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Madcap Sailing
A Loooong Slog
Beth / 90 in the sun at 10:30 am NE 10
10/04/2010/5:06 pm, Black Point Settlement, Exumas

The forecasts all call for some very windy weather coming and from the NE. That means our original plan to go from here back to Long Island wasn't the best idea. We
have met several boaters who knew of routes on the banks and Bruce (Reflection) is one of them. He and Marilyn have travelled that way before and we decided to use Friday to follow their route and get ourselves north. Otherwise, it would be a week before we could leave the Jumentos, and even though we're not nearly finished exploring here, it was probably time for us to leave for this year.

Despite my expectations of having lots of internet contact in Ragged Island, it didn't turn out that way at all. So - you will find many new postings that are just going up today. I'm sitting in the lovely breezy porch of DeShaMon in Black Point with a stomach filled with delicious conch pizza. I've been doing some writing all along, and now it's time to get you all caught up.

We left Buenavista Cay at 0300 hours on Friday. (That's 3am! and yes it was dark.) The route we'd cover before dawn was free of coral heads with water deep enough for us to cross. During the afternoon, we kept a sharp lookout for heads and dodged around a few of them. It was hot. There was no wind. It was a long trip - over 100 nautical miles. It was not exactly a happy day on the water for people who really really like to travel under sail power. Add to that, there is a problem with our alternator. The engine is putting no charge into the batteries - a fact we discovered at 3 am. We have been well charged from the wind generator and we have run the engine very very little lately and have not noticed any problem till the wind died. Jim had this new problem in the back of his mind all day, but with some examination of connections, advice from fellow cruisers and some excellent books, we're pretty sure he can take care of it. In the meantime, we turned off the fridge, didn't charge up the computers, and stressed a wee bit over it!

We averaged about 6 miles per hour and pulled into Little Bay - just around the corner from Black Point at about 10 pm, tired and with ears ringing. We used more fuel on this trip than in the last month - or maybe longer.

However - the good side to this tale of woe - and there is ALWAYS a good side - is that we discovered Katmandu and Star of the Sea are in Big Majors Spot waiting for the front to go through, Reflection and Dot's Way are here in Black Point. I did laundry and have finally gotten on the internet. The most out of the blue surprise is that Moon River is also in Big Major's Spot! Jennifer and Gratton were our shed mates for a while at Iroquois boat yard in Iroquois, Ontario before we left on our 2007 trip. We met up with them in Baddeck, Cape Breton, NS that summer but have not seen them since so it seems that the extra windy weather, the long slog up here and the generator trouble that will keep us near here are also responsible for us being able to link up with these old friends.

The long slog made for a tiring day but put us in a good place!

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Hog to raccoon to Buenavista
Beth / E15-18, 80 at 8:30 am!
08/04/2010/5:03 pm, Buenavista Cay, Jumentos

Once we left Hog Cay we found ourselves moving at a rapid pace back up the chain of islands. Our initial thought had been to to move slowly, but "weather" looms and it seemed better to make one day visits.

We had the engine on for a total of about 10 minutes and enjoyed a beautiful sail the rest of the 2 hour trip. Raccoon is beautiful! We stopped at a lovely beach, immediately dinghied ashore to snorkel and swim and explore. There is a sweet little cove with a sand bar curving around the point. We snorkeled all through the area but didn't see any live conch so we contented ourselves with looking at fish and enjoying the exercise in crystal clear warm water. There were some brilliant blue fish that we haven't seen in other areas, along with the usual assortment of other pretty ones. (How can I possibly be so dismissive of these gorgeous fish?!)

We used our fast motor to zoom up to the north end of the cay to see the blue hole before racing back to clean ourselves up and join Reflection and Dot's Way at Happy Hour hosted by Joanne and Frank on Fantasy Island. It was a treat to meet these folks who have travelled in Guatamala and Belize - planned destinations for us. Joanne's pictures and enthusiastic recommendations have whetted our appetites for it even more than before.

We'd love to have stayed here a few more days, but we had a window for travelling from Buenavista Cay north on Friday so we moved up there on Thursday morning. That was another lovely long beach where we could have spent more time. On the way down, we'd hidden out from a front at the bottom end of Buenavista, between it and Low Water Harbour Cay - a perfect little hideout by the way - but at the time we were immobile and couldn't go exploring. Together with Dot's Way and Reflection, we walked across the cay to the beach on the far side but found no shells or sea beans. back on the west side, we walked the long beach from south to north, thoroughly exercising our calf muscles. The sandy beach was either soft and flat or hard and sloped depending on where we walked. We chatted with Avery who is staying with his father, Edward, at the house on the beach. They have a little pen of goats and sheep, some chickens clucking around, and bonfires going in the back yard. Avery told us they are trying to clear some land and grow peanuts, and that one day he'd like to have a little bar there for cruisers. Another Pete's Pub maybe? Edward was off fishing, and at dusk we watched him row back from his fishing grounds. That was a long row and he is an older man!

Once again we watched some beautiful fish and lovely blue fan coral on the coral head near us. I saw a shark resting under a ledge and I fluttered myself backwards pretty quickly. It was probably a nurse shark, and it was not a bit interested in me so I decided to leave it that way!

We didn't get to see Double Breasted Cay or Johnson's Cay or to linger at these two beautiful places - but we'll be back!

This is our departure point from the Jumentos, and from here on we'll be headed mainly north so we celebrated with a long-saved bottle of iced cider wine from Quebec and reflected fondly on our time here as we watched our final Jumentos sunset in the cockpit.

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What Next?
Beth / ENE 18 - 20, sunny during the day, chilly at night
05/04/2010/4:59 pm, Hog Cay, Jumentos

We have a couple of funny stories to relate.

Jim and I invited Marilyn and Bruce over for dinner on Sunday evening, and encountered a difficulty or two. We enjoyed a drink and an appetizer (egg salad and crackers because those devilish eggs fell apart when I tried to devil them and make them all pretty). Although the wind was blowing mightily, we thought maybe we could BBQ the pork chops, but that didn't work as planned either and they weren't cooking because the wind blew out the BBQ.

Just as I decided we had better put them in the oven to finish, Bruce remarked that we seemed to be sitting differently from the other boats. We all peered out and noted that not only were we sitting differently, we were farther away from the other boats. Just about that time, Glen (Dot's Way) called on the radio to let us know he had noticed it too and wanted to alert us. How could this be? We'd been here since Thursday morning! Such are the vagaries of anchors, sand and wind.

Our company kindly agreed that dinner would have to wait. I threw the pork chops in the oven along with the left over macaroni and cheese, fired up the engine and Jim raised the anchor that was dragging along the sand at quite a good pace. As dusk was falling, we re-anchored - twice in fact, because the first time we ended up too close to Dot's Way and had to do it all over again. By the time we got settled down, the sun had set and the wind was really whistling around so we moved our place settings inside, dined hurriedly on a very un-fancy Easter Dinner of pork chops and pasta (skipping salad and dessert entirely) and said good bye to our guests. They climbed into their bucking and bouncing dinghy (successfully!) and returned home to Reflection.

Speaking of successfully entering dinghies, let us move on to Monday night.

Glen and Dorothy (Dot's Way) and Jim and I were treated to a lovely dinner on Reflection. After a fine repast (chicken marsala, mashed potatoes and salad) and many good cruising stories, it was time to go home - again with the wind blowing and the dinghies bouncing. Glen and Dorothy climbed down the ladder, got in their dinghy and departed. Jim climbed down the ladder and got in our dinghy. I climbed down the ladder and ... almost got in our dinghy!

I had one foot in, and, holding the flashlight in one hand and the ladder in the other, was about to put down my other foot when the dinghy lurched - or I lurched - or something - and I ended up with my left leg in the dinghy, my right arm on the ladder and just about everything else in the water! I did manage to hand Jim the flashlight as I tried to decide how to extricate myself from this ridiculous position. Bruce said afterward that I kept looking back and forth from dinghy to ladder as if I was trying to decide where to go, and that was exactly the case. Amid laughs and sighs, I finally opted to get both legs into the dinghy and let go of the ladder while Jim grabbed my arm and hauled me in. Fortunately all that was damaged was my ego - but it sure made for good jokes for the next couple of days! This picture shows how it is supposed to be done. I declined Bruce's invitation to do it again so we could take pics!!

All our anchorage mates are waiting to see what will happen next! Don't things come in threes?

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