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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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More wind/waves
70s
02/24/2009, Frazer's Hog Cay, Berry Islands

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Continued reading today. The winds are calmer this morning but will start kicking up again later out of the NE so the currents and winds will be in opposition again this evening. I decided to cook my noodles earlier when it's still calm then add them to the sauce that I'll make around dinnertime. The sauce is thicker so if the boat starts dancing, I won't be in as much danger as with boiling water.

Denny & Brigid are moving further toward Chub Cay to anchor. They said it's less roily there. We need to check out the weather and pay up here before we can move though. I started my computer up and noticed I had a faint Internet signal so moved up top for better reception. This surprised me because they normally have their wifi setup to a bare minimum. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth - instead of putting my computer in the dinghy to take up to the restaurant/bar- to check the weather and email, I was able to stay on the boat, up top to check it out.

I told Aurora (Brigid & Denny) the weather report and that we thought we'd stay here on a mooring since the wind would be shifting to the east tonight and we didn't want to be on a lee shore at anchor. Did a mass email home to let everyone know where we are and depending on the weather, where we'd be heading - Andros Island or New Providence Island. I was glad I'd made the noodles earlier - the wind and waves started kicking up early and by suppertime I'd not been able to cook the noodles. We saw Aurora heading our way as things started building and they'd hooked the mooring that drug the other night for Aeolus. We saw Aeolus head over that way to tell them (in these waves - what a sweet guy) and hailed Aurora to tell them only Aeolus was out of earshot for me to tell him that I hailed them on the VHF.

The rage is really roiling this evening. Wayne went up to the bow to check on our mooring because we're really bouncing around and noticed that the mooring line is chafing thinner in a spot. The pull on the line is so tight from the currents we can't get another line around it. We're hoping we can before dark but the sun is starting to set... Wayne thinks it will be okay, but the rope is half way through. It's going to be a tense night for me... Wayne promised that we wouldn't break free during the night. On that note, I'll be able to sleep a bit better.

Don't let stars get in your eyes
Windy...
02/23/2009, Frazer's Hog Cay, Berry Islands

Monday, February 23, 2009

Earrrrrly morning...
Wow, what a night. The wind and waves were bouncing us all over the mooring. Aeolus, a sailboat from Texas, that came in sometime during the evening zipped past us last night shining a spotlight on us and around us. They yelled that they were switching moorings because theirs dragged. Wow, now I was going to wonder about ours all night. We decided to set the anchor alarm. This morning it looks like a big blob of pink on the GPS, from us dancing around the mooring all night. The sounds it made as we danced back and forth over it all night were gut wrenching to me. It sounded like Brie was taking a beating from about 2:30 until sometime after 6 this morning when the current shifted back around from the north (the same direction as the wind).

At daybreak I went up top to look around. The motorboat that had a mooring behind Aeolus, was way down to the south - he really drug during the night. Aeolus was still at her new mooring ball in front of us (behind us in the weee early hours).

Wayne worked on the heat/energy dissipater today and I caught up on my backups for the computer files - Norton, pictures, and journals. I'd forgotten how long it takes to back up the stuff. After that I decided it was time to dig in to the 4th Stephenie Meyer's novel

No picture taking today so I thought I'd share one of Wayne from yesterday... Stars in your eyes....

mmmmm conch!
80, cloudy, Calm to NNE Winds 10-15 (???) in the afternoon
02/22/2009, Frazer’s Hog Cay, Berry Islands

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The winds died down after a bit last night so we got some sleep. Lazed about this morning, then tried to see if I could fix the light in the head. It was brighter than the one Wayne uses for reading so he was going to switch them, only they were totally different and the one in the head broke when he tried to take it out. I couldn't fix it, but was able to remove it. We went over to the restaurant/marina to let them know we'd taken a mooring last night and to see if they had wireless (yes), showers (they're not working), and to see if we were still on for dinner (yes). Hilda was in the process of bruising the conch as I rounded the corner into the kitchen. So I got a short lesson in how to bruise conch. I told her I was looking forward to dinner - hers is the first conch I'll being trying out and when she had asked me yesterday how I'd like it served, I told her however she thought was the best way since I'd never had it (she thought this funny that I'd never had it). Wayne had zip, zero, energy today so no work - we dinghied over to the point of the Hog Cay to see what was there, then went ashore at the beach area. While going to the beach area a turtle passed under the dinghy - man can they move! It was nice to see one alive. I'd like to know what killed the one we found on the beach. The poor thing looked pretty much in tact. Saw some starfish, large nudibranch and a small jelly or two. Several small conchs, I picked up to exam, and then I had to take pictures of them before letting them go back in the water. Their little eyes were looking at me with curiosity. I felt bad - because guess what I'm having for dinner tonight...

We went over to the restaurant a little later than I planned. We're expected for dinner at 5:30pm but I wanted to go over an hour to an hour and a half earlier to access their Internet and check email, post to my blog and check the weather forecasts. I do truly not like having no radio contact. I feel blind - weather wise with no Internet access, VHF weather, or even AM/FM...Not really a good situation. Anywayyyyy... I packed up my laptop in a garbage bag so it wouldn't get wet, and when we got ready to get in the dinghy, the wind and waves kicked up in opposition with the mooring ball going under us (our boat follows the current) and the waves slapping at our stern. Messy situation. The dinghy was doing it's own jig so we decided to wait a bit until the boat swung around with the dinghy on the other side. I decided to package my laptop inside my tote then put that inside another garbage bag.

When the mooring ball goes under the boat and drags along the bottom popping up on the other side - the sound it makes is awful. You'd think we were running aground listening to it scrape along the side then go under the keel and up the other side - yikes! By the time we were able to get the dink by the stairs, out of the waves, and get to shore, it was already close to 5pm and I could see Brigid and Denny approaching in their dink.

The restaurant was locked when I got there, but Hilda opened up when she saw me peeking through the window. I asked if she was open - yes. Then if anyone else was expected for dinner (there was one table set up for four people) - no, just us. I felt bad about having her do this for only us four, then remembered that that's how they make a living and they only prepare what they know they will be able to sell, so I tried to not feel guilty about keeping her in the restaurant on a Sunday night. We ordered a couple of beers (it helps the economy) and I got my laptop set up but couldn't pick up the Internet connection from the tables or out front. It turned out that the wifi access is a 5 ft section of the bar (smart?), so Brigid & Wayne were chatting at the table with their beers, and both Denny & I sat at the bar sipping our beers, checking our email and me posting as fast as I could to the blog before I lost service or dinner showed up. While we were doing this, Hilda came out and wanted to know if she should start the service yet or not and I told her that whenever she was ready - I was looking forward to it, but we weren't in a hurry. After a half hour or so, she let me know it was coming out so I shut down and went and sat at our table for my first taste of conch. I asked her what it was called - the way she served it - it's cracked conch.

It was served with a traditional Bahamian slice of baked macaroni and cheese, rice and peas, and salad. I now know why everyone loves it! It was incredibly sweet, and the large pieces were tender - not rubbery at all like I expected. She set out a side of a sauce - like a mayo, cocktail sauce in case we wanted that. It was wonderful without the sauce and with it. Hilda set the standard by which I will judge all other cracked conch! I wish I'd have brought my camera! The table setup was so pretty (just for us) and the dinner - what a plate of food! I couldn't eat it all but I sure did try my best (I DID eat all the conch on my plate). It reminded me of sweet clams only more so. These strips were the size of chicken tenders or strips of chicken breast and oh so delicious! I made sure that I told her how good it was several times (it really was) and later she asked me if I knew how she made it. I said I'd watched her beat it, but other than that - and her deep-frying it - no. She said all she does is dip it in a mixture of egg and cream, and then into the flour and then into the fryer - that's all. I can't believe there's no secret spices or something - but she said that's all... I told her I'd watched some fishermen getting them out of the shell and she explained how to get them out also. I may have to try this - sorry little fellas if I get one of your relatives - or maybe I'll just continue to support the local fishermen.

We were going to download the pictures I have of Aurora to a CD or jump drive for Brigid & Denny only we didn't have either so that will have to wait. We did check out the weather and it looks not so good for Andros and a northerly exposed anchorage until at least Thursday.

Hilda is from Andros and has been here since April. I guess there's no work to be found there so she came here. She's been here since April and pretty much runs the place by herself. Her boss lives in Nassau and the owner lives in Texas.

It was really dark when we left and still choppy. The winds are really picking up again and I have a feeling that they'll be running against the current again before to long.


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