Friday, December 14, 2012

Week 11: Dec. 12-18, 2012 (Day 71-77)

Week 11:
Wed. Dec. 12, 2012—Day 71:
Destination:  Alice Town, North Bimini
Winds:  SE 12-15K in am, diminishing to about 10K in pm
Weather:  mostly cloudy in am, sunny & warm & most pleasant comfortable temps (breeze)            
We didn’t get Chris’ SSB broadcast at 0600 hrs. but his 0630 hrs.; our weather window has closed & a northern blow was to arrive near midnight Thurs. through Fri. & weakening Sat.  With the delay of our crossing from Florida we now do not have time to move from Bimini to an anchorage with enough northern protection.  We compared notes with our dock neighbours this am, Gail & Eric Grehan ‘Viking’s Dream’ (52 ft. Jefferson trawler) from Winnipeg, Man.  There is a possibility of gale force winds from the SW on Tues. Dec. 18.  We thought of leaving Bimini Sun., cross from North Rocks north of Bimini to the Great Bahamas Banks toward Great Bullock Harbour the 1st night, for an apparent calm night on the Banks, then hunker down Mon. night on the NE side of Great Harbour Cay for Tues. blow.  So I guess we have no choice but to stay here, therefore Graeme hooked up to electricity ($10.00/ day); good time to charge everything.  We will monitor Chris Parker, NOAA & if possible Weather Passage & Wind Alert.  Housekeeping duties filled the rest of the morning, then some internet soon after lunch as I was able to hook to the unsecured line from Sea Crest Hotel &/or WiFi in adjacent marina.  We walked to the south end of North Bimini.  It was low tide & some sea glass & old shells of different sizes washed up in the sand.  We walked along the upper/beach road along the west side of the island (Radio Beach) overlooking the Straits of Florida that we had just crossed yesterday towards the north to Bailey Town, then back the lower road on the east side.  That evening we watched fishermen from Sea Crest next door cutting, skinning, filleting & packaging their catches of the day, ie mahi mahi, wahoo, tuna.  The sky was a lovely colour at sunset.  We chatted to Gail & Eric till dark, learning about their background & family.  A well received shower after a late supper.  Internet connection was O.K. so I continued working till late.  The SE winds about 10K continued & the sky was clear with a considerable number of stars.  Christmas lights decorated some of the buildings.

Thurs. Dec. 13, 2012—Day 72:   
Destination:  Alice Town, Bimini
Winds:  S 5K in am, suddenly N mid afternoon gusting to 15-20K
Weather:  brilliant sun, blue skies & few fair weather white clouds & very warm; suddenly mid afternoon dark clouds from SW that seemed they would miss us, but also with a sudden change in wind direction & strength from the north, the clouds passed over the island & brought some rain

We were unable to get Chris at 0600 hrs. but a fair reception at 0630 hrs. & poor reception for the NOAA report.  After breakfast the canvass windows & the stainless got a soap & water bath.  ‘Viking’s Dream’ had to be moved into a slip across the dock from us; JR, a very knowledgeable skillful dock hand, directed the operation.  Shortly thereafter a 100 ft. fuel boat arrived taking up the full length of the fuel dock; the fueling went on for hours & the boat stayed dockside overnight.  Some internet till early pm then a walk to the hardware store for 2 small hose clamps, then to the beach for laying on the beach reading in the sun (low tide).  Suddenly at 1500 hrs. the wall of ominous black clouds descended quickly upon us with a equally sudden change in wind direction from SSW to W to N & strength as well (10-15-20K).  We briefly looked at Passage Weather & Wind Alert on the internet.  Spurts of fine misty rain then finally a good rain to wash some of the salt off the decks, but still warm as we sat in the cockpit watching the weather change, reading & even having supper for a change in the cockpit.  We both worked away at the internet as each took their turn taking a shower.  Cloudy at sundown & during the night with north winds blowing +/- 15K. 

Fri. Dec. 14, 2012—Day 73:
Destination:  Alice Town, Bimini
Winds:  N to NNE to NE 12-20K
Weather:  mostly sunny with a few clouds, much less humid 

Candy Cane Parade

The alarm rang for us to get up to listen to 0630 hrs. SSB weather, but Chris came in rather poorly today; don’t know if it was from interference because the fuel boat was still beside us.  It appeared that we are here till Sunday & also a change of plans necessary as per location for the next blow Tues. through Thurs.  A refreshing breeze today as I had a long powerwalk (nearly 1-1/2 hrs.) as far north of North Bimini as possible, through Bailey Town, Porgy Bay & Bimini Bay along the east shore road.  Here a new, high end, exclusive Bimini Bay Resort & Marina resides; it is still under construction with only a couple of small powerboats in the 300 slips.  My return route was via the upper west beach road.  High tide was till 1040 hrs. & it was rough out on the Straits of Florida with waves breaking & crashing on shore.  Some blog writing in order this morning.  After lunch just as we were about to start our walk, the Christian Academy's Candy Cane Parade passed; school children handed out candy cane to those of us bystanders.  We then walked to the close RBC Bank using the ATM, then to the beach for some reading on the sand, in the sun, watching & listening to the crashing waves; now low tide.  Happy Hour was on ‘Viking’s Dream’ (1999) starting with a tour of course; we firmed up plans on departure if weather conditions remain status quo. The hours zoomed by.  There was a brief rain shower while preparing supper.  Supper, shower & internet with Bahamian music in the background; after all it was a Friday night.  A dark night, clear skies with stars.

Sat. Dec. 15, 2012—Day 74:  
Destination:  Alice Town, N. Bimini
Winds:  ENE to E 10-15K
Weather:  mostly cloudy with short sunny periods, frequent rain showers in am; partly cloudy & sunny in pm

A fairly decent reception of Chris’ 0630 hrs. SSB broadcast; no great weather or chance for those waiting in Florida to cross to the Bahamas until later Sun. & Mon. eg ‘Moma Cal’ & ‘Kathrian’.  And for us, tomorrow looked O.K. to leave Bimini, but winds predicted to be east, right on the nose.  But we have to move as another system is coming Tues. pm., worse on Wed. with a possible move on Thurs.  The frequent morning rain showers helped clean more of the salt from the decks & window enclosure.  I shook the rug & mats & washed the floor, changed the bed linen (but who knows when I will have reasonable costing laundry facilities) & washed the walls etc. of the V-berth.  I worked away at some emails & composed our Christmas Letter to family & friends & sent it off, then studied Passage Weather & Wind Alert.  We found some discrepancy in the forecast for Tues. through Thurs.; according to the 2 mentioned sites all O.K. for those days, but 30K predicted starting noon Fri. Dec. 21.  We will need to reassess.  We ordered some cinnamon swirl bread with raisins from Nate of Charlie’s Bread & Bakery (Bailey Town just below the R.C. Church-$6.00) from the marina office & it was delivered while we walked to the liquor store & RBC ATM.  The marina was having problems with their generator that makes R/O water (reverse osmosis).  We walked for about 2 hours all the way to Bimini Bay Resort & Marina, passing a quartered off area before & after the police & admin. offices for the Children’s Christmas Party.  We walked all about checking out the facilities, bumping into Gail & Eric & stopping for a drink at the bar; expensive & still the place was empty despite being a weekend.  By the time we returned the marina had made about 10 gal. of R/O water for us, the amount Graeme thought would fill the tank; we squeezed 12 gal. out of the system ($7.20).  We were not sure what the next few days will bring.  Soup only for supper, checked Passage Weather & Wind Alert sites again, then showered.  A clear starry night sky. 

Sun. Dec. 16, 2012—Day 75:
Destination:  N. Bimini to Great Bahama Bank (25o29.079N/ 078o32.940W)
Departure:  0735 hrs.                           Arrival:  1615 hrs.                                 Distance:  56.74 NM
Winds:  S 10K --> ESE to E 8-18K-->E to SE 12-15K                               Seas:  1-2 ft. to 4 ft.
Weather:  clouds to the north, blue sky to the E; early pm clouds arrived from SE

N. Bimini Beach--Hoping to see more of this!
East winds picked up at bedtime last night, creating a choppy, rolling action of the boat as it was tied up at a north-south facing slip, which did settle down.  Near 0400 hrs. I woke to near calmness, then a sudden east gust & brief rain shower (small squall).  Breakfast was followed by a quick shower.  All things below were stashed away, we unplugged from shorepower & untied from the dock with Eric’s assistance.  We motored up the near unmarked channel we arrived by 6 days ago, against current (high tide = 1104 hrs.).  The knotmeter was not working, an indication we were in one place for too long; it was cleaned & functioning again.  We headed south past Turtle Rocks via the Straits of Florida (50 ft. depths) towards Triangle Rocks, then turned SSE onto the Great Bahama Bank (8-13 ft. depths)& it’s brilliant aqua coloured water.  The jenny was set but at times it was difficult keeping it working; we even moved the jenny lines inside the 2 port stays for a period of time.  Early afternoon the clouds increased from the SE & winds increased.  In the distance we could see ‘Viking’s Dream” behind us but gaining ground.  She was equipped with radar & all the bells & whistles, so was able to hail us & warn us of some rainstorm cells in the NE that passed us by.  There were some very interesting cloud formations today & I don’t know that we were going to be that lucky all night.  We anchored in the middle of nowhere it seemed in 15 ft. & 130 ft. chain; no land within sight, about 5 mi. west of Russell Light.  We had hoped to reach Russell Light & better yet the shoal just north of NW Shoal.  It was a lumpy night to say the least; the seas did not lay down but instead increased.  Grey clouds were all around except to the west; there was a clear band of sky just above the horizon & a beautiful sunset with red skies that illuminated the clouds above.  For a couple of days now I had been experiencing a non normal/ tenderness around my chipped tooth area --> ? inflammation; I took Ibuprofen + Gravol 50 mg. more so for sleep with these choppy seas & did sleep well.  The wind generator was turned on after the engine was switched off & it worked all night long.  The seas did calm down at some point.

Mon.  Dec. 17, 2012—Day 76:
Destination:  Great Bahama Bank to Frazer’s Hog Cay, Berry Islands (25o25.337N/ 77o50.134W)
Departure:  0730 hrs.                       Arrival:  1425 hrs.                                   Distance:  about 42 NM
Winds:  SSE 10Kà SE 5-12K                 Seas:  0-1ft.à 2ft. some 3 ft.
Weather:  partly sunny & cloudy am; brilliant sunshine in pm

At some point during the night the seas calmed.  We caught C.P. at 0630 hrs. during breakfast.  My tooth was about the same, but took Ibuprofen X2 + applied Sensodyne Toothpaste around the tooth; for this reason we have planned one night in Frazer’s Hog Cay, then to Nassau where it there would be more possibility for treatment.  We motorsailed with the jenny maintaining 5.7 – 6.0K on a close reach to beam reach.  No light, beacon or stick indicating Russell Light or NW Shoal.  We entered the NW Providence Channel by 1100 hrs.; such a different & calm, comfortable, pleasant experience than 2 yrs. ago.  We went from aqua coloured water to cobalt/ indigo blue.  The winds shifted a few degrees so we were able to sail more off the wind & with a bit more strength, although the seas increased a wee bit; a few slammers every once in a while.  Past Chubb Cay we entered the unmarked channel into Frazer’s Hog Cay against current but with good 9 ft.+ depths & picked up a mooring ball of the now bankrupt/out-of-business Berry Island Marina.  We checked the ball, all the lines & linkages & all seemed in good shape.  There was one other sailboat & ‘Viking’s Dream’ on mooring balls + 2 sailboats in slips of the marina.  I called & made reservations at Nassau Harbour Club Hotel & Marina  for tomorrow & asked for a recommendation for a dentist (Dr. Marlene Sawyer (242) 328-1726).  A nice sunset squeaked in & dropped behind Chubb Cay in a band of clear red sky just above the horizon to a line of overhead clouds that litterly gave us drops of rain.  Graeme & I both got an abundance of sun the last 2 days & needed a shower in the worst way.  A splendid night, dark, clear skies filled with stars+++ & a bowl shaped moon.   

Chubb & Frazer’s Hog Cays are part of the chain of 30 large islands = numerous small cays that make up the Berry Islands.  These islands lie on the NE edge of the Great Bahama Bank  & stretch about 30 mi. from Great Stirrup Cay to the north & Chubb Cay to the south.  They are bounded NE by the NW Providence Channel & south by the Tongue of the Ocean.  The west is shoal.  The Berry’s are known for their beautiful anchorages & excellent fishing.  The population is <1000, Great Harbour Cay is the largest island & most populated.
Tues. Dec. 18, 2012—Day 77:
Destination:  Frazer’s Hog Cay to Nassau, New Providence
Departure:  0715 hrs.                          Arrival:  1315 hrs.                                 Distance:  34 NM
Winds:  SW 10-14K
Weather:  mostly sunny, few cloudy periods & quite warm

Welcome to Nassau with Atlantis in background!

A calm, restful night & good reception for CP in the morning.  We said our goodbyes & thanks to Gail & Eric on our departure, as they were off to West Bay, then Highbourne Cay & Staniel Cay X 1 mon. (mostly Feb.) before heading to Georgetown for March.  We headed to Nassau hoping to see a dentist; also a good opportunity to do laundry & maybe purchase some fresh fruit & vegetables.  It was a beam reach; can’t ask for anything better than that!  We motorcruised along at 6.4- 6.9K under jenny alone.  As we were getting closer to Nassau we heard lots of transmissions of boats asking Nassau Harbour Control for permission to enter harbour.  Six miles out we asked & received our permission but slowed down to allow a large cruise ship entrance & ability to turn stern in.  I phoned the recommended dentist by the marina yesterday but not available (? accident) & was given the Dental Clinic  (Dr. Jill Sawyer) & number; the dentist was not in today & open tomorrow & all appointments full but could come in as a walk-in at 1000 hrs. & wait.  We were hailed by Merrill Mant (Ambition) from Montreal, whom we met on our first trip to the Bahamas in 2008-09.  He was moving from Rose Island to Nassau Harbour Club Marina, the same marina we have reservations.  Three Canadian boats arrived at the same time but the staff were quick & efficient in handling our arrivals.  A quick hello with Merrill & his new girlfriend Maryse, then we registered at the marina office & learnt of a dental office across the street in the Harbour Bay Shopping Center.  A shower, 3 loads of laundry washed & into 2 dryers, then to the shopping center complex.  We located the dentist office as described & they were so good in accommodating me for 0830 hrs. the next morning ($150.00 for consultation including xrays).  The laundry was not dry, so 2 more tokens purchased (Total= 3 washers+ 4 dryers X $3.00= $21.00!).  Merrill & Maryse brought a bottle of chilled champagne in celebration of our meeting; we chatted away catching up on news out in the cockpit & did not even pay any attention to the sunset.  We gathered the laundry before our very late supper.  A warm night, gentle breeze, mostly clear sky with stars & 1/3 moon. Oh, just as I was closing my computer down, a wonderful firework display came from Paradise Island.       

1 comment:

  1. Good to hear all is well except the weather eh!!. Skiied yesterday and informed everyone you were safely in the Islands. Sail safe