Hi, Larry. Thanks for the comment.
Any time I have all chain out, I do use a snubber which is carrying all the load. I let out at least enough chain for it to make a loop down under the waterline a feet feet so its weight holds everything lower.
I suppose the noise comes from the fact that the strong winds and VERY strong tides often oppose each other and the boat rides with the snubber and chain against the hull until one force overcomes the other. The same thing happens with the mooring balls here and everyone experiences it.
Day 35: Tue 15 Apr 08
[Photo: the north anchorage near the park headquarters as seen from Boo Boo Hill.]
We plan to leave tomorrow and may mot have Internet for a few days or more.]
Clyde woke me up early again, which I really don't mind, so I made some coffee and sat up in the cockpit awaiting the sunrise. It was howling a bit, so Clyde wasn't to keen on staying up there after all. Like Diane, he prefers it fairly calm.
After Diane awoke, we decided to all get some exercise on the beach, but when I went to start the dinghy engine, it would not. The gas tank end of the hose had come undone, which explains why it would not start, but even after securing it and priming the engine, still no go. I resorted to a can of starting fluid and it started on the first pull and kept running. I shut it down to replace the air cleaner and engine cover, and it started on its own on the first pull. Hopefully, that will not occur again anytime soon.
Our walk took place after all and it was a good one. Afterwards, I went to shore with the laptop to post to the blog, check email, weather, and news.
[I think here is a good time for an interjection from Di for all you that think Duane might have offed me in the Tongue of the Ocean. I am doing well. I have learned to take a shower with a quart of water, but at least it is hot. I also need a color job and a massage might be nice. See, I was smart enough to hide strategic items from Duane so that I was indispensable to him.]
Today is another familiar day of being stuck on a rockin' and rollin' boat. The wind is so strong that the water in the anchorage is very choppy and any dinghy ride guarantees you will get soaked. Nevertheless, I went ashore in the mid-morning to do the Internet thing.
When I arrived bat at Diva Di, Diane greeted me at the transom and declared that she did something that she hoped was the right thing. Unsurprisingly, I was eagerly awaiting the details. She explained that she heard a frequent noise from the bow and it turned out to be the line from the bow cleat to the mooring ball snagging our primary anchor. She detected a bit of chafe on the line and decided it would be best if we had a second line from the mooring pendant to the other bow cleat. Not knowing when I would be back, she made a plan and executed it: ready the line at the bow, start the engine, motor forward enough to put slack in the mooring pendant, put the transmission back into neutral, then attach the second line to the pendant. When she described what she did, I was incredibly proud of her.
She asked me to check the whole affair, which I did, and it looked just fine. She admitted that her heart was fluttering the whole time she was taking such unilateral action. Her concern was that we are only 40 feet from smashing into the rocks at our stern due to the wind direction. If the line we have to the mooring would part (break), it would be seconds before being in trouble. In my estimation, we would not have had any significant problems with the line for quite a while, but her actions were very commendable.
I spent the next two hours looking at three different cruising guides, three lists of recommendations from other cruisers, all the navigational charts, and the weather forecasts to plan several contingencies for out continued progress south. Diane and I agreed on the two weather contingent plans, and then we had a bit of lunch.
I later dinghied over to Blue Goose (yes, getting wet) to discuss them. As I arrived downwind of their transom, I could small some goodies baking (turned out to be cookies; what lucky timing!). I presented our thoughts for the next week and they matched Blue Goose's independently arrived plan. We acknowledged we were not really "joined at the hip," but happy for the good companionship and mutual assistance available.
When I arrived back at Diva Di, We both read for a while, and then I attempted to polish some stainless steel tubing, The wind was so fierce that I had to hold onto everything I needed to do the job: polish, application rag and toothbrush, and wiping rag an toothbrush. It got too awkward, so I retreated to the cabin to read a bit more.
Dinner was a hodgepodge of leftover vegetables and cubed chicken from the extra I had cooked the other day. With a sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top, we both agreed it was a fabulous and healthy meal.
We elected to sleep in the main saloon instead of the V-berth up forward due to the quieter motion there. The wind howled through the night. Just before bedtime I measured over 24 kts with my anemometer. It wasn't the most restful night we've had, but we did feel secure enough.
Day 36: Wed 16 Apr 08
The temperature dropped enough that even I used a sheet over me last night. When the predawn came, Clyde made no move to go topside, nor was I interested in greeting the dawn up in the still howling and somewhat cool wind.
By 0900, the wind seemed to moderate a substantial amount, but the clouds kept the sun from warming anything up much. The latest weather forecast showed slightly higher winds for tomorrow through Sunday than yesterday's prediction, but still quite moderate and in a good direction for our travels.
The plan is to move tomorrow to Staniel Cay (anchoring off Big Majors), stay two days, then move to Black Point for delivery of our school supplies. By chance, Blue Goose has several boxes of school supplies for Black Point, too. We plan to make the delivery together; this way they only have to roll out the red carpet once .
[We appreciate all the comments. That's the best way to get a short (public) message to us.
Photo: Duane and Diane leaving their annotated piece of driftwood at Boo Boo Hill.]
Day 33: Sun 13 Apr 08
Before it got too light, we put Clyde in the dinghy and went the 100 yards to the nearest beach. This time, owing to the very short distance, mostly extremely shallow water, and calmness, we did not use his carrier. With his harness and leash on, he stood with his forepaws on the large rubber tube looking forward as we motored at a very slow pace. The sand was a little soft and moist for his taste until we got him more to the dry land.
At first he was hesitant, but he quickly got the urge to explore and was tugging at the leash. When we set boundaries for him he reacted by flipping on his side and scooting backwards as if to rid himself of the harness. Before long we were in synch again and strolling the long beach in the other direction. When we got to the boat, Diane held it right against the transom and Clyde walked out of the dinghy into the boat by himself.
Diane then made a Sunday morning breakfast treat of pancakes and bacon, while we listened to the weather broadcast by the Exuma Park manager, Judy. After breakfast, we readied ourselves to go hiking on the cay with J & M, and Tic and Andree. Our hike took us to Boo Boo Hill, where we deposited a piece of driftwood with the name of the boat, hailing port, and year of visit inscribed with marker. The others did the same.
While there are many more trails to hike, we limited it for today to just Boo Boo Hill and the nearby blow holes. This is where the rock has been eroded so as to leave a hole all the way from the surface to a small undercut in the cliff wall. When the waves crash into the undercut, they force cool, moist air up through the blow hole. It is quite a thing to experience.
Diane made BLT sandwiches with the bacon from breakfast and some tomato she had left from yesterday. With a small refrigerator that cannot be relied upon to keep things as evenly cold as a home machine, it is important to use things up quickly once they become especially perishable.
We then grabbed our snorkeling gear and went over to the closest spot, just inside our anchorage to the south. I was fairly impressed. The corals were all alive that I could see and the marine life was pretty varied and interesting, if not especially abundant. The current was slowly pulling us out to sea even though the wind was pushing us in. I needed to use my fins to keep us moving (slowly and with some effort) back towards the anchorage.
Diane got back into the dinghy with much effort (we don't have a boarding ladder yet - mistake) and announced she was staying in. I suggested she use the looky bucket over the side; I'm sure the view was great, if not a bit narrow. I tried to steer the dinghy over the more interesting spots. One large coral head approached within 4 feet of the surface and sported an incredible variety of corals.
We saw our first lobsters in the wild, and these were big ones - about 3 pounds, we guess. They are out of season right now and there is "no taking" of anything within the park boundaries - no seashells, fish, conch, lobster, coral, plant life, nothing. We have had more exciting snorkeling sessions elsewhere in the Caribbean, but this area probably had the least evidence of any problems (bleaching or breakage) than anywhere we have seen.
I later dinghied up to the park headquarters where I could connect to the their wireless system and paid my fee online. I was then able to check and pay some bills coming due very soon. Secondly, I posted the latest installment to sailblogs. Lastly, I checked email.
For dinner we ate the chicken and vegetable I had cooked the night before. It really was very good. Then I watched a movie on the laptop. My attempt to contact snoozer on the SSB (John is out of commission for a week or so) had no joy. Both channels were busy. It's not so important for us right now that we are hopping from cay to cay in little stages. It's more important when you are crossing deep ocean water for 12 or more hours.
Day 34: Mon 14 Apr 08
Up very early, even for me, since Clyde really wanted to go topside. After the sun rose, we took Clyde over to the same beach where he was yesterday. This time he got in the dinghy with no trouble, although we did carry him out as we needed to wade through ankle deep water for a ways. Once on dry land, he was quite energetic and did not need any coaxing to stroll the beach. Back at the boat, he waited for Diane to give him the verbal OK, then he scrambled back aboard Diva Di.
We listened to the weather forecast and got on the VHF radio to contact Antic and Blue Goose for our morning's exercise schedule. We rendezvoused at the beach at 0930 and set off on another hike. This time we brought twice the water - it was only half what we wound up needing. We elected to take a long trail south and then back north on the other side. John & Marilyn wisely decided to keep the hike reasonably long and manageable.
It was an enjoyable and interesting hike, mostly over sharp rocks with occasional stretches of sandy beach and quite a few vertical climbs and descents. It became apparent to me after 3 hours that it was taking its toll. I am not in the best of shape these days, but I believe I was becoming dehydrated and suffering from incipient heat exhaustion.
It was a welcome sight to finally be back at the beach and near the dinghy. Diane put a bag of ice on our tab at the park and we got back t the boat as fast as we reasonably could. There, we unloaded the gear, and I hung off he swim ladder in the 80F water to cool off while Diane got some cool water for me to drink.
I drank over 2 quarts of water while resting in the cockpit for 10 minutes, then went below to relax in the cooling breeze blowing through the boat. At some point I fell asleep and rejuvenated for over an hour and a half. I felt much better after that and proceeded with my remaining boat chore for the day - changing the engine oil.
I'll spare you the details, but it was not a good experience. The gear I normally use was left at home and the equipment I borrowed from John did not lend itself to our engine. I had to do it the hard way and it made quite a mess. Two hours later, the job was done and cleaned up. Whew!
I then had to shift to chef mode and prepared some homemade hummus using a can of chick peas, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice. It turned out pretty good. We prepped our carry case of food and beverage and dinghied over to Antic. Diane wisely wore a full rain slicker over her clothing to protect from the spray and I wisely ducked behind her to stay relatively dry.
Their boat, a Corbin 39, is much more of a blue water boat than ours, and it is optimized for that. When in a big seaway, we would prefer to be in their cockpit. When at anchor and hosting a party, our cockpit is much more inviting. Boats are always compromises.
The food tonight was exceptional; there was no doubt that you had your evening meal when you were done. This time, having had much of the sailors' discussions before, the talk turned to politics and such in both the USA and UK. No one got offended and it was a fun evening. Their cat even got a small ration of kitty treats pilfered from Clyde's stash. He doesn't know, so don't tell him.
Diane went straight to bed and I read for a while. The wind was definitely building and we were glad to be in our protected anchorage.
I had all 80 feet of chain out and another 40 feet of the nylon anchor rode. I took the rode after it exited the bow roller and brought the rode directly to the starboard bow cleat so there was no strain on the roller.
The pitching motion must have been so frequent and forceful, the the little bit of stretch in the nylon had the rope chafing against itself. It was the first time I had ever seen that happen.
[Photo: Overlooking Exuma Sound at Shroud Cay]
Photo: Marilyn, Diane, and John at Normans' Cay