16/01/2011/11:22 am, Green Turtle Cay, Abacos
While Jim went home to Halifax to do some "work work" (as opposed to boat work), I stayed on Madcap in Black Sound, Green Turtle Cay and had a most delightful time of it! The mooring ball, owned by Rick Sawyer is about as secure as they come here - (translation: keep an eye on the chains and lines) but because there is little or no wind in the sound, they don't get as much strain as in other places. In fact, a boat stayed on that suspect mooring where we temporarily tied up for the whole week and it was fine.
Jim was picked up right at the boat by the Green Turtle Ferry Bolo boat at 6:30 Saturday morning. If his flight had been later, he'd have been able to take a regularly scheduled trip ($10 one way or $15 return) but since his flight was at 8:30 from Treasure Cay, he had to charter a special trip costing $75 instead. Drat! We thought for a bit that there was a party going from Green Turtle Club to split the fare but that turned out to be Sunday. Drat again!
I managed to do some boat work - sanding and cetoling the hand rails on the cabin roof and some waxing and cleaning, interspersed with swims, walks, visits, books and naps. From Black Sound, it is easy to dinghy to the public dock at the end of the sound, tie up and go walking. A sharp left leads along the east shore past Abaco Marine Services all the way to White Sound, with periodic turnoffs to the beach. A right turn leads to the town of New Plymouth - up the hill to the Telephone Office and the school and then downhill to either of two streets leading to the water. That same right turn followed by a sharp left just up the hill leads down again past the ball field to our little local beach at Gilliam Bay. (That's where I shot this pic at the end of a twilight walk.) On other occasions, I went to the Other Shore Club and combined a walk with a shower or bathroom stop, (showers $3. and you pay Kevin) and Bob (Gratia) showed me where he ties up part way along the sound - with a shorter walk to town.
I took all of these walks - sometimes a couple of times a day. On the day I walked over to White Sound (about 45 minutes) I was delighted to find Passages and Volantis tied up at the dock. The fellows on Island Dreamin', the Hunter on the ball next to Madcap came by while I was there, so we were able to talk about favourite spots in the Abacos. While Passages and Madcap prefer the anchorages, Island Dreamin' was looking for places to tie up and have fun. Fortunately the Abacos has both!
Pat and Dianne (Sharpie's Dream - a Bayfield 32 from Ontario) arrived at the Leeward Yacht Club, and dinghied over to say hello. Donn and Sandi (Cypraea) got towed in by Minden - a Bayfield 40 and tied to the ball next to us, while Minden went over to White Sound. (I got a message from Pat (Kolibri) suggesting that with all the Bayfields down here, we'd better organize a gam!)
We had a bit of adventure the next day when Donn in his dinghy and I in mine pushed Cypraea (with Sandi at the wheel) from one mooring ball to another. Cypraea has a non functioning transmission and will be here until a friend brings a new one from the states. It is always interesting to figure out the best angle for little boats to guide a big boat safely from one place to another, and after trying a few options, we made a successful trip, passing Madcap on the way.
Also during the week, I visited the well stocked library in town (open M,W,F 2 - 4) and exchanged some books for new ones. Both the library and the Leeward Yacht Club have a good selection of books for trading. Captain Roberts House is open daily 10 - 2 (except Sat when it closes at 12) and has a fine display of things marine and ecological. Unfortunately, I arrived just at closing time so I had to take a quick run through. It's worth the stop. I had wanted to watch the video that Tom (Ripple) took of some of the older fishermen talking about the old days. That will have to be next time, because despite Sally's welcome, closing time is closing time!
I enjoyed meeting Peter and Lesley (Cloud Nine) at Happy Hour at the Leeward Yacht Club one evening. We had great fun connecting the dots on Madcap, because Peter remembered a C&C named Madcap, owned by a fellow named John and kept at Trident Yacht Club in Gananoque ON. We figured that particular Madcap must predate the Bayfield 36 of the same name that we bought from John Killick! Would that be right John? ... or Ralph? (Peter also says hello to Grant at TYC!)
Laundry day turned out to be an exercise in patience. The machines at LYC are lovely and clean (2 of each costing $4 per load - tokens available at the office and at the Tiki bar) but electrical power on the Cay is a bit hit and miss. It was off for most of the day earlier in the week while work was done on the lines, but it went off unexpectedly while my wash was just starting its final spin. I read for a while on the sunny deck, chatted with Rick and learned that one should not just take the word of anyone who comes by collecting fees for moorings. A very nice chap named Matt had been by the day before to do that. When I mentioned that we were on Rick's ball and would be paying him when we left, he didn't push the issue, but Rick said that he did manage to collect from a few other boats. Matt is, however, a good fisherman, and will catch and sell lobsters for $5. each! It can be a bit difficult to track down who owns what moorings, but it is worth taking the trouble to do that. I always say, "If in doubt, ask Kevin" the dockmaster at the Other Shore Club who is our "Go To Man" for any questions!
Eventually the power came back on and I managed to finish the washing. Lighter items got strung all along the life lines on Madcap while the towels and denim went in the dryers just in time to allow Lesley to get her wash started.
I enjoyed a couple of swims at Gilliam Bay but never did take my snorkelling gear over to the beach farther along the cay. While it wasn't quite warm enough to stay in for a long time, 15 - 20 minutes was very refreshing. Brisk walks every day kept me limber and it was always nice to end the days in our cockpit, sometimes watching the sun go down around 6, and sometimes coming home from Pineapples or the LYC or Cypraea after dark, wending my way carefully along in our little dinghy.
Jim arrived back on Friday - one day later than planned because of a delay getting out of Halifax. He had a great week there - seeing Mary Beth and speaking at a leadership conference. This is the kind of "work" he really enjoys - using his experience to inspire and mentor others. We took turns talking non stop about what we each did during the week and how we felt about it. Fortunately, we were both happy with the experience of doing our own things for a few days! We tucked into tasty conch burgers at the Plymouth Rock Liquor Store and Cafe at lunch time, and Donn and Sandi (Cypraea) came over to celebrate his return that evening. We had a lovely time under the stars in Madcap's cockpit, sharing stories of the ways we keep learning and growing as we age. They are prime examples of life long learners and had much to share.
So ... it was a full and satisfying week! Now on to the next adventure!
15/01/2011/4:36 pm, Green Turtle Cay
We dropped the mooring line in Black Sound and came out on the high tide, seeing no less than 10 feet all the way. Fifteen minutes later, we were anchored off the Government Wharf at New Plymouth. Because of the afternoon high tides, it made sense for us to come out tonight, and move on down through the Whale cut tomorrow morning.
Jim arrived back safe and sound - although a day late because of a cancelled flight from Halifax to Newark on Thursday morning. I'll fill in details in another posting shortly, but wanted you to know that the "Captain" is back on board, the "Skipper" kept the ship in good order while he was gone. We'll be sailing around the Sea of Abaco for the next few days - a night or two off Man O War and a couple of nights in Marsh Harbour. We will reprovision there and wait out the bad weather the first of the week. From there, we'll go along down to Lynyard Cay and then off to Royal Island, stopping to snorkle and beachcomb whenever we can.
12/01/2011/4:36 pm, Black Sound, Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas
Jim flew home to Nova Scotia last Saturday to do a little work and I've been having a chance to be a solo sailor - albeit a stationary one! Jim and I have each found in the past that we quite like having the boat to ourselves for short periods of time. I mentioned to a friend the other night at Happy Hour, that it is probably due in part to there being no "issues". We haven't dragged, and everything seems to be working the way it should. I will certainly be happy to see my sailing partner back on Thursday, but it is nice to know that I can manage on my own.
I walked to White Sound on Sunday and was delighted to discover Karin and Ed (Passages) there. They've been enjoying the benefits of being on the dock at Green Turtle Club. They have an astonishing rate - 60 cents per foot with metered power. Both Passages and Volantis left yesterday for points south.
Several boats came in to Black Sound on Monday. Donn and Sandi (Cypraea) are on the ball next to Madcap, and Sharpie's Dream - a Bayfield 32 with Dianne and Pat is at the Leeward Yacht Club. Minden, a Bayfield 40 was over at White Sound for a night or two. Most of the boats here are Canadian, with a healthy selection of Maritimers. Sea Horse and Long Leap are both from Saint John, NB, Ain't Ms B Haven, Sea Echo and Madcap are all from Halifax, NS. Jan and Tom (Ripple) are Ontario, as are Peter and Dianne (Cloud Nine) and Pat and Dianne (Sharpie's Dream). Catherine and David (Solitaire 1) and Bob and Gratia (Gratia) are Quebec. All those red maple leaves look good.
I've enjoyed some lovely walks on the beach, finding a few bits of sea glass and some small shells, and I've gone swimming at Gilliam Bay a couple of afternoons - the water is cool but still fine for short swims. I've even managed to fit in a little bit of boat work - stripping, sanding and cetoling the handrails on the cabin roof and making a start on some of the topside waxing. The weather has been lovely for the most part, but it has cooled off today as the next norther comes through.
The fuel boat came in this morning so boaters needing gas and diesel will be happy. The Other Shore Club has had gas but no diesel for a few days. Because the power was off in town yesterday for several hours, the generators were humming so they'll need a top up too.
On my walk this morning, I visited the sculpture garden down town to view the honoured men and women who lived in these islands in the past. So many of them are of Loyalist heritage - the same folks who came to Nova Scotia at the time of the American Revolution. Some of the names - Curry and Lowe and Russell are familiar ones back home too. I remember from my first visit that when I went through the museum, I found furniture and dishes just like the ones in my grandmother's house. The novel by Robert Wilder, "Wind from the Carolinas", is a good example of historical fiction about that era. Speaking of reading, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Timothy Findley's "Telling of Lies" that I picked up at the used book store in St Simon's, and I've just finished a laugh out loud book that I had given Jim for Christmas, "The Best Laid Plans" by Terry Fallis, another excellent Canadian read. Today, I dropped in to the excellent little library (open M,W, F 2-4 I think) where I traded some already read paperbacks for some new ones. Our son, Alex, gave us a Kobo reader for Christmas so we never need to fear being without reading material, but it is always nice to have a few books of the paper variety close at hand.
I've also been trying to keep up with the socializing here in the Sound. Pineapples is always fun and a beer or rum punch goes down well while I do a quick update on the computer (free wifi). The difficulty is that it is outdoors and it is a bar after all. It seems easier to spend longer on the computer in a coffee shop. The Leeward Yacht Club is also fun but doesn't seem to have locals as much. Some of the folks are going to Sundowner's tonight but I think I'll wait for Jim to go there.
Tomorrow, I have to rush to finish up all the things I wanted to do while Jim was away - some more waxing - of the boat, not me! Laundry, a visit to Captain Roberts' House - the ecology centre in town, picking up a fresh loaf of oh so good coconut bread.
The picture is of the beach closest to our end of Black Sound - so beautiful!!