Saturday, April 30, 2016

April 30, 2016 Black Point Settlement, Exumas

It looks like we are going to get another cold front this week with winds from the West.  All the anchorages in the Exumas are on the west side of the islands, unless you are in Georgetown.  So we spent some time discussing options and studying charts.  Always a concern on the boat. 

We started 2 more loads of laundry as long as the lines were up and we weren’t going anywhere today.

Dave contacted the boatyard in Spanish Wells to get some general information and get that ball rolling.  Then he sent them an e-mail with details of what we need and photos of the shaft log.  It is great to have free wifi at the boat that we can pick up from shore. 

I spent some time updating this blog, since we had free wifi.  Usually it is really slow on the boat, but I “went to town” while I could.  I also did some cleaning while I waited for pictures to upload.  Multitasking. 

I stopped around 4:00 to take down the laundry and go for a swim.  We had lost a couple of our precious clothes pins yesterday ($1 apiece), so I decided to snorkel to look for them, but no luck.  It was great to get in the water.  It is so clear here, like a swimming pool.  Yesterday, I saw a remora swim under our boat.  Since we had wifi, I googled whether they will try to suck onto humans (they usually attach to sharks).  And yes they will.  But I guess you can just bat them away without them attacking you.  If they do attach, they leave a hickey when you pull them off.  Of course, the first thing I did today was check under the boat for any remoras.  None there, whew!

Then about 5:00, we went into Black Point for dinner.  We were able to take our garbage into town, yay!  We walked the few blocks that made up their main street.  It was very clean and there were lots of locals in the streets, adults and kids.  Everyone was very friendly.  We ended up at Lorraine’s for dinner.  We had heard a lot about her and how she goes out of her way to make cruisers feel at home.  It wasn’t very busy.  We didn’t make reservation, but she said she could make anything that was on the lunch menu.  In the states, you need to make reservations to get a table.  In the Bahamas, you need to make reservations so they will have the food to prepare for you.  At least it’s that way in the smaller towns. 

After dinner we walked a little further though town and back to the dinghy dock.  I can see why so many people like it  here.  But we like it with less than 10 boats and can’t imagine what it would be like with 100 boats. 
our welcome at the dinghy dock, a shark and a stingray each about 6 feet long

Lorraine's mom sells home made bread at here house behind the restaurant.  She was sitting on the front porch and had me follow her into her house right into the kitchen.  we bought 2 loaves of cinnamon raisin coconut for $6 each

lots of boat building in this town, right in their yards

not sure what this fruit was.  the tree was less than 8 ft tall and the fruit were like big avocados with ridges

our boat in the huge bay

sapodilla tree

the local clinic with their own generator

Red Sky at night, Sailors delight.  Yes, that's our boat

April 29, 2016 Installing a Whale sump pump

Ok, today we finally found some energy to get things done.  We started some laundry.  That is an all day affair.  We only did bedding today, but that filled our buckets and lines since we had bedding for company, too.

I worked on cleaning our forward head and making bread with Pam’s recipe.  That was between moving laundry.

Dave worked on the shower drain/sump pump for our aft head.  We have had some issues with it draining over the past month or so.  Usually a pump with a plunger takes care of it.  But this time it wasn’t going anywhere.  It goes directly overboard below the waterline.  So it needs a sump pump to remove the water. 

After checking the pump, he realized the diaphragm needed replacing.   We had another pump, so he removed the old Jabsco pump to install the new Whale pump.  We have that in our forward head and we had a spare along with us.  It’s nice because you don’t have to clean a filter.  You really take things for granted living in a house or being able to run to the hardware store.

Of course the new pump can’t go directly back into the space of the old pump.  I heard lots of grunts and cussing coming from Dave.  He was having trouble placing a hose clamp on the new pump.  The space to mount the new pump put the hose in a tight spot.  There wasn’t much room to get both hands under the sink and behind the holding tank to fasten the hose clamp.  Once he had the hose clamp in place, he realized it was a bad clamp and had to start over. 
"Damn, we're in a tight spot"

But he was actually pretty calm when he told me how he put a hole in the boat with a drill bit.  He thought he found the perfect place to mount the pump.  But the first screw went right though the hull.  He needed my help to pull out the plug when he placed a temporary patch on the outside of the boat.  I couldn’t get mad at him when he looked so sad.  Accidents happen and we were still floating.  He tried to tape it on the outside so he could fill it with epoxy, but the tape wouldn’t stick.  It was too close to the water line.  So he put butyl rubber in the hole from the inside and taped over it from the inside.  Right now it is like a temporary crown on a tooth.  It’s working, so you are tempted to let it go as long as possible.  But once it goes, you will be in an emergency situation. 
there shouldn't be light shining through there

Dave called it quits for the day and changed gears to grill dinner.  We are still eating fillets of wahoo that we caught in the Abacos back in February. 

April 28, 2016 Big Farmer's Cay to Black Point, Exumas

I had to say good-bye one more time, so I took the dingy over to their boat once I knew Cheryl was awake.  We had time for another game of cribbage while we enjoyed our coffee and tea.  (I skunked her again!)  We said our good-byes and promised to stay in touch. 

Today we sailed to Black Point Settlement on Great Guana Cay.  It was another nice day for sailing.  It was only about 20 nm, but we wanted to check it out.  We have heard good things about this anchorage.  It is just south of Staniel Cay, which is crowded with boats out of Nassau.  The bay was beautiful.  The water looked like a swimming pool.  We had heard there could be 70-100 boats anchored here all at once.  So we were pleasantly surprised to see only 5 boats here.  I think many boaters head north by now. 

Farmer's Cay Cut from the islands to the Sound (open water)  This is a picture of "confused water"  between the islands, the sea was flat, but then there were rough waves where the waves coming in and the tide going out meet.  Then there are ocean waves on the sound.  It wasn't very windy today, but these waves can get very tall and rough to pass through.

We anchored and relaxed and watched the sun set with no land to the west for many miles.  I actually saw a green flash as the sun set.  It went straight up about the size of what the sun had been, not across the horizon.  I think it had something to do with staring at the sun for so long and damaging my eyes. 

April 27, 2016 Lee Stocking Island to Big Farmer's Cay, Exumas

We only had about 20 nm to sail today, but we took off about 8:30 to have the afternoon to visit and relax.  We had a nice 15 knot wind and were able to sail the entire way north.  We anchored in a bay on the north end of Big Farmer’s Cay, same place as last year.  We arrived at 12:30, about an hour before Cheryl and Ed.
Love the color of the water as the depth changes
Cheryl and Ed arriving at Big Farmer's Cay

They came over to our boat by dinghy to visit this afternoon.  They were headed into Little Farmer’s Cay for some provisions.  They invited us for happy hour and dinner on their boat.  I spent the afternoon cleaning our aft head.  When I clean the floor and behind the toilet, I use the shower hose and drain.  Today the shower wouldn’t drain with the sump pump.  Using the plunger a couple times, which has worked in the past, only brought more water and “gunk” into the floor of the head.   So Dave used a shop vac to remove the water and will work on it soon.
anchored close enough to swim to their boat
Yay! visitors from SD and TX

When Cheryl and Ed returned, Cheryl and I went for a snorkeling in the bay and checked out the coral and fish along the shore.  We enjoyed it but realized it was difficult to visit while snorkeling.  So we walked and talked across the shallow part of the bay.  Dave had a nice nap in the cockpit.

We returned to our boats and make dinner preparations.  At 5:00, Ed was blowing a conch shell to let us know happy hour had begun.  We found out later that Cheryl had just bought the shell today in Little Farmer’s Cay as a gift for Ed.  They also cut the end and polished it so it could be made into a bugle.

We had a nice time visiting on their boat.  Ed gave Dave the boat tour, and they discussed lots of boat business.  Cheryl and I enjoyed a game of cribbage (I skunked her).  Then we all enjoyed the sunset together in the cockpit of their boat.  It was nice to be able to get a sunset picture with our boat in it.
our boat in the sunset

The plan was for Cheryl to help Ed move his boat from Marsh Harbor in the Abacos to Georgetown in the Exumas.  She has been on his boat for 30 days.  Ed would like to get to Georgetown to see some of the regatta that goes through Saturday.   He will no longer need her help.  So she is checking into other options.  She would like to stay in the Bahamas until June.  But she will fly out of Georgetown if nothing works out.  She plans to spend the summer with a friend in Kentucky and go back to SD for a while.  But then next fall she will look into the workaway website again for another adventure.  She loves the life aboard a sailboat and has no regrets about retiring and selling her home in SD. 

happy friends together again

April 26, Georgetown to Lee Stocking Island, Exumas

We decided to move north through the Exumas over the next couple weeks.  Then we would have to go to a town on Eleuthera to extend my immigration by May 10.  We are also considering taking our boat to a boatyard in Spanish Wells, Eleuthera to have the bottom repainted.  In the Bahamas, we can use a paint that we can no longer buy in the United States.  It will last longer.  And we would have to clean the bottom less often because it is harder for sea life to attach to it.  The bottom usually has to be painted about every 2 years.  It is also something we could do ourselves, if we are at a marina/boatyard that allows that.  Then we could buy the paint here and use it in the US.  So we are checking into our options.  Plus we need to have the shaft log repaired or replaced.  That may or may not be done here.  We have to take the boat out of the water for each project.  So it would be cheaper to haul it out just once. 

We sailed to Lee Stocking Island and arrived 2:30.  It was crazy to look at the chart and see that we were in about 2000 ft of water, but we could still see the shore.  We had great plans to go for a hike and then a swim.  But it started raining shortly after we anchored and continued through out the evening. 

I was able to connect with my friend Cheryl, who we had rescued from one boat, was crew for about 10 days, and moved onto another boat.  They are in the Exumas and heading to Georgetown.  So we picked an anchorage to meet at tomorrow as we head north.  We are looking forward to meeting the captain of the catamaran she is on, Ed, and seeing her again.

April 25, 2016 Georgetown duties

We spent the day in and out of Georgetown doing our civilization chores.  We went to shore together by dinghy about 9:00.  Dave dropped me off with a propane tank to refill and with my computer to get a good wifi signal.  Then he went to a dock at the gas station for diesel and gasoline.

I stopped at Forbes to leave our propane tank to be filled.  Another gentleman was waiting and  told me the owner would be right back.  Once he returned, we paid for the propane, $22 for a 10 lb can, and were given a receipt for the pick up between 1:00 and 2:00.  We have paid closer to $15 elsewhere in the Bahamas.  But we didn’t have to walk far with it, so I guess we paid for the convenience.

Then I walked to J&K Productions to use their wifi.  They open at 9:00, but it was 9:30 and they were closed.  So I caught Dave at the fuel dock and went back to the boat with him. 
We did a few projects on the boat and went back in at about 11:30.  We decided to have lunch together and tried out a local restaurant.  The Towne Cafe was tucked in beside the gas station, off the main street.  They had 3 main courses served over rice with 2 sides.  And it was served like take out, which they call take away.  But there were about 6 tables inside with air conditioning and a clean bathroom.  So we were excited, no flies!  The choices were conch, chicken or chuck roast.  We both went for the chuck roast.  We don’t see beef very often.  It was DELICIOUS.  It was slices of beef cooked with onion and peppers in a sauce and served over parsley rice.  It was only $12.95, and we could have split the order, which we didn’t.  While we were there, a Mary Kay consultant came if to order lunch.  I had to get her photo for my niece, Heidi, who is a consultant.  She was so cute and friendly. 

After lunch, I went back to J&K productions and spent the rest of the afternoon using their wifi/$5 per day. 

Dave picked up groceries from 2 different stores and headed back to the boat to do some work, or so he said.  Later I had to text him to meet me at the dock.  We also gave a ride to 2 young French people to their boat.  They were helping crew another boat.  One was going back to France and the other was looking for another boat to crew.  Dave likes to practice his French.  They were so adventurous.  They told us about another Frenchman that was here.  He was 24, bought a sailboat and learned to sail.  He had sailed here from France via Greenland and Iceland and down the east coast of the US.  I don’t know how they can afford to be on these adventures.  But it is exciting to hear their stories.

April 24, 2016 Church and socializing with GA friends

Today would have been my dad’s 100th birthday.  He passed away in 2007.  He was so serious and a disciplinarian when we were kids.  But in our adult life, we had so much fun with him.  He had the best corny sense of humor.  I miss you Dad!

I took the dingy into Georgetown to attend mass this morning at the St Theresa Catholic church again.  It is about a 10 minute walk from the dinghy dock.  I just love the music with the organ and bongo drum.  And everyone sings their hearts out.  Everyone is so friendly. 
There were about 10 women dressed in white with yellow corsages today, the Women's Auxiliary.  They help with the mass once a month
Dave cleaned the hull of the boat again.  The wiring for the set screws on the shaft are holding up just fine. 

We went to Moondancer this afternoon to visit Nina and Bob, along with Pam and Ed from Pamalynn.   Bob and Nina are leaving here on Tuesday and are heading further south.  They will stop at several other remote Bahamian islands.  Then they will cross to Jamaica, Belize and spend hurricane season in Guatemala.  It is fun to hear about their plans.  We picked Ed’s brain about boat yards and mechanics on the east coast of Florida.  They have lived there and had work done on their boat.  They loved my bean dip, so we are going to swap recipes for their homemade bread that is supposed to be real easy. 

Bob and Nina had to tell us about being crew on a sloop yesterday.  It was a little treacherous moving from side to side on the boards that slide across when you tack.  And on one tack, the boom hit Bob in the forehead.  Nina took a bandana off her neck and tied it around his head and they just kept sailing.  These two have to be in their mid sixties, but they are smaller and more agile than we are.  They thought it was quite an experience.  But it may be a few weeks before Bob can wear a snorkel mask again. 

It was great catching up with each other and sharing stories. 

Bob and Nina Huether on Moondancer

Pam and Ed Springer on Pamalynn

April 23, 2016 National Family Island Regatta

This morning on the net, I asked if anyone had extended their immigration on one of the islands near here.  Not all Ports of Entry have an officer that can extend your immigration.  Another boater came back and told us they had extended theirs at Rock Sound on Eleuthera.  We laughed about how different rules come up and how you get different answers at different offices.  So it is always a guessing game. 

We also had a call on the VHF from another boaters that we met last summer at Brunswick Landing Marina in Georgia, Pam and Ed on Pamalynn.  Nina on Moondancer heard us talking and joined in.  We all made plans to get together on Sunday.  They have been sailing together for the past 2 weeks.  It will be fun to find out where they have been and where they are headed next.

We really had a hard time getting motivated to do anything today.  We spent some time looking over our options for extending my immigration and where we wanted to sail over the next 2 months.  I am going to call a couple of the Immigration offices on other islands on Monday morning to confirm that the extension can be done at their office and the hours. 

We wanted to stay here over the weekend so I could go to church on Sunday.  And on Monday, I wanted to go to our wifi office to update this blog.  So we really didn’t have to accomplish anything today.  We organized a few things that we changed to allow for guests. 

We spent a good part of the afternoon in the cockpit reading.  We also had fun watching sailboats arriving for the National Family Island Regatta that is taking place here next week.  Bahamian native sloops come here from all the islands for 5 days of racing.  There will be activities on shore, too.  We have decided that we don’t need to be here with the crowds.  And there are a lot of restrictions as to where we can anchor.   So we will plan to leave here by Tuesday.  These sloops are very shallow and have huge sails.  They need crew to sit on boards that slide from one side to the other for ballast.  There were boats setting up and practicing today.  Bob and Nina, from Moondancer, actually jumped on one as crew. 

We saw a boat being set up near us.  Another guy came up to them in a dinghy and offered to be crew.  He threw out his dinghy anchor and jumped on board with them as they were leaving.  A little later, we noticed a dingy floating out into the area where the sailboats were practicing.  We figured out it was the guy who jumped out of his dinghy.  So we hopped in ours and went after it.  Dave was sure he saw the guy throw an anchor overboard, but there was no anchor attached to this dinghy.  We took the dingy back to the original dinghy anchored where the sloop was being set up and tied it to that dinghy.  Then we checked the bottom near there and found the other anchor and rode laying on the bottom in about 10 feet of water.  Dave just lowered our anchor and drug it across his anchor rode to hook it.  Then he brought it up and we hauled it into our boat.  It looks like in the excitement of joining the sloop for a sail, the guy didn’t even check to see if his anchor was tied to his boat.  A lady on a near by catamaran noticed us and waved at us to come over.  It was their dinghy and she thanked us for retrieving it.  It was just fun for us to get off the boat and help them out. 

That was our big thrill for the day. 

April 22, 2016 friends leave and Immigration extention in the Bahamas

After the Cruiser’s net this morning, another boat contacted us that we had met in Georgia last summer.  Bob and Nina on Moondancer were here in the harbor.  We explained that we had guests leaving today and would connect with them this weekend.  It is fun seeing boaters you know as you travel.

Joe and Erin’s flight wasn’t until 4:00 in the afternoon.  So they had a relaxing morning for packing.  We all went to town before noon and ate at the out door restaurant, Redboone, right near the dinghy dock.  They were able to catch a taxi right there.   Great time was had by all.

Dave and I needed to go to the Immigration office.  When we checked into the Bahamas January 25, 2016, we were given 3 months on our immigration registration.  So we had to get an extension.  You can’t ask for an extension until the week that it will expire, which would be Sunday, April 24.  We had checked before we left for Long Island on the hours, 9-5 Monday-Friday.  We found the office and were told that the person that does the extension is only there from 9:30 to Noon.  It was posted on the door, but this was our first time at their office.  When we explained that it will expire on Sunday, another person there said he could renew it for us.  He asked for our cards.   He said that mine expired 30 days after I returned by airplane on March 10.  So I should have renewed my on April 10.  I had no idea.  I told them that no one at the airport explained that to me.  He said that it is on your passport stamp and at the bottom of the card.  We had never noticed that the time limit of your immigration registration was written in with your passport stamp.  No other country has ever done that.  He then realized that my passport actually said 60 days.  So the card that said 30 days was wrong.  So Dave was able to extend his, but I will have to return here or to another immigration office right before May 10.  Dave asked for 90 days, but they gave him 60 days because they said it would match mine better when I renewed mine.  That didn’t make any sense, but we weren’t going to argue.  Now mine has to be renewed on May 10 and his on June 26.  That will dictate where we will be over the next 2 weeks. 
We picked up a few groceries and headed back to the boat.

We did nothing for the rest of the day.  We didn’t even want to cook and ate leftovers.  We had a great time with Joe and Erin, but it is nice to go back to the boat by yourselves and do nothing. 

April 21, 2016 passage from Long Island to Georgetown, Exumas

Today we had to sail back to Georgetown so Joe and Erin could fly home tomorrow.  We knew it was going to be a little windier than when we sailed over, but they were salty sailors by now and could handle it.   We were able to sail the whole way back without the motor.

We enjoyed cocktails in the cockpit during sunset.  There was a native bird flying near our boat, so Joe tried to feed it peanuts while Erin took photos.   We decided to get some crackers and pretty soon there was a flock of about 30 birds hovering near our boat.  Erin got some pretty good shots.  And as soon as we stopped throwing the crackers, they were gone.  We were glad they didn't land or hang about long enough to “soil” our boat. 
my photo
Erin's photo

Joe made his famous Thai peanut sauce that he made last year for us.  Dave and Joe added more really hot Thai chili sauce to their dishes.  Not sure they will sleep very well tonight.  After dinner, we all sat out on the bow of the boat and enjoyed the breeze and the full moon on their last night here.  When friends have to pack and go back to work, it really hits us that we are living the life. 
they are so proud of themselves for adding hot Thai chilis

April 20, 2016 Northern Long Island

This morning we used the rental car to check out the northern half of the island.   We took a rutted back road to the beach resort of Chez Pierre because we heard the restaurant was good.  It was a very rutted and rocky road.  It was only about 10:00, so we checked out the place, which seemed deserted, and said we’d call if we planned to come back for lunch.  The prices were a little high, and we didn’t want to drive down that road again. 
beach at Chez Pierre resort
Dave found a resonator along side the road

at one point, 3 of us got out of the car so it wouldn't bottom out on the rocks
Next we drove down a small rutted, rocky road to the ruins of the Adderly Plantation.  we had to hike along the shore and then inland to find the remains of the buildings. 

conch shell path to lead you to the ruins from the beach

This plantation was started in 1790 by a British born subject with a business in Nassau.  Many plantations were started in the Bahamas at that time by Loyalists who didn’t want to remain in the United States after the Revolutionary War and be ruled by Americans.  I am reading the novel Wind from the Carolinas by Robert Wilder that tells the story of a family moving here at that time.  So it was very interesting to actually see the ruins.  And I would recommend the book to anyone.  It is a novel, but gives a good history of the Bahamas from the late 1700's to the 1900's.


the son of the original owner, William, cut his throat at the plantation dock in 1888.  Folklore says that at low tide the docks remnants still show some of the blood stains.

posts are the remains of the dock
Next we drove to the Stella Maris Resort on the Atlantic side of the island to see the coast.  There was a fun bar/restaurant overlooking the ocean where we had lunch, the Moonshine Bar and Grill.  We sat at the bar and had fun visiting with Sue, our bartender.  She was telling us that her husband was a retired school principal and played in a band.  Joe and Dave looked at each other and thought, we’ve heard this story before.  So I asked, was his name Rodney?  And did he own the Sunset Restaurant?  She laughed and said “Rodney is my husband’s cousin!  Have you met Rodney?”  Joe had the best pina colada in the world at this place.

Dave's hat always shaded his face, so he tipped his head rather than take it off

This resort had a swimming pool that had been carved out of the rock and fed by waves from the ocean.  They also had hammocks and benches to view the ocean and a real swimming pool.  It looked like a great place to stay.  We’ll have to check out their prices on line. 

After we left the resort, we followed the shore and found a sign that said Rock Ponds.  So we parked the car and walked a board walk down to the rocks.  There were more crashing waves in this area.  Joe walked out quite a ways on the rocks.  We thought for sure he would be swept into the sea and dashed upon the rocks.  End of vacation.  But he survived. 

We made it back to Salt Pond to return the car by 4:00.  First we stopped at the only gas station to fill the tank.  I think we only used 4 gallons of gasoline.  The guy at the station knew it was one of the rental cars.  They probably know everybody’s car on the island.  Of course the big red arrow on the wind shield that said KEEP LEFT was a dead give away. 
We were south of the Tropic of Cancer most of the time we were here
It was interesting visiting with Alton Fox when we returned the car.  The Fox family owns a lot of businesses in the area.  He had the strangest accent.  It was a mix of Bahamian, Australian and New England.  He was the one who told Dave and Joe about spearing the fish in the head to avoid the blood and the sharks.  He didn't even check out the car after we parked it.  Pretty laid back. 

Back at the boat, Joe showed us how to make pasta carbonara sauce with egg and bacon.  Very good.  We also pan fried tuna steaks that we had bought here at the grocery store.  Also yummy.  Another great day!