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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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Turning Northward again
04/04/2009, Big Majors (N24*11.062, W76*27.581) to Warderick Wells (N24*23.658, W76*37.949)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Listened to the weather forecast from Exuma Park then waited for the 9am radio call to see who was leaving and who was going to be able to get a mooring ball and in which part of the park. We heard Judy giving out assignments and one person wanted to move closer to the Park Headquarters so she moved them up to mooring 14 - our old one that I was hoping to get - drats! She did hail us and we had a mooring reserved though so I couldn't complain. I'm looking forward to having Internet access again and seeing if there's any news from back home.

Wayne hoisted the main and we lifted anchor and headed northward toward Warderick. The winds were lighter than predicted and we had a slow sail to the park. As we approached and got our mooring assignment I was shocked when she told us we'd be on mooring 14! We'd both heard her give it to someone else and weren't sure what happened to them but figured they moved up to the next one closer to the headquarters. Another boat was coming in and was asking for assistance picking up a mooring ball. He explained that he had an all female crew hence they had short arms and needed assistance "you know..." We chatted about how mega yachts always liked to have female crew - it's good for business. I was a little incensed at their captain's comments though and had to laugh when Wayne said yah - I've had an all female crew for years! It was definitely easier coming in this time and we picked up our mooring with no problems. Kind of like coming home... As soon as we picked up the mooring ball, 4 bananaquits flew into the cockpit looking for sugar. This reminded me to take the bag of sugar up to the office with me when we signed in.

As we signed in, Wayne commented to Judy - you know that Captain that required assistance because he had a female crew? I've had one for years! Judy said "and she picks up a mooring ball with no problems either". We had to laugh. Met a young lady here with her grand parents (there are a lot of kids here this time - must be spring break). She must be about 12 years old. Articulate as all get out and very outgoing. She and I chatted about the bananaquits and I explained how they like sugar and she talked about giving them breadcrumbs and kayak wars too. Her name is Maria, Larry and Kathy are her grandparents.

Once we got back to the boat I was extremely hot and changed into my suit, grabbed my fins and mask and jumped off the boat and swam about. I did a quick survey of the hull and it looks pretty good. There are some black spots where the mooring balls took off the top coating so the bottom layer was showing through. The zinc plate still looks good, and we have relatively very little growth. After snorkeling around I grabbed a shower, then Wayne and we discovered that the wash down pump is not working. The amps climbed up to 10 but the pump never kicked on so I have some water to bail out of the tub.

It looks like they were having another potluck on shore tonight but we didn't make anything to take over and stayed on board and made dinner (pork tenderloin, broccoli and apple sauce). Maria kept coming by the boat having kayak wars with other kids next to our boat (for my benefit?) while all the adults were having their get together on the beach. Good size crowd there tonight, the beach is packed with dinghies. I cannot believe how hot it feels here. There is no breeze to speak of and the humidity is pretty high. We had a glorious sunset and toasted it with Gin & Tonics as the conch horns blew.

This place is so beautiful

04/06/2009 | Holly
I am so jealous of your weather. I am sitting in my classroom watching a blizzard outside. I've heard around 5 inches of snow today. More snow up near Jackie.
04/06/2009 | Pat Aben
Wow! You guys didn't have a snow day? It's hot today - we cooled off by sitting for a couple of hours in beautiful aqua water. We love this place! We're bringing the warm weather back for you!
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.

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