Saturday, April 26, 2014

Royal Island Harbor to Man-O-War Cay

I was awake before 3 am yesterday with a tummy ache, but optimistically stayed in bed with the earnest hope for more sleep. Myron got out of bed shortly thereafter. I abandoned the effort for any further sleep and got up to do the few things remaining before weighing anchor, which we did at 6:10 am with first light. Once outside the anchorage we could see that we had started a trend as several other boats turned on their navigation lights and began hoisting main sails. They were smaller boats that require an early start to arrive at the cut before dark. We were just early because we had fishing on our mind.

That is precisely where the fishing stayed, on our mind. We spent hours changing out lures, adding bait, and clearing grass off the hooks. At one point as I was clearing one the lures of grass, I watched the big green teaser go under water and work back and forth behind the boat. The teaser cannot stay under water on its own. We surmised something had a hold of it because after the teaser popped back up the starboard lure went off. Just a few clicks though, nothing caught. We had everything right in the presentation, but there has to be fish to catch them. Hungry fish. We did bring Jay our catch for the day: Sargasso grass. Do not be disappointed, thinking that the Lord did not provide…we still have several pounds of wahoo in the freezer!

Sorry we did not post last night that we had arrived safely. We secured the mooring sometime after 5 pm, took a shower, had dinner and that was the end of us. Barry stopped by to check on us just after our showers and I was already in my PJs. We were asleep before 8 pm! As to taking so long this morning, the blog was written but we got right on our chores without posting it.

Now we will look for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream to north Florida. It could be in two days or more than a week. In the meantime, we will prepare Hold Fast for the journey and visit as much as possible with our good buddies here at MOW Cay.

Love to all,

Posted via 3G.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hatchet Bay to Royal Island Harbor

Wow it can be hard to leave a community when you get to be part of the daily routine. We finished our tutoring during the kids' Easter vacation. We expected just a couple of kids to show, but we had 11. Great they all came, but a little more difficult to manage. Three hours each day with a break in the middle. We would come home and take a nap after lunch. Experiences like that raise my impression of teachers a notch!

We had a great Easter celebration at the local church and I already miss them! After our evening walks, we would sit on Mr. Ferguson's porch and chat with him and some other locals. Yes, we were very comfortable there. But it is time to head north.

Today's journey was uneventful, other than I noticed familiar boat names on AIS that were heading a similar direction as us. It was 'Creola' and 'Joie de Vivre,' two Whitby42s that we met up with when we were in Jacksonville. We have certainly seen a great representation of Whitby42s in the Bahamas this year! Glad to see them out and about.

The cut at Current was not an issue. Myron said it was easier going through from the east because it is more obvious where to turn into the cut, as opposed to where to turn out of the cut. We were about an hour before slack tide, so we got a push from tidal current going through the cut.

Tomorrow we plan to head across to the Abacos. I doubt we will be alone. There are nine other boats in this anchorage now, including the two Whitbys. Maybe everyone else will not leave at '0-dark thirty' and we can get on the fishing before the others. We pray the Lord will provide. Besides Jay said we should not show up if we do not have fish. Hmmm, no pressure there. We will have to bring him a barracuda if that is the best we can do.

On a different point, I need to correct a previous post: It was on Iron Man 3, not 2, that I first heard mention of Downtown Abbey. Not that anyone cares, I just hate misinformation.

Love to all,

Posted via 3G.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Water Maker

Hey all, after receiving requests over several years, we have finally posted a blog on our engine driven water maker.  We searched for pictures to use and now realize how long it has been since we first installed it!

Please see our Products and Solutions blog site or you can just go to this link: Hold Fast Products and Solutions.

If you do not readily see the posting on the Water Maker, go to 'Subject' on the right and click on 'Water Maker.'

Love that clean water,

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Rock Sound to Hatchet Bay

After one night, we moved from the southern end of Rock Sound to just off the town and stayed there for the frontal passage. By this morning, we had almost a perfect 270 degree arc on our chart plotter, evidence that our anchor held as we turned throughout the blow. It is good holding off the town, not so much around the rest of Rock Sound. Of the 23 boats in Rock Sound, only six of us stayed on the town side. The other boats moved over to the west side during the SW, W and NW blow, then to the town side for the N blow, but weighing 30,000 pounds has its advantages. We put on the super heavy snubber and just "sucked it up, buttercup," as Barb would say, and rode out the blow off the town next to another Whitby42, 'Anneteak.' We offered Brad and Anne on Anneteak some wahoo steaks after we anchored, but they waited until the weather was not so snarky before they came over in their dinghy to claim their prize. I am sure their huge cat Charlie (kitty of the sea) was just as glad as them to have fish on board.

During the couple days of snarky weather, we covered almost a whole season of 'Downton Abbey.' We have become terribly addicted to this series about these English aristocrats in the 1900's, with rarely an opportunity missed to gouge your heart by some tragedy. I remember first hearing about this series on, of all things, Iron Man 2, and had been curious about it ever since. Vic on Salty Turtle set Myron up with four seasons. Myron said he is going to kick Vic's tail for getting us addicted. That being said, when the sun goes down, we will watch another show and I am sure I will cry again.

We waited around Rock sound for the winds to go more east and today's forecast gave us the go ahead to sail up the island to Governor's Harbor. However, as we sailed out of Rock Sound, the winds proved to be north of east. Furthermore, the front that had passed over us days before is now back tracking. We had rain squalls chasing us from the south and we decided we would just head straight to Hatchet Bay and at some point just hitchhike back to Governor's Harbor.

We will have to see tomorrow what volunteer work is available for us at Alice Town (Hatchet Bay) and that will likely guide the duration of our stay. We had hoped to get on the same mooring we had last time, but were glad to find anything open. We are now on the other side of the Bay.

I am finding all kinds of ways to cook wahoo. One of the ladies in Rock Sound gave us some of her home mixed spices for marinade. I will give that a try soon.

Love to all,

Posted via 3G.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Black Point – Pigs Beach – Rock Sound

Saturday in Black Point was all about laundry and internet.  Sunday we went to worship service at the Mission Bible Church in Black Point.  Ida’s husband, Terrance, taught the Bible lesson and preached the sermon.  Ida was most stunning in her red dress and red hat.  Both Kathy (Nancy Lu) and I mentioned we would like to get a hat or two to wear to church in the Bahamas.  It is simply what the ladies do here.

After church we headed over to Pigs Beach for a play date with Camila and Matias (and Ernesto and Natalia!) on Tiai.  They were coming from the north and we from the south, we arrived at our anchorage at very nearly the same time.  The kids jumped into the water and swam over to our boat!  We immediately set out in our dinghies to dive the grotto.  Myron and I were shocked as we drove up to it (kids in our dinghy) and noticed that the rock in front had fallen down across the opening.  It was past high tide and the current was really beginning to flow.  Not something we wanted to put the kids into, so we drove around the other side of the grotto and snorkeled in the coral and fed some fish for the kids to watch.  They got cold and were soon back in their own dinghy.  We drove between the Majors so Ernesto could see where they were going to hide from the passage of the cold front.  Then we stopped by the swimming pigs, plenty of squeals to go around.  We had dinner on board Tiai (with flan for dessert!)  and suddenly this morning, it was time for us to depart.  Myron was torn about leaving them so soon.  We almost dropped our plans of sailing across the Sound.

Eventually we held to the plans, pulled up anchor, circled Tiai for more goodbyes, then pulled up the main and prepared to go out the cut at Staniel Cay and sail across the Exuma Sound to Rock Sound, Eleuthera.  Winds were about 15-20 knots on the beam, a nice reach.  The forecast was for one to two foot seas, but they were three to four and a bit sharp.  After exiting the cut, we sailed all but the last five miles with 20 knots on the nose going into Rock Sound. 

Even though the seas were up, we were still determined to fish, but could only put one pole out.  When it is rough like that, the lures are likely to tangle and make a “reel” mess of things.  We were four to five miles offshore when we got a bit hit.  It ran (took the line) for some time.  Since we were sailing as opposed to motoring, I had quite a time getting the boat slowed down for a fight with a fish.  We did the best we could to turn Hold Fast into the wind without rolling ourselves off the boat.  Finally we were down to about 3.5 knots, 40 degrees off course, with both of us on the aft deck anxious to see what we would reel in.  The way it was pulling, it had to be big.  At first I saw a flash of silver and thought it was a bull mahi, then I got a closer look and realized it was a large wahoo.  I gaffed it through the gill and head but was afraid to pull it aboard while it was still flopping so hard.  Myron pulled it up while I secured the tail with a rope and on board it came.  We both sat down on the aft deck completely fish slimmed.  It measured 55 inches, only 9 inches shorter than me!!  According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the weight of a fat bodied fish (bass, salmon) can be estimated with the following formula: (length x girth x girth) / 800.  Based upon that, and our wahoo’s girth of about 24 inches, our haul up the freeboard and over the lifelines was estimated at 39.6 pounds.  No small challenge when it is wiggling about.  It dressed out into 18 large steaks, a shoulder (behind the head), and two fillets off the tail section.  Praise God, our fish locker is full! 

We plan to stay around Rock Sound until this, yet another, cold front passes by.  I really thought that since March came in like a lion, April weather would be mild.  Apparently that was just wishful thinking.  Winter is not over.  For now, with southeast winds, we are at the southern end of Rock Sound.  We will move further north and off the town tomorrow afternoon as the winds increase and turn SW to W to N and then NE.

We scrubbed the boat down, Myron recharged our fish refrigerator, we got our showers, BBQ’d two wahoo steaks and are soon headed to bed for some needed rest.

Love to all,

Posted via 3G.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Finally Internet!

We finally had sufficient internet to get some things loaded into the blog.  First, Myron was able to make a change on our support for the track history, and now you can see all the tracks he has loaded up over the years.  Secondly, I was able to load pictures into Picasa and give them all descriptions.  The pictures I loaded date all the way back to November 2013, since we left Manteo, NC.  To see them all, you can click on "Hold Fast Photo Gallery" to the right of our map at the top of the blog.  Once in the photo gallery, you can select the time period/place.  To entice you, I selected a couple for you below.

Sweetheart's Dinner at Baptist Church.  We are seated with William and Audrey Gibson:

Kids participating in the vocabulary parade at school in Hatchet Bay.

Private and natural spa on the Atlantic side of Stocking Island.

Myron catches Nassau grouper for dinner!

Dena vs. conch.  Dena wins, but conch's consolation is covering Dena with sticky conch bits.

Hold Fast and crew, drifting at less than four knots.

Go to the photo links to enjoy many more photos.

Love to all,

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Buena Vista, Jumentos to Black Point, Exumas

We knew it was going to be a long day with an after sunset arrival time.  It was important to sail through the sand bores before sunset so we pulled up anchor at 5 am and started on our way.  Even though the winds blew all night, they held their breath in the morning.  We shook out the reef on the main and had the full jib out, but kept the motor on to keep us over four knots.  We needed to charge the batteries anyway (since the failure of the starter battery in the Abacos, keeping the house batteries healthy has been a daily task).  What little wind we had was on the beam.  After a glorious sunrise, the wind picked up, the motor was off, the mizzen came out in full and we were reaching along at over seven knots and sometimes in the eights.   The longest leg of the trip was 79 miles, 59 of which was great fun.  Then the winds lightened and we could not keep above four knots, forcing us to start up the motor.  We used that opportunity to make 142 gallons of water to top off the tanks and take a couple of Hollywood showers underway.  We were through the sand bores and on one of our last legs of the journey before enjoying a beautiful sunset.  We dropped the sails about a mile from Black Point.  I went on the bow with a spotlight and a radio and guided Myron into the anchorage, around other boats and into an anchoring spot for the night.  We were shut down at 9:30 pm, a good 1.5 hours ahead of our planned arrival time for the 109 mile ‘day’ trip!  It was a fun day traveling with Nancy Lu and Discovery.  No fishing though on all those miles of sand flats, but it sure makes for some indescribably brilliant blue water.

Today’s biggest assignment is laundry.  I expect we will also relocate our anchoring spot (all is much clearer in the daylight!), research weather for our routes the next couple of days, and hopefully we can sneak in a nap.  I will let you know if I can get some pictures up on Picasa.

This morning Myron posted tracks from most of our routes down in the Jumentos and Ragged Island.  Take a look at them on the map as I think you will find it interesting.

Love to all,

Posted via WiFi.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hog Cay to Buena Vista, Jumentos

Today was just a short trip to Buena Vista - I have been asking to come here since we always seem to sail past it going north or south. We are here now but the winds are not as southeast as we had hoped, which makes for a slight roll in here. We will only have to tolerate it just one night, and I will get to see this long beach up personal.

Myron and I got a bunch of conch the other day, large ones. It took hours to clean them. I quit at 8:30 pm and figured we could crack it (pound it out) the next day. It took about an hour to pound it out, plus a lot of clean up time, including me. I had conch bits all over my side and shorts, and all over the side of the cockpit. Well worth it though. We made Thai curry conch for last night's potluck on the beach. We had to take a long, rough and tumble dinghy ride into Duncan Town in 20 knots of wind to get the other ingredients for the dish. The only store owner, Maxine, was by Hold Fast, fishing, so we asked her when we should go to town (and if she had plantains) and she said she did and to go now, someone would help. When we made it to the store, I had to walk around to the house and find her husband, who had no idea what to charge us for bananas or ice cream, so we mutually came up with some prices. I tried to be more than fair, the last thing I want to do is cheat them. I left him our card and told him to have Maxine call us if we owned money. There was only one onion in the whole store, a necessary ingredient for the dish, so I took it! I think everyone liked the dish because there was nothing left. Everyone brought great food, it was one of the best beach pot luck outings I have ever attended.

We just finished lunch at our new anchorage, and I want to go explore before we have to put the dinghy away and prepare for a long sail tomorrow. I can rest later. We will not have internet until Saturday, assuming it is up and running in Black Point.

Love to all,

Posted via Ham Radio.