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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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Dragging lady & pig roasts
03/22/2009, GeorgeTown Anchorage

Sunday, March 22, 2009

12:00 - the winds are really howling, and the rain is coming in the ports again. Time to close them. It looks like the boat will finally get desalted topside.

12:30 - The winds have really picked up, if that's possible, and the wind generator is growling and vibrating the whole boat. I got up to shut it off before it went flying off or destroyed itself. The panel reads 13.35 and continued dropping to 13.31 when I finally shut it off. It didn't want to shut off and remained spinning like mad and moaning for another 5 minutes.

2:30am we are dragging anchor into the channel. A little after 2:00 am the winds were really howling, and then I heard a metallic clang like something falling on deck. I woke Wayne asking him if he heard it and if so, what that was, did we lose one of his anchoring tools? he went up to check. I stayed on the stairs and he said everything was okay, the anchor chain was tight and the tools were still there. We were about to go back down and I noticed a boat right next to us. I asked him if he remembered a boat coming in and he said no. Both of us were without our glasses but in looking at the anchor alarm it looked like we'd moved about 75 feet. I scrambled below for our glasses and to turn on the windlass and it was more like 145 feet by the time I got back to the chart plotter to look at the anchor alarm. Another boat beside where we used to be looked like it ran into the boat behind it. Those two were pretty well tangled but it was hard to see what was going on in the dark.. We watched them for a while, I didn't know that we could do anything to help, but I noticed we were now past the boat we were next to and now next to the last boat in the row next to the channel where we originally anchored when we came into the harbor. Wayne went back up to the bow to let out more scope and I kicked on the engine. We motored forward to pick up some of the chain to wrap and take the strain off of the windlass and continued to watch the other sailboats try and untangle themselves from each other. They finally got untangled, then tangled again, and then untangled. We're now holding steady, in the channel though. Wayne says that he doubts anybody will be coming into the harbor in these winds, at this time, so we're probably okay until daybreak unless someone drags into us.

3:30 am still holding steady in the channel. The wind is still blowing pretty good but not kicking up a fuss like earlier. I put some coffee on. I doubt we're going to get much sleep now. I guess when I got up to turn off the wind generator I should have stayed up and looked around. We probably should have let more scope out at that time. Lessons unlearned, repeat themselves - I'll pay attention next time. When it starts howling, let out more scope.

Well about 4:30 I started getting chilled and went back below to our bunk and Wayne stood watch until 5:30 then joined me in the bunk. At 6:30 it was getting light enough out and at 7 we went topside and decided to take her back to our spot under the monument. The two boats that had tangled were a classic Ta Shing style boat (couldn't read the name on the back) and Gravy Boat. They were topside too trying to figure out what they were going to do when we motored by them back near the beach. After we anchored we sat up top and watched them. They were tied together so we figured one or the other lost an anchor during the night which turned out to be correct. We watched the classic boat dinghy out with a look bucket (glass bottom bucket), then dive down and attach a rope with a float on it to retrieve the anchor back for Gravy Boat, which is now re-anchored on the other side of the 32 Bayfield (Rainbow Connection).

It's now 9:00am and time to get some shuteye. Unfortunately I'm still wired and paranoid, so I sent Wayne to sleep while I type this and watch the boats. Now I'm winding down so I'll grab a couple hours sleep too. I'd be curious to know what the wind speeds were last night...

Okay, after a nap I put the question out there on the Cruiser's net to see if any one got a reading for last nights winds. Two people responded back with 31 knots off Monument beach - so now I know.

We headed over to the Chat & Chill for the pig roast and a couple of Kalick beers. We heard that if you get there later it's either gone or dried up so we wanted to get there before 3pm (left here at 2pm). The meal was very tasty. The menu consisted of pork, peas & rice, mac & cheese, carrots, and Cole slaw. Something about the slaw reminded me of the conch salad. It was very spicy with a mayonnaise base - Wayne liked it (not my favorite part of the meal though). After eating we wandered the beach looking for a familiar face from Moonlight Serenade. They'd offered to take flat mail to the states. We never found them but ran into Spirit on the beach. Chatted with them for a while, then wandered over by the volley ball nets, and the direction post where I found some young men with interesting tattoos that they let me take pictures of (they were interesting to chat with too).

After our stroll and people watching we got back into the dink and looked for Moonlight Seranade among all the anchored boats. No luck. I think they probably heard about the front moving in and left earlier to make sure that they caught their plane out. This means we need to make sure we hit the post office tomorrow to get our tax extensions in the mail. Hopefully they'll get in before April 15th. We spotted Rosie and stopped over to say hi. George was just finishing up putting his belt on the autopilot. He was lucky to find one here - his broke. I know I've really enjoyed having one this trip; it's like having a 3rd hand onboard. After that we headed back for our boat.

The winds are supposed to still be up to 25 knots for the next couple of days. Hopefully we won't get much stronger winds. New boats came in and we're boxed in between them. We shouldn't drag unless the boat that anchored right in front of us snagged our anchor. Wayne let out more scope, to 105 feet, when we re-anchored but danged if someone didn't snug in up front close to the island where I thought we were safe because we were so close. I guess the extra scope put us further back allowing the appearance of open space. Nice sunset tonight. It's time for a little Patricia Cornwell book before retiring for the evening.

Raw Conch & Cheeseburgers in Paradise
03/21/2009, Georgetown, Great Exuma

Saturday, March 21, 2009
Made some eggs and chops with moms bread for breakfast, then played a few computer games waiting for Wayne's headache to get better so we could dinghy to Georgetown and go to the farmers market that they're having from 12 - 4. I got the garbage together to take with us but Wayne said there wasn't enough to take - it wasn't worth having to tie the dinghy up twice.

We headed over to Georgetown around 12:30 and tied up behind the market then walked around lake Victoria to see what was there and then on to the straw market/Regatta Park area where the farmers market was. They have a great little arts and clothing store that I went into. Saw a couple of things there that I'll have to think about buying. I looked in the straw market for a conch horn and was told that Rachel wasn't there, to try back on Monday. One of the ladies tried to sell me a little shell horn - kind of funny - on a key chain. She said "it's just like dem, try - blow it". I laughed and called it a cheater horn, which she found funny. I blew it anyhow - it sounded like a little horn, laughed and said I'd be back Monday to look for Rachel. While going through the straw market I heard a conch horn blow. Wayne thought it came from the farmer's market but when we got there; there was none to be found. I did see some conch shells on a table but it was from a set up that was making conch salad. They'd be ready to sell some in 10 minutes if I wanted some. I decided that I did, I'd never had any yet, so we wandered about then I came back to get some. I watched her make it up and while making it, some young girls yelled out of a car to her & she laughed. They were some of her students; she was a teacher that taught religion and I don't remember what she called it, but it's what we called home economics back in the day.

The conch salad was quite good, and I watched her put only a pinch of a pinch of jalapeno pepper in it but danged if it wasn't spicy. I thought Wayne was going to turn redder than he already is from the sun. After that we got the dinghy and headed back across the harbor to explore our part of the world along Stocking Island. So we left Kidd's Cove and dinghied over to Cleaning Hole, Hurricane Hole and landed at a beach between St Francis and Turtle Lagoon to climb the sand hill and check out the beach on Exuma Sound. Wow! It was really breath taking. The waves were crashing into shore all up and down the eastern shore and as we crossed the tip of the sand dune, the winds were howling. It was quite beautiful. Unfortunately, I think that the conch fritters and hot dogs caught up to me so we cut our hike short and went back to the boat for a couple hours. What was that I heard about eating food from street vendors in Africa Laura? Me thinkest it applies here too.

The marina at St. Francis was having a "cheeseburger in paradise, happy hour, then karaoke night" so we decided to try that out hoping the burgers were better than the ones at Norman Island. We ran into Spirit there (I love running into them) with their travel buddies and after chatting with them, we went to the bar to order the burgers and beers and while there, ran into Rosie. Deb insisted that she knew us from somewhere, and after chatting about all the various places (they're from Deltaville) we figured out that they were one of our mooring buddies that we shared a mooring with right before we left (at Vero Beach). Then, we were anchored next to them on the back of Little Farmers Cay and saw them when we got in here. They were anchored right before Monument Beach and I'd wondered if that was the same boat that left before us from Farmers. We ended up staying at the bar eating with them and chatting with them. It was neat to put it all together then chat with them. Hopefully we'll run into them tomorrow at the pig roast. Every Sunday the Chat & Chill has a pig roast that we decided we'd try out (not street vender food). We stopped back by to say good night to Spirit, but told them that if Chris were going to get up and sing, we'd stay. We decided to head out though (no light on the dinghy) and called it a night. Good thing too because if we'd have stayed and closed the place we'd have really gotten wet. The later it got, the windier it got and the bigger the waves. It started sprinkling about 10:00

Spring is here and brings with it Lyric!
03/20/2009, Georgetown

Friday, March 20, 2009
The first day of spring and a very happy birthday to Grand Baby Lyric!

We listened to the Cruiser's Net at 8am and all the announcements and weather. What a cool way to find out about what's going on in this little gypsy harbor. They give the weather and what's going on for the day in the various places. Then they have any community businesses announce or advertise, then who's leaving, who's new, and a type of want ads of who needs what or who has what, ending with a question/answer session.

After that we lowered the dinghy, collected our garbage and went over to Georgetown. It seemed a long ride across the harbor. Wayne says it's about a mile and a half to two miles and it seemed quite a stretch. We hauled our garbage with us and found the garbage bin then walked around trying to find the post office, grocery store, etc...

We met some people on the dinghy dock getting water and I asked about the post office, where to get copies, etc... I think the boat name was Moonlight Serenade (Sheila) and they said they were returning to the states Monday if we had mail we needed taken back. We may take them up on the offer. We went to the tourist office to find out about where to make copies but they were all in a meeting so we decided to head to the Post Office to see if they had access to a computer printer or knew where we could get print outs. After trying to give me directions, they discovered we were new to the island and after 20 questions we figured out where to go (J&K Productions). Back past the straw market (I have to return there too) and past the tourist office and up the road past Mother's Breads and the Hot Dog Stand that sells Conch Fritters.

We found the place and were able to get our printouts ($.25 each). I noticed the internet pricing was $2/minute there (cough cough) so internet access may have to wait until I can find a cheaper source.

We chatted with a guy from Sail Magazine wanting to put together a book about the Intercoastal Water Way (Chris?). We both recognized him from somewhere; Wayne later decided it was probably from a picture in the magazine. He was busy chatting up an older Bahamian Woman, kidding her about trying to steal Steven from his wife (in the book "An embarrassment of Mangos") and I kind of jumped into the conversation. I couldn't believe that this was that woman. She had her grand daughter there, and her daughter was the Bread Lady - Mother. While we were having hot dogs and conch fritters under the mango tree at the hotdog stand next to moms bread truck (yes I bought some and it's good bread - not as good as Bimini Bread but close) a couple we met at Warderick Wells (Pete & Camilla) - families hailing back to West Point came by and sat with us and had hot dogs (I got the last of the conch fritters).After chatting with them for a while we went over to the market and I bought some fresh vegis and fruit then we dinghied back to the boat. We got a little salted on the way back to the boat. The fetch was against us but the water spray felt good.

I had discovered that some coke bottles had leaked all over the icebox and spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning it out before putting my new stuff in. In the process, I discovered that I had some produce that was loving the cool damp moisture in the bottom and was growing all kind of lovely things for me to clean up, so out came the bleach and I now have a clean frig.

Moms bread, Smithfield smoked pork, apple sauce and oranges were the dinner items in the cockpit tonight. It was a mighty fine meal and another beautiful sunset greeted by the conch horns. There was a meet and greet over at a beach but we just decided to hang out here and do nothing. It felt good. We looked at the charts to see where we should go to formally meet the Tropic of Cancer and have lunch. I believe we have pin pointed a spot. Now we just need to sit through the weather that's supposed to be heading our way this weekend.

It's dark in the cockpit as I write this. I just looked around and all of the anchor lights in the harbor look like little twinkling stars only closer than the heavens. The anchor lights are white lights at the top of the mast that you turn on when you're at anchor at night. That way any passing ships are aware that you're there. Here with all the boats so close together, there are hundreds of little lights in the sky when you look up. It also looks like little fireflies dancing around the harbor. The wind is picking up and we're swinging about on our anchor.

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