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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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Swimming Pigs
04/03/2009, Big Majors Spot (N24*11.064 W76*27.599)

Friday, April 03, 2009

Wild night last night. The winds shifted to a more westerly direction and we rolled quite a bit throughout the night. I listened to the halyard slapping for quite a while and dozed off for awhile, then about 2:30am it started kicking up. The waves were really rocking us and I couldn't sleep. Wayne started dreaming and I felt bad about waking him up but he can become quite animated and verbal sometimes. When he went back to sleep, I finally got up, got some cookies and read for an hour then went back to bed before dawn.

We can pick up the weather from the park from here but had to relay a request for a mooring tomorrow through Sallie A. I remember them from Georgetown. They were also requesting a mooring for Saturday (today was full). After the weather and mooring requests we thought we'd check out Staniel Cay. Some parts look better protected than here. The bad part is the depth getting in there. We'd need to go in and out at high tide with depths of 5.6 at low tide especially with the waves kicking up. It was a boisterous dinghy ride and several dinghies were at Thunder Ball snorkeling into the grottos/cave. The best time to get there is low tide. After looking around we decided to stay where we are. The better sheltered areas are in the shallows and if we'd need to wait for high tide to get back out, we'd never make it to Warderwick at a decent time tomorrow while waiting for high tide.

We dingied back over to Big Majors and landed on the beach and the pigs all came running over to investigate us. These were good size porkers, and leeeeean.... I gave them my bread scraps and vegi cuttings and as I suspected, they don't care for oranges. We walked the beach and studied the skeletal remains of someone's double hulled boat on the beach and noticed that Sapphire came into the harbor.

We stopped over to say hi and chat awhile. Mike's mom and sister are visiting (that's who was with them at Lorraines) and flying out of Staniel Cay tomorrow and their daughter is coming in to visit. We got the scoop on how to make and blow a conch horn from Mike (YAY) and it looks like they're getting pretty good at making baskets on Sapphire too! His mom had 3 made already.

Had tuna sandwiches and chips for lunch and I'm now ready for a nap. My sleepless night is catching up with me and it will probably be more of the same tonight.

Thunderball & Piggies
04/02/2009, Black Point (24*05.904 W76*24.236) to Staniel Cay/Big Majors Spot (N24*11.064 W76*27.599)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

We didn't travel far today but it felt like an amusement ride. We were bouncing all over the place with the waves on our stern quarter and 15-20 knot winds. It was a wild, short ride. The winds are supposed to be out of the southeast, but we were rolling and they feel like they're coming more out of the SW at times. If they switch to the west, we'll be in for a sleepless night. This anchorage is open to the west to the horizon and beyond. We got in around 12:30 and Wayne's taking a nap.

This place is known for swimming pigs that come out to your boat looking for handouts and for Thunder Ball Grotto - named after the James Bond movie that was filmed here.

Other than the ride here it's been a pretty uneventful day. Wayne sleeping, me reading and playing computer games.

We've decided - We're not coming back - April Fools...
SE winds from 5- 10 knots, sunny, 83*F.
04/01/2009, From Little Farmer’s Cay (23*57.250 W76*19.013) to Black Point (24*05.904 W76*24.236) Great Guana Cay;

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Anchor set at 1:00pm; miles traveled today 11.9 nm
We had a beautiful morning. I love listening to the birds and as we left the harbor with me at the bow scanning the water, Wayne at the helm taking us out, we didn't run aground (unlike our previous visit here).

We headed north and had a pretty nice sail. Half way here we passed by a loose fishing net float that Wayne wanted to retrieve so we came about to retrieve it and missed it - the winds refilled our sails with a vengeance and I had to rev the engine on and up to head her back to the float but Wayne got it picked up on the second circle, then we continued southward. He was hoping that it was a Japanese float because those are made of glass but it's a local one. Either way, it's a sea treasure bound for the North Country.

We got in and dropped anchor, then decided to check out the town & found an SSCA flag flying outside a small house and chatted with them. It turns out they're originally from Michigan too and are manning the SSCA Crusing Station while Sharon had to take care of some family business on another island (?). We got a map of the area and discovered we were going the wrong way, so turned around to head the right way into town.

While walking, we passed a woman that told us we just went by the oldest living person on the island and that today was her birthday. We went over to talk with her (Eunice). She was really sweet and told us that she loves cruisers. Today was her birthday & she believes that she's 100 but another lady thought she was around 89. She was sitting on a couch in the front yard shucking large bean type pods wearing a plaid jumper over a colorful shirt. As we approached she put on her hat and gave us a smile. We chatted a bit with her and she was sad. Several times she broke down into tears and I held her and hugged her. She has a son that lives in Washington DC that she got to visit once and loved going there. She was delightful and glad to have someone to chat with. I wanted to pick up a small cake or something for her from the grocery store but when we passed by it, it was closed and on the way back I'm ashamed to say that I forgot. It seems like the whole world has forgotten her on her birthday as she sits alone on her birthday in her yard.

After we left her and passed by the grocery store (that was closed), we stopped by the all age school. This one has several teachers and we got permission from Roberta (the Principal) to talk with the Bahama National Trust Teacher, Juanita Munroe, that teaches Environmental Science here. She's funded by donations to the trust and was teaching computers to the 1st-3rd graders (and 1 kindergartener - who made it know) when we came to her classroom. It was really nice to chat with her and discuss how they might possibly integrate the National Parks into the Science curriculum here so that the students will grow up realizing what a treasure they have and how it needs to be nurtured, restored and protected so that future generations will benefit.

They have a wonderful Laundromat here - the cleanest, brightest one I've seen. The news is playing on the TV and it caught our attention. There's mention of the government wanting to force G.M. into some form of protective bankruptcy??? Wow. Every time we hear anything about the economy - it's not good.

We ran into Sapphire in Lorraines Café. They were having a late lunch with another couple & Mike was working on his computer. I was wishing I'd brought mine along but didn't know they had accessible wireless at the restaurants. In another couple days I should be able to access the internet at the Park (I hope). I think that the last place I accessed it was at the Park now that I think of it. Wayne doesn't mind being out of touch. It bothers me more than him. This summer I need to figure out how to set up a server/wifi connection on the boat that's reasonably priced. I hate having to depend on everyone else's access points and there must be something I can do.

We continued on with our walk to a beach/fishing area where I spotted an Osprey sitting on a railing looking in the water for dinner and checking out the dock area at the gulls. I was amazed at how close it let me get. They are really amazing birds and I probably took 20 pictures of it before I remembered that Wayne was waiting for me.

It was another nice sunset and the conch horns sounded the sun down into the water along with all the birds calling to each other as they grouped and nested for the night. The air feels much warmer and humid tonight. The fishermen are coming in on their boat and a dinghy is dropping them all off at different areas around the island. I couldn't see where they had any fish, but there were about 20 fishermen on the boat with their crab traps, nets, etc... They really light up the night in their boat - bright lights with a loud generator.

I cannot believe it's April... It's turning beautiful back home about now. Snow, Rain, spring flowers beginning to pop up and birds singing...

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