Friday, February 19, 2016

February 16, 2016 Racor fuel filter in dinghy

Today we started rearranging the boat so that Dave’s brother, Dean, can sleep in the aft cabin.  There is enough room for one person, but not a couple.  He is arriving Thursday and will stay with us for a week.  We purposely grouped out guests together in February because we knew we would be in one place.  After we leave here, it will be much harder to make plans to get together, since we don’t have a set schedule. 

We were able to pick up the wifi from the cottage Harold and Juli stayed at near our boat.  So I spent most of the day getting caught up with e-mails and my blog.  I also spent time downloading and deleting photos.  I keep a spreadsheet of all the cash we spend and updated that, too.  It helps us budget when you don’t have a paper trail from checks or credit cards.   

Dave had several projects, like cleaning all the raw water screens for the water maker, generator and the diesel engine.  Those can pick up some nasty odors.  I really appreciate what he does to keep this boat functioning.  He had much better access to them after rearranging the aft cabin. 

Then Dave worked on the dinghy.  He mounted a fishing rod holder on the stern which will double as a holder for our stern light.  He had mounted the light on the pole back in Florida.  He also added a Racor fuel filter for the gasoline line in the dinghy.  Last year we had some dirty fuel and it cost us several hours of headaches and eventually $500 to rebuild the carburetor.  So Dave wanted to avoid that in the future. 
light on PVC pipe

the Racor filter is mounted on the stern
Dave spent some time arranging his tackle box.  We are all set to do some local fishing ourselves.  Back to basics after playing tourist for 2 weeks.

This evening, Dave wanted to test his new light and fuel filter on the dinghy.  So we grabbed a couple beers right at sunset and went for a spin around the area.  We stopped the motor up wind of our boat and just drifted back to the boat.  It was so peaceful!  I think we’ll do that more often.  When you are in the cockpit, you can’t see the stars because of the bimini. 

in action

February 15, 2016 Day in Hopetown with friends, Bahamas

We wanted to go to shore between 8:30 and 9:30 to drop off our garbage in Hopetown.  So we decided to meet Gary Krieger for breadfast. He is a sailor from California that we met in GA this summer.  He had a slip at the Hopetown Inn and Marina, so we met there for a wonderful breakfast. 

Afterwards, we wanted to use the wifi at the marina to upgrade some things on our computer.  So while Dave did that, Gary and I pulled out the navigational charts and I showed him where we went last year.  And I pointed out a couple of our favorite spots.  He came here with 3 crew members.  One was a friend from CA, but there were 2 women that joined him through a connection called Work to Stay.  They came along as crew, paying their own transportation to the boat and home again.  Then they all negotiate what work will be done, and what will be paid by Gary.  One of his crew was still with him.  Niamh is a woman from Ireland and probably in her 50’s.  Her name is Gaelic and pronounced Nee-uf. It was interesting to hear where she had been with her travels through Work to Stay.  She has circumnavigated the earth  with Work to Stay.

We finished our computer work about 4:00 and decided to have dinner with Gary and Niamh.  We took the harbor shuttle to Captain Jacks.  They were setting up for Monday night bingo and didn’t make us feel very welcome.  It was windy today and our table felt like it had sand or salt on it.  So we asked them to wipe it off for us, which seemed to be asking too much.  Then Gary asked if he could taste the soup of the day and the waitress just gave him a flat “No”. 

We decided to move to Wine Down Sip Sip.  It was much more relaxing and we liked the menu much better.  Plus we discovered their great happy hour last week.  We had fun visiting and sharing menu items starting with Conch Flitters, which are traditional and more like a crab cake.  We had two of their flatbreads.  And then we  still wanted to try their pork sliders.  They usually serve 3 for $14.00.  But the waitress and manager figured out a way to give us four and just charge us $5 for a fruit skewer in the computer.  They were very accommodating.  We were so glad we came here for dinner.  Plus they have a big table with cushions and pillows to sit and relax. 

Dave had brought our dinghy over to the “lower dock” which was close to the restaurant.  So Gary and Niamh met the shuttle there and we headed back to the boat in the dark.  We had a light with us, but we hadn’t turned on the anchor light on our boat.  We have a light in the cockpit that comes on when it gets dark, so that helped us find our way back to the boat.  We had no idea when we left at 9:00 am that we wouldn’t return until 8:00 pm. 

February 14, 2016 Marsh Harbor good-bye and reprovisioning, Bahamas

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
We arranged for the taxi to pick up Harold and Juli about 10:30 for their flight home.  That gave us plenty of time to enjoy breakfast and find all their loose ends to pack.  Juli even packed a conch shell and some shells for their grandson.  She found out from a local that you are allowed to take 2 conch shells home with you from the Bahamas. 

We made two trips to shore with people and luggage.  Dave and Harold went first with most of the luggage.  Then Dave came back for me and Juli and her backpack.  At the shore, Juli tossed a flower into the water for good luck that they will return.  I heard that from another person a couple weeks ago.  Rinssor had arranged for another taxi driver to pick them up.  Good bye’s are much harder on everyone else than they are on us.  They are going back to the real world. 

We returned to the boat and regrouped.  We decided to walk to Maxwell’s, the fantastic grocery store in Marsh Harbor.  Besides a few perishable items, we bought a Swiffer mop and refill cloths for cleaning the floor in the boat.  It is amazing how much sand comes into the boat, even leaving our shoes outside.  We hope this will make it easier to sweep up, therefore, we will do it more often.  AND we bought some candy for a Valentine’s treat.

We put away the refrigerated items and set sail for Elbow Cay.  Once we were anchored there, we started our water maker using the Honda generator.  Before we can use the Next Gen generator, Dave needs to clean the raw water screens.  He has to go into the aft cabin to get to them.  We stored a lot of things in there to make room for our guests in the salon area.  So it was easier to use the Honda generator.  We just spent the day basically doing nothing after 2 weeks of guests.  We had a ton of fun with every one, but we needed some down time.   We also took showers while we made water. 

We threw together some leftovers and had a lovely chicken pasta dinner tonight for Valentine’s Day along with the rest of a bottle of wine we shared with the Doerrs.  We had been eating out and celebrating my birthday for 2 weeks and neither of us wanted to go anywhere.  It was a lovely evening.  

February 13, 2016 Sailing to Great Guana Cay & Nippers, Bahamas

We enjoyed coffee outside this morning while listening to the cruiser’s net.  A friend from GA was on the net, so we contacted him afterwards, Gary Krieger.  We hope to connect in the next couple days.  Then we had a relaxed breakfast with nothing scheduled this morning.  Harold and Juli cooked French toast and sausage for us.  Dave and I prepared the boat to go for a sail while they cooked. 

The wind was picking up, so it would be a great sailing day.  After sailing, we planned to end up in Marsh Harbor.  We didn’t have a destination in mind, just wanted to enjoy a day on the water.  We had Harold and Juli helping with lines.  And Harold skippered the boat most of the day.  He had a little experience on Hobby Cats.  And they both enjoyed the experience. 

We decided to go to shore at Great Guana Cay and show them the beautiful beach at Nippers.  We anchored in Settlement Harbor and took the dinghy to Nipper’s dock.  The Nipper mobile/golf cart picked us up for the ride to their place.  You really can walk, but the ride is part of the fun.  We ate lunch at their colorful restaurant.  Juli finally got to try conch in a bag.  They fry conch or chicken, then put it in a bag with french fries, pour catsup and hot sauce on them, shake them up and serve it to you in the bag.   I’ve only seen this in the Bahamas.
lunch Nippers

conch in a bag
dance floor to ourselves

After lunch we walked on the beach and took more photos.  I think it was hard for them to leave, knowing they were going home the next day. 


on Great Guana Cay

Nipper's Dock
climbing down dock to dinghy

We motor sailed back to Marsh Harbor and anchored just before sunset.  Dave and Harold took garbage to shore.  It was piling up in our shower in the forward head.  And that is the shower the Doerrs will use before they leave.  They also went for a short walk to give Harold an idea of how the island was laid out.  He also needed a little shore time after that sail today.  He had been wearing a patch for sea sickness all week and actually did pretty good. 

Juli and I prepared a salad and some pasta for dinner.  Dave had made pesto from spinach and pecans which we put over the pasta.  When the guys returned, we let Dave cook the wahoo for us.  First he seared the pieces.  But all of us sent them back to the chef to cook a little longer.  He ate his seared, but he likes tuna and salmon that way, too. 
wahoo dinner

The Doerrs spent the evening packing while we cleaned up after dinner.  They each showered.  Then we looked at each others photos and shared what we wanted.  A full day outdoors and a couple drinks sure make you ready for bed early. 
what a crew

February 12, 2016 Charter fishing and beach wildlife, Elbow Cay Bahamas

Doerrs arranged a half day fishing charter for this morning.  So we set a couple alarms for 6:00 am.  We had breakfast, packed a couple bags for the day and were in the dinghy by 7:30.   We met the charter boat at the Hopetown Inn and Marina by 8:00.  The boat’s name was Local Boy.  The captain was Justin and JR was his only crew member.  We headed out to the Atlantic Ocean around the north end of Elbow Cay. We went off shore about 3 miles to a shelf that ran north and south about 200 feet deep.  We ran out 4 fishing lines with Ballyhoo as bait, a fish about 8 inches long, on a bait holder/lure.  Then we ran the shelf one direction and turned around and ran it again over and over. 

Justin told us to set up a “pecking order” for bringing in the fish.  Once there was a fish on, the first person sat in the main chair and brought in the fish.  Then we rotated through the order.  Harold insisted that Dave be the first one.  So we insisted that Harold go next.  Then we wanted Juli to be third and I would be last.  2 lines went directly behind the boat and two lines were held out away from the boat with down riggers.

Dave brought in the first fish, a 3 foot Wahoo.   Pretty exciting.  We went some time without catching anything.  Then two hit at once.  Harold was in the chair and Juli had to bring hers in sitting on the side rail of the boat by the fishing rod.  They were also wahoo about the same size as Dave’s.  We didn’t catch any others that morning, but I really enjoyed being along for the ride and being a photographer.  Justin said the least they usually get is 6, but this was plenty of fish for us to eat this week and put in our freezer. 


Ballyhoo bait and lure
Back at shore, JR cleaned and filleted the fish for us and bagged them.  Back at our boat, we cut them into serving sizes and put them in smaller bags.  Some for us to eat in the next couple days and the rest in the freezer.  Justin said to just get the air out of the bags and if any water is on them, it should be salt water, not fresh.
cleaning table at dock with constant stream of water
our catch cleaned and bagged

We fried up some smaller pieces right away along with some onion and peppers and had fish tacos for lunch.  The wahoo was excellent.  After lunch, we decided to take the dinghy to the north end of Elbow Cay.  Dave and Harold planned to do some more fishing from the dinghy.  They dropped me and Juli off at a beach to hang out.  It was close to low tide.  They brought us in as far as they could.  We had to get out of the dingy in knee deep water and walk to the shore. 
fish tacos
The guys took off for fishing.  We could see them off shore from where we were.  And we could occasionally hear Dave’s laugh carry across the calm water.  They caught about 6 fish and released them.  They figured our freezer was full already.  They weren’t sure what they were.  One type was yellow with stripes and the other was white and long like an eel.  All were in the 12 inch range. 

Back on shore, Juli and I had a day of discovery.  We walked the beach and found all kinds of things.  We saw sea hares, which we had researched last year and figures out what they were.  We also saw starfish, sea urchins, and sea biscuits in the water.  We found something I’ve never seen before.  It looked like fan coral about the size of your palm.  There were several of them standing upright in the grass.  I picked one up and it felt like I pulled the root out of the sand.  And it had snails attached to it.  I sent a picture to my friend Cheryl to research it for me.  We also found several live conch.  We brought 6 of them together in one spot in the water.  We thought we would pick the two largest when the guys returned and take them back to the boat for conch salad (ceviche).  As we walked the beach, we would return to check on them occasionally.  There would be 2 or 3 that were heading off in another direction.  So we’d pick them up and bring them back to the same area.  We told they guys we were herding conch at our conch ranch. 
sea hare

sea biscuit

any clue?

starfish in natural habitat

sea biscuit
live conch

dead sea urchin

conch ranch

After our exploring, we sat on the beach and had an adult beverage.  Kalik beer makes a grapefruit or a lemon flavored beer that is similar to a wine cooler.  Juli put 2 of them in a water bottle to take along.  When she opened the straw top to the bottle, it exploded up into her face and hat like a beer that had been shook.  We didn’t see that coming.  But we had a great laugh. 

Back at the boat, Dave cleaned two conch.  He was much faster at it this year.  Juli was glad she had already tried it before she saw how ugly they were when they came out of their shell.  They are skinned before you eat them, then they look like white fish.  We made a conch salad with raw conch,  orange and lime juice, onion and peppers, salt and a little hot sauce.  We ate it with crackers, added some cheese and meat and called that our dinner.  We topped that off with another fresh key lime pie from Vernon’s. 

ready to clean conch

one conch before skinning it
Vernon's Key Lime Pie

February 11, 2016 Snake River and Tin Can Galley dinner, Bahamas

This morning, we headed to the Lodge to pick up Harold and Juli.  They are spending 3 nights on our boat before they leave on Sunday.   My sandals were a little muddy from the night before.  Then I noticed my toes had dried mud on them, too.  I guess I WAS a little tipsy when I went to bed last night. 

I took the dinghy in to pick them up.  I stopped at Sue and Kate’s boat from MN to visit with them once more before they left the area.  She stores her boat in the Bahamas when she returns to the states.  After picking up Doerrs, we stopped at another boat anchored outside the harbor.  We met Ellen and Frank on Bogomil from Germany last year.  We had another nice visit with them, but they were moving north later today and back to the states to store their boat and return to Germany by March.

At the boat, we gave the Doerrs a tour, which didn’t take long.  Next we had a nice breakfast on the boat and a relaxing morning.  We decided to sail to the Snake River on the Great Abaco Island south of Marsh Harbor.  We anchored outside and took the dinghy into the river.  The river entrance had a shelf about 15 feet deep that we followed inland.  There are a couple islands along the shoreline, so you can explore the river that forms between them.  We saw sting rays and large starfish over a foot from tip to tip, and some schools of fish.  We also were intrigued by the currents that occurred between the flow of the river and the tide.  We were running into shallow areas and were heading towards low tide.  So we decided we should get back to the boat before we had to portage the dinghy back to the river entrance. 


entrance to Snake River
We returned to  basically the same anchorage because we wanted be close to Hopetown.  WE anchored before sunset, which is getting later every day.  Yippee!!  Harold and Julie were able to watch the lighting of the lighthouse from our boat. 

The Doerrs planned dinner for this evening.  About a week before they came, Dave came up with an idea for guests on our boat.  Last year, friends made a Thai peanut sauce with ingredients we had on our boat, and we have used that recipe several times.  We get tired of making the same thing on the boat and like new ideas.  So we are now going to ask guests to come with a family favorite recipe that is made with common ingredients that are likely to be on our boat.   Then they will prepare it for us.  It gives us a new idea, plus it gives them a chance to participate in meal preparation.  Dave came up with the name Tin Can Galley, since we have a variety of canned foods stored on the boat. 

Their meal is what they call KS chicken, but you could use fish, too.  It stands for Kitchen Sink.  It is a one pot chicken dinner with a can of pineapple and what ever vegetables you have available all cooked together.  They made a package of Knorr teriyaki rice to serve with it.   It was wonderful, especially when someone else cooks for you.  The original intent was to make a meal from food that we have on the boat, but they bought the ingredients at the local grocery store.  But it did show us that you can make the meal from what is available locally. 
Tin Can Galley dinner of KS Chicken

We made our dining room table into a comfy bed for the two of them.  Then we all went to bed early. 
the guys made the bed from our dining room table