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SV Why Knot- No plan, no schedule, no destination.
The passing of my life mate has ended the cruise of Why Knot. Thanks to those that followed her voyages. It gave us wonderful memories and a heck of a life
Dreams in Works
Who: Bear (Jo) and Bligh (Howell) Cooper and Scurv
Port: Port Aransas, Texas
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Our greatest challenge was to actually bring in the dock lines at our home port and get going. Next came the actual act of living aboard which is way different than weekending or the occasional extended sail. This is life avoiding causing your mate to drop stuff or run into bulkheads. This is having so much stuff aboard that one has to inventory. This is life without land transportation in strange places. This is meeting folks and hating to say good bye, then looking forward to the time when courses cross again, to the surprise of seeing them at some unexpected place.

Bakers Bay, Great Guana Cay

March 9, 2011
There are two legendary places on Great Guana Cay, Abaco. One is Grabbers on the Fishers Bay shore and the other is Nippers on the Atlantic side. Tonight at Grabbers a cruisers tradition is taking place: a pot luck sundown. Each boat brings a dish and before eating the crews mingle with other cruisers to tell and fabricate stories of lands far away or even the Abacos. The beach faces west and sundown promises to offer up a "green flash". We have never seen a green flash but it is only a matter of time. It happens at the very instant the last of the direct sunlight flashes over a location. If meteorological conditions are just right and one happens to be looking at the sunset at the moment, you see a green flash which lasts way less than a second. Who knows, maybe we will see it tonight. Back to Grabbers: the beach is perfect, the water clear and the pool is cold as the beer they serve. Usually, around a hundred or so sailors, locals, divers, and dirt dwellers show up. Tonight will be our first. Hope we can stay up that long.
Nippers is a place that one must see in the Abacos. It is a weird bar and restaurant with a reputation not unlike Las Vegas. What happens there stays there. It is about 1500 square feet of assembled beach junk, and buildings with vivid paint and great views. It hosts local artists that perform Jimmy Buffett type music. The counterpart in Port A is Larry Joe Taylor or Kelly Maguire in Galveston. Island music follows very few themes mostly drinking, surfing, beaches and lost romances. The difference here is that there are folks from around the earth. This is one of the planets crossroads for sailors. Flags of all nations may be seen here. Nippers attracts them and it is a great place for people watching. Today was a defining moment in our visit to these islands. Bear felt fine and we took the dinghy ashore to meet the crew of S/V Lee Ann to ride a golf cart all over the place.
Our ride this morning took us to Bakers Bay where a very upscale marina and development is struggling to stay alive. An acre lot there is a million dollars. That might explain the slow development. There is a restaurant at the marina. They were serving breakfast and according to the menu, the prices were actually lower than other eateries on the Cay. What the heck, let's eat. We ordered and decided to have a mimosa for starters. Mimosa is Champaign and orange juice and replaces Blood Marys which Bear and I do not like. Usually the Champaign is some cheap swill but it goes well with the OJ. When the check arrived, we thought there was a mistake. The food was $28 and the four Mimosas (served in scrawny 2 ounce flukes) were $25 each. Wow! That must have been some really great Champaign. Now I know how the place plans to help the bottom line. That might explain why we were the only folks eating breakfast. Breakfast shot our budget for the day.

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03/10/2011 | Carolyn Mangum
It was that pricy oj.
03/12/2011 | Erik Gauger
Thanks for your wonderful notes on Great Guana Cay. Baker's Bay is really doing an injustice to the area around Guana Cay - the locals have fought tooth and nail to stop the place, as it has been ruining the coral reef and environment. Learn more at or
03/13/2011 | Nancy McDaniel
I am thinking you meant $25 for 4... That's what they were when I was there. If not, a mistake was totally mad and you should give them a call to fix it!
03/13/2011 | Howell Cooper
Nancy, That sounds more like it but we did question the waiter and were told the $25 per drink was right. That is $100 for 4 drinks about 1.5 ounces each.
08/02/2013 | Beth
Nancy McDaniel is a shill for Baker's Bay. She's poison.
Looking Up

A Look Up
Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Go with me on this. It has been a day that started at 0500 and now it is 2200 hours. We are in a wonderful anchorage with the exception of a knucklehead drifting down on us. Time will tell whether or not I have to give a procedural lecture before sunrise. That said, this is part of the dream Bear and I have held for 30 years. She is in the rack and soundly asleep. I am still up, working on the lecture but mostly due to the absolute high from being on anchor in a remote, dark place. I went topside a few minutes ago and just leaned back in a cockpit chair. That gave me a view of the night sky. Have you ever leaned back on deck and looked at the night sky past the anchor light and considered the relationship between the anchor light and Windex and the Milky Way? That might be a stretch for most but it is better than anything on can see in the theatres or on TV. Consider that the mast head light/Windex are tools we use to stay safe and optimize our sails. At night they are another object to observe against the eternity of the heavens. Tonight, at the instant I looked up there was a meteor of almost 2 seconds duration heading west toward the US. Then, as I looked up again, the mast head light and Windex started to dance against the stars. No, I have not been indulging in too much rotten taters. It is a show of unbelievable dimensions. The Windex with the two fixed reference points held the moving tail of the wind indicator almost like the Pong game of the past three decades. It danced in the field of remote stars. It was something that few, save sailors and soldiers in remote outposts ever see. It is one of the reasons we do this. That scene compounded by the wind, waves and swells of the sea, thus boat movement, is one of the payoffs that are part of the dream. Looking up, we get a chance to think of loved ones, departed friends and those things that are far dearer than anything we mortals can do. Why is it that text messaging, thinking out of the box, raising the bar and paradigm shifting takes front row to the simple act of looking up?

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03/09/2011 | Bob Stuke
Nippers Ho! Er Hoe...
03/10/2011 | Howell Cooper
We avoided getting nipped at Nippers. One can easily see why they say they open at 0700 and close when they "can't do it anymore".
Great Guana Cay
03/08/2011, Great Guana Cay, Abaco, Bahamas

Great Guana Cay
March 8, 2011
Having spent way too much time at the Marsh Harbor Marina since leaving Hopetown, my A.D. D. kicked in and we decided to visit Great Guana Cay for a couple of days. It is only a two hour passage from Marsh Harbor and the winds favored a nice sail (not motoring as usual). We filled the water tanks on WK since the cost for water in GGC is $0.40 a gallon and left Marsh Harbor at 1130. The winds on the beam were 17 knots which is just right for a quiet nice sail. A fellow crew was motoring ahead of us and beat us to the harbor by over an hour. We did not care because it was the first time in a long time we were able to sit back and listen to the wind and waves without the "iron genny" making the whole thing mechanical. Why Knot enjoyed the chance to hook up and do her stuff.
We sailed over the bottom which was very visible just 13 feet below. The colors again were outstanding and the destination was new to us. The other boat chose to take a slip in the harbor but we chose to drop the hook in Fisher's Bay. When we made the corner around the head land, we saw about 30 other boats that had the same idea. The winds were from a direction that allowed a fairly calm anchorage in the bay and we arrived around 1400. We anchored well away from other boats and the hook stuck nicely. Not long after we stopped, another bone head came in and dropped his anchor ahead of us as the wind blows. He then drifted back toward us to set his anchor. All said and done, he was only about 100 feet from us. In an anchorage where no other boats were closer than 100 yards, this fellow chose to crowd us. That might be a problem tonight. I spoke to him in my best diplomatic verse and let him know that if he drifts in the slightest he will be upon our anchor. He chose to stay. Now I am wondering if we are on the same planet since three hours later he is now 25 feet closer to us. I may have to let him know his folly in the wee hours which I will do less diplomatically.
We visited a popular Atlantic beach bar/grill called Nippers. It overlooks the North Atlantic which today was putting on quite a show. The swells were breaking on a reef a few hundred yards offshore then again on several reefs closer. The deep water comes very close to shore thus the cobalt blue water was clearly visible close in. It might have been a poor decision to sail north today.
The sunset was announced, as it usually is, by the blowing of conch shell horns. It is really a cool thing that many boats do this right at sunset. We are not sure how this got started but it welcomes the twilight and sets the tone for the view of the stars so clearly visible in the Bahamian sky. We look forward to the nightfall and the rocking of the boat that welcomes sleep. Now if that moron who is drifting down on us will leave us alone until dawn perhaps I won't have to use naval language on him. Dang, we left the 6 pounder chaser cannon at home.

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Near Mutiny
03/08/2011, Marsh Harbor, Abaco

Near Mutiny
March 8, 2011
I spent some of yesterday removing Honey Teak™ from the port toe rail. It was hot and there was no wind. I reached the allotted time of two hours boat work per day as ordered by the captain (that would be me) while the Admiral worked feverously to finish a book on her Kindle. She had her back to me during my toils so she could not see that old grumpy was about to pass out from the heat by nature and from the heat gun I was using to melt the finish on the rail. I was motivated, as I will be today, to get all the HT off the rail before we receive guests on the 20th and calculated that a series of two hours work details will get-r-done in time. Looking forward to a sit down and an adult beverage I asked the Admiral to fetch a tot or two and meet me in the shade of the bimini. That's when I was informed that if I should require said tot or two, I would have to trot my carcass to the store on the other side of this harbor. What says I? Surely (I don't call her that often) you must be joking. The ship's adult beverage stores are depleted in the rotten tater department? Tell me it ain't so, Jo? She confirmed same and told me she gave me a status report earlier in the day. It must have been the sun or perhaps the leftover beta waves from my nap that erased that small, but significant fact. So, there I was with near heat stroke and numb legs from sitting with my legs hanging over that same toe rail for two hours, needing to hop on "Ole Daubin", my faithful transportation sidekick bicycle, truddle my chunky rear four miles before I could partake of the requested beverage. Wow, what a bummer. It is basically uphill in both directions but at least I could see the Sea of Abaco for some of it. By the time I made it to the store, dehydration was causing me to weave in the left handed, no sidewalk, narrow lane road where Bahamians take some pride in near misses. I think we made contact a time or two between my shorts and their fenders but there were no injuries. Besides that, it would not have hurt anyway since I was having system shutdown. I walked into the store in a rather "lathered up state" and acquired the rotten potato juice. The trip back to the boat was a mere two miles away but it might have been a forced march. I still managed to peddle up the long hill without getting off Daubin. Needless to say, both Daubin and I were glad to reach the marina. The walk down the dock was past the grill/bar and several other boaters noticed that old Bligh needed something cold, preferably water. Not to be had, they offered a barley pop which at least cooled me down to a slow drip. As I put old Daubin in place on the dock, Bear noticed that we should skip the cruisers happy hour and stay on the boat for dinner. Thank goodness. Life in the islands does have its challenges.

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Looking West
Bligh- weather perfect
03/08/2011, Marsh Harbor, Abaco

Looking West
March 8, 2011

As usual, I am up very early and thinking about the cruise. It is about time for some boats to head back to the US and we are starting to plan our return. Last evening Midnight Sun's crew came by to say farewell. They start West today and will be back in Florida within a few days. It looks like they have chosen an excellent day to do the Whale and get back their first stop, Green Turtle Cay. There are a few other boats we have met that are also heading back in the next week or so. By the time we leave this place, most of them will be gone. What is apparent is that most of the Canadians are looking forward to sailing north early so as to see spring in the northern Latitudes while many American boats are just now planning to come to the islands. Our desire to sail as far north as possible this spring and summer requires us to leave just when the weather and water temperatures are getting really good. We have had wonderful weather on the cool side and the water still requires a shortie wet suit.
We noticed a Canadian boat yesterday that spent the entire winter well south of this place. Marsh Harbor is their final Bahamian landfall. In the next day or so, they will exit the island chain through Whale Channel and sail direct to Virginia or Maryland. That will be several days at sea, much like our passage to Vera Cruz a few years ago. If we did not plan to come back to Texas for April, we too would do a longer passage to get past Charleston, just to kick off Phase IV.
We look forward to the crew of Liberty Call joining us for the passage back to the US. They will arrive on the 20th and that will start a series of island visits as we work our way west toward home. We will offload a great deal of stuff we have found we do not need. We already know Why Knot will be happy to shed the load. We look forward to seeing family and friends back home and we promise that some of the stories we will share have some basis in truth. We also look forward to Pat's enchiladas, Granzin's BBQ and the Blue Bonnets. By the time we reach the mainland, Why Knot will have been home to us for well over a thousand days since we purchased her just before Katrina and she will have over 5,000 miles under her keel. That is nothing to most cruisers but it is a start for us.

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03/08/2011 | Geir Ove B
found your blogg
nice, have you told all in 411 club about it ?
Have nice time. we still have snow and ice up here in Norway.
sail safe.
Geir ove
Never Forget
03/06/2011, Marsh Harbor, Abaco, Bahamas

Sunday, March 06, 2011
It was just 175 years ago today that another chapter of America's character was written. Like those before and countless since, a company sized group of soldiers decided to stand and fight for liberty. They knew the outcome not long after occupying a ragged church but they chose, willingly, to make a tactical decision which would lead to the ultimate defeat of the oppressor. They chose to pay the "last full measure" so that future generations could live in freedom. They would never know how far their dreams would take the land which they fought for. They would never know they were contributing in no small way to a nation that became the greatest nation on Earth. It is because of those soldiers that we fly the Texas flag from Why Knot's spreader every day. REMEMBER THE ALAMO!

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03/06/2011 | Willie Bill
It is good to have the blog back up!

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Why Knot left Texas in January of 2010 bound for no particular harbor. We made ports of call all around the Gulf Coast to the Keys then north up the Atlantic Coast and to the Abacos.