Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sand Dollar

{GMST}23°30.74'N|075°44.76'W|1/31/2015|9:48 PM{GEND}

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Anchored at Sand Dollar Beach

That was our best stay ever (to nearly quote Sponge Bob) at Lee Stocking Island.  The weather cooperated such that we could circumnavigate many of the surrounding islands in our dinghy and explore to our hearts content.  With the help of directions from others we found a vertical cave that was gushing water out with the tide, and a river into a salt pond that we walked up on an ebb tide.  It was quite a workout but a beautiful snorkeling view of fish in the mangroves on the drift out.  We met a couple from Florida, Greg and Ann, doing a kayak trip out of Odi Creek on Barraterra.  Greg was the one with the tip on the vertical cave.

We arrived at Georgetown yesterday about noon.  Had a quick lunch and nap, then set off for our favorite path to the beach on the Exuma Sound side.  A couple hours of swimming and walking were just what we needed.  We met up with the Taia and Skylark gangs on Volleyball Beach, at which point we were invited to have cake on Skylark to celebrate Eleanor’s 9th birthday.  We were relieved to discover that Skylark’s dinghy engine was still intact and did not hear more from Hana planning its demise.  Our new discovery is that Hana likes to hug, vigorously.  Hugging Hana I now call her.  Enjoy it while it lasts, there will be a day soon enough when she outgrows it.

The weather is forecast to have a westerly component for about a three day period beginning Saturday, with the probability of some strong fronts coming through shortly afterward.  I imagine we will hang out here until the weather pattern changes and we can move southward to less protected anchorages.

Tonight, if the weather allows, we plan to meet up with Greg and Ann in Georgetown and walk down to the Friday Fish Fry.  It will not be the same as Friday night pizza at Moon River, but what is.  They had pesto pizza on board with us Wednesday night before we parted ways and then gave us a bunch of meals they were not taking back on the plane.  Meeting new people is one of the biggest joys of cruising, next to reuniting with old friends.

Love to all,

{GMST}23|30.39|N|075|45.73|W|1/24/2015|6:39 AM{GEND}

Monday, January 19, 2015

Lee Stocking Island

That little, and I mean little, anchoring spot last night worked out just fine since the wind came on suddenly out of the north and not the west.  We did get a surge from the opening near us, but it was mostly on a flood tide.  The current runs through that spot, as a result we hung out over our anchor.  Once the wind kicked up, Hold Fast danced around but only on her own stage.  She left her anchoring partners alone.  We are so much more affected by current than the fin keel boats and the little catamaran that were around us.  She sails against the current to the end of her leash, like she has a mind of her own.  It is as if she is making a social call to the other boats, saying hello.  I am sure that is not their perspective.

We tried to get out Galliot Cut at slack tide, but listening to weather delayed us.  I must say, with 15 to 20 knots out of the NNE and the beginning of an ebb tide, it was our roughest transit through Galliot Cut yet.   We were the first boat out and observed carefully.  Three boats came out after us.  Once on course, we had a reefed main as it was mostly a jib run down to Adderly Cut, averaging about seven knots. I could make coffee, but it was not easy.

Adderly Cut faces ESE therefore we expected a better ride in.  Regardless, winds like these with an ebb tide are reason enough to stay alert.  Myron hugged the corner of Adderly Cay which kept us out of the main ebb.  We had a few sharp three to four footers that pushed us around.  Between the sails and the engine, we got ‘er done.  What a pleasure to be inside again!

Our entrance was again carefully observed.  It is difficult to judge whether another boat would respond similar to Hold Fast, at 15 tons gross, with a modified full keel, a custom rudder and 80 ponies in the engine.  They must have learned from Galliot Cut that Hold Fast is a bit of a beast or that we are a bit crazy.  No one followed us in.

Time for us to see if anyone is still allowed on this private island.  I was hoping for some coconuts.

Love to all,


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Near Galliot Cut

We had a great time with the Australian youngsters, Mark and Tie, on a long dinghy ride north, all the way up to the coral aquarium at Cambridge. Over 20 miles roundtrip. We also dove on the plane wreck near the aquarium. There was a smart current moving along, so when we finished that adventure, I could tell I was probably done for the day. They still had energy to burn. We found a beach and had lunch and then parted ways shortly after that. In the Pipe Cays on our way back, we visited with Vic and GG on Salty Turtle. We waved at the youngsters as they drove by, but they did not see us.

We also had a nice grotto dive with Stuart, Louis, Eleanor and Hana on Skylark. The two young girls had us entertained most of the time. We had given Louis (mom) and Eleanor a ride in our 'go fast' dinghy and then Hana wanted the next ride. She told daddy she wanted an engine like ours. Mom said not until their current engine quit working. Hana immediately began scheming the demise of that poor little engine, even suggesting they just drop it in the water.

Back at Big Majors, we were joined by Chris and Craig on Tilt before the frontal passage, which we rode out at Big Majors. Then we headed over to Black Point on Saturday so I could address a couple mountains of laundry. I also took the opportunity to download the new 2014 tax forms. I do not relish that horrible chore in my life.

After attending church today, where Terrence (Ida's husband) is still interim pastor, we buttoned up the dinghy and set out for points south. Preferably to some place that will afford us some protection for tonight's frontal passage. We hope this will do the trick and so do five other boats anchored near us.

Love to all,

Posted via Ham Radio.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Feeding Pigs at Big Majors Spot

There is something going on at Norman’s Cay.  Not the Carlos Lehder drug smuggling type of stuff from the 1970’s, rather it would appear they are literally digging out a marina on the island.  Private or not, we shall find out soon enough.

During our stay at Norman's, we went out fishing once and were skunked all day.  We had turned toward the cut and I was reeling in the gear when the reel went off beyond the brake I set.  A wahoo puts up a good fight and indeed it was a wahoo.  Then the other reel went off and Myron pulled in a small mahi mahi.  We let the mahi go since it was under three feet, but kept the wahoo, a bit over three feet.  While smaller than our previous wahoo catches, it still dressed out to several steaks.  A fish meal everyday is not something we take for granted.  It is hard work and we are not always so blessed.  We thank God.  He has provided, again.

Today we moved down to Big Majors Spot, also known as ‘Pig’s Beach.’  I saved up some veggie scraps and there were several huge and happy snorting recipients.  There must have been a dozen or more piglets.  They are so cute to watch.  Myron, the pig whisperer, picked up several piglets until he found a few that did not engage in such squeals as to bring big momma running.  Camila wanted to hold one.  She got to hold two.  Another moment to regret that I had no camera with me.

We met a nice couple from Australia, Mark and Rie, who are here on land for the next couple of days.  They were out in a rented boat and stopped by Hold Fast after meeting us on Pigs Beach.  Myron gave them some sites to boat to as well as the location of the coral aquarium.  Tomorrow we planned to do some scouting in the dinghy south of here, yet I am tempted to go north with them dive the coral.  Decisions.

It was nice to visit with the gang from Taia today, and from Julianna II (CS36), and meet the folks on Skylark, a catamaran.  Our encounter with Taia today was brief.  They plan to leave tomorrow.  We want more time in the Exumas, so I expect the next place we will see them is Georgetown before they head for the Virgin Islands.

We took the dinghy over to Isles General store today.  I guess the reason there are no prices on anything is because we would never pick it up and take it to the counter.  We got two tomatoes, a three pack of yeast, a dozen eggs and two ice cream bars.  The total was over $16.  The only item I knew the price of when I went to the counter was the eggs:  $3.95 (before 7.5% VAT).  I will let you work on the math on the cost of the other items.  Oy!  Yes, we thank God He provides fish.

Love to all,

Posted via 2G.


Friday, January 9, 2015

Anchored at Norman’s

We had a bit of a blow out of the north and northeast yesterday.  It was Camila’s birthday, and what better way to top off the day than go hang out at the gazebo by the Ocean Hole and have cake and lemonade.  Pink butterfly cake too!  Camila was happy because there were other kids in the Rock Sound anchorage.  Three girls to be exact, two French girls and an American.  Matias managed to have fun anyway.

Based upon the wind forecast and what we could get of the wave height, we expected today to be the best day over the next week to make a fishing trip from Eleuthera to Norman’s Cay.  The weatherman called for squalls, instead we had beautiful sunny weather.  Mostly the seas were under three feet, even under two feet.  Occasionally a steep pair of waves from the southeast would toss us about, but it was otherwise a typical rolling downwind sail.  We had nice wind for most of the passage, although it did begin to fade away on us during the last 15 miles and was under 10 knots by the time we got to the cut.  We entered after 3 pm, on the last of the ebb tide.  Hey, better than hitting the full ebb with 20 knots of winds against it!

We caught our first fish of the season:  a 52” female mahi mahi.  Some of it has already been shared with Tim and Joanne on ‘Expatriot,’ a Morgan 384.  We found them anchored here upon our arrival and are glad they made the effort to come over in their dinghy, as we did not feel like advertising (via yelling or the radio) that we were giving away fish!  It made a tasty meal for us as well tonight and we are both ready for an early turn out.

I would like to catch more fish before we leave this area, but that is up to the grace of God.  We are thankful for His provision.

Love to all,

Posted via 3G.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Change of Plans – Now In Rock Sound

If you noticed, we updated our last post about the moorings in Hatchet Bay.  Francis at Front Porch/Back Porch Restaurant insists those are his private moorings.  Fine.  We moved off.  We do not mind anchoring out, that is not the issue.  The reason we left is due to his ranting, cursing, and angry statements he was making about white people.  We had concerns about the safety of our unattended dinghy and even Hold Fast.  We let the principal know and hope things are calmed down when we return, Lord willing, in April.

Today our goal was Governor’s Harbor, specifically an extremely affordable lunch at Pammy’s Take Out (we actually eat in).  Even with the new 7.5% VAT added on January 1 to everything in the Bahamas, Pammy’s conch burgers are still $6.  I had the conch / peas and rice snack for $9, and Myron had the same with a side of plantains for a total of $11.  We brought home leftovers because neither of us could finish our plates.

When we came into Governor’s Harbor, I noticed five brand new moorings to the north.  We are getting the impression that the opinions expressed about foreigners who come by boat need to pay more is not just talk.  That sentiment is becoming evident by actions that may result in greater difficulties in some areas for boaters to anchor.  Granted, anchoring in Governor’s Harbor is difficult and it took us two tries to get a grab.  But now the space in which to find a good spot is even more limited.

Any hoo, we still think Governor’s Harbor is a neat place.  But as we returned from lunch, our chart plotter showed that Taia’s AIS was not too far away and we made a snap decision to set sail with them to Rock Sound.  It was a fun sail when we had wind.  “Shari sailing” I like to call it because she would like it.  The banks are so easy and the wind was only 10-12 knots on our beam.  When the breeze got below 10, slowing us down into an arrival time after dark, Myron decided make water and top off the tanks.  That only took about an hour, at which point the wind was conveniently back up again.  We arrived concurrent with Taia and they came over for a visit after we all got settled in. 

I do not know how long we will hang out here.  We are expecting a blow late tomorrow night that may last a while.  The weather man says these coming winds from the N and NE are the result of a significant high pressure area in Nebraska.  Unusually high:  1055mb, or 31.15 inches.  So they get a deep freeze in Nebraska and we get strong north winds.  Who knew?

Love to all,

Posted via 3G.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year from Hatchet Bay! - MOORINGS UPDATE 1-5-15

Last night there was a private fireworks show just south of where we anchored, but I have a news flash for the land owners – there is no such thing as a private fireworks show.  The pyrotechnics that scream as they gain altitude sure had the roosters screaming back.  I could not help but giggle at that back and forth banter.

The wind kicked up out of the east this morning and turned a little south of east as we worked our way through Current Cut.  We had several squalls that made it quite rough, but the double rainbow stayed with us for over an hour.  No rain, no rainbow.  We considered hanging out at an anchorage near Glass Window, but a check on the forecast showed higher winds tonight with an increasingly south component.  That solidified our decision to head to Hatchet Bay and see what would come of us taking a mooring.  The word on the cruisers net was that they were charging $20 a night for a mooring - an unmaintained mooring with no tackle. 

There are some missionaries here from NY working with the kids during their winter break.  We could not find them tonight but hope to connect tomorrow.  

UPDATE ON MOORINGS:  On Sunday, January 4, 2015, an hour after returning from church, a man named Francis who runs the ‘Front Porch/Back Porch’ restaurant, came out in a small sailboat without rigging and told us the moorings were private.  We told him we would move off the mooring as soon as we could ready ourselves.  Francis had previously engaged the gentlemen on the mooring behind us and Francis became quite irate when our new friend took a picture of him.  Francis returned with the police, or at least someone carrying a badge that appeared authentic to our friend from 25 feet.  The policeman was calm and diplomatic.  When our friend offered to pay for the night, Francis said he had a boat coming in that night for that mooring.  Then Francis recanted and said he would take the money, but when our friend said he would pay only if he got a receipt, Francis became irate again and said there would be no receipt.

Due to the poor holding in this bay, Myron set up a tandem anchor rig for us.  After we dropped the anchors and paid out scope, Myron pulled against our new setup at 1700 RPM.  That is more than 300 RPM over our regular running RPM!  The ground tackle would not budge.  As a result, we slept better than we had the two previous nights on a questionable mooring.  However, given the hostility demonstrated by Francis, we will likely be moving on after we touch base with the school principal.  I wanted to tell Francis that it would be really helpful if he would mark the moorings private and give folks a name and number to call to reserve them, but he was completely unapproachable.

The people of Alice Town (Hatchet Bay) are lovely.  For their sakes, I hope this gets resolved soon.

Love to all,

Posted via 3G.