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The Southern Cross Chronicles
But ne'er in all his watches,this rugged world across, Did he hear God's voice to starboard, till he sailed the Southern Cross
Finally Out and About
Gary
03/03/2016, Great Guana Cay, Bahamas

Look ma, we're sailing! The weather has finally cleared and we have a week-long window so we embarked on our first sail of the season.

Its purpose is to shake down all boat systems, spend a few days at anchor and have some fun exploring Great Guana Cay.

Saturday morning dawned bright and clear and winds were from the [email protected] Southern Cross pranced out of the harbor and charged up the Sea of Abaco at 6 knots. It seemed as though she was glad to finally be free of her dock lines. Toni made coffee and we enjoyed breakfast and just enjoyed the ride.

We only required one tack to reach our destination at Fisher Bay and we had our anchor down by 12:30pm.

Sunday we went ashore with Jim and Kitty aboard Amen and had lunch at Nippers. Since almost everyone there (us included) had gray hair, Jim suggested that it looked like Spring Break for Geezers! After lunch we returned to our boats and basked in the warm sun and cool breeze.

On Monday we dinghied up to Spoil Cay so that Toni and Kitty could add to their shell collection and look for sea glass. Very pretty there and we ate a picnic lunch in the shade of the casuarina trees.

After returning to the boat for a shower and some quiet time, we went ashore for dinner and drinks at Grabbers on the beach and to enjoy the perfect sunset. We met new Canadian friends there from Yellow Knife, Northwest Territories. They were a long way from home.

We generally enjoyed our time at Guana but with the forecast of high winds from the West, we decided to head back to Man O War to begin preparations for our guests that are due next week.

We added some new pics in the Photo Gallery, so take a look.


We're Back for Our Fourth Season
Gary
02/06/2016, Man O War Cay, Bahamas

We're back! Although we've been back aboard SC for a month now, the workload has been a bit daunting and so we haven't posted to the blog. So, just to catch up ......

February weather lived up to our expectations for unpredictability. The weather has been cool and the winds have been relentless. The strong cold fronts that brought cold temperatures to the east coast and tornados to Florida arrived here every 5 to 7 days. Each front also brought heavy rains (We had to pump water out of the dinghy several times). We are thankful that March promises much milder conditions.

We took advantage of the downtime due to the weather to finish a number of projects in preparation for the coming cruising season. And so.......

We stored the inflatable dinghy and outboard motor indoors at the boatyard for the summer so that they could be serviced and made ready for the coming season. The motor ran long enough to deliver it back to our slip but I was unable to start it using every ounce of strength and really inappropriate language I had at my disposal. After several trips to the slip by the yard mechanic over several days, all seems to almost be working correctly.

We took the Jib over to the sailmaker's loft on an adjacent island to patch the hole that appeared on our last sail of last season. This delivery was of course delayed while we awaited the repair of the outboard so that we could deliver the sail in the dinghy. The sailmaker and his assistant couldn't find the hole and frankly with the sail spread out on his bench, we couldn't either. So he gave us some sail tape and told us to apply a temporary patch on the hole (if it really existed) and bring it back later. I love island time, don't you?

We scheduled a diver to come by to remove the months of grime and sea critters that had attached themselves to the bottom of the boat. We also had him replace the sacrificial zincs that protect the exposed metal parts like the prop and the rudder gudgeon. The good news was that the bottom paint was still in good shape and that the osmotic blisters we repaired back in Rockport had not returned! Good news is always welcome.

Since we stripped off all the exterior canvas items like the sails, sail cover, winch and binnacle covers as well as dodger and bimini canvas to avoid potential damage from storms while we were away, these had to be cleaned, repaired and reinstalled when weather permitted. All of this took almost a week as we dodged high winds and rain.

We also discovered that the top of the Harkin Jib Furler had broken and we will have to order a replacement, have it delivered to Texas and bring it back when we return in May.

In February, we learned that our granddaughter Aubrey and her friend Mariah will be here in March and so we have found new purpose to get serious about cleaning the boat interior in preparation for guests.

I think I'll end this entry for now. We need a nap.


Manjack Cay
Perfect
04/03/2015, Sea of Abaco

On Monday we decided to cast off the dock lines and head up to the northern part of The Sea of Abaco. The weather was spectacular. Clear skies and cool temperatures promised to make for a wonderful trip. Although the winds were too light for sailing, the predictions were for better sailing condition within a few days.

Our destination was a pretty anchorage located between Manjack Cay and Crab Cay. It offers protection from the winds and magnificent views of the spectacular island sunsets.

We motored north past Scotland Cay and Great Guana Cay and entered the Whale Passage into the Atlantic Ocean. One reenters the Sea of Abaco near Noname Cay and the course then leads past Green Turtle Cay and on to Manjack Cay. We dropped anchor at 3:30PM after a 6 hour trip.

On Tuesday we took the dinghy around to the north of the island to explore Nunjack Beach and take the nature trail over the Atlantic side. The beach we found there may be one of the most beautiful and untouched beaches we have seen in the Bahamas. We will be going back for more exploration in a few weeks.

Our return trip to Man O War was one of the best sailing days we have experienced. The wind stayed on our beam and we average 6.5 knots all the way home to MOW. Wow!

Please take a look at the photos from this trip in our Gallery.

Deadlines
Gary
02/28/2015, In The Land of No Snow

We are often asked "just what do you do all day?". Well that is a difficult question to answer but it seems that we spend most of our time working. WORK, WORK, WORK.

It's a tough job that is best left to professionals (see photo above).

We just noticed that a snowbound sailor in Jamestown, New York visited our site today. Take heart! There are still warm places somewhere in the world!


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