Sharing the harbor
03/29/2008, Half Moon Bay, Little San Salvador
March 27... Bluff, Cat Island to Half Moon Bay, Little San Salvadore.
03/29/2008, Bluff, Cat Islalnd
We left Bluff without going ashore, at about 8:30 and sailed wing on wing in 20 knots for two hours before hitting deep water and turning north. Our lines were in water as we approached the drop off when I noticed that one our boat poles was twitching. There was a fish on but it wasn't big enough to take any drag out. After no fight at all, we boated the monster and got the book out to identify the poor thing. In a few minutes it became obvious that it was a Almaco Jack (forgot to take a picture!) and the book said it was excellent table fare. It took two swipes to detach the fillets from the carcass and then two more to get rid of the skin before sticking them in the refrigerator. Try as we may, there were no more fish to be had.
The island of Little San Salvador is owned by the Holland America Cruise Line and used as a stop on their runs. We are allowed to anchor here if we stay to the west end of the bay and stay aboard when there is a cruise ship in port. We arrived around one and spent the afternoon watching the cruise people play. They have stables and lead groups riding on the beaches. There are cabanas large and small, bars, restaurants, small sailboats, para-sailing.... just about any water sport imaginable. The ship itself anchors off shore about a mile and the passengers are ferried ashore.
At around 6 pm everyone was back aboard, they weighed anchor and are gone.
I fried some potatoes and the fish while Kathy made a salad.... the fish was very good.
March 26th... New Bight to Bluff, Cat Island
We left New Bight, Cat Island at around nine and sailed north to the village of Bluff which was only about 20 miles to the north but offered some protection from both the northeast and south east. The winds were above 20 knots all day and the boat got salty. Until the last hour or so we ran with just the mizzen and staysail. We were fishing and wanted to remain in a more up-right position. With our two smallest sails we made between 5.5 and 6 knots for the trip but didn't catch any fish.
Sapphire has recently developed a VHF radio problem and when we anchored I began the process of tracking it down. With the help of every on in the anchorage... there were 5 boats, and Steve's electrical equipment, we found that our battery bank was severely depleted and the low power caused the radio to malfunction. There voltmeter that monitors our house bank of batteries is defective and has been leading us to believe that there was more charge in them that there actually was.... on top of that my electrical tester was not working correctly either... it also showed voltages much higher than they actually were.
The odds of two pieces of equipment pointing in the same incorrect direction has to be staggering. Anyway, we immediately began the process of charging our battery bank, which will take days. Ideally, we should go to a marina somewhere and plug in for the night, Unfortunately, there don't seem to be too many such places on Cat or Eleuthera Islands.
At 5pm we went over to "Voyager" and had snacks and drinks with Charlie and Terry as well as "Restless" and "Tilt." We made a dinner of the snacks and had a very nice time with everyone.
Mike and Kathy
03/29/2008, New Bight, Cat Island
March 22... George Town to New Bight, Cat Island
The harbor at George Town was clearing out today and we were the third boat out leaving at 7am. The cut into the sound was rolly, but once we were able to set our course to the north, things were fine. We sailed a beam reach from about 8am to 4:30 when we arrived here at Cat Island. We were traveling in the company of two other boats: "Night Hawk" and "Star Shadow" with "Tilt" and "Fawks" about an hour behind us.
"Starshadow" caught a 20 pound Mahi on the trip and invited us to dinner with Barry and Susan from "Nighthawk". We had a very nice meal and returned just after dark.
Although the weather here is fine today, by tomorrow night it is going to be windy and will stay that way for most of the week. It won't affect us much because Cat Island is 56 miles long and protects us from the East and North in most places. We may just stay here for a few days.
Easter morning. We awoke to roosters crowing and a hymn from the sunrise service on the beach which was lead by a single, off-key trumpet. It went on for at least 10 verses. Easter is big here in the Bahamas ...Friday and Monday are both legal holidays, so if we are going to buy some coffee beans it will be Tuesday.
On the top of a nearby hill there is a place called the "Hermitage" which was built by a John Cecil Hawes, better known as Father Jerome. He was born in England and first became an architect and then and Anglican priest. He was sent to the Bahamas after the 1908 hurricane to restore the damaged churches. He then went off and did some other jobs and later became a Catholic priest. He came back to the Bahamas and chose Comer Hill, the highest spot in the Bahamas, for his retirement home.
As you climb up the hill, you pass by monuments depicting the Stations of the Cross and a replica of Jesus' tomb, (and it is Easter Sunday-wow). The Hermitage is built entirely out of stone and is a scaled-down replica of hermitages in Europe, and turned out to be an interesting place to visit.
I spent the afternoon lobster hunting and came up short again. I did get a lesson on conch cleaning before heading to a get together on shore. There are only seven boats here so it was much easier than the parties in George Town where there are as many as 100 people.
"Restless" arrived today and informed us that Jimmy Buffet flew his sea plane into Elizabeth Harbour (George Town) and went in to the Chat 'N Chill. Shoot! We missed it.
The weather today is a little iffy...There is a low forming over this area and a cold front sliding by at the same time. The wind is going to clock and increase throughout the day and hopefully get to the North West by dark where we will have some protection. For those of you that sail Lake Michigan, we are in a place similar to South Manitou. This Bay is open to the west where there is about 50 miles of fetch.
Two of the seven boats here left this morning for the safety of a marina about 10 miles away.
We took the dinghy up a creek to try to get closer to the main grocery store but could find a place to tie up. Our choices were mangroves or a cement wall. We retraced our wake and walked to a convenience store to pick up some coffee and then hiked down the road to the home that sold ice. On our way a truck stopped to give us a ride. The box of his truck was full of produce which he was taking to the store. He said that he would stop back at the government dock at 11 but didn't show until about one thirty by which time we were all back on our boats.
The wind picked up in the afternoon from the west and made things quite rolly but we didn't have any problem until about dark. Some good sized swells had built from the west but the wind was clocking to the NW which put us abeam to the seas. We did not have a good time although things finally settled down around 2am.
We suffered no damage ... but lost the step that we use to get on and off the boat to the dinghy.
March 25 ...
We stayed in New Bight today and let the wind and waves out in the sound die down a little. We worked on some boat projects and read most of the day.