Thursday, March 10, 2016

March 4-9, 2016 Mary's South Dakota visit

I had a new experience last night.  I woke up during the night confused as to where I was.  Something in the room made me think I was still on the boat.  But I still tried to figure out where the boat was located.  I thought to myself “well we must be tied up at a dock, because the boat isn’t rocking.”  I guess the rocking of the boat is the norm for me now. 

Today I was able to make some phone calls that I couldn’t make from the Bahamas.  Then we did some shopping.  I also had the opportunity to visit with a friend of mine and with my niece and her 2 children who all live in the area. 

Friday night, Janice and I decided to have a night out.  There was a Harley Davidson event this weekend in Aberdeen to promote the Sturgis motor cycle rally.  Janice and Jim have their own Harley’s and they have heard a band in Sturgis called Judd Hoos.  Well this band was performing at this event and the lead singer was retiring after tonight.  So we met a couple of her friends there and pretended to be 25 again.  Lucky for us the music started at 7:00.  

Today, my sister Janice had a couple previous engagements.  So I borrowed her car and drove 90 miles to Miller for the day to see some of my high school girlfriends.  My cousin Joe, who lost his mother, is married to one of my high school girlfriends, Gail.   Four of my girlfriends met at Gail’s home. 

All of us are turning 60 this year.  Of course, I was the first one and they all wondered how it was and what to expect :)  Well before we left that day, we booked tickets to a Jimmy Buffett concert in Omaha, Nebraska as a way to celebrate our birthdays together on September 1, 2016.  I’m not sure where I will be and how I will get there, but I’ll make it somehow. 
grade school friends Gail Zeller, Sheryl Bedard, Wayne Ruhnke, Me, Lori Schneller

Janice and I headed back to Aberdeen today.  All of my siblings met there today.  It was beautiful in Miller.  I think it was in the mid 70’s.

We had a wonderful evening with the viewing of Aunt Dorothy, the rosary, and prayer service.  Several people shared stories about Dorothy and we all celebrated the life of this wonderful woman who lived to be 100.  We also had to share a few beers at Joe’s that evening.

What can I say about today?  I guess I just want to share that I have such a wonderful family.  And I was blessed to have the family of Dorothy and Melvin Zeller so close all of my life.  It sometimes feels as though the two families were somehow one family.
My aunt Julie Bowar with cousins Jim Zeller and Carol Connor
My awesome family-Bev, Don, Mary, Jerry, Janice

I returned to Aberdeen today with my sister, Beverly.  She drove here from Oklahoma and decided to stay a couple days longer until I leave on Thursday.  She and I stopped in Cresbard, SD on our way to Aberdeen to visit another friend of ours.  
more friends Tracy Perdue of Rapid City, Bev, Me and July-Tracy's mom of Cresbard

Back at Janice and Jim’s, Jim grilled steaks for us.  Living on a sailboat, I really miss good South Dakota beef.  So it is becoming a tradition to have steaks at their home.  Jim cleared out after dinner and let the sisters play Triominos and discuss life.  

I spent the morning tying up loose ends with tax documents.  Then Janice, Bev and I joined our great nephew, Garrett at church at noon.  He goes to a Catholic grade school and they have mass on Wednesdays.  After that, I treated myself to a massage.  Janice and Bev picked up Garrett and Claire from school, then me, then Jim back in Bath, SD. 

Then we all went out to Garrett and Claire’s for dinner.  Our niece Heidi and husband Glen live on a farm north of Aberdeen.  We brought dinner.  Janice made lasagna and a chocolate pecan bourbon pie.  We also brought salad and garlic bread.  She can really provide a feast.  It was another fun night with family.

Then back to Janice’s to finish packing and visit just a little longer.  She also let me do laundry so I wouldn’t have to wash clothes by hand back in the Bahamas.  She and Jim really take care of me when I return.  I can’t thank them enough.   Have I said how much I love my family?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

March 3, 2016 flights from Marsh Harbor to Aberdeen, SD

Rise and shine at 5:00am.  I had a 7:25am flight to Nassau.  Rinssor the taxi driver said a 6:20 pick up would be fine since this one wasn’t the International flight.   We had a beautiful sunrise on our way to shore.  When we arrived at the dock, there were about 100 people waiting for the 6:30 ferry to Great Guana Cay.  Rinssor said they were all workers at Baker’s Bay Marina and resort, a private resort on the north end of that island.

Rinssor was right.  I had plenty of time at the airport in Marsh Harbor.  I had a time travel experience on the airplane.  It seemed so strange to go to Nassau in 30 minutes when it would have taken us 2 days by boat.  And it seemed strange to see the islands from the air and how they matched the maps I have been staring at for a couple years. I have been here a total of 4 months between last year and this year, but always by boat, not air. 

My direct flight to Minneapolis wasn’t until 3:15!  I checked into changing to an earlier flight.  This direct flight is the only one today.  If I changed to a route with a connecting flight that left earlier, I would have to pay the $200 fee.  So I found an electrical connection and wifi and settled in for the day. 

No problem with connecting in Mpls to Aberdeen, SD.  And my sister, Janice was waiting for me when I arrived.  Felt good to touch ground in SD.

March 1-2, 2016 dinghy exploring to Crossing Beach

After breakfast, we headed back to Marsh Harbor.  It is only 22 nautical miles, but takes about 4 hours.  I spent most of the day packing.  We stopped about 2 miles outside of Marsh Harbor and anchored so we could make water in the clear, clean water.  I took a shower to be prepared for my flight. 
water was clear enough to see our anchor in about 10 feet of water

Just as we were anchoring in Marsh Harbor, I looked at my phone and realized it was Tuesday March 1, not Wednesday March 2.  I was all packed and ready to leave in the morning.  I pulled up my flight information to make sure I was leaving on the 3rd, because I was convinced I was leaving tomorrow.  I had even contacted my taxi and arranged for a pick up at 6:20am.  Boy would I have felt stupid if I had arrived at the airport a day early. 

We decided to enjoy the sunset in the cockpit with a couple cocktails.  AND we will go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep.

Here is a test of a video of mine that I changed into a YouTube video.  
Abaco Sea

OK, do I spend my free day being productive or not?  We spent the morning doing laundry and cleaning.  We no longer wear any street shoes in the boat, but I am still amazed at home much sand comes into the boat on our feet.  I guess we are going to have to set up a foot wash, like you see whenever you come off of a beach.

I was debating on whether I should clean the inside walls before I left.  The mildew is starting to appear again.  But Dave assured me that it would still be there when I got back.  Then he added “and besides March is Mildew Month.”  So there you go! (?)

By about 1:00, we were ready to play.  We dressed in swimming attire and went for a dingy ride.  We took the dinghy outside the harbor along the shore to the NW.  We have been out here in our boat, but wanted to explore the shoreline.  We checked out a little shallow bay near the entrance to the harbor.  We saw about a dozen turtles in there.  They moved so fast we thought they were sting rays at first.  But we got close enough to see the feet moving.  I think if you were snorkeling, they wouldn’t be as shy. 

We floated over Mermaid Reef, a small snorkeling reef, and checked out the underwater sea life with our bucket that has a clear bottom.  It’s just like looking through goggles. 

Then we beached our dingy on Crossing Beach.  It is across the street from the  Albury Ferry dock.  We walked to a small take out restaurant for lunch.  Dave had their conch burger and fries.  I had the grouper fingers.  Both were great, but we need to stop eating fried food. 
Crossing Beach in Marsh Harbor
view from the restaurant of Boat Harbor

Back in the dingy, we checked out the islands and a connection to the ferry dock where we had lunch.  There were some beautiful homes on the back side of the island in that channel.  We checked out the shoreline of Matt Lowe island.  It’s privately owned and there are no trespassing signs on the beach.  We saw about a dozen more turtles here.  We checked out an area that has a marker designating shallow water.  It was a reef, so it’s good we always stay clear of it.  Again, we used the bucket to check it out.  Then back along the shore we saw a small entrance and explored that.  There was a narrow opening at the shore line.  Inside, there was a circular channel with mangroves in the center.  There were homes lining the circular channel, but they were very average homes with fishing boats on their docks.  By now, we were feeling the sun and headed back to the boat.  We had a fun day exploring or “gunk holing”. 

To finish packing, I needed to get under the v-berth for my stored clothing.  We keep our winter coats there and our “wedding and funeral cloths”.  After dinner, we changed my SIM card back to my US Verizon card and put my Bahama SIM card in Dave’s phone.  I have the wifi data on my SIM card.  We also realized that our Verizon account had not been suspended as we thought.  So I will have to check into that when I get to the states.

February 29, 2016 Change of plans

We took the dinghy to shore this morning to walk to the grocery store.  We only needed milk, bread, eggs, and fruit.  We could make bread and use powdered milk.  But while it is available, we’ll take advantage of it.  The eggs were only $2/dozen.  I haven’t seen that price even in the states.  So I carried 4 dozen in my back pack and didn’t crack one!

After getting unpacked at the boat, we decided to get out of Marsh Harbor for a few days.  We have friends leaving the states any day now and heading here.  So if we hang out a few days, we could see them and possibly travel together.  They will be coming to the Abacos thought the northern part, so we decided to head north and explore those islands while we wait. 

We anchored at Green Turtle Cay about sunset.  It was a beautiful day on the water.  Once we arrived, I checked e-mails and found out my 100 year old aunt in SD passed away, Dorothy Zeller.  She was my mom’s sister and was married to my dad’s brother.  So our two families were very close all of my live.  Their homes were only a couple blocks apart in my hometown of Miller, SD. 

So I got on line and started checking flights.  I found a flight out of Marsh Harbor and into Aberdeen, SD in one day, same on the return.  Everything the day before or after or through different sources was $1000 more.  So we talked it over and within about an hour, I booked my flight for March 3-10.  We had talked about what we would do when she passed away before we left the states.  And the plan was always to go home if it worked with connections and wasn’t too crazy expensive. 

Someone recently asked me what I missed about my previous life by living on a boat.  My first thought was missing family life events.  My brother had recently sent me pictures from my aunt Dorothy’s 100th birthday party.  So I am seizing the opportunity to be with my family again.   Of course the second thing I thought of was a comfortable living room chair. 

I started making some lists for packing that night.  I also stayed up late waiting to hear from my sister that she would actually be in Aberdeen on the 3rd when I arrive.  They travel a lot and it was quite possible that they wouldn’t be home.  I didn’t hear from her, but was able to go to sleep by about 1:00.  I woke up about 5:00 and saw her e-mail.  They had been to a Bruce Springsteen concert, and yes she would be there.  Well now I couldn’t go back to sleep.   I decided I would have to take a nap later today. 

Ferbruary 28, 2016 Matt Lowe Cay

I made arrangements with Rinssor to pick me up for church this morning.  I was the only dinghy at the dingy dock at 8:45am on a Sunday.  I always enjoy mass in Marsh Harbor.  The women that were readers or helped with the collection and communion were all dressed in white.  And the entire church sings their hearts out.  There were about 60 people there, which almost fills the church.

We wanted to move the boat today out of Marsh Harbor to make water again.  The wind was from the east, so the water would be coming towards our boat from the marinas, not as clean.  So about noon, we moved to the west side of Matt Lowe Cay.  The island helped block the wind. 

After starting the generator and water maker, we had lunch in this beautiful setting.  We grilled 2 wahoo steaks today.  That is some mighty fine fish.  While the generator was running, I did some things on the computer.  Dave on the other hand, was out on the stern swim platform cutting his hair and shaving his beard.  He moved the dinghy to the side of our boat so it wouldn’t get filled with hair.  He asked me to do the final touches.  Then he showered off on the swim platform.  That was a pretty slick way of cleaning up, just hose down the deck. 

What a peaceful Sunday!

February 27 2016 Generator work day

I started the day with washing my clothes.  Then I cleaned the heads through out the day with interruptions to help Dave.

Dave decided to dig into our generator.  Back before we left Florida, it wasn’t running smoothly.  That’s when we bought the Honda eu2000i generator as a backup.  He was told by the NextGen representative that he needed a Hertz meter.  Well we had met someone in Marsh Harbor when we first arrived that had one, Clark on Undaunted.  He was still here, so Dave borrowed it for the day. 

He waited until now because you have to pull everything out of the starboard lazarette that is stored on top of the generator.  He thought that we were not getting power at the circuit breaker because the lights don’t work until the generator warms up.  The hertz meter has a 110 plug that Dave put into one of our outlets with the generator running.  It read 58 cycles per second (hertz), so he adjusted the throttle on the diesel engine part of the generator to increase the hertz to 60.  Now the throttle is set right, but the light is still slow to light up on the circuit breaker.  BUT the next time he talks to the rep, he can explain the motions he went through.  He is expecting the usual comment “what? I’ve never heard of that!” 

He sprayed inside the motor windings with Corrosion-X, but you can use Boeshield T-9. It’s very helpful in marine environments.  The heat exhaust duct is plastic and was tearing.  Dave decided to go into town to replace it.  He forgot that most of the stores close at noon on Saturdays and didn’t have any luck.  Since it had a wire frame, he took the advice of the Canadian Red Green and made himself a duct tape duct.  In the process, he noticed the heat exhaust fan was mounted backwards and changed that.  So the generator should run better, but we still have the original problem of having to let it warm up before it is at full power.  Dave will continue to research what he can.  He can’t call the NextGen rep until we return to the states.  I guess if it shuts down, we’ll hire a generator mechanic to figure it out.  In the meantime, it works, just still puzzles us with this change.  

February 26, 2016 Dean's send off

We had a nice breakfast on the boat so that Dean could finish packing this morning.  We took Dean to shore by dinghy about 10:30 to meet Rinssor for his taxi ride to the airport.  Back at the boat we just hung out for the day. 

We decided to go into town for a walk and pick up some reels to make hand lines for fishing.  Using fishing poles in the dinghy gets a little crowded.  Dave also found a couple clips he needs for making a flag halyard on our back stay.  We want to fly our American flag there and the long red streamer that Cheryl made for us. 

We decided to try out a new restaurant, a take out place.  We have smelled their BBQ smoke before and were curious about the place.  As we were looking at the menu, we asked a local who was eating what he recommended.  He said the ribs and the loaded baked potato.  So that’s what I tried.  Dave ordered a combo of ribs and pork chops.  Plus he ordered the large plate that comes with 2 sides.  He tired the loaded baked potato and the pasta salad.  We decided to take everything back to the boat with us instead of eating at their picnic tables.  We wanted to make pigs of ourselves in the privacy of our boat.  And it was delicious. 

We watched a movie, and planned our next projects.

February 25, 2016 return to Marsh Harbor, Bahamas

Thursday Feb 25
We headed over to the Hopetown Inn and Marina for breakfast today.  They have an awesome menu.  Dean had the lobster eggs Benedict, Dave the breakfast burrito with their peas and rice and bacon, I had the Bahamian scrambler with the catch of the day which was Mahi.  They were all great.

We dropped off Dean at the Lighthouse so he could check it out.  Dave and I returned to the boat to get it ready to leave the harbor.  We want to get Dean back to Marsh Harbor for his flight out tomorrow.  Plus we need to make water so we can have our overdue showers.

Dean enjoyed the view from the lighthouse, then Dave ran him back to town to exchange something at a gift shop.  After all that was completed, we were ready to leave our mooring ball in Hopetown and head to Marsh Harbor.  We motored there in about 20k winds on our nose which took about 2 hours.

We anchored in the harbor so Dean could go to shore for the afternoon while we made water.  I took him to Snappas restaurant so he could use their wifi and electricity.  Then I went to the dinghy dock to take in our garbage and find someplace to add data to my phone. 

There are several stores that have a sign that says “Top Up Here”.  The first place I stopped at was closed.  The second one said they couldn’t do that at their store.  The third place was very helpful.  2 gig costs $30 and expires after one month.  With catching free wifi at different places, the 2g lasted the month. 

We had decided to make water right here in Marsh Harbor for the first time.  The wind was coming through the harbor entrance bringing fresh water to our boat, or pushing debris behind our boat (Dave said the carcasses and sludge and it’s not Brazilian water).  We always test the water to make sure it is potable and it was. 

After making water, we joined Dean at Snappa’s for happy hour and a light dinner.  Back at the boat, Dave and I spent the evening reading and let Dean start packing.   Dean had brought his own sheets and beach towel, like we had asked.  But he wanted to leave them with us to make room for his souvenirs.  That wasn’t the idea.  It was so we wouldn’t have to wash them by hand and hang them to dry on our boat.  The cheapest laundry we have found was $5.50/machine, so $11 for one load.  Plus we would have to spend our day sitting at a laundry mat.  And now we have to find a place to store them.  So if there are any future guests on any sailboat reading this, keep that in mind.   

February 23-24, 2016 Elbow Cay shopping and fishing

Today was a lazy day on the hook.  When we are on a mooring ball or at a marina, we kind of let our guard down.  Needless to say, Dave and Dean were moving a little slow today. 

We just spent the day walking about town.  Dean checked out several of the gift shops.  We made it to Vernon’s grocery store in time for key lime pie and bread both hot out of the oven.  We returned to the boat and had dinner on board with our new baked goods.

We were able to sit out in the cockpit and watch the the light come on in the light house.  Great view from within the harbor.   

Wednesday Feb 24
Today we decided to try our hand at fishing.  We loaded up the dinghy and went to the north end of Elbow Cay.  We anchored in a sandy spot between coral heads.  We moved a couple times, but had no luck.  Dave and Harold were in the same area last week, but it was much calmer. 

Then we took the dingy over to the beach where Juli and I found all the wild life in the water.  It was a higher tide than last week.  So the sea life was in deeper water.  We did find a few live conch, but too small to keep.  Dean was holding one while the whole body came out of the shell and hung from it.  We had never seen that.  He also found some big orange starfish and a couple dead sea biscuits.  It was fun exploring the water, and it was a nice temperature.  The air temp was 77 today.  The highest it’s been since we’ve been here this year.  Nice day to play on and in the water.
Dave relaxing in the dinghy after fishing while Dean and I check out the sea life on shore

Back at the boat, we decided to have a late lunch/early dinner.  We had thawed some wahoo that we caught last week and wanted to share with Dean.  Dave did a great job of frying ours and searing his. 

After dinner, I convinced the guys to play a game of Triominos with me.  They were good sports, but only lasted one game.  We had another nice evening in the cockpit watching the light house from our mooring ball.

February 22, 2016 Mooring ball in Hopetown, Elbow Cay, Bahamas

After listening to the weather this morning, we decided to move the boat to Hopetown.   Everyone is predicting heavy winds Wednesday night.  We thought if we went to  Hopetown today, before the weather gets worse, we may be able to get a mooring ball in the harbor.  Dave cooked breakfast and Dean did the dishes while Dave and I got the boat ready to move back to Elbow Cay.  We anchored outside of the harbor and took the dinghy in to look for a mooring ball by 12:30.  It’s is such a crowded area, that we didn’t want to wander between the boats with our boat looking for a free mooring ball. 

We passed the Hopetown Sailing Club’s boat race as we sailed to Elbow Cay, so we knew there may be empty mooring balls with reserved markers on them.  But luckily we found a couple open balls.  We decided on one that would be easiest to navigate our boat to that belonged to Cap’n Jack’s.  We tied a small fender to it marked with our boat name.  We dropped off Dean at Cap’n Jack’s to pay for the ball and let him explore the town.  Dave and I took the dinghy back to the boat to bring it in to the harbor.  By now it was between 1 & 1:30, and low tide was at 2:20.  So we headed towards the channel to enter the harbor with inches under our keel.  Yesterday was the full moon, so the tides are more extreme right now, too.  We made it through fine and found a direct route between boats to our mooring ball.  Dave was at the bow as I crept up to the ball.  He had to grab it with a boat hook and bring the end of the line to our boat so he could run two dock lines through it, one off each side of the bow.  It all went very smooth. 

safely attached to mooring ball
 We sent a hand held radio with Dean so we could connect.  He was having a lobster roll at Cap’n Jack’s, so we just had lunch on the boat.  After that, we joined him on shore and headed to Hopetown Lodge.  We picked up a couple drinks and headed right to the beach.  We had about an hour before the sun would go behind the island.  We just hung out on their beach chairs and enjoyed the view and sound of the ocean.  Once it started to cool off, we moved to the Reef Bar that overlooks the ocean.  We visited with Gwendolyn, the barmaid.  She was telling Dean he needed to find a wife, but be sure to treat her right.  When a man gets in trouble, we sometimes say he is “in the doghouse”.  They say “da dog eat yo lunch”.


cool tile at the Reef Bar at Hopetown Lodge
We strolled down to our favorite dinner restaurant, Wine Down Sip Sip.  This was the third time we have been there this month.  They have their 2 drinks for $6 happy hour everyday.  We shared their conch flitters, more like a crab cake, one of their flatbread pizzas and one order of their special tonight, chicken parmesan.  Again, everything was delicious. 
we played around with the Snap Ghost app
We decided to dinghy over to the Hopetown Inn and Marina just to show Dean what it was like.  Then he could take the shuttle there on his own if he wanted to.  The place was pretty empty, but we had fun joking with the staff.  When one young woman’s shift was over, she even sat with us until we left.  Her name was Kerline, but they called her Kerly, like curly.  She invited us to her church on Sunday, the Assembly of God.  It sounds like there would be lots of great singing.  She said we would probably be the only white people there, but they welcome all visitors.  We just might do that if we are back here on Sunday.  Dave’s not so sure.  He said he attended one when he was younger and called them the “holy rollers”.  He thinks it’s a little strange, but I am curious.

Back at the boat, I headed to bed, but Dave and Dean stayed up later sharing stories of who knows what.

February 21, 2016 Nipper's on Great Guana Cay

Well, you can probably guess that we all slept in this morning.  After a nice breakfast and some discussion of the day’s plan, we left the anchorage at noon for Great Guana Cay.  They have a pig roast every Sunday with lots of local sides and desserts.  We knew Dean would like it.  Plus the view there is fantastic.  We didn’t arrive at our anchorage in Fisher’s Bay until 2:00.  We took the Nipper mobile golf cart to Nipper’s on the beach.  It was busier than the week days we had been here earlier this month.  We were hoping the bikini dancing young women would be there for Dean’s entertainment, but it was an older crowd.  Still a little cold for that, I guess. 

Dean enjoyed the pig roast, and we had hamburgers.  Dean and Dave took a short walk on the beach while I read a book.  This is my 5th time here, and my first without ordering a drink.  I think I had my limit yesterday for the 2 days combined. 

We headed back to the boat by 5:00, made water, and all had showers.  Since it was so cool this afternoon, we may go back tomorrow to enjoy the beach a little more before moving to a different anchorage. 

We found out this morning that our niece, Katie Zeller Murphy and Brad Murphy had a baby girl on Feb 20.  They named her Memphis Izabella Murphy and mom and baby were doing fine.  Welcome baby Murphy!!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

February 20, 2016 Hopetown Songwriter's Festival

We had a relaxing morning in Marsh Harbor.  Then our friends, Gary and Niamh, anchored near us.  We only visited shortly and said our good-byes.  They were here to provision.  Then they were heading to Lynyard Cay tonight to meet up with a couple other boats that were heading south in the morning. 

We wanted to go to Lubbers Quarter this afternoon for the Songwriters festival.  There was an “unplugged” session this afternoon at Lubbers Landing, a bar and restaurant.  That was from 1-4:00 and would take us a couple hours to get there.  So we gave up on the idea of going to the Annual Flea Market on Man of War Cay.  It was north and Lubbers Quarter was south.  We decided to take the cruiser’s laid back route and not try to fit too many things into one day. 

We sailed to Lubbers Quarter and thought we could anchor on the east side of the island.  We quickly found out that it was too shallow.  We hit sand and came to a stop.  We were able to wiggle our keel though some of the sand bar and get turned back out away from the island.  We put out our jenny sail and that healed us enough to get us off of the sand bar.  We then headed across the channel to the west side of Elbow Cay and anchored there.  As we were heading into the wind to anchor, a Canadian power boat came at us from our port side.  We thought he would veer away since we had the right of way and were obviously trying to anchor.  But just as he was off of our port side, 90 degrees to the wind, he dropped his anchor.   Dave said in a loud voice “Mary, I guess we’ll have to circle around to another spot since this boat just took our anchorage.”  As we were circling around the boats, they ended up moving to a different spot in between us and another boat.  So we left that area and moved further away from them. 

After we anchored, Dave took me and Dean over to Lubbers Quarter by dinghy.  He made sure to stop at that boat and thank them for taking our anchorage and making us move.  He came back with “I was anchoring, too, and was there at the same time.”  Dave reminded him that we had the right away (on their starboard side) and were pointed into the wind to anchor (which is the correct position).  Then Dave said “you should read that book.” 

With a combination of boating gyrations that we went through today, Dave didn’t feel like going to shore with us.  So he dropped me and Dean off at Lubber’s Landing, and we would just call him to pick us up later this afternoon.  By now it was 2:00.  They were only offering one meal choice for $20.  That included a sandwich (tuna, conch or hamburger), Brunswick Stew and coleslaw.  But you could do a wrist band for $65 for the lunch and all you can drink.  Beers are usually $6, so I didn’t think I would drink $45 worth of beer this afternoon and opted for the lunch and pay per beer.  Dean likes to try the different rum punches, which usually run close to $10.  So he went for the full package. 
great outdoors venue
the view towards Elbow Cay
Dean heading to the drink tent

The meal was OK, for mass production.  We found out later, the owners were from Georgia and the wife made the Brunswick Stew.  Of course we spent the summer in Brunswick, GA, so that was a cool connection. 

The music was very good.  About 6 different musicians took turns performing.  And some played along with the others.  One musician kept referring to Django.  I knew Jerry Jeff Walker had a son that is a performer named Django.  So I hooked into their wifi and googled him.  It said he was performing at the Songwriter’s festival in Hopetown in the Bahamas.  I checked out his picture and figured out which one was him.  We have been fans of Jerry Jeff Walker for many years, especially back in the 70’s.  Jimmy Buffett had one of Django’s songs on his last CD, Something ‘bout a Boat.  So we thought it was pretty cool to see him and hear him sing. 
Django Walker in the middle

The music was scheduled for 1-4:00 but it stopped a little after 3:00.  That was only about an hour into Dean’s all you can drink for $45.  So we hung out a while longer and talked to some locals.  I also used their wifi for awhile.  They had a nice area inside with couches where I made myself at home. 

Dean mixing with the locals

Shortly after we arrived, Dean and I were looking over the place.  There was a line for the bathroom where I recognized John from the sailboat Joho from the Netherlands.  We met them last week in Marsh Harbor.  As we were visiting, the guy next to him said “are you the Dave and Mary from Luck of a Fool?”.  It was Peter from the boat Empty Pockets that gave us some advice for our run a way diesel engine last year in June.  It was great to see him again.  We actually ended up sitting by him and his wife, Linda, while we ate and listened to music.  While we were eating, they sang “You can’t always get what you want.  But you just might find, you get what you need.”  Linda said that should be the National Anthem of the Bahamas. 

Dave came to pick us up around 5:00 and we headed back to the boat.  The songwriter’s festival was continuing tonight at the Firefly resort just a couple miles north of where we were anchored.  So we moved the boat and anchored just off their dock.   Dave took me and Dean to shore again to continue the party.  Oh, I mean to be able to hear more music.   We stopped at Joho on our way in and said hello to John and Yolanda and planned to meet them at the resort.  Which we did.  We hung out with them all night.  Our dinghy chauffeur picked us up before we turned into pumpkins.  The band was actually pretty loud back at the boat with no sign of slowing down.  So we pulled up the anchor and moved the boat again a few miles north of there.  It was much more peaceful and we all hit the beds about 1:30 am.  It is actually unusual for us to be up that late.  And unusual to move the boat in the dark. 

Dean, Mary, Yolanda and John
full moon, wish I had a better camera for night photos

February 19, 2016 Dean's arrival

I decided to go to an internet cafe this morning to spend some time updating my blog.  There is one about a block from the dinghy dock.  I was there up until noon when Dave picked me up at the dock.  Then we went over to the Conch Inn/Curly Tails restaurant to meet Dean.  It is probably the prettiest property in the harbor area. 

Dean arrived on time today.  And Rinssor picked him up at the airport.  He arrived hungry, so we stayed and had lunch at Curly Tails.  After lunch, we walked down the street a ways to buy fresh made conch salad from George.  We took 2 pints back to the boat with us.

We helped Dean get settled into his cabin.  He brought out gifts for us, an assortment of small gadgets.  Then we took empty back packs and hiked to to Maxwell’s grocery store.  There were just a few perishable items we needed to pick up.  We also stopped at a liquor store on the way back to pick up a few local beers.

Earlier today, after the cruiser’s net, we had talked to a couple boats on the VHF radio about their used charts for the Far Bahamas.  Dave picked up one this morning.  The people were from Canada and didn’t want anything for them.  They said we could buy them a beer at Happy Hour at Snappa’s tonight.  Dave thinks beers are considered currency in Canada, because he has heard that several times. 

On the way back to the boat after grocery shopping, we stopped at another boat and bought a brand new Explorer chart from them.  They had just purchased their charts, but had to return home for some reason.

After storing our groceries, we headed over to Snappa’s.  We thought we would join the Canadian couple and his sister, who arrived today, too.  But there ended up being a long table of people that were new acquaintances. There were probably a dozen people.  Dave was at one end, I was at the other, and Dean ended up in the middle.  Cruisers make friends easily and we had an enjoyable evening. 

We headed back to the boat and had chicken souse again.  Plus we had the conch salad.  The lime was the theme for the evening.
Rinssor said he had delivered the Prodigal Son

first rum punch of the week

we had to pick up conch salad from George.  But we think we can make it just as good now IF we can find the conch

February 18, 2016 Bow eye for dingy

Last minute cleaning before company.  Doesn’t change when you live on a boat.  I got up early to start the last load of laundry, our towels. 

Dave made chicken souse for the first time.  He used chicken wings and marinated them in lime juice overnight.  We thought that would be a fun local dish to share with his brother when he arrived today.  It is similar to chicken soup but the broth has vinegar and lime in it.

We decided to air out our comforter before storing it again.  Dave hung it out on our lines for the laundry.  He used a combination of the metal clips and the plastic rings.  I was inside cooking breakfast when I heard him yell “emergeny! clothes line clips overboard!”.  They cost about a dollar a piece and are hard to find over here.  So he quickly lowered the dinghy in the water from the davits and went after them.  He had me keep an eye on them, just like Man Overboard.  3 had fallen in.  But I found 6 on the deck.  I guess the comforter is too thick for those clips.  I took down the comforter and called it good. 

We cleaned the heads and floors then headed to shore to meet Dean.  We arranged to meet him at Curly Tails, a restaurant on the second floor at the Conch Inn.  There is a great view of the harbor from there.  While we were waiting, we used their wifi.  That’s when I saw the e-mail from Dean that he missed his flight out of Mpls and wouldn’t be here until tomorrow.  So I texted Rinssor at the airport to let him know and apologized. 

We headed back to the boat, picked up our garbage and went to town.  We stopped at a few stores for parts for more projects.  Then we went back to the boat.

Dave worked on adding a new bow eye to our dinghy.  The old one was an aluminum bow eye that was welded onto the hull.  The shackle holding the painter was wearing through the bow eye.  It was further weakened in the heavy winds last week.  This shackle is horse U shaped with a pin going through the open ends.  The painter is the line that ties the dinghy to our boat or a dock.  He placed the new one higher out of the water.  He had to drill on the outside of the dinghy on the triangular bow plate.  He used the backing plate as a template for drilling the holes.   Then he assembled the new bow eye with the bolts, front plate, backing plate and nuts.  He had to tighten the bolts form the inside and outside which sandwiched it in place.  He used Tefgel to protect the threads from galling, which locks them in place when you don’t want them to.  He used Lanocoat on the plates to protect them from the salt water.  And Butylrubber to seal everything in place.  AND I handed him a couple tools. 

We planned to have the chicken souse for Dean’s welcome dinner.  But we started on it without him.  Dave did a pretty good job.  And my homemade bread was perfect with it. 

It was strange having a day with nothing planned.  But we know how to kick back and relax when we have to.  

new bow eye will go on flat triangular section. old one is below with rope tied to it

new bow eye in place

better angle to show both bow eyes

crazy gyrations to work on the dinghy

tightening bolts from the inside

February 17, 2016 laundry, refuel, and bread making, Bahamas

Today was laundry day.  We also wanted to make water while we were near Elbow Cay where the water is clear.  We will head to Marsh Harbor later today and the water isn’t as clean there with so many boats congested in one area. 

Dave was in charge of the laundry, but I helped as needed.  I appreciate that because my hands get tired wringing out the clothes, towels and bedding.  We figured out that if you use the buttons and snaps on your shirts and pants to attach over the lines, you will use fewer clothes pins.  Our pins are heavy duty to hold fatter lines and stay in place on windy days.  They cost about $1 a piece, so they are limited. 
clothes pin with pen to compare size
Dave took our fuel cans into Hopetown to refill.  It is much easier to fill the fuel tank with the jerry cans and take them in to refill then it is to take the boat to the fuel dock in most cases.  While he was there, a couple about our age brought in a boat about our size to refuel.  The wife was giving him instructions for approaching the dock, but he wouldn’t listen to her.  He ended up ramming the dock pretty hard.  Then after having his boat tied to the dock, he put it in reverse really hard.  When the wife said “what are you doing?”, he said “just checking something”.  Not sure what that could have been other than how strong his dock lines were.  When the wife saw Dave with our jerry cans she said “maybe we should just bring in our fuel cans to refuel”.  After Dave was back at our boat and had told me this story, we saw their boat come out of the harbor.  Dave kept an eye on them to be sure they didn’t ram our boat.

About 4:30 we took our laundry down and moved the boat to Marsh Harbor.  We want to be there to pick up Dave’s brother about noon tomorrow.  And it was supposed to be windy in the morning, 20-30k.  So it would be easier to move the boat today. 

I made my first attempt this year at making bread.  I was looking at the Fleischmann’s yeast package and saw that they had a website for recipes.  So I checked out their basic bread recipe.  I used one that called for their RapidRise yeast, but I had the original.  It seems like we don’t always have a warm place for the bread to rise, at least this time of year.  So I thought the bread could have risen more, but it tasted fantastic.  Any bread tastes fantastic hot out of the oven.  And Dave loves every loaf, no matter what shape or size.

couldn't wait for them to rise any further