11 September 2017 | North Atlantic
10 September 2017 | 9/11 Memorial
09 September 2017 | Lower Manhattan
08 September 2017 | Nichols Great Kills Marina, Staten Island
07 September 2017 | Haverstraw Marina
06 September 2017 | Haverstraw Marina, Haverstraw, NY
05 September 2017 | Shadows Marina in Poughkeepsie
04 September 2017 | Shadows Marina, Poughkeepsie
03 September 2017 | Riverview Marine
02 September 2017 | Riverview Marine Services
01 September 2017 | Riverview Marine Services
31 August 2017 | Waterford
30 August 2017 | Waterford, NY
29 August 2017 | Schenectady Yacht Club
28 August 2017 | Fultonville, NY
27 August 2017 | Great Lakes
27 August 2017 | Utica, NY
26 August 2017 | Rome, NY
25 August 2017 | Brewerton, NY
24 August 2017 | Baldwinsville, NY
Here comes the (north) wind again ...
21 March 2018 | Staniel Cay near Thunderball Grotto
Sunny, breezy, 77
We met up with Bruce and Chris. Her brother arrives today by plane, so their plan was to move their boat from the protected anchorage to the exposed anchorage, which was much closer to where things are on shore. But after rolling around, they changed their mind and after dinner went back to where they were.
We planned to move to where Bruce and Chris were moving to (but then they didn’t stay and left us anyway). I suggested we wait for high tide and move then, but we left an hour early. There was a medical issue with parents and Roger wanted to be closer to the cell tower. Trying to call from the first anchorage often did not work. But switching anchorages brings up an interesting question. If the wind is forecast to shift, when do you leave the protected anchorage for the next protected anchorage? Especially if the next protected anchorage is empty right now because it is the currently exposed anchorage. When we arrived, there were only three boats there, and two of them were large catamarans, which are better able to handle rough anchorages. Psychologically, I found the best way to deal with the three foot waves was to pretend I was actually sailing - except the scenery was never changing. Without the outside influences, we would have done things differently. Schedules and constraints are the bane of cruisers.
I didn’t bother to back down on my anchor this time. I could barely hold the anchor line in the first place it was pulling so hard, and often needed to hold it around a cleat. The anchor, I felt, was dug in. The afternoon was spent “sailing” along (stationary style) while waiting for the wind to shift out of the north, which is good for this anchorage and looked bad for the other one.
The blog photo shows the clouds rolling in with the promised north wind.
Conch horn fail
20 March 2018 | Near Staniel Cay
Sunny, windy, 77
Defrosted the fridge this morning.
Roger told me the other day how terribly disappointed he was that I had not made a conch horn yet. Well, maybe he just said disappointed. Every day, as the sun begins to set, several sailboats will sound a conch horn. It is a cool and somewhat haunting sound. If you play the trumpet, you can sound the horn, or is it the other way around? I went on YouTube and watched some videos on how to make the horn, but they were not very clear on chipping out the inside of the mouthpiece. So my first cut with the hacksaw was in the correct spot, but when it appeared there would be no opening in the shell there, I stopped and made the cut at the next larger ring. That was bad and my “mouthpiece” was now too large. I may try again with another shell. One thing I do know - the shells are tough. I replaced the blade on my hacksaw to cut through mine. The old, used blade was simply not cutting it.
Staniel Cay redux
19 March 2018 | North Gaulin Cay, Exumas
Sunny, 75, light wind
This morning we took our school supplies over to the school. They have 42 students. They are also raising money for a trip to Orlando, FL.
After a busy morning at the laundromat, we left for Staniel Cay to meet back up with Bruce and Chris. They were tucked away in a remote anchorage which required navigating some shallow water. At the end, I had to eyeball my way in because the chart did not show the path in with the water depth. At low tide, I have 6 inches to a foot under my keel. We are surrounded by a bunch of islands, so there are narrow openings all around.
Coming in, there was one part of the channel filled in with rocks which you had to go around. In the Bahamas, a navigation marker looks like a 4" PVC pipe stuck in the ground. I went around to the left, which was very disconcerting, because on the chart, it showed me going right over the rock pile.
I tried to pump out my holding tank on the way here. Nothing doing. The switch kept clicking off and the pump would grind to a halt, sometimes with a terrible noise. After I anchored, I worked on that (after a beer). Replacing the pump would be unbelievably messy - the boat would smell like crap. Nothing was getting past the shut off valve, and I wasn't going to replace the pump only to find out that wasn't the issue. So I took apart the shut off valve and ran the pump for a second. Success up to the shut off valve! Then I verified the valve was opening and closing. Success again! So I put it back together and everything worked perfectly. I don't know what was wrong, I only care that now it works - and the boat doesn't stink.
After this, we all went to the beach for some cooling off time in the water. Another day in the Bahamas.
Our favorite laundromat and other shark tales
18 March 2018 | Black Point, Exuma, Bahamas
Sunny, little wind, 74
Not much wind today and tomorrow. We motored to Black Point today, the big draw there being the laundromat (no, really). Today is Sunday, so they are closed, but Roger and I walked around and checked out a few restaurants to see if we could get dinner this evening. Sometimes you need to make reservations for dinner - food on demand is not always available and sometimes supplies run out until the next supply boat comes. If there is a bar, you can sometimes get an appetizer there.
The air temperature is only 74, but with no wind and a very intense sun, it feels quite hot. Which is good, because today my paddle wheel stopped working again, so I needed to go in the water anyway. I love it when you go in the water and the first thing there to greet you is a large fish - in this case three of them. One of the fish would occasionally lie on the bottom like it was dead. As I write this, I realize I went in the water even though I had just seen sharks at the dinghy dock, which is not that far away from my boat. Ignorance is bliss. This time I remembered to rinse with fresh water the screw driver I used in salt water. Then dry it and spray it with WD40. If you don't do that, rusty brown had better be your favorite color, or else you will be sad. I am sad and need to replace two of my screwdrivers.
Roger and I checked our anchors using his viewing bucket. They were both well dug in. Since there was no wind when I anchored, my anchor started on its side and facing the wrong way. But in the end, after backing down on it, it was well dug in. Knowing you can trust your anchor is very comforting. Cruisers will understand what I'm saying.
At dinner (we were the only ones in this restaurant), we watched a large group of children hanging out and playing. They were of all ages. No adults. No organized sports. Just small groups of kids entertaining themselves as part of the larger group of kids. The school here only goes through ninth grade. If you want to finish high school, you must go to either Nassau or George Town and live with a relative. Different world.
The blog photo shows my boat shadow and the interesting light patterns on the bottom. The water is around 13-19 feet deep.
Spinnaker. Great sailing day.
17 March 2018 | Great Galliot Cay
Mostly sunny, mid 70’s, 10 knot NE wind.
Happy birthday, Pat!
We left George Town this morning, pulling up anchor just before 8. The anchorage was tight, so I paused to let Roger get his anchor going so he was out of my way. He was close to the trawler ahead of him, so they had to work around that. Roger and Tari were there first, for the record. Roger had a fair amount of trouble getting his anchor free. No wonder after he sailed back and forth, digging it in deeper and deeper. Apparently, tacking back and forth with your genoa is more effective than just backing down on your anchored, but I think they are going back to simply backing down.
Today was a great sail with the wind on the beam in 8-11 knots of wind. Boats left ahead of us and behind us. We wonder if we saw the 70' Swan with the solo sailor that Mark saw in the Virgin Islands. There was a good deal of boat traffic going both ways.
I had enough wind to sail without the motor. I even had the spinnaker up until the wind got to 11 knots. The wind was slightly forward of the beam, and when it picked up, I worried about too much wind and trying to take it down. I needed to head more downwind so I could collapse it behind the main, but that meant aiming for land that was only .3 miles away. So after I got past some land that jutted out so I had more room, I tried to take it down. Sure enough, even though everything had gone perfectly so far, the last step screwed up and I couldn't get the halyard and sock down - the halyard knot was jammed in the block at the top of the mast. I thought I hoisted it so that wouldn't happen, but I guess not. You can't just pull down on the sock, that will never work and you can tear it. So today I finally realized why my sock was partially torn at the top. When this happened a few years ago, I bet I pulled like nuts on the sock trying to get it down. I always wondered how it got torn ... today, the light bulb finally went on.
Anyway, back up the sock went to try to get the chute to fill and pull the knot out. I put some slack in the halyard and waited. Finally, the small bang I was waiting for happened and I was back in business. Off course, but not yet ashore.
Roger and I played with his VHF radio tonight. It must be his hand held that makes a unique sound when he releases the talk button. It didn't appear to be his main radio. While we were messing around, I decided to look into the DSC calling feature. You can turn your VHF radio into a phone if both radios support DSC and have the MMSI number programmed in. So I "called" Roger on my VHF and his VHF radio rang just like a phone. He answered, and just like that we were talking on channel 10, but it was private and we didn't have to try to hail each other, etc. There are a number of channels available to pick from. Another feature I always wanted to play with, but never did. If you are with another boat, this is the way to go to connect on your VHF radio.
44, 45, 46
16 March 2018 | Last day in George Town
Sunny, low 70’s. Cloudy afternoon.
Not much doing these days. Tomorrow we leave George Town and start north, traveling up the east, unprotected side of the Exumas.
We did the long dinghy ride to town this morning. There we met the young gal from Another Adventure. She is active here, so we hear her frequently on the cruisers net. She left the states awhile back and has decided to keep going, never to return. She is heading south from here.
Leaving town and going through the tunnel/under the bridge, was more adventuresome than usual. The tide was coming in, creating standing waves under the bridge and on the other side. Rough and wet in a dinghy. Hold on we did - with both hands
We have started thinking about our schedule to return back to Florida. It is coming soon. I have started making my arrangements to get my boat back to Waukegan. It will be late May or early June. More on that later.
The blog photo shows a Leopard 44 and a Leopard 45. Missing is my brother's Leopard 46.