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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Delayed Departure

Our 'plan' was to depart Georgetown by 7:30 am yesterday. Then we found out the forecast called for squalls on our passage, so we begged off. The dinghy had been stowed the night before in anticipation of going. Somehow, neither of us were inspired to go through the launch and stow process again for the day. The joy of it is we caught up on rest, and I almost finished another novel. We did not have a meal until about 3 pm, at which time Myron reviewed the weather again. After the meal, we had a brief discussion of the merits of leaving Georgetown in the daylight or at midnight. We decided the weather looked rather inviting to leave precisely at that moment.

After some goodbyes, up went the anchor, up went the sail, and out Conch Cut we went. We had about a 4+ foot swell from the east, but they were elongated with about an 8 second interval. The winds were from the west, mostly, sometimes south of west, and stayed that way throughout the night. It was a beautiful sunset, fantastic view of the stars on a moonless night, we lost the eastern swell when we got behind Cat Island, and were blessed with a beautiful sunrise. We got to Cape Eleuthera at first light. It was a perfect accident that we arrived on an incoming tide, giving us the opportunity to make water in calm seas. Another 75 gallons in the tanks, thank you very much.

We actually discussed continuing on to Current Cut and then across the Northeast Providence Channel to the Abacos and to MOW Cay. It would be another 36 hours underway. Better heads prevailed. We are anchor down in Rock Sound, about to have breakfast, a shower and a nice nap.

Love to all,
Dena

{GMST}24°51.63'N|076°09.67'W|8:43 AM|{GEND}

position report

20.5 miles to Cape Eleuthera. Nice night for star gazing.
Should arrive Rock Sound around 8:30am.
Myron

{GMST}24°30.05'N|076°12.87'W|2:57 AM|{GEND}

Friday, February 24, 2017

Position Report

George Town to Rock Sound
We left George Town around 4:30 this afternoon. Should arrive Rock Sound in the morning.
Myron

{GMST}23°54.04'N|075°57.18'W|8:51 PM|{GEND}

Monday, February 20, 2017

Lots of Boats

Big Majors is a busy place, and very interesting at night because the power yachts are all lit up. They actually look rather pretty. We were expecting the winds to decrease as they clocked around S then SW, W and finally N. It never seemed to let up. If you look at the map, you would see we were rather exposed from the SW. We waited as long as we could for a lull, finally got one just before dark and put the dinghy away as quickly and carefully as possible. The careful part is me hoisting the engine off the back of the dinghy without taking out Myron in the process or ramming the critical exposed parts into Hold Fast's aft. Usually it is a no brainer, but when both vessels are bucking in the seas, we are careful through the critical moments. Shortly after we were squared away on deck, the wind increased substantially. By then it was dark (of course!). We had been surrounded by threatening clouds before sunset, and the lack of visible stars indicated a squall was upon us. It was a good rain. The second rain was so hard that it almost flattened the seas. All went quiet, then the wind came out of the north. All in all, one of our nicer cold front passages.

I overslept this morning. Woke up at 6:40 am. We meant to get an earlier start for today's trip. We were still one of the first to head out of the anchorage. Our route was to go past Black Point and Farmer's Cay and take the Galliot Cut out to the Exuma Sound. On that route I spied, with my little eye, a very small boat going SW on the banks. It moved like a boat that was unattended. Sure enough, the rough weather (or maybe rough drinking) assisting in the escape of a boater's dinghy. We made a general radio call on channel 16 to whatever boat had lost their dinghy, got a quick response with a detailed description - as it was still a mile away - and went out to retrieve it. This was putting us further behind schedule, but we both agreed we would sure appreciate having our dinghy retrieved if we had lost it. The retrieval went OK, except that when I grabbed it with the boat hook, it pulled the boat hook apart and left me holding only the handle. So we caught their dinghy but lost our boat hook. No good deed goes unpunished. The fellow had some friends on a big boat named 'Jupiter,' and they had a go fast fishing boat named something like 'Nauti 2 Nautical.' Three guys came out at about 30 knots to intercept us and get the dinghy. The owner was all smiles and thank you's and his boat name was 'One More Time.' We tossed the line and headed back to our rum line. Will probably never see him again.

We arrived at the cut to Elizabeth Harbor around 3:30 pm, drove by and shouted at Hamilton on 'Sarah G,' and were anchored before 5 pm. There are so many boats here! It will be a short stay for us. We have already seen Fred on 'North Star,' and hope to see more friends before we start heading north on the next favorable winds.

Love to all,
Dena

{GMST}23°30.46'N|075°45.65'W|7:05 PM|{GEND}

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Few Miles South

Yesterday we debated continuing south, as far as we could make it before we lost daylight. The fact that we were already anchored weighed in heavy on the decision to stay. However, when the SE wind came in at about 2 am, we wished we had made more southing on the light north winds. It made today not impossible, but a bit more work to get SE down to Big Majors Spot, aka Pigs Beach.

Along the way we saw something new. She had her full main and full jib out, running quietly downwind: A Nordhavn 56 motor sailor. Look it up on Google. It was impressive. I am sure the price tag is as well.

When Myron checked in on the Cruiseheimers Net this morning, Ron on Ursa Minor asked that we check with Staniel Cay Yacht Club whether his part had arrived. Therefore we anchored Hold Fast in an already populated anchorage, launched the dinghy amid significant boat wakes, and took off to go through the Majors, thinking that route would get us less wet in the SE winds. It did and soon enough we were securing the dinghy and checking in with the yacht Club. Alas Ron, not today. We tried.

Not to waste a trip into town, we took a walk and suddenly found ourselves enjoying an ice cream. Oh the little things.

It was an easier ride back. We stopped by Pigs Beach to check on the piglets. We thought maybe they were full, given their lackluster attitude towards food. During our stay at the beach, a policewoman brought a vet to shore. We found out a couple pigs had died and he was there with help to find out why. They want to address it right away. Not only are the pigs an attraction for tourists well to the north and south, but they are also food. We hated to see the pigs in such a state and hope it is solved soon. The vet and crew were there for over two hours.

Speaking of vets, I forgot to mention that on one of my walks around Rock Sound, I ran into some men who were building an animal clinic. They wanted all our boater friends to know that they will soon (no later than next season they hope) have the ability to tend to the boaters' animals. They mentioned dogs, cats, and even had laugh about some boaters that had pet rats on their boat. Actually, before they laughed, they asked if I had rats onboard. Not on purpose, I told them.

Love to all,
Dena

{GMST}24°11.13'N|076°27.63'W|6:25 PM|{GEND}

Friday, February 17, 2017

Remiss

I am sorry. I was remiss not to post on our last location change. We fished back up Eleuthera Island, to no avail, and topped off the water tanks. Back at Rock Sound, we launched the dinghy and went into town to say goodbye to our land based friends and apologize for not bringing home dinner. It distracted me and I forgot to give you all an update.

The next day we had strong south winds. We took the first part of the day to enjoy Poison Point with George, Nancy and their guest on 'Trumpeter,' a 45.5' Bristol. Once the winds turned west enough to give us a wrap of swell, we moved to the west side of Rock Sound, along with the most boats I have seen anchored there. A total of 24 boats that rode out the SW, W and NW winds.

Most of us headed out of there early this morning, everyone going their own way. As you could imagine, we were headed for fishing grounds. And we worked it. But alas, only one hook up, a nice sized bull mahi mahi, lost it and another ballyhoo. No other bites. We have decided the bulk of the fish have not arrived to the Bahamas yet. Maybe hurricane Matthew messed up their timing.

As a result, we are giving up on fishing for now and going to see friends anchored in Georgetown. Maybe. This year everything has been out of sorts and not going as planned. Everyday our plans change. Written in the sand at low tide.

By the way, Norman's is not what it used to be. Remember the lone palm on the little island. Matthew took that away. There is a new house underway on the north side of the cut to the Exuma Sound. Also, someone is actively building something at the southwest end. There are three heavy excavators working on some kind of breakwater right now. Some may call it progress, we find it disappointing. Everything changes.

Love to all,
Dena

{GMST}24°35.56'N|076°48.60'W|4:09 PM|{GEND}

Monday, February 13, 2017

Skunked

We put the dinghy away before dark last night and set out this morning with a few goals in mind: Make water (both saddle tanks were down), empty the holding tank (hey, everybody poops, we just have to deal with it), and go fishing. Notice the goal was not 'catch fish,' failing would be too disappointing. Who am I kidding, it was disappointing anyway that we did not catch any fish today. Not even a bite, and we had all our best presentation out. Ballyhoo and lures embellished with bait. We worked the drop off all the way down the west side of Eleuthera Island and then proceeded toward Little San Salvador Island. And we were not alone.

Myron caught some guys talking on the radio at the end of our efforts and found out everyone got skunked today, except some fortunate boaters that caught a wahoo. Apparently, wahoo is all that is around these waters.

The good side is that we are happily anchored on what feels like the edge of the world. We are all alone, something we kind of needed. Many sailors in the Bahamas would not come here because it is rolly from surge from the Atlantic and surge from the Exuma Sound. It reminds us of the anchorages on the Pacific. The semi-circle beach is beautiful and the water is crystal clear. We took a swim to check the anchor and validate that the dark spots around us did not present a threat to Hold Fast. All is well.

Tomorrow, we change our presentation for wahoo and make water again. Still optimistic for fish!

Love to all,
Dena

{GMST}24°36.89'N|076°08.90'W|6:26 PM|{GEND}

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Water, Water

Today was a banner water-making day. Well over 200 gallons. We were low, obviously. It was a good travel day for it, especially compared to yesterday. Yesterday we got salt spray on the solar panels and the stack pack (sail cover). Marks of a rough ride. We fished anyway. At one point I saw a huge splash behind us, with a delayed hard spin on the reel. The reel spun out so hard and so fast, Myron thought he might lose all the 80 pound line. He slowly applied the brake, then there was nothing. We reeled in a mangled mess that was formerly a pre-rigged ballyhoo. The wire leader was coiled like a slinky, the hooks were partly straightened, and not a bit of ballyhoo left. All we can figure is a large shark. That was our only action.

Yesterday's south wind gave us a little roll at the Royal Island anchorage. About midnight, our wind shift alarm went off. That is what I call our mizzen halyard. It sounds the alarm of banging, quite loudly, against the mizzen mast when Hold Fast is perpendicular to strong gusts of wind. We had a small squall come upon us out of the north. It chilled us off nicely. No real rain, or the salt would have been washed off the enclosure, solar panels and all. No, just wind enough to sound the alarm for us, and anyone near us, and make us happy we scoped the anchor chain well.

We got too much sun today and feel the affects, such as a nap after our shower without even bothering to eat dinner. Many times I was mesmerized watching the bottom go by under 30 feet of crystal blue water. We saw two brown footed boobies today. A rare site around here. We think today was the last calm day for a while. One forecast says we have weather coming in the next 16 hours that we should take seriously, the other forecasts are ho-hum. We prepared for the worst, abandoned the fishing trip, and will hang out on the west side of Rock Sound until the winds turn north.

We are looking forward to reuniting with Pastor Brad and family, and all the teacher, kids and other local friends. Hopefully Tuesday.

Love to all,
Dena

{GMST}24°52.19'N|076°11.31'W|7:31 PM|{GEND}

Royal island

We left Lynyard cay about 7am and arrived Royal Island about 4:45pm. It was not one of our best passage but it is done.
Myron

{GMST}25°30.94'N|076°50.68'W|1:44 AM|{GEND}

Thursday, January 26, 2017

And More Pictures...

This is the last of our pictures for a bit, at least any of volume.  Enjoy!

Newly arrived sprouts in the greenhouse:

Myron and Chris inspecting microgreens...yummy!

Red lettuce almost ready:

It is a large greenhouse, and all automated.  Very nice:

Inspecting watermelons:

The beginnings of a passion fruit orchard:

Dena (machete) and Giavanna (hatchet) on a mission to get coconut milk.  It took forever to get us to have a serious face...more like a frightening face!  Do not mess with us.

Myron and Dena leading 'Susie Q,' and Endeavor 43', into MOW harbor entrance.

And then onto a mooring ball.  Always so much better to have help into this harbor the first time around.

Love to all,
Dena