Monday, February 28, 2011

Back in the States

We had a lot of fun once again in Great Harbour and would like to thank everyone there for making us feel right at home during both our stops there. Joe and the staff at the marina are some of the best folks we have met since our trip began, the locals and landowners are some of the friendliest people and always went out of thier way to help us with things.
On the last day there we rented a golf cart for a few hours and explored the island, at low tide we went to Shark Creek which you can walk to the small island at that point. This was well worth a visit.
We left Great Harbour Tuesday morning at 915 and made the trip across to Lake Worth by 930 the following day, very smooth sailing and just enough wind to keep the sails full. We made a quick stop at the Riviera Marina to let the dogs go potty and stretch then off to Stuart to pick up a Mooring ball and get some well need sleep. We arrived in Stuart at 1600 hours went to shore then back to the boat to celebrated our full trip with a bottle of champagne that the kids had sent us and we had not felt the time was right to drink it till now.
We have been busy here cleaning Kasidah and doing some shopping for parts. We even had a chance yesterday to hit the beach and collect some shells. The temperature is perfect right now and hopefully it will stay this way or a while because our youngest daughter Jill is comeing down next week for a few days.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lots of Fish Stories

We are back in Great Harbour Cay waiting for a window to do the crossing. It looks like Monday or Tuesday will be the start off time to cross. If we leave Monday we will have some great sailing and all wind will be behind the beam, but we will have some large seas and in the gulf stream a little more swells but if we leave Tuesday it will be light the whole trip with only 10 knots of wind and under 3 foot seas the whole way over. We decided not to make up our minds till Monday morning after coffee.
Great Harbour Marina is having a fishing tournament this weekend so the place is jammed with beautiful fishing boats from all over Florida and Georgia. They have been bringing in some huge fish and really having a lot of fun at it. The Marina had a big party for them and they invited us to it. I must say we have had a great time here and will be back in the fall. Joe and all the staff are wonderful and always there to help with things. When we arrived last week we were insteantly invited to some dinners and breakfast partys which always makes for a good time and we meet so many more people that way(thanks Jeff).

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Home stretch

Fri 2/18/2011 4:10 PM

We stayed two nights in the anchorage west of Big Majors in Staniel Cay with friends and other cruisers. This is where the James Bond Movie Thunderbolt was filmed. In the bar at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club is a photo showing the film crew of the movie at the bar. I didn't do any research as to who is who in the photo; but Sean Connery isn't in the photo so it really doesn't matter. From Staniel we stayed on the bank and motor sailed up to Shroud Cay which is part of the Exuma land and water park and picked up a mooring ball. Lots of mangroves and bugs, it was also a little rollie as the wind was out of the south west and rolling right into the bay. We were able to walk the dogs, and didn't have much time for exploring. Because of weather we needed to make Nassau by Friday night and that's tomorrow. We got underway early Friday morning with a long day in store to get the last leg to Nassau. The average depth across the bank is about 18ft, about halfway across there is what's called the Yellow banks with has a depth of 14 ft but you have to watch out for coral heads which could be close to the surface. So Arline was up on the bow for an hour guiding our course around dark areas, meaning coral; maybe. We did make Nassau and pulled into a different marina this time. It was a little cheaper AND right across from the markets with a nicer walk for the dogs. A park with Fort Montague with canons on a corner overlooking the bays entrance, fishermen were selling all kinds of fish, lobster and conch.

Saturday we found cheap internet for $6.99 per day. We needed to do some catching up and found out that Bud and Jill from Earendil where at the marina we were at last time. We meet them at Fair Point this past October when we unstepped their mast so they could head south. We also had seen them on the canal and made a detour from Amy’s to see them in Annapolis. We really surprised them when we showed up at their boat. We had dinner with them on their boat Saturday and pizza on our boat Sunday afternoon mmm hadn’t had a good pizza since NY in October. Then we both had to start getting ready to leave on Monday, they are going south and us, well everybody knows its north. Changed the oil and did a few other things. Went to fuel up all I waited was 3 cans filled at the end of the dock just 4 slip away easy right? Until I ask the dock master if I could bother him for fuel and he said at 4pm “NO MAN YOU HAD ALL DAY AND YOU WAITED TOO LONG" .......... really? It was going to be that hard for him to walk over and watch me fill my own tanks. Xxxxoooxox. No problem I'll walk down to the nice store and fill them save money too. Oops the store was out of diesel. On the way back another yard saw me carting my cans had me come in and filled up. I probably didn't need the 10 gallons but I like the feeling of having some on deck. I got back to the boat and was tying them down and it's now 5 pm closing time and guess who walks by to the end of the dock to take the end of day fuel pump reading. I really wanted to say hey don't worry about the fuel, the nice man next door was more than willing to WORK for my 5 dollar tip.,,, JERK. (That’s The Veranda in me coming out, Bill)

Monday morning was very busy it seemed like every boat in Nassau was headed out. We passed Erindale headed West as we where headed East. There was only about 1/2 mile between our two marinas and as we passed I yelled over “I’m sorry we've tried for 6 months and this is all the cruising we're going to do together. BY" it was good to see them. Then we passed another boat with a young couple we meet that Bud and Jill had been traveling with. They waved and yelled over "A boat just like your is right up under the bridge at anchor, a red one.” Well right away we knew it was “San San”. We have been blogging back and forth for 2 years about our boats, adventures, and knew they were close. We where still in the Nassau Harbor but made a 360 turn around their boat and exchanged a few good lucks, looking good and best wishes. That’s the 2nd 36 like ours that we’ve seen. They are on their headed way down south to Ecuador. Smooth sailing folks.

One thing I’ve (jon) learned out here is that you never know who you will meet next, or that someone think you’ll see tomorrow has pulled up and left never to be seen again. People and boats come and go fast. So when you can you stop, and when you can’t, you can’t, and we all know that. I really wanted to stop and spend time with San San and crew, but they were headed out that day too. I really wanted to give Nassau another chance, but we didn’t have time.

We headed out of Nassau for points north, back tracking to Great Harbour Cay Marina, with a stop behind White Cay in the Berry Islands. The sail northwest across Northeast Providence Channel was 48 miles over deep water, over 3000 meters at its deepest, that’s like 2 miles deep. That’s the kind of water Kasidah Likes, LOTS of room under her, she seemed to like the amount and direction of wind and the amount off sail too, because we were moving pretty good. Leaving Nassau behind us we could see a huge plume off black smoke rising high into the sky, we found out late that some building right down town had gone up and it kept the people from the cruise ships from going ashore because it was so close. We have been keeping the dinghy on the davits with confidence in some larger water, this lets us put up the stay sail and keep the boat moving. Going into the cut at White Cay was straight forward and the anchoring set and buried itself right away. We found only one other boat in the little bay but a few smaller draft were able to work their way further up into skinner water. Leaving early Tuesday we set off and headed out the cut into the deep water and right in the middle of it we heard a screech and thought it was a belt, but looked down at the temperature gauge and it was pegged. We did a 180 in the middle of the cut, with the tide going out, pulled the fuel shut off, popped the head sail and fought our way back into the anchorage running the engine about 30 seconds at a time. After a bit of excitement (Sure glad we practiced dropping anchor under sail) and some calming down I find out auntie is low on coolant. Its pumping water and the coolant was in the bilge, filled it and looked for leaks, non found, waited for a while and its running and cooling fine, got to go, you know it weather is coming in. We had a great sail and the motor ran fine all the way, every other minute, “How’s the temp; fine” Just before we rounded the top of the Berry Islands I was getting ready to take over and the fishing line goes out. Now If you know me you know I am not a very lucky fisherman, right dad? Well you could tell this thing was BIG it took line like I’ve only seem on TV shows it took a good length of time to get hi close to the boat and then he would take it and run back out another hundred feet which I let him do. If he was coming aboard I wanted him good and tried. Finally he came up to the boat and, Barracuda, sorry HUGE Cuda. His teeth were the size of my fingers. He was not coming aboard. So we cut him off but where thankful for the excitement. “Engine Temp Is Fine”

It was nice to pull into the marina and see all the people we met when we were here before. It was almost embarrassing how many people remember us but I can’t remember their names only faces. There is a big boat fishing tournament here with a lot of boats in from GA. We had 2 meals at Jeff and Lana’s house, Man do those people know how to entertain, they are great people. Saturday is the big fishing day where everything counts. A party after the weigh in and I’m told all the locals will be here looking for cuda, or any part of a fish that nobody wants, heads, guts, and so on.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Heading back

Friday January 4th
We've been enjoying our time here at Little Farmers Cay on a mooring ball across from the government dock. We have a nice beach about 100 ft from the boat that we can walk Sara and Blue mornings with coffee, evenings with wine. The main town area is close enough by dink, and we have several other beaches to hit that aren't too far away either. We've gone snorkeling on a couple of reefs by dinghy ride and got to use our Hawaiian sling spear rod. The Bahamas are being over run with Lion Fish which is not a natural fish to the area. It is poisonous and hides around the coral. There are other things bad about them too but we'll let you do the Internet work on them; there will be a quiz when we get back to NY about Lion Fish. Back to the snorkeling; I eliminated 5 of them from 2 reefs. What you do is spear them; they are very dossal so its easy to put the spear right up next to them and let her go, then come up and fling them as far as you can off the end of your pole. At that point shark, grouper or other fish will eat them. I did miss a couple of nice fish for eating, but that's ok, I'd rather wait for larger ones. We should be able to get outside the bay onto Exuma Sound next week with our dink, where there should be some larger fish. There is a festival on the island this weekend with some Class A local boats racing. Lots of food and all the locals have their music turned way up and with bars every 50ft made out of any piece of wood they can find as a bar and all the bottles lined up, but they all have their government permits hanging in a frame. Cruisers everywhere too. Some of the restaurants are trying to hold some games for the cruisers, it’s been fun. Arline got to be one of the judges for the "Men’s best Legs Contest" I did make it to the finals with my cart wheel.
Met up with Sid and his dog Bo again; we crossed from Florida with him. Sid left us in GHC while we were doing the engine repair to do as he had crew going out that he needed to get somewhere. It was good to catch up with him, wait till Sara finds out that Bo is back. Sara was really in love with Bo to the point of embarrassment.

Saturday January 5th
Today we went for a dinghy ride with a bunch of other people on a mission; to find a cave that one of the other cruises had been to. We got ashore and be said "I think it's a short walk this way". Great! A short while later we found ourselves in the thick of it and Vern still saying; “It should be right here”. It started to feel like the filming of "Club Paradise" until the Boy Scout in me took over and we found the marker he was looking for. Up the mountain with a great view of Exuma Sound and now we're looking for the cave. HEY IT’SOVER HERE, YOU WALKED RIGHT BY IT AND DIDN’T FALL IN!! It was a very cool thing being in the cave, no bats, but there was water in it that one of the ladies got in and swam around. The whole time we were in there we kept saying "I wish Jill was here". I think everybody got a group photo, it was a great time. Then back to the boat, walk the dogs and we zipped over to the sailing races. We watched the first race and got into some nice positions to take photos from the dinghy. Then we saw some other dinks rafted up together and tied up to the end of it as it was near the finish line. Now all of the racing sailboats are headed down to the last leg, close to the wind and weaving in and around all the boat anchored to watch! I thought If I was racing I'd love it if those stupid dinghies would pull up just a bit, but I couldn't convince anybody of the idea. They use boards to hike way out on these rigs and they came so close to us that the guys out on the board had to lift his legs over our dingy as we ducked out of the way! Way a great day it was in Little Farmers. Then there was Dinner, the racing awards, speeches, and music. Oh all of this was held on the runway at the airport, a few planes came and went with people standing 100 ft away from the runway, people drinking, eating, driving and dancing on the runway. I know Amy; FOD would be a huge issue!

Sunday January 06
Quite a number of boats left today for points south and north, we have decided to stay for a few more days because too many boats with all be looking for new anchorages at the same time. So we’ll sit here let them fight it out tonight, move on in a couple of days and them when we show up were they where there should be less boats to deal with. As we are watching Leslie And Dave leave we’re saying that he’s too close to the rocks, and then BOUNCE, BOOM, Water Line is showing, Black SMOKE, then 15 seconds latter he ‘s off. We watched the Super Bowl at the Little Farmers Yacht Club with a few other folks, great game, what was the half time thing suppose to be. I mean the average age of people watching the game is; what? And the average age of the person there, who has spent lots of money, even older and they give the people, what was that anyway. Great marketing research on display there folks.

Tuesday January 8
We dropped of the mooring ball this morning to start heading north to Staniel Cay and the big Majors anchorage. We had studied the rocky cut enough and headed out with confidence. Still another part was going to be more skinny water and we decided at the last second to follow everybody’s advice and keep it in the deep water. So we headed out the cut to Exuma Sound where there was several hundred feet of water. We turned north, had a little bit of wind and put the pole out for fishing. About half way Arline spotted a fish flying across the water being chased by another fish, a Mahi Mahi. We where able watch for a while and I drew a line from where we saw him back to behind our boat and it ran right across our line. Then things travel in schools and 30 seconds later FISH ON!! It didn’t take too long to get him right next to the boat an he was beautiful about 3 ft long. They are brilliant Blue and Green, as he jumped up in the air, spit the lure out and took off.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Last Stop Down the chain.

Sunday January 30, 2011

We did it again, twice in one day and only on a 4 mile trip. Ran aground, yeap, and not sand this time either. The first time was going back out a cut around the same rocks, remember I made the note about flying Kasidah around the bend. Well I cut it too close and bumped harder than we've ever hit anything before, but she bounced right up and over it. Arline was on the bow and yelled but it was too late. We still had a ways to go and Arline asked if we were taking on water so I reached to the panel to turn on the bilge pump and water started pumping out but I knew I had water in the bilge anyway and wasn't too worried about it. We had one more area that was tricky. The bilge emptied and I reached in again to shut it off but hit the switch to turn all the instruments off, not good! The back up was running but it wasn't the better charts for the area. It takes a few minutes to reboot, the sun, being in front of us was wrong so we couldn't see the next rocky area well enough, I went too far before turning off and aground again. This time Kasidah stopped and started to lean over, the strong current turned us sideways and leaned over some more. Her mast was over 30 degrees or more. Then the engine stopped because we were on the main tank which was half full and leaned over so far she sucked air and was out of fuel, If I had been on the new day tank the engine would have kept running. Arline got on the radio and a minute later 4 or 6 dinghies were there and 2 larger power boats. We pulled the mast over with one, pulled the nose into the current and away from the rocks with the larger boat from the marina which we were in front of. We held her stern in place with an anchor so she wouldn't be driven up any further from the current if the rising tide did anything. All worked well and she floated right off, she stood up quick and proud as to say "I'm alright just scraped my knee". I think it took about 10 minutes to pull her off. The motor started before we got to the marina which was only about 100 ft away, pulled in to calm down before going out to try for a third time. I wanted to check the bottom to see how bad she might have been damaged. No water in the bilge but got to make sure right. Got my mask and fins hopped in the dinghy to slide into the water and just before sliding in I look down and see sharks. Well the bottom inspection will have to wait. Arline was downstairs checking things, saw I wasn't in the water "Well aren't you going in to check?". They were only nurse sharks but two of them where right under the keel of the boat in about 8 ft of water. Then we see 3 others. Now I know Nurse sharks are fine but still I didn't want to have to move them to look. Well I used the new viewing bucket we made and couldn't see any real damage. We thought we might spend the night at the marina; it would have been $100 just for the night too. But tide would be worst tomorrow, so after refueling, tipping the marina guy in the boat, walking the dogs, thanking everyone for helping, we pushed on.

There is this beach in Staniel Cay that Pigs come out to your dink and look for handouts.

We were just going to the other side of this little island so we would be at a better spot to duck from wind, oh and there was a party on the beach. We made it out and around the rock this time and had lots of water to keep going; there was all of ten ft! Dropped anchor, snorkeled under to inspect it And I've got some glass work to lay up but it's not bad, no big pieces missing, no lead showing but I can see where the 2 halves of the boat where molded together. And we made the party. Most people knew what happened and told us about their groundings. There was one lady that we'd meet the night before they had come to the party a little later and I started talking with her, they had just come from the marina and made a comment "Did you see that boat that run up on the rocks there, AH?" I couldn't miss an opportunity like this now could I. "I did, that was pretty stupid how could you miss it right?". Well she was very nice and made all kinds of excuses for the guy. Then I screamed "THAT WAS US!" OMG it was just too funny. The party was nice, met more great cruisers, one guy off a larger motor yacht had ashore his big cast iron pan, and gas burner and was frying up French Fries, Onion Rings, conch fritters and more. We were forced to party hard. Sunday we got out just before noon and sailed inside the islands on the bank to Black Point Settlement with another boat. The nice lady who now knows it was us aground. There was another shallow area and it sure felt good having another boat go in front of us. We'll do laundry on Monday, I think we are moving again after laundry just ten miles to Little Farmers Cay and will follow the same boat down. They draw almost as much as us and there is another tricky part. Wish us luck.

Tuesday February 1, 2011

We left Black Point Settlement after laundry about noon after making a quick repair on some wiring at the alternator. Melted a couple of wires on the tachometer and field wires, half hour of boat chores and repairs, and we’re off. We went out into the Exuma Sound to sail to Little Farmer Cut about 10 miles, and followed our new boating friends, Dave and Leslie, on a 36 ft Hallberg Rassy, drawing 5.5 ft. The wind was on our beam at about 15 or 20 Knts. Going out the cut the current was coming in at max flood and we were only making 2 knts of SOG (speed over ground) but our boat speed was almost six Knts. The cut coming into Little Farmers is narrow but deep, the tide was still flooding but had slowed down a lot. Once inside the Cays there are a couple of mooring balls that we had reserved for us. This is their big festival weekend and lots of boats will be coming in. The owner of these moorings will come out in his little boat and guide you in around the rocks and coral, and it was a bit tricky cutting VERY CLOSE to some exposed rocks and running just 50 to 100 ft off a beach. Thank you very much Terry, from Ocean Cabins. Oh ya, just for the record Dave ran aground after we had come through the cut here, we joked with him and told him he was just trying to make us feel better.

These are some local kids that made friends with Sarah and took her for walks.

We will spend a week or two here exploring and partying at the festival weekend then we will start heading north again to make our way back to Florida slowly.