Aground in Fresh Creek
12/29/2008, 24 43.49'N:77 47.26'W
December 29th. Morgan's Bluff to Fresh Creek, Andros, Bahamas
We left Morgan's Bluff with about 15 knots of wind form the southeast. We could sail but were pointing so high that the correct series of waves stopped us dead in the water. So we left the engine on, idling along to keep our momentum up into the three foot seas.
I had three lines out but failed to even get a bite. Barry and Susan had about 4 strikes and landed one Mahi. I don't think we were doing anything different. There is a "no fish zone" all along the banks here, but I thought we were out far enough to be legal. As we neared Fresh Creek a helicopter from the fish police buzzed us but after looking at the map and our track on the GPS, we had never been within a half mile of the protected area.
I led the way into Fresh Creek which is narrow and shallow. We called the marina but there was no answer. We did get a response from Lucke, whom we had met a few day's ago in Morgan's Bluff. He is moored here and knows his way around. I made a spin outside the marina while Kathy called them on the phone. The lady said to just park anywhere. Lucke had told us of a government dock where we could spend the night a little further up the Creek so we continued in to check it out. We passed Lucke's catamaran and another when a lady popped up and said "Go State" in response to our Michigan State Flag flying below our Bahamian courtesy flag. As I chatted with her we went aground. According to the chart we were in 7 feet of water but our sounder said 3.5. On the starboard side of the boat there appeared to be about 6 feet of water, but on the port side there was about 3 feet. We couldn't move. There was no kedging to be done because the bottom is rock covered with an inch of sand. There wasn't enough wind to raise a sail to heel us a little either.
With low tide an hour away we didn't have any choice but to stay where we were until there was enough water to float us off. Lucke came over in his dinghy and we went in to look at the government dock. There was a lot of water, but no cleats to tie to. Back onboard, I lowered the dinghy and dropped the motor in place with Kathy's help. Then I drove up to chat with "Night Hawk" and "Perseverance II" to tell them that we were just going to sit until the tide changed.
By then it was about low tide. We hadn't eaten much today and we had the time, so I made beef stew with dumplings which turned out quite well even though I used canned beef. I went over to the government dock to attach some lines to rocks, pipes cemented into the ground and old rerod protruding from the crumbling wall while Kathy talked to Abby, Jake and Sam.
Fur hours later, as I was preparing to run over to pick up Tom and Barry help us tie to the wall, Lucke came over and pushed us off with his dinghy. He deposited his wife Karen on the wall and then prepared to use his dinghy as a tug pushing us sideways if necessary. We were with the current which is usually not the thing to do but in this case there was no choice. On the first attempt we ended up too far from the wall and had to come around again. We went a little further up stream on the second attempt and slid slowly next to the other boats on the wall until we reached our spot and then tucked in behind a little power boat. I put the engine in reverse at about 1500 rpms to stop us while Kathy and Karen secured the lines. We were there. We thanked Henry and Karen (Lucke is their last name) who invited us over when we were properly tied and fendered.
As the sun set on Fresh Creek, we dinghied over to the marina to chat with our friends there and then on to "Phoenix" to drop off a pint of maple syrup to Henry and Karen for their assistance. We stayed for an hour or so to chat. They used to have a place in Michigan up by Kalkaska.
By the time we returned to the boat it was time for an episode of "House" and then to bed. Tomorrow we'll be crossing the Tongue of the Ocean and about 30 miles of the Great Bahama Banks to get over to the Exumas.
Last day in Morgan's Bluff
December 28th. Our last day at. Morgan's Bluff, Andros, Bahamas
Tom came over this morning to listen to Cruiseheimer's at 8:30 and then stayed for the Tech. net that follows. I downloaded the GRIB files to check out the forecast wind for the next few days and everything looked fine.
Then I spent the majority of the morning fishing. Although I hooked a few edible panfish, I didn't land any. The ultra light rod that I was using didn't have enough set to get the hook stuck in their mouths.
After lunch we walked the beach with Barry and Susan to get a little exercise. When we returned to the boat, we decided to look around for another lobster. I got the mask and fins on and pulled Kathy in the dinghy with the look bucket. In about 30 minutes we found one and after a couple of dives had enough for supper.
Later I tried to catch some bait fish to drag behind out boat tomorrow but failed miserably. Barry was catching them hand over fist right next to us, but I didn't ever have a bite.
We boiled the lobsters, cut them up and put them in the refrigerator to cool. Then, we made a salad and put a layer of chopped lobster on the top. Sorry.but it was wonderful with a buttermilk ranch dressing.
Video before bed as usual. and we set the alarm for 5:30 to travel.
PS.our radio email address is firstname.lastname@example.org We'd like to hear from everyone but please keep things a little short..no photos, jokes etc.
PPSS. Ellie we need you to research how to call London from the Bahamas. We have your sisters' phone numbers but don't know the prefixs.. no internet here. thanks
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.