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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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Happy Birthday Greg!
NE winds 15-25 knots, waves in the sound 4-6 ft, here about 2 or less but rolly; temp in the upper 60s/low 70s
03/05/2009, Allens Cay/Leaf Cay Anchorage N24*44.931(24) W76*50.266(41)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Happy Birthday Greg!!! I know you're not getting this wish on your birthday but it's being written on your birthday. We found a terrific little beach here with a single palm tree on it that you could build sand castles with Zack & Sophie on. It's just screaming your name! I think Wayne would buy this island if he could... We got the pictures of the fireplace - it turned out great - nice job guys!

The weather today is a repeat of yesterday. I have the snorkel gear out and the water is so pretty and inviting, but the winds are strong and cold. They've shifted from NE to E now and all of the boats that were originally here when we got here are now gone. We're the old folks now to a crop of new ones. From the radio chatter it sounds like most have gone to Highborne Cay where it's a little bit more protected. Unfortunately the depths don't really allow us access to the best-sheltered spots. This is pretty here. I made blueberry pancakes for breakfast (I really used the last of the blueberries now) then I tried my hand at a 15-minute sketch of the lone palm island and noticed that I haven't drawn anything since 8/18/08 - when we were in Ohio! I can't get the water the right shades - I just don't have the variety of colored pencils needed for the job. Note to self: bring the big box of colored pencils next year.

I went over the charts looking at the various islands and Wayne checked out our batteries and battery monitor. It seems to be perpetually stuck on 13.81 in any position. Once he unplugged them and plugged them back in again though it seems to be monitoring them again. This wind generator is phenomenal. I'm really glad we went with it as opposed to the solar panels for this trip. It's going like gang busters and we haven't had to turn the engine on at all. I'm listening to it whirring uptop as I write this - it sounds like it wants to take off in flight!

I made a tuna salad for dinner tonight. Think I'll take in some more of this stunning view of the water and islands before dinner. The water is an unbelievable aqua color. So clear and pretty it really looks unreal. You can see clear to the bottom in 12 ft of water, even with the waves and ripples. I feel so fortunate to be here and see this pretty white sand and clear aquamarine water that the iguanas call home. It's really strange to view the beauty and know that the ground won't support crops to eck out much of a living here. Lovely but harsh. I almost forgot to mention that in our excursion yesterday we found prickly pear cactus near the ruins.

Iguanas and shore leave
NE winds 15-20 knots, waves in the sound 4-6 ft, here about 2 or less but rolly; temp in the low 70s
03/04/2009, Allens Cay/Leaf Cay Anchorage N24*44.924 W76*50.241

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Kind of a rolly night - I din't sleep to well wondering about our position in the anchorage being close to shore after watching another boat come in and trying to anchor not far from us and running aground almost next to us. We'd made a giant loop and when we reversed direction (tide) we both knew it. I could hear the waves on the beach from the port side instead of the starboard side, like when I went to bed, and this had me wide-awake wondering if our anchor would break loose and reset. Fun...

I got up and looked around and the chart plotter showed us making a weird shape - like a U. I went back to bed and tried to describe it to Wayne and couldn't. I figured if he wanted to know, he could look because it didn't make sense to me. He got up and by then it was doing loops around the anchor set. Intrigued by it, he stayed up top awhile watching it so I gave him a blanket and went back to bed. Zzzzz...

After coffee and Bacon & egg sandwiches a bananaquit visited the boat but by the time I brought some sugar up, he was gone. We went exploring SW Allan's Cay (Lone Palm Beach) and Leaf Cay (Iguana Beach). There are several islands here all uninhabited (except by Rock Iguanas and Curly Tailed Lizards). The iguanas are too funny. Whenever people land on the beach they come running for handouts. The tour boats come here and the tourists feed them grapes on a stick so they don't get bit. While visitors are told not to feed the iguanas, it seems everyone does it and the iguanas expect it! The boat next to us held out her flip-flop this morning and 8 iguanas came charging in - YIKES!

We gave Swee'pea shore leave here to play with the iguanas while we explored more inland and tried to get to the ruins we saw from the boat. It looks like someone had a nice little one room reinforced concrete hut on the top of the hill but the roof gave out. It's totally written all over from boaters that come and leave their name on the ruins. They've ruined the ruins. I took a lot of pictures of iguanas, and then we went over to SW Allan's Cay (it has one lone palm on it) the view is fantastic. There was a couple throwing rocks up at the tree it trying to knock down a coconut with no success. He was Irish and she Canadian (Vancouver). We have a Canadian boat, a German boat, a New Zealand Boat, French boat, us and a boat from Alaska here in the anchorage. Pretty cool. In fact so cool, I never made it snorkeling today. I really want to find a conch and try my hand at it but the wind is cold.

After exploring we came back and took a nap. The winds are really howling and there's white caps on the horizon. Power and sailboats are starting to come in again (it's 5pm). Sundowners and cheese, crackers and fruit time. Wayne is polishing off a John Grisham book we picked up at a book swap and I'm debating on whether to try my hand as sketching an iguana or Lone Palm Island. My knee is swollen and bothering me so I think I'll play a couple computer games and call it a day after making dinner (Hot turkey sandwiches and cranberry sauce).

Internet? Not Internet... <sigh>
03/03/2009, N25*04.493 W77*18.748 Nassau Harbor, New Providence Island to Allen’s Cay/Leaf Cay, The Exumas N24*44.924 W76*50.241

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Eureka! I have Internet access and emails (that makes my morning!) I'm not sure who Bubbanet is, but it works for me! Answered the emails and was about to check the weather when I lost the connection ($*#&). Anyhow it was great to hear from everyone even if I didn't get the weather LOL. Alli I hope everything is okay - all I got was an "ahhhhhhhhh!" I do miss everyone and look forward to seeing everyone even if I don't get to see my bro...

Met a couple from Holland that asked us about our boat name. "Do we know what it means?" "Yes, of course" In Dutch it means hummingbird also...

Pulled out of Nassau Harbor after getting permission from the Harbor Master at 9:00am and headed for Allan's. We hit the Yellow Bank after noon o clock and I took the bow watch for coral heads while Wayne kept the helm.

Pulled in between Allen's and Leaf Cay around 4pm and there were already 6 boats anchored here. Several more followed us in. We're anchored closer to Leaf Cay near the beach and ruins in about 12 ft of water that turns into 3 ft pretty quickly near us. As we were anchoring there were people walking the beach area and iguanas were running up to them. They're pretty prehistoric critters that used to be used in the old B movies as dinosaurs. I hope to get a better look tomorrow - hopefully it won't be too crowded. I understand that because this is the closest anchorage for boats making the passage across the Yellow Bank from Nassau and because of the iguanas, it can be pretty popular for high-speed boats laden with passengers to come to. Oh-oh and we're right near the beach...

One guy was up on the beach cracking open his conch and two iguanas came over to investigate him. Leftovers tonight for us (of pork and potatoes au gratin with corn).

So we're now officially in the Exumas... NE winds are building - they're supposed to be from 10-15 building to 20 tonight. Hope we hold... Low tide is around 6:30pm and it's going on 7pm now.

04/02/2009 | Alli
of course! :)

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