Sunday, February 19, 2017

February 19 2017 Catholic church in Clarence Town, Long Island

 Dave felt much better today, and we could have left for the Crookeds and Acklins, but the wind would have been right on our nose.  That means we would have had to motor the whole way, or go a long ways out of our way to use the wind to sail.  We are heading for an anchorage about 50nm from here (7-9 hours).  We want to take a more direct route to be able to arrive in the daylight.  It is best to anchor over sand, so you need the daylight to see the ocean floor.  Also, we want to conserve fuel, because there will be fewer places to refuel.  And sometimes they run out of fuel and you have to wait until the next shipment comes. 

Dave took me to the dock and picked me up for church today.  The Catholic and the Anglican churches here were built by Father Jerome in the early 1900’s.  His churches are known for their hurricane-proof stonework and thick walls.  Last year, I saw one of his churches on Cat Island and the home he built on top of the highest point in the Bahamas called the Hermitage.  I was glad we ended up staying another day.  I really wanted to see the inside of the church, besides having the opportunity to attend a service.  There is not a resident priest, so a deacon held the service at 9:00.  They occasionally will have a visiting priest for mass. 

We spent the rest of the day doing boat stuff and relaxing.  We want to get an early start tomorrow.
view of town from the water.  The catholic church is in the center

my taxi leaving me off at the dock

Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church

the bay we are anchored it from the steps of the church

We went for a dinghy ride around the harbor before sunset

beach near our anchorage

our boat from the beach

rocky area of the beach

it's good if you can look at your boat and still smile

February 18, 2017 Clarence Town visit

 Dave was feeling better, but not 100%.  We made water, cleaned, and went to shore for the first time. 
We topped off our gasoline, only a couple gallons, but good to leave  here fully fueled.  We walked to the catholic church to find out what time mass would be on Sunday.   There wasn’t a sign outside.  The lady at the gas station said she could call someone, so we went back there.  On the way, we stopped a police car to see if they knew.  They said “it should be sometime on Sunday morning”.  Then they gave me a number to call.  No answer, so we went back to the station.  Stanlica called someone and found out mass was at 9:00.  She said most people just call her Stan.  She said “I had 9 older brothers.  You would have thought my parents would have named one of them after my daddy.”  Then she told us that her mother died when she was 2, and her father raised all 10 kids by himself.  Now she if kind of picky about who she will want to marry because they have a hard act to follow.  She was fun to visit with.
dinghy dock, unusual to see stairs instead of a ladder
gas station where Stanlica worked
really nice bathrooms at the dock, but no electricity or water, plus construction supplies at the dock
there are many homes like this in the Bahamas, one hurricane too many

road straight up from the dock, Dave is walking towards me
unusual to see a building like this
We saw a little bar called Skeeter Bar on the way to the church.  We were across the street, but we could smell mosquito repellent.  Not going there!  We walked along the beach to Rowdy Boys.  It was a nice restaurant near the only marina, Flying Fish.  We decided to have dinner with a few beers.  We made it back to the boat before sunset. 
Rowdy Boys bar and grill

February 17, 2017 Boat day in Clarence Town, Long Island

We planned to leave for the Crooked and Acklins islands today, but Dave had a rough night.  He thinks he was sick from eating raw mahi while cleaning it.  His digestive tract was affected, but he also felt achy and tired, like the flu.  So we decided to stay put for at least another day. 

Dave slept most of the day and I was able to use a free wifi from shore.  We have a wifi booster that lets us connect to open wifi in the area.  It was great to get my blog caught up.  And we made some contacts through the internet.  We can talk to people through Facebook Messenger or through the application called Hangouts.  That lets us call US and Canadian phone numbers for free.

One of our neighbors stopped by to visit.  He and his wife spend about a month here every winter on their trawler.  They had been to the Crookeds and Acklins, so I got out our Explorer Chart, and he showed me places he would recommend anchoring and visiting.  He also recommended Mayaguana.   
Dave's not big on salads, so I made my self a big one while he was sleeping

Friday, February 17, 2017

February 16, 2017 Clarence Town, Long Island

Since neither of us slept well, we decided to take off early this morning.  We left the anchorage at 7:00am.  The boat was still really rocking.  Dave was splashed a few times retrieving the anchor.  One wave even hit my glasses at the helm.   We had oatmeal and hard boiled eggs in the cockpit for breakfast after we took off.
And the waves kept coming all day

We had to round the northern end of the island and head down the east side to get to Clarence town.  It is the only safe harbor on that side of the island.  We visited Long Island last year with our friends, Joe and Erin.  So it was fun to see the island again and remember all the fun we had with them. 

I laid down mid morning for a nap.  I got up about 11:30 and made lunch for us.  We were almost finished with our lunch when we had 2 fish on the line.  We brought in 2 mahi that were about 3 feet long.  WOO HOO!!  We were about 8 miles off shore in water about 3000 feet deep.  That’s just crazy.  The wind was pretty steady in the low 20k range with gusts to 25.  So that made it a little more challenging to bring in the fish, or to take pictures.
amazing how they lose their pretty green color so fast
hard to find a good place to clean fish on a sailboat

We made it to Clarence town by 2:15.  We anchored, checked it with our dinghy, then reset the anchor, and checked it again.  There are 3 old cables in this anchorage.  We were very close to one the first time we anchored.  And with the way the wind was going to change tonight, we were afraid we would be hooked on it in the morning. 

Back at the boat, Dave started cleaning fish and I started defrosting the freezer.  We needed to make more room for our catch. 
Dave wants to make a fish stew using the heads

I needed a few things out of our bilge.  And Dave has been wanting to check the water in the 2 large membranes for our water maker.  So we tore apart the salon area to accomplish both of those tasks.  The water maker company had told Dave to check the water in each membrane to be sure they were functioning correctly.  They remove the salt and other solids from the water.  We have been getting higher than normal readings on our water clarity.  He couldn’t get water out of either one.  He was pretty tired, so we just put everything back, and he’ll deal with it another day.  He thinks he’ll have to test it while the water maker is running.  Probably will turn out better by putting it off, that seems to be his luck.  We also found a small amount of yellow liquid in the bilge, partially diesel fuel.  Will have to track that down, eventually. 
digging in the bilge
By now, Dave was pretty exhausted.  Early to bed for him, but here I am catching up on my blog before we lose wifi. 

February 15, 2017 Sail to Long Island

We left this morning about 8:30 for the “Far Islands”.  Beyond Georgetown, the islands are sparsely populated.  And there aren’t many marinas or provisions.  So not many cruisers visit those islands unless they are on their way further down the Caribbean.  But we are looking for the remoteness and are pretty self sufficient. 

Today we sailed to Long Island.  It takes almost an hour just to get out of Elizabeth Harbor.  New boats were arriving everyday and the count is up to about 300 now.  Time for us to leave!!

long days at sea call for dancing

crazy how deep the water is between islands. the green anchors are areas where people have anchored and made comments. blue symbol is a channel marker
 We wanted to be close to the north west end of the island to position ourselves for the next day.  We knew we would be exposed to surge, but we had surge and wind.  The boat was really rocking, so we didn’t feel like cooking or doing anything inside the boat.  We decided to have a bowl of cereal and go to bed after sunset, about 6:30 pm.  Neither one of us slept very well.  We put extra pillows along side our bed so we would only roll in one direction instead of back and forth. 

February 14, 2017 Valentine's Day Raft Up, Georgetown

Second day of laundry!!  So excited to get that taken care of. 

We have had a corned beef roast in our freezer since December.  We decided to swap holidays and cook it today instead of St Patrick’s Day.  We want to make room in the freezer for fish.  We started cooking it this morning, and put it in our Wonderbag. 

Dave contacted the generator company by e-mail and they gave him a couple things to check.  To work on the generator, he has to empty the lazarette into the cockpit.  So it was a little tricky getting around everything with my laundry.  He found that the brushes were worn and sticky.  He cleaned them up but wanted to see if he could find a replacement in town.  The AID hardware/NAPA store was further north west than the Fish Fry village.  The store told him to go to the next beach and walk about a 1/4 mile further.

He asked me to go with him so I could stay with the dinghy while he walked to the store.  We passed a really nice resort that I didn’t even know was there.  The beach closest to the store was a beautiful deserted beach.  There were a couple of picnic tables in the trees and 3 other people on the beach.  We pulled the dinghy up on the beach and threw out an anchor.  It was in the shade, so I was going to relax and read a book.  As I turned to sit down, I looked at that beach and just had to go for a walk. 

I left both of our back packs in the dinghy, so I kept looking back to check on it.  But if someone came out of the trees and took off with the backpacks OR the dinghy, I wouldn’t have been able to stop them.  But this place is pretty safe.  One lady was sleeping on the beach.  And one couple were walking the beach, but had sat down by the time I passed them.  They said hello with an accent, so I asked them where they were from, France.  I figured they were not Americans because the woman was topless.  I also saw 2 turtles swimming in the bay.  It was really a beautiful beach.


nicer view than the one at our anchorage

we'll come back to this beach the next time we're in Georgetown
The store didn’t have the part Dave needed.  But an older man told him that they should work fine with the way Dave had cleaned them up.  We made one more grocery store and garbage run before leaving town. 

When we returned to the boat, we had our corned beef and cabbage for a late lunch/early dinner.  Dave was struggling with putting the brushes back in place and finally gave up.  Then he noticed a broken wire, so it was actually a good thing he didn’t complete his project today.  He probably wouldn’t have known about the broken wire and would have blamed the brushes.  He thinks he should write a blog about how lucky he has been when he doesn’t complete a project.  Obviously this is a common occurrence.  He put the cockpit back together again, because we plan to leave here in the morning.

We were invited to a “raft up” this evening.  Our friends on Sea Ya, Phillip and Teresa were also here for a couple days.  They plan to leave for the Caribbean this week.  They knew several people anchored here, and they all wanted them to stop by.  So they decided to organize a "raft up" of dinghies.  About 10 dinghies tied together and visited.  Several people brought something to pass around to eat.  And everyone brought their own beverages.  Everybody introduced themselves and told where they had met Phillip and Teresa.  We knew a couple of the other boaters.  AND we met the guy on the catamaran that anchored too close to us at Lee Stocking Island.  They have only been sailing for one year, so Dave was right about them being new. 

Of course, at sunset a few conch shells came out.  It is a tradition to blow one at sunset.  Fun night!!

Phillip in the white t-shirt and the man on the left standing with the hat are both from South Africa
Phillip is standing on the right, we met the couple with the sun between them in the Spanish Wells area

February 13, 2017 Fish Fry Village, Georgetown

We started laundry nice and early today.  It is an all day affair if you want to give them time to dry.  Dave went into town to buy another gas jerry can and fill it with gas.  No sign of the one we lost. 

When Dave returned, he wanted to take me out for lunch.  On a beach northwest of the main part of town, there are several small restaurants at Fish Fry village.  Dave rode by them last year looking for boat parts and had always wanted to check them out.  There were several places, but only 3 looked open.  We chose Shirley’s because it had a deck with outdoor seating.  The other 2 looked more like bars than restaurants.  Dave had a fish dinner and I had a fish wrap.  Both were good. In the sand, there was a covered table with a single rope for a swing.  Dave called it a thong hammock.  Eww!
I thought it was a beautiful view until Dave described the rope hanging there.

February 12, 2017 St Theresa's Catholic Church, Georgetown

I attended mass at St Theresa’s Catholic church at 10:30.  I love the bongo drum and organ music at this church.  You feel like dancing throughout the mass.  An older Bahamian lady sat next to me and told me a joke before mass.  She started by saying that the Pope wants us to be happy in church, so here is something to make you smile.  There was a married couple that the husband only went to church with his wife on the Sunday closest to Valentine’s Day.  When they arrived at their home afterwards, he came around the car, opened the door for her, picked her up and carried her into their house.  The wife asked him why he was doing that.  He said he wanted to show her that she was his Valentine.  But when he continued to carry her around, she asked him why he hadn’t put her down.  He said “didn’t you hear the priest today?  He said to lift your troubles up to the Lord.”

We ran the Honda generator to make water today.  The NextGen generator is running, but not getting the power to the control panel.  Dave has been trouble shooting it for awhile.  He placed one of our 5 gallon gas jerry cans on the swim platform at the stern of our boat because it was leaking.  Later he realized it was missing.  It must have fallen off of the swim platform.  The water was clear enough to see that is wasn’t under the boat.  So he looked around the area with the dinghy, but couldn’t find it.  It was probably floating just below the surface and will end up on a shore somewhere.  Bummer!!

February 11, 2017 Georgetown and pole spears

Today we sailed to Georgetown.  We had 20k winds with some gusts to 25k.  So it was a “festive” sail, as another boater calls it. 

We anchored by town so we could run errands without getting too wet in the dinghy.  There were about 200 boats here.  We’ve never been to Georgetown this early in the year.  Many people come here and stay the whole winter, like going to Arizona with your RV.  Too many people for us!

Dave left me at the grocery store while he bought fuel and beer.  He was also on a mission to find a new pole spear.  The one he had was fiberglass and was splintering.  Well, he found the deal of the century.  They had 2 at Top to Bottom.  Both are aluminum JBL.  One is 6 foot fixed and the other breaks down into 2 foot lengths, so it can be 4 ft or 6 ft.  2 tips came with the break down spear, rock tip and a 3 prong paralyzer.  And the fixed one didn't even come with a tip.  He wasn't sure if the ones we had would work, so he bought a break away tip for that pole.  He was a little sheepish telling me about what he had spent.  He had been looking at them on Amazon.  And we would have had to have someone check a bag to bring them to us.  So he spent a little more, but we have them to use now and we each have one. 

We also have 3 Hawaiian slings.  But you have to retrieve the spear.  You can shoot a fish from farther away, but the fish could take off with the spear.  And if it is in the water struggling for awhile, it will alert a shark or barracuda.  The pole spear has an elastic band attached that you use to shoot the spear.   You can’t use any dive equipment to spear fish in the Bahamas.  We snorkel and keep the dinghy nearby to get the fish out of the water asap.  Now we are set!!

We took the dingy to a boat ramp closer to the Catholic Church to check on the time of mass on Sunday.  I need to document that in my blog so I will know when I return. 

There is another grocery store on this side of town.  Dave also went there while I stayed with boat.  He found milk and cucumbers, 2 items that they were out of at the other store.  While he was there, an old guy was in the store and was obviously drunk.  Everyone at the check out seemed to know him.  They asked him what he was going to do for the rest of the day.  He said he was going home to make babies.  Dave said the tellers and other customers all started talking about how guys can do that, even when they get old.  And they were giving him a bad time about it.  Probably wouldn't hear that conversation in the states.

February 10, 2017 Lee Stocking Island Birthday celebration

Since it was another windy day, we decided to just stay put and have a lazy day.  Besides, it was my birthday!!

 Dave made french toast for breakfast.  Then I finished a novel in cockpit with coffee.  I let Dave take over the galley.  He was trying a new recipe for my birthday dinner.  He started the recipe and then placed the pork in our Wonderbag.  He made Bahama Mama Pork Chops that were delicious.  They had pineapple and raisons.  I made great buns the from pretzel recipe.  Since we liked the way they turned out, we decided to make 2 loaves with that recipe.  They weren’t as good, so we’ll go back to our basic recipe for bread.  We added squash and a salad to meal.  Instead of cake, we had vanilla pudding with the remaining pineapple from the pork recipe.  To top off the evening, Dave played a game of Triominos with me.
Dave wanted me to cook the squash so he didn't have those boobs staring at him

buns with pretzel recipe

almost forgot to take a picture of the Bahama Mama Pork

February 9 2017 Statue of Mermaid/Piano at Rudder Cut Cay

We planned this anchorage so we could dingy to Rudder Cay Cut this morning.  We wanted to snorkel the life sized statue of a mermaid sitting at a grand piano.  We have passed by here a couple times before, but the timing was never right to stop to see it. 

David Copperfield made a stainless steel sculpture and placed by one of his 11 islands.
Musha Cay has a resort you can rent for $57,000/night (2015 price quote).  It has 5 houses for 24 people.  Only one group is allowed to rent it at a time.  We passed it on our way to Rudder Cut Cay.  We noticed a helicopter port on Musha and an airstrip on Cave Cay to the north.  You can check it out online.  Pretty secluded place if you want to pay for the privacy.  Check out
one of the houses on Musha Cay
Beach on Musha Cay with a tiki hut
looked like a helicopter port on Musha Cay

We had a general idea of where to find the statue from our charts.  But we stopped another couple in a dinghy that were wearing wet suits to see if they could direct us.  They gave us very clear directions because they had been spending all morning looking for it.  There is usually a current in this area.  They suggested anchoring our dinghy to the north of the sculpture and let it drift back over it.  That was great advice.  I had to hang on to our dinghy to get a good picture.  It was pretty cool to see.

We returned to the boat and motored to Lee Stocking island about 15 nm south.  We were expecting another cold front from the north with strong winds.  We would have good protection there.

Right after we finished anchoring, a catamaran anchored too close for comfort.  When the wind changed, we were afraid he would swing right into us.  So we just moved forward a ways, since we had room between the other boats.  The captain of the catamaran called us and apologized.  He said he would have gladly moved if we would have called him.  Dave was very cordial and just mentioned that cats sometimes swing different than monohulls.  Later, Dave went outside to close up the boat for the night.  He had me come outside to look at the catamaran.   We were still facing west, but the cat had swung to face the north.  It would have been directly on top of us if we hadn’t moved.  Dave figured they were new to boating.