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Lemons Way
The continuing adventures of a cruising sailor/family lawyer, his wife (also a lawyer), and their young children.
The View From Hope Town Lighthouse
10/11/2008

I was able to hike up to the top of the lighthouse. Scary, but spectacular.

We're Back On the Radar
Keith, breezy and not raining
10/11/2008, Little Harbor, Abaco, Bahamas

It's been a little over a week since I was last connected and what a week it's been. I'll try and upload some pictures and tell about what we've been up to. For now, let me report that Jake, Anne and I are safe and enjoying ourselves in the mostly deserted paradise of Little Harbor.

Matza Ball Soup In The Tropics
Variable, but generally rainy
10/03/2008, Great Guana Cay

My mother sent me off with a glass jar of Maneshevitz Matza Ball soup. I made it to celebrate the Jewish New Year. It was tasty, but not as good as home made.

Hope Town Light
Keith, cooler but we've had a cold front and some serious rain too
10/03/2008, Abaco, Bahamas

The internet connections seem to be less and less reliable as I continue along through the Bahamas. It's really hit and miss when it comes to catching a signal from the boat without any extra internet antenna. I'm presently located in a very protected harbor along Hope Town on an island just an hour or so cruise from the main town in this area, Marsh Harbor. I made it through the Whale Cay passage without too much trouble, just some growing swells that would have been difficult to turn around in had I chickened out, a thought that crossed my mind a number of times when it started to get rough. The worst part was driving through a huge downpour after that obstructed all view beyond 100 feet or so. It' been raining quite a lot, huge tropical-like downpours. I arrived at Great Guana Cay a few days ago, fueled (14 gallons) and filled my water tanks (70 gallons, but he only charged me for 60), and settled in for a hot, sticky afternoon. Like many places I encounter here, my initial impressions are completely different from the experience I have on the island. I didn't like Guana at first, but after spending some time in town and meeting the people, it grew on me. Aside from the friendly people and the few cruisers I met, they have nice beach club restaurants where good food, great views, and good times were had. Between rainstorms I managed to fix the air leak in the dingy and most of the drain leak. It's nice to have a safe shore craft again. I left Guana yesterday and had a beautiful cruise in emerald green waters. I decided since I was so close and had come so far to visit Marsh Harbor and took a detour for an hour or so to check it out. Too commercial for my taste. I toured the harbor from the sailboat, chatted with a guy from a boat I met at Powel Cay (while Jodi was here), and skipped the KFC and Burger King. Another hour or two and I was snug in the beautiful harbor at Hope Town. The lighthouse is kerosene powered and was built by the British in the late 1800s. It still shines a light at night. Because this harbor is so well protected from all sides it was like glass on the water last night and this morning. Very comfortable - and no mozzies at all. That is a real treat. Guana was swarming with them. We applied spray at every establishment, numerous times each day, and still got bit. Here it is cool and miraculously bug free. I don't get it but I won't complain. We dingied to shore briefly last night after we arrived and found a great Atlantic beach just a minute from the landing. In a little bit we will take a walk through town and maybe do a little provisioning. Many people provision at Marsh Harbor, but I really don't need that. I have enough food for a month at least and the stores I've seen so far are reasonably well stocked. They always have at least the basics like eggs and butter and potatoes and onions. Frozen meat can be found anywhere there are people. It may be more expensive in the mom and pop shops, but I don't eat that much. If all else fails, there are plentiful crawfish, conch, and other fish to be found. If I don't use up my stores they will go bad and I will have wasted them. So I'm good on the food front.

Time To Appreciate The Flowers
Keith, looks like sun today
09/29/2008, Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas

It wound up raining a lot yesterday so the outing to Manjack was canceled. I wound up holed up in the boat with the dogs reading a book with the ports mostly closed and the fans on to keep us cool. It was a relaxing afternoon. When the rain stopped Vane (sp) came by with Jessica in his boat to confirm that we were off. Instead they invited all of us to dinner later that night. It was a great meal of stuffed cornish hen and gravy, roasted potatoes, veg and cheese, homemade hot sauce, and more. For dessert I had a choice of cheese and fruit plate or cup cakes (fairy cakes they were called). Such nice people - and the best dinner I've had in a long time. To eat at a dining room table with a family was a real treat. Afterward we were given a ride back to the boat and enjoyed a comfortable, if sticky evening. I'm going back over to the Haystack home this morning to shave their dog Frisbee with my industrial clippers - not as close as Jake and Anne, though. After that I will very likely move along. I still need to fill up with water and eventually fuel and I still need to get to those few maintenance projects - maybe today. Another beautiful sunrise is brewing and it looks like its going to be a sunny day, which means heat and maybe some drying out. Can't believe September is almost over.

Another Morning At Green Turtle Cay
Somewhat overcast, but clearing, the sun is shining on me as I write this up at the bow
09/28/2008

The mornings are so beautiful here that I just can't sit inside the boat and type like its in an office. I'm up at the bow with the power cord strung down through the port in my "bedroom." The freighters are gone, which means that the Whale Cay passage is passable. I met a couple on another cruising boat who navigated it yesterday and they said it was very rough but doable. I think I may wait at least another day. While I was hanging out with the Canadian couple on TR yesterday Jess's father (its pronounced Vane but spelled differently) pulled up in his boat on the way back from some work he was doing at Treasure Cay. He's got a 25 foot skiff-type boat that seems well suited to these waters, and fast. The dogs and I were invited to join the family for a Sunday afternoon (that's today) outing to Manjack Cay, the island just north of here that Jodi and I skipped on the way down. He's coming by to pick us up at around noon. It's almost 8:30 a.m. already and I've got things to do before then, so I'll say goodbye for now.

Lion Fish
Keith, overcast
09/28/2008, Government Dock, Green Turtle Cay

Spotty internet this morning. Lets see if I can get this picture up and if I can I'll write more.... Ok, it seems to be working. Well, things turned even more social after Jodi left. There are now four cruising boats around Green Turtle, including myself. While I was walking the dogs yesterday I came upon some kids who were throwing empty hooks into the water and spitting on them to attract the fish. It wasn't working. I hooked them up with a package of squid (and a large water) and they were thrilled, and then started catching left and right. I had to insist on catch and release. The photograph is of a fish one of the kids spotted off the dock. As you may know, the beautiful feather-like fins of the Lion fish are highly poisonous. The kids were trying to catch them and kill them but the slow mooving Lion fish were not interested in squid that morning. While back at the boat cleaning up and eating lunch a nice Canadian couple dropped by and I had them aboard for awhile. They invited me to dinner at their boat at 7:00 p.m. They are moored in a calm (but buggy) area towards the interior of the island called Black Sound. Their boat is a lot bigger than mine and has an hard top plexiwindow structure built around the center cockpit that was really comfortable to hang out in. They served up spaghetti, meat sauce, and some leftover meatloaf. Tasty! After they shared an after dinner liquor that they enjoy with coffee. It was really nice, except for the ride back in the dingy with the dogs (who loved the bigger boat and snuggled right in). It was pitch black out and I had a lot of trouble seeing the shore or anything else, even with my spotlight. There were a few moments while crossing the bay that I almost got disoriented. My masthead light looked like a star compared to the intensity of those on the larger boats and I mistook it for one until I was close enough to positively identify TR by spotlight. We made it back safely and I even diverted to shore so they could have a brief walk. Last night, I kid you not, I had to go under the covers somewhere around 2:00 in the morning. It is definitely getting cooler at night here and last night was the coolest yet. Right now I'm sitting up at the bow watching it get light out as I type this (it also gives me a better line of sight to the wireless transmitter). The breeze feels nice and cool and there are little waves bobbing us up and down. Jake is settled beside me. The people I had dinner with last night strongly encouraged me to keep cruising and that more and more fellow sailors would be coming and it would keep getting better and better. It's already been a great adventure in spite of the minor hardships, and perhaps it will get even better. When I was last in the Bahamas at the Club Med I didn't get to experience very much outside of the Club. I only went out once and we got into a huge auto accident, but that is another story altogether. This trip I'm seeing the country in so many more interesting ways.

The Incredible Water At the Point On Treasure Cay Beach
Overcast, which is mostly good as it would have been very hot otherwise
09/27/2008

I'm on my own again today. Another spectacular sunrise is upon us and it is about time to head into shore for a nice walk. I can't decide if it is too much trouble to make coffee. I probably will. I've got a few boat projects on the agenda today and I really need to fill up with water and perhaps fuel. I may pull out the honda generator as I've been here for several days without charging except for solar and wind and that won't last too much longer. With the hurricane passing us to the northeast there is too much of a chop on the Whale Cay passage to depart southward for another day or two at least. Even the freighters are anchored out waiting for safe passage. I won't even consider going until they depart. In the meantime I'll have to survive somehow stranded on this beautiful tropical island.

Ferry To Treasure Cay
Overcast
09/27/2008

Good and bad day in my cruising life. After a long walk with the dogs we put them inside the boat, I dingied Jodi and her luggage to the ferry dock, and we waited about 20 minutes until it arrived. After so many miles at 5-6 knots it was like riding on a jet fighter. We arrived to the "mainland" in no time. Since this is so off-season we were the only tourists around. We taxied into "town," which is really a huge marina/resort complex. It wasn't what we were expecting and I'm glad I didn't go through the trouble of cruising all the way to Treasure Cay. It is really more suited to the big powerboats who come here in one leap from the nice West End marina. With time on our hands before Jodi's departure we took a long walk along the world class beach, had a coke at the famous Coco beach bar, did some grocery shopping at the particularly well-stocked grocery (I'm now well stocked again on pringles and fruit), and that was about all there was for us to do there. The taxi driver waited for us while enjoying a nice burger and fries herself at the Coco bar. She picked us up from the grocery, dropped me off at the ferry dock, and continued with Jodi to the airport. It was a weird sensation to be in a van after so much time away. I made the 2:30 ferry and was back in Green Turtle Cay in no time. It was a kind of sad afternoon after that. Anne has been moping around and I think she's depressed at Jodi's departure. Both dogs slept on deck last night. I went into town and did a little socializing after their afternoon walk, but I wasn't so much in the mood. Fell asleep to the sounds of the local music coming across the water from Sundowners, where I'm receiving this wireless signal.

Morning Light
Perfect
09/26/2008, Green Turtle Cay

Jodi and I (and the dogs) are waking from another in this series of cool evenings. After months of hot, muggy, buggy, sticky nights, the last few have been heaven. And it is calm this morning so we're not rocking so much, except when the ferry boats go by and create waves. Yesterday evening I walked to Jess's house while Jodi and the dogs enjoyed some quiet time by themselves on the boat. I was a bit apprehensive about going to the home of people I just met but felt good that I was being so social when usually at home I don't get out much. Well, it couldn't have been more enjoyable. Jess's family is renting a big house with a million dollar view. We went out on the "deck" and enjoyed the sunset and conversation with cold beer and numerous appetizers. They lit up some mozzie coils and we passed around the bug spray and had a great time chatting and enjoying the panoramic view. They are such nice people. The home reminded me of any normal family dwelling and was very comforting. I would have stayed longer but it was Jodi's last night and I wanted to spent it with her. Jess drove me back to the docks and I dingied back to the sailboat and finished watching the sunset with Jodi. Then we hit sundowners (the bar and grill on the beach near our anchorage) for some dinner with the locals, who were in fine form. Another late night dingy to the boat and a great night sleep. This morning I pulled the blanket over me as it was so cool and it felt so nice. The sun is about to come up and we've been hearing the roosters for the last hour. It is a very peaceful and comfortable time on Tropical Reality. Eventually we will have coffee and then dingy to shore to walk the dogs, stow them below, and catch the ferry to Treasure Cay to see the town, walk the world-class beach, and send Jodi off back to the mainland. That will be sad. I've got tentative plans to meet Jess and her family at Dave's, but who knows what will happen as we have a full day ahead of us. We've managed to live two over two weeks in hot conditions on the three water tanks aboard the sailboat but we're on the last tank and I'll be using my reserve jugs in a day or two. I can fill with water here on Green Turtle Cay. All of the water here is caught from rain and stored in individual cisterns, even at Jess's house. I've still got 1/2 a tank of diesel and two 5 gallon reserve jugs, but I probably should fill up with fuel when I fill up with water. That and the dingy repair can all be done after Jodi leaves. Until then I will enjoy her company.

 

 
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