Hope Town Lighthouse
Wednesday 20 March 2013
Man-O-War Cay has two small problems. It's shallow (spent much of Saturday night atilt on our keel) and dry (no, not non-moist, sober). Same afflictions bedevil (perhaps not a good expression in this case) Spanish Wells our destination for today. Fortunately we have on-board remedy to reduce quandary by half.
Much to the amazement of each man, woman and child aboard and the total indifference of literally millions of others, we entered Hope Town without contact... further contact with earth. Inner harbour is deep(ish) with Cap'n Jack (no relation and no namesake courtesy) supplying a mooring for 2 nights at Abacos accepted going rate of $20. Merriment knew no bounds Monday as we rode folding bikes from tippy top of Elbow Cay to Sea Spray Marina in White Sound, south end, and climbed the 120 foot, kerosene powered, manned lighthouse. Maintaining a fastidiously nurtured reputation for delinquency we sneaked in after hours, enjoyed a magnificent view of The Sea of Abaco and escaped sans contretemps.
Except for underlying adhesive ghosts either side of bow that seem impervious to the most assiduous ministrations, "Shazza" has been exorcised from all external aspects. The "Anthem" graced transom yielded, in Miami, to more harsh methods, what with it being gelcoat vs. paint. Trailer trash no more.
Thursday 14 March 2013
Another disappointing experience (i.e. total failure) with the Rocna anchor in White Sound, Green Turtle Cay (by the way, cay is pronounced key.. blame it on those wacky British). Haven't yet figured how to free fall the windlass and as chain slowly played out it picked up a choking ball of weeds as we drifted back in fresh wind. Despite excuse confidence remains nominal.
Despite the delights of New Plymouth and wanting to get past Whale Cay Cut before developing "rage" really got going set off late afternoon (couldn't leave earlier due 2 meter draft and shallow entrance) headed south. Not quite the scene from "The Perfect Storm", but evocative. Sporty. A big Hatteras took our stupidity for local knowledge and followed. Only two boats got through Saturday or any day since. Can't live forever, right?
Pig roast Sunday at Nippers with dancing and prancing nubiles in mere scraps of cloth to loud and occasionally decent (non-hip hop) music was more fun from the top deck, farthest away from giant speakers and with a grand view of crashing surf and a few rum punch fueled souls who braved climbing a rock outcropping that was periodically inundated by big rollers.
Currently anchored in the farthest reaches of Marsh Harbour where we only hit bottom when a ferry roars by. Bahamas is not prime territory for long feet. Man-O-War Cay and Hope Town, next destinations, expected to be challenging. Wifi, even paid service in the big city, is spotty so transacting high finance (buying boat crap for delivery to Ft. Lauderdale) is proceeding adagio.
Latest tentative itinerary is to return Miami for Oz shipment due 31st, partially deal with massive purchases, fly to Singapore for previously mentioned bionic apparatus, re-return for a limited time to Miami (tax man will not be amused after May 13) then beat feet somewhere into the Lesser Antilles. Will miss Antigua race Week, so expect to make landfall in Sint Maarten.
"My theory is that if you look confident you can pull off anything - even if you have no clue what you're doing." - Jessica Alba
Sunset at the Sale
Tuesday 5 March 2013
Don't want to crush any illusions here, but West End is not the fun capitol of Grand Bahama. There's almost nothing to do and one is charged extortionate rates not to do it. Strategically located between Florida and The Abacos they attempt to abuse their advantage. As development of the place hasn't advanced since last visited several years ago and few boats were in residence assume the concept of attracting more business by making it prohibitively expensive is somewhat flawed.
Going stir crazy waiting for the wind to abate we rode the bus into Freeport then Lucaya for a day of frivolity at what amounts to a tourist trap. Despite pejorative description we had fun, enjoyed live music and found a really cheap watch (orange band) to replace the one that leaped into the water in Miami.
In light and variable wind motor-sailed and then motored to Sale Cay to either wait out tomorrow's big blow (the big storm coming across from NE US) or enjoy the sleigh ride into The Sea of Abaco tomorrow. Since the brand new and highly touted Rocna anchor isn't even pretending to hold in what is assumed to be sand dusted marl on the east side of the island, expect to start early and attempt to avoid the worst of the 25 to 30 knots winds predicted by late morning.
Monday 11 February 2013
Previous entry was a slight exaggeration as we had, at that time, only agreed on price. No survey on "Shazza" had been accomplished. As inspection showed no imminent danger of sinking, closing is Wednesday (lucky 13th) and the new name will be "Anthem", not "II" or "Jr." or "Son of", just a reprise of the one on the Cabo Rico which is now called "Venture". Too many things (email address, etc.) incorporate the name and anyway it means something.
So here we are, driving north to Valdosta, Georgia for the purpose of notarizing a signature on boat loan papers. Are there no notaries in Florida you query? Well yes, actually, there are, but they charge $700. OK, they don't, but the state of Florida in its infinite (money grubbing, leech-like) wisdom, for the pleasure and privilege of consummating the transaction under its auspices, does, so we earn $100 an hour while frittering away a day. Strangely enough, because we promise to decamp and never, never, ever, ever, ever return, the state treasury exempts us from sales tax.
Thursday 14 February
Frittered away Tuesday with the dentist, the dermatologist and getting a hair cut and two of our legs waxed. I preferred to remained fuzzy and normally don't get the full bikini treatment anyway. Also spent the afternoon attempting to miniaturize a boat unit worth of stuff from Costco by de-packaging.
As yesterday was closing day we drove back across the state to discover that Wells Fargo wanted to make a couple extra bucks on float so didn't acknowledge receipt of wired money until past bank hours. Because Tiger was in town for the Hunter Classic golf tourney we had to rummage a bit to find the one available overnight accommodation not rented by the hour. Getting sorted the next day involved the last of a bazzilion (very high number) signatures, unloading our grossly over-stuffed crap-box of a Kia Rio into the newly christened "Anthem" and storing/securing it all in preparation for departure to Miami next morning.
Wednesday 20 February
Following eventual discovery that pressing glow plug button while cranking the engine as was done on previous boat didn't have the same felicitous outcome (the word "stop" is nearly worn off the "glow plug" button...) we had an uneventful trip motor-sailing then motoring the 62 NM to Crandon Marina in light to non- existent wind. This allowed full use of previously, optimistically purchased Miami Boat Show tickets Saturday through Monday where unconscionable quantities of USDs were expended buying boat stuff.
Sunday 3 March
There was one more trip back west to get last of purchases and revisit dentist and skin guy for additional torture then back again to boat. Sail (motor) up to Ft. Lauderdale to await weather and shorten distance to West End resulted (after our first night on new Rocna anchor - let's see, this would be last Friday) in running aground, jamming the inmast furler, but finally enjoying a grand sail across the the Gulf Stream to Old Bahama Bay Marina where we will reside until, probably, Tuesday. Confused? Get in line? er, queue.
Future plans? Finish the gin & tonic currently in hand, then, umm...? OK, here's the grand strategy such as is currently formulated. After returning to Miami will leave the boat several weeks for a trip to Singapore getting Jan a new knee. Her with a busted fetlock and unable to race anymore this was a better alternative than putting her down. After returning to Cuba West and taking possession of additional online purchases will beat feet through the Eastern Caribbean before hurricanes season starts, work our way over the summer across Venezuela, the ABCs and Columbia to Panama, go through the Canal and up to Mexico after hurricane season ends (November) and spend awhile there before moving back south for the crossing into the South Pacific in 2014. Or something entirely different. I'm personally expecting that second thing because there's just not enough time to see much along the way. We will return to SoPac eventually.
No need to thank me for not following through on warning at end of previous blog. Regular abuse will eventually ensue.
"When you come to a fork in the road, take it." - Yogi Berra
Thursday 31 January 2013
Where in the world is Carmen? San Diego? Yes, but not for long.
It was necessary to fight off buyers for the Cabo Rico. Had them lined up to pay more, indicating a seriously low ask. No matter, she is shortly en route to Adelaide beginning a new life as we similarly embark.
At last report Jan & I were homeless and depending on the kindness of strangers, friends and relatives, looking for a grocery cart or possibly a new home. Fortunately she is really cute and brings out the paternal/maternal/chivalrous/lustful instinct in people with spare accommodation. Thought it was a joke about wanting a bigger boat, didn't you? Anyway, here's a summary of the last five weeks.
After vacating Anthem, spent a week on "Freezing Rain" sorting 500 kilo of household goods bound for Miami, best guess for where all this crap should go. Because of transit time, needed to make a decision which would have sucked had we bought a boat on Left Coast where we stopped for two days to look at Kelly Peterson 46s and Tayana 48s. Fell in love with a Tayana 52 on Harbor Island. Pretty boat. The love didn't extend to its teak decks.
Mooched off a friend in St. Petersburg (the warm one) for a few days before trekking from tippy-top of Florida East Coast down to Ft. Lauderdale looking at anything likely from 45 to 55 feet. Definite ideas on requirements began eroding as nothing grabbed us by the short and curlies. Last minute, reluctant detour to see an in-mast roller furled sloop we therefore definitely didn't want resulted in its purchase. Life throws you curve balls. People buy crap that has one bit they fall in love with and ignore the nearly perfect that has one bit they dislike.
The Hylas 46 "Shazza" (which is Australian slang for trailer trash and a term to warn others of trashy women in the vicinity) is fitted out very well for our requirements. Needs a few bits like dinghy davits, wind generator, isolation transformer (so we don't smoke the boat when connecting to 240 volt shore power), a few other bits and pieces and possibly a dinghy that isn't held together with duct tape, but is, despite all that, ready to go off shore. If time allows, expect to despoil Bahamas for a few weeks before our shipment arrives into Miami from Oz then beat feet to Antigua for mid-April Regatta Race Week.
Survey is this Monday so, if all copacetic, should shortly have new hole in the water to consume money. Even with energetic schedule over next few weeks and always attendant sloth (second favorite deadly sin), expect a more regular abuse of the blogosphere. You have been warned.
PS We are currently visiting Jan's sister in Canada. This is an extremely foolish thing to do in January.
Saturday 22 December 2012
We're talking what, five weeks since the last bundle of joy from this silly blog. Can't possibly write about everything that's happened so will merely hit the high spots and ignore the details.
Had a great though short time in Mooloolaba before heading for Moreton Bay 18 November. Didn't have a slip as MBTBC was closed and it would, in any case, be dark upon arrival so anchored behind St. Helena island about 4 NM away. After the thunder storms ended about 1900 we had a beautiful night and sailed into MBTBC Marina about 9 Monday.
Then we sold the boat.
Friday 16 November 2012
Signed paperwork to peddle Anthem for a pittance. Well, not quite, but that's what may be left after rapacious Australian government leaches siphon off whatever they can, not that I begrudge them their filthy lucre... at all... really. Search for suitable (i.e. bigger) replacement is ongoing. Sadly, for some undoubtedly perverse reason, owners want more money for bigger, newer boats. Looking in Malta, Palau and, God forbid, US west coast and, of course, Fort Lauderdale. German friends here in Oz are selling a Hylas 46, one of favored boats, but will probably want too much.
Trouble with selling Anthem is that she has to look pristine to get best offer. After 4 years of hard cruising this will take a bit of dusting and cleaning and, because we're living on her, we'll have to mend our ways and be neat. This appears to require some level of focus and responsibility. Yikes! At least all the working bits are, you know, working.
After revegging (not a real word) at fresh market Sunday, buying, installing, removing and returning defective replacement DC ammeter (old one still works, but is a bit wrinkly after getting toasted from a loose connection) and beginning cleanup of gelcoat Monday, we staged out near Burnett Heads and did some catchup with several friends who also came across the Pacific in 2010 Tuesday for departure next morning. (That really should have been three sentences)
Now beating feet to Mooloolaba (didn't make it up, moo LOO le bah) for a day or so before last leg (of 4) into Brisbane area. Will be docking at the Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club in Manly. Doesn't seem right does it? More friends, more catchup, possibly the odd gin & tonic. Goodbye focus and responsibility.
Noddy at Lady Musgrave
Saturday 10 November 2012
Beginning to get too far behind on these things and, given the memory of a 3-year-old, can't remember that far back so will now perform one of those summary deals.
Sailed around the Whitsundays for several days snorkeling, diving and otherwise having great fun and screwing off (redundant?) then met Freezing Rains at Thomas Island, halfway to Mackay, both of us taking advantage of an east to northeast wind window (prevailing is southeast making it difficult to work down the coast).
Spent a few days in Mackay provisioning and buying the odd bit we couldn't possibly live without before making like horse manure and hitting the road as another weather window made the 280 NM beat to Bundaberg more comfortable. Stopped early yesterday at Lady Musgrave Island about 50NM north of Bundaberg after two overnights. Place is a rookery for wedge-tailed shearwaters and black noddies. Shearwaters burrow in the ground and noddies nest in 'pisonia' (I wouldn't lie to you about this) trees. It's lousy with them. Place smells like a toilet. Shoes and wide-brimmed hats were successfully utilized.
Freezing Rain were unable to leave due yet another maintenance 'issue' so will have it tough making Brisbane in time where other mates now live and have invited numerous of us for a big Thanksgiving dinner on the 24th (T-day is actually Thursday the 22nd). Aussies don't know from Thanksgiving, but Canadians do. Theirs however is in October because by November all the turkeys have frozen to death and all Canadians are in Florida or Arizona.
Now en route to Bundy where we meet up with good buddies (Canadian, so I'll be surrounded and outnumbered, not sure how long I can count on that 'Canadian nice' thing) before continuing on to Brisbane area. Could take awhile before next good southward opportunity so plan heading to an anchorage adjacent to town about 2 hours up Burnett River. Hope we haven't lost our paddle (perhaps one only has to worry about creeks in this regard, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared).
View From Whitsunday Peak
Monday 29 October 2012
After refueling at nearby Abel Point Marina and anchoring just off the Sailing Club near mates Pacific Eagle (Peagle), joined them at Airlie Thai along Shute Harbour Rd. for really excellent salt & pepper calamari and Massaman lamb. Despite previously stated expectation there was almost no depravity. Not, at least, personally or where we could see, but music wafted out to the anchorage until 0300 so suspicions run high. The place is lousy with post-juvenile delinquents or as some refer to them 'young people'.
Next day and a half were squandered in shopping for food and a G3 dongle antenna (not to be had) before baling out to Sawmill Bay on Whitsunday Island where we met a Dutch racing bud of Jan's up from Brisbane. On Sunday he and I injudiciously engaged in a steep 4.8 kilometer hike to the top of Whitsunday Mountain, highest point in the area, for spectacular views of the islands and Australian coast from Bowen to Mackay (Muh ky - long 'I'). Someone remind me not to do that again.
Freezing Rain, who were sailing up from Mackay to Airlie Beach on a seemingly never-ending quest for maintenance parts and repairs on their 2002 Halberg-Rassey then met us (or we them.. whatever) at Long Island Resort in Happy Bay just north of Humpy Point (did not make that up). We anchored to avoid the conveniently placed $55 per night moorings which would have allowed us to purchase buffet dinner for $76. Needing to arrive into Airlie early Tuesday to meet a tardy tradie who was to repair their generator FR left and we went to the beachside bar to enjoy a burger, fish and chips, wine and a very good singer for slightly less.
Actual news item: "Viagra Aids Jet Lag". Right!
The Skull Cave
Wednesday 24 October 2012
Sail from Bowen to Stonehaven on Hook Island involved actual sailing including past Hayman Island Resort where one may boat into the marina, but must buy accommodation on land as well. We found a free park mooring and relaxed for the night. This was not to last as there was forecast a heavy southeast blow for the following two days so we drove around the corner to Nara Inlet to hide out and enjoy company of friends for the duration. Upon arrival and invited to Rotomanu we proceeded over just past noon for coffee and got back to Anthem around 1730 after sundowners. Not sure when the transition occurred, but this activity had a serious damping effect on planned boat projects.
Next day was a similar productivity black hole although in dinking around we did find Phantom's Skull Cave in Refuge Bay off the main inlet. The Ghost Who Walks was either hiding or off somewhere doing good deeds. Dissipation again reigned as we retired to Rotomanu with Loafers and Windflowers at 1700 for drinks, snacks and general good humour.
Tomorrow as we arrive in Airlie Beach (gateway to the Whitsundays and popular young people's hangout) idleness will end and the delights of civilization will again reacquaint themselves to our depraved souls.