Tuesday, February 28, 2023

May 18-19, 2022 Current Cut and snorkeling

5-18 We decided to move the boat to Current Island.  We have been wanting to snorkel the southern tip of the island.  Years ago, a local told me that’s where he goes to get conch to sell to restaurants.  We waited for squalls to pass before leaving at 12:30.  That put us at the Current Cut a little later than we had planned.  You always have to check tide and current to pass through this cut.  The best time is 2 hours after high tide in Nassau.  It was now 4 hours after high tide at 1:45pm.  We were against the current entering at about 6-7kn and the current slowed us down to 3 kn.  Dave even had to increase our rpm’s to stay at 3kn.  We had come up to 5 kn after we were through the cut and by the time we turned right to our anchorage.  We went just a ways south to Little Bay on Current Island.  We spent a couple hours snorkeling the walls along the coast of the island.  We saw a few grouper and some small conch.  This was the first conch we’ve seen this year, which was promising.  

entering Current Cut

shoreline of Little Bay on Current Island

beautiful water

grouper peeking out from ridge
school of fish along the coral
small school of fish by coral head


you can see where the boat has been cleaned
Dave climbing the ladder back onto our boat

5-19 We packed a lunch and took the dinghy around the southern tip of Current Island and to the other side where there were a couple islands off shore, Pimlico islands,  and shallow areas between the islands.  It was a long rough ride in the dinghy.  We went to a beach for lunch and checked out the waters off of the beach.  

the beach we headed for


I found several piles of conch shells underwater where the conch had been removed by commercial fishermen.  We call them conch graveyards.  That meant they were plentiful in this area.  Now to find them. 

"conch graveyard"

There was a current heading north along the island.  So we snorkeled aways with the current and walked back on the beach.   


interesting grassy area


Then we took the dinghy and snorkeled hanging onto it while it floated along with us.  I found a Helmut conch and decided to keep it for the shell, the meat isn’t as good as the queen conch.  We found a couple lion fish, so Dave went after them.  I got in the dinghy to keep it in the area, not float with the current.  He was happy with getting one, and tired, so we headed back to the boat staying on this side of the island. 



the spines are poisonous
The ride was calmer, less wind, but we had to go through current cut in the dinghy to get back to the boat.  It was no problem.  I think it’s because we ride on top of the water and aren’t as affected by the current.

Back at the boat, the wind was blowing us towards shore.  So we decided to move to the other side of Current island for better protection.  Here we go through the Current Cut again.  Low tide in Nassau was at 6:00pm.  We entered at 5:30 traveling east to west with the current.  We started at 6.2kn and increased to 8.9kn in the cut.  It probably wasn’t ideal timing, but we made it.  We anchored north of the cut in much calmer weather.
Dave had removed the poisonous spines of the lion fish before we left the snorkeling area.  Since we only had one, we made ceviche, which was delicious.  

May 11-17, 2022 in and around Spanish Wells, Eleuthera

5-11 We finally had what we thought was a nice day to play on the water.  We took our snorkel gear and headed to the north side of Royal Island, our favorite spot in this area.  Once we got to the north side of the island, the water was more rough and the tide was too low to get to where we wanted to snorkel.  We headed over to Meeks Patch, about 2 miles by dinghy.  We rode around the island, but didn’t see an area that we wanted to snorkel.  On the south west side, we saw the beach where they take tourists to see swimming pigs.  That’s new since we were here 3 years ago.  Being from farming country, we think it’s crazy that people pay money for that.

our goal was the small island in the center of the photo

beach with pigs, and a small beach bar just for their patrons

a small beach where we stopped for a break

We ended up back on Russel Island at the Sandbar restaurant for a late lunch, one of our favorites in the area.  It’s always fun to pull up on a beach in your dinghy and eat outside.  Clarisa was our waitress.  Dave was able to give her a hard time, which she loves.  Dave had a burger and fries, I had nachos (the large order by mistake, should have asked how large) and we each had a margarita.  I had thrown in $100 cash just in case.  So I figured I could have a second margarita.  When I pulled out our money, I had only brought $80 and the bill came to $83 before the tip.  The margaritas were $13 each.  So I stayed and sipped on my margarita while Dave took the dinghy back to the boat for more cash.  He brought extra incase I decided to order another margarita. I don’t think I would have been able to get back to the boat and on the boat safely with another one in me.  Common sense has finally caught up with me.  We made it back safe and sound in a little rain.  It had rained harder earlier while we were at the restaurant.  We had to take down our laundry to put out again tomorrow.  Fun day, but not what we set out to do when we left the boat.  My back was feeling better, but that was a long day to sit in the dinghy. 

the beach at the Sandbar restaurant

Mary and Dave in front of the Sandbar restaurant

5-12 We had to hang our laundry that we attempted to dry yesterday before it rained.  Dave cleaned the deck and isinglass after the laundry was dry. (We hang our laundry on the life lines.)
I spent the day making some summer plans with friends and cleaned the heads.  Good day for cleaning.
5-13 Dave spent some time working on our AIS, automated identification system.  We can see other boats, but it’s not working with the Marine Traffic app.  Back when we left Brunswick we knew there was an issue.  When we conversed with another boater on the ICW that we knew, I asked if they could see us on the AIS.  Yes, they could, that’s how they knew it was us.  But we have friends back in Rapid City that like to follow us on Marine Traffic that can’t find us.  Dave spent some time trouble shooting the AIS connections.  He had a helpful conversation with the Raymarine technicians via e-mails.  

5-14 Town Day-We tied up at Pinder’s dock again.  We didn’t need fuel or groceries today, so we felt a little guilty bringing in our garbage.  Dave always chats with people, so they remember us and don’t seem to mind.  We had lunch at the Vault Snack Bar.  You order at a window and sit at picnic tables under a covered area.  Always good food.  We walked to the Ponderosa Shell shop.  Dave’s brother Dean wants a conch shell that you can blow, a tradition at sunset on the water.  When we find a conch, we make a hole in the side to release the conch and remove it.  A shell for a horn can’t have the hole in the side.  The end is cut off and smoothed for the mouth piece of the horn.  We have never tried to make one by filling in the hole with some kind of material.  I remembered Delroy having them for sale at his shop and decided to head there.  He only had 2 for sale.  His grandfather used to make them, but he has passed away.  He blew both of them for us, and we picked the one that was easier to blow and had the better sound.  I had bought a novel from him about the Bahamas, Turquoise Seas.  He hadn’t read it, and had asked me to let him know what I thought, which I had done via e-mail. I decided to bring it back to him, since we don’t keep books on the boat.  I told him he could sell it as used if he wanted to.  He decided to read it himself to better inform his customers.  BUT he gave us the conch shell for free in exchange for the book.  I didn’t expect anything for the book, but that was a real nice offer.  We have brought him lots of customers over the years, so I guess it was also a thank you for our business.  
We noticed he had a sign for fresh eggs, so we bought 2 dozen from him for $5/dz ($6 in the stores these days).  He only had one on hand but within five minutes, his mom drove up with a dozen more.  Now that’s service in a small town.  
The conch shell horn sounded good at sunset.  We may have to get one ourselves someday.  Maybe we’ll figure out how to make one in the future.  

5-15 Only accomplishment today was Dave’s new recipe for baguettes.

5-16 Dave worked on the AIS again today
That evening, we had a call from Pete using Facebook messenger.  We have him drive our car occasionally to keep the tires round and the battery charged.  After work tonight, the battery was dead.  He went back into work and asked in the managers break room if anyone could jump his car.  They all had hybrid cars and said they can’t jump start another car.  Go figure.  He had a friend in the meat department from Wyoming that was able to help him out.  After checking the battery, it was determined that it needed a new battery.  He let Pete take his car to Walmart, the next shopping complex about a block away.  We had left cash in the car for Pete in case something like this came up.  So he was able to get a new battery and install it with the tools we had left in the car.  Good Job!  As a side note, a couple weeks later a friend from the marina was at Publix and her car died.  She went inside and asked at customer service about getting a jump, they sent her to Pete!  She had never met Pete, but they figured out the connection of being our son.  

5-17 Town day!  We decided to rent a golf cart for an hour for $11 to be able to go to the larger grocery store on the island, and other errands.  We parked at Pinder’s, a central location.  I went right to get the cart, and Dave went to the left to buy paint for the hull of our boat at R&B boatyard.  We bought 5 gallons, and with a discount for buying red, it still cost $2000.  We were on their cancellation list to have the boat painted, but that didn’t work out.  The company stopped making this paint, so we decided to buy it and paint it ourselves back in the states at a boatyard in the fall.  
I picked up Dave so we could use the cart to get the paint to the dinghy.  We had no worries about leaving it in the dinghy while we ran errands.  He dropped me off at Food Fair.  We are planning to start working our way back to the US, so wanted to provision with a larger selection than what Pinder’s provides.  Dave filled our jerry cans with fuel and then picked me up.  I dropped him off with the fuel and groceries at the dinghy and returned the cart in exactly one hour.  Dave brought the dinghy closer to me to pick me up at a closer dock.  We can’t leave our dinghy there, but a quick in and out is ok.  We had a plan and made it happen.

May 7-10, 2022 Current Cut, Meeks Patch and Spanish Wells, Eleuthera

5-7 Saturday We decided to move to Spanish Wells today.  We thought we’d see if we could get on a cancellation list to have our bottom painted at R&B boatyard.  Also for protection from west winds.  We had to put away the hookah system after everything dried overnight.  And we had to load the Portland Pudgy dinghy back onto the deck.  We left by 10:00.  We had some rough seas and I actually was sick for the first time in years.  
We were at Current Cut by 2:30.  Seas had calmed and I was feeling better.  High tide in Nassau was at 1:16.  Ideal time to enter the cut would be in another hour, but we had the current with us and decided to go through.  It was a smooth transit around 6.7kn.  We anchored on the east side of Meeks Patch by 4:00.  There were about 25 boats there, most we’ve ever seen at this anchorage.  We also saw the sailboat Bliss that we met at Alabaster Bay.

chart showing us anchored on the north east side of Meeks Patch

When we went below, we discovered we had water in the bilge!!  The floor was wet at the bottom of the stairs of the companionway.  Water had come up over the floor boards in the salon and galley area while the boat heeled, but returned through the floor boards to the bilge.  
It was no longer coming in.  That meant there wasn’t a hole above the waterline.  So we weren’t in any danger of sinking.  We’ll have to do some searching and trouble shooting to find where it came in.  

debris on the floor on the starboard side below our galley oven that would have come from the bilge
wet rugs on the port side

5-8 Mother’s Day  I made a German dinner for my special day. 

red cabbage and a mix of spaetzle and sausage

5-9 Monday was “town day”. We moved the boat closer to Spanish Wells.  There wasn’t any new water in the bilge, so the leak is probably not engine related.  Whew!  
We went to Pinder’s dock to get fuel and groceries.  We walked to 3 places along the harbor looking for more Starbrite oxalic acid rust remover.  We found a cheaper version made by Awesome, a brand I have seen in Dollar Stores.  We decided to give it a try.  
We talked to Robert at R&B boatyard about checking with us if he had a cancellation for painting our hull.  We discussed possibly buying the paint from him and doing it ourself.
We decided to go to Buddha’s for lunch and had awesome hamburgers.  He now has his own beer on tap, Buddha’s Ale, that was really good. 

5-10 Tuesday. Dave started looking for signs of a leak today.  You have to pretty much tear apart the boat to get to the inside wall of the hull.  He did find streaks on the wall of the hull behind the oven in the galley on the starboard side and on the port wall in the aft cabin.  Talking to Harry on Bliss, he said it’s common to have leaks along the toe rail or the bedding of stantions or the rub rail.
So, as long as we stay out of rough seas, we’ll probably finish trouble shooting and repair the leak once we’re back at the marina in Brunswick, GA or in a boat yard. 

Sunday, February 26, 2023

May 5-6, 2022 Snorkel north end of Alabaster Bay and cleaning the hull

 5-5 Thursday  We snorkeled the rocks and small islands off the south end of the bay today.  No luck spearfishing.  We went to the beach to enjoy the lunch we had packed.  It’s such a beautiful beach!  And of course we had to have a Mexican dinner for Cinco de Mayo.

5-6 Friday. The water is so clear here that we decided to clean the bottom of the boat.  We started to get a soft carpet of growth on the hull with a few barnacles.  This is the first time in many years that we have had to clean the bottom because of the Bahamian paint that we use.  Dave greased the prop then began on the bottom with our “hookah” system, an air compressor with hoses for air similar to scuba diving, but attached to the boat.  I worked along the water line using  a suction handle that I moved along as I cleaned.  There was some wave action coming into the bay that made the water a little rough.  We only had about 1/2 the boat cleaned before Dave felt dizzy from being upside down under the boat.  The wave action didn’t help.  I was getting tired, too.  So we called it quits for the day.  

the air compressor "hookah" in the lazerette
yellow air hose running from the compressor to Dave