Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cruising friends

Nelson having fun at the beach, 2 years ago Sarah and him were buddies on the
beach every morning and evening. 

This week started off very hot with wind from the east, now the wind is from the north and very chilly however with the sun shining it still feels really really nice.
At the beginning of the week we were sitting at the pool with some friends enjoying adult beverages when another cruiser came along to say a trawler was coming in and had some mechanical issues so we peeked up to see the M/V Steadfast go by. I said to Jon right away that we knew them from the Exuma's and that they had a dog named Nelson. Well all that was true and we have been visiting with Buz, Rosemary, Woody which is their son from Toronto and of course Admiral Lord Nelson Grizzly. Its always nice to catch up with cruisers you have hung around with in the past on some remote sandy beach or in a tin roofed bar on some really cool island.

another beach day
one of my favorite paintings
my only plant on the boat flowered

Another Face on the beach
Making stuff in my spare time

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Stamp for 90 more days

wind from the north

a quick trip out the cut with some visitors

cool plants

Pick me no pick me
When we first came into the Bahamas this trip Customs gave us only ninety days which meant we paid for the boat to cruise here for one year but we would have to get our papers stamped at ninety days to allow us to stay longer. Our papers were stamped in GH Cy by the customs officer and stamped December 17th and March 17th to be renewed. We were told a lot of different things about having them extended  over in Grand Bahama and of course the 17th of March was a Sunday,so we headed to the customs office in Lucaya  the week before and found that there was an office there and it was open on Saturday, well we went in on Saturday and after a few minute a customs again came out and told us that immigrations was not there unless it was really busy and we would have to go to Free Port instead. She called for us and they told her they were closed until Monday and that since we would be over by on day to make sure we were there at nine to meet with them. We woke up early, and for us since we are on one long vacation its hard to get up early here. We rode our bikes to Free Port and found the building after a few wrong turns and when we found the right office we told them what we needed and he said, well immigrations don't open till nine-thirty so we waited and the funny part is he was the immigrations officer. At nine-thirty he took us in the room and began to tell us we were over by one day and that it was the custom officers problem in GH Cay  because he can't count right. We did get the papers stamped but first had to listen to the man for a few minutes explain right from wrong.   

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fishing All Day

Silver Cove Channel; this is low tide and between the two light
colored areas, which is shoaling, at this low tide there was only
5 ft 8 inches
As you travel in and out the Silver Cove Channel here in Grand Bahama you marvel at the beauty of it, be it small in width, and draft it is a rather long inlet but large boats still enter. We did it with our 6 ft draft by means of an escort though the shallow parts and feel privileged about being on the inside. Several Dive boats, charter boats and party barge boats operate out of here. And then there is this local guy, Allen, who is a sole fisherman that swims nearly ever day from this channel for his fishing. He tows behind him while swimming a Styrofoam cooler with a lid that is balanced with a rock attached to a line hanging below the cooler so it doesn’t flip over in the ocean. Throwing his fish into the cooler till he’s done then returning to the channel to clean his fish. He sells to the locals’ right there in the channel or anybody that comes up to him in say a dinghy and if there are any fish left over he stops at a couple of houses while walking home, and they will always buy him out.
This is the cooler with a few lobster and the Mutton Snapper
at the start of the day

Ah the top fish is Hogfish our favorite. 
We tried to buy some fish the other day but he was all out. We are running low on fish and not having any luck out there ourselves, we asked him if he would like to go out fishing on our dinghy and show us a few spots and he could get his fish too. So we awake at 7 am for our 8am meeting at his place of business (the channel), he loaded his Styrofoam cooler, spear poles, fins and mask into our boat and we were off. He asked “How long can des boat go on da gas?” We’re good for the day I said. He took us to a reef not real far, only a couple of miles and not real far from shore. It really is a perfect spot not even that deep average depth was 15 ft. At a little after 9 we set anchor at a spot and both got into the water by 9:30, me with my full wet suit, and him with his swim suit. I tried to keep up with him and did at first. I took a couple of shots at fish and missed. Allen had given me one of his Hawaiian Sling rigs to hunt with. This is different that what I have, his spears when you shoot go free and really can travel; mine stays on your hand and really doesn’t travel far.  I was really too busy marveling at the reefs beauty to really give a crap about being bad at fishing. The sun was out the water temp was fine and I was flying over some of the best snorkeling I’ve done in years. The colorful fish and coral , this reef was alive and so close, Arline and Blue are as happy as could be in the dinghy. Allen got a nice Lobster right away and I missed another fish. Call it age call it what ever but I couldn’t hit the bottom and have enough time left for a shot without my head feeling like it would implode. Not sure what that is all about, but Allen had another lobster, a fish and we where moving the anchor and boat for the 3rd time by swimming it where he wanted to go next, now that was work, I’ve got a motor for this. Screw this and I jumped into the dinghy after just over an hour of swimming, fired up the outboard and our kill rate went way up.
He swam and we followed with the dinghy and his cooler, dodging booze cruise boats, dive boats, Glass bottom boats, Parasail boats and snorkel adventure boats. Fish after fish and it went on. Allen would swim over and say “Drop Anchor Here” He’d swim the area and bring the catch back to the boat. “Pull anchor”, we never stayed anchored for more than 10 minutes.

End of the day full,...

It got exciting when Allen popped his head out of the water with “My short spear” and then stuck his head back in the water and started swimming away from us like a torpedo with his empty hand in the air. Quickly his head came out and yelled “short spear” still with his hand in the air, his head goes back into the water. OKAY we got it, he’s missed a shot and lost one spear hunting a fish and he going after the fish swimming away fast. (Remember the different fishing rig)  I’ve never passed a baton at a relay race but this was from the dinghy to the swimmer. We pushed the dinghy close to him and Arline slapped the spear into his hand while still swimming fast, he loaded the spear dove under, we waited, and waited then he came up with a HUGE Mutton Snapper, with 2 spears in it. Holy crap what a fish, it just fit into his cooler.

Allen at his shop and out cut on the rocks
Allen cleaning fish and telling a life lesson to me about how happy
he was at his job and no stress.
Yeah I had a few for him, just recent learned too,..
Allen swan till 3PM with out a break. Arline said he was like the energizer bunny that just kept going and going. We didn’t think he was ever going to get out of the water. I think he swam 5 or 8 miles after looking at the chart of where we were. He filled his cooler with a lot of different fish and a lot of lobster, some of the fish we would never eat for different reasons. Now our dinghy will the newer 15 hp gets up on plane with 3 people no problem, I’ve tried with 4 people and not been able to. On the way home,… you got it,...almost a 4th person worth of fish. We got it up on plane but it was truly the max load for planning. We took the fish to Allen’s place of business, the channel, he divied up the fish into 2 piles and we shoved many back into his pile and cooler that we didn’t want then we paid him a fair amount for his time and catch. He pulled a piece of plywood he had stashed from the woods and cleaned the fish for us and then the people started to line up to buy his goods. From across the channel “Allen do you have any fish?” a lady yelled.

As we load the fish into Kasidah, Arline is cleaning and bagging, I’m hosing down the dinghy and I realize that we will be reminded of this day for a long time. There are little Styrofoam cooler pieces everywhere in the dinghy and as I try to wash they just float up and then back down when pumping the water out. It’s like a “Cat in the Hat” The Cat in the Hat comes Back, the one with the red stuff that get everywhere. 

I could go on about his life lessons and how you need to be honest with yourself and with god, that he told us during the rides or while cleaning the fish, or how great the day and fish were, but it would take a full 8 hours.  

Saturday, March 9, 2013

BASRA saves lives......................

Since 1960 the Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association of Grand Bahama made its mandate to save persons in distress on the sea. Solely manned and operated by volunteers, BASRA has saved many lives and been involved in thousands of rescues.

If you plan on coming to the Bahamas you should really think about being a member. http://basragrandbahama.com/

When Jon and I started sailing Kasidah we found this site and decided this was one of the most important organizations we could join. Not only for us but for every boater out there, one day you will be glad you have volunteers like these guys.

Jon and Tom

Kasidah in the background

Every boat needs this sign

Lots of Biking.

We have been doing a lot of biking here on the island and checking out all the beaches, small shops, beach bars and going down every trail that looks like we can travel by bike.

This ship is from More Fart......

We never gave Grand Bahama a thought when picking out places to visit and really staying for a while to get the real feel of the place but we are really enjoying it here.

We went to the Freeport ship yard and were able to get right up to the ships so we explored there for a while looking at how they load all the containers and pack them in just so. The cruise ships are here too so we watched them for a while.

 We found a trail that lead to a beach and just off that is a cemetery with a memorial dating in the 70s for some Haitian people that were fleeing their country and the boat went down right off the beach, all perished that day.

Like all tourist towns there is a cool bar that has dollars stapled to the walls from people all over the world, we see this a lot but there are different items in different places, some have burgees, some have t-shirts others that are late night party places have bras and undies.

No luck on fishing here but we will start trying to spar lobster next week because the season is over at the end of March and we want to have a freezer full for the kids.

Jon has had two boat repairs since we have been here, one on a 31ft Hunter which was a water pressure issue and one on a powerboat both were fixed and done right.

Blue on watch

Very hot