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Sunrise: Chasing the dream
Life filled with adventure, both actual and spiritual.
The Georgetown stick-um
03/31/2012, Georgetown Exumas Bahamas

Papa, I want to go diving....

We have provisioned, uploaded photos, filled diesel, changed the oil, cleaned the bottom, fixed a leak in the water maker, organized and organized... we are ready to go...

Well, it is nice weather here and we have friends here. We have had a great time with our dutch friends as well as with two kid-boats called Tribe... (American) Tribe and (African) Tribe... really!

So we are headed further south today and will continue to post via the radio and photos as we have internet.

hanging out with Tribe
03/27/2012, Georgetown, Exumas

Isobel has had a great time hanging out with the girls on Tribe... Skyla being older makes her feel really special...

03/27/2012 | George Mora
Precious...I just want to smooch that sweet little face!
03/29/2012 | Mary Ellen
Thanks for the phone call---nice to hear all your voices--together--
Keep smiling and enjoy your freedom
Isobel looks Happy-
Did she see a whale yet???????
love mec
Now this is sailing
03/26/2012, Exuma Sound

Well, we waited the weekend for the wind to clock around to the west... and it did. We left with many other boats this morning and sailed to Georgetown. We literally sailed from anchor up to anchor down... only running the engine going through the cut near Musha to provide a back up to the sails.

Our friends on Tribe took this photo of our new Code Zero sail, which helped us keep them in site, As the wind continued to clock around to the north, we took down the code Zero and ended up with a Cruising Spinnaker poled out to port and the Genoa poled out to starboard. Our Dutch friends call this the Milkmaid... This had us zipping right along but unable to keep up with Tribe who launched their spinnaker, which was huge!!

The past 24 hours has been filled with re-provisioning and jerry jugging fuel... and updating blog!

More spectacular scenary and new friends
03/25/2012, Musha Cay, Exumas, Bahamas

Last night we had a wonderful pot luck cookout on the beach. 4 boats were in this remote anchorage. For dinner we had fresh Mahi Mahi, Fresh Whahoo, various pastas, salads etc all around a fire... as darkest came on the sky was full of stars as there is virtually no light from the islands around us.

One of our friends caught this photo as Lara and I toasted the day's sail and successful completion of our rig tuning

Early in the morning we moved out of the anchorage as the wind had clocked around to the south and the wind chop made the boat bounce up and down.

When I posted this via HF radio, we were near Musha Cay, owned my David Copperfield. 23 53.56'n 076 16.00'w

03/27/2012 | George Mora
Now THAT'S living!
Moving south
03/21/2012, Big Major, Exumas, Bahamas

We had a great little picnic at this sandbar at low tide... followed by a snorkel/nap... meaning Isobel slept in the dinghy (under a little makeshift tent while Lara and I dragged her around as we snorkeled. This post is loaded via SSB radio.

Well, much as we could have stayed at Warderick Wells for weeks... it is time to move a little south. So with a forecast of East winds 15- 20 we left Warderick Wells and headed south. As it turned out the wind clocked further south of east and we were once again close hauled (with the sails pulled way in and the boat pointed about 30 degrees off the wind.) This is that point of sail that we don't like, again. Ah well, only 5 hours, and as Isobel said when she came up on deck after a nap, "what a nice day to be out here."

We chose Big Major because a weather system called a Trough is moving through the area. This will bring a day of higher winds and squalls. You wouldn't know it to look this morning as the wind is 15 and although a little gusty, the sky is clear and the air feels "soft", about 75.

This is a popular anchorage with 4 mega yachts, a dozen trawlers and about 30 sailboats. All here for the protection from the weather, a decent little store and scheduled flights to Fort Lauderdale... there is also the "Staniel Cay yacht club" which sells fuel and has a restaurant/bar. More fame comes from the Thunderball Grotto, where part of the 007 Bond movie was filmed in 1965.

24 11.186'n 076 27.612'w

03/21/2012 | Uncle Readie
As ever, grateful you give Isobel the opportunity to voice such opinions. Hope the email tutorial helped.
Animals of the Bahamas
03/21/2012, Big Major, Exumas, Bahamas

These Tropicbirds are all around Shroud Cay where they nest, mate and raise young.

Two years ago, I may have mentioned that the Bahamas were forested with huge trees before the Europeans arrived. These forests were cut down and animals brought into graze... Various storms washed away the soil leaving them as we find them today... mostly rocky, barren uplifted reef. There are arid scrub plants starting the evolution back toward forests... and that will take a thousand years. As a result, there are not many animals or birds here.

The tropicbird does well here if there is some protection for their nesting areas, such as is found on Warderick Wells and Shroud Cay. Otherwise, we see Banana Quit, which are opportunistic feeders, surviving by raiding cruising boats. We have been sitting in the cockpit only to have them fly below through a port or hatch and eat little holes in any fruit that is out (which is mostly what we have). On Warderick Wells there are Hutia, which looks like an overgrown hamster. Although we have seen some migrant birds, we have not see much else.

Humans would not survive long here if it weren't for the "mail boat" which brings food to the islands. We arrived here just in time for the mail boat, which arrived in the morning. By 2 pm there was a line outside the little store (24' x 24', including hardware and video selection)... at three they started handing out numbers so they could meter people into the place. Once inside they did have a pretty good supply of eggs, lemons, limes, sweet potatoes, cheese, butter, milk (reconstituted from powered) and 1/2 and 1/2. It is very expensive: a quart (only size) of 1/2 and 1/2 $4.75, a quart of strawberries: $8.75. The only things that are inexpensive are the "commonwealth" items such as New Zealand or Irish butter and British crackers.

The afternoon to spend $50 on a small bag of groceries would be very tedious, except that it is also a social event. A local woman was talking about her book about the island. Cruisers discussing the solutions to someone's broken generator... a debate: wind vs solar as a power source... bread receipes being exchanged and as always the weather forecast and passage plans.

Weather looks good for us to move south to Georgetown, Exumas today and tomorrow...

03/19/2012, Exuma Land and Sea Park

Bill and Isobel reinstall the bolts (not cotter pins) in the rigging screws) after we retuned the rig with the help of our dutch friends from another boat.

We are in paradise, environmentally... and that is really wonderful... but it is not the best thing about being here. What we really enjoy is the community that occurs out here. Most communities have a physical location, but there is a cruising community that is based in the hearts of those out here.

As you might have in some small town, neighbors help each other. Here, If a boat is next door, even if they just arrive yesterday, they are your neighbor and in minutes, your friend. Yesterday my project was to tune the rigging. We have not been happy with the sailing performance of the boat since it was rigged by a "professional" a year ago. So, I loosened everything and was prepared to retune it. We have spent some time with a dutch couple off a beautiful aluminum boat. He loves all the engineering aspects of sailing and is a wiz with the math, calculations and formulas that relate to everything aboard (Isobel will have lots of algebra and calculous to learn!). So, together, we spend the afternoon calculating the proper loading for our different shrouds (the wires holding the mast up).

Most people want to skip this paragraph: (For those of you who like problem solving: If the boat was designed for 8 mm shrouds to have 15% prestress put on them, them how many pounds of tension do you put on the 10 mm shrouds. And how do you measure that?)

Another boat was having problems with their radio, so we made a reservation for them at a marina on our radio. Another boat needs water, so we are using our new water maker to make them 5 gallons, since we have surplus power, it is easy for us. From others we are learning new recipes, we have borrowed a movie... the point is that, now clear of the busy US ports we are amongst instant friends and help with any project is nearby.

03/19/2012 | Uncle Readie
I had to look up "shroud" and "prestress", but to measure tension, the standard way is to apply a perpendicular force and measure the resulting offset. In other words, pluck it and see. Listen to the vibrations, like tuning a piano, keeping in mind that heavier strings sound lower. Probably another art you have to master.
A beach day with another girl
03/17/2012, Warderick Wells

A couple days ago we met a boat with a four year old girl aboard. today we connected again and planned a beach day on one of the many beautiful beaches here on Warderick Wells. They have a sailing dinghy, which is quite cool and easily carried the four of them through a cut that had some impressive current. We felt quite lazy with our little 3.5 hp engine... although we thank Uncle Joey daily for convincing us to get an engine... we would never have rowed to this beach!

Finally the wind speed is down to about 15 knots. We have had weeks of wind in the 20s with squalls to 30 knots which has made for some challenging sailing at times. With that high wind also came surge in many places. Surge are the waves that wrap around an island and hit the boat from a different direction than the wind. This makes the boat roll side to side.

03/17/2012 | Uncle Readie
"... through a cut that had some impressive cut"? Is that a typo or more nautical ambiguity? "Cut" as a sea passage (compare "gut"), "cut" as a sail shape ("cut of his jib"), "cut" related to "cutter" (which describes many different type of boats)? Something else? Bah! BTW, if photo bandwidth is a worry, use Mac OS Preview "Save As" to reduce photo size.
03/18/2012 | Uncle Readie
Just noticed you're back close to where you were two years ago, close to the park ranger station. Maybe the previous entry was a typo putiing you one minute aouth of where you really were? Better than the five degree typo back in Annapolis. :P
03/19/2012 | Bill and Lara Calfee
Typos... Yes, I try to get a blog post up with a nice photo... and don't always proof. By the way is "aouth" a physics term I am not familiar with? a new measurement. I am finally getting used to Metric...
03/19/2012 | Uncle Readie
"A touch I do confess it", but we commenters don't have edit options like you posters do. The point I was making was that the original sentence with the "cuts" could have made nautical sense. Part of that is English in general, but it's mostly a comment on the long history of sailing, how even in a limited environment, words can develop many meanings.
Now, we have arrived
03/15/2012, Warderick Wells, Exumas, Bahamas

Everyone who goes on deck wears a tether.

Two years ago in January we arrived in Warderick Wells for the first time. We had heard stories about how beautiful it was... and it was more so. So, since then we have dreamed of returning. And here we are.

We left Shroud Cay feeling that we could have spent a week there exploring all the lagoons, creeks and beaches. And we wanted to catch up with some other boats... because of kids and because they have similar long term plans as we do...

The day started with a spectacular beam reach sail with genoa alone. water so clear the boat appeared to float over the sandy bottom. The little green islands with white sand beaches were ringed with torquise water... we really it is beyond description...

We watched squalls moving north of us, thinking of the rain that must be falling on Shroud Cay. With the main out, with a single reef, we tacked the last couple miles toward Wardwick Wells... A squall loomed... I thought, "better reef again"... by the time I was at the mast it was clear that a reef wasn't going to be enough... While I dropped the main, Lara saw 30 knots of wind. As she fired up the engine and steered, I furled in the Jib. The wind continued until we were safely on the mooring then dropped to a comfortable 15 knots.

We met yet another little girl when we went to shore...

24 23.819'n 076 37.962'w

03/15/2012 | Uncle Readie
One nice feature of the Sailblog position Google Earth map is that it shows your whole history, so the "peace and quiet" post from two years ago is readily accessible. This time it looks like you're about a mile west of Waderick Wells, rather than right offshore like you were then.
Can we say more shades of blue
03/13/2012, Shroud Cay

We took a short sail today... a few hours to Shroud Cay. Now sailing "on the banks" the sailing is like sailing on a lake. There is no swell and there are lots of boats sailing every direction This spectacular cay is part of the Exuma Land and Sea Park. A reserve that was formed in 1958 to help preserve a breading ground for Bahamas fish. This Cay has lagoons and streams that can be explored. We went to the beach just inside the opening to one of the streams. At the beach we found more kids! A four year old girl and a little boy.

In the photo, (which I will post when we can) Isobel and Bill swim to Tribe to say hi. Isobel has been saying that when she grows up, she will be able to swim over the Tribe... The kids off Tribe, who are 8, 12 and 14 are in the water all the time and have been been over to our boat and Isobel would like to be able to do the same. Now she has some motivation!!

24 31.697'n 076 47.752'w

03/14/2012 | Green
I lost my first wedding band at Shroud when the anchor shackle pinched me. Months later on the return trip, we were looking for it while a low went by... And the hurricane hunter flew over, shortly followed by an eye wall. It went on to form Tropical Storm (and later hurricane) Erika. Our weather at the time was fine. We like Shroud a lot! The ring went overboard to the SW of the well if you want to look for lost gold.
03/20/2012 | Cindy Skidmore
Now that is some beautiful water...I am glad to see that all is smooth sailing even if it has been rough waters...The Skidmore's miss you guys and hope you will stay when you are passing back through...Give Isobel a big hug from me, bugsy and copper :) Love you guys!!!!

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