Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sitting pretty in the Grand Bahamas

Friends Jim and Nancy, they keep their boat in Indiantown also.

We never thought we would ever spend more than a night or two in Grand Bahamas but here we are and we are having a good time exploring the island by bike and dinghy. Almost everyday we ride the bike seven to ten miles which we find is great exercise for us. We have been to Freeport and many little beach in between there and Bell Channel, Lucaya.

Lunch in Lucaya

Exploring the beaches

We finally had a north wind and brought the dinghy out the channel and went fishing,then we searched for coral heads to snorkel over. The water gets really deep quick because the channel opens right up to the ocean.  We didn't catch any fish but it was fun heading down to Bell Channel and exploring new canals and places that we will try to find one day by bike.
The flowers are gorgeous here
my favorite flower so far
Alex,Mary,Jon and I at Banana Cove
Last night Alex and Mary (we know them from lake Ontario) came over and invited us to their condo for dinner and to chit chat about things. It was a great evening and today we will hit the beach with them. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Time to Leave Great Harbour Cay or "As Luck Would Have It"

As Luck Would Have It, the island of Great Harbour Cay has a set of two large microwave towers that send communications from island to island. With the newest equipment one became redundant and was just standing there. The smart people at Bahamas Telephone Co (BATCO) planned to move the extra one onto another unconnected island to bring it out of the 3rd world stasis. So a huge crane and crew arrive by ferry for the day and began the work of removing the one extra tower.

Tom and Laura on S/V Cool Hand on the sand bar.
 I was in my dinghy helping another cruiser pull his sailboat off a sand bar and saw the large crane connect to the tower. It was obvious that they were working on it for one reason or another at the time. The cruiser had gone aground because of high winds and rising tide. The wind kept pushing him further and further onto the bar as the tide came up and he would have been in real trouble in a few hours when the tide started down. (More on his mistakes later, we all make them). One dinghy pushed his nose around to point to deeper water and I used a halyard from the top to pull him over. The wind was really blowing and it was quite hard as the wind was really blowing our little dinghies around. But we did get him off after less than an hour of working at it. As we are patting ourselves on the back I look at the towers and marvel at what looked like a roller coaster ride that they just made. I knew it had gone bad for them. Tower 1 had gotten away from them in the high winds (who would have thought) and hit a guy wire of tower 2. Now two cranes and two towers where twisted and on their way down. By the time I got back to the boat and biked to the site this is all that was left. If you look in the back ground you can see the 2nd tower.

If you look close in the background you can see the 2nd tower on the ground too.
I think the one wrapped around this crane is the one they where working on.
I saw some rigging to it.
So now there is NO communications on the island at all, but As Luck Would Have It, another cruiser has a sat phone which I find being used by the BATCO guy to call his boss in Nassau when I get back to the boat.

One last thing about the crane  crew; They are as a team, 3 for 2, how could this be you ask. Well last month they were hired to work on another tower in the Andros and knocked it over too, 3 for 2, get it. And they still got the job for this one. Owning the only mobile crane in the Bahamas has it benefits I guess.

Just another view after working past the flag crew,... YEAH RIGHT
As luck would have it, the following day, high tide was at sunrise at GHC, and then at 5 pm in Grand Bahamas. Another boat left the day before for Grand Bahama and reported one site open for a great monthly rate where he had just pulled in.

So with no communications, and perfect weather, and a waiting slip, it was time to leave. We couldn't give any notice to our kids, family and friends about our move so off we went at 6 am. OF course we had our SPOT on sending out the location as we moved and our good friend Thomas saw it and called our other friend Tom and told him "Their on the Move!" Thanks Tom you've always got my back. If you had been there for the crane guy I'll bet this wouldn't have happened ;-)

GHC behind us by an hour
Silver Cover entrance and our escort up in front of us. Thanks Jim.
You can see Kasidah's Blue sun protection on
her head sail and stay sail on the left of the photo.
The weather couldn't have been better for the trip, 10-15 knots  on our beam, flat seas. Kasidah was flying at 7 knots, we arrived at the Marina/Resort and have a spot right in front of one of the 2 pools. I hope they don't try and move this pool to another island. The rate for a month is a lot less than I could rent a trailer in the back woods of Otisco from a farmer. (Sorry Tully) It was a 65 mile sail north and the entrance to Silver Cove is small and has some shoaling in it that make it dangerous to do at night, or in a south wind. At low tide there is less than 5 ft. If you remember our draft is 6 ft. But As Luck would Have it the other cruisers Jim and Nancy, where already here and heard us calling the marina on the radio. Jim came out in his dinghy to escort us in thought the narrow and shoaled areas.

Not really her shot
The water depth for most of the crossing was 2000-3000 ft until about 2 miles from the Silver Cover Channel. Just before we took our sails down Arline was watching the water and saw a huge Orca Whale jump out of the water about a mile away from the boat. I saw the splash and tail go in the water.

Some of the channel inside before the marina,
again note our escort in front of us.
We found Grand Bahama Island to be great so far. We went to a store by bikes and saw stuff that we haven't seen since we left the states. Portobello mushrooms, fruit,  coffee creamer, green onions, DONUTS, ham hocks so big they wouldn't fit into your oven, whole lamb leg with bone, wait,.. ok that's new. And a store to refresh our supply of wine and rum, beer is still too much but other liquids  are VERY reasonable. Anything from the states has about $10 added to it.

Thanks for watching,....

Monday, February 18, 2013

What Cruisers Do

With Dale and Karen at Sarah's Beach
How could it get boring, It doesn't,...We have been busy doing a few more boat chores, a few more sun-downers,  beaches and really catching up with phone calls and e-mail to friends. The marina put up a new antenna for the WIFI and I'm (jon here) able to use my newer I-phone from below deck on the boat, this has really made me happy.

This is Arline and Karen, it's hard to tell from this photo but they look and act like sisters
I can even understand her when she says "Do you have one of those button putter on thingies?"
First the Sun-downers; We have found that the marina has been having a lot of cruising sailboats that are staying for a while and even a few trawlers, so we have found a taken over a fish cleaning station in front of one of the boats that wasn't used very often because the water to it isn't working. At 5 o'clock nearly daily we all gather with drinks and a dish and have a blast. Sometimes we do it on a boat that has created a large pot or dish of something that needed to be cooked off or it would go bad.

The large yacht of Jack Nickolas's, M/V Sea Bear, has been in the marina next to us for several weeks now with just it's crew. The weather was great again, Arline was doing a sewing project for some boaters, I was busy with new cruisers, helping them with issues of their own (It's what Cruisers do). The crew ask down from Sea Bear, "Anybody want to go out diving?" CRAP,... I had a meal to get ready for the days sun-downer and bah bah bah or is it yahda yahda yahda,.. I passed and took a rain check. They came back at  the end of the day and gave the cruisers here a bag of about 15 small lobster, and said "Pass them around", Thank You! Some of the folks took a couple but most said "Give it to Jon, he'll cook something" So the next day for sun-downers I made Lobster Thermador for like 6 boats,...MMMMMM. Did I say Thank You loud enough!

This is Percy the famous Bone-fish guide with the winning Mahi Mahi 

It gets Better by the day. The following day the crew again from M/V Sea Bear (Jacks Boat)) sticks their head over the rail and says "Hey Sun-downers are on us tonight!" So at our Fish Cleaning / Sun-Downer location they hosted a Dark and Stormy with beers evening. Dark and Stormy is a drink made with a dark local rum, Ginger beer and lime, and beer is beer. Again all us cruisers brought a dish and we all got to met the 1st mate Luke and Alex, Jacks hired fishing guide, we all shared story after story and killed a big bottle of Goslings Black Seal Rum and a case of beer. It what cruisers do. 

We are lucky to enjoy such a lifestyle, it may be for a limited time, but we know it and don't take a moment for granite.

We Left this as a marker for Sarah

Arline finished center panel window

Arline at work
One of our friends on  the island lost the front wind panel to his center cockpit boat (he is a local). This is one of the sewing things Arline did. As non island people if we were to take money for this it would piss off the locals, so it was a free-be if you will. But the good will earned will serve us for a long time.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Going hunting on My Way Too.

Once again Sandy invited us out but this time on "My Way Too" for a day of hunting Lobsters so we jumped on his offer. Sandy is very outgoing and always looking for something to have fun with.
Just like many people we have met here he is willing to show us around and show us how to have fun while on the island.

He brought us way out to a spot with almost thirty feet of water and told Jon to jump in and see what was down there.
Jon said he would do his best and grabbed his pole.  He came up a bit later and said there was a large nurse shark down there and that it was way too deep for his lungs to be able to take a shot at anything. Jon got in the boat and also realized he had pulled his neck from looking up too quick when he was at the bottom. After that Sandy went down and scouted out the different sites. He brought two Lobsters up that were huge, so this meant dinner for all of us later that night. 

West side of Little Stirrup where cruise ships come in
Sandy, Francisco and me 

5 0clock somewhere
Boomer- Sandy's island dog
Lookout spot at the channel entrance

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A day exploring

The day was spent exploring and collecting shells.
It has been very warm here but a cold front will change that next week.

A Seabiscuit moving around

Very large snake on the road

one of the channel markers

beaching for lunch

an old beach club house
Blue getting comfy

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Ride on "My Way"

loading My Way
Lana and Jeff invited us to Sandy's to have a ride at sunset on his boat called My Way then to sit on his deck for a great meal with many friends we have made here.

The Wahoo Fishing tournament is next weekend and he needed to get the boat out to check all the mechanical stuff and give it a damn good running to blow the engines clean.

This is not a sailboat...

We hit 35 and I was on the top deck which was really windy so I couldn't get down to the lower deck so that's where I sat and laid down for the trip, after words Jon said that down below they were kind of bouncing from one side to the other. I think that had to do with the fact that was Sandy banking the boat from side to side.

It was a fun night and only a short dinghy ride back to the boat.     

Jon, Jeff and Lana
Sandy,Lana,me,Merilyn,Susie and Jerry

Sand and Jon drinking Coronas with a shot of rum, see the smiles,..

Getting ready to leave

going 35

my seat
Jon washing his hair, he said later that he could have been pulled into the  wash of the boat . 
the sunset

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

We say goodbye to "Our Best Friend"

Back in 2001 when we lived in Tully New York our oldest daughter started Collage in the late summer and as a mother I found myself lost, it was very hard to be there for everything she did.Then to see her off to a place knowing that I would only see her on weekends when she wanted to do laundry, come home for some of moms home cooking which I hoped would be every weekend, or hangout with her dad. During the first few weeks Jon and I thought it would be good for me to get a puppy because this would make me focus on something else and we had wanted a small dog for sometime.

So one day Jill and I went to a breeder which was really close to where we kept our first boat and started looking at puppies. The owner would bring out a few from the same litter but none really caught our attention. Finally she told us she had one last group of pups to show us and that they were the new designer dogs that year. Both Jill and I looked at her with puzzled faces and then she explained that the dad was a Scottie and the mom was a poodle which made these nonallergic and nonshedding dogs. She brought out seven or eight which was the whole litter in a basket and let them run around. Jill and I sat on the floor and watched them for a few minutes. They were the cutest little puppy's we had seen and decided we would pick one, but how do you pick one when they are all cute. All of a sudden one of them that was playing with Jill's shoelace stopped playing and went over to some newspaper to pee. That split second both Jill and I know this was the one for us. Jill always like the name Sarah so that was how she got her name.

Sarah has been a wonderful friend to our whole family and many people that came in contact with her,she will be missed by us all.

Sarah was having a hard time for the past three weeks and was on heart medicine but her heart just couldn't keep up and she died in my arms last night. Her last day she was very active, happy and even went to the beach bar and sat with Jon for awhile.

Our last day with her

her resting place

Her view
Sarah is now on her favorite beach where she loved to dig holes and go crabbing with her sister Blue.