Flowers are blooming
04/23/2008, Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco, Bahamas
April 22...Marsh Harbor
After coffee and a snack for breakfast we were off to the laundry by 8:30. Harbor View Marina is the easiest place here in Marsh Harbor but not the cheapest. The place was empty so there was no waiting. While Kathy worked on the wash, I returned to the boat and topped off our fuel tank from our jerry cans and then dinghied over to another marina to purchase 10 gallons of diesel. Back at the boat I emptied the water containers from last night into the tank. By then it was time to go pick up Kathy.
We spoke with one of the Ferry Captains to see about a trip to Man-O-War Cay tomorrow- just to see the place.
We had a chicken salad for lunch and spent the most of the afternoon reading. At about 4 we dinghied over to visit Carol and get another load of water.
We had meatloaf with jalapenos for dinner with mashed potatoes and green beans.
April 21...Marsh Harbor
We spent the morning reprovisioning, making two trips to town with stops at the grocery, bank, etc. Kathy tried, without success, calling here mom so will have to work on that again today. The afternoon was cloudy with a few light showers so we sat outside and read.
Later, we dinghied over to "Restless" who is in a slip with free water, to check on Carol and steal some of the afore mentioned water. I made two trips while Kathy and Carol chatted, for a net gain of about 40 gallons. We'll probably stop by again tonight.
In the evening we had dinner and watched most of a movie.
Since I have a few minutes here waiting for hot water, it may be useful to go over a few things that have learned on this trip. (Sam, you can skip the numbered part-sorry, Mom)
1) Don't leave home without polish for your stainless steel rust remover for fiberglass. We like Collinite metal wax and Wink.
2) Bring spare regulators for your grill
3) Make sure that you have a method of monitoring (accurately) your electrical consumption and charge rate. The Link 10 and Link 20 are what most boats use.
4) Don't leave home without a working SSB or HAM radio. In some areas of the Bahamas it is the only way to get a weather forecast.
5) Make sure that your dinghy and motor combination allow you to get up on plane with another passenger. There are places that you need to go that are just too far away to putt along.
6) Make sure that you have adequate electrical connectors... butt connectors and terminal ends of all sizes. The ones that come in shrink tubing are best. Bring two or three times as many as you think you may need.
7) Think carefully about spare parts. ...Filters, belts, fuses, and the like go without saying. We now have two spare alternators (, a spare starter , a spare water pump (sea water) a spare engine mount, refrigerator motor, all the gaskets that our engine uses including a head gasket.
8) Understand your power consumption needs. We have not been plugged into a dock for almost 8 months. Although we do not, most boats here have both solar and wind generators. Our solar array is 20 square feet and on sunny days produces all the power we need. However, to heat water we need to run either the Honda 2000 or the main engine.
9) Do the research and purchase a good wi-fi antenna.
10) Our lifelines need replacing. We have decided to run amsteel or another of the new high-tech lines (something that won't rust).
11) Don't sail to the Bahamas without Explorer Charts. We have both paper and electronic and have found both to be invaluable. Skipper Bob guides are also musts on the ICW.
12) Water makers are a luxury not a necessity in the Bahamas. (and probably all of the Caribbean) We have only paid for water twice @10cents a gallon. Having said that we will probably install a water maker this summer for convenience.
13) In regard to provisioning...here are real grocery stores in Marsh Harbor, Nassau, Spanish Wells, Rock Sound and Georgetown, so there is always food available. We have found that most of these stores have a good supply of vegetables if you arrive shortly after the supply boat. Pork and chicken is readily available. Everything is expensive but some are more so than others. .. paper products and snacks to mention a couple. When we provision for our next trip we will focus our thinking on items that we can use for snacks that we might take to another boat in the late afternoon. You can save money by provisioning in the States but there is a trade off on storage space. Beer is $35 to $45 a case so if you're a beer drinker it would make sense to use your cargo space for beer and purchase canned stuff here as needed.
Bring tortillas, tortilla chips, paper towels, toilet paper, pretzels, and snacks... they are out of line price-wise here.
14) Bring two rebuild kits for your head.
15) Make sure that you have jerry cans to haul fuel and water. We have three for diesel, two gasoline, and two for water. We also have four 5 gallon plastic containers for hauling water. (they are collapsible and are stored below) Covers for the fuel containers are a good idea so that expansion (and fumes) are reduced.
I know I'll think of more to add to this list in the future (Great! says the editor).
April 20th....Lubbers Quarters to Marsh Harbor
After coffee we weighed anchor and headed north at high tide to Hope Town then on to Marsh Harbor. The trip was about 12 miles and the water was flat. I was able to stand on the bow pulpit and watch the bottom go by. It was mostly less that 10 feet and you could see everything down there ... which really wasn't that much. There was a little grass from time to time and a few starfish and small conch.
When we left Marsh Harbor there were about 150 boats anchored. Today there were about 20. The difference was the weather. When we were here last, there was a severe front going through with winds to 40kts. Now the weather is perfect and people are either heading north to the US or are out and about in the islands.
We read most of the afternoon and then went over to visit "Restless" in the Marina. Steve flies home tomorrow to put in an appearance at work... He will be back Friday . Barry and Susan stopped by on their way to dinner on "Jock's Lodge." They plan to head out tomorrow for a week or so in the northern Abacos. In order to go north from here we have to pass the "Whale" which is a cut out into the Atlantic for about a mile then back inside to the calmer waters of the banks. When there is any wind or ocean swell, going out and back in around Whale island is usually impossible so the passage is made when winds are down.
We ate so many chips and salsa that dinner was unnecessary.
...There is quite a transition happening here in the Abacos. The winter people are crossing back to Florida or further north and the summer folks are starting to move in. We were surprised that there were "summer boaters" here due to the threat of hurricanes but in truth the hurricane season isn't viewed as a serious problem until the later half of August and into September.
Oh, and Abby, Dad has been hungry for sweets and has started baking cookies-mostly from mixes. It is not me-although I did bake cookies once or twice. Mom
At the beach
04/20/2008, Tahiti Beach, Elbow Cay, Abacos
April 19th...Lubbers Quarters
After breakfast I worked again on locating the "rattle" that we have been plagued with and this time I was successful. It was the exhaust pipe but it was rattling in a different spot than I thought. Since I was down in the basement of the boat again I checked the packing gland and needed to loosen it another quarter turn.
We went to "Cracker P's" for lunch with Steve and Carol and had a nice meal. They don't have a fryer so everything is grilled or baked.
Later we all went to Tahiti Beach. We sat in ankle deep-water about 110 yards off shore for awhile than moved in to the beach. The last two days are the first times that we've gone to a beach just to sit ...
On our return we read until it was time to make supper....Shrimp and fresh spinach sautéed in garlic and olive oil with a dollop of sour cream added at the end ....served over rice.
April 18.. Hope Town to Lubbers Quarters
We left Hope Town at about 8am on high tide and worked our way south along Elbow Cay. We only traveled about 3 miles to an anchorage just off Tahiti Beach. Tahiti Beach is a huge sand bat that at high tide s mostly submerged but at low tide is a long beautiful sliver of sand. There are probably about 10 acres of shallows that are less that knee deep.
Once anchored I went to work trying to locate a rattle that we are hearing al low rpms. I thought I had it fixed, but the noise was back today. In the process I ended up removing our prop shaft alternator which we haven't been using much. Since I was in there, I changed the transmission fluid as well.
I tightened a few of the motor mounts but failed to find the cause of the rattle. Then, I went down below the cockpit and backed off the packing nut about 1/3 of a turn to insure that our we are getting a little water on the shaft.
Finishing at about 2pm we read for a while and then headed for the beach with Steve and Carol. We wandered in the shallows for a while and then sat on the beach watching the tide slowly cover the sandbar.
On our return I dove on our anchor and looked for conch for a while before taking a shower on deck and grilling some chicken for dinner.
View from the light house
04/18/2008, Hope Town, Elbow Cay, Abacos
April 17th... Hope Town
We were going to leave today but the wind was still at 20 from the north outside so it made sense to stay put. I waxed the starboard side of the topsides this morning while Kathy worked on stainless. I feel better finishing the waxing. I started last week and didn't know if the job was ever going to be finished. It's not a great but better than nothing ... and looks clean. We have a couple
more hours to do on the stainless but things seem to be ship shape for the most part.
Steve and Kim came over this morning for a book exchange and we made a date for lunch a restaurant down the beach a ways. We hiked the road there and had a nice lunch on the beach... I had a jerked chicken sandwich and mac and cheese just out of the oven. Kathy had a grilled cheese ... her stock order in most places. As we were leaving Steve and Carol showed up and walked the beach back to town.... we did make the mistake of stopping at another beach place on the way back for an hour or so.
Back at town, we made a stop at the grocery before returning to the boat.
We will be pulling out of Hope Town tomorrow morning on the tide and don't really know where we're going but most of our options are only about 12 miles so it's not a real problem.
April 16th...Hope Town
Still windy and cool... During the morning Jim and Jean from "Estelle" stopped over for a visit. We invited them back in the afternoon for drinks along with Steve and Carol which meant that most of our morning was spent cleaning up the boat. We had leftovers for lunch and then went to shore for a walk and a trip to the store. We headed north from town along the coast on the only road . There were some older homes and cottages. Some were well kept but most showed some neglect.
Back at the boat we did a little more cleaning and put together a cheese dish that we got from Kris on "Tilt". They ended up being greasier that I'd remembered but tasted fine.
We had a nice time chatting with "Estelle" and "Restless" while the sun drifted under the horizon.
April 15th....Hope Town
We are safely on a mooring here in Hope Town and probably did less today that any day on the trip. It was windy and cool. I did track down a rattle that we have noticed lately when running the engine at low rpms. It did mean taking everything out of the Lazarette and crawling in... but finding and fixing the problem was a small task. The exhaust pipe which is 2 inch galvanized pipe was bouncing against the hull. A wedge solved the problem at least temporarily.
I baked a batch of peanut butter cookies to warm the boat up during the morning ... the temperature was hovering around 70 which is cool for we thin blooded folks.
In the afternoon we ventured to shore for a walk but returned shortly to get back to our books.