Friday, February 28, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What a great morning, and Chuck is still sleeping.  There is so much to do today, so we really need to get moving.  First on our agenda is to find a bolt for the alternator bracket.  Chuck discovered it broken yesterday while he was in the engine compartment.  Stopping at Standard Hardware, he found one and bought two!  That was easy.  Second on our agenda is to walk to Maxwell's to gather up a few items for fresh salsa.  Happy hours is at 4:00 on our boat.   We are going to meet David and Rita's son and his girlfriend for the first time.  Once back on the boat, I made my salsa while Chuck washed the cockpit in preparation for our company.  We both had to be finished  so we could meet Peter and Carolyn Ross at the Jib Room for lunch at 1:00.  They were buying our lunch as a 'thank you' for  Chuck's assistance last week. Then, we had to be back to Happy Hours II before 4:00 to prepare for  our friends.

Micah, Nick, Keith
Nick and girlfriend Micah have been on Whisper for 5 days and are flying home tomorrow.  Their stay in the Bahamas has been too short but they both have other obligations back in San Francisco and couldn't  arrange any more time.  We all are looking forward to meeting them because we took off on a sail with Circe and Rising Sun the day that they arrived.  In fact, we got to wave to them one day when they were motoring into Fisher's Bay to make a dive trip. Unfortunately, we were hauling up our anchors to head to Tahiti Beach!  What a bummer!!

Nick, Keith, Chuck
Eileen, Billy, Rita, David
It was a nice evening for a little soiree, as Rita would say!  When we were about to wind down, Nick and Micah wanted a tour of our boat and then around and over to Billy and Eileen's boat.  So, we all walked over to Circe....David, Rita, Nick, Micah, Keith, Billy, Eileen, Chuck and me. Since the sun was starting to set, out came our conchs.  Everyone had to give the conchs a try. Billy and I are getting better with our tones everyday!  LOL  Soon it was time for David, Rita, and company to leave.  They had plans to celebrate 3 of their birthday's at Wallys.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wednesday, February 19,2014 Back to Marsh Harbour

The winds blew 5-10 swinging from the E to the ESE during the night.  It was very peaceful!  I woke up during the night not feeling well.  I was hoping that I wasn't the next in line to get the flu. Chances were pretty good on that!  Two nights ago when we were anchored near Scotland Cay, we all shared blowing our conchs!  All it takes is for one of us to be sick...and I'm not mentioning names!!  All I can say is that I'm really lucky!!

No one seems to be in any hurry about heading back to Marsh Harbour today.  It's so nice to just chill-out in our cockpit and enjoy the beautiful morning.  I finally hailed Circe to see how Billy is feeling.  He feels about 80% better than yesterday.  I also got hold of Grace to tell them our intentions of heading back to the harbor.  They apparently are staying awhile and heading back later in the afternoon. At 10:15 am, Circe and Happy Hours II both are on their way toward Parrot Cays and out into the Sea of Abaco near Porgee Rock.   It sure is a glorious day to be sailing on the Sea of Abaco. We both sailed all the way from Tahiti Beach to the entrance to Marsh Harbour.  During our sail back, we realize that Hope Town Sailing is having their race this morning.  We can see the sailboats and are hoping we won't get into the middle of one of their laps!  We found out later that Dick Tudan on sv/Willoway came in 3rd....kudos to Dick!

Lunch is at the Jib Room while we settle our dock bill. We both decided to pay for our dock up through March 2nd.  All four sailboats are planning on heading toward the Little Bahama Banks on March permitting.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 Man-0-War, no Tahiti Beach

It's Bill Arnett's Birthday today!  Happy Birthday, Bro!  We miss you and Sandy.

We woke up in Fisher's Bay to see sv/Grace anchored behind us.  I wonder when they came yesterday?  Now that I think about it, I took a picture of the sunset last night and noticed a blue hulled boat behind us...dah!  As we were listening to the Net, Sam, Ginger, and cat Tsu, came dinghying over.  They said that they anchored around 3:00 yesterday afternoon and went into Grabbers.   We were still on our golf cart expedition at that time so we must have just crossed paths! 

Plans....what are our plans for today?  Keith, sv
/Rising Sun, is still not up to par so he's heading back to Marsh Harbour.  He wants to do some domestic chores in preparation for his next set of company.  Sam and Ginger are going with Circe and us.  We are planning on sailing to the north end of Man-o-War to an anchorage.   Whisper left Marsh Harbour with David's son and his girlfriend and went to Hope Town yesterday.  The two young folks made arrangements to do a 2 tank dive with Troy at Dive Guana., today.  So they have to make it to Fisher's Bay by 9:30 am.....and it's 9:25 and here comes Whisper powering down into the bay.  They definitely are on a mission and waved as they motored by.

We took off shortly after Whisper arrived....Circe II, Happy Hours II, and Grace. We want to do as much sailing as possible and the winds finally seem to be blowing from the right direction...east! We are having such a nice sail that I hailed Billy and asked them what they thought about passing Man-o-War Cay and continuing to Tahiti Beach...the winds are perfect for this trip.  They  felt the same way and Billy hailed Grace to let her know our new plans.  It's a go for all 3 sailboats!  Instead of tacking toward Hope Town and sailing along Elbow Cay, we headed outside of the Parrot Cays and cut across north of Porgee Rock.  The water's about 6 feet deep through this area at low tide, so we should be good.   We sailed across the shallow water to south of White Sound before we dropped our sails.  Today is one of our best sails!

sv/Circe II

We anchored in a large sandy area and then Circe anchored.  We waited for Grace before we took off to play.  When they got here, we all motored over to Lubber's Landing for appetizers.  Lubber's Landing is just south of Cracker P's.   After we ate some appetizers and had a cold drink, we dinghied back across to Tahiti Beach.

Eileen, Sam, and Ginger
Chuck and Billy

It was low tide at 4:30 so we lots of time to walk the beach, or Chuck plans on snorkeling.    Billy now isn't feeling well.  Ilene figures that I'll be next.  She reminded me that we we got together at Scotland Cay, we were all blowing the conchs.....Billy, sick Keith, and me.  Oops!  While we were on the beach two sailboats came sailing from the north.  this was about 45 minutes before low tide.  We know the water's not very deep down and around into Tilloo Cut....and that's at high tide.  The first sailboat was a made it through and out the cut.  His buddy boat, a 32' Westsail like Whisper, grounded and soon was laid over on its side.  Oh boy....Rita and David told us later that they met the young surfer dude who was single handing it.  He was very lucky because soon two small skiffs motored out to him and pulled him around into deeper water. Then, one of the skiffs followed him through Tilloo Cut probably giving him directions as to exiting this cut.  These two sailors are nuts.  First, they didn't have much light left and second, it's low tide!!

After we dropped Eileen off at her boat to tend to Billy, Chuck and I put on dry clothes.  We then jumped back into our dinghy to find Sam and Ginger at SeaSpray which is in the White Sound. We found them and then motored over to a dock so we could walk the short distance to the Abaco Inn. We only had one drink, the Bahama Breeze, because the sun was getting ready to set and we didn't want to go out the channel after dark.  The channel consists of tall poles which serve as markers. Boats have to stay between between them to stay in the channel....but they are not lit....and we both forgot our spot lights!    Power boats speed into this sound without much concern for the smaller us in our dinghies.  This restaurant is well worth a return visit.  It sits right on the ocean.  The main dining room has big picture windows looking out to the ocean....the waters right there!  By the way, we both made it back safely to our boats for the night.  

Monday, February 17, 2014 Change of Plans....Fisher's Bay, Great Guana Cay

Our plans have been changed.  Instead of a morning snorkel, we are going to Fisher's Bay on Great Guana Cay...our 3rd time!  We aren't in any hurry to get there because Nippers had a pig roast on Sunday and we heard on the VHF that the anchorage was crowded with boats.  In fact, we are close enough to the bay that we can see boats leaving.  Soon the bay will have more area to snoop around for a good anchorage.  This is another place that has a grassy bottom.  The grass doesn't allow most anchors to dig in for good holding.  This bay does have 4 deep water mooring balls, which as a reminder, are owned by Troy of Dive Guana.    The last two times we came, we were able to grab the same mooring ball but we're anchoring today.

Keith on Rising Sun starts to raise his anchor. He's soon off and flying his jib.  We do the same. Circe is still at anchorage and will come a bit later.  It should only take us 1 hour to get to Fisher's Bay from the end of Guana Cay.  The winds are blowing 10-15 mph out of the east.  Perfect!  We debated raising our main but the distance is so short that we decided against it.  Chuck didn't want to fool around with the mainsail.  We left at 10 am and set anchor at 11 am.  There were still 15 boats at anchor but still plenty of surface room to find a good sandy spot.  We had to play around awhile to get the entire anchor buried securely.  Keith ended up taking a mooring ball.  It looked like he tried to set the anchor once and it must not have held.  We found out he isn't feeling well and didn't feel like pulling the anchor up, dropping it, pulling it up, dropping it. etc.  The last time he was here with Trevor, they tired multiple times to set his hook!  

Billy hopped in his dinghy and went over to Keith to borrow his look bucket.  He checked his anchor and then came to scope ours out.  Our Delta looked good but his anchor was only half in the sand.  Therefore he is going to dive on it and try to push the rest of the blade under the sand. The winds are suppose to be light and variable tonight so I don't think anyone has to worry about dragging.

Troy on left
I called Troy from Dive Guana to check on prices to rent a golf chart...$30 for 4 hours and $60 for the day. Since we all have been here multiple times, we thought we should explore the outer reaches of the island by riding around in a cart.  Keith opted out since he's still not feeling well.  So, Billy, Ilene, Chuck, and I split the cost of the golf cart for 4 hours.  Once we paid and Troy fill us in on operating the cart, we asked him for the time and when we needed to have it back.  He gave us until 5:00....yeah, almost 5 hours. 

The two guys took turns driving.  Billy started out  by going up the little hill and turning left
onto the main and only road!  We have to keep reminding each other to drive on the LEFT!  In the beginning, we basically stayed on the nice black top road.  This cay has the nicest road of all the islands we've been on.  Almost everywhere we look, the scenery is dense, green, with tropical plants of all sizes!  Sandy lanes are cut through the jungle-like land that leads to island houses on the ocean or on Fisher's Bay.  Awesome!  Continuing along, we meet other golf carts or small construction trucks.  We finally drive all the way to the gate at the start of Baker's Bay. We didn't even attempt to ask about entering but turned left toward a cement dock.  There is a little restaurant near this working dock but if loos like only Bahamian workers are going in and coming out.  So, we turn
around and head back looking for sandy roads to explore....we're getting a little brave.  The first
road took us to the remains of a once beautiful beach house.  It
definitely looked like one of the hurricanes totaled it.  When we got our of the cart to walk around, we saw that the owners had a breath-taking view of the ocean!  It saddens me to see what's left!

Now it's Chuck's turn to drive....front seats! Yahoo!  What a day. What fun.  We drove back into the settlement and stopped at a small store for an ice cold drink....yes, it's hot here!!  We're off again until we come to a gate blocking the southern end of Guana Cay.  This is Orchard Bay.  We aske the guard, Delicious, about entering.  He directed us back to the office.  We couldn't convince the woman to admit us!  Why do they have the right to gate both ends of this island??  Turning around, Chuck found another sandy road.   I thought it was
someone's driveway because of the garbage cans sitting at the end
of the drive.  Who cares!  We'll plead innocent!  We thought we were in the jungle but the road brought us to a house call 'Elephant Beach'...small but charming, private, and has a view of the ocean that you can't even imagine!!  We were lucky that no one was Billy and Ilene jumped out of the cart and started walking around.  Hopefully we don't run into the owners on our way out!!

Next stop....Nippers Beach Bar and Grill!  This is such a colorful place with everything painted in shades of pastels.  At the open-air bar, we watched the weather on tv....not good back home!  It's almost March so the temperatures should start to get better.  

Once again we are back in the golf cart.  Billy's been dying to be at the
wheel again.  We're heading back up the island and our motto is to 'go in and out of every road or sandy-jungle lane we haven't been on and isn't blocked'!   After a frozen nippers, we're really brave!  What fun!  What fun!  It's getting near 4:00 so our plans are to head back to the Grabber Beach Bar  and get grabbed.  This beach has such a lovely view of Fisher's Bay and all the anchored boats.  At 4:45, Chuck takes the wheel and we're off to the Guana Grocery store.  We need milk!  Billy and Ilene need ice!

       Grabbers Beach Bar

This morning I invited everyone over to the boat.  Ilene thought we should wait and see how we feel at the end of the day....wise decision girl!!   Our climb down into our dinghies wasn't too easy.  We decided to relax in our own boats....Showers on the transom, hot dogs on the grill and a spectacular sunset!  I almost couldn't blow my conch at toy.  I think I'll blame the frozen Grabber. Billy is blowing and his sounds like a moose.  I was in bed by 7:00......

Sunday, February 16, 2014 Scotland Cay

Wow!  sv/Whisper moved onto a dock this morning and all the other boaters are leaving?  What's up with that, Rita??  The boats who have left are: sv/Lady Jane, mv/ Nordhaven, mv/Mollie, mv/Southern Pilot,/ sv/ Happy Hours II, sv/ Circe II, sv/ Seahoy, and two other catarmarans. Ha Ha!

Circe, Rising Sun, and Happy Hours II decided to leave at 10:30 and anchor near the cut between Great Guana Cay and Scotland Cay.  We thought it would be good snorkeling in this cut between these two cays.  We took our time motoring.  The wind could not have been more perfectly on the nose of our boats!  We got to our anchorage at 12:30....2 hours later.  Billy anchored first and called to say that there were plenty of sandy patches....where?  We tried 3 different spots and didn't hold.  So once Keith seemed secure. I motored to the other side of him.  We finally found a small sandy patch where our anchor really dug in. we found out later that Keith's anchor didn't set as deep as he would have liked.   He even dove down to push it deeper in the sand and there was too much grass for it to work!  He's going to make do and probably be up all night checking to see if he's holding or dragging.

   South end of Great Guana Cay

Shallow Cut
After we ate lunch, we went exploring in our dinghies prepared to snorkel.  We wanted to get through the first cut between Guana Cay and the little cay between Guana and Scotland Cay.  This cut was too shallow.  It was about another 2 hours until low tide and there was already an exposed shoal completely across this opening.  We motored a little further and were able to
Beautiful bay by Scotland Cay
get into a little bay that is beautiful!  A gal on a paddle board came in behind us. She said Scotland Cay is private but the little island is ok for us to explore.  So we took the 3 dinghies in as far as we could and got out and pulled them the rest of the way.   Walking in the shallows, we found sea biscuits, sand dollars, and all kinds of first pen shell ever!  We had to nix the snorkeling.  We felt it would be better at high tide which istomorrow morning.  Yikes!  The water will feel cold in the morning!  We spent quite a bit of time here.  Once back to our boat, Chuck jumped in the water and cleaned the hull while I made pasta salad.

Our plans are for pot luck at Circe II.  Billy is going to fire up his charcoal grill and we are to take our own meat....porkchops, chicken, and sausage links....plenty to eat!  When the sun starts to set, Billy and I as well as Keith try blowing our conchs!!!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Saturday, February 15, 2014 Ferry Ride to Man-O-War Cay

Today's our day to ride the Albury Ferry, Donnie XII, to Man-O-War.  As I said yesterday, this is a great deal.  There are 20 + of us and the ferry docked at exactly 8:30 am right beside Happy Hours II...what service!!  We loaded aboard and motored over to the Union Jack Dock to pick up the Harbor View Marina people.  Our main reason for this ferry ride is to go to the big flea market on Man-o-War Cay. It's a good day to ride the ferry over because the winds are still strong, 20-30 mph, and the waves are pushing 3-4 feet on the Sea Of  Abaco.  What a wild ride over.  The windows along the two sides of the boat have to be closed so we don't get wet!  The ferry is powering into the waves and the water is splashing from the bow up over the cabin roof and down the back of the ferry!  The young Bahamian Capt'n  is doing a great job  and got us  there safely.  We all cheered when the boat tied up to the ferry dock in Man-o-War. The captain told us we would be riding the same ferry back and it would leave the dock promptly at 1:30!!

It took us about 20 minutes to island hop today.  I'm sure it would be quicker if we didn't have the waves to plow into.  I can't say that people were enjoying this rough ride but they were busily chatting to pass the time away.  I had a pleasant surprise.  I mentioned the Cruisers' Net to Ginger who was sitting beside me.  The guy behind me heard a bit and turned and asked me if I announced on the Net in the morning.  Me?  No way!! LOL  Anyhow, here, he was Gordie from Little Harbour.  Wow, my favorite Netter....I told him that I think he does the best weather report of all the people who give morning weather reports!  He is so thorough.  He talks about the temps and wind, but also the condition of the cut as well as his barometer reading and the best times to fish!!  Ha Ha.  Here again....another face connected to the voice!!   I love it!!                              


The channel to get into this harbor is very narrow and shallow at low tide.  As soon as we passed through the channel, there is an anchorage to starboard but we turned to port to head toward another area in front of the settlement.  There are docks here as well as some mooring balls.  It's very tight and not much room to maneuver!   I think it would be best to anchor outside and dinghy in....very close quarters in both of the two basins.

We walked through the streets looking for bargains.  At the end of the main street is the Norman Albury Sail Loft.  The women are here today busily demonstrating their sewing skills and finished products.  Bags here are not cheap, that's for sure!!  From here, Chuck and I walk back to the main drag and we find  a road that looks like it goes toward the ocean.  This might be our only time here, so we have to explore while we can. The settlement isn't very big so we eventually find our way back to the main road.  Who do we run into first?  Jim, Phyl,
and Mollie the dog.   Jim walked away and came back with an ice cream cone for me.  I've died and gone to heaven!  The last ice cream I had was when we were in Vero Beach. My butter pecan cone started to melt, so Chuck had to help we keep up with the drip!  Then we met up with Billy and Ilene, and Sam and Ginger for lunch at the Islander's.  This restaurant had a very tiny dining room and it was full. They promised us the large table in 30 minutes and they had us place our order so it would be ready.  We now are running out of time before we have to catch the ferry.  It all worked out.  We got our table, ate, and were walking back to the dock with about 15 minutes to spare.  Our ride back was uneventful until a wave hit the bow of the boat, traveled back through an open window, and got some of us wet!! I was one of them.....
Ilene, Sam. Ginger, Billy

        Waiting for lunch!

Beach on Man-O-War

       Houses on Man - O-War

Donnie XII
What to do now?  We got together with Billy and Eileen up at the Jib Room planning our next trip.  Rita and David were suppose to dock Whisper for Saturday and Sunday.  David's son and girlfriend are arriving on Sunday.  They didn't dock their boat because the winds were still blowing pretty hard so they stayed anchored.  Whisper won't be traveling with us on our next trip because they want to take their company to Hope Town, Great Guana, and Treasure Cay.....short trip for son Nick and girlfriend Micah from San Fran!

We spent the evening on the boat but we could hear the partiers at the Jib Room cheering Desmond on!  I wonder if we sound that loud when we're participating......