Washing day...by hand.
December 27th. Morgan's Bluff, Andros, Bahamas
The forecast says that the winds will decrease tomorrow and then more on Monday and Tuesday. Since there is a chance we'll be moving soon, Kathy took advantage of the water supply and washed some cloths for the second day in a row. I worked on fishing tackle.changing lures, sharpening hooks and checking the line. The next two jumps are probably the best chance I have to catch something big in the next few weeks or so.
Barry and Susan stopped by to say that they were hitching into the store and Batelco if we wanted anything. The only things we could think of were a couple of tomatoes and green peppers. and a $20 pre-paid Batelco card.
I continued my work on fishing stuff and then switched to the spear. I have two points and after a few lobsters, I am thinking about changing to the single point tip. Unfortunately, It was rusted so I had to get the dremel and clean things up a little.
I also patched three of our six water transporting bags which are flimsy and are constantly developing small leaks. I have some thin plastic patches that work reasonably well on them but have been putting off the job.
We refilled our water tank and I went to shore to fill all of our water containers. We will leave with 140 gallons and a 5 gallon solar shower, which will last us from 3 to 6 weeks depending on our conservation measures.
Barry and Susan returned with our purchases and we agreed to take a hike out to the bluff to see what the ocean is like today. Since we can hear the breakers hitting the bluff we know that the seas are still high.
After some lunch we headed ashore. The wind gauge read a steady 22 knots with gusts to 30. The waves were about 6 to 8 feet and short. We decided to leave on Monday instead of tomorrow.
I told "Night Hawk" and " Perseverance II" that they were welcome to come over for social hour at 4pm but that they would have to stop talking at 5pm so that we could listen to the Basketball game. They left about half time and we cooked the snapper that I caught the other day.. It was excellent pan fried with some dill sauce. I cut up a potato for some American fries and Kathy cooked a vegetable.
After supper we watched "The Freedom Writers" which Nancy had sent along in our Christmas bag of goodies.
December 26th. Morgan's Bluff, Andros, Bahamas
After wasting some time in the morning we tackled last night's dishes. With me washing and Kathy drying and putting them away, it didn't take too long. We will be here until Sunday at the earliest, but the real good weather for crossing the Tongue of the Ocean, over the banks and finally to the Exumas, will be Monday and Tuesday. We'll first run south, down the east coast of Andros to Fresh Creek for a night before heading east to the Exumas.
Later in the morning, I tried some fishing without success and then went out with Barry with the look- bucket spotting Lobsters. We found only one, which I'll get to in the afternoon.
After lunch Barry, Susan, Kathy and I took the dinghies to a cove a couple of miles west of our current position. There was a pleasant little house in the cove with people on the beach so we anchored a few hundred yards or so from them to be polite. One of the ladies immediately got up and started a fast walk toward us.she was either going to kick off her beach our invite us over. As it turned out she was very nice and out for her daily power walk. She was from Vermont and with her husband, spent as much time at their place here on Andros as they could.
We hiked the beach to the point about 1.5 miles away passing a few homes and a section of bone dry trees that have drifted in over the years. At the end of the point we could see miles of flats.perfect for bonefishing.
It was a slow ride back into the wind and waves but once there we grabbed the snorkeling gear and spear to collect the lobster that we had spotted in the morning. It took two dives but he really didn't have a chance.
Since I was wet, it was a good time to scrub our water line and the bottom of the dinghy. The dinghy had a good crop of Vero Beach barnacles and I had steadily been working to get rid of them.
I was pooped by the time I finished. but with more swimming, an hour of treading water shouldn't affect me much at all.
One of my jobs for the day was to make another trip to the inner harbor for water to make sure that all of our transporting containers were full when we leave Morgan's Bluff. After filling up. I wandered over to the Willie's bar to have a beer with the rest of the gang. There was a semi-deranged conch fisherman there as well as Mr. Campbell who owns the nearest grocery and who is building a hotel/condo development on the beach we hiked today.
Back at the boat we had supper and watched some video for a while before bed.
Morgan's Bluff...Our home for the holidays.
December 24, 2008 Morgan's Bluff
The wind continues to blow and the sky is mostly cloudy. The port was busy last night with one freighter arriving, unloading, and then leaving while another arrived and stayed. This morning a third one showed up so Barry and I went ashore to watch the unloading activities. Things were hopping. There were trucks and high-low's unloading the two boats while folks who were expecting freight milled around waiting. The conch fisherman were loading conch into boxes that were about the size of big apple crates, rough 5' by 5" for shipment to Nassau and a lady selling lunch on a couple of card tables.
We found Shalom to see what time our van would arrive. (We had made arrangements for a ride to the Mennonite Farms to see the country side and pick up some vegetables. Unfortunately, the Van that we were promised had magically turned into a small car with enough room for four. The charge was going to be $60. We went back to the boats and by unanimous accent, Barry and I returned to explain that we couldn't settle for a vehicle that carried only four of us.
The driver, who it turns out was an off-duty policeman, was understanding and promised that on Friday he could get a Van in which we could all fit.
While ashore, Barry and I purchased some conch to use as bait. Last night during dinner, he left a line overboard tied to a cleat. When they returned to the boat the bait was gone and the hook was straightened.
It rained in the afternoon. Kathy read and I worked on Honda which seems to have more carburetor problems. I took everything apart got things cleaned but a small spring fell out of the linkage. After an hour of trying to figure it out, I motored over to "Perseverenc II" and ask Tom if I could tear his Honda apart to check the location of the spring. That done, it was relatively easy to get ours back together correctly. Unfortunately, it still didn't run. It starts fine and runs smooth but after a couple minutes, sputters and dies. I'm thinking that it could be the low oil sensor. I changed the oil recently and possibly didn't put enough back in. Together with the rolling that we're doing that is probably it.
The other issue that has had us a little scared it that our GPS has not been displaying our good Bahamas Charts. The GPS came pre-loaded with charts for the entire world and they have been working fine. The more detailed Bahamas charts are loaded on a chip and inserted into the GPS. The GPS is supposed to always show the more detailed, when there is more that one chart available.. But wasn't. We we're sure it the chip was dead or if there was something wrong with the GPS itself. We did check our chip in Tom's GPS and it didn't work so we were not that hopeful
Anyway, after reading the directions for a couple of days, I found a page that described manually forcing the computer to choose the chart set that you wanted .and presto, there they were.
We grilled some rib-eye steaks for dinner, turned on our Christmas lights and listen to Christmas Music until about nine when we called home to wish my mom Merry Christmas She always has folks over on Christmas eve for snacks and it was nice to talk to a few of them.
December 23, 2008 Morgan's Bluff
The wind blew at about 30 knots all night long but tucked in close to shore, much of the wind was deflected by the tree line. There was a little surge but the point protected us from the waves rolling in from the tongue of the ocean.
A supply boat had arrived last night and the Immigration guy was there to process it. He left word with the Shalom, who is the informal dock master here, that he would be back at 10 am to complete our paperwork and stamp our passports.
That message was relayed to Bill "Chapter III" (who decided to go into the inner harbor and tie off at the fuel dock to ride out the storm), who called us on the VHF to relay the message.
So after coffee and some breakfast, I took our passports and headed into the dock. There actually is not a dock here. dinghies land on a cement ramp next to the bar. Unfortunately, it is so slippery that it is almost impossible to land at low tide. Instead, I tied off the stern of one of two large power boats that are on a small dock here.
I was having coffee on "Chapter III" when the Immigration guy showed up..before 10 am, which is totally unheard of here in the Islands. We had filled out the paperwork at the airport so all that had to be done was to stamp our passports which took a just a few minutes.
We purchased 10 conch. cleaned and smashed, for a dollar each from Monroe, who we spotted working on his boat. He has about 1500 of them strung together in a nearby cove that will be shipped to Nassau for the holiday season on the mail boat tonight
Kathy had stayed on the boat but the rest of us walked the beach for a mile or so looking for treasures before returning to our boats. We agreed to meet after lunch for a hike out to the Bluff to watch the waves crash.
We beached our dinghies on a small beach littered with derelict fishing boats, and hiked down the road toward the very northern tip of the island. On the way we found a small roadside park with a neat cave and a couple of picnic tables. It was named "Henry Morgan's" cave in honor of the pirate who actually made this area one of his staging areas. As we continued north down we found ourselves walking through salt spray coming over the top of the bluff to our right. At the end of the road there is a track up the back of the bluff to the top. The waves were impressive but the salt spray was getting us all wetter by the minute so we climbed back down and retraced our steps On our walk back we stopped at the wharf where "Titus" docks. A little explanation may be in order here. Morgan's Bluff is just that.a mile long bluff that runs north to south at the very northern end of Andros Island. The outer harbor is a nothing more than a two mile cove completely open to the north. There is a small inner harbor where there are currently four or five native fishing boats, two sailboats that seem to be more or less permanently moored, three large fishing boats from Florida, and Chapter III. There is a loading dock at the southern end where grapefruit are shipped, a few storage buildings and a bar. On the western side of the Bluff there is a wharf where "Titus" docks and fills up with 3 million gallons of water that are hauled to Nassau every other day. "Titus" is a big boat..we are anchored just south of this wharf tucked in as close as we can get to shore.
We then dinghied over to Willie's for a beer and talked with Shalom. Bill and Jean stopped in after their trip in to Batelco.
Our plan was to get together with Barry, Susan, Tom and Cathy to eat cracked conch for dinner. So after putting together some pickle wraps and an hour of rest, we headed over to Perseverance II. Susan had made a conch salad as well as cracked conch. and we ate every morsel.
December 22, 2008 Morgan's Bluff
In the morning we went to shore to see what was to be done about checking into the Bahamas. As it turned out, Bill and Jean form "Chapter III" (the only other cruising boat in the area) had arranged for Willie (the owner of the bar located at the small port here) to drive them to the Menonite Farm so we, Tom, Barry and I, just rode along to the airport to clear Customs.
The Customs official was there but the Immigration guy was off island. So. we cleared Customs and returned to the boat to wait for the Immigration guy to stop by in the afternoon...
On the way back we stopped at Batelco (phone company) to get a sim chip for our phone as well as some prepaid phone time...
The winds were building so in the afternoon so we stayed on board to watch the anchor. Barry and Susan came over for snacks before dinner.