05/11/2008, Manjack Cay, Abacos, Bahamas
Our plan was to leave today but didn't. "Restless" took off for Great Sale Cay and plans on making the trip back tomorrow. We just weren't ready to leave yet. In the morning we dinghied into the mangroves and found some nice conch. It was a neat trip motoring up as far as we could go, probably about a mile, and then floating with the ebbing current back to where we started.
Be the time we got the conch cleaned it was two o'clock and we decided to stay. I fried up some cracked conch for dinner and took a plate over to "Solitaire" which resulted in an invitation. So we spent most of the evening with Jim and Nancy.
The weather is not going to be conducive for a crossing until next Tuesday at the soonest but we will slowly work our way up a few miles every day beginning tomorrow.
Sea biscuit beach
05/06/2008, Manjack Cay
May 5th... Manjack Cay
High tide was about 9am and we needed the water to get our dinghy out a shallow cut into the ocean. At the mouth, we found lots of conch but none large enough to take home. Jim and Nancy were a little luckier and at least found one nice one. The ocean was a calm as we've ever seen as we motored south and explored a beach on an uninhabited cay. We continued south around the island, through a cut back into the bank side and ended up at the same beach that Kathy and I had explored yesterday. After wasting most of the morning we headed back to the boat for some lunch.
In the afternoon, in the company of the crews of "Solitaire" and "Madcap", we went to shore and met the lady who is responsible for our wifi access here. Leslie and her husband, Bill, were boaters who ended up purchasing this spot on the Cay about 16 years ago. They have a wonderful place and have created hiking trails that cover most of the island. We walked about a mile to the ocean side and spent a few hours on an uninhabited beach about 2 miles long.
On our return, we had to prepare some snacks for Nancy's Mexican potluck birthday party. I made cottage cheese dip and some bean and cheese quesadillas that ended up being well received. There was a corn and bean salad, chicken enchiladas, and a chocolate birthday cake for desert.
Tomorrow we will move north about 5 miles to Powell Cay which is a deserted island that we have heard good things about. This will probably be our last communication for a while as we spend a few days in some of the remote north eastern barrier islands.
Although some of our group would like to stay in the islands for a couple more weeks we can't really last that long without water and will be looking for a weather window to return to the states within the next 5 or 6 days. However, we are traveling with folks who have water makers and if there is not a safe weather window for our crossing within this time period, we may be here longer.... so those of you who have the tendency to worry...don't.
Sunset at Manjack Cay
05/06/2008, Manjack Cay
May 4th... Green Turtle to Manjack Cay
During the morning we moved up to Manjack Cay which is about 5 miles north of Green Turtle. It is well protected from all directions except for the west and has very few homes. After getting a hook down we had some lunch and read for awhile.
At about two pm we took off in the dinghy to go exploring the island to our south. At first our outboard was acting up but we got up on plane and ran across the bay to a very shallow cut into the ocean. Unfortunately, it was too close to low tide. I tried to pole the boat through but had to give up. When we got back to deeper water the motor wouldn't start. We got a tow from some friends to a point that was directly up wind from Sapphire and began our drift back to Sapphire. After a few minutes, I tried the outboard and it seemed fine so we reversed our course and went around the island in the other direction. It was mostly rocky and the bottom had quite a bit of grass which is usually good for conch. The only ones we saw though were too small to eat.
We did find a small secluded beach with hundreds of sea biscuits, shells and other treasures. Before heading back I rigged a line to both sides of the transom of our dinghy with a large loop behind. With snorkel, mask and fins, I had Kathy drag me through the shallow water looking for conch. It's a Bahamian trick used to find areas of conch that we learned from Barry on "Night Hawk". You can cover lot of ground in a hurry this way but again all the conch that I saw were small. I did see some large scallops but need to do some research on them before I start collection.
Shortly after our return to Sapphire the crews of "Madcap" and "Solitaire" came along side to toast our safe return. They had heard of our motor problems, and when we didn't show up, went out to find us. Although we strive for self sufficiency, knowing that we have folks looking out for us comforting. Our adventure during the last few months has been truly enhanced by the wonderful people that we've met along the way.