We got the auto pilot fixed before sunset and a warm, neon orange beauty it was too!
Today we took off at slack tide...checked out the plane that sunk and is marked with a buoy just off our port side! We wasted not one second climbing back into the dink for the Aquarium.
There was a couple on one of the two moorings...the guy had a bad cut so he wasn't in the water, but the generous young woman offered to take this shot! They were also feeding the sergent majors and it was so fun being in a frenzy en mass for about 5 minutes.
The reef is so alive, so full of fish and no current when you check out the tides and catch it slacking off.
So glad we made it!
07/13/2011, Almost to Bell Cut...
So glad we are going to be able to hang here for a day and dive the reefs here at O'Briens.
Oh No...The auto pilot crapped out. What now? Why does everything go on the blink just as we are entering a cut? Can't wait to work on this.
We are here...it's beautiful...the current is strong, not into the wind...but the beauty is worth it! We have fans!
This is the one I hooked up for Dudley to cool his temper and his bod in that deep, dark pit called the sea locker. I had to empty everything and pile it bimini high around the cockpit while he climbed under the quadrant to find three nuts missing.
There are two on Altair...just one more needed!
07/13/2011, Pipe Creek, Exumas
We left @ 10a because it was going to be a short hop thru Pipe Creek! Something I wanted to do, and we needed to catch it on an incoming tide! There are a couple of passages that are slim and very shallow to say the least.
Our batteries are on their last leg, as is the alternator belt, so sailing would be perfect. It was one hour from low tide and we approached this way point with trepidation, turned 180 degrees west to avoid Pipe Creek. I was pouting because not only would be miss this superb visual feast, but we would be bypassing O'Briens where we planned to dive on the reef called "The Aquarium".
We were actually a few inches above mean low tide, so he agreed to turn l80 degrees back to the entrance of Pipe Creek and take our chances.
It was indeed hairy, very trying on the nerves at places, but we were able to enjoy this marvelous snaky, windy, rocky, shallow creek past Rat Cay, Over Yonder Cay, Thomas Cay, Piple Cay, Hattie Cay, Little Hattie Cay and Joe Cay. We imagined dramas, adventures, families, parties and a multitude of other theatrics over the years on each and every hunk of land we passed.
Before we knew it, we motored and put put our way out of Joe Cay Cut and made it to L'il Bell Island by 2:30.
How did we get so lucky?
07/12/2011, Staniel Cay...Goodbye!
We called Isles General Store to see how early we could bring our laundry in to have it returned late today? Not this week, waiting for a new washing machine! HER laundry is shoulder height and needs to be done and we are back to hand washing ours it seems, in a bucket. We do hope it rains!
We need diesel fuel...none on the island...and don't know when! Joan got Chubby to call Highborne Cay to see if they have fuel. That's a Roger. We have 20 gallons, a full inboard tank...and we should get 200 miles. Theoretically.
We need a new alternator belt, not here...so where? We seriously need to sail...and we are praying for wind!
We did get some provisions and met some great people throughout our day! First it was a cool dingy ride to Isles General Store, where Vivien Rolle was a sweethearat! Miss Flo Smith, at the Pink Pearl Grocery who had the greatest smile and wonderful stories (pictured here); Mr. Burke Smith who's letting the youngsters run things these days, just turned 82 and shared his triple bypass stories; and finally Miss Flo's neice who bakes the bread for all three markets is Rhonda, who, surprise is an angel! What a social day, nothing new for Altair's crew ever.
It didn't end there...our last stop was for RO water at the SCYC, where Joan hooked us up with lunch, ice and a large bill on the credit card...no ATM either.
All and all it was a great day! Joan is as much a part of this Yacht Club as the owners, but is leaving to marry an Andros man! She will be sorely missed!
It's time to say goodbye, dear sweet Staniel Cay! So short a visit, yet very rich in love!
OK, here's the latest plan: Meander up Pipe Creek, stop at Obrien's to dive the "Aquarium" for only one day, then go right on to Warderick Wells for just a day! After that, your guess is as good as ours, just hoping for an alternator belt to replace the one that is shredding like a carrot in a grater at a pace that's making our heads spin.
It's never dull on the wee sloop Altair!
07/11/2011, The Wharf on Staniel Cay!
Junkanoo is an energetic, colorful parade of brightly costumed people gyrating and dancing to the rhythmic accompaniment of cowbells, goatskin drums, horns and whistles. It began with the freedom of slaves when they were given three days off at Christmas and wore elaborate masks to disguise themselves from their masters. It has carried on today as the ultimate celebration of everything big in the Bahamian world.
True to their description, teachers, children, and adults too, paraded, danced, jumped and made lots of noise! We had a blast and so did the kids!
We met some great folks too, the local women who cooked for us all, Marta and Yves, SV Breakaway, who went cruising until they got an offer and took it to manage Fowl Cay, just waiting to break-away; Danielle and Lynn, taking little hops on their motor sailor...promising to reconnect when we all get back to the states; and then last, but not least, Donna and Duke, SV Promise, previous members of the CGSC! It's a small world after all.
07/11/2011, The Wharf here at Staniel!
We found out that everything is closed on Sunday and Monday because of the Bahamian Independence Day. We will have to provision and get laundry done on Tuesday when everything opens again!
I found out yesterday that the festivities were to start with breakfast on the beach and then Junkanoo, the Bahamian parade to celebrate their independance!
We are anchored right off the wharf and had the perfect opportunity to see when things started heating up! We got tired of waiting, had our own repast when we heard some drums, some bells and horns, far off! We jumped into the dink, just as we saw the band and the players going up and down the dock! I'm wound up tight and we shove off from Altair when the Yamaha bites the dust! What now? My hero rowed, I jumped on the dock...he said "just go, I'll catch up".
I did find the band of players who are mostly children and it's a rehearsal! There were a number of adults to whom I wished a happy anniversary of their independance...and everybody invited me back tonight. How cool.
I got some great pix and this youngster stole my heart. He was shy, sweet and could wail on that drum. Can't wait til later!
Dudley is truly a champ, came walking up the hill as I was coming down and he agreed whole heartedly to come back iwith me this evening!