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November 2009

Week One:

Well ..... week half

We are in Lake Worth Sunday afternoon and plan to leave at about 10 p.m. tonight to cross to the Bahamas. We will not have internet for several days. 

 

Please note new VOIP phone number on "Contact Us" page.

We left Lake Worth at 8:30pm because neither of us could sleep. The whole idea was to have dinner and a good nap before setting off for the long haul to Great Sale Cay (17 hours). Well, anxiety and excitement meant that we departed early and with calm 1-2ft. seas and a beautiful waxing gibbous moon lighting our way, we found ourselves on the Bahama Banks at 6:30am the following morning. Not a soul in sight all night except a couple of large cruise ships. As we approached the Banks our chart plotter went squiggly again. We have no idea what the problem is and it is so intermittent that neither does Raymarine!  Thank goodness we have back up: hand charts and a small hand held GPS.  Vanessa got to work plugging in all the waypoints to get us safely to Marsh Harbour (eventually).

So we are on the banks and making slow progress, 4 knots! Why are we going so slow???? We decided to send Andrew down into the deep (crystal clear water) to see if the prop was fouled, and what d'ya know - we had accumulated a significant amount of seaweed. A big sigh of relief as the stuff was pulled away from under, but who's this arriving on the horizon? Here we are stalled just off Mangrove  Cay not another boat in sight except the "Bahamian Defense Patrol". They pulled up and landed three of their black booted officers into our cockpit. Those black boots made such a mess of our white deck, but we smiled and cooperated with their requests for checking for arms and stowaways - what else would they be searching for?  After several minutes of polite questioning and Vanessa taking many photos we were on our way again...ah, 6 knots now and we made it to the Great Sale anchorage before dusk.

Now we can relax and go Cay hopping, or can we! Well, we did visit Allan's Pensacola where it rained heavily, and then we went to Crab Cay where it rained some more. Then our friends, Paul & Mary, who were just a day behind us, hailed us on the radio and mentioned bad weather ahead. We raced over to Green Turtle Cay and grabbed (after three unsuccessful attempts) a mooring ball. Their balls are not in the best of condition in Black Sound. Here we sit waiting out the strong winds expected for the next several days. At least we'll get to see a lot more of the island. 

Ibis in the park, Stuart.

Nice bridge, Stuart

Flat seas...approach to Mangrove Cay

Bahamas Defense Patrol

Here they come!

Sunset at Great Sale Cay

First step on Allans Pensacola, before the rain.

About to get wet.

Xmas has arrived at Green Turtle.

It's only just November!

Better be a good boy or.....

.....here you will go!

 

 

Week Two:

We've certainly seen the island! The wind has been relentless, blowing 25-35k with the occasional gust of 40K. We get off the boat every day just to get away from the continual bouncing/dancing that Hunter boats are famous for. We've got a riding sail up and have made alterations to it every day trying to get the best effect. It is helping a little. We've attached three of our own lines to the mooring ball as it's own was broken and they had a very fine wire keeping the ball attached. We had to pull on the wire to get ourselves secured to the chain and in doing so we managed to make a nice dent in our life lines. Ah, the joys of cruising! Now we (Vanessa) worry that the wire will chew away our snubber. Ah the joys of cruising! Hence the 3 lines attached.  We are wondering if the decision to make an early crossing was a wise one after all. We've been in the Bahamas a week now and not had a good day of weather. Let's hope this is NOT a sign of things to come.

We are enjoying meeting people, both the locals and cruisers (not many cruisers) and we had some fun at the Guy Fawkes celebrations where they lit a bonfire and were very lucky not to have burned the entire island! A visit to the Albert Lowe museum is well worth it f you get a chance. We had our own private tour and learned a lot.

Finally, we got a good enough day to round the "Whale". We had sizeable ocean swells but nothing too bad.  Our anxiety now diminishing as we are in the protection of the Sea of Abaco. We stopped for a couple of days at Treasure Cay, anchoring with relative (I mean relative) protection from the now constant 20-25k winds. We wonder if this will ever let up. The riding sail is certainly getting a workout.  Our friends, Patti & Emery (Honeywind) stay at Treasure Cay so we popped in for a visit, unannounced, and Patti made us a lovely dinner. The following night we all had dinner on our boat. Patti (unknowingly) brought us a gift? OK, a pet? Hmmm, well we now have a "curly tail" (lizard) somewhere onboard. Shame we can't find him, her, it!

We took a long, very long, walk around the beautiful beach (#10 in the world) to Carleton Point, where the loyalists first settled before moving on to Marsh Harbour.

Now waiting for good weather to move on.

Dancing with the Guy contest.

Bluff Harbour entrance

See how windy it is!

Pastry chef at work....lovely chicken pie!

Emery and Vanessa

World's 10th best beach - Treasure Cay

Vanessa's new bike basket.

 

Week Three:

We spent 4 nights at anchor in Treasure Cay because the winds were still kicking up. Then we had an opportunity to move and we took it. We found a lovely N- NE protected anchorage at Crawl Bight on the southern end of Guana Cay. The snorkeling was great and now we feel we've made it!!! After a night at Guana we left for Marsh Harbour as we had a party to attend in town. The RMHYC welcome party was great fun and we got to see some of our neighbors from "Boat Harbor Marina" last year plus some new faces. 

On our return to the boat Mr. Curly Tail (See previous week report)  was discovered and we put him/her to sea. Now we are back to two of us aboard.

A quick stop at the grocery store and we were off to Lynyard Cay for the night to wait for the rising tide the following day to enter Little Harbour at the southern end of the Sea of Abaco. On the way we caught two fish and Vanessa was cleaning the Spanish Mackerel and had just finished getting two fillets and she was washing down the decks and washed away the fillets as well. No worries since we then caught a Yellow Tailed Snapper and we had that for lunch..... very nice..... see photo.

 We anchored on the southern end of the Cay but the winds were a little fickle and were not doing what was forecast, however the riding sail helped us yet again. We think we've got the right angle of the dangle now....yipee!  Bright and early we made tracks to get through the shallow channel into the lovely anchorage of Little Harbour and once inside we sat and waited for Pete's Pub to open up for a delicious lunch of fresh dolphin and cracked conch. Then it was a walk along the beach looking for treasures.

The week has finished up with our arrival into our winter slip at Boat Harbour. Just nice to be tied up at all four corners for the time being.

Spanish Mackerel ....... see story above.

The one that didn't get away.

LUNCH ....... Snapper Sandwich.

Lunch with a glass of wine.

Approaching Squall.

One side of Little Harbour

The caves in the Little Harbour.

Interesting rock in Little Harbour

No Landing here !!!!

View from the back of Pete's Pub

 

Week Four:

We have finally arrived at our winter retreat, Boat Harbour (The Abaco Beach Resort). There were very few boats here when we pulled in but as the week draws to end several more have arrived and the cocktails are now flowing! We are meeting many new people. It's fun to see new faces but now we have to begin memorizing names all over again, just when we got used to last years neighbors.

The bikes are now erected and have taken their position alongside the pilings. The jerry cans are off the deck and on the dock and we are settling in to the routine: go to the grocery store on Wednesday, 'cos  that's when it gets restocked: water aerobics three times a week: snorkeling when it's not too windy etc. etc. and of course cocktails whenever!

We had some visitors early in the week, members of our sailing club (Trisha & Craig of Tortola Sunrise, and John & Barbie) whom we had met in the summer in the Chesapeake Bay.  They (John & Barbie) have a timeshare here at Regatta's and they invited us to a lovely lobster dinner after drinks aboard Tally Ho.

It's Thanksgiving week already and we had a wonderful dinner aboard Puffin with several friends. Lois brought the turkey all the way across the stream too!

Andrew, Mary and Paul - another fun cocktail evening celebrating our arrival at Boat Harbour.

The girls for dinner.

Carl and Andrew - pre dinner drinks - again.

Lois in the galley with Ed. Putting the final touches on the feast.

Fred and Judy - Fred carved the turkey