Black Point to Little Farmers
January 9th. Black Point to Little Farmers Cay
At 4am there was a clatter on the foredeck that woke me with a start.It wasn't a small clatter. Looking out one of the forward hatches, I could see that the Windbugger's bottom lines had detached. I grabbed them to stabilize the machine but couldn't hold on. I went on deck to find the Windbugger still attached by the halyard at the top but flying crazily in the 16 knot wind.
After a few tries I was able to grab the thing, avoiding the four foot wooden propeller blade that was still doing its best to create some power. Holding the thing in one hand I had to back up about 8 feet to remove the sail cover from the main in order to reach the cleat on which the halyard was secured.
If things weren't bad enough the wind had switched during the evening to the northwest from which we have no protection in Black Point. The boat was rolling and it was difficult to move on deck without holding on to something stationary. It took what seemed to be forever, but was probably only about 30 seconds, to get halyard off the cleat and finally lower the Windbugger to the deck.
Although I went back to bed. the boat was rocking enough that I didn't get much more sleep.
In the morning after the weather report I found some new line and repaired the down- hauls that had chaffed through causing the problem.
At about 10 am "Sapphire" and Night Hawk" left the anchorage and sailed the 12 miles south to Little Farmers Cay in about 14 knots of wind. "Fine Lion" left a little later but arrived at the same time. Go figure. We anchored on the lea side of the island about 200 yards off shore.
Steve had called the marina to see if they had any gasoline (we all were in need of about 5 gallons) so we set out around the south end to the island to explore. There were no boats at the marina and we had to go out back to the above ground tanks to get fuel. The owner crawled under the tank with a 3.5 gallon plastic jug and filled it. Then he crawled back out to transfer the fuel to our jerry cans. It took awhile.
The marina was very nice by Exuma standards with a small bar, billiards room and beautiful dining room. All they needed was some business.
We motored back to Little Harbor and tied our dinghies to the main pier. Then wandered through the store and up the hill to Ocean Cabin to visit with Terry and Ernestine who own the restaurant and a few mooring balls in the harbor. We had a beer, chatted .. .and firmed up our dinner orders for later in the afternoon.
Then it was back to the boats to get cleaned up a little and waste some time until dinner.
When it was time to go we took the dinghies to shore and walked across the island to the restaurant which was about ½ mile at the most. We had all ordered Cracked Conch. and it was wonderful. Served with peas and rice and a side of slaw, everything tasted great. Terry entertained us after dinner for an hour or so (as only Terry can) before we headed back to the boats for the remainder of the evening.
January 8th. Black Point, Great Guana, Exumas
It was rainy in the morning so we worked on the computer for awhile. Between showers I fetched some water and continued filling our tank. Our water gauge doesn't work so we tore up the sole and traced all the voltages on the sending unit and found that it seems to be working. So it's the gauge that must be faulty.
(It's a 2.5 diameter Water Gauge made by Medallion. It simply says "Water" on the bottom of the dial and then an E..F gauge with an arrow. We are out of internet action for awhile but if any of you could find one. and get to Abby and Jake to bring down here. we would be forever in you debt.)
We went ashore after lunch and Kathy spent a couple of hours on the computer while I topped off our water tank. When I caught up with her at Lorraine's she was about finished but took off with Kim to take a tour of Lorraine's home.
On the way back to the dinghy we stopped at the store and purchased some frozen chicken, fish, eggs and a few other things.
We stopped by "Fine Lion" later and spent some time with them and where joined by Barry and Susan when they returned from town.
We baked some of our chicken for dinner and watched a move before bed.
Best view from a Beauty Shop
01/08/2009, Black Point, Great Guana Cay
January 7th... Black Point, Great Guana Cay, Exumas
The storm that was supposed to arrive today didn't ... It was another perfect day. We farted around this morning as usual wasting as much time as we could before doing something constructive. Eventually, I emptied the water in our jerry cans into our water tank and went to shore to refill them. I am not entirely sure if we are full yet so tomorrow I'll make the same trip.
One of two supply ships scheduled for today arrived this morning and we watched it being unloaded through the binoculars. At around noon we went ashore to the Laundromat to see Ida could cut Kathy's hair today and it was agreed that we would stop by after lunch.
Two doors down at Lorraine's we posted emails that were written earlier in the day and checked out our Blog to find that there are 4 or 5 days missing around New Years. I must have messed up with the radio system somehow. But in truth I don't have a clue.
We had lunch and attempted to fix the ice maker at Lorraine's,but it was too strange to deal with without tearing it totally apart and checking each circuit with a meter.
In the afternoon Barry and I went fishing ... with rods and reels yet, but didn't catch anything. I had two good hits but my hook was way too small for the bait.
With a rare west wind we are rolling quite a bit this evening... just on the edge of being uncomfortable.
We'll probably stay here one more day to check out the grocery and hit the internet one more time before the 10 mile hike down to Little Farmers Cay.
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.