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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Shifting Gears



Hold Fast has been put away for the season.  After a few days of boatyard recovery rest with the Jacksonville Support Team (thanks Paul and Shari!), we had an uneventful trip to New Mexico, interrupted only by stops to pick up farm equipment and visit with family in Atlanta. 

As a reminder, the farm in New Mexico is at an altitude of 6,400 feet.  It takes a few days to adjust from sea level but, more importantly, our risk of frost does not end until May 15.  To all of our friends still out there cruising, we wish you fair weather and a happy rest of the season.  But if you find yourself dealing with miserable cold fronts, we say “suck it up buttercup,” because when I went outside at 7 am this morning to check the thermometer it was 20F.

It was an emotional struggle to tear ourselves away from Hold Fast, but it is time to be with family and feed the people.  Lord willing, we shall be on the water again soon.

Until then, love to all,
Dena

Friday, March 17, 2017

Almost There

We planned our arrival to the boat yard for slack current, which was just before noon. After 11 am, we called the boat yard and confirmed our arrival. We were told to come straight to the dock, we were the only haul out today, except for an emergency lift for a vessel taking on water. The arrangements changed once we were tied up, then changed again. A boat was launched and is now between us and the haul out slip, and another boat has been hung for the night in the lift. The end result is that we will not be hauled today. So close, yet so far. We were told we will be hauled out tomorrow. We certainly hope so because there are no haul outs on Sunday or Monday.

We will get done what we can at the dock and deal with the oddities of this boat yard as calmly as possible. The stainless forward of the main mast has already been polished and waxed. Paul and Shari brought us lunch. Food is a great coping mechanism. The van started right up and the tires evened out when we went to pick up our mail and rent a movie.

When I get some time as well as decent internet, I will share more pictures.

Love to all,
Dena

{GMST}29°58.96'N|081°38.97'W|10:00 PM|{GEND}

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Surprise!

The wind kicked up again last night, which was fine as long as it was with the current. Once the current was against the wind, Hold Fast danced around her anchor, sometimes at 1.2 knots. She would reach the end of her leash, then turn around and race to the other extreme. The holding is so good, it did not bother us at all. We slept well under all the blankets.

We woke up to temperatures in the 30's F with a wind chill to 26F. Slightly painful on the hands washing down anchor chain. I am glad we were able to delay our departure until after 9 am in order to make a noon opening of the Main Street Bridge. As we moved around to pull up anchor this morning, a security boat cruised by, protecting the security zone around the naval fuel depot island. They soon dismissed us, recognizing that we were just a harmless sailboat chasing our anchor chain in the current.

Myron checked in with the Main Street Bridge and put us on the list for the 12 noon opening. As we were leisurely riding the current toward the bridge, they called us and asked us if we could hurry and they would open early for us. Really? All we could figure was that commercial traffic was coming as well and the bridge did not want to open twice. We stepped on it and called the bridge when we had it in sight, checking in again when adjacent to Metro. As we approached, the bridge opened well before our arrival. That has NEVER happened. There was no commercial traffic in sight. Auto Paul was on Gretel and met up with us before the Main Street Bridge. We were going to have him board between Main Street and FEC RR since FEC RR was down, but as we cleared Main Street Bridge, the FEC RR Bridge opened. Bizarre. To what did we owe this VIP treatment? We shall never know.

Paul boarded and we towed Gretel and visited. Then we came up with a scheme to surprise Shari. We anchored Hold Fast here in Plummer's Cove, then all got aboard Gretel, went in for a late lunch. After lunch we paid a surprise visit to Shari and her mom. Mission accomplished!

The boat yard has scheduled us to haul out tomorrow. Is it too much to ask for VIP treatment two days in a row? One can only hope.

Love to all,
Dena

{GMST}30°11.61'N|081°38.49'W|5:34 PM|{GEND}

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Back Water

We took advantage of the current and moved to Back Water. The plan is to go through the main street bridge at noon tomorrow.
Myron

{GMST}30°23.77'N|081°30.42'W|5:03 PM|{GEND}

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Through the Lions

We neglected to post yesterday. It was such a short day, New Smyrna to Daytona, I guess it did not seem important. We stopped in Daytona because we did not believe we could make Matanzas Inlet shoaling area with enough water.

Despite high and cold winds, a 7:15 am departure allowed us to make it to Matanzas Inlet with enough water left in the tide to negotiate the shoaled areas. The dredge was operating at full pressure. We are glad to see it. Wish they would work on the Ponce Inlet area.

We caught a break with the tide for a few hours, sufficient to push us to the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine with 5 minutes to spare for the 3:30 pm opening.

I had on four layers today, including woolies. Plus my buff scarf and beanie. Welcome to north Florida in March. I think Saturday will be 76F.

My turn for the shower, gotta go.

Love to all,
Dena

{GMST}30°03.05'N|081°21.94'W|6:10 PM|{GEND}

Sunday, March 12, 2017

What? A Marina?

This morning we came to the realization that we were just not going to be able to leave early enough to beat the low tide at Ponce de Leon inlet. It was not worth an attempt to negotiate those shoaled areas during a negative tide. When life gives you lemons.

Our lemonade was to take a slip at New Smyrna Beach City Marina. We are thankful that, Pat, the dockmaster, is a good natured fellow. He helped us get backed into the slip so that we can have a less exciting departure tomorrow. Just after we got docked the weather turned sour with wind and rain. We were oh so glad to be here. During a lull, we explored the restaurants on Canal Street and ended up at Yellow Dog Eats. Pulled pork was available what seemed like hundreds of varieties. Yummy! Bonus: we have left overs. We met a Swedish immigrant couple at the restaurant that live near the yacht club, and now we have been invited to see them next time we come to New Smyrna! We also met Jim and Cindy on 'The Journey,' an American Tug completing the loop. They came into the marina just before us.

We are not sure when we will get to Green Cove Springs. Jacksonville is about to have 32F weather. Brrrr. While we are fine anchored out in that, it is not much fun to be underway. We will figure it out.

For now, we are full, safe, and sound. Seems like a recipe for a nap.

Love to all,
Dena

{GMST}29°01.63'N|080°55.25'W|5:03 PM|{GEND}

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Moving North

Anchored next to the NASA causeway.
Myron

{GMST}28°31.36'N|080°45.64'W|8:12 PM|{GEND}

Friday, March 10, 2017

Checked In

We left at midnight and began to wish we had left earlier. We fought a current coming off the banks that set us behind. Once in the Gulf Stream, we quickly made up that time and more, riding along well over 7 knots. When we were about 45 miles from the Ft. Pierce entrance, we got a small squall, but behind it was West wind, about 12 to 15 knots right on the nose. We began to get concerned whether we would make it into Ft. Pierce or whether we needed to come up with an alternative. Yet Hold Fast was still making progress and keeping a decent arrival time. We schedule our arrival for slack current at the inlet, which was 3:30 pm today. After beating into the west wind for 30 miles, it suddenly let up and came light out of the east. It was back to a beautiful day. We saw huge turtles, four different times as we approached the inlet. We are glad to see them because they eat jelly fish!

We are rafted with Shibumi, a CSY, at Vero Beach City Marina, we are checked in to the country, showered, and now looking for some grub. Then of course, rest!

Love to all,
Dena

{GMST}27°39.57'N|080°22.23'W|6:43 PM|{GEND}

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Mangrove Cay

Our plan is to stay at Mangrove till midnight then depart for Fort Pierce inlet and continue on Vero Beach.
Myron

{GMST}26°55.20'N|078°37.39'W|11:20 AM|{GEND}

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Great Sale

Other than a little uncomfortable rolling at the Whale Cay cut, we had a fabulous day. We made good time, leaving MOW Cay at 6:30 am and arriving the southern end of Great Sale Cay, via Jane Girl Cut, at 5:45 pm. We had cell phone coverage, data only, until Jane Girl Cut.

Time for some food and rest.

Love to all,
Dena

{GMST}26°57.42'N|078°13.28'W|6:23 PM|{GEND}

Off Fox Town

Very nice day in the Bahamas. Next stop Great Sale.
Cross to Fort Pierce on Friday.
Myron

{GMST}26°56.84'N|077°46.56'W|1:40 PM|{GEND}

Friday, March 3, 2017

Pic - Rock Sound and Exuma Sound

Hold Fast anchored at Poison Point for the day, before moving to the west side for another weather system passage:

Looking east at Hold Fast anchored at Poison Point:

The sun setting on us as we sail up the Exuma Sound overnight with a WSW wind:

Morning breaks while we are still making our way up the Exuma Sound.  Myron says the figure on the right looks like a bunny trying to eat the sun:

Bunny found out what happens when you eat the sun...your head melts.  Everybody knows that.

That is all for now.  Love to all,
Dena

Pics - East End Point, Eleuthera Island

More pics:

There is a beautiful semi-circle beach at East End Point, Eleuthera Island.  The conditions were just right for us to stay one night after fishing for the day.  Still some swell there, but tolerable to be alone with a view:

This point and extended reef protected us from most of the swell from the Exuma Sound:

One of the Princess cruise ships was anchored around the corner.  We could not see it from our anchorage and it left before sunset anyway:

A striking sunset, although no green flash:

Sunrise at our private anchorage.  You can barely see Little San Salvador Island in the gap of the rocks:

The morning sun peaks over the rocks that protect us from the Atlantic swell:

Only a completely calm anchorage let our anchor chain hang straight down and loop along the bottom:

Just a few more pics coming,
Dena

Pics - MOW Cay to Rock Sound

Open internet means you get pictures.

This is our mangled ballyhoo after something tore it apart on the Northeast Providence Channel crossing:

Leaving Royal Island Harbor early morning.  We have red skies in the morning ("sailor take warning"). We did and went straight to the west side of Rock Sound:

In lining up with Current Cut, we held back and let a tug and barge take the lead:

Tug and barge gets mid-cut before we commit ourselves to the run:

Tug and barge went to Rock Sound as well and anchored with the cruisers for protection:

The weather frames the cruising fleet:

After the bad weather, we are anchored back on the east side facing another beautiful day:

The third grade girls put on the 'Belt of Truth' at Bible Boot Camp, Rock Sound, Eleuthera Island:

Third grade and younger at Bible Boot Camp, Rock Sound.  Some are a bunch of hams!

More later,
Dena

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Record Time

Last night, the Northeast Providence Channel was a confused piece of water. On top of that, we had more traffic than usual: 5 or 6 cruiseliners and several cargo ships. I was off watch when I heard Myron speaking to a captain on another boat. I came up to see if I could help. It was another sailboat. A single hander coming up from Jost Van Dyke who wanted to round the corner of Eleuthera Island and get a nap near Egg Island. I spied his red port light, coming toward our green starboard light. We stayed in communication (he could receive AIS but not send), and depended upon our radar and his call of CPA (closest point of approach). Finally I began to see his green starboard light and we knew we would soon be passing starboard to starboard, at about 1/3 of a mile on a very dark night. When I heard his boat name, 'Moxie,' my mind immediately brought up a snapshot of a blue hulled sloop. Absent from that recall was where I had seen it. Myron asked if he was indeed a blue hulled boat and the guy perked up and said 'why yes!' We must have seen him in Georgetown or Long Island years ago. We wished him well and a good rest. The only traffic that required us to divert was a Carnival Cruise Line called 'Victory.' We ended up a mile east of our track. All other ships worked around us. AIS is nice to have.

I only saw one shooting star, and it was quite brilliant. Sometimes I wonder if it is not simply space junk falling out of the sky.

The redeeming factor of such a rough ride was the pace at which we were traveling. We left Current Cut at 11:45 pm and were on the mooring in Man O Way Cay less than 12 hours later. That includes traveling at reduced power when we made water once inside the cut. For the first half of the trip, our speed was over 7 knots. Around 5 am, we lost the bulk of our wind and our speed was under 7 but stayed above 6, our speed benefiting from being tossed northward by the seas. The Little Harbor Cut was doable, confirmed by three boats that had just come out. We got a nice surf in on one wave.

We arrived two hours earlier than planned and Barry just happened to be out near the mooring. We got a greeting from him, squared away the sails, showered, ate then slept for more than 5 hours. There are no plans for the remainder of the day except another meal and more sleep. Myron is already looking at weather windows for a Gulf Stream crossing. I am hoping for flat seas!

Love to all,
Dena

{GMST}26°35.42'N|077°00.11'W|6:08 PM|{GEND}

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Speedy Cut

At Rock Sound, we were fortunate to get reacquainted with Greg and Lyn on 'Paperbird,' a Pearson 422, having met them years ago at Elizabeth City, NC. After attending church together, we were all set to enjoy a praise competition with many of the local churches represented. But alas, a 3 pm start time translated into after 6 pm in island time, and we were forced to enjoy the music from our separate boats. One can only stand around in the heat for so long.

We said our goodbyes to all our dear friends and loved ones in Rock Sound. It is difficult to leave.

Today felt like a lazy downwind sail. It was a bit rough for the first few hours. Even though we were on the banks, we had quite a bit of fetch. The wind must have been gusting to 20 knots, requiring us to double reef the main and significantly reef the jib to keep Hold Fast under 7 knots. As the wind continued to clock around behind us, we unreefed the jib over several hours, until finally it was flying full. We could not make slack tide for Current Cut, so we made sure we were somewhere in the outgoing tide. That 'somewhere' ended up being 10 minutes after mid-tide, the strongest flow. Myron negotiated the transit next to the rocks just fine, then made that hard left turn, and Hold Fast screamed through the cut at 11.2 knots! That cut spit us out like you know what out of a goose! Then it was simply a quick right turn and anchor down at one of our favorite spots. We are watching weather for our next move.

Love to all,
Dena

{GMST}25°24.75'N|076°47.37'W|6:48 PM|{GEND}

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sharing Giavanna's Pictures

Something is making Jan and me laugh...best bet is Myron...

We found one of the boats Uncle Willard made, at Orchid Bay

While roaming around Orchid Bay, before heading to the farm, we ran into Steve, from Jacksonville, FL (Sailor's Exchange).  Never know who you might see.

Jan and me on the Bird Walk:

Joined by the guys on the Bird Walk, as Chris explains some of the vegetation, including wild orchids.

The farm just HAPPENS to have a beach...

Chris and Myron at the greenhouse

More later...

Monday, January 23, 2017

Waiting Out Weather

We were all set to head south last week until Myron discovered a HUGE low crossing the US.  The low was far enough south that it represented a potential problem for us at limited protection anchorages down in Ragged Island.  We could have ridden it out at Rock Sound or Georgetown, but we are having fun with friends at MOW Cay, so why leave in haste?

Giavanna and Myron in 'hippie' mode (Giavanna's words)


We saw on the internet the damage the low (centered around FL/GA border) did to Georgia and we are so sorry to hear of the lives lost due to tornadoes.  Since we are only dealing with the trailing cold front and not the low, we had no such tornadoes.  The cold front hit us this morning with strong winds out of the west/northwest.  The strongest winds were, of course, in the thunderstorms and I am pleased to share that we WERE low on fresh water.  Now the starboard tank is running over and the port tank is more than half full.  We cannot fill the bow tank from rain, that is the water-maker's job.

Due to our delayed departure, we got a few projects completed, I got to participate in the opening of the women's Bible study, the guys attempted to recover a bee hive from a house, we got to make the corn tortillas for fish tacos at Jan and Jay's, and we got a three hour tour of the new farm opened up on Great Guana Cay.  The green house was especially fascinating.  It is a very ambitious endeavor by Chris, Mike and their partner.  While it is much more acreage than our farm, Chris is much younger than us.  Plus he has hired labor.  (I have since repented the coveting of hired help, and I am thankful for the volunteer help we did receive - farm fairies.)  A couple weeks ago we purchased some mixed greens and arugula from Chris' son who was walking around MOW Cay with a red wagon full of greens!  They were excellent.  We wish them the best for their farm, which is the best outcome for the neighboring islands.  Grow local, buy local.

One of the projects: Repair anchor light.  Check.

Another project: Replace damaged halyard. Check.

Jay and Myron working up the smoker on the bee project.  It is odd to see people wear jeans on the island.

Myron (kneeling at house), Jay (next to Myron), and Dexter (third one out), geared up for bee recovery.  Ended up that bees were under foundation and not in wall.  Not recoverable:

Myron and Jay having tea before we start assembly of corn tortillas.

I hope to share pictures of the farm visit soon.

Love to all,
Dena

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sugar Apple


Uncle Willard said the weather was warm unusually late and it tricked the sugar apple trees into a second fruiting.  We have never been here for sugar apple season.  Now that he handed one to us, we were not exactly sure how to eat it.


Days later when Jay jumped aboard, we showed him that the sugar apple had reached its appropriate softness, thereby exhausting our expertise on the matter.  Jay pulled it apart and had us scoop out the milky flesh with a spoon.  Other than communicating the sweet mellow flavor to the brain, the mouth is also responsible for separating the big black seeds from the fruit and spitting them out.  If the spoon came to close to the fruit skin when retrieving flesh, we got a bit of grit.  Do not bias the mind by thinking “apple” while eating it.  I would equate it more with sweet white yogurt, if, of course, that yogurt had big black seeds.  We both loved it and can only hope for the weather to play tricks on the trees again next year.

Our stay at Jay’s dock thus far has had its magical moments: we have been visited by fairies.  We step off the boat to tackle a project on shore, or for whatever reason, and come back to find treasures.  There is the citrus fairy, delivering key limes, lemons, sour orange and tangelos.  Yummy all by themselves, or juiced, or transformed into tart lemon bread.  There is also the fish fairy, having twice now delivered delectable strawberry grouper.  There is also the fresh hot bun fairy, visiting this time while we were still on the boat.  We were in nap mode after a night I only got 20 minutes sleep due to a cold front passage that blew us off the dock before the tide left us grounded with a 10 degree or so angle.  We were all straightened out the next day, snuggled under cover when we heard a knock on the boat and the announcement that fresh buns from the oven were in the cockpit.  We rolled over dreaming about warm bread and must have been in REM sleep and dead to the world when, hours later, the waffle fairy delivered two waffles – not into the cockpit, but all the way in to the galley.  We never knew it.  Glad it was the waffle fairy and not some malevolent creature.   We are not the only benefactors.  Barry and Jay were visited by the cinnamon roll fairy and Jan was visited by the pizza fairy.

No, we do not believe in fairies.  However, on this island compound of four structures and two docks, we seem perfectly incapable of finding each other when we want to deliver a kindness.  Why dwell on our incompetence?  I am going with fairies.

Love to all,
Dena