03/22/2012, Thompson Bay, Long Island
It was a much quieter day today than yesterday, thank goodness. Sorry, there's no picture, not because the camera isn't working, I just forgot! We didn't do much that was picturesque anyway.
We didn't have the dinghy back in service yet in the morning, so of course today Fuzzy seemed to need to go to shore earlier than usual. I put a call out on the VHF radio asking if anyone in the north end of the harbor was up and about and able to give Fuzzy and I a lift. Carol, from Odysseus answered me. She said her husband, Paul, could be over at Earendil in about 10 minutes. Perfect. I had pictures of their boat from the race on my thumb drive and we had been intending to get together to transfer them. I told her they were having to work for their pictures. I put Fuzzy in the front pack and Paul took us to the beach. When we got back to Earendil I transferred the photos of their boat to the thumb drive Paul had brought along.
Bud and I started working on the outboard engine. We managed to get the viewing bucket full of water under the engine on its bracket on the stern rail. We added water from a second bucket until the water came up over the cooling pump intake. Bud started the engine and again it fired up and ran. The cooling water was squirting out behind the engine, but I managed to catch it in the second bucket and deflect it back into the viewing bucket and we ran the engine until it was warm. Next Bud wanted to put it on the dinghy and take it ashore and change the oil again and open the carburetor and spray the inside with WD40. I checked and the quart and a-half of 4-stroke oil is all we had on-board. We didn't have enough of that left to change the oil again. Bud knew that Bill and Margaret on Margarita had just bought a new 15 HP 2-stroke engine to replace their 4-stroke engine, so we called them on the radio to see if they had any 4-stroke oil left we could buy. Bill said he'd look and get back to us. He had a quart, but we couldn't buy it from him, he gave it to us. They were even going to drop their dingy off the davits and bring it to us, but we needed to run the engine to heat it up and get it into the beach, so we went and got it.
The engine ran fine to get the oil and go to the beach. We changed the oil, which was still milky with water. Bud disassembled the carburetor, but it was fine. When we had all the old oil we could get out of the engine Bud refilled it, put it back together and we carried it back and put it back on the dinghy. It started right up again and ran fine.
Bruce and Carol on Aquarelle stopped by just to make sure we were okay and see if we needed any help with anything, but things were pretty much back to normal for us.
We called to town looking for more oil for a third oil change, but neither the gas station nor the marine store had 4-stroke oil, everyone here uses 2-stroke engines because they are cheaper and lighter for the same horsepower. We decided to minimize the trips with the dinghy and wait until George Town to get oil and change it again.
Meanwhile, we had a spare spring clip from our wheel that we were going to give to Ingo and Jeri on Ladyhawke. They had moved their boat down near the channel going to the government dock next to the Island Breeze. In the afternoon, Bud went into the beach to decant the dinghy gas that he thought was bad through our filter funnel. When he did that he remembered that we had intended to bag up the garbage that cruisers had collected along the beach. We decided to do that when we took Fuzzy ashore and then make the run to the dumpster at the government dock with our garbage and the beach garbage. So I called Jeri and told her we could bring the spring clip to them. It gave us a chance to sit and visit for a while with them. Along with Karin and Ed on Passages, they are probably the people we feel most at home with. Of course they have great taste in boats, too, with their Norseman 447. We had another nice visit, but it was hard to say good-bye, because tomorrow they are heading to the north end of Long Island, then to Conception and to Cat Island and we are going back to George Town for our daughter's visit. We'll meet again someday, I hope, but it may be awhile since we're taking next season off.
We continue to meet wonderful people out cruising, and everyone is very willing to help if you need anything. I will miss the camaraderie of the cruising community a lot while land-locked.
03/21/2012, Thompson Bay, Long Island
Bud and I went over to Ladyhawke for coffee at nine. We had a great time and exchanged more information and ideas seeing each other's boats. They had their deck redone with new non-skid and awl-grip (paint). It looks great. They talked about their plans for the day; they were taking the car north. Joe, their friend from Onward also stopped by. They asked me if I wanted to go again, I did. Then Joe reminded them that they were going to stop for dinner at Chez Pierre's (really, a French chef on Long Island). In the end it was decided that I would go for the day and we would come back and pick up Bud at the beach to go the five miles or so back up to Chez Pierre's. Another group was joining us, so there would be 10, total.
So the four of us started north. Bud was stopping at the grocery store and then going back to the boat. We'd already taken Fuzzy ashore and he was sleeping when we left.
I had another nice day. We found the Adderly Plantation ruins this trip. Bud and I and the folks from Passages and Maja and I had made two trips down the road with the sign for the ruins and not seen them. Today, we drove to where the small side road ends at the beach. We could see ruins north of there with no path going directly towards them. We started north up the beach and before long came to the beginning of a well worn path lined on either side for the first 20 or 30 feet with conch shells. Soon we came to signs for the plantation ruins, as well as signs giving the names of the various trees along the way. Up on a ridge were the ruins themselves. The plantation operated as such for about 40 years, then the former manager took over and things were run more like free-holdings. But the family stayed and the land and buildings were in use until the hurricane of 1927 wiped them out. (The sign also explained that Deadmen's Cay got it's name at the same time because many people in the area came out during the eye of the hurricane to pick up the fish stranded by the receding water, when the other wall of the hurricane hit they were drowned.) When we got back to the beach I started building a cairn of rocks to indicate that the trail went to the north on the beach. The others joined in and soon we had about five little piles of rocks leading in the direction of the trail. We think others are much more likely to find the ruins, now.
As a reward, we went to Stella Maris Resort and had drinks and lunch at the beach bar. After a pretty long lunch we continued north to the end of the road on the north end of the island. By the way, I have no pictures because I couldn't get my poor camera to come on at all today. I thought I'd finally killed it, but Joe suggested the moisture might have discharged the battery. I put the spare in a little while ago and it works. But I missed a great day for pictures.
By the time we got to the north end it was time to start back for Chez Pierre's. We had talked earlier to the folks on French Kiss, and they had decided not to sail up near the restaurant as they had planned because they thought it had silted in and would be too shallow too far out. So they were going to drive from Salt Pond and they could take Bud. We tried to reach Bud with the plans. We have a Bahamas cell phone now, but I didn't have it with me and didn't know the number. Bud was supposed to call Joe with the number when he got back to the boat but he hadn't. Joe called Mike on French Kiss several times and finally reached him. He tried to call Bud on the VHF radio but he didn't answer. Mike was going to keep trying. Meanwhile, we were early enough that we decided to drive back to Thompson Bay and get Bud. We'd call him on the hand-held VHF when we got close enough. As we approached Thompson Bay Mike called Joe on his cell phone. He gotten Bud and Bud had flipped the dinghy! He was cut but okay, but wouldn't be going to dinner. By the time I got off the phone with Mike, we were close enough to hail Bud on the radio. He needed me to come and help him with the dinghy outboard, and Bruce from Aquarelle would pick me up on the beach at Thompson Bay.
So Jeri and Ingo and Joe dropped me off at the head of the beach path. We said good-bye, as we're not sure when or where we'll see each other again. I walked down to the beach and saw Bruce approaching. He took me back to the boat and offered to help us get Fuzzy ashore in the morning. He's anchored just inshore from us here.
As Bud and I worked I got the full story. Bud had just taken Fuzzy ashore in preparation for leaving for the evening. He'd gotten new dinghy gas today, and on the way back from the beach the outboard quit again. He got it started again but it wouldn't idle, so when he got to the boat he put the choke on. He left the engine on while he struggled in the chop to lift Fuzzy aboard. Once Fuzzy was on deck, Bud reached down with one hand (holding the side of the boat with the other) and went to turn the engine off. I think he was reaching for the choke, but must have hit the shift lever because he knocked it into gear. The dinghy took off and Bud fell out. It started in a circle. Bud was afraid it would run amok and hit another boat in the anchorage so when it circled back towards him he attempted to jump in over the bow. Not a good choice with the engine running. He didn't make it; the engine and propeller went right by him. He had bruises and cuts on his hand and a cut on his leg, none are serious but he's lucky. After that he figured he'd just have to let the dinghy go. It ran up into the side of Earendil, the bow lifted, the stern probably went under water and the dinghy flipped. At least that stopped the engine!
At least six people in other dinghies showed up at about that time to help. We didn't loose anything out of the dinghy. We recovered the life jackets, the paddles, the anchor (which was on the bow line because Bud had just used it at the beach) and even the old green towel we put on the floor of the dinghy for Fuzzy to stand on. And Fuzzy was still up on the deck of the boat watching all this. Anyway, by the time I got back Fuzzy was below, Bud had righted the dinghy using the staysail sheet as the dinghy lines were all wrapped around it, he'd showered (again) and gotten into dry clothes. He and I then pulled the engine off the dinghy, drained the oil (well, oil-water mixture) and put some fresh oil in. He took out the spark plug and got the water out of the cylinder, and sprayed the wires with WD40. He emptied one jerry jug of diesel into the fuel tank so we could transfer the bad dinghy gas to the jerry jug, and refill the dinghy gas tank from our gas jerry jug adding gas treatment. We pumped gas through the carburetor with its drain plug out until the water was out and gas was running out. Then Bud put the plug back in the carburetor, the spark plug back in the cylinder and the wires back on. He pulled the starting cord a few times, and miraculously, the engine started. Because it was up on its mount on the stern rail and not in the water where it could pump in cooing water, he could only run it for a minute. He wanted to leave the engine cover off to let it dry out, but it might rain tonight, so he put the cover back on. That was enough for tonight.
We came inside and ate beans and rice instead of the food at Chez Pierre's (which we heard may be the best restaurant in the Bahamas).
Tomorrow we get to put the engine back on the dinghy so we can run it until it's hot, then pull it off again and change the oil again. We probably get to do that whole thing at least one more time after that. Bud is tired tonight; he'll be exhausted tomorrow!
03/20/2012, Thompson Bay, Long Island
I had a great day today. First off, Bud invited Jeri and Ingo from Ladyhawke, the other Norseman 447 in the rally, over for breakfast. He had them come at 7:45, so before that we both needed to get up and dressed, I needed to straighten things up and make the bed and Bud needed to get breakfast started. We needed to listen to the weather report and get Fuzzy ashore. We got all that done and had a great time with them. Bud made biscuits and had sausage, eggs, a little ham and grapefruit. Geri brought some V-8 juice, which was a real treat for us. Skip, Ingo took one look at the photo of us crossing the finish line and said we needed a hydraulic backstay tightener so we could get the slack out of the forestay. Well, we'll put it on the list.
They rented an SUV for three days and invited us to tour the island with them. Another cruiser, Joe from Onward who single-hands, was also going. Bud declined, but I went along. Both Joe and I have toured Long Island, but neither of us had ever been all the way to the southern end. Since Geri and Ingo hadn't seen any of it at all, they elected to head south today. We stopped and did a few errands along the way and drove all the way until the road ended at the south end of the island. There was a small sand road off to the west that cut over to a beautiful beach. There are anchorages marked on the chart along the beaches. These would be a good jumping off point if you were going further south. The water was very shallow a long ways out, so these weren't the best of anchorages. There was one catamaran anchored where we could see it.
From there we headed back north and decided to try to find Little Harbour. It's on the charts as a possible anchorage along the east coast of Long Island (there are only two anchorages along this 80 mile coast, Little Harbour and Clarence Town). The chart showed a road going back off the main road over to Little Harbour, which has no town or settlement near it. We followed a road east. At one point the "main" road appeared to go left, but a smaller road continued straight. Since the chart indicated that we should go straight until we had to make a left, we continued on the smaller road. It got very small indeed. It was just two tracks through the weeds. Finally we came over a hill and down to the ocean. There was a narrow area in front of us fringed by reefs. It was pretty windy today, and we couldn't see any good place to enter the "harbor". It didn't look much like a harbor, either. We walked along the beach and I found a half-dozen more heart beans and one more, nearly perfect, hamburger bean. When we left the area I looked at the chart again and said I thought we'd come past Little Harbor to the next area of reefs and beaches. We took the left back where the smaller road started, and sure enough, we found Little Harbour. This was a very nicely sheltered area. When we walked far enough along to get at least an oblique look at the entrance we could see why the area was undeveloped. There were breaking waves all across the entrance in today's brisk winds. Since the prevailing winds are from the east, like today, the harbor entrance isn't tenable if the prevailing winds pipe up at all. We saw at least four wrecked boats in there, one of which was about a 30-foot sailboat. That boat was just the hull; every piece of metal on it had been stripped, including the through-hull fittings. You could still read that it was from Boston, MA, although the boat name was gone. Jeri and I agreed that seeing wrecks like that was sad and scary.
When we finally got back to the main road we headed up to Clarence Town in search of lunch. We ended up at Rowdy Boys Bar and Grill, which is housed in a pink building with lions and dolphins decorating the parapet. Not exactly a Rowdy Boy image. They had good food, and a great view of the Atlantic and the entrance to the Clarence Town harbor. After we ate we went outside and talked to a couple of men about two Bahamian sailboats they were working on. The two boats had been damaged in the hurricane and were now being readied for the Family Regattas to be held in April. As we walked back to the car we saw a sport-fishing boat out past the entrance to the harbor. It was really rough out there. He came up along the point and then turned and headed into the channel. He was going flat out to handle the waves and as he approached the channel we could see him surfing down the waves. It looked like quite a ride! He made it in without any problems that we could see.
After lunch we went back to see Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Clarence Town that the famous Father Jerome designed. We talked to the priest, who is from Rhode Island. He's the only priest for the 5 operating Catholic churches on Long Island. He told us it was okay to go in the church and to climb up the towers. The inside of the tower we climbed was quite narrow. There were winding stairs to the first floor and then three more ladders to the top of the tower. It was so narrow at the top that Ingo could not fit his shoulders through the opening. The other three of us did manage to climb out on the parapet. What a great view. The church sits on a hill and from the tower you could see all of Clarence Town (not that there is all that much to Clarence Town).
Our last stop of the day was Dean's Blue Hole. After climbing up to get a birds-eye view of the deepest blue hole in the world, Jeri continued along a trail that curved in a natural indentation in the wall that surrounds the back of the blue hole. I followed her and got this photo of the cliffs. You can just see Jeri ahead on the path. I put the other pictures I took today in the gallery.
We finally got back around 7 PM. Jeri and Ingo invited Bud and I over to see their Norseman and have a drink, but Bud had already started cooking supper, so we decided to go over for coffee tomorrow at the more civilized hour of 9 AM. When we got back to the Island Breeze, Joe got a copy of the race results from Saturday. We were pretty happy to see that in actual, uncorrected time Ladyhawke and Earendil were numbers 2 and 3 of all the monohulls (about 25 boats) and were just 4 and 5 and-a-half minutes respectively behind the fifty-foot Beneteau, French Kiss. Ingo isn't too happy that he only beat us by a minute and-a-half as he's been racing for over 30 years and we're novices. I told him it's just because the Norseman is such a well-designed boat it will sail well even if you can't tighten your forestay and don't run the traveler up and ease the main properly.
03/19/2012, Thompson Bay, Long Island
Tonight we went to the Island Breeze for the awards dinner for the George Town to Long Island Rally. The folks who were on the big power catamaran that was one side of the finish line were there and brought their computer. They had taken pictures of everyone as they approached the end of the race. They had them all on their computer and if you brought a memory stick or some other way to get the images you could get your pictures. This is Bud and my favorite of the seven pictures they took of us. There were 30 boats in the rally, so taking all those pictures and making them available was a very nice thing to do.
The dinner was another buffet. Bud and I both had fish, and there were the usual Bahamian side dishes, macaroni and cheese, rice and peas, cole slaw, potato salad, pickled beets and corn bread. It was a nice meal. The buffet was set up outside on the deck, which is a great place for parties, I put a picture of it in the gallery. The food at Tryphena's is better, though. Bud took a picture of all the dinghies at their dinghy dock. It's a pretty impressive array. I put that in the gallery, too.
After dinner they gave out the awards. There were three categories of monohull boats and one for the catamarans. They gave first through fifth place for each category, so there were a lot of awards. Everyone except first place got a flag, the first place winners in each category got a flag, a hat, and a bottle of rum. Earendil took 3rd place in our category, which made us feel pretty good, as it was our first rally. There was another Norseman 447, Ladyhawke; she took 2nd place. An Island Packet 44 took 1st place. This is all on corrected time; the boats are given handicaps based on their length, whether they have a fixed or folding prop, and whether they have a furling main and a lot of other things.
Bud and I had a good time and we're glad we did this rally. We met a lot of nice folks and got a great picture of the boat!
03/18/2012, Thompson Bay, Long Island
Today was another get-together for those of the rally fleet (and anyone else) who wanted to participate. We had a one o'clock lunch buffet at Tryphena's. The north beach was lined with dinghies, hauled up on shore and secured with anchors set in the sand. The crowd straggled in along the path to the dirt road, then to the right to the main road and then left along the main road the few hundred yards to Club Thompson Bay. We and another couple didn't walk, though. We got to the dirt road just as a van was approaching, and in typical Long Island fashion, the driver stopped and insisted on taking us all to the club. He was going there himself.
I took the iPad with the pictures I'd taken yesterday, determined to identify the boats. I had great success. The big Beneteau I knew was French Kiss. The woman who owns her doesn't have boat cards yet, but I gave her ours and she will email me so I can send her a copy. The Gozzard is Manatee; they joined the rally en-route. I have their card and will send them the image. The boat with the grey stripe around the main is Expatriate, and they were with Manatee, but didn't join the rally. It took me the longest to find out their name. I'll have to hail them on the radio, as they weren't at the luncheon. And that heeling ketch is Moxie, a Reliant 43. The owners of Moxie were pretty thrilled with the picture. They are going to email me, too, as they didn't have boat cards with them. I'll probably also see them tomorrow. (I'll add the other boat pictures to the gallery.)
The buffet was abundant and typically Bahamian. There were crab legs, ribs, fish fingers, chicken fingers, chicken wings, some sort of stew over rice, and of course macaroni and cheese, pigeon peas and rice and cole slaw. I tried a little of everything and had a plate so heaping I could hardly carry it. There were a lot of people there. I finally remembered to take a picture after folks were filtering out, but all these tables were full and several tables off to the side. Tryphena does all the cooking herself. She thanked us all for coming and we signed a guest book she had there. Bahamians really go out of their way to make the cruisers feel welcome.
On our way back from the buffet we stopped by to visit with Bill and Margaret on Margarita. They had been at the last day of the Long Island Agro Exposition, also known as Mutton Fest, when we arrived yesterday. They said they saw the red stripe on our boat as they dinghied back to theirs at about 10:30 at night. Bill shone his flashlight on our bow and determined that it was, indeed, Earendil, back in her old spot. They were happy to see us again as when we left for George Town we did not expect to be coming back to Thompson Bay again this season. But here we are, for one last visit. We'll definitely miss this place when we've finally gone.
03/17/2012, Thompson Bay, Long Island
We made it back to Thompson Bay, Long Island in record time, Bud said it was 6 hours from when we raised anchor until it was set again. We came with the cruisers rally. They announced they had 33 boats signed up and they said there were 40 boats already here at Thompson Bay. That made Bud and I pretty worried about getting a good spot to anchor, so we were ready to go as soon as they announced that the fleet was taking off. The way the rally worked, you all leave the harbor at about the same time and make your way towards the destination. The actual timed part was from White Cay Bank waypoint, around the Indian Point waypoint, and up into the entrance to the harbor. But since you're all traveling together, the whole thing sort of feels like a race.
Anyway, we had the main raised and the anchor up within three minutes of when they said boats should get going. And then Bud had me pull out the jib still in the harbor. We had about three miles to sail in the harbor and we were among the first boats to the cut out of the harbor. We had to lay off the wind to take the jib in, because we had to motor almost directly into the wind to get out the cut. It was pretty bumpy because the tide was still going out and the wind was blowing in. Once we made it through the cut we put the sails back out and went along quite nicely.
We thought we'd have to motor the second leg, as we had to turn pretty close to windward. But the wind went a bit further north and we only used the engine for a little while. We reached the waypoint and let the race coordinator know and they recorded our time. We had all the sails out and this was a better point of sail and we were making good time. We may have had too much sail out, we took the staysail in because that's the only one I can handle without either turning downwind (jib) or up into the wind (main). It didn't help our speed, but it didn't hurt. We were making between 7 and 8 knots most of the time. We were passed on the way to the mark by two boats, a 50-foot Beneteau and a catamaran. We passed the three boats that had been ahead of us coming out of the harbor during the timed part. The last boat we passed was the ketch in this photo. I never did get their name, but am trying to find them to share this picture.
When we got past the last waypoint we had to come as close to the wind as we could, but we still couldn't lay the finish line. We sailed on to the point where Bud thought we could make it through with the wind on the other side and then we tacked. Bud judged correctly and we came between the two boats that were anchored as the finish line. They were a half-mile apart, but with the wind like it was, everyone was cutting very close to the boat on the port (left) side of the line. The nice folks on that boat took a picture of us as we crossed. We ended up being the third boat across, and we were able to come up and anchor in our old spot.
This evening we had a get together on the beach and met some of the other people in the rally. The lady on the Beneteau said they got a nice picture of us as they blew by us. (I also got a nice one of them.) So eventually I might have two more pictures of Earendil under sail. Parts of the day were pretty stressful to me, but in the end I did have fun.