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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
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Ouch! Jammed toe? On to Nassau
02/28/2009, Berry Islands to Nassau

Saturday, February 28, 2009

What a positively benign evening... the winds died down and shifted to the east so that we swung towards shore for a change instead of a violent shift North then South with the current changes and winds. It was a good sleeping night except for Wayne being in pain. He took a spill in the cockpit last night and jammed his toe so he had a rough night of it.

It's hard saying goodbye to Aurora this morning but this is better for us. As much as I'd like to hang with them, we'd both like to cross the deep water in lighter seas and according to our weather forecasts - today is it.

Originally we were going to head over to Andros. We were going to skip Morgan's Bluff and head directly to Fresh Creek with Aurora (the 3rd largest reef is located along that stretch) but the more we both thought of it - it made more sense to cross the Tongue of the Ocean or the North West Channel with the smaller waves instead of going over to Andros and then getting bogged down for another week waiting for the right conditions to cross again. The clincher was when we pulled out our snorkel gear and discovered that both breathing tubes had deteriorated beyond repair (I originally thought - hey we can duck tape the broken seams, only there were to many in the grooves). In order to dive around the reefs, we'd need new equipment so all we could do is watch them dive. As much as I wanted to continue our travels with Aurora, it just didn't make sense. I radioed Brigid to let her know. It really made me sad to do that, but after sitting here for a week it was time to head south. We'd really only be going there at this point because they were. I'll have to email the pictures of them to them when we get home and I have reliable (and faster) Internet service. I followed their sail on the horizon as we left for Nassau until they winked out of sight ... I'm truly going to miss those guys...

Leaving the Berry Islands Club I watched the water change from the various shades of green I'd become accustomed to into the darker sapphire blue as we hit the deeper water again on a heading of ~125 degrees magnetic. It looks like the deepest part that we're crossing is a little over 2 miles deep (10,782 ft).

I saw some flying fish again - they're something else to watch! Wayne hung our yoyo over the side once we got into deeper waters. He's hoping to catch a mahi mahi or actually almost anything. This is our first fishing try so we'll see. So far we've managed to catch some Sargosa weeds - but that's about it.

No fish for us today but he did get the feel for how the yoyo works. We approached Nassau Harbor and requested and were permitted entry then went about trying to find a marina for a couple of days. The Nassau Harbor Club Marina was the only one to respond to our hail and told us to call/check back in half an hour - they had 2 boats leaving. It took us about a half hour to get there - they're the last marina in the row along Nassau Harbor and when we called again they told us where to head - east dock, starboard tie-up. Right after that another boat called and were turned away for the night - call back tomorrow - so we were lucky to get in and tucked away a little after 4pm. It seems strange to pay for water. They charge $6/day for water here at the dock - whether you use it or not I guess.

It's been a long time since we've been here - since the late 70's or early 80s. This time we're here on our little boat as opposed to last time when we were headed to Eleuthera. Our hotel burned down and we were stranded here in Nassau at a hotel that was not so stellar for a week. We both kind of wonder if it's still here - I thought I might have seen one that could have been it as we entered the harbor. It was across from the beach area we passed. We'll have to check it out. There were several cruise ships in port that we passed. What huge monstrosities! Looking up at it from below and beside it - it looks like a huge wall of ports with people hanging over the sides looking back at me... We're totally dwarfed riding next to them.

Distance traveled today 41.6 miles. End point: N25*04.493 W77*18.748 Nassau Harbor Club, New Providence Island. Wayne's in a great deal of pain - his toe is really aggravating him - hope he didn't break it.

Cruiser's plans are written in jello...
02/27/2009, Frazer's Hog Cay

Friday, February 27, 2009

Well everyone but the green boat and us (I think he lives here while working on a house) pulled out at sunrise this morning. Lunatic Fringe had dragged in the twilight hours before dawn and was about on top of the green boat but they had flashed a light into his boat to get his attention so they were able to let loose of the mooring and pick up another one. I know last night I thought the green boat (Sunshine too) drug closer to us or we to them. When I checked our anchor alarm though we hadn't moved so if they were closer to us then their mooring dragged (and they never seem to move).

We decided to avoid the herding instinct (it's strong in humans). We went over our weather reports and charts again and turned on the fm radio to pick up local weather. The local weather for today mirrored the forecast for last night from Miami "NORTHEAST WINDS 15 TO 20 KNOTS. SEAS 3 TO 5 FEET." Tonight we're thinking it will be East winds 10-15 with seas down 2-4 ft and tomorrow looks more like the day to go (we're thinking East winds 5-10 with seas 2 ft). Looking at the charts and predicted winds we both concurred that with the distance of the fetch, the velocity of the wind, and the growing waves from last night and this morning opposing the out going tide into the tongue of the ocean, we'd be in for a rocking and rolling day. The winds wouldn't be dying down soon enough to suit our stomachs - not our favorite way to sail, so we decided to stay put one more day.

Brigid radioed to see what we were doing. They noticed everyone leaving. I told her we were going over the charts and weather and weren't sure. Originally we'd told them we'd be leaving today too but after last night and this morning - it was doubtful. She was going to try and pick up another weather forecast and call us back. When she called back, they'd decided to try it - we'd decided to stay put and asked if they were going to Morgan's Bluff or Fresh Creek? Morgan's Bluff is closer so I thought of either, that would be the one to try - 20 miles vs 40 +. Hope they make okay. She said she'd call us back and let us know how things were out there.

We listened to several boats call each other wanting to know weather conditions were up ahead, and nobody sounded thrilled but all said it should be dying down in the afternoon. We were glad we stayed, but hoped that Aurora made it across to Andros (hopefully not Fresh Creek - the further one).

Aurora hailed us a couple hours later to tell us they came back. It was not nice out there. I'm glad they're back and safe.

I had a productive morning of tearing apart my cupboards looking for flour and bread pans. Couldn't find the bread pan so used a regular pan to make beer bread. I'm craving sandwiches and need the time has come to break into the supplies I've stocked up and start baking. We now have bread...

We went ashore to pay for a mooring again tonight and then took a walk along the far shore. Steak, salad (the lassst tomato), and bread for dinner tonight. I just discovered that I have Internet access on the boat again YAY so I'm stopping to post the last few days.

Tomorrow it looks like we'll be heading for Andros. I was able to get everyones emails - Thank you Thank you Thank you.... I sure miss being able to call and talk or email you all... Going to post now before I lose my signal - it comes and goes!

I heard it said somewhere - "Cruiser's plans are written in jello" that sure does seem to be the case...

Conch tonight??? Nope no conch...
02/26/2009, Frazer's Hog Cay, Berry Islands

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Went to shore to connect to the Internet to get a weather forcast and make a garbage haul to the dump. Chatted with Aeolus - he was there getting a weather forecast too. We both downloaded the gribs from passage weather and then checked to see if we could get dinner tonight (yes). I was looking forward to more conch tonight but the way the winds and waves were building throughout the day it was looking iffy that we'd want to make our 6:00 dinner. Wayne worked on getting the Energy dissipater hooked up but still needs to get it programmed yet.

We'd seen a boat come in and pick up a mooring Lunatic Fringe so we warned them to make sure they had a chain under them because several other boats had dragged or broken free from the moorings. They had a nice looking larger dog on board that looked like he wanted to jump into our dinghy - a boxer's head but the body didn't look right. They thanked us and we then we decided to dinghy to a beach area to do a quick wash down in salt water, and then come back and fresh water rinse. The dinghy ride to shore was more than enough to convince us that we didn't want to come back for dinner when the waves and winds are usually worse, so we came back to the boat, grabbed some money then went to the marina to pay up for our mooring and cancel dinner. We were thoroughly soaked. The new guys were also headed for the marina and they'd put the dog over the side in the water but it followed them back out into the strong currents as they came back out to the dinghy dock tie ups. I couldn't believe that they let the dog swim the entire way in that current. I'd have downed and didn't much like the caviler way they treated the poor critter. It didn't deserve their reactions to be left, then made to stay in the dinghy once they hauled him into it and went ashore. If they couldn't take proper care of it or have it trained to sit and wait on shore for them, they shouldn't have brought the dog to sea with them. I don't think they'd have liked being thrown overboard, feeling abandoned and then swimming in that current to get to the boat and then ignored... Sorry for my tangent but I think everyone knows how I feel about children and animals (or generally those that can't protect themselves from abusers).

Anyhow.... We were soaking wet and our dinghy dancing under the ladder but we made it to the restaurant. We talked to Hilda about dinner and she hadn't started it yet so it was no big deal but we told her we didn't know about Aeolus's plans (they'd took a 10 mile hike to Chub Cay) and didn't cancel dinner for Aeolus since we didn't know what they wanted to do. We settled up our bill with Andrew but he seemed to not know anything at all about our dinner plans and said something about having to meet the mail boat at 7pm so he thought it wasn't possible to begin with (???). I kept an eye out for them so I could tell them when they got back to the boat that we'd canceled our dinner plans, etc.

We were glad that we'd canceled because by 5:30 the water and winds were rougher than they've been the entire time we've been here. We looked like drowned rats in a little white sailboat dancing in a circle of foamy green water around our mooring. Periodically it'd go under the boat again - bang, bang, bang... As I look up into the cockpit, the sky and clouds look like a bouncing ball - up and down, up and down... I'm so impressed that Wayne can stay down here and not get seasick. I'd say he's found his sea legs. Instead of conch, we had franks and beans with Hawaiian rolls for dinner - it's been a long time. It actually didn't bad taste. Didn't taste anything like conch (I tried to pretend) but not bad never the less. According to Chris Parker tomorrow is the day to leave. He's the weather guru that everyone turns to before they take off. We'll see... This seems kind of strong out here at the moment.

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