|Vessel Make/Model:||1977 Irwin Ketch|
|Hailing Port:||El Jobean, Florida|
|Crew:||Charlie and Phyllis Atha|
|About:||After living aboard our 42' Irwin for almost 10 years, we sold her and bought a home in El Jobean, Florida. Bought a storm damaged 1996 Hunter 45 and have been working on it for the past 3 years. THEN we sold the Hunter and purchased the Irwin back. Feels like home!|
|Extra:||Both Charlie and Phyllis are USCG licensed captains and ASA sailing instructors.|
Okay, I was lazy last night and didn't send out the Wanderings. My cousin, Brenda, and her husband, Steve, left yesterday for home. After breakfast in the morning, we dinghied downtown Nassau. We went to the Straw Market, then walked around and visited a few other tourist shops. I stopped at the [...]
Charlie and Steve were up and had us headed toward Nassau by 7:00 this morning. They put up all three sails and turned off the engine. First time this season we have had the right winds to be able to sail without the engine with all three sails. For the first half of the trip across from Normans Cay, we were able to maintain 5 to 6 knots. But, naturally, you can't have too much of a good thing. The wind started dying about half way over. We were down to 3 knots at times and we really wanted to get there as early as possible, so the engine came back on and we motorsailed the rest of the way. The total distance today was 35 miles. We arrived at a bit after 2:00. On the way over, Charlie beat some conch that I had thawed and we had cracked conch for lunch. After we anchored in Nassau Harbor, Charlie took Steve and Brenda over to Atlantis. They were able to see the casino and the lobby and some of the grounds, but they are not too welcoming over there unless you buy a day pass for about $85.00 each to go into the aquarium and use their other facilities. On their way back, they took a short detour over to Potter's Cay. They didn't find a place to tie up the dinghy and go ashore, but they were not too impressed with the back sides of the shanty food shacks or the old conch boats and mailboats tied up to the docks. They said Atlantis was just too high class, but Potter's Cay was a bit too lower class. Dirty and a bit scary in their opinion. Potter's Cay is a locals working class area. Would be like going to the docks in New York I would imagine. Just a little too tough of a neighborhood. They made it back about 5:30. I was convinced to just make burgers for dinner, so that is what we had. The skies were much sunnier today and the wind today was a bit calmer and warmer. This evening is mostly clear. The wind is now cool to be out in, but if we stay in the cockpit or the boat, the temperature is comfortably warm. The picture is of Steve and Brenda in the cockpit looking at Atlantis and Nassau on the horizon.
We had a bit of rolling and rocking last night. The skies were overcast. I did see the moon peek through a few times. And windy. I decided to have cereal for breakfast. Both, BOTH, of the quarts of milk we bought at Staniel were bad. Not out of date yet, but bad. I was a bit peeved. I ate a piece of cake Charlie had baked last night. The rest had French toast. After breakfast, Charlie took Steve and Brenda up the creek to the other side of the island. They couldn't see much in the water because the wind had it rippled too much. But, they did see several turtles. They stopped at one spot and walked the beach for a bit. Camp Driftwood is a definite stop. They climbed to the top to get a 360 degree view. When they made it back, Charlie fixed his famous grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. We weighed anchor and motored another 3-5 miles to Norman's Cay. We anchored just north of the old McDuff's place on the west side of the island. We snuggled up close enough to the island to get out of the wind chop and any swells. The wind is from the east and still blowing 15 to 20. Charlie, Steve and Brenda went ashore to a somewhat rocky beach to explore. I stayed aboard to catch up on the Wanderings. We are having chicken marsala for dinner. The skies were even more overcast today than yesterday. No peeking moon tonight. The wind is still blowing. We are sitting quiet and comfortable. The wind is cold though. As long as the wind is blocked, it is comfortable. Thank goodness for our enclosure! The picture shows Steve overlooking the interior of Shroud with part of the creek visible. If you look very closely, you can see our masts on the far side.
The seas in the anchorage were a bit rolly last night. We had some wrap around swell come from the point just north of us. It went through spells where it was very quiet, then a rolling spell. After breakfast this morning, we packed the backpacks and ice chest with water, cold beer and snacks. The ice chest we left in the dinghy, because it would be too heavy to hike with. But, we had backpacks with water and snacks. We hiked up to the Russell Ruins, which is the ruins of small Loyalist cabins made out of rock and concrete. The concrete was made from baked and crushed conch shells and sand. Thes cabins are maybe 10 by 20 feet with two rooms. Low ceilings. The walls were rocks cemented together then skimmed with a layer of concrete. They were built on top of the hill, so all the conch shells had to be hauled up. Rocks are everywhere, so they probably just gathered them where it was convenient. We saw the old oven where they baked the shells and some rock walls which were pens or housing for animals. After looking at two of the cabins, we made our way back down the steep slope to the trail that goes across the island. A pretty good walk. We were glad it was sort of overcast. We walked on the rocks around the north point to a long beach with all kinds of flotsam and jetsam on the beach. Brenda found a makeshift bucket to carry here goodies back. Charlie found a plastic float that was too big for his backpack, so he carried the back pack and Steve carried the float. I had one Styrofoam float I carried back. We found a tree with some milk boxes and an old chair under it, so we could rest up before our hike back. Then we took a second break when we made it back across the island to the dinghy with the ice chest. The cold drinks were nice. When we made it back to the boat, we had a light lunch of crab salad. We were not too hungry since we had been snacking even though it was 2:00. We decided to go snorkeling after lunch. Steve, Brenda and I just went in from the Wyvern. Charlie wanted to check out a coral head that was further away, so he took the dinghy. Our coral head, wasn't too good. Had some pretty little fish, but most of the coral looked dead or damaged. Charlie said his coral head was prettier and he even saw a lobster. We left Hawksbill after the snorkeling and motored a whole 3-5 miles to Shroud Cay, anchoring on the north side of the spit at the mooring field. I fixed sautéed shrimp and stirfry for dinner. Then we taught Steve and Brenda how to play Scrabble. The wind did come up last night and blew 15 to 18 knots. We had just a little roll and rock, but not too much. Weather was overcast all day and night. I did see the moon peek through occasionally. Still warm unless you were out in the wind. The wind was cool. I had difficulty with my computer last night, thus the reason for the delayed Wanderings.
We have been in the Exuma Land and Sea Park since we the day after we left Staniel Cay But, today, Charlie took Steve and Brenda into shore to visit the headquarters. They paid for our anchoring last night, since we were right near the headquarters. That is a sore subject with us, but I have mentioned that before. They walked up to BooBoo Hill. The highest point on Wardwick Wells and placed their wooden plaque on the pile, designating who they were and that they were here. A tradition among cruisers that visit and their guests who may be aboard. Some of the plaques are very elaborate, routed or painted. Most are just boards with the information in permanent marker. BooBoo Hill offers a nice 360 degree view of the island and the waters around it. They had to wade the creek to get there and with the full moon, the tide was extra high. Up to Charlie's thigh. While they were gone, I put together marinara sauce and put it on the stove to simmer all day. I also got chili out of the freezer to have for lunch, and cracked some ice out of the ice cube trays. Just as I finished up and was going up to the cockpit to relax, they made it back to the boat. We weighed anchor, then put up the main sail and motorsailed toward Hawksbill Cay. Naturally, most of the distance, the wind was blowing from the north. Where we want to go. Charlie went a bit off course and we continued to motorsail until we had to turn into the anchorage. Charlie, Steve and Brenda dinghied in to shore to walk the long pretty white sandy beach that sort of encircles the anchorage. Charlie took a break, but Steve and Brenda walked the whole length. Nothing really on the beach that was interesting, but pretty and they got their exercise. I gathered and prepared all the other stuff for dinner. Spaghetti water, spaghetti, garlic bread and salads. We had spaghetti and meatballs and salads for dinner. With day light savings time, we don't quit playing and have dinner until about 7:00. That makes for a short evening since everyone (but me) is ready for bed at nine. The weather has not been so perfect last night or today. Though the velocity isn't too high, maybe 10 to 15 knots. A bit higher last night, the wind came from the west and northwest. Not great for the Emerald Rock anchorage. We hobbyhorsed all night. This morning the wind clocked a bit farther north holding us sideways to the swells, so we started rolling sideways. We sort of banged into the waves coming to Hawksbill Cay. When we first came into the anchorage, the waves were much calmer, but I believe after dark they have gotten a bit worse. I'm hoping for better later tonight and tomorrow.
Charlie made banana pancakes and sausage for breakfast. On our way out of the anchorage, we slowly drove by Johnny Depp's Island. We saw a couple of beaches with beach lounge chairs, little sailboats, gazebos and other toys. But, we didn't see Johnny. We did see what must have been the caretaker though. After re-anchoring at the south tip of Johnny's island, so we could dinghy over to the sunken plane, the sea aquarium, and O'Brien's Cay for a walk over to the windward beach. We just used the look bucket to look at the sunken airplane. The look bucket is just a bucket that Charlie cut the bottom out of and replaced the bottom with plexiglass. Works like a huge snorkel mask that is big enough for several people to see what is below the water. There were too many boats at the Sea Aquarium when we went past, so we decided to go on over to O'Brien's Cay. The tide was high and one lagoon that is normally dry or too shallow to dinghy into had plenty of water, so we dinghied into a beach. We walked the beach. Didn't find much, but saw some territory that I had never seen. I did find some tiny shells that were colorful. Brenda found several shells that she liked. When we got back to the dinghy, it was high and dry. Luckily not too far and we were able too dinghy back out. We then went into the deeper lagoon to another beach. We walked that beach, then across the island. Not a decent path. We hiked over rocks most of the way. Waves were crashing onto the rocky shore in a spectacular display of plumes. We finally made it to the beach. Again, we only found a few small shells to bring back. We did stop by the Sea Aquarium, but we forgot to bring the dinghy ladder and no one was eager to jump in because the current was so strong. So we fed the sergeant majors and yellow tail snappers some corn and watched them, then looked at the coral and fish through the look bucket. On our way back to the boat, we dinghied up closer to Johnny Depp's island and took a picture of one of the beaches, with possibly his house up on the little hill. See if you can see it in the picture. Back at the boat, we weighed anchor and motored on flat seas to Emerald Rock just south of the Exuma Land and Sea Park headquarters on Wardwick Wells. Once anchored, we decided to snorkel a couple of small coral heads. The conditions were perfect. No current, bright sunny sky and water extremely clear. We saw all kinds of colorful tropical fish. Some beautiful coral. I saw a huge crab and Charlie saw a Nassau Grouper. We snorkeled another coral head, and then we all admitted that we were tired and ready for the day to end. We came back to the boat. Everyone took a shower to get rid of the salty feel. We had pork chops with potatoes/squash/onion mix. Brenda is spoiling Charlie, because she has been doing the dishes every evening. Really, she has basically been doing all the dishes. Weather today was warm. The sun was intense and we had a very mild breeze. Just enough to keep us somewhat cool.