Mike and Kathy
03/17/2009, Thompson Bay, Long Island
March 16th Thompson's Bay, Long Island
After coffee I headed to the fuel dock in Salt Pond to pick up a couple jerry cans of diesel and one of gasoline. Since I was there, I loaded 15 gallons of water as well. It was a slow trip back with about 300 pounds of liquids but I got there eventually.
While I was gone Kathy made arrangements for a rental car. Fox Auto picked us up at 11:30 and after completing the paperwork, we headed south. Our first stop was the bank a few miles to the south. We've received notice that our bank cards have been somehow compromised... not here but back in the States, and we needed to make a with drawel before new cards are issued.
We went to Max's Conch bar for lunch and ended up staying there talking to some folks who are in the process of building a home here.
The remainder of the afternoon was spent touring the northern end of the island. We drove up to the Columbus Monument and Santa Maria Bay.
We returned to the boat around 5pm and had some pork fried rice for dinner....
Mac and Cheese....
Boil macaroni and then let cool.... Usually about two or three cups dry.
Chop and sauté one medium onion and a green pepper. ...I always add some type of hot pepper as well which usually means that I chop about 8 jalapeno rings.
Grate about one pound of cheese... good cheddar is the best but here we use the yellow stuff.
Mix up two eggs ....and stir in one can of evaporated milk.
Combine the macaroni, cheese (reserve a little for the top) and vegetables and transfer everything to a 9 by 13 baking pan that is well greased.
Pour the custard mixture over the mac and cheese mixture.
My best guess that it cooks for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees....when it's about half done and the custard is cooking through, I add the reserved cheese to the top and then sprinkle about half cup of bread crumbs on top of that.
This is a combo of about 3 different recipes-feel free to experiment.
March 15, 2009 Thompson's Bay, Long Island
Since we have decided to stay here, we slept in until 7:00, (actually, Mike did not get up until almost 8:00-unheard of!) and did not get up to listen to weather. The weather will be.
We read, did crossword puzzles, etc. until Mike decided we should take the Windbugger propeller to shore to paint it, and then go hiking to look for the "proper" palm fronds for weaving. We also needed a good walk. The walk to telephone pole 108 is about a mile and the walk to the ocean is about the same, so it is a nice hike. The lost, or maybe not, goats bleat at you as you walk through the woods. It was pretty hot today in the stillness of the woods, but we found some great palm fronds and a great ocean breeze to cool us off before our hike back.
Mike retrieved the propeller, which was "almost" dry and we dinghied back to Sapphire to have some lunch. If anyone were watching, they may have wondered at the man holding a propeller up in the air in his dinghy-does that help balance?, gain speed?...hmmm. No, it just wasn't dry.
After lunch, Kathy worked on polishing the stainless (which does rust) for hours, while Mike cooked some pork, that needed to be cooked, into pork-fried rice. That is for lunch tomorrow because tonight he is cooking some Mahi and has made some into seviche-YUM. We had dinner in near darkness in the cockpit, and then watched the shuttle launch. It mainly looked like a REALLY bright cloud from here, but it was still very cool. (Still, not as cool as seeing it close.)
March 14, 09 Thompson's Bay, Long Island
Sorry, sorry, sorry, about not being diligent about Davey's birthday. I have been negligent about the proof reading and I always add the birthdays. It is all my fault. I have received two (expensive) phone calls to chastise me for my negligence. (I also think I missed Pam and Carter's birthdays-sorry)
We were up at 6:30 for the weather and got the boat ready for travel. Kathy leaned down to start the engine as I went forward to hoist the anchor. For some reason I went back to the cockpit and we decided to stay here for the weekend. We have four or five repairs to make and it may be best to just get them done.
Kathy started cleaning and cleaning and cleaning ...and I removed everything from the Lazarette, sorting things that hadn't been used in a while, throwing away some junk, and organizing others. (Kathy takes over) We glued the broken part of the Windbugger propeller together, which took a long time. (I am not sure if Mike told about the Windbugger coming unhooked and blasting itself around the boat and one part into Elizabeth Harbor, where he jumped in the dinghy to rescue one half of one half of the propeller blades.? I must add that we are lucky some part did not go through our dodger!)
We finished our work in time to listen to the abysmal Michigan State game. I'm sure we should have just kept working. We listened to some of the Purdue/Illinois game, until we were sure of the winner, and then watched a few episodes of the last season of the "Sopranos".
March 13, 09 Thompson's Bay, Long Island
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVEY!!!!!!
After breakfast we headed to Salt Pond, which is the name of the settlement here, to get rid of some garbage and to do a little grocery shopping. It is about 3 miles away by dinghy, but with the wind out of the east it's not a bad trip.
Or plan was to stop by Long Island Breeze for a pizza to take back to the boat for the game but their power had been out and the cook had been sent home until noon.
We returned to "Sapphire" for the pre game show. It was the Spartans first B 10 Tourney game. The game was close for the first half but they got it together for the final 20 minutes and slowly pulled away for the win.
Kathy worked on the dishes while I lined all the necessary clamps and tools to glue the wind bugger's propeller back together. It took all four of our hands but the glue job went well and seems at this point to be a success.
While on deck I working I noticed that the SSB antenna was disconnected. With further examination, the wire that attaches the antenna to the tuner was corroded to the breaking point on bottom end and had come detached at the top. With a little work we had things back together in better shape that they've been in a while.
We listened to more Basketball during our afternoon work projects but a dark we lost our satellite feed.
I made sweet and sour pork for dinner which was a little different but tasted ok...
Back in Thompson's Bay
Dear Carol.et al.
There are a number of excuses for the recent neglect of our blog. First is that in George Town, with 300 boats at anchor, it is difficult to for our radio to "get out." I think that the sheer number of masts tends obstruct our connection.
The real problem though it that the USB ports on this computer are so sloppy that it is difficult to get a good connection between the SSB and the Lap top. When the connection is lost the machine crashes and we have to restart which takes about 5 minutes.
I'm thinking that we need a new computer but it would be so low on our priority list that it probably won't happen. I wish that Kathy would take an interest but that isn't going to happen either.
The other problem is that our internet antenna isn't working. So when we're in sight of wifi stations we can't pick them up with enough strength to get on line.
Anyway. I'll try a little harder to get things out quicker.
3/12/09 Hog Cay to Thompson's Bay, Long Island
At around 8am we said good bye Steve and Scott, who were staying here for a couple of days to do some diving and bone fishing, and headed south to Thompson's Bay. More than anything, we need to get a propane tank filled or soon all our meals will be cooked on the grill.
Leaving the anchorage we hoisted both the mizzen and the main for the drive east a couple of miles to the waypoint where we would turn south. Once there we rolled out the jib and took off.. From a mostly horizontal position, I made the command decision to switch to the staysail which made the difference.. We were up-right again and sailing at 7 knots.
We had a great sail south along the Island with over 20 knots of wind and no sea-state. I have found however that when sailing into the wind with the staysail instead of the jib, it's important to reef the main at least once. The full main and mizzen tend to over power the staysail and there is a tendency toward weather helm and some crabbing. We actually go faster with less sail..
Arriving about noon we put the boat back in order, dropped the dinghy, and then I ran the into Salt Pond to drop off the propane tank which we will pick up Monday or Tuesday.
During the afternoon we listened to the Big 10 Basketball tourney and finished the books that we've been reading.
Our anchorage here is huge and the six of eight boats present when we arrived were spaced so that each had a measure of privacy. Three of four boats arrived after us and positioned themselves similarly. Our new neighbors however, decided that they liked the area right next to us. They pulled in and dropped anchor about one boat-length away.. As their rode played out they were not dangerously close, but close enough that we could hear them talking in their cockpit.
So people just don't get it. everyone here has 100 yard spacing except for us.
3/11/09 Conception Island to Hog Cay, Long Island
We left Conception about 8am on a course to the south east to hit Long Island about 5 miles south of the cape. We've caught tuna in that area and will have lots of time to make our anchorage this afternoon. A ten mile diversion is no problem.
About half way across the 15 mile channel Steve radioed to say that Scott had boated one Mahi and lost another bigger one that they couldn't turn.
We were skunked until we got the Long island and turned north following the drop off to Cape Santa Maria. The reel started singing and I saw a fish jump twice off our stern. I was hoping for a tuna. Kathy took over the helm and in about 20 minutes we had what we could now see was another bull Mahi next to the boat. Kathy took the rod while I got the gaff into the fish and into the boat without any of the problems for a change.
About four miles north of the Cape we had another hit, on a hand line this time, but before I could grab it the bungee stretched to the max and the 100 lb test snapped.
Turning the corner and heading south on the east side of Long Island just off our anchorage we hooked another fish. The drag on the reel clicked for about one second and stopped. Then, while I was watching, it clicked again for another second before stopping. I picked up the reel to check and whatever was on the other end took off and never looked back. There was nothing I could do to stop turn it with the tackle aboard. I might be prudent to invest in a larger rig before we make this trip again.
I cleaned our catch on our way into our anchorage at Hog Cay. We were the only boat there and we spent the remainder of the afternoon reading. I needed to make some room in the freezer for today's catch so we got two huge chicken breasts out for dinner. I ended up browning them and then making a sauce with the drippings, flour, a little rum, the juice of one lemon and chicken stock. After dumping the sauce on the chicken I popped it into the over for about 30 minutes. Finally, I added a can of artichoke hearts and put it back into the over for about 20 minutes. WE let it cool in the oven for another 20 minutes while Kathy put together a Caesar salad. We ended up with a great . non-fish meal, the first in a long time.
March 10th Conception Island, Bahamas
We took off about 10 am to explore the island and check out some of the many coral heads. There is a creek that opens up the middle of the island but we were too close to low tide to enter. After lunch we hiked to the ocean side of the island for awhile and then just sat on the beach talking to Steve and Scott.
Steve baked some vegetables and Mahi in parchment and steamed a couple large lobsters for dinner. I put together some Bahamian Mac and Cheese. It was a feast..again.
Scott caught a nice fish as we were leaving..but after getting the hook out it flopped back in water. I think that it was a Mutton snapper and would have been perfect in the freezer.
It is beautiful here . and not too crowded. When we arrived we were the eighth boat and two more arrived today. There are tropic birds everywhere here as well lots of sea turtles. Conception is uninhabited is being preserved as a park so hopefully it will retain its character.
March 9th George Town to Conception Island
We were up at 6:30 listening to Chris Parker and then had some breakfast. Our anchor was up by 8:30 and we made our way south toward the south cut. It was a little rough in the cut as always bout once we got into deeper water it smoothed out. This was to be a fishing trip primarily so instead of heading a little north to make the most of the wind, I headed south east and followed the break between the Sound and the Banks trying to stay in about 200 feet of water. We motored sailed and fished all the way to Cape Santa Maria on the north end of Long Island with only one hit and no fish.
Off the Cape the water is about 150 feet surrounded by depths of up to 4000 feet and the fishing is usually excellent. Our plan was to fish there during the afternoon and then drop back down to Hog Cay for the evening.
However, while fishing a few miles north of the Cape, Steve called with the idea of sailing over to Conception Island instead. We spent a few minutes setting a new course and set out on the 15 mile trip.
The ride was uneventful until we were about 3 miles off Conception. One of our hand lines hooked up and the fight was on. It was immediately evident that whatever was on the other end was the largest fish that I had ever attempted to land on a hand line in the ocean. I was using new 100lb test mono tied to a stiff rubber bungee at the boat. Once I started to bring it in however, my arm soon became the bungee. I had Kathy drop the engine to neutral and point us off the wind to head back to fish a little. After a while I worked the line forward around the stays until I was amid ship and in a position to gaff the fish.
Kathy cleared the cockpit and removed the cushions while I worked the fish toward the boat hand over hand. At about 20 yards I saw the tail and knew that it was a nice Mahi. It made a couple of runs when it saw the boat taking line through my fingers. Eventually I decided that I had to wrap the mono around my hands and then pull, gathering about 3 feet at a crack. Finally with line wrapped around my left hand I was able to get the gaff into its head and started to lift it into the cockpit. Unfortunately it was too long. Its head was above the dodger and its tail was flopping on the deck. I had no choice but to lower it back into the water and try again. When it hit the water it took off with the line still around wrapped around my hand and almost pulled me over. Luckily, I grabbed that hand hold on the dodger and kept my balance. I got the fish back and gaffed it again and this time shortened my hold on the gaff. I lifted it out of the water for the second time above my head and was able to kick the lower half of its body into the cockpit.
After a liberal dose of rum to the gills, it stopped flopping and we could get under way with the clean up. There was blood everywhere. After a few buckets of sea water the decks were mostly clear and we could relax.
The Bull Mahi measured 55 inches and was 16 inches tall at the shoulder. As we motored into the anchorage we got our fishing lines put away and the sails down. There were six boats in the anchorage but there was lots of room for a few more. After getting the anchor firmly into the sand we grabbed the knives and hauled the mahi to the foredeck where we have a hose for cleaning up. It was easily the largest fish I've ever cleaned and the fillets were huge. In order to get them skinned I had to cut each fillet in two lengthways so that my knife would reach.
There was still quite a bit of meat on the carcass so I went to work and ended up with a meal of Mahi fingers and enough scraps for fishing.
Steve and Scott joined us for an excellent dinner of Mahi fingers, broccoli with pecans and some rice.
Before bed we watched the last installment of "Planet Earth."
After coffee I went over to "Fine Lion" to hang out with the boys and check out the new fishing equipment that Scott had brought along. Steve was overloaded with lures and insisted that I take a few back to "Sapphire".
At about 10:30 I headed across the harbor to George Town to pick up some groceries before the market closed at noon and returned for the MSU pre-game show. We had a great time listening to the game, which the Spartans won going away, and then listened to the post game celebration. Kathy and I were sitting in the cockpit with tears as the seniors were honored and the Big 10 Championship Banner was raised to the rafters.
I made some beef stew for dinner and we listened to Northwestern play Ohio State. Steve came over later and we made plans to leave in the morning.
March 7th George Town, Exumas
At 10 this morning the "Coconut Harvest" (another Regatta Week event) was to be held in the cove behind the Chat and Chill. Each team consists of four people and four swim fins in a dinghy. The object is paddle across the cove, collect as many floating coconuts as possible, and they paddle back. There were about 50 dinghies involved and the cove is packed with moored sailboats. It was interesting but we decided that it was obviously a spectator sport for us.
While ashore, I was asked to stop by "Nellie Bly" to play some music in the afternoon which I did and had a very nice time. We returned to the Chat and Chill later in the afternoon and met Scott (Steve's son from Annapolis) and Steve for dinner and a beer. The place was empty for a change and quite enjoyable
March 6th Georgetown, Exumas
After breakfast we headed to the trail on the south end of Stocking Island to gather palm fronds. It seems that the ones that she has been using are the wrong variety. We spent an hour or so searching but eventually found some looked to be the species.
There was a call for volunteers to help set up for the evening's festivities so I went in to the Chat and Chill at 10am to help out. I ended up stringing up Christmas Lights between the stage and some of the nearby Casuarina trees. The job took longer than it should have. but in the end everything worked out.
We missed the pet parade at 3pm but were back on shore about 4pm for the "NO Talent" Variety show. It consisted of about 20 acts of all kinds, most of which were hilarious. There was a beach dance later. Both were well attended. We ended up back on the boat about 8pm and watched a couple episodes of "Planet Earth."
March 5th George Town, Exumas
We spent most of the morning reading and weaving but after lunch went to shore with the idea of playing some music. As things turned it was registration day for the Regatta and there were speakers set up with music all afternoon so I didn't even get the guitar out. We sat around most of the afternoon talking to Tom and Susan and Kathy got some weaving lessons from Sharon from "About Time." Back on the Boat she spent the remainder of the afternoon weaving and I didn't do much of anything.