02/28/2009, George Town, Great Exuma
Feb 27... George Town, Exuma
Happy Birthday Abby. (and thanks for the cold you left me.) We both woke up today under the weather. The wind was still blowing between 25 and 30 knots but gradually moderated during the day. Kathy stayed in bed for a while and I read in the cockpit with coffee. After a couple of hours she was feeling well enough to join me and began working on a weaving project. We saw a big sea turtle swimming by the boat-where was he when the kids were here?
I cut up some vegetables for a soup and got them on the stove. By about noon it was time to head across the harbor for a load of water and a little grocery shopping. We are thinking about returning to Thompson's Bay tomorrow if the weather cooperates, but we need to have all tanks topped off before we depart.
The return trip was a soaker but I had changed into a wet swim suit so there was no permanent damage. After transferring the water I was off again for a second load. On my return, I read for an hour or so before jumping into the next trip.
I filtered 10 gallons of diesel into our tank, and filled the generator and outboard with gasoline before making the third trip of the day to haul a load of fuel.
We had leftover pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, and green beans for dinner and spent the evening watching "Planet Earth."
Feb 26... George Town, Exuma
(I'm sorry for getting a little behind in our posting. With Abby and Jake here we were just too busy to be searching for signal to get our blogs out.)
We spent the morning listening to nets and reading. At 10am I went ashore to a seminar on making conch horns but didn't really learn anything that I didn't already know. I returned and finished our new horn with the dremel.
The wind is still blowing at 25 knots here which makes travel by dinghy difficult. Most of the afternoon was spent reading. I did make another conch horn after I finished my book and then transferred the water that we keep in jerry cans. I decided to make a run to George Town for a load of water. The trip over was fine but getting back was wet...by the time I returned the dinghy was half full of water and I was soaked.
We transferred the water, but still need at least two trips to top off our tank. The winds are supposed to diminished tomorrow afternoon so we'll be able to make another run then.
Feb 25... George Town, Exuma
We were up at 4:30 for coffee. Jake, Abby and I were in the dinghy at 5:20 for the trip across the harbor. We bagged up the luggage but the trip was with the wind and waves so we arrived at the dock completely dry. Clifford of taxi 16 was waiting for us so we quickly said our good-byes and they were off. They had been gone for about 2 hours when we saw dolphins swimming around the boat-where have they been? Why do they wait until the company is gone?
I waited about 40 minutes for daylight before I set out on my return trip. The dinghy was so lightly loaded that I could stay on top of most of the waves... hanging on for dear life as I blasted by way back.
We spoke with "Veranda" during the morning and ended up joining them ( along with Far Niente, Alibi Two, and My Destiny) for a hike on the southern end of Stocking Island. Di promised to teach the ladies how to weave palm fronds so we got a good lesson from her about the proper fronds to gather on our walk.
We returned for a late lunch and read for a couple of hours before returning to Sand Dollar Beach for weaving lessons. The snacks were great as usual and by the time we got back, decided to forego dinner.
Feb 24... George Town, Exuma
The wind blew all night and although we didn't know it at the time, there were quite a few boats dragging anchor in the harbor. Most of them were packed in close to shore and probably didn't have enough scope on their rodes.
We were fine, bouncing a little but nothing uncomfortable. Abby made blueberry muffins for breakfast but most of the morning was spent on crosswords and reading. Before lunch Jake and I took the dinghy across the harbor in some large waves but since we were going with the wind, stayed dry. The lighter that we use to start our oven, one of the long ones, died this morning and the oven is useless without it. We also have decided to purchase Bahamas chips for the phones that the kids used in London so that mom and Anne, and later Ellie and Matt will have phones when they arrive.
We stopped at the grocery and found some gook looking broccoli and fresh mushrooms. Our trip back was not dry. In fact we were both soaked by the time we made it back. After rinsing off we had some soup for lunch and relaxed for a couple of hours. About 3pm we took the dinghy to St. Francis which is a nearby resort and met Tom and Susan from "Brilliant" who were there working on the computer.
They are leaving tomorrow for a week back in Mass. Unfortunately, their flight is about an hour later than Jake and Abby's. We talked about trying to share taxi fares but decided that it was cutting things a little short.
Back at the boat we put together a meal of beef and noodles and broccoli that was simple but really hit the spot. We were going to play another game of euchre but by the time the kids got their stuff packed, it was time for bed.
Feb 23... George Town, Exuma
I spoke with Nancy of "Solitaire" briefly on Cruiseheimers... It was nice to catch up with their progress. We made pancakes and sausage for breakfast and then I took the dinghy down to Sand Dollar Beach to visit "Veranda" whom we haven't seen since North Carolina. They were heading out to do some hunting so I returned to have some lunch and pick up Jake and some snorkel gear.
It was fun for Jake to get in the water one last time but he didn't see anything to shoot. Bill got a small lobster so the trip wasn't a total wash out.
Later we went ashore to the Chat and Chill. Karen was cutting hair today so Kathy spent most of the afternoon in line. Jake played some volleyball and I got roped into a bridge game. We had a nice afternoon and then returned to the boat for dinner.
We marinated some pork tenderloins which we had with green beans and mashed potatoes. We played a few games of euchre until it got to be Abby's bed time.
Thompson's Bay, Long Island to Georgetown, Exuma February 22, 2009
After coffee Jake took the rental car back to Fox's and I picked him up at a dock in that area. We said good bye to Barry and Susan and stopped by "Fine Lion" to touch base with Steve before weighing anchor for the trip back to Georgetown. The weather during the next few days is questionable and we wanted to make sure we were close enough to the airport that we could deliver Jake and Abby when the time came.
Although we had the sails up there was only about 5 knots of wind directly behind us so the motor was running all day. It was an uneventful day motoring across the banks, the water never more than 12 feet. Jake and Abby stayed on the foredeck getting sun and we stayed in the shade as much as possible. With apparent wind at about 0... it was really hot. We looked forward to minor course changes that would give is a little breeze. Since the waters were almost calm, I went below and made lobster chowder for lunch which ended up being excellent.
We arrived at around 3pm, found a place to anchor off the south end of Volleyball beach and turned on the radio to listen to the Spartans. By the time the Badgers were defeated, it was time for something to eat so I went below and put together a some small pizzas.
We read for a while and then crashed.
Thompson's Bay, Long Island February 21, 2009
We were all up and in the dinghy headed for shore at 7:45. Fox's Auto, the car rental folks, were picking us up at 8:00 for the three mile ride to their junk yard. They were early by 3 minutes which has to be an all time Bahamian record.
There really aren't too many attractions in the north end of the island so we pointed the car south on the wrong side of the road and headed for the beach near the remains of the Diamond Crystal Salt Company. It took an hour and a half to get there but the beach was even better than the last time we visited. It is about 30 minutes off the road and the trails are nothing but rocks but the remoteness is what makes it so special.
After walking the beaches for an hour or so we retraced our steps back to Clarence Town and had a late breakfast at "Rowdy Boys". Rowdy Boys is a large construction company that is named for the owners three sons. As an after thought, they built a little resort with a very nice restaurant. We toured the town... which doesn't take long and then headed for the "Blue Hole." The Blue Hole was unfortunately covered with weed, due to the wind direction. It was a little disappointing.
We took some back roads to the ocean side that were a little risky but never really had any problems. Jake did find a sea bean on one of the beaches and I found a couple of different shells.
We stopped at Max's Conch Bar for a Conch salad and beer for lunch and continued north back to Salt Pond where we went in to "Island Breeze" where we found Steve, Barry , and Susan on the computer. Michael and Jackie were glad to see us and we spent a couple of hours there before heading for the grocery and then back to the beach.
There was a party on the beach at 5pm so Kathy mixed up some salsa and we took along a bag of chips. We met some folks there who kept their boat at "Whitehall Landing" which is the marina where we kept our first boat. Although we didn't really know them from Whitehall, her brother Joe was a good friend of ours.
Back at the boat we watched some video and Abby made a couple of batches of popcorn. Actually, we're still arguing about this one, Mike says Jake made the popcorn.
Our guests arrive!
02/21/2009, George Town to Long Island
February 20th, 2009 Hog Cay to Thompson's Bay Long Island
Before we left this morning Jake and I joined Barry and Susan in searching for a spear that had jumped out of their yesterday afternoon. We traced their movement as well as Barry could remember them but came up empty. Luckily he has two back-ups.
We were all tired of rolling side to side and got the anchor up about 8. It was a twenty mile trip south to Thompson's Bay. There was no wind and Jake and Abby spent most of the time on the foredeck getting some sun and watching the bottom for starfish, coral heads, and the occasional fish. The water was never over 14 feet deep and most of the time was closer to 8 feet. We had left without breakfast so Jake and Kathy whipped up some bagels and cream cheese on the way.
There were about 20 boats in the anchorage when we arrived a little after noon, but there is lots of room here for everyone. We anchored close to where we were located a couple of weeks ago where we visited here. There was still some Mac and Cheese left over for lunch which we had a little while later before getting our snorkeling stuff loaded into the dinghy.
It was about a 2 mile drive back to the mouth of the Bay where there were some likely looking rock formations. The water was roiled up some and it was a little hard to see but I did take a shot a nice grouper... only to miss. It was an easy shot and I have no idea how I could have missed. Jake had spent last evening with the fish book trying to learn which ones were good to eat and which ones to leave alone. He saw some nice ones today but didn't get any shooting.
After returning to "Sapphire" and showering on the foredeck with the solar shower, we read for a couple of hours and then motored over to a little tiki bar called "Parrots" for hamburgers for dinner.
It was dark when we returned. Jake and Abby crashed almost immediately. Kathy read and I tried to get this blog caught up a little. It's hard with company to take the time to type up the days events and get them posted.
February 19th, 2009 George Town to Hog Cay, Long Island
After the weather we packed up and by about 8am had the anchor up and were on our way out of the George Town. The cut into the sound was rough but when we got out to deep water, things smoothed down. We sailed with a double reefed main and jib most of the way but added sail as the wind steadily lost its push. Although the conditions were poor, the fishing was terrible. Neither Barry or I had a bite until we hit shallow water and Jake picked up a Barracuda.
We anchored in Hog Cay around noon and had some lunch before shortly after. Then dropped the dinghy into the water and loaded up with snorkel gear. We toured Joe's Sound for a while but it was high tide and the flats were under water so we couldn't see much.
Then we stopped a small reef to let Jake and Abby snorkel. We had a great time swimming through the coral and checking out all the fish. Abby got a little cold after a while (water temps were 76) but Jake was hard to get out of the water. Returning to the boat we read for a while before boiling some Lobster for dinner. There were some left- over ocean swells making their way into the anchorage which made for an uncomfortable night with Sapphire rolling side to side.
February 18th, 2009 George Town, Exumas
After coffee Jake and I went to shore for a load of water and returned to make some breakfast. With the water mostly loaded and the boat picked up a little we went to shore to wander around town giving Abby and Jake a feel for the town. We bought a loaf of homemade coconut bread, went to the bank and picked up a couple of items at the grocery.
We returned to the boat and had some lunch and loaded the remaining water. At about 2 we dinghied across the harbor to the Chat and Chill. It didn't take long for either Abby or Jake to feel at home in the shade of Casuarina trees.
I played a few hands of bridge but mostly we just sat in the shade and chatted with friends.
On our return Jake and I made another water run before thinking about dinner. We had Mahi fingers for dinner with some left over Mac and Cheese and then watched an episode of "House" before going to bed.
Feb 17th... George Town, Exumas
The wind came up in the night and we were rocking and rolling again. After coffee, we started cleaning and cooking. I made a batch of brownies in the morning and then in the afternoon, I put together Bahamian Mac and cheese and a tuna seviche.
Kathy cleaned everything... Sapphire hasn't been this clean in a long time.
At about 5 pm I took the dinghy to shore to pick up Jake and Abby who arrived shortly after. We got a little wet getting back to the boat but nothing like Sam's trip last year.
We had dinner and talked for a while afterward. At about 7pm our friends Barry, Susan, Kim and Steve braved the waves come over to meet Abby and Jake and say good bye to Kim who is flying to Colorado in the morning. It was cold, but we had a nice time as always.
Hog Cay, Long Island
At 8am this morning I was off to "Brilliant" to collect Tom and Susan for our fishing tournament. Barry left both his and Steve's dinghies there to make fishing easier from their boats. We got our anchors up almost immediately and were headed for deep water about 2 miles away. There was a $6 per boat entry fee. Largest fish and most fish split the pot. Barracuda's didn't count.
Once in about 200 feet of water we followed the drop off north to the end of the island and then continued north out the beyond Cape Santa Maria. There were probably about 6 other fishing vessels in the area and some of them were catching fish. We however, came up empty. We did land a Barracuda and found some real promising mats of weeds but couldn't catch anything for supper.
We trolled around most of the morning without success and finally headed back to the anchorage around 1pm. The other boats came back empty as well so there were no losers.
After returning Tom and Susan to their boat we had some lunch and I got the snorkel gear out and checked the bottom of our boat. I found some twine wrapped around our prop shaft and took care of that. There were a few very small barnacles on the prop that I scraped off as well. I wiped down the water line but the bottom was amazingly clean.
We spent the rest of the afternoon reading and baked some chicken for dinner before watching an episode of "Cold Case".