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Serendipity's Journeys
Slow Day
Mar/16/2013, Thompson Bay, Long Island

Well, the many varieties of medicinal bush tea I tried yesterday have certainly cured whatever ailed me and a lot more besides! I begged out on the morning walk and puttered around, alternating lying down with trying to finally finish the gerry jug set up on the starboard lines. Drilled the holes in the "plasteak" board with our trusty cordless drill. Hmmm. The attachments.. Thought about trying to make it look really professional with nylon sail webbing and buckles, and finally decided, you know, I need the sail webbing for new sail ties, and a bowline with a triple half hitch horizontal and vertical will work just fine. A bit clutzy looking but simple and effective. All done now, unless my architect husband feels it needs aesthetic renovation.

Dinghied into the settlement at Salt Pond to fill up diesel and water jugs. Water here is relatively inexpensive- 30 cents a gallon for reverse osmosis water. We were surprised to see that we had used nearly 75% of our full 100 gallon tank in the last 10 days, so Lee made a second run, as we can only carry 28 gallons of water in our gerry cans.

We were hoping to make the big junkanoo party at Island Breeze tonight, but I just am not quite up for dancing the night away. Plus, there is that early am departure for the Hog Cay/Callabash area on the northern part of the island, and then next day pushing east to Conception Island. We will travel with new friends Dave and Allison, which will be great fun.

After that, we will push on to Cat Island, then back to Exuma Land and Sea Park to catch the places we missed in our rush down, and then begin the push north to Eleuthera and Florida. We hadn't intended to return to the states so soon but my mom has decided to move to an apartment in a retirement community in 6-8 weeks and Lee and I will fly out to California and help her with that. So we hope to make it to Green Cove Springs by May, where we will be able to either moor or haul the boat for a couple months. In the meantime, hoping for sunny skies and favorable winds to enjoy every second of these last few weeks.

Mar/17/2013 | David & Alex MacDonald
Too much bush tea? hope you're feeling better! Safe travels back...
Mar/17/2013 | Lynn
Yes! That stuff should come with a warning label!
Safe travels to you guys! We'll be watching the progress of the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maris with much interest and a little envy! You Rock!
Field Trip!
Mar/15/2013, Long Island, Bahamas

The local tourist office and Mike at Island Breeze, worked together with the cruisers rally from Georgetown to put together a bus tour of the local sights! About 80 of us cruisers squished into two children's school buses (ah memories of field trips of old, the ruffian behind constantly kicking the seat, the smell of sour thermoses) and did the town.

First stop, the oldest loyalist church in Long Island. Old. Falling down. Then, our Wildman tour guide/diving instructor/drummer/stand up comedian showed us the sights, talked about politics, on the 20 minute drive to the Long Island Museum. This is a beautiful pink house where the history of the island is discussed with historical artifacts. There were also examples of local artisans plat and shell work in their gift store. The best was a tasting of bush teas- many of the ones that we had heard about from Cordell during his Georgetown lecture a couple weeks ago. Some were tasty, some were not, but all promised to cure whatever ails you from high blood pressure to acid reflux to increased "virility." Modern medicine did not come to the Bahamas until the late 1950's so there is a rich tradition of herbal holistic cures here. Fascinating!

But the very best was yet to come. We stopped at Dean's Blue Hole near Clarence Town, which is supposedly the deepest in the world (663 feet!) , and is where they have most of the free diving competitions The woman's current champion lives on a sailboat here in the harbor and travels quite a bit teaching and competing. The reigning men's champ was actually at the blue hole practicing.. There are two diving platforms where they set up. He had an amazingly wiry physique- and his deepest dive is recorded at 409 feet. Holy Guacamole! I cant even fathom (ho ho) that. Lee and I snorkled over from the beach, and it was thrilling to see the pure white bottom gently descend and then suddenly, WHAM! The bottom dropped out ane we were gazing into immensely blue and deep hole. When you are used to being able to see the bottom of the sea bed, as is true throughout the Exuma Banks, it is quite something!

On a personal note, one the greatest parts of the trip for us was sitting across the bus aisle from none other than Nigel Calder ( who has written most of the major crusing bibles and THE bible on diesel maintenance and repair, which has saved our sorry behinds more than once!) He and his wife are out sailing the isles for a with their brother Chris. We tried not to pester our heroes with too many questions, and really were thrilled to spend part of the day with them. Wow.

Finished up the day visiting the St. Jerome St. Paul's church in Clarence Town. It is a wonderfully simple, perfectly proportioned building complete with two bell towers accessible by steep, incredibly narrow and somewhat rickety ladders. The view was breathtaking and altogether worth it. A great day.

Mar/16/2013 | Hair Doktor
Grumby Lee, on camera... Smiling???
We are home; Kamila survived 18 days paddling the Colorado through the Grand Canyon (temps 26-46F, snow and sandstorms!) and I toughed it out 4 weeks in sunny Thailand, heat index to 102F. Who chose wisely? [hint-- me].
Call, etc when you have electrons available.
Team Junior.
Rally from Georgetown
Mar/13/2013, Thompson Bay, Long Island

It was a mob scene on the beach at Thompson Bay last night. The dinghies were so thick on the beach we had to wade through the anchor lines and inflatable tubes to get to shore. We had to carry Maggie the last ten feet as we couldn't jam ourselves on to the beach (Heaven forbid she should get her paws wet!)

It was a Georgetown luau transplanted to quiet little Salt Pond. There were hors'douvres of every manner, dips and spreads and crackers, chips, cheeses and sausages and crudités. There were even a couple of pasta salads thrown in for good measure. The little firepit was surrounded by coolers of beer and cruisers standing around exchanging stories. It was quite the event.

We stuck around until just after dusk, as the no-see-ums were starting to come out. The gentle breeze had all but died as we headed back to the boat. From Serendipity's deck we could see a bonfire had been lit and it's glow shimmered across the glassy waters of the bay. Occassional peals of laughter broke the quiet long into the night.

The dawn saw the cold front reach our little bay; the morning was as boisterous as the night was tranquil. A 20-knot breeze was blowing, with higher gusts. Even with the protection of the nearby shore a good two-foot chop set up with occasional breakers . Any venture out in the dinghy was going to be a wet ride.

And of course, with a dog, the dinghy ride each morning is inevitable. We put it off as long as possible, then radioed Jack and Carol so that we could escort them to Fox Dock and show them a few of the facilities. We hit the marine supply store (still no fresh eggs) so we went to Hillside Market and did some provisioning, as it looks as though the weather may clear by Sunday so we can move on to Conception island! It has been a good time here, but time to move on!

Will they know?
Mar/12/2013, Thompson Bay, Long Island

WOW! If we eat shark, will the grey suited beasts in the water know and try to hunt us down? This question haunts me for about 2 nanoseconds while hosts Herb and Linda offer up a plate of marinated and grilled steak.It tastes, well, like CHICKEN! (actually a cross between chicken and pork- no fish taste or texture).

We have made use of our time here in Long Island to meet two wonderful couples, who we have shared evenings with, swapping stories, weather reports and of course enjoying new cuisines. I am feeling comfortable enough with our capricious oven that I even bake a cake! We all enjoy it.

Today is laundry day, and THE MAILBOAT COMES! That means that this evening, we will be able to go to the local store and purchase fresh fruit and vegetables! YAY!

We heard on the net this morning that a rally of boats from Georgetown braved the surge and 25 of them are headed for Thompson Bay. As we are piling up laundry, garbage, laptops and water bottles towards town, a suspiciously familiar blue hull approaches on the horizon. Oh no, its making a beeline to broadside us- its getting closer, holding its course, its JACK AND CAROL on Tribute. They anchor nearby and we will get together with the rally for beach sundowners tonight. AND we'll have clean clothes to wear. Party down!

Mar/13/2013 | David & Alex MacDonald
Shark and a party, wow, you two are living the good life lol. Love your limerick too ! Hugs from Dave and I xo
That Darn weather
Mar/11/2013, Long Island, Bahamas

Well, it seems to be our lot in this sailing life, that we plan a nice 8-10 day trip of outer islands, leave on schedule and have a beautiful sail the first day- ah yes, we LOVE sailing. We arrive, and then, well, stuff happens. The HUGE gale on the east coast of the US for instance, which creates 9-14 foot waves ALL THE WAY DOWN HERE on the Exuma Sound/Atlantic side of the island. That is not such a terrible thing if you are just on the open seas, but if you happen to want to cross through the cuts to the Exuma Sound side, well, than that is a different kettle of fish. Don't even try to do it!

Then, after the swells die down, there's the cold front, bringing 20-25 knot winds from the N-NE. FYI this, of course, is exactly the direction we want to go, so sailing is out, and motoring into that kind of wind and chop is not really fun either.

Today's limerick was on this very topic. Its called:
Capricious and unyielding king
Rules every sailboat's scheduling
And winds that blow
Don't care to know
Of puny human's reckoning.

SO that 8-10 day tour of the islands has turned to sitting here in Thompson Bay, a mile from the shore. It is a pretty place, but not all that much to do unless you have a car. Swimming is pretty much out, because of the aforetmentioned shark issue. We listen to the wind shriek in the rigging, get wet dinghying ms Maggie to shore.

Hmmm. Boat projects. We practiced our Brummel splices the other day in preparation for replacing our wire lifelines with dyneema. Lee made Maggie a beautiful new dyneema leash. This size dyneema has a breaking strength of about 9700 pounds, so don't even think about lunging at that squirrel, er lizard, Maggie. (No squirrels here).

The varnish on the boat is really in sad shape. I read the classic Brightwork Companion book by Rebecca Whitman (twice, in fact!) which is a wonderfully written, concise, organized and quite funny book which tells you everything you need to know about all things varnish.

Prior to leaving the states, I purchased most of what I needed to get started. Varnish scraper, check. Orbital Sander, check. Tac clothes, varnish, strainers, good brushes, lots of heavy duty tape, varnish thinners, check. However, after two afternoons of judicious and careful scraping, my original thought that because the varnish was in such bad shape that I should be able to scrape it off, turns out to be a bit over-optimistic. Chemical warfare is needed on some of the boards with raised edges and treads- no way to scrape those bad boys out. There is a great product, however, it is not to be found here on Long Island. So, with a 3/4 finished (actually de-finished) stern rail, I am thwarted until I can get my hands on the varnish stripper. Guess I will read the book again! Third times's a charm!

On the other side of the plastic
Mar/09/2013, Waters near Long Island Beach

But on the OTHER side of the beach, check out this natural beauty. The rock formations are really striking here!

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Who: Lynn Zemlin, Lee Trimble & Boat Dog Maggie
Port: Tiverton, RI
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