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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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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.

Tooo many Balls!
02/25/2009, Frazer's Hog Cay, Berry Islands

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday... Where does the time go? I seem to say that a lot. Spring will be here in no time at all. We made it through the night with all the banging of the mooring against the hull, it made for a noisy night but it let me know that we hadn't broken loose each time I heard the rope against the hull or the mooring knocking against side. Not so lucky for Aurora. I was sitting below this morning, reading my book when I saw a mast come by the window and thought 1. a boat was coming in or leaving early or 2. We'd broken loose - only I never heard or felt a twang in the rope. When I looked out the port, Aurora was coming by us with the mooring ball attached to his bow roller with his anchor. I'm really feeling like we're on borrowed time here - especially with our frayed mooring line... I hailed Aeolus and told them that and asked if he'd checked his line too. He talked about the noisy mooring ball too during the night. It sounds like they're hanging out here until Friday when the weather settles down then heading over to Nassau. We may very well be doing the same. The Easterlies could keep us pinned down on Andros for quite a while. I was looking at the NorthWest Passage and the Tongue of the Ocean. Both deep water with quite a distance of fetch for waves to build up and come at us; not a pleasant idea of having to cross so much area with waves building across it.

Brigid & Denny got settled in again at another mooring ball and while he was hooking the new one from the front, it looked really strange because you could see both of them. I tried getting a picture but the one in the water decided to back further on the boat and under the water. I couldn't resist though and radioed over to them after they got settled to see if everything was okay and said something like hey - you guys have some balls or or something to that effect! Someone else came on and said "go to a different channel!" I'd forgotten we were on the hailing frequency (Ch 16) and hadn't switched to a different channel - oops!

I finished "Breaking Dawn" and Wayne was reading "Tom Brokaw". Denny came by in the dinghy to talk about anchorages vs. moorings here then the discussion turned to wind generators and we decided to get together later for dominoes and sundowners at the Berry Islands Club at 4:30pm.

The winds and waves started stirring up around 3:30 - 4pm but we did get another line on the mooring ball. After that we tried to get into the dinghy to head to shore - what a trip - but we managed not to get wet. The little old guy I'd saw swearing a couple days ago was sitting in his fishing boat stringing conch together and he had 3 good size lobster and a parrot fish too. I said hi to him and said it looked like he was much more successful today and got a big grin and a yes mum from him. The other fishermen were up top cleaning some groupers and other fish that I didn't recognize. Brigid helped us tie the dinghy to the dock - the cleats were up high and the waves were rocking us - then we went over to the restaurant for sundowners. Aeolus (Cheryl & oops I forgot his name and he'd even offered me his sweater) joined us about 10 minutes later. Brigid said Andrew told them he'd be back in 15 minutes. We hung out on the front porch and chatted a bit but it was really getting cold as the winds from the northeast got stronger. An hour and 45 minutes later we gave up waiting and left - it was soo cold. We should have brought our own drinks I guess. During our discussion we learned that what bothers Denny on the islands is all the trash. In Bermuda we never saw trash. Here it's all over. It's like nobody takes ownership of things here so they don't care what happens, trash wise or other. So what if 6 people are sitting outside waiting for the restaurant to open for beers and a couple of locals want their dinner. Not my problem mon. I don't know if he ever came back...Andrew, Andrew, Andrew... and I wondered why so many places were boarded up and out of business... Nobody takes ownership and they don't care. They don't seem to realize that it impacts whether they have a job to make money or not. I could never imagine someone running a store or restaurant back home saying sorry - be back in 15 minutes and then never returning... You couldn't stay in business long there either. You can't make money selling things if you're not there to sell it. Sigh... I did see headlights pull up around 8:30pm but don't know if it was Andrew or not - there were a couple of guys working around the shower house.

More wind/waves
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.

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