Where's the turtles?
20 April 2008 | Green Turtle Cay
December 10 - 21, 2007
Green Turtle Cay
The turtles must be on vacation this time of year, we didn't see any.
Kelly continues to fix things as we go along. The pressure relief valve for our hydraulic steering was failing, allowing the rudder to drift. Luckily we located a new valve in Black Sound Harbor on Green Turtle Cay and installed it. The fuel supply vacuum gauge was indicating a restriction in the starboard fuel tank filter, sure enough the filter was beginning to clog and it was replaced. The main engine injection pump oil was changed on schedule. The aft shower sump pump quit during one of our showers due to sand in the valves that passed through the filter, disassembly and cleaning the pump fixed it. The A/C generator has a D/C charging circuit for its starting battery. The output was erratic causing the A/C powered battery charger to shutdown. This was fixed by installing a switch on the generators charging logic circuit to turn on or off to the internal D/C battery charger. The macerator pump failed. This is never a pleasant job to fix. This pump grinds and discharges the holding tank (toilet waste). We had a spare pump onboard that was given to us by Ken Clark, a friend of Kelly's from work. The replacement was not going to fit directly so the two pumps were combined to make one. It worked! Thanks Ken. A wall switch was installed in the aft cabin for the lights. The projects never end and maintenance is a daily list of chores.
Kelly manages to make business cards for our boat, and I have to admit they look pretty good. He gets some free time to go exploring in the dinghy to check out a partially submerged trimaran sailboat and does some fishing. He also got the laundry done. Laundry is a time consuming and expensive task. Washer and Drier loads each cost $3.00 to $5.00 dollars. Five loads are typical for us every 3 weeks. When machines are located usually no more than 1 or 2 machines are working at any location. This translates into a 4 to 5 hour job.
We ran out of fresh water so we went to the Bluff House Marina for water. We purchase 148 gallons for $27.41. Not bad for seventeen days.
School is going well. Danielle went through another round of seven exams and came through with flying colors. Danielle continues her studies including division in Math and the Revolutionary War period in History. Kristen reviewed and learned how to tell time on an analog and Roman numeral clock. She had to make a banner for school so she made a Merry Christmas banner and hung it up in the boat. Kristen completed a section on fables. She then had to write her own, which she typed in our blog. It goes as follows:
The New Hat
Sam the turtle was walking around on a windy day.
He found a hat.
"I like this hat and everyone likes it to!" says Sam.
Sam went to show his friend Ally the alligator, his hat.
"Do you like my hat?" asks Sam.
"No, I do not like your hat." Said Ally.
Moral: Not everyone likes the same things.
We visited the shore at White Sound. There is a small gift shop, restaurant and bar at the Green Turtle Marina. The small bar had about five bar stools and a few small sofas, rumor confirmed that Jim and Deb Dalton have frequented this bar over the passed years on their trips to the Abacos. The interesting thing was that there were both American and Bahamian dollar bills and burgees hanging everywhere. On the money and the burgees were people's names, boat names, dates and notes. We looked at these for a while. We checked out a small general store, where the girls and Kelly got ice cream. We also went to Brendal's Dive Shop. They have many interesting photos taken from dives on display. We inquire about various trips, but decide to wait due to cost. We take a walk around on various paths and small roads. One dirt road lead down to small group of pastel colored rental cottages. On another day we came ashore and took a fifteen-minute walk to the ocean beach on the backside of the island. We know that the ocean water was rough so we did not bring our snorkeling gear. The walk is hot even though we have the ocean breeze. We pass a yard that has a wall made out of chipped limestone. It was pretty neat we know that Grammy Gregg would like it so we take some pictures for her. We arrive at the beach unfortunately it was not a good shell beach. There was a lot of seaweed and limestone. The girls enjoy playing in the sand. Danielle dug a huge hole, which we ended up burying her up to her knees. We do the same to Kristen. We then build a table between them, which they in turn make look like a dinosaur. Kelly makes a dinosaur paw out of sand, which looks really neat. Danielle makes a neat shell out of sand. Kristen and I decorate a large stick with ornaments from the beach. Two days before we leave, we check out the other marina located in White Sound, the Bluff House Marina. Michael, the dockhand, who helps us both today and the day we got water, greets us. He was so helpful. We go ashore and walk around this property. The resort has various cottages and rooms for rent. The bright yellow cottages are decorated with different colored shutters including blue, purple, red and green. We walk passed the main building down to the shore. It is lined with limestone. We then check out the main building and we see a large live Christmas tree decorated inside the dining room. We decide to go inside and check it out. While we are there, the general manager comes out and introduces himself and tells us the upcoming activities on the island for the holidays. It all sounded like fun, but we wanted to go to check out another island. He tells us that we should take the kids and check out the beach that is on the property. We get a copy of the Christmas Dinner Menu ($34.00 per person) and New Year's Eve Dinner Menu ($100 per person) just for souvenirs. We then head to the beach and find some shells, a rope swing and a hammock. Danielle finds the hammock first and climbs in and I swing her. Kelly and Kristen then join her. I get some pictures of them and then head off to lie on a chaise lounge chair. Kelly then joins me. I tell him all I need is a frozen drink, sunglasses and my book and I would be in heaven. He chuckles.
We check out the main town on Green Turtle, which is New Plymouth. This is a little bit of a dinghy ride away. On our first trip there we see a freight ferry on the dock delivering all sorts of things for the island. We watch and I explain to the girls how much it takes to get these items here. We find out that they have two freight ferries that come once a week. On this part of the island there are a lot of houses, which are close together. Again they are painted all sorts of light pastel colors. Some are decorated for Christmas. We check out much of the town, which includes an old jail. Most of the houses and businesses have cisterns to collect rainwater for their use. There are a lot of dogs, cats, chickens and roosters in various yards. They do not seem to stray too far from their homes. The houses sit on very small lots, with very minimal grass. Some have beautiful flowering plants. Everyone you pass by is friendly and says hello. We get to the main street and the first building is the Harbour Café/ liquor store. Kelly checks it out. It is small and has five seats at the bar. We found out that they have good conch sandwiches, but we never time it right to try one. We went to the Sid's grocery store and did some provisioning there. The people that run this store are very friendly. Everyone makes a point to talk with the girls. One of our trips there was priceless. Kelly had broken our glass coffee percolator one night when he was doing the dishes. Well fortunate for us they had aluminum one at Sid's. I know I would never pay this price back home for one of these, but this called for desperate measures. I tell Kelly we have to purchase it and it will be my souvenir. We now call it the platinum percolator. We check out two hardware stores and a memorial Sculpture Garden. It is a small garden of head stones of people that made some contribution to the Abaco history. There were around twenty sculpture heads. There was the Albert Lowe Museum, again due to timing we never were able to check it out. One of the gift shops was neat, it had for sale kids steel drums. Kristen had a ball with these. There was a little music sheet that showed you how to play three short songs. Kelly, Danielle and I fun playing with them as well.
Another day we check out Black Sound which is just outside New Plymouth. We check out the boats that are in the anchorage area. Kelly decides to stop at the marina that is located here to inquire about a seal for our macerator. No luck. When Kelly comes out of the building he sees these very large mutt ducks, and pretends that he has food. They came running over to him. The girls see this and climb out of the dinghy and run up to Kelly to see the ducks. Another older gentleman then comes out of the building and feeds the ducks. The girls and Kelly watch the ducks eat, and Kelly talks with the man.
We attended the islands 9th annual Christmas Tree Lighting Service. We arrive at the New Plymouth dock only to see the town is dark. Kelly sees someone he met and they said that the whole island is out. The island receives electricity from Grand Abaco Island. When Green Turtle loses power, they have backup generators on the island. They end up starting the generators and we head to the small park. The service includes local administrative speakers, reverends from local churches, two local choir groups, a soloist, the lighting of the tree, a benediction from a Sister, and then Santa arrives. Santa handed out bags of candy to the kids. The girls were excited about this. It was fun to par take in a local event.
We also attended a 6th grade dinner benefit to raise money for a field trip to Nassau. The dinner is held at an outdoor basketball court. They had a small Christmas golf cart parade and Caribbean Christmas music playing. There was an $8.00 charge for a meal, and all of the food was wonderful. It was a while before the food was ready, so Kelly goes with some other boaters and gets us some beers at the bar next door. I have my first Klick (the local beer)! After the meal, they have various games for the kids. To participate you have to pay $1.00. Kristen enters the contest for musical chairs and limbo. Kristen made it to the final four in the limbo contest. Not bad! Danielle uses her ticket to first buy dessert - chocolate cake - she definitely enjoyed this. She then enters the cakewalk, but did not win a cake. The cakes looked great, especially since we don't have them too often on the boat. She then enters the hula-hoop contest. It was down to Danielle and two local girls. It seemed like it would go on for quite a while. By the end of the second song the two local girls drop their hoops and Danielle wins the contest. She was very excited, and won a bag of candy and a Christmas story book called The Very Snowy Christmas. Kelly then tries the cakewalk and doesn't win. We had a fun night spent with both the local people and fellow boater friends.
We made some friends while staying here. Todd and Joe are on S/V Crisis Mode, a J42 sloop. They are getting the boat ready to travel around the world. They take Kelly out to spear fishing for lobsters. On one of their trips Kelly came back with three lobsters. We are psyched! Kelly cooks the lobster and with great anticipation we start our lobster only to find out that it was overcooked. Oh well we made lobster salad with it. Todd and Joe had gone another time and brought us back two lobster tails. Give us the book Orange Tangerines. Thank You! Kelly helps them on another day putting some sails on, and also gets to go sailing with them. We also met Cindy and Rick on s/v Dragonfly. They are from Marblehead, MA. We met them at the dinner benefit and had fun talking with them that night. We met Ed and Beep from S/V Midwatch. Beep made us some of her sourdough bread. They delivered it right out of the oven, and once it was on the boat we devoured it in a matter of minutes. It was so delicious. Thank You! We had Beep and Ed over to our boat on another night for wine and hors d'ourves. It was fun. We met Jim and Beth on s/v Madcap.
We get caught up on various movies. The Grinch that Stole Christmas, several other Christmas movies, Jurassic Park II - The Lost World, Jurassic Park III, and the first Harry Potter movie. I catch up on reading "The Kite Runner" what a great book. I highly recommend it.