24 March 2016
We had a break in weather & headed south to our favorite islands in the Jumentos. We said goodbye to 2 Outrageous, our new friends from Canada and Oopsea from the states.
Bob & Angie on Helios went with us to the Jumentos & Charlie & Andrienne on Migration were a day behind. We had a great week of snorkeling, spear fishing & looking for sea beans. We had fish or lobster almost every night for dinner & managed to stock our freezer. Mike even managed to spear 2 fish at one time. He speared a grouper, had trouble getting it out of the hole, & after several dives back down to get his spear, discovered he had speared 2 fish.
Angie & I found a very small deserted island that had over 20 seabeans!
We have company coming in March 28 so we headed back north to Georgetown & Helios & Migtarion headed further south to Duncantown. They are continuing south to Dominican Repulic & Peurto Rico.
We hope to get back to the Jumentos, this time with anticipation of making it to the end of the chain to Duncantown
07 March 2016
We’ve been island hopping up & down the Exuma chain, weather & winds dictating our journey. It is good not to have a set agenda, as Mother Nature wins.
We spent some time in Long Island with our “MiJoy Flotilla” gang, 2 Outrageous, Migration, Helios & Oopsea. We spent some time volunteering for Hurricane Joaquin victims. The island was hit hard from the hurricane last year & a long time cruiser, Alibi 2 has worked very hard for months coordinating work projects for cruisers as they pass through.
Cruisers pile into pickup trucks from the locals & take what tools cruisers have onboard, heading out to work sites. We helped a family on rebuilding their home. Like a lot of local Bahamians, many of the grocery stores are in their homes. This family had a house next door that was the store & the ladies worked on cleaning out the store. The owner had a precious daughter, Emma, who helped us & was very good with a broom. (see photo gallery)
Later the ladies went to another worksite where we picked up shingles & placed them in a pile for burning. This elderly couple had to be rescued from their roof during the storm & just recently had gotten a new roof.
We rented 2 vehicles one day & the MiJoy Flotilla explored the North & South ends of Long Island. Long Island was the 3rd stop for Columbus after San Salvador & Rum Cay. In photo gallery we have photos of the monument dedicated to Columbus. Also Columbus’ “Santa Maria” went aground on a reef off the northern tip of the island giving the name of the area, Cape Santa Maria.
We also made a stop at the famous, “Dean’s Blue Hole”, where most of the male flotilla jumped. This makes Mike 2nd year to jump. (Joyce zero)
Mike, Charlie & Bob have been spearing fish & lobster. Angie & I have been beach combing, gathering sea beans & a few nice shells.
We managed to catch our first Mahi Mahi while sailing out in the Atlantic. It was approx. 41” & once Mike managed to get it in the cockpit with the gaff; I gave him a shot of vodka to settle him down. Mahi was very tasty & provided us with a couple of nice meals.
We are currently in well protected Georgetown awaiting the passing of strong east winds with hopes of moving south.
07 March 2016
Cruising on a sailboat has its great times and it's not so great times. Things break, many times in the middle of the night. A few nights ago, I woke up at 1:00 AM to an alarm sounding. Not a real loud alarm so I knew it wasn't critical. After a bit of looking around, I figured out it was the refrigerator temperature was over 42 deg F. Out came the multimeters for checking voltage and current. The frig compressor was not running. An hour later after cleaning and jiggling wire connections and the mechanical thermostat inside the frig, it was running. Over the last few days it has cycled between 31 and 36 deg F which is good. Not really sure what caused it to start running again which is a bit scary.
Over the last month we have actually sailed about 70% of the time. Last year, it was rare that we just sailed. We always seemed to need to get some place and the wind did not cooperate. This year, we "have no agenda" other than to have fun so we are picking were we go to allow the wind to help.
Friends from Houston on Migration and Helios finally found a weather window after waiting over a month in Marathon FL. and are now in the Bahamas. Migration delivered a wind turbine and other parts that I purchased and had shipped to his boat in Marathon. It turns out the turbine I chose had a mounting post that slide inside the support mast. My support mast was 1/8" to small on the inside diameter. After trying several different methods, I spent 6 hours one afternoon with a drill, 1.5" diameter hole saw, and 80 grit sand paper and "bored" out the tube 3" deep to make it fit. Paul from 2 Outrageous helped me mount and pivot the wind turbine up into place. (see photos in photo gallery) Of course, the wind had been blowing 15 to 20 knots and now went to under 10 once the turbine was in place. The more wind, the more power produced by the turbine so we were not getting much power.
We had meet Tom and Cindy on Oppsea at Rudder Cut Cay several weeks ago and would see them at different anchorages. 2 Outrageous, Migration, Helios, and MiJoy wanted to get away from the 300 plus boats in Georgetown and get some place where we could use our pole spears to harvest dinner. Oppsea also wanted to get away and became part of the group. With unusual winds out of the NE for several days, the SW side of the Exuma island chain looked to be a good remote area protected from the wind. To get there easily in one day, we needed to slipped thru Hog Cay Cut. At low tide, the water depth is around 4 feet and the boats draft between 4' 7" and 5' 4". That means waiting for high tide. Once we cleared North Channel Rock waypoint on the South passage out of Elizabeth Harbour/Gtown area, we were able to sail nicely for about an hour and a half. We got to the cut early, MiJoy chose to anchor hoping to maybe dive on some coral heads but the 15 knots of wind were creating waves too big to comfortably dive. Others sailed back and forth pulling fishing plugs until time to run the cut. 2 Outrageous is always ready to lead the way and made it thru the tricky part of the cut were the rocks could chew up a hull very badly. They then tried to explore a slightly different path after the cut and found water just a couple of inches too shallow and managed to run their keel into just enough sand to stop forward or reverse progress. The other 4 boats now had a very good indicator of where not to go. 20 minutes later, the tide had risen enough to lift 2 Outrageous off the sand and they were free.
We sailed 6 miles NW in the lee of Little Exuma with waves dropping from 1.5' to 2' on the windward side of Little Exuma to a light chop on the leeward side but still with 15 knots of wind. We tucked into an anchorage with 9 foot plus of water where charts said we would have less than 5.
The next day, the girls went to the beach and the guys went hunting for fish and lobster. Hunting was very successful. 2 Outrageous had caught a Mahi Mahi on the sail South of Georgetown and offered their boat and the fish for dinner. The Mahi and lobster were grilled, and all the boats contributed a dish and a feast was had by all. Charlie brought his guitar and I brought my harmonicas. Paul got out his harmonica and played along a bit. We spent over an hour singing songs from "our" early years. There were even discussions of the ten of us singing a song at the Exuma Regatta talent show.
Winds swung a bit further South a couple of days earlier than was originally expected and the anchorage was getting a bit rough as the winds were now out of the East. We motored 4 hours pretty much directly into the wind thru Comer Channel to Long Island. We have now spent a couple of days here, walking the beach, meeting other boaters, joining a work party to help local residents and not finding fish or lobster the one time we have gone out. There's always tomorrow.
Tomorrow has come and gone. We have gotten 6 or so lobsters and a few fish. Charlie's is one of the biggest we have speared. See picture in galley.
And the wind has picked back up ranging from 12 to 20 knots. Each amp of 12-volt DC electricity we use has to be replaced. Our refrigerator insulation appears to be saturated with moisture. The compressor pulls 6 amps and runs about 80% of the time. It should run slower so it pulls only 4 amps and runs half the time but the frig will not stay cold at that setting. That's over 65 amp hours from when the sun no longer chargers the batteries till the next morning just for the frig. Freezer, lights etc. use another 60 or so, down 120 to 130 amp hours. With the wind turbine and 12 knots of wind, when we get up in the morning the battery bank is down 70 to 100 amp hours. Less than before the wind turbine was installed. We are not having to run the diesel generator every morning to bring the batteries up to charge. Less diesel consumed, less gen set hours and therefore less oil changes on the gen set so a bit less work for Mike.
Many thanks to Joyce for cleaning up all the mess I made boring out the mast for the wind generator and other projects. What I bored out is the equivalent of converting a 1/16" aluminum plate that is 3" by 4.5" into little bits of dust. More projects to work on. Rarely a dull moment.
A Little of This & A Little of That & A Whole Lot of Nothing
14 February 2016
We have been traveling from various islands, depending on the weather. Typical for this time of year, we have northern & western winds where we seek certain islands for protection. Lots of wind & cooler temperature some days. On a good note, we have managed to sail a lot more & use less diesel. Where we would like to travel to doesn’t always fit with Mother Nature, so we go with the flow, so to speak.
We had friends from Texas, John & Carole, fly into Staniel Cay. Weather was nice while they were here & we were able to show them the “famous swimming pigs”, the Grotto (from the James Bond movie, Thunderball) and take them out for a day sail. They brought us the much needed coffee press along with a few requested boat parts. Thanks so much!
We met up with cruiser friends from Texas, Migration & Helios. Migration has been carrying around several boat parts Mike had requested including a wind generator. I know Charlie is glad to get this off his boat & we so appreciate he & Adrienne for bringing those over. Mike is looking forward to having the wind generator & I have joked that the wind will stop blowing once installation is complete.
We’ve explored a lot of smaller islands this year & have enjoyed the scenery, including Tim McGraw & Faith Hill’s island and Johnny Depth island. We hiked one island off of Pipe Cay where a couple on Laura D have spent several years cutting & grooming trails. They gave us a tour & their love for the island shows in their hard work. We have snorkeled some & Mike & Paul have gotten a few fish & lobster, including a rather uncommon lobster, which is considered the best of the best. (see photo gallery) We think it is called a Spanish Lobster but others have told us it is something I can’t spell or pronounce similar to Du Lac……
We continue to meet new friends & old friends and we are looking forward to moving further south and hopefully doing a lot of fishing, snorkeling & shelling.
It's Not Always Sunsets, Sipping Wine & Relaxing..........
24 January 2016
We left The Berry Islands on January 7 & headed our way south, making a stop in Nassau to restock our fresh veg/fruits. We traveled with several other boats and anchored the evening at Rose Island. It was a "rolling" anchorage. I normally always put the dishes away at night but unfortunately left the dishes out to dry. During the night we were awaken to a crash & Mike's coffee press was in a million pieces. Our comment was the next person that comes to visit us will bring a coffee press.
We made our way down the Exuma chain of islands. Did lots of hiking & snorkeling. Climbed the infamous BooBoo Hill & placed our driftwood boat sign on top of the many other boater names (see photo gallery)
We were snorkeling one day with another couple, when a 7' nurse shark swam past me (Joyce) I thought Paul was sneezing underwater when in fact he was saying "shark". The shark swam slowly away, not interested in the 4 of us, but I got out of the water after that!
It's Not Always Sunsets, Sipping Wine & Relaxing.........
As most boaters know, there always seems to be something that breaks, needs repaired or replaced.
We discovered we had water in the bilge (floor of boat) and troubleshooted the problem to find that the water cap on the aft (rear) water tank had cracked. Unfortunately or fortunately, we had stored toilet paper in a compartment near & it had absorbed ALOT of water.
While deploying the anchor with the electric windless, it quit working. Normally Mike is on the bow (front) of the boat, while I am at the helm. Investigation determined that the connection between the pendant & boat had corruded, & was no longer making electrical connection. The next day, we had to run 60' of wire from the bow to the stern of the boat & install an up/down switch at the helm. (the boat was torn up completely, so a good time to do some housecleaning....) Now the helmsmen (me) is responsible for raising & lowering the anchor from direction from Mike at the bow of the boat, in addition I have to steer & throttle. I multi task!
There have been a couple of other minor boat repair issues but the Good News is:
Friends from TX are coming for a couple days to Staniel Cay the first part of February & will be bringing us a coffee press & boat parts. We are looking forward to seeing John & Carole..................
Whats for dinner, dear?........Lobster!!!!!!
22 December 2015 | Great Harbour Cay Marine, Berrys, Bahamas
On Monday, we headed South to the end of Great Harbour Cay to Ceaser and Water Cay. Rick and Sandra on s/v Stephanie Dawn were in the other dinghy. If we had been able to run on plane with the dinghy it would have been less than 20 minutes. The new dinghy can cruise at 12 to 15 knots. The dinghy we used last year would maybe make 6. The problem yesterday was low tide occurs at around mid-morning which is when we were heading South. We had to cross a mile wide shallow "flats" section. Mike pulled and Joyce pushed across the flats. Made it to the Cays for a little beach combing. Did see what we think were 3 or 4 two foot sharks feeding on the flats.
On Tuesday, we tried to tuck up into Shark creek to search for mangrove snapper. Too shallow so headed North of the harbor. Found the rocks shown in the pictures, see photo gallery, that are large overhangs that have fallen into the water giving good shelter for fish and lobster. Hundreds of fish under 10" but nothing really right for dinner. Did find a couple of crevices in the rocks that held good size lobster. Ended up putting 4 in the Home Depot bucket. Left 2 that would have been easy picking. Grilled two for dinner and they were wonderful. Probably going back out tomorrow with a Canadian couple that have never pole speared. Also there is now one less lionfish to grow up, eat to much, and reproduce. (Joyce tells me I need to say I killed a small lionfish.)
A pole spear is a rod around 6 foot long with a point and flapper that keeps the fish from sliding off. A loop of surgical rubber tubing is attached to the other end. The loop goes over your thumb and up push the spear thru your hand so that the loop is tensioned. You grip the spear, point, and release. Must be within a few feet. Lobster are more difficult to find but don't swim away. Fish are easier to find but they swim away very quickly. Bahamas does not allow using spear guns or anything with a trigger.
Christmas is this Friday. We will probably hang around until next Monday when we may have a good weather window to get past Nassau into the Exumas.
Merry Christmas to all.