Dagny's Winter Cruise

16 January 2019
13 January 2019
11 January 2019
07 January 2019
05 January 2019
03 January 2019
01 January 2019
30 December 2018
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27 December 2018
22 December 2018
20 December 2018
19 December 2018
17 December 2018
15 December 2018
14 December 2018
12 December 2018

Decisions, Decisions, or Not!

18 January 2019
Decisions, decisions, no one seems to be able to decide where to go over the next few days to hide from the incoming front. The main problem is the wind will go right around the clock in a 24 hour period making it virtually impossible to completely escape it. Since we still have a couple of days of nice weather we have spent it exploring the area.

We are anchored right in front of the old Maritime Research Center on Lee Stocking Island which has been closed since 2012. We received permission from the caretaker to go ashore and walk around the complex and explore the beautiful ocean front beach. At one time this was a very active center, there are at least 20 buildings serving various functions, ponds and aquariums for research and an airstrip for transportation. However, it's sad to see how much the infrastructure has deteriorated in such a short time, unfortunately helped along by vandals and hurricanes. Apparently a lady from Scotland has purchased the whole island but no one knows what the future holds for the area. My distant cousin Judy, the marine biologist, spent time here and happily informed us of all of the work that was carried out at the Center.

Late Thursday afternoon we headed off on another dinghy tour of Leaf Cay to see the pink Iquanas, this time I remembered to take my camera. After visiting the beach we went snorkeling at a few small coral heads in the area. It's amazing how vibrant these small heads can be and despite a strong current we all enjoyed the stop. Once we arrived back at the boats it was time for a quick fresh water shower before gathering for a sundowner and further weather analysis. And guess what, still no decision made, so we'll be here at least another day before moving on.

Today picture is of one of the pink iquanas.



She Did It Again!

16 January 2019
After a few days of restocking and enjoying Georgetown it was time to get out of town for awhile. There are a lot of sailors who spend the whole winter anchored in Georgetown harbour and participate in the numerous activities that the cruiser's community organize. On Monday we went to trivia night with the crew of Sandbox and finished second out of 15 teams and won 2 bottles of wine. However, it's not our cup of tea, much as we enjoy a few days in town we prefer the beautiful secluded anchorages that abound in the area.

We had enjoyed our brief stay in Lee Stocking last week so we decided to return there for a few days. Tuesday morning was hot and sunny with very light winds so we hoisted the anchor at 9 a.m. and set off north under motor for the 3 hour trip. Once clear of the harbour Bev got her fishing gear ready, which included a new leader since the Wahoo had mangled it the other day. Once again as soon as we hit deep water (100' +) she ran out her line and within 15 minutes we had a good strike. After a 15 to 20 minute fight she landed dinner, a nice 10 lb Mahi Mahi. We arrived at our anchorage around 1 p.m. to find Ti Amo and 2 Outrageous already there. While Bev was getting another fish cleaning tutorial we made plans for a fresh fish dinner that evening. Along with the crew of Folly, (new friends from Midland ON.) we had a great evening aboard 2 Outrageous. How was dinner you ask, Delicious!

Once again weather will dictate our travel plans and there is a big wind event forecast for early next week. We'll sit here for a couple of days until the forecast is a little clearer before deciding where to ride it out. In the meantime, swim, snorkel, hike and relax.

Today's picture is last night's dinner.

Georgetown

13 January 2019
Elizabeth harbour is home to Georgetown, which is the hub of the Exumas. The harbour is formed by 3 mile long Stocking Island on the eastern side and the big island of Exuma on the western side, with the main anchorages in the lee of Stocking Island. The town hosts the annual cruiser’s regatta in February when there are as many as 300 boats in the harbour. The local cruiser’s radio net is hosted daily by volunteers who keep the sailors informed of all the news and activities going on in the area.

When we arrived on Thursday afternoon we anchored at Monument beach in order to visit with friends for the evening. However, it is over a mile dinghy ride to the town Center so, Friday morning we upped anchor and relocated as close to the Center of town as possible for our provisioning. Shopping here is unique, there is a small lake in the Center of the town, accessible only by dinghy as you enter through a small tunnel under the road. Once in the lake there is a large dinghy dock with free drinking water sponsered by the food market and a dock at the gas station for diesel. While Bev shopped and did laundry I schelped 80 gallons of water, 20 gallons of diesel and 5 gallons of gas back to the boat. Once all our chores were done and the garbage disposed of we headed back across the bay and reanchored at Monument Beach.

There were numerous squalls in the area again on Saturday so we cancelled a planned hike on the island and spent the day lazing around and reading. So far Sunday has been a fabulous day, warm and sunny with a light breeze, just enough to keep the bugs away while on shore. We took the opportunity to hike around the Island beach and climb to the top of Monument hill, oxygen not required, elev. 65’. There are so many activities happening daily, so this evening we headed off to trivia night at the St. Francis YC.

Our plan for the next few days is, no plan, we’ll wait to see what the weather does before we move on. FYI, we had steaks from Bev’s fish on Friday evening. Delicious!!

Today’s picture is an old dock overlooking the anchorage.

Yahoo it’s a Wahoo!

11 January 2019

As we were preparing for this trip one of the things Bev often mentioned were her intentions to fish more and hopefully stock the freezer with her catches. Santa Claus had left a new fishing rod under the Christmas Tree for her so we left Mooney Bay with high hopes. We don't fish in the shallow waters of the banks because all you will catch are barracuda, so whenever we do deep water crossings the lures are out. Up until yesterday all Bev had caught was one barracuda plus she had a few hard strikes but no fish. However, yesterday was a lucky day, we had just left Rat Cay Cut and we in 200' of water when Bev rolled out a line then went below to check something before putting out a second one. As she was coming up the companion way I asked her if she had turned something on because I could hear a high speed whining. As I looked around to check I could see the line guide on her reel racing back and forth as a fish took off with the lure which had been in the water for less than 5 minutes. We were doing 6.5 knots so we immediately slowed the boat down and got to work trying to reel in the fish who wasn't very happy. After a good 15 minute fight we managed to land a nice Wahoo that will keep us fed for awhile.

When we left Williams Cay we wound our way south between several small cays through a narrow but beautiful channel. We exited the bank through Rat Cay Cut, which is a narrow deep water cut allowing quick access to the ocean. Aside from the excitement of catching the fish we enjoyed a beautiful motor sail to Georgetown, which is the hub of the Exumas. We plan on spending the next couple of days restocking with food (meat not required) , water and fuel. We anchored near our friends on Sandbox and made plans for a reunion dinner with other friends. Fortunately for us one of our friends is an experienced fisherman who gladly helped Bev clean and prepare her catch. After a tiring but rewarding day we returned to Dagny looking forward to a good night's sleep.

Today's picture is of Bev's catch.





Swim,Snorkel, Hike and Repeat

09 January 2019
We arrived at Williams Pond Cay on Saturday and figured we would stay a couple of days before moving on. Well, it's Wednesday and we're still here in this little corner of heaven. We have hiked, snorkeled and swam every day in a different location around this well protected area. Besides snorkeling at the Elkhorn Coral Reef we dinghied to a secluded beach that was full of pink Iguanas, from a distance they looked normal but up close all their extremities were pink. It was a wet dinghy ride that day and I didn't want to get my camera wet, however, there are a few pictures on Facebook curtesy of 2 Outrageous.

The snorkeling has been great, however, there is always something to keep you on your toes. Yesterday I had swam back to the dinghy to take a break and get a drink of water, just as I was about to jump back in a big barracuda drifted by to take a look at my feet. So, I figured I'd wait a bit and just as I was ready again he did another pass before finally heading off elsewhere. However, Paul got the biggest surprise, as he was nosing around under a dock looking for dinner a big Moray eel came out of a hole in the rock. Needless to say he decided to relocate.

Our friends Greg and Glenda on Ti Amo arrived yesterday to spend a couple of days here as well. They mentored us on our first crossing to the Bahamas in 2016 and it's always great to see them again. So, today we've swam, we've snorkeled and Bev has made bread so I guess it's time to go for a walk. Since the cupboards are starting to show some empty spots we should be heading to Georgetown tomorrow, maybe.

Today's picture is an example of what erosion can do.

Another Day in Paradise

07 January 2019
We've been anchored off Williams Cay for 2 days and there is no getting tired of the scenery here. The first day we arrived the winds were nice and light so we dinghied back out through Aderley Cut along the outside shore to a coral reef that is full of Elkhorn Coral. It was absolutely beautiful, and it's just like it sounds, it looks like big Elk or Moose antlers underwater. Once again we were mesmerized by the abundance and brilliant colours of the fish. After a couple of hours it was time to call it a day and head back to Dagny. The 30 minute dinghy ride gave us a chance to explore the shore and make plans for Sunday.

Our current anchorage has great holding and is well protected from any winds in the eastern quadrant so we all had a good sleep. Sunday dawned a little breezy with numerous rain squalls around. We are currently with a group of 4 other boats and we had organized a hike on the island at 10:30, however, due to the rainy weather we postponed it till after lunch. It had cleared up by the time we headed ashore to climb the highest peak in the Exumas. That may sound challenging, but it is less then 100' high, however, the view of the bank and the ocean was stunning. Once we got back to the beach we found another trail that led across the Island to the ocean front beach. We find it important to walk as much as we can to keep active and the soft beach sand provided great exercise for our legs. The sand on the ocean side is so soft that you sink about 6-10 inches while walking, kinda like walking in fresh snow but we could do this in bare feet.

We're not sure how long we'll stay here but for now there isn't a shortage of things to keep us busy. There are a couple of rays that are at least 4' diameter who we see every time we're out in the dinghy. This morning we saw a couple of kayakers stop on the beach for a break so we dinghied over to say hi. Turns out they're from Germany and had flown into Georgetown to spend a month kayaking and camping around the Exumas.

Today's picture is a shot of the ocean from atop the Island.
Vessel Name: Dagny
Vessel Make/Model: Sabre 402
Hailing Port: South Lancaster On
Crew: Allan Gray and Bev Bethune
About: Allan is a retired Montreal Air Traffic Controller and Bev is a retired Elementary School Principal.
Extra: After many years of local cruising and Etchells racing we are living our dream of sailing to the Bahamas. Allan enjoys golfing, cycling and skiing. Bev is an active cyclist, runner, aerobics participant and cross country skier.
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Dagny's Photos -

Who: Allan Gray and Bev Bethune
Port: South Lancaster On