anchorage. So, Cindy was re-thinking the travel plan, yet again. We desperately needed internet access to check emails and do some online banking. Also, we were out of lettuce/rum and our trashcan was full. We knew we had to seriously consider cutting the roots holding us here sometime. Or, we could always walk the two miles to town. Naw, too much to carry, computers, etc. Bob/Diane from Michigan, on Two of a Kind, sadly pulled out this a.m. We spoke with them on the beach Wednesday afternoon and knew their travel plans would bring them to Georgetown later. So, if Brendon flies in there in March, we might catch up with these nice folks again. Cindy enjoyed comparing stories, as they too had a granddaughter same age (7) as our Audrey. We miss our little girl very much, so talking about the grand girls with Diane was nice. Ken cut a new replacement line that holds our swim ladder in place on the port sugar scoop, while sailing or not in use. The old line succumbed to prolonged exposure to salt water…bad stuff. Someone finally announced to all cruisers that there was a full moon eve potluck/party planned for the evening. We were glad the hear they opened it to all cruisers vs. making it an exclusive function. Anyway, all the Texas Navy buddies dinghied to one monohull and waited. Then, “See Ya’ll Later” a Seawind catamaran put out bumpers and picked everyone up on his boat and they motored to the party. Morning Glory had been here, left, and came back from Farmers Cay this day to participate. Since they were non drinker their return surprised us. But, we hoped everyone had a safe and wonderful time. We were content to enjoy some peace and quite while being the “neighborhood watch” this evening. Though we knew there was some serious drinking going on, the catamaran taxi made it back around to our anchorage about 9:00 pm. safe and sound. Since his wife had flown out this day, “See Ya’ll Later” just rafted up with a Lagoon catamaran, Guiding Light. This was easier for him than anchoring alone in the dark. We attempted making homemade bread for dinner this day but weren’t wonderfully successful due to old yeast and a poorly written recipe. We washed a load of t-shirts while we ran the generator to watch American Idol. Our washer/dryer is a combo unit, a compact square box in our head. It takes a good bit of water, but we can make more with our water maker. The worst part is it uses too much power to run the drying cycle, unless of course we are plugged into a marina. So, once washed, we just drape clean clothes over doors in the head and line dry them in the sun the next morning.
02-16-2011 – Wednesday, Little Bay, Great Guana Cay, Bahamas. Goodness, we arrived here a week prior. It is so hard to believe how time flies these days. Though not forecast, the wind was from the east this a.m. (supposed to be N/NE). We had great protection from that direction as well, so “no worry mon”! We slept really well Tuesday night, again with continuing nice conditions. We were enjoying being in a weather “sweet spot” for a change this season. North of us, the Abaco Islands were having awful weather week after week and further south seemed to be as well. Miko still had her rawhide bone (“Spa Day” treat), having worried over and protected it for several days already. A few folks were moving this day including our new acquaintance, Michelle, the nice young lady with her folks on “Texas Two Step”. They headed south, and by noon, the anchorage was down to 1 trawler, 3 catamarans, 1 trimaran and 4 monohulls. The weather forecast continued to look good for sitting in this anchorage so we were content to stay put in such a lovely place. Ken’s quote…”I’m a good lazy person” continued to be apropos. It was “hot” showers day for both Ken and Cindy as we ran the generator and fired up the water heater on Tuesday night. Hot showers are another one of our special “treats” aboard MTB. Ah, it doesn’t take much these days to delight us. A description of Little Bay may be in a good thing to help explain our contentment here. Picture a half moon crescent bay, open to the west. The NW point is a rocky shoreline interrupted by “The Castle”, a sand colored stucco home. This home is a prominent landmark, able to be seen for miles when offshore. As expected, “The Castle” looks like a castle with cathedral style windows and round rooms on each of its four corners. Continuing east along the rocky north shore of the bay, about 1/3 the way around, there is a small beach with amazing white sand. This is where the planned entrance to the defunct development’s marina was to be. On the right side of this beach there is another prominent “in progress” home with green metal roofs and coral color siding. A rocky outcropping separates the first beach from a second one further south, where we typically landed our dinghy. “Our” beach was largest of the two bayside beaches. Now, imagine pure white sand and aqua blue water so clear you can see a sand dollar on the bottom, 10’ down. Beautiful, breath taking. From Little Bay, one can walk the sand/rock roads, remainders of the “no go” development, to the east side of the island, to the airport or to Black Point. On the island’s east side across from Little Bay, we enjoyed two different beaches, one a double crescent moon and the other a single crescent. Both were fun to explore. From “our” bayside beach, continuing south, the shoreline becomes a wall of coral rock all the way to the southern most point of Little Bay. So, there you have it, a description of our home for the last week. From Little Bay, it is about a 2 mile hike to the settlement of Black Point or a 2.5 mile dinghy ride. We knew we could get motivated and go to town but to this point, it hadn’t happened. We went to the bay beach we were anchored in front of to let Miko have some exercise….fetch, bring it, drop it, fetch, bring it, drop it…over and over throwing the tennis ball. But, it sure makes her a happy, smiling. On shore, we met Bob/Diane from the Lagoon, named Two of A Kind that arrived around noon. These were really nice folks from Michigan. We had a nice chat and they headed off to explore the east shore beaches. This evening, as well as Thursday evening, American Idol was to be broadcast. We both looked forward to watching both shows as it was a new season & Hollywood week! Our “Track It” TV system is yet another cool toy we have aboard, that allows us to watch US shows almost everywhere in the Bahamas, via Direct TV. We haven’t heard from any family members for days/weeks, so need move and find and internet access/time to check emails and Facebook to assure that everything/one was good. This evening big clouds surrounded us and winds were gusting 25 knots around dinner time. We had several showers through the night and that is always good…fresh water rinse for MTB. The anchorage was still great and we slept like babies, as is our norm these days.
02-15-2011 – Tuesday, Little Bay, Great Guana Cay, Bahamas. Well, it was another great night’s sleep due to lower temp/humidity. A.M. temp was 71 degrees, with 58% humidity. The anchorage was smooth overnight, only about 5 knots of wind from the NE, nowhere near the velocity forecast….but, no complaints. Sadly, Big Run radio’d this am to say goodbye, as they decided to motor north this day. The friends they’d been waiting for arrived in the area from Georgetown, Monday eve. Big Run planned to “buddy boat” with them back to Miami, hoping to be there by 3/1/2011. We knew we’d stay in touch with these nice folks and hoped our paths would cross again somewhere. When Big Run pulled up anchor, they motored by the stern of MTB and we all waved, including Miko, bittersweet. About 9:00 a.m, we saw their friends (on another Krogen) coming from the south, making us happy knowing these friends would have a nice reunion in Black Point this day. The wind built in the morning and small white caps were re-appearing in the anchorage, though it was still very nice. The Bahamas Defense ship left the area this a.m. We emailed Brendon to make sure he knew passports were required to enter the Bahamas. When he/Brian visited in 2008, passports were not necessary. But, we hoped they already had theirs (or could get them) before March 11, their trip departure date. Frank, Miko’s boyfriend dog on the Manta catamaran named Isla Rose, went by in his dinghy this a.m. We wanted to get Miko to shore so she/Frank could play again. But, Ken was in the middle of making breakfast and sadly we missed them. Frank and his folks were back to Isla Rose with their anchor up by 9:45 a.m. We radioed and learned they were making a short hop south. So, we thought we may cross paths somewhere & and our pups may play again. Flies were an issue this season both at Little Bay, as well as Black Point. So, Ken was on a killing mission following breakfast. Miko used to be somewhat nervous when he started this, though now she didn’t worry when he grabbed the “swatter”. We went to shore this morning and Ted//Millie from “Morning Glory” were on the beach. We had a nice chat with them and found they, too, were USF supporters (like Cindy) and were from Ft. Lauderdale. We walked to a small beach we previously visited on the east side of the island and had a great time. This beach was horseshoe shaped, with tall rock walls at both end points. Because we were somewhat “enclosed”, we felt comfortable letting Miko off her leash. We threw her ball over and over. She ran hard in our game of fetch, smiling the whole time. A cooler day at the beach resulted in some great exercise for all of us. It was “Spa Day” for Ken & Cindy, both getting haircuts from each other this day. And, as was generally the case, both were pleased with the other’s effort. Several years ago, an investment was made in good hair shears vs. paying for haircuts. Since Cindy’s hair required only a simple straight line cut, she was tired of paying $50+ for this simplest of jobs. She convinced Ken he could do it and for years now, Ken and Cindy each cuts the other’s hair. Not only is this a significant cost savings, it is a super convenience in this cruising life we live.
02-14-2011 – VALENTINES DAY, Monday, Little Bay, south of Black Point Settlement, Great Guana Cay. We slept great with the cooler temperature and lower humidity (72 degrees/68%) brought by the front. This a.m. the wind was N/NE 15 knots, gusting 20. Through the morning and mid day, laid down considerably and moved more to the east. We dropped the dinghy and went to shore after breakfast. We discovered another beach on the east side and walked its whole length. It was very beautiful and we found some sea glass, beans and shells. Miko was a happy girl this day, as it was cooler for our walk. She ran the beach with each of us and as always, was such a contented girl due to getting her proper exercise. We met the local guy running the land/road excavator, he stopped to speak to us on the road. He’d been building a green roofed house in Little Bay for the last 6 years! Gonna be a nice place it its ever finished. The large Bahamas Defense (similar to Coast Guard) ship arrived in the area, anchored off the point north of us, near Black Point. Shortly, their dinghy (with weaponry) was in our anchorage and boarding vessels to check for firearms, documentation, etc. We showed them the paperwork from our last boarding and they left us without further adieu. Michelle, 17 year old high school junior from the 38’ Leopard catamaran named Texas Two Step (nope, they’re from Oregon!) came over in the afternoon on her kayak. She was being home schooled, self assured, and a lovely young lady. We had a very nice visit with her and Miko so loved having her company. Michelle said “I think Miko is the cutest dog I have ever seen”. Ted, from the Seawind catamaran next to us named “Morning Glory” came by and chatted with Ken. He and his wife, Millie arrived earlier this day. They had the same brand of catamaran as “See Ya’ll Later”, so we were flanked by twin vessels. We had 6 catamarans of various shapes/sizes lined up along the bay. Around 4:30 pm, we put Miko in her crate and went to Big Run, a Krogen motor vessel, for happy hour. We really enjoyed spending more time with Bob/Sharon as we had also been anchored next to each other at Farmers Cay but had not met. These very nice folks are “dog people” and extended our invitation to their boat this evening to Miko as well. We felt that little girl needed some time in her crate, as she was getting so spoiled, being with us 24/7. Because of this, seemed we should be treated like a “dog” once and awhile. She cried as she heard the dinghy leave, but we figured she soon was snoozing. In this cruising life, we cross paths with a lot of folks from many places. Most we know will be casual, temporary contacts, pleasant but not expected to last long term. With Bob and Sharon, we felt such a nice connection & very much enjoyed our time together. They were going back to the states to have some work done and will next be going north, with us going south. It will be sad to see them pull out of the anchorage whenever they leave. But, we had their contact information and knew we’d work hard not to lose contact with them. After a really nice evening, we were headed back to MTB, when Cindy realized her heavy gold anklet was no longer on her ankle. This was upsetting on Valentines Day, as it had been a Valentines Day present from Ken many years before. It was dusk, hard to see, when we got back on MTB. Yet for some reason, on entering the cockpit, Cindy unexpectedly reached down to a rug. It was in front of where she sat during Michelle’s visit aboard. Though she did this almost instinctively….the only thing she touched was her missing gold anklet. Though very strange, finding it that easily was once again a wonderful Valentines Day present. It almost seemed like a reminder not to take any gift for granted. Miko did just fine while we were away and so sweet in welcoming us home. So, we had a really happy, perfect ending to this Valentines Day.
02-13-2011 – Sunday, Little Bay, south of Black Point Settlement, Great Guana Cay.
This was a cloudy, gray day with high winds all day, 20-25 knots. We had 12 other boats in the smallish anchorage with us. And still, the “Texas Navy”/See Ya’ll Later were on the radio telling their buds to come down as there was great protection and “lots of room”. Oh well. One nice result of this cold front was that it gave us lower temps and reduced humidity. Though, we had intermittent sprinkles, dark skies and howling wind all day. It is these “ick” days that make us appreciate the blue skies and calm seas so much when we have them. Today was “Miko Spa Day” so she got brushed a long time, had her nails clipped and received a rawhide bone treat for being such a good girl through it all. Miko is so funny when she gets a bone for a treat. For about two days, she chews just a little off of it, spends all her time/effort to hide it from us. She puts it under our bed pillows, etc. and then gets all worked up if we “find” it. Then she has to find a new spot. Finally she gives up and chews up the whole bone. Never have we had a dog deal with bones so stereotypically, very funny to watch, for sure. Ken did some boat jobs this day: replaced several zipties on the outside safety netting, fixed the push button for the port/aft shower drain and re-fit a screen in our berth that was not properly installed. We heard from Brendon and he was still planning to join us for spring break mid March. So, we had a travel plan, knowing we’d need to be in Georgetown to pick them (Brendon, Brian, Beth) up in a few weeks. It’ll be very fun to have them join us.
02-12-2011 – Saturday, Little Bay, south of Black Point Settlement, Great Guana Cay.
Wind was light and variable, from the south when we got up this a.m. after a wonderful night’s sleep in a calm flat anchorage. We knew a cold front possibly containing squalls was headed our direction. The wind was to increase and back around from the S to the N/NE this day. This was one of the reasons we selected this location several days prior, always planning to wait out the front. Typically, Little Bay is a little utilized anchorage with one or two boats at a time. So, it was surprising we already had 5 boats this a.m. We heard a group in Black Point on the radio on Friday referring to themselves as “the Texas Navy”. See Ya’ll Later was discussing having “the Navy” move to Little Bay this day L. Well, sure enough at 8:30 a.m., there they were, 6 boats around the point from Black Point. We sure didn’t know why, as Little Bay is a pretty small anchorage. We chose Little Bay as we enjoy places that are isolated and that we hadn’t visited before. Oh well. In the a.m., we decided to hustle into the south beach, enjoy some shore time, give Miko a run/walk and to retrieve a leash we left on a tree the night before. Sadly, Frank’s folks’ dinghy was up and Miko’s new 4 legged boyfriend wouldn’t be on shore to play with her. She didn’t know that though and went crazy as we approached the beach hoping he was there. We explored and found a small beach on the east side of the island where we collected some sea glass, interesting shells and hamburger beans. Can’t beat that. When back to MTB, we put up the dinghy just in case the front was worse than forecast (oh, yes it does happen…no matter how many weather sources one consults!). Winds built all morning and were about 15 knots by lunch. MTB swung back around from the south to N/NE which caused the anchor alarm to go off. We hate alarms! But, we knew this one was just due to the wind direction change & that we weren’t dragging. The dang things still unnerve us when they go off. At one point during the morning, the sky really darkened so we turned on the radar to track the storm’s progress to see that it was going SW of our location. We had a few sprinkles by lunchtime, but that was all. We actually were hoping MTB and Toby would both get nice fresh water rinses for free. After lunch, there was no blue sky left in any direction, only gray, with wind building. Though, the good news was that things seem to be coming through earlier than forecast and we hoped that meant the nighttime hours would see moderation. When we have high wind, storms, etc. during daylight hours it isn’t worrisome at all anymore. Although, when the same winds/storms coming through after dark, they seem stronger and spookier. After lunch, we counted 12 other boats in our little anchorage and were amazed. Guess it was that group think, follow you anywhere syndrome. It is funny the impression you get of certain folks from their conversations on our boat “party line”, the VHF radio. Members of Texas Navy boat names were: See Ya’ll Later, Anchor Management, Guiding Light, Calaio & Storyville. On Friday, we enjoyed meeting Bob/Sharon on Big Run after having seen them at Farmers Cay previously. We had hoped to spend more time with them this day, but decided we needed to put up the dinghy/stay aboard MTB due to the weather.
02-11-2011 – Friday, Little Bay, south of Black Point Settlement, Great Guana Cay. Wind was light and variable so we went into the north beach and walked around on shore this a.m. Though the temperature was not that high, around 80, the humidity was the killer. Miko figured out it was cooler to walk in one of our shadows or under the shade of a tree along the dirt roads…pretty smart girl. On the way back to MTB, we stopped by Big Run and Wings to say hello. Wings had a two year old black poodle aboard. A few other boats arrived this day so Cindy/Ken asked each of them to gather on the south beach at 4:30 pm for drinks/social time. Big Run had a puncture in their dinghy they patched during the day, so we told them we would be their taxi for happy hour. We swam in the afternoon. Having water this warm, this early in the season was such a treat. We made a batch of rum punch, put together some snacks and read. About 4:15 pm, Ken dropped Cindy/Miko at the beach and went out to get Bob/Sharon on Big Run. Of the five boats, four groups came into enjoy the sundown and each other’s company. Miko met “Frank” her new, big, look alike white lab mix friend. We joked that she was Frank’s ‘Mini Me”. They got a long great. We had Wings, Big Run, Isla Rosa and Meant To Be on shore. It was such a nice group, some drinks, good snacks and enjoble conversations. Miko loved having a friend to run with. We took Bob/Sharon back to Big Run and were back to MTB before dusk. It was an enjoyable day. This was a five star night of sleep with winds light and variable, no rocking, no rolling, no slapping…AAAHH.
02-10-2011 – Thursday, Little Bay, south of Black Point Settlement, Great Guana Cay, Bahamas. This a.m. we had south wind about 10 knots and it resulted in pretty big swell in the anchorage and we were rocking. By 9:45 a.m. everyone but Big Run left the harbor. We saw so many boats go by, heading south, this day. Go figure…choosing to motor into the wind just doesn’t seem like a good plan, but that “group think” is strong. One does something, they all go. Three of the boats that left here today were traveling together L. The sky was brilliant blue and clear, temperature 80 degrees and humidity lower than Wednesday, at 73%. So, though we were rocking front to back, it was still a nice day to be lazy. AND, it started out with pancakes, yum. Miko is getting so spoiled as on pancake mornings, Ken actually cooks a flap jack for her, too. Craig on Rum Tum Tiger was safe and sound with puppy Winnie, in the marina at Clarence Town, Long Island. He was looking for a dog sitter for Winnie and we were sad we weren’t further south and able to help. Craig’s email indicated he was making plans to fly home to NY, if Mary’s mom didn’t recover. We sent Brendon an email and asked him to let us know what he’d decided about visiting us, ASAP. If not this season, we knew we would work it out to get them aboard next year. We just needed to know, as we were trying to do some long range trip planning. There are two houses on the shore of our anchorage, Little Harbor. One is called the Castle and looks as one would expect by its name. The other is a more traditional house, in process, with a sea foam green metal roof and coral siding. We hadn’t seen any lights on at the Castle. But, each afternoon, we’d heard a generator running at the other home. We hoped we’d meet the “shore” folks, as we planned to stay here a few days. Always interesting to learn the “story” of different folks on these islands. A back hoe had been moving dirt around on shore each day since our arrival. Since we didn’t think the marina/development was back in the works, we figured it was just some road maintenance. We knew we’d have to get back ashore and see what they had been up to. We saw the Osprey couple this day, both male and female. What a treat to see them. He had a fish in his mouth, flying against strong wind and he was working hard. This day the wind was totally not as forecasted, more SW than supposed to be and stronger…so rollers were significant in the anchorage with no one getting off the boat this day. “Big Run”, a trawler we’d seen around, was the only other boat with us this evening. Winds did moderate and turn more toward where we had protection E/SE so it was a nice evening, with TV but no WIFI.
02-09-2011 – Wednesday, Little Bay, Great Guana, Exuma, Bahamas. Cooler, this a.m. with wind from the NE at about 10-15 and humidity is lower. We had 76 degrees and 79% humidity at 9:00 a.m. Sara Jane, the Gemini cat that came in Tuesday late afternoon left by 7:30 a.m. So, then it was just four, one cat, three monohulls. It was a morning for Lorraine’s momma’s coconut bread French toast for breakfast, always a treat. We drafted Brendon a long email giving him information about pros/cons of George Town, Long Island and Eleuthera. He said he was leaning toward Long Island in a previous email. But, we’ll see where they decide to come, as it may depend on timing of flights/costs. He did say they would probably arrive in the Bahamas on 03-13-2011. So, we’d need to be wherever they decide to vacation in time to pick them up. We checked the SSB/Ham radio and found our email crossed with Brendon’s. He said the trip may not work out due to his work schedule. About 9:00 am Plan C, a monohull left going north to Staniel Cay area. Boats come, they go and by day’s end we had three monohulls, 2 trawlers and us, the sole catamaran. We did some reading, swam and cleaned our hulls this day. Being able to finally get in the water was great. Our little noodle float chairs really worked well and would help us keep MTB’s bottom clean. We went to shore to run Miko up and down the beach. She just needs a bit of exercise each day and then is a very happy, smiling (yes, she does smile) girl. There were a lot of beached jellyfish this day, some with hanging tentacles. Though, they didn’t appear to be Portuguese Man O War types that are more dangerous when beached. Cindy found a number of starfish that had ended up beached due to the low tide, in various sizes. She scooped each one up and put them back out into the water. Hopefully she wasn’t too late for them to revive/survive. We heard from Rum Tum Tiger and Mary’s mom had taken a turn for the worse. Hospice told Mary she needed to be home within a day or two so she flew out from south Long Island. Luckily they were near an airport with commercial service. By the end of this day, was with home in NY with her Mom. It was hot this afternoon, so we sat outside up on top of MTB, in the wind for our happy hour. It was very pleasant. Through the evening/night, wind turned more south, a direction where we had no protection. So, it was a bit rolly overnight, but we still slept really well.
02-08-2011 – Tuesday, departed Little Farmer’s Cay to Little Bay, Great Guana. Even as late as this a.m. sitting at Little Farmer’s Cay, we still hadn’t decided where we wanted to go. Normally we aren’t ambivalent about our next move. We thought about going down to Cave Cay Marina for fuel, then anchoring off and leaving the next day to push south toward Georgetown. But, the a.m. nice north wind that was to allow us to SAIL south was non existent, just 2-4 knots. So anywhere we went this day, we’d be motoring….always a bummer. We finally decided to go to a nice beach we had not before visited, Little Harbor, south of Black Point on Great Guana. It was only a 7 mile hop north, so though it required motoring, it was a short leg that would allow our batteries to recharge some. Around 10 am, we were ready to fire up the engines to motor out of the anchorage…starboard engine, AOK, port engine, NOTHING. Oh man, now what? Ken thought initially it may be the starter. He checked for power, to and from and the starter seemed ok. Ah, a broken wire was found and fixed so that should be the ticket. Cindy turned the starter key, NOTHING. Ken poured over both the boat and the Yanmar owner’s manuals and wiring schematics. There was an answer…he saw on one drawing and remembered that both engines had in line relay switches. For some reason, these unnecessary relays had been installed on MTB in between the starter and the engine. And, yes, the port relay was bad. Ken wired around it, Cindy turned the starter key…and VVRROOOMMM, by noon all was good again. We can’t imagine what non-mechanical owners do in these remote locations. We guess that if Ken wasn’t so “handy” we’d have been sailing back to Nassau or Spanish Wells to a boat yard for a fix. There is no way someone without mechanical and common sense could live this life easily nor economically. One must be pretty self sufficient out here. Anyway, anchor was up midday afternoon and off we went. The sky and water were amazing blue and aqua colors this day, brilliant as the sky was almost cloud free. We were anchored with three other boats in Little Harbor by 2:00 pm after a nice short putt putt north. Once there, Bob from Inca Rose “peddled” over in a Hobie inflatable pedal kayak and said hello. Now, that was something we hadn’t seen before, an inflatable kayak…very smart and cool as they would be lightweight and easy to store. We actually left our 2 heavy pedal Hobie sea kayaks home this season. They are very difficult to get over the side of MTB and then back up on board due to their weight. Now, if our pedal mechanisms would work on an inflatable Hobie, that would be so cool. We knew this was something we’d have to look into when we got home for next season. As Bob pedaled by, the Osprey who’s nest/eggs we saw south in the anchorage at White Point, was yelling at him. She is a well known creature in these parts and was very vocal…really telling Bob to stay away. He was headed south and that was the direction of her nest. What a huge and beautiful bird, a real treat to see her again. It was so hot and the humidity so high, we decided to try getting in the water for the first time this season. We’d bought some “net” chairs with pockets before leaving home this season. They are designed so you can insert a “noodle” for buoyancy, making the back/arms. We decided to give them their maiden try. The water was a little nippy when getting in, 70s but the chairs were great and the water refreshing once we were used to it. We paddled in our floating seats out to our anchor to see how it was set and found it totally buried in wonderful holding white sand. Nice. We floated around and under MTB, and could see that all was good with our fittings, through hulls and the underside in general. Our hulls were amazingly clean as the diver did a great job cleaning off the barnacles at home the week before we left Brunswick. Good job! Thanks. While we swam, Miko was left alone onboard MTB as she doesn’t like to swim. She couldn’t quite understand what she was seeing, with us in our little floating chairs. But, she didn’t worry too much, just went up on top and laid down in the shade of the boom/sail. She’s a pretty smart girl when it comes to finding shade. After our refreshing swim, we went to shore, ran around with Miko and did a walkabout. There is another sad, defunct Bahamas folly here. There had been grandiose development plans for this harbor several years back, around 2006 that included a marina being cut inland. Now there is just a big hole where the marina was to be, with roads cut up and over the surrounding hills for the expected million dollar homes. It is so sad to see these failures, as you know it might have been amazing by looking at the remaining skeleton of the place. Back to MTB, we worked on “squaring” up the “Follow Me TV” unit. This is the satellite tracking unit that allows us to have Direct TV onboard. It had never been properly plumb, being installed by the previous owners so Ken wanted to see if he could improve the mounting. Once that was done, we had to recalibrate the dish….one likes to see the satellite reading in the high 80-90 numbers. So, Ken would move the dish, Cindy would check the reading….0,0,0,….ok now? 0,0,0,….ok now? 0,0,0! By now it was getting dark. But, once Ken got out the flashlight and could better see what we were doing….60, 95….woohoo. TV shows this night were perfect, no rocking, no signal coming in and out. Yeah. The anchorage was wonderfully flat all night and no slapping on our hulls, cooler temp and lower humidity brought in by the north wind this day…all made for an amazing 5 star sleep.
02-07-2011 – Monday, Little Farmer’s Cay, Exuma Island chain, Bahamas. Well, we were all alone again this morning with wind from the S/SW 15-18 knots. The sky was cloud free and brilliant clear blue. When we got up this a.m., humidity reading in our salon was 99% and it was miserable. Luckily, by noon, it was down to 77%, still not wonderful. Our west anchorage was rocky but we knew the wind was to lessen throughout the day. So, we just chilled this morning. Miko was so chilled, she didn’t roll out of bed until 10:00 a.m. and only then because she smelled cheese grits/sausage leftovers being re-heated. Since we ran the generator to watch TV most of the day Sunday, we had turned on the hot water heater. So, this was “warm showers” day for Ken and Cindy, always a treat. Yep….cruising, it’s the most expensive way folks can travel third class….with limited power, limited water, limited communications, etc. After the wind diminished some this afternoon, we loaded up the garbage, our computers and Miko and headed to town. It was a bittersweet trip in as we knew it would probably be our last visit to the island this season. We planned to up anchor on Tuesday, as the wind forecast was for N or NE winds, and that meant we could finally SAIL south vs. motoring. This season, we’ve tried to change locations only if we could sail. Without a schedule, we didn’t have to motor anywhere, wasting diesel fuel. Diesel in the Bahamas this season was scarce and cost more than $5.50+ per gallon. So, the less used, the less needed and the more saved. A few boats went by both north and south this day but it was a pretty sleepy part of the world for the most part.
02-06-2011 – Sunday, Little Farmer’s Cay, Exuma Island chain, Bahamas, still west anchorage. Wind turned more toward the S and was a little stronger, 15-18 so our anchorage was rocky, but still ok. This was one of the weirdest mornings we’d had since we’ve been cruising. When we got up, we were still surrounded by the sea of vessels that had accumulated all week, about 50 boats. It was almost like someone blew a whistle for everyone to “go”. By 10:00 a.m., we were the only boat anchored in the west shore anchorage. It was almost as if we didn’t get an important memo and it was really terribly strange, rather surreal. We think it has a lot to do with the fact there were a lot of first season cruisers here and “group think” seems to prevail. Whenever one cruiser gets on the VHF radio, telling his buddy he is moving somewhere else for more “protection”, seems that it starts a lot of chatter among all the other boats in the same area. Everyone comes to the conclusion that they need to leave and seek more protection. Yes, we knew a small cold front was coming through on Monday. And, yes, it would cause our wind to go from SE to S to W to N. And yes, we had no land protection from those directions here. BUT, the velocity of the wind was to be low…resulting in the anchorage not being significantly different than it had been the entire last week. We went to shore around 11:00 am, choosing to go to the north beach/airstrip/gazebo bar. The gazebo bar had a new flat screen TV all set up, ready to host a Super Bowl party. Sadly, there was no one around to attend. A few boats were left on moorings in the harbor, but we heard them say they were going to watch the game at the “Yacht Club”. So, Angelo (nice, nice guy) who runs the place had to be disappointed with the mass cruiser migration and we felt bad for him. We walked Miko, so she could stretch her legs and smell all the wonderful smells on the beach. We had a bumpy dinghy ride back to MTB, as the waves were coming right on our nose due to the change in wind direction. But, Miko was, as usual, out on the front bow of the dinghy, our smiling masthead. Once back safe and sound, onboard we dialed in the FSU vs. NC game (L FSU lost) and watched all the Super Bowl pre game hype. Finally we watched the Packers narrowly beat the Steelers. Cindy is a “Cheesehead” having been brought up in Wisconsin so was pulling for them. Though, both Cindy and Ken like the Steelers’ coach very much and hoped he could be the first to win two Super Bowls before the age of 40. But, not this year as the Lombardi trophy went appropriately back to Packer Land. We are very spoiled having “Track It TV” a satellite “following system” and Direct TV onboard. We can sit in the most remote places and watch TV shows just the same as if we were sitting at home. We had thought that we would invite some of the cruisers anchored around us over for the game…but there weren’t any left! .
02-05-2011 – Saturday, Little Farmer’s Cay, Exuma Islands, Bahamas, west anchorage. Now, that was a good night’s sleep….calm, cool, slept like babies. We stayed aboard all day as we knew there would be several Family Regatta races to watch. For breakfast, we decided on corned beef hash….but none in the galley. So, we went container diving into the storage area where we keep our food and “shopped” for things depleted in the galley. We retrieved canned crème for alfredo sauce, parmesan cheese, corned beef hash, grits, vodka sauce, some breakfast bars, etc. We had a bird’s eye view of the first race of the day. It was a long one with six boats weaving in between cruising boats and dinghies. Then once clear of boats & shore, they went far offshore to round a temporary buoy. The first of this day’s races was a 3-circuit event, out and back… three times around. It was beautiful and entertaining to watch. Friday’s winner came in last in today’s first race so one never knows. On any given day, with any given conditions… anyone can be a winner. Cindy enjoyed a few more bites of the guava duff with her breakfast, yummy. Closing ceremonies for the races were scheduled for 3 pm, but by 2 pm this afternoon, we knew there was still another race to go. So, there was no way that there would be a 3 pm ceremony…ah, island time, mon. It truly is funny how schedules here are more like just lists of activities and the times given seem to be suggestions as to what time things may occur. Schedules never seem to be met……,EXCEPT for the cutoff times of happy hours! After we enjoyed the races aboard all day, late afternoon after the final race, we heard wonderful live music, coming from the gazebo at the airstrip. A tuba, cans, drums, any things that make noise are used for the local Junkanoo sound. Earlier in the day, we’d heard an announcement that a ”raft up” of dinghies was going to be held near the “Yacht Club” at 5 pm. They asked that all the cruisers participate to make this a wonderful photo op. When they made the announcement, we thought about joining in. Although, with so many local boats zooming around so much drinking going on, we decided it best to stay safely aboard. Around 4:15 pm, an announcement was made on the radio about the raft up…..”because of safety concerns, the dinghy raft up is cancelled”… too funny. We knew it would be better to just stay home on board this day. We were surprised as even more boats arrived this day. We estimated that there were easily 100 boats in the area. It was interesting trying to second guess which direction the majority of boats would go when departing. We wanted to go the opposite way! We come to the Bahamas for the peace, quiet and serenity, not the social scene….fuddy duds, we guess. Cindy caught up with her Mom on the phone this day and was happy to hear all was well with the Sarasota family. The best news was that our premmie grand niece, Madison was home, eating and doing very well.
02-04-2011 – Friday, Happy Birthday Ann! AH…”5Fs” today, Friday, Little Farmer’s Cay, Exuma Island, Bahamas, west shore anchorage. Well, we got up to big swells from the south in the anchorage, uncomfortable, but not a biggie. A number of boats around us pulled up anchor and re-located, but we knew the wind was to shift back toward the east and diminish by the afternoon, so no problem. We were in the perfect position to watch the first of the Family Regatta sailboat races just after lunch….(scheduled for 11 o’clock…but its Island Time, mon!). There were six boats, but sadly one lost his mast when it broke right in half. These are all handmade vessels using local materials. So a mast is basically a tree limb or sapling. We love seeing these local racers with guys hanging so far over the edges to hold the opposite side of the sail out of the water. It is amazingly fun to watch. And, of course, conch horns sound (including ours) as the winner rounds an orange temporary buoy. There were only about two clouds in the sky this beautiful day. We finally went in to town/shore around 2 pm to check out the festivities. Bahama flag pennants (aqua, black, gold) were draped all around town. Locals had tents set up to sell crafts, food, alcohol/beer/drinks and, of course, Tshirts. We bought a loaf of bread and a Tshirt at the convenience store $12, $4 and “guava duff” $5 from a local tent. We walked all around the town and bought another Tshirt commemorating the Festival (25th annual) on one side and the long time paster who passed away in September on the other, $20. We stopped by the new Pastor’s house and she (niece of former pastor) told us services would be held Sunday at 10:30 a.m and encouraged us to join them. We heard they had other types of Tshirts at the airport, so we walked back to the west side of the island, and checked on our dinghy. We wanted to make sure it was ok, still there and floating. Then, we walked north on the airstrip to where the Regatta activities at the airport (ah, a gazebo at the landing strip) were supposed to be happening. Before we reached our destination, we had to hustle some as a plane was preparing for takeoff. No Homeland Security here….folks just walking all over the airstrip. Most planes coming in make two passes, one to make sure no trucks are using the landing strip (doubles as a road) and two, to warn anyone who maybe walking along. Once we got to the gazebo, we were surprised to see that this location was rocking, party central…D.J., bar, food, many local residents and a lot of cruisers. There were about 20 dinghies pulled up on the shoreline of the beach in front of the gazebo. A lot of local resident power boats were anchored here as well. We bought yet another Tshirt for Cindy $15, took photos, enjoyed the music before walking back to the south beach/dinghy. We were back on MTB for happy hour and enjoyed watching yet another of the local Family Regatta races. As forecast, winds had cooperated and the anchorage had settled down nicely. We tried the guava duff as we have heard so much about it. JR’s daughter, in from Nassau (he’s the local artisan carver here) made the “duff” and selling it. In 2008, we bought a carved wood parrot and conch horn from JR and he remembered us. Back to guava duff….it is somewhat like our strawberry shortcake. We have heard about it for a long time. Sweet, bread like slices are covered with a milk based sweet sauce with guava pulp and pieces in it that turn the liquid pink. It was enjoyed and we had half of it left over and looked forward to snacks for a day or two. Funny, this day was “First Friday” at our home, Brunswick, GA. First Friday is a monthly event we always so enjoy at home, with downtown merchants staying open later, music, wine, snacks, etc. So, a Friday away from home was enjoyed in much the same way.
02-03-2011 – Happy Birthday Martha! Thursday, Little Farmer’s Cay, Exumas, Bahamas, west shore anchorage. We awoke yet again after a great, calm night’s sleep and had a typical morning. Though, we were quickly “surrounded” by boats…in a matter of hours, nineteen of us in this anchorage. Over the years, in our four previous visits here, never had there been another boat anchored with us. And, on the east side, in the little “cut” in between Great Guana, Big Farmers Cay and Little Farmers, it was equally crazy. All the moorings were filled, and vessels were anchored anywhere they could find water deep enough for their vessel. The winds were luckily mild but expected to build. So, we knew it would be interesting to see the result once the known surge/swell started running through the cut with the increasing winds. We were happy where we were anchored. We dinghied into shore after lunch for exercise and exploration. This day, we walked north on the western beach, along the airport’s landing strip, around the north end Little Farmers Cay, to the “Yacht Club”, then south along the island’s east beach and back west to our dinghy. The “Yacht Club” is one dock, a few picnic tables outside and inside a small combo bar/restaurant with a few tables. It is a wonderful and fun, casual place that we always have enjoyed. About a week previous, we heard some cruisers on their VHF radios. One vessel had already arrived at Little Farmers and their friends on another boat were on their way. So, the first to arrive got on the radio to tell the other boat they had reservations for the four of them at the “Yacht Club”. The later vessel responded with excitement and appreciation and then asked “so, should we dress for dinner?”. The response cracked us up… ”aaawwwhhhh, its not that kind of Yacht Club”! The east beach has amazing purple and coral colored shells that we haven’t found in other places. So, we picked up a lot of these this day as it was low tide and they were abundant. There were a large number of jellyfish on the beach this day as well but luckily Miko was totally uninterested in them. As we did our shelling, a seaplane flew very low through the masts of the many, many boats anchored, and on moorings, which was pretty exciting. We intended to take Miko back to MTB then go back to town for the 3 pm organizational meeting about volunteering for the festival. Once back to MTB, we looked at each other and said, nope. We don’t need responsibilities nor a schedule. Though it has taken a while for us to learn this, we have learned it really well. Its been mentioned in this log that Ken’s new favorite saying is “I really am a good lazy person”. Yep, we’re getting better and better at it and Corporate America would probably not recognize either of us. So, this afternoon we relaxed, enjoyed a short rain shower that blew through and were totally irresponsible all afternoon…WONDERFUL. This way, we knew we could come and go, do and enjoy the 5Fs as we saw fit, not as we’d committed. Boats kept arriving all day, including locals with their homemade sailing vessels that will be racing in the Family Island races this weekend. Many of the individual islands of the Bahamas hold a local race every year. Then, the islands’ winners (different classes of boats) go to Georgetown in April to compete in the annual Family Island Regatta, island vs. island. We enjoyed the 54th annual Regatta in Georgetown, with friend Terry aboard in 2008. Terry actually came here to Little Farmers with us, as have other guests aboard, and we all enjoy Little Farmers Cay, so very much. We didn’t know what to expect for the 5Fs but had heard about dinghy racing, a wet tshirt contest, guava duff, great food, sailing and music.
02-02-2011 – Happy Birthday Beth! Wednesday, Little Farmer’s Cay, Exumas, Bahamas, west shore anchorage. Blue sky, no clouds and wind turned mostly east at around 10 knots. Ken was up and out of here about 7:20 a.m. to take our gas can to Ali who told us to have it in town by 8:00 am. While on shore, he saw that pennants were being strung, flags put up for the festival. We found out that this year’s 5Fs is the 25th annual. We look to good food, music and sailing races and seeing the families celebrating their “homecoming”. Many of the grown children who have moved away from the island return for this weekend. We heard from Brendon Cassabon, Jessica’s brother. He & girlfriend Beth, maybe buddy Brian hope to join us for spring break March 12-18. We told them to do some research and let us know what island(s) they might want to visit and we’d let him know if we could be there. This day, our gas was to be back in town around noon and Ocean Cabin (bar/restaurant) was having happy hour at 3:00. So, we did a trip in with Miko to pick up our gas and go to the Post Office as it was to be open this day. Cindy had post cards ready to send to Jessica and her Mom but the PO wasn’t open…but we were told to go by the Rolle’s house and they would make sure to get the cards on the mailboat onThursday. Ali wasn’t around when we picked the gas up where he left it, at the convenience store. So, we just paid face amount for it and figured we’d go by and give him something extras when he was around. After a really nice long walk on the west beach, back to MTB we went. As we went by the Church, the new FEMALE pastor came out and we had a nice chat with Pastor Bain-Rolle. She stays here at the parsonage about 4 weeks at a time, then back to Freeport…busy lady. When back, we had 6 boats in the west anchorage. Sadly, one named “Chances” from Ohio was aground….bummer. Around 3 pm, we went back into town for happy hour and enjoyed meeting a bunch of the cruisers who had arrived for the festival. Guava Duff was going to be available on Friday and we couldn’t wait to try some. Craig on Rum Tum Tiger loves the stuff. We rarely meet a cruiser that isn’t pleasant. This afternoon, Cindy thought she recognized a man she had met in Black Point who had a big dog and had anchored next to us. So, she asked him if he had a big dog and had been in Black Point when we spoke while walking Miko. He became very belligerant and gave Cindy a tongue lashing, saying it was cruelty, abusive to have a dog on a boat. He said he was a former breeder of black labs and knew what he was talking about. He kept it up and finally Cindy snapped and fired back. She asked him if it was better to sell a dog to a corporate type who worked 10-12 hours a day, never home and gave no attention to their pet. Or, was the life we give Miko, 24 hour love/attention, nice long walks everyday a better option. He could only answer that a dog should have grass. Well, Labs love water…but whatever. Cindy realized this was a no win situation and just went back out to the main room area. Just after that, a nice woman named Sharon came over and said she was on “Imagine” the boat next to us. We chatted and she said her husband was in the other room, big white beard. Cindy responded, oh, he’s the one that told us we are abusing our beloved Miko. She seemed to know how things went down and was apologetic and didn’t defend his comments. When Ken went back into the other room to order two more drinks, the guy was chewing out his wife and still bad mouthing Cindy. Oh well. We still enjoyed the happy hour, complete with yummy conch fritters and met a bunch of really nice folks (one exception). We met Jadon Ellis a 6 year old boy in 2nd grade (smart!) on our walk back to MTB. Gosh, what a wonderful and polite young man he was and we so enjoyed chatting with him. When back to MTB a short while, the “guy” & Sharon from Imagine went by on their dinghy. We waved, but they wouldn’t even look over. A few minutes later, we heard shouting and marital discord from their vessel. Just not a happy couple we guess. Oh well, after 5 years of cruising, first time have encountered anyone we hadn’t enjoyed meeting……not a bad record. The red boat that had gone aground earlier finally moved at high tide. Of course, he pulled right in front of us, even closer than Messenger, oh well.
02-01-2011 – Tuesday, Little Farmer’s Cay, Exumas, Bahamas, west shore anchorage. This was pet meds day for Miko, so flea and heart worm treatments were done. It was also shower day for the humans. Though we had some slapping through the night (a surge comes from around the end of the island and the inlet) we slept well, a 4 stars out of 5 night. Miko yet again slept in, rising only until she smelled the French toast and Canadian bacon cooking around 9 a.m. We were having a lazy a.m. when Ken hollered and said that a huge sea turtle was swimming by. It is such a joy to see these amazing creatures in the wild. We did some reading and “Messenger” came in and anchored right next to us. These are cruisers we had heard a lot on the VHF radio. This was probably due to having kids aboard. We put the dingy down after lunch, checked on how our anchor was set, and then went on a walkabout. We walked to town and the mail boat had just come in. Here it is too shallow at the government dock for the mail boat to get in. So, they stop in the middle of the bay on the east side of this little island. Then smaller boats go out to off load the supplies ordered by the local residents. The dock was loaded with folks and like at all these out islands, the mail boat’s arrival is always an event. We walked along the east beach over to the “Yacht Club” to see if they now have fuel….past years their tanks were empty. We found that this was the case again so no dinghy gas from them. Though, they invited us to sit and use the WIFI. So, we downloaded all our emails and posted a couple comments on Facebook. We walked back to the island’s business area and Ken bought a bottle of rum from Ali. And, we found that if we took Ali a gas can in the a.m., he’d run it over to Cave Cay’s Marina and fill our can (and others). We met “Sadie” a 7 year old pug from monohull named Vivace. She was sweet and Miko was glad to rub noses with another dog. We headed back to MTB in time for cocktails and sunset aboard.
01-31-2011 – Monday, last Day of the Month, wow. Departed White Point, Great Guana. We prepared to leave this most pleasant anchorage after another 5 stars out of 5, overnight sleep rating. Skies were blue with some puffy whites, wind from the east 10-15 knots. Ken flushed the watermaker this a.m. with freshwater (vs. salt), as our tanks were full. When we don’t need to use the watermaker for awhile, we give her a good rinse and clean the membranes. Ken checked/topped off the engines, dinghy and generator oils. Miko was becoming so funny these mornings, more in the habit of sleeping in, after we got up. So, each morning, Cindy had to wait for the Princess to rise before being able to make the bed. We were up at 6:30 this a.m. and Miko wandered out at 8:15 a.m. Today we planned to move 6-8 miles south to Little Farmer’s Cay. We hoped to get a preferred anchor spot on the island’s west side, to hunker down and wait for the weekend’s “5 Fs”. We were hoping to have WIFI access there. We couldn’t remember from past visits if we received a WIFI signal on MTB or had to take the computers in to town to find Wifi. The anchor was up about 9:00 a.m. and we just pulled out the front jib for a lazy sail down to Little Farmer’s Cay. It was only a trip of 6-7 miles so no rush. We had a nice peaceful lazy sail, down to the anchorage west of the island, off a point near the landing strip. We learned in years past that one must be very careful to pick their anchoring position here. First time here, a plane come so close on take off that our mast actually vibrated so hard the boat shook. By 11:20 a.m. we were anchored and within ten minutes, two planes went over, one in and one did a quick turnaround in/out. Busy place. We had SE wind 15 with gusts to 19 on the short trip down. We anchored in a rocky spot so hoped our anchor was in a sandy hole and would hold. We celebrated our arrival with Halloween candy. And sadly, Miko was becoming very fond of yellow Skittles. We plugged in our super antennae to see if we could get any WIFI aboard, no luck. We stayed aboard for a nice peaceful evening, not surrounded by 30 other vessels as can happen in these anchorages. Later in the afternoon, two other catamarans anchored off our starboard bow but a good way off from us. We had strong easterly winds most of the evening and a rolling surge but it was not untenable. This small 3 mile long island is a wonderful place with about 55 residents, a group of resilient and enterprising individuals. There is a “Yacht Club”, two restaurants, one “take away” eatery, post office, church, school, two little convenience stores, liquor store, charter guide and even a private island with a house that is available for $500 a night. We looked forward to getting ashore on Tuesday.
01-30-2011 – Sunday, anchorage south of White Point, Great Guana. Another wonderful night’s sleep, 5 stars out of 5! This a.m. we say the Osprey on her nest and were able to take photos of her with help from a lot of ZOOM ZOOM on our cameras. She stayed on the nest for most of the morning. We thought that she must stay around until the sun is high enough in the sky to do her job, keeping the eggs warmed. Cindy got to sleep in just a little this a.m. as there are no 6:30 a.m. weather reports on Sundays, yay. A.m generator reading was 2188.2, we had been making water for a few days and by end of the evening this day, both tanks were FULL and that is always so nice. Our friends home in the states had been experiencing awful cold and huge amounts of snow so we were more thankful than normal to be enjoying a wonderful period of settled weather with nice winds from the east, blocked by the islands. Ken saw about a 3’ barracuda lurking around the back of MTB by our sugar scoops this a.m. We watched the Sunday news shows and got an update on the unrest/riots/looting in Egypt. Inca Rose left around 11:30 a.m. and shortly afterward we headed to get some beach-ersise. As we were headed in, we got a new neighbor, Enchantment but they never left the boat. After walking for over and hour, we went back to MTB to do as normal…read, happy hour toddies, watch the sunset, dinner, news/couple hours of TV, make water and early to bed. This night we crawled in at 9:00 p.m.
01-29-2011 – Saturday, anchorage south of White Point, Great Guana. As we always say, what a difference a day makes. The winds were now from the NE at about 10 knots and because we had land protection from that direction, ours was a nice calm anchorage this day. Our neighbor monohull left around 9:30 a.m. and then Inca Rose, monohull, arrived around lunch. Ken fixed the fuse in the 12V plug at the radio desk and after our lunch, we put down the dinghy. Our neighbors were on their way back from the beach when we were going in. We waved, heading toward them, but they turned the other direction. Some folks are social and some just are not. There are times when we are out in remote, beautiful pristine places, when we feel like being alone, too. We totally understand not always wanting visitors aboard. We had a very nice long walk, taking a lot of photos of this idyllic place. Shelling wasn’t great but was fine. We did locate an Osprey nest (square pile of junk) at the north end of the beach. Craig/Mary (Rum Tum Tiger) found it a few days prior to our arrival and emailed us about their discovery. It was really something to see. We didn’t get close enough to see the 2 eggs that Craig had seen as Momma suddenly appeared. She flew away from the nest and we assumed it was her attempt to pull us intruders away from her eggs. She was beautiful and large with a white head. We left her, the eggs/nest in peace and headed back to the dinghy and MTB. Once back, we re-installed the canvas sunshade that overhangs the stern of MTB. We hadn’t needed the shade really. But, since afternoons were becoming much warmer, the shade would be appreciated. Cindy washed the shells brought back from the beach and set them out on paper towels. Any shells that start walking get pitched back into the water (live critters inside). We were not sure what Sunday’s plan was going to be. The weather forecast was for mild NE/E winds for a week. So, there was no need to run to find protection as we would be on the west shore of the islands in the immediate vicinity for a week. It was nice to know we didn’t have weather worries for s short while. On Mondays they hold hermit crab races at Farmers Cay’s “Ocean Cabin” restaurant and bar at 3 pm. Cindy wanted to be there to see the spectacle and to enjoy another new experience. We suspected some wagering may be involved. We knew we’d head to Farmer’s Cay either Sunday or Monday. It was about an 8 mile hop from White Point so an easy move for sure. We did want to be down to Farmers Cay early in the week to assure a prime anchoring spot for the upcoming 5 Fs on Friday the 4th.. We were looking forward to the festival, as it would be our first time.
01-28-2011 – Friday, departed Black Point (L), arrived anchorage below (south of) White Point – still Great Guana, Exumas. We rinsed the sand out of the floor of the dinghy, enjoyed two French Press (thanks Mom) pots of coffee and thought about a departure. We knew we had to move due to our full bathroom tanks, but thinking about it was such a bummer. But, since we knew it had to be done, we pulled up anchor and waved goodbye to the locals on the community dock. The local Policeman we gave rides from his mooring back to the dock went behind us and waved as he went by. Ah, this was a bittersweet move as we truly loved being a part of Black Point Settlement. The wind was around 15 knots from the W/NW and it was cooler this a.m. So, about 9:30 am, we put out our jib sail for the 4 mile trip south. We planned a short hop to a pretty beach south of “White Point”. Unlike “Black Point”, a real town, “White Point” is a spit of rocks that juts out into the Exuma Banks from Great Guana Island. The sun was out, sky blue with white puffies and the seas were behind us pushing. By 11:15 a.m. our kitty litter was drowned, the tanks were empty, jib furled back and we were anchored for the day. Ken fixed the choker valve in the aft port head, another boat job done. The ole catamaran was doing a “rocking horse” imitation in the anchorage, but the W/15 knot wind was to turn N/10 by sunset. So, we knew White Point would give us protection from the swells once the direction changed. And, then we’d look smarter, especially having the beautiful sand dune surrounded beach anchorage to ourselves. But, boy it was a bumpy ride and we kept a close eye on Miko, worried she might lose her footing. Though we have safety netting all around MTB, the back two sugar scoops (steps) were open and she could fall off the back, or the front. One small monohull with a couple and little girl arrived later in the afternoon. Their boat was really getting hit by the sea swells and westerly wind driven waves. But, they were smart and braved going to shore. There they had a much nicer afternoon. It was exciting when they got back to their vessel, though. Mom got the child aboard fine. Then, as she reached for the monohull from the dinghy, their sailboat pitched, the dinghy went backwards and it looked for a minute that she may do a face plant in the Exuma Bank’s waters. But, a good recovery and she too got safely aboard. Times like those make us so appreciate our “sugar scoops” formed steps up from water level to deck level. The boat’s Captain was smart and set out a second anchor at 90 degrees to their stern and that helped with their pitching/rolling. Not a light appeared on their boat this evening, so it seemed as they just decided early to bed may be the right answer in such a rough anchorage. But, through the night as it was to do, the wind went a little more north and that helped the anchorage become calmer.
01-27-2011 – Thursday, Black Point Settlement, Great Guana, Exumas. Beautiful flat calm morning in this anchorage. And… we had much to “Rejoice” this morning. The vessel “Rejoice” next to us pulled out this a.m. and was no longer “in our galley”. Hallelujah !! When he brought up his anchor, he had so much scope out that it pulled him almost into the back of another Cat near us. We were not sorry to see them leave. To be a well thought of cruiser means never going close to another boat in an anchorage when it is not necessary AND then putting out a bunch of rode. If one has to be close due to the anchorage’s size, etc. then you just can’t put out so much scope. So, Rejoice was not on our well thought of cruiser list. There was very little wind this a.m., though it did move for SW to W to N, ever so subtly. Rum Tum emailed and said he was the only boat in their anchorage at White Sound. We actually thought we may move this day though it was very hazy. Cindy wanted to get to the beach on the other side of the island once more before we left. So, we knew if we did move it would be later in the day. We needed to get out into the deepwater as it was time for us to empty our “tanks”. Some cruisers leave their bathroom tanks open while at anchor (ick L). Though, we have never felt right about doing things that way. The rule is to be three miles out from land in the US before dumping one’s tanks, but in the Bahamas we haven’t seen anything specified. But, as a courtesy we try to be as far from land as possible before we open the valves. We do not put anything other than “au natural” components into our heads. So, when we open the valves out in the deep water, our contents dissipate quickly. It was cooler this day and that was nice has it had been very warm with high humidity for several days. Miko likes it cooler as she is always wearing a fur coat. The Germans from Munich and “Miss Piggy” both, St. Francis brand catamarans left this a.m. It is so interesting seeing, meeting the cruisers we encounter as they are all have different stories, ages, nationalities, etc. We went to town and over to the island’s eastern beaches. We found some “prizes” including a hamburger bean and some nice sea glass. On the way back on the beach we met three nice women from “Peace” and then met Polli/Mike from Chinook on the street. Nice folks, as expected and Miko so enjoyed seeing new people. We went back to MTB for yet another worthless (us) afternoon. Ken’s newest favorite saying this season has become: ”I am a really good lazy person”. This is really funny to Cindy because when they first started dating, Ken once told Cindy, that “my daughter comes first when she’s with me and my job will always be first when she’s not”. He was pretty sure there wasn’t much time in his life for anything else. Ah, what a difference a few decades can make. Priorities now: family, friends, good health and relaxation so bye bye and good riddance, Corporate America. We sat out in the cockpit for a good while after sunset and enjoyed to comings and goings of things around us. It was a nice night. Rum Tum Tiger made it to Lee Stocking Island area, further south in the Exumas this day. We pulled the dinghy back up on its davits…thinking we might finally cut the roots we had grown in Black Point.
01-26-2011 – Wednesday, Black Point Settlement, Great Guana, Exumas. A cold front was to come through this day and we heard on the radio that Nassau was having storms in the morning. So, we decided since it nice in the a.m. to run to town while the wind was SE 6-8. We heard that the mail boat was one island north of us at Staniel Cay and would be coming this way. That always means fresh produce, so we packed up our garbage, Miko and computers. Cindy went to the Laundry store and bought 4 postcards from Ida. Since Ida couldn’t break a $10 bill, she asked that Cindy pay over at Adderly’s Grocery, and just tell them the $2 was for Ida. The residents of this island are amazing and really do take care and look after each other, just one of the reasons we love this place so much. We tried to pick up wifi outside of Scorpio’s Bar, but his router was not turned on for the day yet. So, we walked down to DeShamons’ Restaurant to see if theirs was available. Happily, it was and we were able to check emails and do some Facebook posting/reading. Ken’s sister Gayle and husband Tim decided to go to California vs. coming to the Bahamas for their birthday celebrations this year. We were disappointed as it would have been fun to have them aboard. Craig/Mary from Rum Tum Tiger came into town with Winnie while we were in. They said they heard Dreamseeker call us on the radio as he and Windy pulled out for Farmer’s Cay this a.m. All the local residents had their trucks/golf carts at the dock to meet the mail boat and it was a festive morning. We all sat on big rocks in front of the grocery, allowing time for them to unpack the produce they had just received from the mail boat. Miko/Winnie were really good while we were together. When Mrs. Adderly was ready, Mary/Cindy went into shop for produce. We bought cabbage, a bell pepper, sweet and regular potatoes, and eggs ($16) at the grocery. Four postcards for $2, 4 stamps at the post office $2, and $2 garbage trailer donation made today’s total spent $22. ”Rejoice” was still next to us and we hoped not to get the squalls (30-40 knots) that could be coming. He had out a lot of rode and was in between three Cats. When he moved places, the anchorage had plenty of good spaces and bigger “holes” so there was not reason to be so close. Cindy and Mary picked seed pods (they are like rattles) from a Royal Poinciana tree to take to the grandkids. After dumping garbage, shopping, visiting and WIFI, we were back to MTB by 1:30 pm. Rum Tum Tiger pulled out for a short hop, south. We radio’d Dreamseeker and got Paul’s email address so we could stay in touch. We would probably get Windy/Miko together again somewhere. We had a wonderful Lobster wine alfredo pasta dish for dinner and it was such a treat. We love the local lobster and can never get enough. Happily we were far enough south that the cold front dissipated before reaching this far south so we had a wonderfully calm evening…unexpected but so very appreciated.
1-25-2011 – Tuesday, Black Point Settlement, Great Guana, Exumas – really overcast this a.m. but the anchorage and east wind was more mild than overnight. Blue sky was trying to pop out. We ran the water maker/generator this a.m. for three hours. Mary sent us home with brownies Monday night, so they were a wonderful breakfast. Dream Seeker didn’t pull out as planned this day. We figured he decided to sit here through the next cold front on Wednesday. Though, he needed to be south to Georgetown by the weekend to meet a friend at the airport. Regardless of his departure, we hoped we’d cross paths again. It would be great for the pups to spend more time together and we enjoyed getting to know Paul. “Rejoice” has been our amusement on the weather channel this season. Each morning he calls in and asks for the most detailed travel information. This, even if only going a one or two mile leg from one island to the neighboring island. He’d ask about seas, temps, clouds, winds, storms, anything. Chris Parker, the weather guy had been very patient with him. Then, on one very cloudy day, Rejoice wanted detailed information about the cloud cover where he was that day. Chris asked “are there clouds there now?”….“Yes”…“Well, there will be clouds there today”. We laughed out loud. MTB actually crossed from Lake Worth to the Bahamas the same night as Rejoice. So, for about a week before we all left, we listened to him calling in for updates each morning. And, as fate would have it…Rejoice arrived here yesterday and we were relieved he anchored further out and well away from us. Although, this day, he moved and almost threw his anchor in our galley, anchoring really too close. He put out a bunch of chain and we already had 100+ feet due to last storm front that we sat through. So, figured it might get interesting if we got the forecasted 30-50 knot squalls on Wednesday and both were swinging crazy on a bunch of chain. We were thinking maybe we should take out all our fenders to be at the ready! Craig/Mary/Winnie came by after they took a very long walk about the island this day. Miko wanted to play with Winnie and was actually shaking with excitement. But, after the “ear” incident in Brunswick before we left home, she doesn’t get to play with Winnie anymore L. Our Bahamas courtesy flag was in bad shape and Mary/Craig told us they found a new one onboard. We were excited when they said we could buy one from them. By 3:30 pm, the wind had increased (20-22) and swung from the east, moving south, to south east. And, sadly this made Rejoice seem even closer to MTB’s bow. Oh well, all we could do was hope he had great insurance or some liquid assets. Miko really seemed sad this day and we felt it was due to not getting to play with Windy for the first time in two days. Local businessman, Raymond, came by on his boat around 4:00 pm and he needed a dinghy taxi from his mooring ball back to the government dock. He remembered we wanted to buy lobsters and asked how many we wanted and how big. We told him 4 medium so he called his wife and said she would meet Ken and Raymond at the community dock with them. The lobsters were gigantic and for $60, a good deal as we paid the same in prior years. All four of the lobsters were frozen solid and that was good. Cindy re-wrapped them in heavy duty foil and into the freezer they went. We hoped we’d get to share them with Ken’s sister Gayle and husband Tim in early February if they worked out a visit. After Ken dropped off the lobsters at MTB he went over to Rum Tum Tiger to pick up our new Bahamian courtesy flag. Most country’s marine courtesy flags are different from their national flag and the Bahamas is no different. The marine ones are hard to find in stores, yet, they are required to be flown on the starboard side of the vessel, once clearing customs. We do enjoy this settlement as we can do things to help the residents and they help us in return. As the PR slogan says..…”its better in the Bahamas”.
01-24-2011 – Monday, Black Point Settlement, Great Guana, Exumas – OVERCAST this a.m. but it was trying to burn off and by about 9:30 a.m. it was slightly brighter. We were totally surrounded by vessels this morning vs. Sunday a.m., when it was just Dream Seeker and MTB. We heard on the radio that a number of the neighbors planned to leave for Farmer’s Cay today. Though, no matter how many leave going south, more seem to arrive from the north. So, we expected to continue to have a crowd around us for the next few days. We checked in with Cruiseheimers Net this a.m. (8:30 am on 6516.0) and the moderator of the net was right here with us in Black Point, funny. There was a report of an overdue vessel. Lady T/Mike McNue departed Virginia and planned to refuel on Jan 21 in the Turks/Caicos but hadn’t been heard from for a number of days. So, we are all on look out for them. Craig/Mary/Winnie dinghied over to say hello on their way to town. Cindy made a Key Lime pie and a feta/pesto spread to take to dinner with them on Rum Tum Tiger this evening. The sun came out after lunch and the aqua blue water was gorgeous. Cindy took some photos but all in all it was a really lazy afternoon. Paul on Dream Seeker planned to pull out on Tuesday so we hoped to get the pups together one more time here this day. We kept an eye out for them, and later in the afternoon, we saw him leave the boat. We all joined at the bay beach and the pups yet again had a wonderful play date. When the tide was getting so low we thought we might not get the dinghy off the sand bar, so we knew we had to head back to MTB. Windy, who didn’t like being on her own dinghy, jumped into ours with Miko as if to say, please don’t separate us. Paul was shocked and said that it was definitely a first for Windy. This action by Windy broke our heart as we knew they may not get together if we traveled different places. These two good dogs played so well together. A few boats left but of course, more arrived all day. We knew we’d have to do a count again this evening. Of three boats anchored nearest us this day, all had dogs aboard. We went to happy hour/dinner at 4:30 pm and so enjoyed Mary’s meatloaf, accompanied by champagne, how festive. We had a great meal and time with our Brunswick friends. They hoped to leave in a day or two for Georgetown with their ultimate destination being Crooked Island. They have been traveling there for 37 seasons, by plane and now catamaran. After a rough, dark ride with “happy” Captain Ken driving the dinghy (after a few rums drinks) we were back to MTB, watched a little TV, to bed at 9:30 p.m.
0 1-23-2011 – Sunday, Black Point Settlement, Great Guana, Exumas – Ah, what a difference a day can make. This a.m. we had “N” wind 15-20 that gave us protection over the island. So, the anchorage was relatively calm with a slight rock. The sky was blue with very few clouds. We heard on the VHF radio that folks in anchorages around the area had hard times overnight in the high winds and a lot of boats had “changed locations”…dragging. This reaffirmed our thought about less protection, good holding and no neighbors is a good thing for us. At 10:30 a.m. we dinghied to the bay beach along with Paul & 8 month old terrier pup, Windy, from Dream Seeker. The pups played great together and had two hours of running, playing, exercise. They found an old hard lime on the beach that was became a fun fetch item. We threw, they ran. We went back to MTB once the pups were worn out and about 1:30 pm, we looked up to see Rum Tum Tiger pulling back into the anchorage next to us. Mary invited us to dinner for meatloaf (YUMMY) but we had to take a rain check as we had invited Paul to dinner with us aboard. We invited RTT here, but they decided to stay aboard for the evening. Through the day, we were surrounded by arriving vessels. We went from 2 boats in the anchorage to 31 by dusk. We had a really nice time this evening, getting better acquainted with Paul and the pups again played wonderfully together. Windy especially enjoyed Miko’s toy box. She would pull a toy out, and they’d play with it awhile. Then, back into the box for a new toy. Paul headed back to his boat about 6:30 p.m. and we watched the last of the NFL playoff games. Packers beat the Bears (bummer Brian) and, the Steelers won over the Jets. So, it’s a Packers/Steelers Super Bowl this year. And, once again, we went to bed early and slept like babies as had become a habit.
01-22-2011 - Saturday, Black Point Settlement, Great Guana Cay, Exumas – Rum Tum Tiger pulled out this a.m. around 9:30, as it was too rolly in the anchorage for their comfort. They headed to Sampson Cay Marina, which is a beautiful place and they were there by 11:30 a.m. We heard them on the VHF radio talking to the dock master there. You certainly can’t be incognito in this environment…everyone listens to each other’s conversations. We knew the weather would be worsening, as a front was to come through so we put up the dinghy. This always makes Miko sad as she knows she’s not getting off the boat for awhile. Though overcast, the sun broke out now and then this day so it wasn’t bad and we just read all day. The wind strengthened all through the day and the more westerly it turned, the larger the rollers coming toward us. Boats departed all morning and at 10:55, all left with the exception of Dream Seeker (Paul Christianson & puppy Windy aboard) and us. Paul radio’d and asked if he missed a memo that said we were all to pull up anchor this day. We told him that the same thing happened to us last year when a front came through and we were the only boat here. We prefer to stay and rock/roll in good holding alone vs. having crazy people dragging into us. By 4:30 p.m. the skies were brightening, rollers were not as violent so the rocking was lessening. Although by 9:30/10:00 pm, worse again as squalls passed through. Then the worst hit us about 12:30 am - 1:00 a.m. with high, high wind probably in excess of 30 and lightening. Then, as the wind turned more toward the north, where we had protection, things started quieting down. We laugh at ourselves now as we live through these situations. Our first cruising year, when fronts came through, we sat awake in the salon, fully dressed with all our instruments on and totally stressing. Now, we set the anchor alarm, crawl in bed and sleep, that’s what more experience and faith in one’s vessel does for us cruisers.
01-21-2011 - Friday, Black Point Settlement on Great Guana Cay, Exuma Island chain, Bahamas. Two weeks from this day the 5F’s would be held. Ah, “5Fs?”…you ask what is this? It is: “First Friday in February at Farmers Cay Festival”! Weather allowing, we planned to be there. It was more windy in the anchorage this day, about 15 from S/SW, which made for a choppy bay as we have no protection from the SW or W. But we are a Catamaran so just means we just move up and down, gently and it is almost a “pleasant” rock. The monohulls move more radically from side to side and front to back so the day proved a little more unpleasant for them. We spoke to RumTum who made it to Staniel Cay, about 7 miles north of us, the prior day. They weren’t sure of their travel plans the next few days as Saturday was to be stormy with high wind and seas. So, they may come to Black Point or stay anchored off Staniel Cay. We had another “first” in our cruising experience this day. The Bahamas Defense Force (same as our Coast Guard) ht anchored off the island overnight. This a.m., they sent four young men in a dinghy (with semi automatic weapon, huge Honda engine!) through the anchorage, boarding boats. Since we were about the furthest away from their boat in the anchorage, and our dinghy was here, we were visited first. These nice young men were professional and polite in their navy blue uniforms. Miko was really sweet and just laid down in the cockpit during their visit. They checked our Customs, Immigration, US registration and personal ID documentation. They looked about the boat and inquired about weapons (we carry none, just our flare gun). They asked about our travel plans, next island etc. They then excused themselves after we signed a form saying they didn’t damage our vessel. We have always been very careful and totally “legal” with our documentation, etc. but it was still a little intimidating to be “boarded”. Although, our experience couldn’t have been handled any better. When we saw the young men in town later, they were equally professional. We went to shore in the a.m. hours this morning as there was a possibility of showers later in the day. We stopped along our walk at an open air gazebo and downloaded our emails on an unsecured wifi connection. Then, we walked to places not explored before, including going out to the airport. The airport consists of a new, almost completed building, an open air gazebo used by folks waiting for arrivals/departures, two pieces of manually operated fire safety equipment, a closed in metal hanger, landing strip and nothing else….not a single person anywhere. We stopped by Lorraine’s Momma’s house for a loaf of wheat bread ($5), checked for Romaine at Adderly’s store (new shipment coming this week) and back to the dock just as the Captain C mailboat arrived at the dock. We counted and there were now 10 boats in the anchorage. Once the mailboat was tied up, we headed back to MTB, excited about a slice of that bread with some butter.
01-20-2011 – Thursday - Black Point settlement on Great Guana Cay, Exuma Island chain, Bahamas. Never have we seen water so flat and clear. The dinghy looked as if it was sitting on a mirror. We spoke to RumTum Tiger this a.m. on the Ham (SSB) radio and they were half way between here and Andros Island, at a small place called Green Cay. They had not decided if they were going to go to Staniel Cay this day, as they would have to motor the entire way because of no wind. We figured we may see them in a day or two. This morning was amazingly quiet with no wind, no waves on the shore…eerie really as it was so peaceful a morning. All that broke the silence was a crowing rooster on shore and an occasional small plane overhead. We hadn’t heard a dog bark nor seen a single “Potcake” anywhere this year. These dogs are a local breed, really mutts, of the Bahamas and the sweetest of dogs. One year when we were here, five of them came running/ jumping out from shore toward our dinghy. We had our previous dogs, Mac and Dempsey aboard with us. That memory always makes us smile as those beautiful reddish brown Potcakes were looking to play with new friends. We’ve been told that some type of brown tick pretty much wiped out the Bahamian Potcake population. Truly sad, as we heard stories of cruisers who adopted stray Potcakes and found them to be sweet, wonderful pets. We kept a good check on Miko & making sure she got her monthly flea/tick protection. Water and air temps this week have almost been the same, mid 70’s. At the bay beach when it is low tide, the water becomes very shallow, so the sun really warms it up. Yesterday about 6 folks were splashing around in the beautiful aqua water with wild abandon, having a ball. We watched a small barracuda stalking a school of minnows this a.m. and once he grabbed “Bob”, his belly was full and he swam away from the school. The rest of the minnows were going “hey, where’s Bob? He was here a minute ago”. No wind this day also meant that it was pretty warm in the ole catamaran, but that sure beats all the shivering we did in Florida on our trip south. An enormous manta ray went by MTB this morning and sadly, we missed the photo. Mr. Ray was gone by the time we got out there with our cameras focused. We called Cindy’s Mom this day and all was good in Sarasota. She said that our new grand niece “Madison” is a beautiful girl and they hope she’ll come home by the coming weekend. She was premature and not feeding as she should, but she has amazing parents and all will be fine for that lucky little girl. We were aboard all day as it was just so very beautiful. The two vessels in a big “hole” in the anchorage left this day. So, we immediately pulled up our dinghy and our anchor and moved there. We wanted to get closer to the settlement and a little further fro the rocky shore we aimed at when the wind turned more southerly. As we finished the move, we looked out and saw 6 more vessels heading into the anchorage. Whew, got that done just in the knick of time. Good thing we hadn’t stopped to ponder a decision…just made it and went. Tomorrow’s post will cover some information on this wonderful island, settlement and area.
01-19-2001 – Wednesday – Black Point settlement on Great Guana Cay, Bahamas.
This morning the wind was light and variable, mostly from the South. Another nice leisurely a.m….weather reports, coffee, breakfast. Then, while it was still high tide, we took dinghy/Miko into the bay beach, left the dinghy floating as the tide was going out and walked to the beaches on the other side of the island. We found some nice shells and sea glass, had a great walk with beautiful sights along the way. It was in the 80s again this day…amazing. Though it is warm for sleeping in the evenings.Tuesday night we actually ran our little fan over the berth all night. This day was ”hot showers” day, as we ran the generator and watermaker for two hours the night before which allowed us to run the hot water heater as well. In the afternoon, we went into the settlement to download our emails. We met Paul (forgot his boat name) at the dock and he said he has a terrier, mix puppy named Windy, but she didn’t come in this trip. Hopefully, we can get the two dogs together. Ken followed the local policeman out to the police boat mooring and brought him back to the government dock. This community is so nice, as they help us and we can help the locals now and then. While Ken was doing his water taxi impersonation Cindy/Miko checked to see if they could get wifi at the cabana at the waterfront. Nope. Not to worry, the local bar, Scorpio’s, has wifi that is unsecured and strong. So, for the price of two rum punches, we had emails, yet again. Ida (related to Raymond) and the local laundry host a book exchange, so Ken took four best sellers that we’d read and swapped them for some we hadn’t. This is another nice service for us cruisers. At the dock, fishermen were cleaning lobsters and Ken and Cindy were so envious of their good fortune. We asked local Raymond “Breadboy” Andrews to think of us if he heard of anyone with extras to sell. Off we went, dinghy back to MTB to relax and think about dinner. This year, the method for dealing with our very deep, unwieldy freezer, was again modified from the systems of past seasons. We have tried everything to simplify the identification of what/where certain meat, etc is in the cavernous pit. This year, we packaged our meats and froze them at home as follows: clear bags = steak; green wrap in clear bag = pork and red wrap in clear bag = chicken. Ok, that helped a lot as we now have an idea what we’re looking at. In past seasons, we put the steaks all together, etc. That didn’t work and we often didn’t know if we were looking at pork vs. chicken. So, this year, we just mixed everything up, threw it in, using an alternating, willie/nillie method. And, our agreed upon selection process dictates that whatever we come to next, whatever is on top, is what we eat (unless the same as the prior day). This day we grabbed a sun dried tomato pork roast….yep, that will work.
01-18-2011 - Tuesday - Black Point settlement on Great Guana Cay, Bahamas. There was quite a swell in the anchorage in the a.m. Winds clocked around to the south and the monohulls around us were rocking like crazy. Us….well, Cindy was in the galley making French toast from Lorraine’s momma’s coconut bread. We sure do like our stable ole’ catamaran, for sure, for sure. Miko had started staying in bed after we get up even when after Cindy went and made the bed (with her in it). This morning was normal, until Miko heard the “click, click, click” of the stove’s solenoid starter. Cindy was starting a burner to make the French toast. Miko came flying up out of the berth, into the galley. Oh yes, a pretty smart pup for sure. We were on the far north edge of the anchorage and closer (500’) than we like to the rocky shore. This a.m. a monohull and a catamaran left from in front of us, and we pondered moving further in and more south in the bay into the hole their departures created. It would have been nice to be closer to the settlement as we thought we might have more luck with WIFI. Oh well, we procrastinated (as happens often these days in the islands!) and boats streamed in all morning/afternoon. So, by lunchtime, no more hole. Ah, maybe when the huge trimaran leaves, we’ll jump into their spot! Friends Craig/Mary on Rum Tum Tiger (catamaran from Brunswick, too) emailed this day and said they were going to be in Staniel Cay in a day or two, one island north of here, for a hamburger. They may stop in Black Point or sail by us on their way south. Winnie, their West Highland Terrier and Miko wouldn’t get to play anyway. The last time they were together at our house in Brunswick we humans stupidly let them get very agitated during a game of tug of war. Miko wanted to keep up the rough play and Winnie decided she was done. So, trouble arose when Miko was enjoying the raucous, aggressive playtime and Winnie was thinking “get this dog out of my face”. They had a skirmish and Miko caused a bloody laceration on Winnie’s ear. Cindy was heartbroken, as she loves Winnie very much and was so very sad that Miko hurt her. Miko had never been a fighter and had gotten along with most every dog she had ever met. But, again, we humans weren’t too smart and really were at fault for their fuss. Sad that these two probably won’t be allowed to play together again. We made big chef salads for lunch and gave Miko a good brushing. She was experiencing her semi annual “blowing of the coat”. We brushed sack fulls of beautiful white fur out of her and soon, no more shedding. Once the tide rose high enough, we decided to dinghy to the east side of the anchorage for the easiest access to the island’s other side and beaches there. These beaches usually are very interesting with lots of flotsam/jetsam, seaglass and shells. Tuesday and Friday nights are happy hour days at our favorite small bar here called Scorpios. This evening it was two for one rum punches and snacks. Zhivago makes a mean rum punch. So, late afternoon, we crated Miko (L) and went into town. It is always fun to share a couple drinks here with the locals and other cruisers. This morning the anchored boat count was down to 16, but by dusk this evening we counted .
01-17-2011 – Monday – Black Point settlement on Great Guana Cay, Bahamas. We heard that the wind was going to turn to the south this day. So, if we left this morning, the wind would have been on our nose making it a motoring day. This was ok with us, great actually, as we were very ready to stop for a day or two. We needed to relax and this morning we took our time getting going. We gathered our dirty laundry and after two French press pots of coffee, we loaded up the dinghy and headed into the settlement. There were 23 boats remaining in the anchorage and a few came and a few others left this day. The laundry here is the cleanest, most well maintained anywhere (ANYWHERE, not just the Bahamas). They have a dinghy dock right in front of the building and are the very nicest folks. We love being able to get everything washed and smelling clean, all at one time. We did all our linens and clothes including fleeces, long pants and long sleeve shirts. We certainly hoped not to need that cold weather stuff again on this trip. We do have a washer/dryer onboard and it works great. Though, we can just do one small load at a time. Big commercial washers are certainly an easier way to get our entire wash done. Though, the laundry here is not inexpensive and to do our three loads cost $21 in tokens. We met many nice folks at the laundry with Miko being spoiled rotten, everyone petting her. Ken walked to the store to buy some yeast and went to Lorraine’s restaurant to buy two loaves of the coconut bread her momma makes. OMG it is wonderful. The French toast we make using it, best stuff ever. The loaves are a little expensive at $5, by US standards, but oh what a treat. For lunch break, kids from the school come by the small store in the laundry and the owner cooked them all conch fritters. Students in the Bahamas wear school uniforms. The boys wear green pants, pressed yellow shirts with green ties. Girls wear green jumpers also with pressed yellow shirts. These young people are immaculately groomed, bright, friendly and wonderfully polite. The residents here seem to be doing something right by these children. Maybe Hillary was correct and it does take a village. Miko did her tricks several times as the children came/went, each group told others about the dog that would dance. With laundry complete, we were back to MTB by 2 pm, unloaded the laundry and grabbed some lunch. We did some trip planning research, read charts, cruising guides and weather reports. Strangely and uncharacteristically, we were ambivalent about a travel plan and came to no conclusion. Never good, especially if one plans to pull up anchor the next morning, with no clue where they are going. We’d just have to rely on the weather report and winds/seas in the a.m. and try to make a decision. Later in the day, out of the blue Ken said he would be happy just to stay in Black Point for a month and help at the local school, giving back to this wonderful community. The more we talked, the more we agreed it would be a real push to do the Turks, Puerto Rico, etc. and make the trip all the way home. And, it would be easier for Gayle/Tim to plan a visit to us if we weren’t pushing so hard/fast south. So, we have some re-thinking to do about our cruising season. Ok, now…about the mail boats. In the Bahamas these boats are the lifeline for the remote communities. The government run mail boat system brings and takes away everything. It is a community event of great excitement when the mail boat comes. Residents gather at the dock to send or pick up their goods. Yesterday, there was actually about a 22’ motor boat on a trailer sitting on the Black Point dock, waiting for pick up and delivery elsewhere. The mail boat docked, its crane picked up the boat/trailer, swung it around and sat it on its deck. People, propane, groceries, tv’s, whatever, it all comes/goes via this mail boat system. We were told by a local that she and her children once boarded a mail boat and traveled among the islands for vacation, a good way for them to see new places, inexpensively. Yeast $3, bread $10, laundry $21…. $34 total spent this day.
1-16-2011 – Sunday, departed Norman’s Cay, Exuma Island chain, Bahamas. Our plan was to anchor off Pipe Creek Cay in the Exumas, about a 25 mile trip south this day. So, we had a nice easy morning, cheese grits and sausage, yummy. We had the anchor up at 8:30 a.m., sails up by 9:00 a.m. Once out of the anchorage…we found we had an absolutely gorgeous day, 15 knots of wind in the perfect direction, nice small rolling waves, blue sky. It was a wonderful sailing day. Seems for every hard week aboard, you get one of these amazing days. Since we knew a storm trough was headed this direction, we decided to take advantage of these wonderful conditions and not make it a short day. We decided to keep going, passing Pipe Creek Cay and hoping we’d make it to Black Point, further south this day. We had to take full advantage of our good sailing fortune. We averaged 6.4 knots per hour, our speed this day and enjoyed ourselves so very much. One nautical mile out of Black Point on Great Guana Cay, we dropped our sails, fired up the engines and had the anchor down once again at 3:30 p.m. We were able to sail all day, 7 of the 8 hour trip. Great. And, as we had promised Miko we dropped the dinghy immediately, gathered up our garbage and headed to the government dock. This community provides a trailer for cruisers to drop their garbage and it has a donation box. It’s a great amenity. They also provide free water for those cruising boats that don’t have the luxury of a water maker (we do, spoiled). These cruisers must haul jugs in their dinghies from their boats to shore and back to their vessels. We do know how lucky we are not to have to do the same. The folks here are very welcoming of us cruisers. They are some of the most hospitable folks we have met in our travels. There were about 27 boats in the anchorage this evening in all shapes and sizes…..monohulls, a huge trimaran, several catamarans and motor trawlers. Once on shore, we walked to the other side of the island, strolled along the little beach on the bayside and then back to town. Miko played with all the local children and cruisers we met along the way. Everyone stopped to pet/love her. She was once again smiling so big, such a happy girl due to seeing all the folks. Jets vs. Patriots played this evening in NFL playoffs. We had rum drinks, buffalo peanuts aboard and the Jets stunned the Patriots in an upset win. The mail boat came in after dark, off loaded and loaded, then departed. More about mail boats tomorrow.
01-15-2011 Saturday, departed Salt Cay, slightly north of Nassau harbor with anchor up at 8:15 a.m. It was a gorgeous, blue day with clear skies and perfect wind in the right direction and moderate seas. So off we went and soon became the leading sailing vessel, one of 13 sailboats headed south to the Exumas. It felt like we were part of a regatta or something as there were so many of us. Some veared off to Highbourne Cay, just north of our destination, Norman’s Cay. Others were continuing on to Shroud Cay in the Exumas Sea Park. We heard all these discussions on the VHF radio…fun to listen in to folks’ conversations. It helps pass the time. It was a really nice day, though winds built in the afternoon….ah, forecast was for them to moderate! We hate these stinkin forecasts that are never correct. But again, seas were acceptable, it was beautiful, we made great time and again sailing vs. motoring. We made the anchorage about 3:30 p.m. Two boats were already in and one arrived after us…part of the 13 boats in our mini regatta. Of 7 hours, 15 minutes, we only motored about an hour this day, out of and into the anchorages, yeah. Again, we were pooped, had hoped to drop the dinghy to give Miko an opportunity to get a walk. But, sadly we were tired and dirty. So, decided to take advantage of engine warmed hot water and took soothing showers instead. So sorry Miko. We hoped to make it up to her on Sunday. This afternoon, there was an NFL playoff game in Pittsburgh, with Steelers playing Baltimore. So, by 4:30 pm, we were watching football! Plane took off from the Norman’s Cay airstrip, aiming right at our mast, always exciting. We sit on the boat and point upwards, “MAST!”….seems they always hear, and don’t hit us.
01-14-2011 Friday, departed Great Harbour Cay, goodbye nice folks. We were up at 6:00 a.m. to do some preparations, listened to weather forecast and double checked online wind indication files. Nothing had changed and the forecast was NE winds at 17, gusts to 20. The anchorage didn’t have as many white caps this a.m. so seemed things were moderating some. It was to be a great day to sail south. Our favorite adage…sailing good, sailing free, motors, bad. Anchor was up around 7:15 a.m. and yes, the wind direction was NE but a sustained 20-25 knots all day, really overcast, with squalls all around us all day. We saw winds to 29 knots and as a result, there was a lot of wind driven chop and a raging sea swell which combined caused 8-10’ breakers in short intervals, crashing on our port side. But, we were sailing great with double reefs in both the main sail and jib. Reefs work to make sails smaller and in high winds, safer. We made wonderful time south this day. Ah now there’s the rub…a trade off….great wind means great speed but worse seas. By the time we arrived in the main channel on the north side of New Providence Island for Nassau harbor, we were beat. But, we knew it wouldn’t be much longer until we would be in a calm, protected anchorage. We into the strong wind and large crashing waves, dropped our mainsail, rolled in the jib and motored east by Paradise Island and Atlantis. Within an hour, we were anchored in nice white sand behind Salt Cay, 4:30 p.m. It was a long, hard day, but of the 8.5 hour trip for 7.5 hours we were SAILING, woohoo. The lights behind us at Atlantis were absolutely stunning, shining in the water. But, we didn’t see them long, as were whipped and in bed by 8:10 p.m.!
01-14-2011 Friday, departed Great Harbour Cay, bye nice folks. Up at 6:00 a.m. to do some preparations, then listen to weather forecast and double chcck online wind indication files. All the same, forecast was for NE winds at 17, gusts to 20. Anchorage didn’t have as many white caps this a.m. Should be a great day to sail south. Sail good, motors, bad. Hoped to make it to Nassau this day.
01-13-2011 Thursday, Great Harbour Cay, Berrys – Had hoped to depart this day, but no moderation in the winds/seas all day. So, we once again just sat and rocked. Good holding so no worry about our anchor holding and just a mindless day. We put up the dinghy, brushed Miko (semi annual coat blow!). Good night sleep.
01-12-2011 Wednesday, Great Harbour Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas. The forecast called for a front to blow through this day. Tuesday on our way to the beach, we had ridden along our anchor chain and anchor, viewing through the plexiglass window in the floor of our dinghy…always cool. Not only was our anchor buried in the wonderful holding sand, so was almost the entire 100’ for rode (chain). And, without another vessel in the entire bay, so what if we did drag?! For such a beautiful place, it amazes us that we are typically alone here. This is the third time we have stopped at Great Harbour and it is always the same, no one else anchored with us. Ken worked on the generator first thing and by 9:00 a.m. the Sargasso weed was cleared out and we were up and running again. Nice as this allowed us to watch the a.m. TV shows reporting snowstorms everywhere. The winds piped up early and the anchorage was really rockin’ this a.m. We checked early and we already had 16 knots from the north. Forecast was for the front to come through at noontime and we weren’t sure if it was early or if there was worse stuff to come. Nope, came through later and we rocked wildly all day. Though, we had wifi and sunshine…so Ken got his online CPEs (continuing education) credits done, and is renewed once again as a legal CPA in SC, yea. Just stayed aboard all day.
01-11-2011 Tuesday. Great Harbour Cay, Berry Islands chain, Bahamas, anchored off in the east bay, alone. This was a calm, no wind day so no opportunity for us to move south. We generally try to move if we can sail vs. running our engines. There are two main reasons for this…one, we are cheap and hate to burn diesel that we pay for when wind is free. And two, diesel smells and when motoring, the fumes are unpleasant. So, we try our best for passages that allow us to sail most or all the way. Of course, there is a fine line between enough wind and too much wind. This day was a no wind day. And, a cold front was forecast to come through Wednesday, bringing high winds and seas for a few days. Once again, we knew we’d be hunkered down due to too much wind. This morning was started with pancakes and sausage, yum. Then it was on to reading Facebook posts and emails from family/friends in SC and Georgia. These were filled with news/pictures of snow, ice and shovels. So, all in all, we knew we were having a much better weather day than folks in those locations. Our location, Great Harbour Cay, is a small island with a really active private airport. Planes come and go all day. On Monday, one buzzed right by us, along the shoreline, really low to the water. A lot of folks from the states own winter homes here and come in via private planes. The locals and “off islanders” are very nice and there seems to be a very respectful existence between the various residents and tourists. Walk anywhere and someone will stop to ask if you want a ride. There is a nice marina on the opposite (from us) side of the island. And, in town (Bullocks Harbour), there are a few stores and local restaurants. This is the type of place that we really would have thought was amazing when we were in “corporate America” mode. Sadly we didn’t find it then. For us now, it is certainly an appreciated favorite little piece of heaven. Midday, we took Toby, the dinghy, to shore and walked Miko south to “Sand Dollar Beach”. This section of the beach has an incredible population of live sand dollars easily seen in the clear shallow water. We appreciate seeing them, but do not take live ones. In the past we have found many that were dead/beached but none this day. To honor the snow that folks were experiencing at home, we built two “sand men”…with shell noses and driftwood arms. It is amazing how we can entertain ourselves with the simplest things these days. And, then back to MTB for reading, cocktails and dinner. We saw a school of squid around MTB that we watched for awhile. We didn’t realize they ran in schools, had 11 of the guys swimming around MTB at one time. We started the generator later in the evening and sadly it overheated and stopped. We know this meant vegetation in the through hull that would need to be cleared. Tomorrow.
01-10-2011 Monday. Great Harbour Cay, Berry Islands chain, Bahamas, east bay. This was a great morning with hot water showers, always a treat. When running the engines, we get to fire up the hot water heater. So, the two hours motoring Sunday created our enjoyable showers this a.m. We put the dinghy down and Captain Ken went to shore, beached the dink and walked to the local airport for Customs and Immigration. Only the Captain may go ashore until one’s vessel is cleared with Customs/Immigration. So, paperwork was filed, $300 fee paid and we were legal and could legally FISH! Woo hoo. Ken was back to the dinghy around 11:30 a.m. and after a little lunch, we went into shore again, met some locals and walked Miko along the beautiful beach. We love this place. This night, the Mighty Ducks of Oregon were playing the Tigers of Auburn for the National College Football Championship. Our friend Gloria in Greenville, SC was a graduate of Oregon, so we called her this afternoon, to wish them luck. By the time we phoned, they had 8” of snow already in Greenville and it was still coming down. This was probably going to be a record day for them. Ah, fun memories of our old home.
01-09-2011 Sunday, arrived Great Harbour Cay, Berry Islands chain, Bahamas, east bay. After sailing all night and most of this day, we finally lost our wind. So, after 29 wonderful, quiet and non diesel smelling hours, we finally gave up and started the engines for the final two hours of this passage to the Bahamas. We pulled into what has become one of our favorite places anywhere, Great Harbour Cay, top of the Berry Islands chain in the Bahamas, north of New Providence/Nassau. We were the only vessel (same the three times we’ve been here) in this gorgeous, huge, turquoise bay. The water and sand here are amazing and you can see star fish and sea urchins on the bottom. We raised our “Q” quarantine flag as required. During this first evening, the peacefulness we find in the Bahamas really made an impact on us. Palm Beach is so very noisy, with many boats, sirens on shore, trains, crane noises at the boat works, plans, helicopters, etc. Here, NOTHING, quiet, wonderful. This is something we had forgotten, the solitude. Cindy called her Mom to let her know we were safe and sound. Leaving our families is the most difficult about our We were exhausted after sailing overnight on Saturday/Sunday. So, we both fell asleep on the couch, woke up, crawled into bed early and slept like babies this night.
01-08-2011 Saturday, departed Palm Beach, Lake Worth Inlet. Anchor up and we were out of the inlet and sailing by 9:00 a.m. Wind was from the west around 12-15, waves were pushing us and seas were 2-4’ on our departure. The winds built to around 15-20 knots, seas grew to 3-5’ but not a bad crossing at all. Never know what will happen with west winds hitting the southern driven current of the Gulfstream. But, we had a really nice 29 hours of sailing. And, Miko was such a trouper…no complaining, she just hunkers down as if she knows it’s a passage trip and she should just relax.
01-07-2011 Friday, Palm Beach. Craig/Mary from Rum Tum Tiger came by in the a.m. to say hello. They were off to do some provisioning at a local Walmart. This day we were flanked in the anchorage by two 100+ foot sailing yachts. One was white and the other blue…both huge vessels with large crews. We jumped on our now wonderfully running dinghy and went the approximately 2.5 miles to West Palm Beach’s downtown waterfront and dock. We walked to the Publix nearby and bought a few forgotten provisions and some fresh produce. Then we walked back through Clematis Street…the main drag in downtown and did some banking at the BOA. It was a nice walk back to the waterfront. This is a really nice downtown area and Miko was so happy to be around people and other dogs. When we got back on the dinghy Mary called about going to a private party, we thought at the Sailfish Marina. And, since it was a really long dinghy ride, after dark and we were tired, we said we probably wouldn’t venture out this evening. And, we were anticipating a departure for the Bahamas, Saturday a.m. Sadly, later we realized the party was at the Sail Club, whose dock we had been using while in the anchorage. It would have been nice to go in and meet some of the folks that make that dinghy dock available. Next time, we’ll know better!
01-06-2011 Thursday, Palm Beach. About 11:00 a.m. they called to say our carburetor had arrived. Ken left in the dinghy and made it to the Palm Beach Sailing club’s dinghy dock about 11:15 a.m. Then, off he went to US1 to catch the bus yet again. About noon, the Coast Guard made an emergency announcement about high winds and severe weather. Two mega yachts appeared out of nowhere and rushed into Rybovich Marina. And, then the storm hit Meant To Be. Gusts 25-30, and no visibility. Cindy was on anchor watch, alone in the storm until around 3:00 pm, when Ken was finally able to make his way back. He had taken the phone, but not the VHF radio. So there was no way to make sure he was ok on shore. So, Cindy updated this log as well as the manually written one kept for redundancy and Miko slept. When Ken finally returned, the weather was better and he replaced the dinghy carburetor with our new one…SUCCESS, a wonderfully running engine. Sadly, it was so overcast we weren’t making any solar power, so no TV watching this afternoon. So, it was a hang out and read afternoon and evening.
01-05-2011 Wednesday, Palm Beach. A number of boat jobs were done this a.m. Cindy washed soot (grass fires on shore, been a lot of reports of wild fires) off decks & scrubbed the ick that accumulates on the back “sugar scoop” steps. She also Lysol’d knobs, handles, doors, stuff touched frequently while both had been sick. Two portlights were opened and cleaned on both sides. Ken replace two sheets (jib lines) and cleaned the “paddle wheel” speed indicator…a messy job. Best of all this day were our hot showers. About 11:00, it was decided we should make a daring attempt to putt putt into West Palm Beach with our bad dinghy carburetor. We hoped we could make it to the waterfront Maritime Museum floating dock. From there, we could walk a couple miles to downtown West Palm Beach and the UPS store on Clematis street. We needed to pick up our mail we had UPS send overnight from Brunswick. Then, Ken would need to find a way to make it the 8 miles further to the Yamaha service center once they called to say the carburetor was received. We got to town, picked up our mail, learned Ken could take the city bus to get the carburetor. We had lunch in a really nice outdoor Taco/Mexican restaurant, but the hostess and wait staff were AWFUL….rude and unattentive. Ken decided he would go ahead to US1 and catch a bus to the marine center. Cindy and Miko sauntered back through town, by Palm Harbor Marina and to the city park/Maritime Museum. Cindy was relieved to see the dinghy still there as there were a lot of shady looking characters hanging around. Shortly after arriving in the park, Cindy was sitting on the Museum porch. She heard two local homeless guys heading for the dock were the dinghy was. One pointed at the boat and said something to the other that included
“ …..that boat”. Since they were continuing toward the dinghy, Cindy yelled, ‘hey, that’s my boat” . They were startled and hesitated. So, Cindy went down to the dinghy with Miko wanting to check to see if tools, life preservers, etc. were still on board. The most belligerent of the guys followed her down the gang plank. He was telling tales that the dinghy was further south, and that someone brought it back. He got really aggressive and blocked Cindy’s way on the dock. Cindy backed off and Miko was very so very helpful. She jumped into the dinghy as if to say, “Mom, lets get out of here”. The homeless dude accused Cindy of stealing the dinghy, spewing all sorts of craziness. Cindy decided she had to get off the floating dock, back to the sea wall/shore, where she could be seen by folks in the park. She decided if need be, should could “take” the guy. Luckily, he backed off at the sign of a little aggression. And, the rest of the wait for Ken was nice. Two nice young boys started loving, playing with Miko and they all had a fun time. Ken arrived back at the park shortly after 4:00 pm, sans carburetor. Dang distributor hadn’t shipped it overnight, as promised. So, it was yet another fingers crossed trip back to MTB. Successful, thank goodness. Rum Tum Tiger arrived in Lake Worth around 4:00 p.m. after two hours of bad seas/wind on the outside. So, they were happy to be in and anchored. Since we had all been sick, we decided it best not to get together and invoked a quarantine.
01-04-2011 Tuesday, Palm Beach. Well, what was supposed to be a great weather window, Wed/Thursday to cross to the Bahamas was reported this day as a no go. They changed the forecast to Thursday having high winds, high seas. We pondered leaving this afternoon, though we knew we would be motoring all the way to the Berry Islands and then get hunkered down there from Thursday to Saturday. We checked emails this a.m. Then, dropped the dinghy and were to go to town to pick up our UPS box/mail. Although, Ken tried the dinghy motor and it was a no go. We called the Yamaha dealter and they committed to having a new carburetor here on Wednesday. So, we aren’t going anywhere now probably until Saturday. Cindy was growing very weary of just sitting on MTB and suggested throwing in the towel on this entire cruising season. So far, nothing has really gone right with the season. Although, this was the first day in 10 days that we were not taking antibiotics, so happy hour and alcohol intake was looked forward to to help the foul mood aboard. Miko always so loves hopping on the “little boat” and going for a ride to shore. So, that made us even more sad that she had to spend yet another day aboard MTB as well. When she gets on Toby, she actually “smiles” the whole time as we putt along. It was a balmy, warm Florida night so sitting out in the cockpit to well after sunset and dark was a treat that was enjoyed and a few rum toddies helped as well.
01-03-11 – Monday, Palm Beach, anchored in ICW south of Peanut Island. We both were almost “well” and feeling much better. We still had a little congestion, but knew we’d be 100% soon, for sure. The weather report this morning indicated it would be good for us to head to the Bahamas mid week. So, we were getting excited about being able to move. We felt MTB was starting to grow roots here in Lake Worth. This day was very peaceful with little wind, flat waters, fewer wakes rocking us. Everyone went back to work today so not as many boaters were out, acting the fool. Cindy tried to steal some unsecured wifi for about an hour this a.m. with sporadic success and much frustration. We called our UPS at home in Brunswick and arranged for them to overnight our mail to the local UPS store. So, we knew we’d have something to read and our new moisture resistant salt/pepper shakers to pick up in the a.m. The shakers sadly didn’t make Brunswick before we departed. Ken worked on cleaning the carburetor on the dinghy yet again this day. We did some research for marine Yamaha dealers. We were thinking we might be able to buy a new carburetor before leaving. Also, spoke to Rum Tum Tiger in the morning and they left Cumberland Island, Georgia early this day and were off the coast of Jacksonville, doing an overnight south. We thought we might see these nice Brunswick friends here before we left for the Bahamas, but who knows. Friend Martha called this evening and it was so terrific to catch up with her. Also, had an email from friend Ann….so nice to hear from these wonderful folks.
01-02-11 – Sunday, Palm Beach, anchored in south ICW. It was breezy this day, but very warm. This day Cindy turned 59 years old….good grief. Next year will certainly be a big one! Ken gave Cindy a beautiful card that he, Miko and Annie all signed! And, he also made pancakes for breakfast, a birthday treat. We were able to grab a brief wifi signal so checked the internet and Cindy found lots of Facebook birthday wishes. Jess, Brian and Audrey called with well wishes too. We decided to go out for a ride in Toby the dinghy. Of course, the motor died shortly after getting away from MTB. But, Ken got us started again. We putt putted north along the East shore of the ICW looking at big Palm Beach houses, big docks and big boats. Evidence of the recession though, as we saw “McMansion” construction starts that were now in “limbo”. Donald Trump filed a lawsuit here last week to block expansion of the airport…as he doesn’t want more planes flying over his McMansion. On our dinghy ride south, about a 12’ Manatee swam along the side of the dinghy. We were so thrilled, as he was a big gentle giant. The sighting was the perfect birthday present for Cindy. We decided to cross the ICW to the west shore to take Miko for a walk. On the way, we were on a course if maintained would put us in path of a power boat. So, we steered to his stern as a courtesy. Sadly, the drunks aboard (with kids) had a long trolling line out. Luckily, just in time, the sun shown on it and allowed Cindy to see the line. Miko could have been hurt up on the bow of Toby. Their lure hung up on our bow line, so they ended up having to cut the line loose. We went on to shore and to the dog park. Miko got to play with 4 dogs and kids, so she was very happy. After a trip to Family Dollar for carburetor cleaner and a ledger book, back to MTB. The wind had picked up so it was a choppy, sloppy ride back. We put Toby up on her davits and removed the offending lure. Luckily it didn’t ripe the inflatable portion of the dinghy. All in all, a nice day….wonderful seeing Mr. Manatee.
1-1-11 Saturday. (Whew, a date with a lot of 1’s). Palm Beach, Fl, south anchorage, Lake Worth. Blue skies, warm weather made for a good start to this new year. By 8:30 a.m., it was 75 in the salon so that was very nice. Looking forward to a mid week crossing to the Bahamas if weather transpired as forecast. Watched parades and football this day. Spoke to Cindy’s mom, Kim and Karen. Family is all doing well. Had several near miss drive bys with huge yachts throughout the day. Don’t know why they think they need to get so close to an anchored catamaran! But, it was a nice lazy day with lots of boats and folks to watch. Everyone was out on this holiday.
12/31/2010 Friday – NEW YEARS EVE!! Palm Beach Fl, south anchorage, Lake Worth. Well, it is the last day of 2010. Reflecting, it was a good year for us. After spending November/December 2009 and January 2010 in Florida, our new mast was finally installed on MTB in February. We headed to the Bahamas the first week in February and had a great cruising season. We visited many islands we had not been to previously and went back to islands we had enjoyed in the past. Once home for hurricane season, we spent June and July enjoying family/friends, catching up with everyone in Brunswick, Greenville, Tallahassee and Sarasota. Our biggest excitement was that we bought a new house in August, a repossession up the street. We made a low ball offer and were shocked when the bank accepted. The new house is waterfront with a deepwater dock, swimming pool, fireplace and great yard. September was spent moving into the new house and in October, Ken and friend Craig brought MTB “home” to her new dock. No more slip expenses, though we will miss the great folks at Brunswick Landing Marina. We put our old house on the market and headed out on MTB for our normal cruising season, Nov - May. It was very hard to leave the new house, as we came to love it in the short time there. We are looking forward to having Audrey spend time there with us over the coming years. This warm morning, we took a dinghy ride south and docked at the Maritime Museum’s floating dock. We gave Miko a good long walk, to the Palm Beach Yacht Club and back. Toby, the dinghy stopped but restarted going, but did great heading back to MTB. USF beat Clemson in the Meineke Bowl game in Charlotte, NC. And, FSU was victorious over USC (sorry Mr. Spurrier!) in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta. Sirloin steaks on the grill, 25 minutes of wonderful fireworks over the water south of us… all in all, a nice day and good end to 2010.
12/30/10 Palm Beach, Fl, south anchorage in Lake Worth. FINALLY! Welcome to the first journal entry for this cruising season. Apologies to friends/family who read our posts to stay in touch with our lives. We know you have wondered what happened to us these past few months! We have been freezing, trying to stay warm, and both have been sick with a bad KRUD. So, we just simply have not felt like doing much of anything, including posting. But yes, we are in cruising lifestyle mode aboard Meant To Be and things are getting warmer, better. We spent a good deal of time coming down the coast of Florida and stayed awhile south of Daytona in Rockhouse Creek near Ponce Inlet. We finally arrived here in Palm Beach on Thursday December 23rd. We happily had phone service so were able to catch up with family and friends Christmas weekend. We’re hoping to get healthy while waiting for a weather window to jump across the Gulfstream to the Bahamas. Though, our antibiotics seem not to be working and a visit to a local Doctor may be in order as it seems we may have “walking” pneumonia or some such thing! There may be a weather window around Wednesday 1/5/11 so we need to get well quick. It has been very dry here, and there have been fires in the area threatening homes. We’ve seen a lot of smoke in the sky. This day it was in the 70s, which has so helped our old lungs feel better. Last week, while exploring on shore, we found a nearby dog park for Miko and that was great. Our days here have been simple. Time is filled with trips to shore, watching passing vessels (very large to very small) and deciding what to eat for the next snack and/or meal. A few boat jobs are getting done, as well, which is great. Toby, the dinghy, has been giving us some trouble and we actually had to get towed back to MTB by the Department of Natural Resources on Christmas day L. We just keep cleaning out the carburetor and hoping we finally get the bad gunk flushed out. Each trip to shore has resulted in fewer “stoppages”…so think we’re getting there.
04-11-2011 Monday, Green Turtle Cay, anchored off New Plymouth Anchorage. This day we dropped the dinghy and headed in to visit the village and some of our old favorites. We stayed in the marina here in 2008 for a month during the Christmas and New Years holidays so have such fond memories of our time here. We had our two Shar Pei’s with us that trip and when we go back without them, it is bittersweet. Miko is a rock star in all our trips to these settlements so we so enjoy her being with us as well.
04-10-2011 Sunday, departed Man O’War Cay (sadly, love that place). After a nice evening overnight, we had the anchor up by 9:00 am and both sails flying by 9:20 am. We were optimistic sailors as the wind was around 5 knots early this am. Though, it was forecast to build to 10-15 during the day/our trip. Nope, no such luck and after a few hours, we started motor sailing. We went “around the whale” mid day. Whale Cay sits in between Great Guana and Green Turtle Cays. And, it is very shallow to the west of the Whale. So, one must travel east into the Atlantic, turn north then make a left turn going west to round the north shore of Whale Cay. Often this transit is very difficult due to “rage” conditions between the Atlantic and the Sea of Abaco. We wanted to get north of “the Whale” while it was mild and knew we would then have one less thing to worry about in trying to get north toward home. We went on to Green Turtle Cay, another of our favorite places, traveling a total of 20 miles this day. We dropped our anchor off of New Plymouth settlement’s government dock. Weirdly, the wind had turned to the NW and we didn’t have protection from that direction. Though, the wind driven chop wasn’t untenable and we knew the wind was to shift more to the NE during the evening. We had a lazy afternoon and watched the final round of the Masters. We’d hoped Tiger could get his head back together…he did well but ended up 4th. Maybe someday he’ll be back to his old self, the intimidator.
04-09-2011 Saturday, Man O’War Cay anchored west of Dickies Cay, Abacos. We decided to get to shore early and walk the beaches before the heat of the day. We stopped by the hardware store as our propane tank flexible hose connector was getting brittle and Ken had to work with it to assure it wasn’t leaking. The store didn’t have one, but called the Gas company representative for us. Within 5 minutes, his golf cart pulled up at the store and had what we needed in his hand, $20. This wonderful, helpful attitude is pervasive on this cay and we love it. From there, we walked to the north end of the Atlantic beach and then as far south as the beach would go. At the end, we cut back through a wonderful, vegetated area with amazing cottage type homes hidden within the fauna/flora. And this ended on the “Queens Highway” where we came upon two young girls. They ran over to pet Miko and we found out that they were selling baked goods, macaroni pie and conch salad to raise money for one of them to travel to Ireland. So, of course we bought a few items and overpaid a little bit to help their cause. Sweet kids. We went back to a store we visited the prior day and Cindy bought an Androsian tote bag and an art print of a sea turtle, $58. On Andros Island, they make the batik fabric used for the bags like the one Cindy bought. Once the fabric is printed and dyed, it is hung to dry from trees around their shop. The colors and designs are wonderful. Our floating key fob with the boat keys needed to be replaced. The hardware store didn’t have one but suggested we go to the boat works. At Edwins Boat Works, a wonderful place, they gave us two and wouldn’t take anything for the fobs…”just advertise for us”. Such nice folks there, too. We thought about doing lunch on shore at the only restaurant on the island, Dock N’ Dine but we pooped and headed back to the dinghy. We anchor off of this island as the interior harbor is very very crowed with everyone anchored and moored on top of each other. So, we have a nice little ride back to MTB. Once there, we once again put up the dinghy in anticipation a moving on Sunday.
04-08-2011 Friday, departed Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco for Man O’War Cay. We had to be up and out early to take the propane tank back in to be filled. So, by 8:30 am, we were in the dinghy heading back to the little dinghy dock for cruisers. We went straight there and about 8:40 am, the place opened (island time, mon) and took our money and tank for the propane refill. The charge was $25 for a 20 lb tank. The store was a “general” store…..Hallmark cards, propane housewares, clothing, sundries, Valspar paint section…..whatever services/products no one else in town provided, we guessed. From there, we went to the hardware store but had no luck there with the line for our watermaker. They suggested the NAPA autoparts store which was another amazing place. In addition to being a large NAPA store they had housewares, hardware, bath accessories, dinette tables, bird feeders, garden supplies, everything but the part we needed. From there, time for the baker and oh, it was a wonderful place. Cindy bought a huge cheese Danish, probably weighed a pound and a coffee cake with a combination of cinnamon and cherry sections…$9, total. We went to the waterfront to eat the Danish as we were told the propane tank would be back by 10 am and we decided to wait for it. OMG was that a good cheese Danish…fresh and wonderful. Miko played with Maggie a shepherd mix and then we split up. Cindy headed for the grocery store and Ken for the propane pickup. Sadly, it started sprinkling and we left Ken’s computer on the table under an open hatch. So, we turned around and zoomed back to MTB in time to see Katabatik motoring by MTB and out of the harbor. Bye good people. While at MTB, we put Miko in her crate and got the hand cart we had forgotten on the prior trip to town.. Back to the dinghy dock once again. Cindy headed to the grocery store to find it had burnt to the ground. Luckily she was able to ask a local and they said the rebuilt store was just ahead. Oh Man….what a store it is, unlike anything we had seen anywhere in the Bahamas. Prices were good and the produce was so unusually fresh. Cindy bought apples, oranges, lettuce, sweet potatoes, onion and a plantain for $12, yea! Ken and Cindy met up, rolled their purchases back to the dinghy dock on the nifty handcart that worked great with a bungy cord around the propane tank. So, by 11:00 am, the dinghy and anchor were up and we were headed out of Marsh Harbor, smiley face. This was a really tough trip…..less than 6 miles. We motored out of the harbor and when out of its protection, we had a little wind and pulled out our jib. We made about 3.5 knots per hour motorsailing with one engine. We crossed the Sea of Abaco, heading eastward toward one of our favorite places, Man O’War Cay. We anchored out, off the middle west coast of Dickies Cay. Homes there can only reached by boat, but there are a number of beautiful homes. Dickies Cay and Man O’War Cay have a protected harbor between them that is used by locals and cruisers even though it is tight and crowded. When wind is from the east, our anchorage is calm and peaceful. By 2:30 pm, we had the dinghy down, yet again and headed into the wonderful community here. We bought some momento items and gifts from one of the nicest little stores next to the Marina. Then…off to the ice cream shop……bummer, not open this day. We talked with a lot of locals (one man who moved to Dickies Cay 30 years ago from NY), cruisers and tourists during our walk about. We thoroughly enjoy our time in this nice community though there is only one restaurant, no bars and alcohol is not served nor sold anywhere on this entire Cay. It is truly a charming place. Back to MTB, time to watch the Masters Tournament. $9+12+25 total $46 spent this day.
04-07-2011 Thursday, departed Lynyard Cay. This am the anchorage was flat, wind was from the east and less than 10 knots. Through the morning, the skies brightened with fewer clouds and more blue. After listening to weather and the Abacos cruisers net, enjoying Ken’s pancakes, we prepared MTB to move toward Little Harbor. Anchor was up around 9:00 a.m. and we motored the three miles toward the day anchorage outside of Little Harbor. Sadly, the sea swell there was terrible AND we didn’t “hook” the anchor in the rocky, grassy area that was deep enough for us to anchor in. So, after another try and a look around the area for alternatives….we gave up and headed back north. We’d just have to make it into Little Harbor another trip. So, now where? Well, we decided we needed to fill a propane tank to make sure we had enough to get us home….probably did….but why worry. So, the Marsh Harbor settlement on Great Abaco became our alternative destination. There they have a place for cruiser garbage, a hardware store, grocery store and wonderful liquor store. The drawbacks…noisy, too many lights, not a no wake zone so rented fish boats flying around and a bazillion boats all anchored too close. Besides that, its an ok place! Some cruisers go there, throw their anchor and don’t move the entire season, all winter. Weird. Cindy had trepidation about going in, but of course, common sense ruled the decision. The harbor is a very protected harbor and has very good holding. Although, as a result, there is a lot of commercial and tourist and cruiser activity. One enters the harbor area and one channel runs over to the commercial, government docks and another goes through the middle for boats going to and from the MANY marinas here. The anchorage is to both the south and north of the marina channel. We pulled up, in between and behind two monohulls and dropped our anchor, and Cindy laid out about 60 feet of chain. Sadly, we ended up very close to another boat (from Brunswick) named Wind Dancer. Though, Ken and Cindy had quite a “disagreement” about this, though it was decided we were “ok” as there was absolutely no wind and no current in the harbor. So, we let MTB settle down to make sure we were “ok” and dropped our dinghy. We took Miko, the garbage, and our propane tank to shore. Miko got to play with “Nautical”, the really sweet dog we met in Georgetown who lives on “Compass Rose” with very nice parents. We dropped our garbage in the place provided for cruisers here (nice). Then sadly, we were too late for propane and they wouldn’t let us leave the tank overnight for the first a.m. pickup…telling Ken he had to bring it back at 8:30 a.m. Ok, thank you….great customer service, NOT. The hardware store was closed so we couldn’t check on the part needed for the watermaker. So, it wasn’t a very successful trip to town, except for Miko getting to play with Nautical. Back to the dinghy, we decided to motor over to the marina where California friends we met in our Brunswick Marina were staying. We knew Katabatik was there but were pulling out on Friday, so at a minimum, we wanted to say hello. They asked us aboard to meet their visitors and graciously shared their wine…ah thanks guys. They were ready to have happy hour and had invited another couple that brought a Cavalier King Charles spaniel with them. Lucy was a great dog and Miko loved playing with her. She looked just like Miko’s cousin, Brandi being equally sweet. We knew were imposing on Thom & Stacy’s happy hour plans, but they were so very gracious. We had really enjoyed getting to know these nice people over the last few years and enjoyed our time on Katabatik. As uninvited guests, we didn’t want to overstay our welcome, especially having Miko with us. So, about 6 pm, we said our goodbyes and went back to MTB after a really nice time, being very appreciative of Thom & Stacy’s hospitality. We hoped to catch up somewhere else in the future with these good folks.
04-06-2011 Wednesday, Lynyard Cay, Abaco Island Chain, Bahamas. First thing this a.m. we had NW wind but it was light and variable, basically no wind. Through the morning, we clocked around to the NE/030 and the wind built to 17-20 knots. After this day, this whole area was to see very moderate winds from the NE to E and the rest of the week and we hoped it would be great. This day we hoped to back track 2 miles south to an anchorage just NW of the entrance to “Little Harbor”. This harbor is a place we had never visited and other cruisers have enjoyed. It was largely an uninhabited area for many years. Though, in the 50’s, a renowned sculptor name Randolph Johnson and his wife established a home there. They lived on a boat and in a cave while building their secluded paradise hideaway. Their son, Pete has carried on in the harbor and operates a small unique bar named Pete’s Pub. The original foundry with a gift shop is still viable and part of Little Harbor’s attraction. There is a very shallow entrance to the harbor, so our vessel could only go in/out at high tide. So, we planned to anchor outside the harbor entrance and dinghy inside to visit. That way, we knew we wouldn’t have to worry about tides and could come/go from the area as we pleased. Sadly our selected anchorage would give no protection from the NE/E high winds of the day, is subject to sea swell and doesn’t have very good holding. So, we decided that since it was still overcast and so windy, we’d stay put one more day at Lynyard Cay to have better conditions for our move on Thursday. While in good water we decided to run the water maker. Cindy likes to keep the tanks as full as possible in case of a potential mechanical issue with the unit. This day, the port tank was ½ full and the starboard tank was about ¾ full. This was probably enough to get us home. While it was running, our starboard engine bilge indicator light came on. This indicator means that water had accumulated (never good) in the engine compartment and was being pumped out automatically by the bilge pump. Ken went out to check the watermaker and found a leak in a high pressure hose. Bummer, another boat job. We just turned off the unit and would check it out on Thursday.
04-05-2011 Tuesday, Lynyard Cay, Abaco Island Chain, Bahamas. This was the big “cold front with 50 knot squalls coming through” day. We were comfortable with our anchor and holding, our location and protection. Though, a monohull that arrived Monday and anchored (too) close to us. We had about 130’ of chain out anticipating the high winds. And, we sure would be happier if they weren’t so close, especially when the wind started clocking and MTB would be moving around the anchor. Oh well, we figured we would just have to deal with it. But happily, later in the morning, they pulled up anchor and left! Yea. So, just had the worry of high winds, lightening and tornados, but not a too close neighbor. We still had the dinghy down and knew that we needed to get into shore earlier vs. later in the day so Miko could play Frisbee and get some exercise. So, midday, we went to the beach closest to MTB at low tide so more of it was exposed which gave Miko more running room. She had a blast as we’ve been playing chase with a ball….well, a Frisbee in high wind was a good change for her. When we got back to MTB, once again, we put up the dinghy. This activity…dinghy up, dinghy down, dinghy up, dinghy down, is almost a daily event when island hopping and manually cranking the winch is quite a workout. It was “Miko Spa Day” this day which means lots of brushing, nail cutting, a lot of treats and application of flea protection medicine. Following these sessions, Miko gets a big bone treat. Ah, a dog’s life. We purchased a week of WIFI access on arrival in the Bahamas so decided this would be a good day to file our IRS extension. Ken got that done and it felt good to know it was taken care of until we can get home and file. And, very importantly, we renewed our FSU Booster club membership and ordered our football season tickets….other good tasks to get done this day. About 2:00 p.m. we pulled up the Doppler radar for Miami to watch the progress of the front that would be our weather maker here. It was really an awful looking system with gale force winds, lightening showing in red and coming right for us. We’d heard from family and friends about their terrible weather and damage in Fl and Ga from this storm. Although, as minutes past and the radar images updated, we gained more and more comfort. As we watched the storm progress away from land/Florida, the red started diminishing, turning orange, then yellow. Once the front was over Freeport (due west of us) we turned on MTB’s radar screen and set it to 24 miles out. We were actually able to watch both the progress and severity of the front as it approached on the computer and on MTB’s radar. We gained so much peace of mind as the closer the front came to us, the severity appeared to be lessening. More “green” areas were appearing that indicate just rain and wind. We were so happy to see the moderation, though we knew it was still going to be a rocky ride. On arrival, the wind built rapidly and spun us quickly around from south, to west to north. The anchor held fine as we moved and pulled in these different directions in the high velocity winds. There was thunder and lightening all around us and that was a major worry. A side note…. Miko is such a resilient boat dog….“ thunder boomers” didn’t seem to bother her at all. One of our prior pups, CJ, was so terribly afraid of thunder she’d get destructive. But not Miko, she took a nap through all this crazy weather. The sky was so black and the rain so strong that we could not see anything out our salon windows. We recorded a high wind of 38.3 on our instruments, though it may have been higher at times. Things were crazy for about an hour, then the front was by us, the rain was over and the anchorage was calm once again. We were glad the bad stuff came through during the daylight hours. If something bad were to happen, it is easier to deal with when one can see. But, we survived just fine and were so glad our selected location served us so well. Once again, the anticipation of this storm over the days that preceded it was worse than the actual event (thank goodness!).
04-04-2011 – Monday – Lynyard Cay, Abaco Island Chain, Bahamas. After a great night’s sleep in a cooler, less humid location, we were up early to listen to weather reports. A serious front had been crossing the US with a lot of tornado activity. So, we wanted the best information we could get relative to its potential effect on our location.
Once we heard the report, and a few boats left the anchorage, we decided to move to a new spot further north on Lynyard, closer to shore and in more shallow weather. We would be the only vessel there and with squalls coming with potential winds predicted from 20 to 50 knots, that was good. So, we pulled up around 10:00 a.m., re-anchored and were making cheese grits and sausage by 10:30 a.m. We were feeling great about our move to the quiet little “hole” north of our initial spot. It wasn’t so deep and we’d have more chain on the bottom during the “blow” that was coming. We were the only vessel in this location and were happy about that too, as we wouldn’t have anyone around us if we got the squalls predicted for Tuesday evening. Of course, right after moving, in came a monohull, pulling right up alongside MTB. They threw their anchor down next to us (when there was a huge, perfectly lovely beach anchorage south of us)! And, to add insult to injury, there crew was comprised of 4 noisy loudmouths who sounded as though they were having cocktails with us in our cockpit! Oh well. We dropped the dinghy as Miko needed some exercise and we wanted to explore the island’s numerous beaches. We enjoyed long walks, shelling and playing fetch with the little girl. Miko actually is getting more brave when it comes to getting wet. Her ball rolled into the water this day and she just went bounding in after it…quite a surprise to us all. Winds were SE/S 15-18 this day and MTB was calm and happy, as was her crew due to good protection from the high part of this island. We knew the winds were to build on Tuesday and were not sure we’d be able to get off the boat. The anticipation of these fronts, with squalls, is typically worse than the front. Though, this one was to be a “doosie” so, Cindy was concerned. We’ve survived 56.8 knots in the past…our high winds at anchor. We’d see!
4-03-2011 – Sunday, departed Current Settlement, NW Eleuthera for Lynyard Cay, southern Abacos. Our anchor was up at 6:45 am, barely light and the mainsail and jib were up by 7:15 am, though we were motorsailing with one engine at low RPMs. We headed from the anchorage toward “Egg Island”, west of Royal Island and south of Little Egg Island. From there, we turned directly north for the cut between Little Harbor Island and Lynyard Cay in the Abacos. We had a long trip ahead of us this day so put out trolling lines and shortly had hooked a lovely little “BARRACUDA” ….dang. Ken reeled him in and was able to remove the lure/hook to get the fellow back in the water in time for him to take a big gasp and swim away. We fished for a while longer, but once in really deep (thousands of feet) water, the lines were getting fouled with Sargasso weed and it was too deep for Mahi. So, we pulled the lines back in and gave up for the day. A beautiful white crane flew by as if to say hello early in the morning and he was beautiful. We saw flying fish, a large jumping fish, a Tropicbird and 7 LARGE commercial ships this day. By 11:45 am, the wind had built enough that we were able to quit motor sailing and we had that “aaaahhh” moment of peace when the engines are turned off. The prior day we were so hot and this day, we got out our fleeces as we sailed. Wind built to 10-12 from a good direction by 3 pm and we continued sailing until about 5:15 pm when we dropped our sails and fired up both engines. So, this day, we motored for 1.5 hours, motorsailed with one engine for 4.5 hours and sailed for 5.5 hours (free!!)….not too bad for a 62 mile trip. We arrived at Lynyard Cay, the eastern most part of the southern Abacos. The anchorage was full, as a number of folks had crossed the NE Providence Channel as we did this day. The Lynyard anchorage is the first good holding place to stop in the Abacos. Our anchor was down in deep water (15-20 feet) by 6:15 p.m. and we enjoyed yet another Bahamas sundown, but no green flash here as Great Abaco Island sits to the west of this anchorage. A great day, though we were exhausted once here. So, it was an early to bed evening.
04-02-2011 – Saturday, Current Island anchorage to NW Eleuthera/Current Settlement. . Wind this a.m. was NW/N but we had great protection. This day, we were going through the “Current Cut”. By going through this cut, one can reduce a trip to the north side of Eleuthera by about 20 miles. Though, if one doesn’t know when to go through, it can be very scary. It is narrow, bordered by a sandbar and there is about a 7-10 knot current that ripes through this channel between Eluethera and Current Islands. We confirmed when high slack tide would be, knew the wind direction so felt comfortable traversing this cut. In 2008, we did it with incorrect information and it was SCARY. So, we called a local marine pilot named “Bandit” to confirm we had the right time for high slack tide (2 hours after Nassau) and off we went. Our anchor was up at 9:30 a.m. and we were in the cut at 10:00 a.m. with only a knot against us, sweet. This time, we survived “Current Cut” and it was a piece of cake. By 10:30 am, we were anchored in a favorite place on the Northside of Current Settlement on Eleuthera. Here we had two unsecured WIFI sites….yay! And, the anchorage was beautiful, again with great wind protection. We dropped the dinghy (AGAIN, geez!) and landed on the beach. There were so many Casuarina trees here, just about the sandy beach, the shore was covered with a thick layer of pine (Casuarina) needles. The rock ledges along the shore were beautiful and there were wonderful homes tucked in all along. Gorgeouse. We found the road to the settlement of “Current”. This was the first village on Eleuthera and some of the early settlers were American Indians who left the States from the Cape Cod area. We have seen a lot of beautiful settlements, but this one was amazing. Homes were all well maintained, purple, coral, lime green, periwinkle, aqua….with ginger bread trims. There was a park for the children that was wonderful and had public restrooms. Ken reported that the bathroom was spotless and even had TP! We walked all around and enjoyed this great place. We stopped into the little tiny general store and bought two nutty buddy cones, $3. The store attendant had only lived there for 18 months, but said she loved it better than any place she had ever been and we could see why. Back to the beach we played fetch a little with Miko and headed back to MTB. Miko got her heartworm pill this day. Once again, we were the only boat there and it was so beautiful. Though we could see the horizon for sundown, no green flash this day. Flashes: K=5, C=4. Dinghy up and early to bed as we planned a long trip for Sunday.
04-01-2011 Friday - APRILS FOOLS DAY!!! Current Island, southeast side anchorage, east of Eleuthera Island, Bahamas. What a great night of sleep we all enjoyed Thursday night even though the wind piped up out of the west overnight. We had great protection and slept like babies. And, the holding in this anchorage was great in beautiful white sand. Love when we drop and anchor and it holds so well and fast the boat goes “boooaaaannnggg” when it stops fast. A lot of folks went to Hatchett Bay from Governors Harbor on Thursday. We heard them talking to each other this a.m. on their radios…talking about dragging, etc. Glad we opted not to go in there…we loved our choice. This tiny island can only be reached by water and only has a few homes on shore, very isolated. Our weather guy didn’t do his weather service this a.m. as his antennas were knocked out in a tornado in Lakeland Florida on Thursday. We were to get this front in our location this day….but it never came and we had a beautiful day with winds 20-25 but no problem where we anchored, sweet. Though, it was a HOT day with temp in the low 80s coupled with humidity in the low 90s…..uncomfortable. We dropped the dinghy so we could go to shore to explore and exercise Miko. We putt putted by 4 beaches, walking on 2 of them. We love going to beaches that don’t have another single footprint on them….ours alone. We didn’t see any interesting shells nor find any sea glass. But, we took some gorgeous photos and played fetch with Miko until she was pooped. She is fierce chasing her favorite “orange ball”…a fast girl for sure. Cindy walked out toward a reef at one beach and a small shark swam slowly. He was a few yards out so her photo didn’t pick him up, sadly. This whole day, we saw only 4 boats and to have a day of such peace, beauty, and seclusion is always so appreciated. We put up the dinghy anticipating a move on Saturday. Unfortunately, our night was not quite as peaceful as our anchorage. After getting to bed early, Miko barked about 10 pm, rare for her. We looked around outside the boat and saw nothing. So, we tried to get her to settle down and go back to sleep. About 11:00 pm, she barked again and we thought she may need to go outside. Ken got up, dressed and took her out front to the trampolines (where she does her “business” and we have a washdown system)….NOTHING. Ken brought her back in, she jumped in our bed and we both tried to sooth her by petting her for about an hour. Oh good, she seemed to calm down, and we got back to sleep. Again later, she barked and again we got up, checking to make sure she had food and water. Not that, she had both. Back to bed and Miko was still restless. FINALLY….we realized that the remnants of her rawhide bone (she’s protected and hid it daily for about a month) had fallen on the bedroom floor and behind our door. She couldn’t find her special bone, was stressed that she didn’t know where it was. No one was going to sleep until she knew where it was! Geez girl…..mystery solved at last. Or, maybe this was her April Fools “ah ha” joke on us.
03-31-2011 Thursday. departed Governors Harbor, Eleuthera and headed north. Ovenight, we had big swells, rollers due to the S/SW winds and the boat was still bouncing though we slept ok, considering the conditions. Though, when we got up, we knew were moving somewhere. The wind forecast was for S/SW 10-15 knots and that would be great for us to sail north. So, we had the anchor up at 8:30 a.m., sails up by 9:05 a.m. We initially motored just north of Governors Harbor, past a rock spit called Levy Island and Balara Bay. In the past we anchored there and met wonderful folks (Marian/Gil from Indiana) who own two houses on shore. They were so kind to us during our 2008 visit, taking us to visit some of their favorite places on the island. We tried to connect with them in 2010 without success because of the weather. Sadly, we left again this year before getting together. We put double “reefs” in our sails just to be conservative this day and we were glad as the wind blew 20-25 knots off and on during the day. We had a great 32 mile trip, averaging 6 knots per hour. The sea swells and the wind chop were both somewhat behind us for a nice ride. This morning on leaving, we initially thought about ducking into Alabaster Bay near the Governors Harbor airport. With binoculars, we could see it also looked pretty rolly too, not much better than what we left this a.m. We were sailing great so decided to keep going to the northern most part of Eleuthera. And, we were so glad we did as we passed a monohull!!! WOO HOO. Catamarans have the reputation for being slow and the monohull owners tend to think we can’t sail. So, to pass one with their full sails up and we had reefs in our sails, was sweet! Ken had us trimmed just perfectly and we had fun. Just west of the westerly most point on Eleuthera, west of “Current Cut”, is a small island named Current Island. On its south east side is a designated anchorage. This was a place we had never visited before, but we felt it would offer good protection from the winds we were having. So, we kept going. As we were heading there, a very large commercial vessel approached our starboard stern and seemed to be closing on us. But, he finally took a starboard (right) turn and headed directly for “Current Cut”….the pass from south Eleuthera to its north side. We approached the anchorage we had selected and were delighted to see beautiful aqua water along sandy beaches. We had our anchor down by 2:00 pm, We were so happy with our day….the move was a fun sail that greatly improved our anchorage situation. A good day.
03-30-2011 – Wednesday, anchored south of Cupid Cay, Governors Harbor, Eleuthera Island. Well, we woke up in a really really rolly anchorage with our bow bouncing high in the air as each southerly swell hit us. We had little to no protection from south to west winds here. Though, we weren’t concerned as our winds were to be 10-15 knots so thought it wouldn’t be a bad ride. NOPE….the swells built with the wind and it was more and more noisy and tiresome. We decided to put the dinghy up about 11:30 am and it was a wild task to get the cables attached that allow us to pull it up. Swells were coming through our hull and the dinghy motor was close to our davits, bouncing up under them. Ken got in the dinghy, bouncing up and down and having to be careful not to get his head hitting on the stainless steel tubes that the pull up cables attach to. Once the cables were hooked and Ken was able to jump back on MTB, we were able to pull Toby up and out of the effect of the swells coming through our hulls. Having the dinghy up made it much quieter this day, with less worry…..a good call though an exciting task. We just rocked in this very bumpy anchorage the rest of the evening, making ready to move somewhere in the a.m. if conditions hadn’t improved. Dang weather forecasters failed us once again.
03-29-2011 – Tuesday, departed Tarpum Bay anticipating a short trip to South Palmetto Point. But, once underway, with a forecast of bad weather coming, we decided to head for Governors Harbour. This is a town we always enjoy, though it is a much larger place than most of the small settlements we typically are drawn to. This town actually has 4 liquors stores that we know of and a movie theater. AND…..omg…the best bakery anywhere with…..coconut tarts, cinnamon rolls, meat pies and the absolute best cheese Danish! Governors Harbour is located in the central part of Eleuthera, about the eastern most island in the Bahamas, about 110 miles long.
03-28-2011 – Monday, departed Poison Point, Eleuthera for Tarpum Bay village, Eleuthera, a journey of 12 nautical miles. We were up early, checked the weather forecasts and the wind was to be SE at less than 10 knots this day. We planned to make the short 12 mile puddle jump just north up the central portion of the Eleuthera coast. So, after breakfast and two wonderful French Press pots of coffee, we prepared to move. We hadn’t dropped the dinghy so nothing was needed there. Wind and the anchorage were so calm we decided to pull up the mainsail in the anchorage, even before taking up the anchor. It worked fine, though different from our normal procedure. We cautiously made our way out of the anchorage, through coral heads and sailed north along the coast. This area has a lot of reefs, coral heads and we really keep an eye peeled. Now, mind you the wind today was forecast to be less than 10 knots this day….ah, how about us seeing 15-20 knots all day?! Oh well. Once near the intended anchorage, we dropped our main sail, fired up both engines and cautiously motored toward the Tarpum Bay settlements shoreline. ALL the cruising guides said not to come here, do not to try to anchor as it was too shallow, the holding was bad and there were too many rocks. We figured we’d check it out for ourselves as we heard this was a beautiful little village. We made it in near shore just fine, found a sandy looking spot with a few feet of water still under our hulls. We threw down the anchor and crossed our fingers. Because the forecast said it was to be settled weather, we were concerned that if the wind stayed high and the holding was questionable, we may be making a mistake. But, we held good on the first try (fingers crossed) and decided we’d just let things settle down awhile before dropping the dinghy. We took our HOT showers and decided it would be fine to drop the dinghy (Miko smiling) and go to shore about 3 pm. This village was beautiful to look at from the boat, idyllic and picturesque really. We used the “glass bottom” in the dinghy to check our anchor and were very pleasantly surprised to see it was dug in well. So, we were comfortable heading into shore. We tied up to the sea wall and started our walk about. At the waterfront, there was a gazebo with benches and it had a sign that said it was “Travelers Rest”. Several local fishermen were there cleaning a huge amount of fish, lobster, and conch….a good fishing day in the village. We had all the seafood we needed in our freezer so we didn’t buy anything. We walked south, then east, north and then back west, making a large loop through this quaint town. Once the children were out of school, we think Miko met and kissed everyone of them. These local kids just love the little white dog and can’t seem to quit petting her once they feel how soft she is. So, again, Miko = Rock Star….ah us, not so much. This village is renowned as an artists’ community so we were hoping to find shops or local artisans somewhere. But, no luck this day. Though, the village is very artistic itself with new and old homes having a lot of gingerbread, trimwork, Bahamian colors, beautiful vegetation, etc. In only about two hours on shore we took 65 pictures of wonderful sights…including the castle built by an artist named McMillan, long since deceased. We are so glad we made the effort to come here. It is a shame that the guides are so discouraging relative to visiting this wonderful place as they probably have single handedly squashed the inflow of any cruiser dollars here. And, there is everything a cruiser desires…water, bakery, fresh seafood, garbage receptacles, grocery stores, hardware stores, etc. Sad really. Back to MTB for happy hour, mahi on the grill and Cindy’s personal favorite…saurkraut casserole, yummy. The dinghy was put up after a great day once again.
03-27-2011 – Sunday….ah, departed Black Point, through Dotham Cut to Poison Point, Eleuthera. Amazing, the anchor did pull up and out of the beautiful white sand that had so securely held us for so long in Black Point. This is a wonderful location, respectful children and just wonderful folks. We were sad, but it was time to go. The anchor was up by the time it started getting light out this a.m. about 7:05 am. We were in and through the Dotham Cut to the Exuma Sound by 7:30 am. We knew we would have a rough ride through the cut as there was an outgoing time against the incoming sea/waves. Though the seas weren’t bad and we knew it would be a very short time. Though, once we started crashing through the cut, Miko cried from down in our berth. She had been happily curled up in our bed pillows when books start falling off the shelves and some shampoo bottles hit the shower floor. So, it was a little noisy, though not bad at all. Ken hollered “what’s wrong with Miko”….Cindy hollered back “she’s scared”…..But, it last only a minute or two as Ken had both engines at full throttle and we were through the bad stuff in no time. After that, our sails were up by 7:45 a.m., the ahhhhh moment when the engines are turned off…..AAAHHHHH. Then, as we sailed NE toward Eleuthera, we had two trolling lines out and very shortly “fish on”. Yes, we had a Mahi caught, landed, cleaned and in our freezer by 9:00 a.m. By 11:30 a.m. we lost our wind so had to add one engine and that wasn’t too bad. As we approached the coast of Eleuthera, we could see a GIGANTIC cruise ship anchored at the “faux” village near the south end of the island. It looked like a city from 20 miles off. As we neared Cape Eleuthera, we added the second engine to make sure we’d make our anchorage before dark. So, we pulled in our trolling lines. Well, as soon as we did, we saw sargaso weed, flying fish, a Tropicbird hunting flying fish, Mahi jumping out of the water trying to catch flying fish….all perfect indicators that we needed a line in the water. Oh well. We also saw a huge, huge fish jump off our bow…and had heard that they were catching Blue Marlin in this area. Not sure what this one was….but huge. We proceeded on toward our selected anchorage, Poison Point, south of Rock Sound. We hadn’t been there before, but once in and anchored we found it was so calm, peaceful, uncrowded (1 other catamaran) and beautiful. There was no ambient light so the stars were incredible this night. We made about 58 miles this day and had a nice glass of wine to go with our amazing sunset overlooking three strategically placed (for aesthetics) rocks off the shore. Clouds didn’t allow a green flash this day but we didn’t spend any money, though we did have to burn some diesel!
03-26-2011 – Saturday – again…yes, we are still in Black Point. But, tomorrow, we are leaving no matter what! This a.m. we decided we wanted to look for sea glass one more time on the southeast beach. If we went in early morning, we knew it would be low tide and the temp would be cooler…allowing for easier, more comfortable success finding glass and walking Miko. We were amazed at both the quantity and quality of the sea glass we found this morning. Also, we found a huge, beautiful shell. These are the size of a conch, but in multiple brown colors, tan vs. pink and it has a square face at its opening., really beautiful and what a find. We got back to MTB and remembered we hadn’t picked up Black Point tshirts that we wanted. So Ken said he’d go back in later. Raymond, our local resident buddy came by and said he didn’t believe we were really going to leave on Sunday…..said we wouldn’t like Eleuthera the way we did Black Point. He was so nice and funny. The “lobsterman” came by with his son and we bought one more “LARGE” lobster for our freezer. Ken went back into the settlement and got Cindy a large onion and two tshirts that said “Black Point…Get to the Point, Stick to the Point”. Guess that pretty much sums it up this season….one cruiser friend said they were going to bring us the official Bahamian residency form to complete if we didn’t get moving. So, up went the dingy and we prepared for a Sunday departure. this day, $40 tshirts, $20 lobster, $1 onion, a $61 day. No green flash this day….sadly.
03-25-2011 – Friday….yep, still in Black Point! We got up, NO wind again this day. So, we just knew we’d have another lazy day in BP. Lucy’s folks from “Aquila”, Mike/Linda (and Lucy) came by about 10:30 and said they were going to run to town. But, in about an hour they wondered if we could meet at the beach for the two pups to have their “play date”. OF COURSE, said Miko and her folks….a well exercised Shiba Inu is a very happy Shiba Inu. About 12:30 pm, they came back by and Lucy was lethargic and laying in the bow of their dinghy. They were obviously very upset and thought she may have eaten rotten food, chicken bones or something that made her sick. They said she had thrown up in town and when they gave her water, she threw it up as well. So, these very concerned folks went back to their boat with their sweet girl. We tried raising them on the radio later in the day, but not luck. Although, we did take Miko into the beach and played ball with her. Though we are sure in her little dog brain, this is not the same as her romping with another dog. While on the beach, we met a very nice French family of 5, couple with three very tan younger children, who were traveling on a Lagoon Catamaran. It is always a fun challenge trying to communicate in different languages, but we really had a nice visit with them. We ran the generator for an hour this day. We had been making a huge amount of solar power in the last week so, gladly hadn’t needed to run the noise maker until this day. This night, FSU played VCU in the NCAA “Sweet 16” round. We actually stayed up until after midnight just to watch FSU lose in overtime by 1 point. Truly a heartbreaker….guess it is now officially BASEBALL season!
03-24-2011 – Thursday…..yep, still in Black Point. GRAMP BOOTH’S birthday this day…Cindy still misses him so and wishes she could sit down and have just one more chat together. No wind this morning as forecast so we dropped the dinghy yet again as we figured we’d be around another few days. Miko loved seeing the “little boat” go in the water again. She knows it means she’s going to get to shore. You might know, winds went and stayed west this day and built to around 10 knots. These conditions would have been perfect for heading northeast to the island of Eleuthera. Oh well. Our decision to stay allowed us to get into town, drop off the garbage, wash three loads of laundry that we took back and hung out to dry on our life lines. We met Lucy from S/V Aquila, a white small poodle and she/Miko bonded. We agreed we’d try to work it out to get the pups to the beach together for a play date Friday. We also saw “Sky” & Windwalker (Fountain Pajout catamaran) again newly anchored next to us. Sky is the Golden Retriever who “retrieved” our dinghy anchor from the bay sand floor, carried it up and onto shore while we were chatting with her parents during their/our previous visit. Windwalker is from Australia and was in Georgetown while we were as well. They had new folks onboard here so we figured they picked up visitors there. Boats came and went as usual this day. Cindy made a homemade key lime pie this morning and it was enjoyed while watching the American Idol results show this evening. Judges saved Casey, #11 and announced Idol will tour this summer with 11 instead of 10. Don’t get it….but judges see SOMETHING in him. The sunset this evening was spectacular and we saw a “smallish”green flash, but we’ll count it. So, now Ken 5, Cindy 4 flashes this season. We spent this day $2 donation for garbage trailer and $10 for clothes washers.
03-23-2011 – Wednesday, well ok…..still in Black Point. Got up this a.m. to find that there was absolutely no wind. Ken’s quote when he looked out at the anchorage…”well, its as flat as a mill pond”. We weren’t ready to pull up the anchor knowing we’d have to motor all the way over to Eleuthera, about 50 miles. We hate diesel smell. So, here we sat with the dinghy up and nowhere to go this day. What a bummer…as we knew that this was our only chance for a number of days as light/variable wind was forecast through the coming weekend. We emailed Raymond/Ultrisa Andrews, local residents who had been so good to us. We didn’t want to lose touch with them once we left here and we had a very nice response back. Though we kept hoping all morning the wind would pick up, it never did. And, we wouldn’t be able to make Eleuthera before dark if we left later in the day. So, once reconciled to not moving on, we just chilled (as usual!). Later in the afternoon, one of the local fishermen came by and had extra lobsters he needed to sell. We happily bought two ($10 each) and threw them in the freezer. So, that was a very good thing that resulted from not leaving this day. Miko saw Molly, Sammy and three other dogs on the beach early evening, standing out front on MTB’s bow, she was crying to go see her buddies. We knew by the time we put the dinghy down and motored to shore, they would probably be ready to leave the beach. So, Miko was treated like a “dog” vs. the Princess who rules the boat, having to stay aboard, not happy. We had a minor, little green flash this night so we were not sure it counted. As usual, we blew our conch horn at sundown. Miko used to freak out when we even picked up the horn. Now, she just raises her head up from wherever she is lying and looks at us as if to say “uh, that again?”.
03-22-2011 – Tuesday, Black Point III (third long visit here!)….still. Well, the front came through with the highest wind we saw around 37 knots in a squall. This a.m. so nice, with NE winds 10-15 knots and the anchorage flat due to the wind direction. Ah, we always say what a difference a day makes!! Today was Miko’s “Spa Day”….brushing and nail trimming. She doesn’t mind as long as we continuously reinforce her good behavior with a mass number of treats broken into itty bitty pieces. She always looks so beautiful after a good brushing. After emails, logs, reading, Cindy transplanted her herb seedlings into larger temporary pots. Not sure how successful this will be, but worth a try. We have basil, chives and parsley repotted. This experiment was supposed to begin in November so that we would have these fresh herbs all along the way for the cruising season. But, we were so sick when we were heading south from Georgia and then, once in the Bahamas, just slow to get around to planting the seeds in the first, tiny hatchling cups/soil. Though, finally had a bunch of little guys, so we’ll see if they become hardy enough and survive the move to new soil/cups. We bought the little kits at Home Depot and will see if this experiment actually works. At a minimum, may have some plants to put in the ground in Brunswick on return home. We planned to depart on Wednesday if the weather and winds cooperated. So, decided to visit all our favorite beaches on the east side of the island one last time. Poor Miko….a marathon walk today. We went to the two that are furthest away from the government dock on the northeast side of the island. Usually we find all kinds of treasures there, but not this day…..no sea beans and very little sea glass, shells. We played with Miko/ball but didn’t stay too long. As we were heading down the hill toward the southeast side, we saw two dogs on the bay side beach. Ah, Miko noticed them of course, too. So, we went down and met Barb and her dogs, Molly (chocolate lab) and Sammy (sweet rescue dog, border collie like). They were traveling on a trawler as part of an organized cruise of “Selene” brand trawlers doing the Exumas this year. Molly was young and she/Miko played a long time. Sammy was protective of Molly and didn’t play, older dog. From the play date, we headed over to our other favorite beach where we had found a great deal of sea glass. On the dirt path there, Miko laid down and wouldn’t budge. She was pooped and it seemed we might have to carry her. Two other cruisers came along and broke out laughing at the “strike” they saw unfolding. Once distracted by new people, Miko perked up and off we all went. Not much glass was on the beach this day and we guessed the high winds and seas the prior day had come in and cleared everything off. In a few days, it will probably all wash back up. Since it was low tide, there were rock/coral formations that weren’t covered by water, exposing “holes” still filled with water and many, many live sea urchins clinging to the walls. It was a very pretty, interesting sight. Sadly, photos really didn’t do the scenery any justice. Back to the dinghy dock and MTB we began preparing to move on Wednesday. Bummer, we forgot to take our garbage into the trailer provided here for us. Well, we’ll deal with it somewhere else. We put up the dinghy and enjoyed some of the Mahi we caught for dinner….wonderful and fresh.
03-21-2011 Monday, Black Point, Great Guana HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARLIE!!!
Still no front had come through by the time Cindy was up to listen to the 6:30 a.m. weather report. Per weather reporter Chris Parker and other boats reporting in, the bad stuff was a just a short way north of us and heading our way. We expected the brunt of the high winds and squalls this morning. Sure enough, the wind soon started building and the skies all around us turned dark. There was rain on the horizon and we could tell it was coming our way and moving quickly. So, we turned on the radar and saw that there was squally stuff all around us on the screen. Happily, we could also tell that once it blew through, nothing followed the initial front. We made blueberry muffins/bacon for breakfast and enjoyed our coffee while MTB finally got a really nice, long fresh water rinse. The highest winds were more than the forecast, staying in the sustained high 20’s. We don’t keep our instruments on all the time due to their energy draw, but once when checking, our wind indicator captured a high of 32.8 knots. It was a rapidly moving front and by 10:30 am, it seemed the bad stuff was by us. The sun was coming out, white caps laid down a little and the skies were becoming more blue. Though, the wind was still howling through our rigging as the forecasters predicted, it would stay high for 6-12 hours. By later this afternoon, things moderated. During the weather issues, we turned on the VHF radio to hear what was going on around us. We heard some interesting conversations. One guy told another vessel he wasn’t worried about the wind because he had “200’ of chain out”. This is crazy as a normal ratio for unsettled weather is 7:1…meaning.seven feet of chain out for each foot of depth. Maybe he was in some REALLY deep water. We sure would hate to be anywhere near him. Another cruiser told his friend that the guy behind him was “dragging, pulled up their anchor and disappeared”….stealth boat we guessed. We heard some guy yell at the top of his lungs on the hailing channel 16, “Childs Play, are you an idiot?”…not sure what that was about. Another British accented cruiser talking to his friend said that the boat in front of him was dragging into them, but at the last minute the other vessel’s captain “got it under control, but it was exciting there for a bit”. We look back and laugh at ourselves in our first few seasons out here. Weather like today’s would worry us so much, we’d leave our instruments and radio on all night. We slept in the salon to be near our instruments. And, of course, we slept with all our clothes on and our fowl weather gear nearby in case we had to deal with something. Now, we set the anchor alarm, go to bed and sleep like babies whenever these things come through at night. Guess because we have better knowledge of anchorages, more confidence in our anchoring skills/equipment/vessel we have fewer worries. We sat through a storm in the Gulf with 57 knot winds and survived in a past season, so winds less than that are a piece of cake (“bread” huh Nancy?). Though, we still have some worry about other crazy folks out here…we watched one vessel anchor the other day and couldn’t believe the things they did. We were glad they were well away from us during this blow!
03-20-2011 Sunday, Black Point, Great Guana, Exuma Islands. Wind was from the north, 10-15 this day. A front was to come through overnight or Monday so a lot of boats came in and several from the anchorage moved around us, as we were closer to the north shore of the bay with better protection from the high forecast winds. We still had WIFI access onboard so that was great. It is so nice to have an easy way to catch up with friends/family and not feel so isolated from everything. We watched the Sunday morning news shows and more of the NCAA tournament regionals this day. At low, low tide we went back in to the Government dock as we wanted to walk over to our newly discovered beach. It is a bit of a challenge whenever we use the government dock ladder at low tide. Cindy takes the dinghy bow rope with her, reaching for the dock steps from the dinghy bow and then steps over to crawl straight up the slippery algae covered wood ladder slats. Then, with Cindy pulling in the dinghy line to get the dinghy close, Ken gets on the bow, holds Miko as tight and high as possible. so Cindy can reach down, grab and hoist her up on the dock. We marvel at how calm/easy all this is with Miko and are not sure how we did it with the big, solid/heavy (sweet) Shar Peis in past seasons, but we did. We were right about sea glass at low tide on this new beach. We just had to stand at the edge of the water in one place by some rocks, and the sea glass washed in with each wave. It was so cool and we found a lot of great pieces. We met folks from “Sea Monkey” while walking the beach and introduced them to practice of collecting sea glass. These nice folks were first season cruisers and Miko was happy for their attention. Once we wore Miko out chasing her ball we headed back to the dinghy. Of course, Miko wanted to go down to the bay beach, tugging her leash that direction, as she thinks other dogs just stay there waiting for her to come and play. The wind/waves had built some, so we got some splashes on the way back to MTB. We settled in to watch more tournament basketball. We made water and ran the generator for 2.8 hours so we could get fully replenished after being in Georgetown and having guests aboard. We don’t make water in crowded locations like Georgetown, only pretty clear and pristine waters like here on Great Guana. We battened down MTB preparing for the strong cold front that was to come through in the pm/am. This included putting covers on the outside displays/gauges, taking up cockpit rugs and pillows, latching all the open hatches/portlights, putting towels under one galley and one salon portlight that had small leaks, checking the anchor chain/bridle and bringing in the WIFI antenna. Then, at 9:40 pm, way past our bedtime, it was FSU game time in the NCAA regional against Notre Dame. What a fun game…FSU won to advance to the final 16 of the tournament. Through the night, we waited for rain, squalls and higher wind that was to come our way, but nothing. Also, no green flash this day and no money spent. Total still: Ken 4 flashes, Cindy 3.
03-19-2011 Saturday, Black Point, Great Guana, Exuma Islands (III). It is hard to believe this is our third time visiting this settlement/anchorage this season. Seems we spent the majority of our cruising season off and on, anchored here, which was fine. All season there seemed to be bad weather everywhere around us. Yet here, most of the time, we sat in moderate conditions. So, we just never found a reason to move. The local residents are so very nice, the bay is beautiful, stores had the basics we need and there a several with great shelling, sea beans & a lot of sea glass. Miko always seems to find a puppy to run around with on the bay beach and that makes her smile. All the local children know her by name and ask her to do tricks or give them kisses whenever we are in town. Its all good. We knew the next time we pulled out of here, we wouldn’t be back this season and that was sad. When leaving previously to go to Georgetown, we knew there was still a chance we could duck back into Black Point on our way north. So, that made it easier to leave that time. And, we obviously returned, as here we sit again. It is funny, for as long as we’ve been around here this and in past seasons, we missed a beach. On the way here, on the Exuma Sound side, we saw a nearby beach on the east side we had never visited. So, this day we tied up Toby at the Government dock and off we went to explore. Sure enough, by continuing up the road that takes us to the “blow hole”….we found yet another wonderful beach to walk. Miko enjoyed the long sand expanse as it allows us to through her ball long distances. How she does love to run, fetch, run. We found that this beach was a treasure trove for sea glass. We could tell that if we came back at low, low tide we would be rewarded as there was a drop off the beach along rock that we could see held a lot of opportunity for more sea glass. We walked back to town once we got Miko away from the bay beach. There is where she always gets to run with other puppies that cruisers have brought to shore. So, guess she thinks there should always be another dog there to play with. Once back to the settlement, Ken walked up to Lorraine’s mama’s house to get some homemade coconut bread as we gave our last loaf to Brendon/Beth to take back home. It wasn’t out of the oven yet and Mama said to come back later in the afternoon. About 4 pm, we saw two puppies on the beach. So, Ken/Miko headed in hoping they were good dogs who play well with others. Oscar/Casey were there from “Tortuga” and though Oscar was old/grouchy (get it?), Miko and Casey ran and played. Back to MTB, Ken dropped off Miko and went in to check on the bread. She only had one loaf of coconut left but one is always better than none! How we do love French toast made with this homemade delight. The rest of the day….lazy. We watched more of the NCAA tournament, ran the generator and made water for two hours. No green flash…still Ken 4, Cindy 3 for the season. $5 spent this day.
03-18-2011 Friday, Black Point, Great Guana, Exuma. Well, this was a calm, beautiful and lazy day. Early this a.m. we moved forward in the anchorage, about 100 feet. We hoped this would allow us to get Raymond’s wifi signal from his house easier/stronger. And, it seemed the move did help some. We caught up on correspondence, emails, Facebook, the website log, read, ate and were generally lazy people this day. Once this log was updated and the website posted up to date, we dropped the dinghy. This always makes Miko happy! The sun was causing “twinkle” water and we were happy to be here yet again. In reading through the 300+ emails that came through yesterday, we found that our friend Corstiaan was safe and sound aboard Lily Pad in Acupulco. We had been concerned due to the Tsunami threat but now know he is doing great and getting ready to sail for British Columbia. Thanks Wanda for your email update!