Lost days and Muton Snapper
01/08/2009, Fresh Creek to Higborne Cay to Staniel Cay
We don't know how these didn't get out, but here they are. Sorry, we're in at Lorraine's and I forgot to bring the latitude and longitudes.
January 3rd, 2009 Big Majors Spot, Exumas
During the night it rained on and off but by daylight it poured in earnest. It was the single rainiest day we've had in the Bahamas. A squall would slide through about every 30 minutes dumping another half inch of rain in five minutes. Then the sun would pop through for a little while before the next deluge.
We spent the morning reading. I tried to come up with something to cook or bake but nothing sounded very good so I kept reading.
Steve stopped over on his way back from town to say that they were heading south today to get a change of scenery. We're planning on doing the same tomorrow and will catch up with them.
A little before noon Barry came over to see if I wanted to go lobster hunting and returned a few minutes later with Susan to pick me up. We snorkeled some perfect looking edges and rocks for a couple of hours without seeing a lobster. We did see some trigger fish that we should have shot for supper, but once you shoot fish it's best to move to another location. There are so many people passing through this anchorage that lobsters are just scarce.
We did get caught in a downpour while moving from one spot to another. It rained so hard that Barry and I put our masks on to be able to see through the pelting rain. Luckily there were no cameras.
As we returned to the boat "Perseverance II" was anchoring so we checked their anchor and Tom invited us over for snacks at 4:30. After a late lunch, I made a pesto-pizza and we headed back for a visit.
We returned to "Sapphire" around dark and listened to the Spartans beat Northwestern. Then was an episode of NCIS before bed.
January 2nd, 2009 Big Majors, Bahamas
The day dawned cloudy with occasional light showers. I checked the engine, as well as the jury rigged alternator mount and then added 10 gallons of diesel. Between squalls I took the dinghy to the marina to replenish the fuel and to pick up 5 gallons of gasoline. The diesel was $3.85 and the Gasoline was $3.89.
After returning to the boat we had some lunch and I worked at replacing the jerry cans and lashing them in place on the gunnels.
Then it was back to town to hike to the Baltelco office for more phone cards. The lights were on and the sign said "open" but the doors were locked and no one was around. We returned an hour later to find the same situation. It was probably just a long holiday weekend and they forgot to change the sign.
The clouds stuck around all day with intermittent showers but Steve from "Fine Lion" had advertised a gathering on the beach at 4pm so we headed to shore with our rain gear.
There was a good showing even if the weather was a marginal.
Snacks became supper...we watched some video and called it a day.
January 1st, 2009 New Year's Day Staniel Cay, Exumas
After coffee I took my new rod and reel over to "Night Hawk" to see if Barry could help me with setting the lever drag. It seemed to be stuck. With two of us playing with it, we had it operational in about 3 minutes. It was just stuck or jammed somehow.
Then I stopped by "Fine Lion" for a few minutes. They were spending the day with "Dragon Lady", assisting with the supervision of the folks replacing their props.
Steve was going to make some type of snubber for their chain (anchor rode) as well.
Back on "Sapphire" I checked the engine and specifically looked at our alternator mount which seemed loose. Sure enough, where the mount attaches to the engine, it was broken. The alternator fits in such a way that I can wire it in place as a temporary fix, until I can figure something else out.
At first I though I could just take it off when I get to "Georgetown" and track down a welder. Unfortunately, the mount appears to be cast and finding someone who can weld cast material out here will be impossible.
However, if it is cast, maybe we can jury rig things until we get back to the States and locate the exact mount.
I need to look at it again because there seems to be only one bolt holding the mount to the block and it is the corner of the mount with that bolt that broke. It would seem that there should be two bolts attaching the mount to the engine block, so maybe the first one worked its way out over the years putting too much strain on the second ... hence the break. If anyone has an excess of knowledge in this area.... please contact me at the winlink address.
We watched the sailing races during the morning and then headed in to the marina about noon. After lunch at the bar, we walked to one of the stores to check on propane. They were closed for the holiday. We checked out the airport and then took a road to the north. After a mile or so, it was apparent that we needed to take the same road back to town so we turned around. The land was mostly scrub with a few nice homes. We wandered through the town area ... which is a very loose term here, and found all three stores closed. The bread store was the only thing open.
The dingy was high and dry on the beach, the tide having gone out during our walk. Barry and I dragged it back to the water and we headed back to the boat. It was a nice afternoon so instead of going the normal way back, we went north past Club Thunderball and then around the east side of Big Majors Cay. There are no buildings on Big Majors, but there a few on the other islands in the area.
To get back to our anchorage, we passed through a cut that separated Big Majors from Fowl Cay. The cut was deep, but only about 25 feet wide. The ebb current there took more than half the power of our outboard just to mark time. We got through without incident and continued back to the boat.
Later we went over to "Night Hawk" for an hour or so before returning to cook supper...marinated pork tenderloin and sweet potatoes with a tossed salad.
December 31, 2008 Highborne Cay to Big Majors Spot.
Chris Parker is on vacation so we listen to the weather from BASRA (Bahamas Air and Sea Rescue) at 7am. A front had stalled over the Abacos so we were going to have a nice day... except for the lack of wind.
We left the anchorage at 8:30 for the 35 mile run down to Staniel Cay. There are sail races at Staniel on New Years and we wanted to see the Bahamians' sail.
We motored and motor-sailed most of the day arriving at about 3:30. While anchoring we saw "Fine Lion" nearby and called them when we were settled. They jumped in their dinghy and came over for a nice afternoon get-together. They wanted us to join them for New Year's Eve festivities ashore, but after three days of traveling we took a rain check.
I soaked some black beans last night and had spent most of the morning cooking them with some ham hocks and seasoning. We were both looking forward to black beans and rice for dinner. Before she left, Kim mentioned cornbread so, I made a batch with the idea of cooking it on the stove in a cast-iron skilled if the oven failed. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that the oven worked better than ever. It just took longer to get going. (The mercury sensor that controls the amount of propane that gets sent to the burner takes longer to warm up...it could be positioning but I'm not touching it again)
We had a great meal and fireworks in the distance. Indiana Jones was on tap for video.
December 30th.... Fresh Creek to Highborne Cay
We were up at 5am for coffee and some sitting time before daylight. Then we secured the dinghy and began the process of disengaging us from the wall. Lines were running everywhere and it took about 30 minutes to get ourselves unleashed. The tide was coming in so we shoved "Sapphire's" nose into the current and we were off for the Exumas, a ten hour sail to the east.
We cleared the entrance without mishap and dialed in a course of 92 degrees. Next we got all three of our lines in the water... and waited... all day for a bite.
We sailed the first 20 miles but when we hit the banks the wind died and clocked so high that we started the engine and hauled in our fishing lines... nothing but barracuda here.
Kathy warmed up some stew for lunch and we spent a relaxing afternoon on the water.
We spoke to "Tilt" on the radio. They were on an overnight run from Lucaya bound for Highborne too. So when we arrived in the anchorage we made sure to buzz them to say hi.
A day at the beach
01/07/2009, Black Point, Great Guana Cay
January 6th... Black Point, Great Guana, Exmuas
In the morning we headed into the Laundromat which has a dock about 100 yards from our anchorage. While Kathy worked the clothes, I filled some water containers, got rid of the trash and then picked up Barry for a hike to the Baltelco office for some prepaid minutes for our cell. We stopped at Lorraine's to let her know that we had a group of about 8 for a late lunch.
When the laundry was finished we had a quick bite to eat and then were off for a beach walk with "Night Hawk", "Fine Lion", and "Draggin' Lady". It was a beach with Iguanas everywhere which was a little disconcerting. We took the dinghies out the cut into the sound to check out the current and then on our way pack explored a creek that worked its way through the mangroves back to the sound as well. It was reasonably close to town and there were a number of old derelict boats on the rocky shore line.
We had to leave the dinghies and walk the last 100 yards or so out to the sound to check out the junk that had washed up over the last few weeks. Finding no treasures, we headed back to the dinghies and the ride back to the boat.
After a short rest it was time to head in for lunch and the first internet access we'd seen in almost three weeks. It was about 4pm by the time we ate and 5 by the time we read all our emails.
We will try to write up some responses to our emails tonight and get them out tomorrow.
At 6pm the pre game came on and we listened to Gus and Will. We sat in the cockpit for the first half with a moon so bright that you could see the bottom of the bay as clear as day. It was a great evening...
From Lorraine's Cafe
01/06/2009, Black Point, Great Guana Cay
January 5th... White Bay to Black Point, Exumas
During the middle of the morning we weighed anchor and moved about a mile to some rocks and coral heads that we'd seen on our way into White Bay. We spent the remainder of the morning hunting for fish and lobsters. I was at a little disadvantage because we don't have a good enough dinghy anchor for diving in 10 to 14 feet of water. My choices are either to tie off Barry and Susan's dinghy or tie a line from our dinghy around my waist and haul it around.
Barry found a nice crab that I ended up shooting but for the most part he and Steve did the majority of the damage on lobsters. We did see lots of sharks and even skipped on a coral head because of them.
After a few hours, we returned to our boats weighed anchor again and sailed north 3 miles to Black Point where we anchored to get as much protection from the south west as possible. There is a front on its way that will probably roll us around for a while with west winds.....where we have no protection.
Susan came over to put together dinner plans...lobster, pasta, and a salad, and then we were off to dive the edges of Dotham cut which is to the north of our anchorage about a mile. The area is close to town as well as our anchorage, and is a popular place to snorkel. So it follows that we didn't see much of interest.
We returned about 3:30 to shower and put together dinner and then convened on "Fine Lion" for a lobster (and crab) feast.
As usual we watched some video before going to bed.
ps...The air temperature is around 82F most of the time and the water temp is 74F. The water is clear to 20 feet and the sky is usually blue with a few puffy clouds.