Thursday, January 3, 2013

Week 14: Jan 2-8, 2013 (Day 92-98)

Week 14:

Wed. Jan 2, 2013—Day 92:
Destination:  Staniel Cay to Black Point
Departure: 0820 hrs.                               Arrival:  1020 hrs.                                  Distance:  9.59 NM
Winds:  light & inmeasureable direction                                  Seas:  flat calm
Weather:  mostly sun & few clouds to brilliant wall to wall sun all pm

Black Point

It became flat calm during the night & the surroundings appeared like there was a light fog when the sun rose.  Good reception & good weather forecast by Chris on SSB X 1 week here in the central & SE Bahamas, whereas another cold front was to move to the Abacos on the weekend; we got weather from ‘Blue Yonder’ as well.  It was so calm that we could see the sandy bottom, full chain length & anchor; it came up with ease.  With less than 3K of wind it was a motor ride X 2 hrs. & so calm we could clearly see the rippled sandy seas floor, few tufts of grass now & again & starfish the entire way.  I called Mom when we were near the south end of Staniel Cay, in full view of the Batelco tower but the reception was good sometimes & times when I could not hear anything at all.  We anchored in the bay NE of the docks in 10-11 ft. of water & 100 ft. of chain.  At noon with laundry all sorted & organized, we dinghied to Rockside Laundromat ( 0900-2000 hrs.), the best, cleanest & most efficient laundromat in most of the coastal USA & all of the Bahamas; they have their own & appeared to be new dock with concrete steps right to the building.  It was high tide which made landing & unloading much easier.  I used 3 washers & 2 dryers ($3.50 per load X 5 loads= $17.50).  While the laundry was running it’s courses, I downloaded pictures from my camera, caught up on writing yesterday’s blog & afterwards discovered with much surprise that I had internet & a good connection at that.  It was kind of a waste of a most gorgeous day to be doing laundry but you don’t waste opportunities like this.  After laundry was stored away it was back to shore to walk, see if there were any changes as we walked along the main street (Stella).  We did a walk through Adderley’s Friendly Store (opened till 2000hrs.) & found out that the mailboat normally comes on Wed. but because of the holidays this week there was a run on Fri.  We had an early supper at De Shamon’s (Dennis & Diane); a most delicious pizza—ate half & rest home of another meal.  No-see-ums & mosquitoes were annoying because it was dead calm.  Tonight there were several boats anchored in the large anchorage.  The water was like glass, the night was so tranquil, the sky clear& filled with the magnificent stars of the milky way & a late moon rose. 

Thurs. Jan. 3, 2013—Day 93: 
Lorraine's Cafe
Destination:  Black Point
Winds:  E, about 10K                                    Seas:  < 1 ft.
Weather:  cloudy with a few scattered very light rain showers in the am & by noonish sunshine & blue skies

Happy Hour at Scorpios
A dull start to the day.  A good reception of weather on SSB; Abacos predicted to get a cold front on the weekend, but not much in Central & SE Bahamas; a lot of easterly or variations of in the forecast & I felt this would be a great opportunity to sail to Little San Salvador, Cat Island & Conception Island, part of the Out Islands.  On the VHF we learnt that ‘Glory Days’ was in tow with ‘Amazing Grace’ in favourable weather across the Gulf Stream 7 the Straits of Florida with the ultimate destination as Fort Pierce.  It was a morning of serious housecleaning of the head & shower, the main salon floor + the mats & carpeting, then blog writing.  Graeme cleaned some of the grim on the dinghy pontoons.  There was a constant trickle of boats moving south, some anchoring in Black Point.  High tide was at 1132 hrs. so at 1100 hrs. we started dinghying to shore to refill our empty water jerry cans.  The job entailed bringing the 3 empty cans to shore, pulling the dinghy onshore, walking up the new stairs & across the street to the water spigot, hauling the cans back across the street, down the stairs, into the dinghy, refloating the dinghy & hauling the jerry cans onto the boat & empty in one of the two boat tanks X 3 trips (total of 2-1/2 hrs.).  The prize was lunch at Lorriane’s Café, buying a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread from Lorraine’s Mom & good internet.  Following all of this a large number of cruisers attended Happy Hour at Scorpios (Tues. Thurs. & Fri. 1600-1800 hrs.) with $3.00 beer, $2.00 wine, $5.00 liquor & 2 for 1 rum punches, free popcorn & complimentary conch fritters, oh I almost forgot, free mosquitoes.  We dinghied home in the dark at rising low tide with our appropriate lights.  I did not see sunset tonight or the setted sky afterwards.  But the view from our dinghy across the harbour was spectacular with a massive number of mast lights & more magnificent was the sky above & the indescribable beauty of the stars.

Fri. Jan. 4, 2013—Day 94:
Destination:  Black Point to Hetty’s Land, Great Guana Cay
Departure:  0950 hrs.                        Arrival:  1130 hrs.                                Distance:  7.73 NM
Winds:  ESE to SE 10-12K                                Seas:  <1 ft.
Weather:  sunny, blue skies & few clouds

We received weather on SSB; most with good reception & a little scratchy at the time of our specific location; some heavy winds forecasted Mon. afternoon through to Thurs.  Out Islands were a not for now.  Our plan was then to move for 1-2 days only short distances to see new locales, then likely come back to Black Point for the southerly wind blow.  At least for those 3-1/2 days we can get to land with all amenities at hand.  We heard Exuma Park at 0900 hrs. giving mooring ball assignments to ‘Moma Cal’ & ‘Kathrian’ & also ‘Ambition’ called with their departure.  We were unable to hail anyone of these boats until later in the day when ‘Ambition’ had moved onto Staniel Cay.  We motorsailed closehauled with the jenny at 5.5-5.7K  in a 10-12K ESE to SE wind & stood enough offshore to avoid an area of shallow coral heads & rocky bars as we slid down the western shore of Great Guana Cay passed Little Bay, Jack’s Cove & Bay, White Point into Hetty’s Land.  We dropped anchor in 11-12 ft. water & 100 ft. chain.  Some reading in the sun on the deck after lunch, then snorkeling over a coral head with ‘Fair Winds’, ‘Truansea’ & ‘Southern Bound’.  The guys were lucky in catching a couple of lobsters, crab, bar jack & lionfish. The coral head was not particularly colourful, but a lot of similar small fish & I forgot my underwater camera!  The anchorage was a little bouncy than what we expected from an east wind.  A cloud obscured the sun just at sunset but a lovely red sky followed & a dark night with some stars, some cloud & a late rising moon & only the mast lights of our 4 boats.

Sat. Jan. 5, 2013—Day 95:
Destination:  Hetty’s Land to Jack’s Bay Cove, Great Guana Cay then Black Point
Departure:  1040 hrs.                     Arrival:  1130 & 1520 hrs.                       Distance:  approx. 8 NM
Winds:  ESE to SE 10-16K, increased after sunset           Seas:  1 ft.
Weather:  mostly cloudy with sunny periods & plenty of blue sky in am; more sun in pm; H=82F & L=66F

Exuma Sound side of Hetty's Land

Shawn & his lobster
A slightly bouncy night, but nothing serious or uncomfortable around.  The usual morning routine, beginning with listening to SSB weather, then breakfast.  The SE winds were to pick up this aft, lay down tomorrow, then pipe up Mon. pm through Thurs., especially Tues. & Wed. (SE 20-30K).  I went to the beach with ‘Truansea’ for a couple of hours.  There were tons of live & dead sand dollars waiting to be gathered (low tide).  The group of us took a path marked with old nets, styrofoam float balls etc. from the beach to the east shore of Great Guana Cay being the Atlantic or Exuma Sound; there was a huge limestone rock formation, a small cave & debris+++ including a possible plane wreck.  Once back at the boat, some people went snorkeling & fishing.  We up anchored & motorsailed a few miles north on a broad reach with our jenny (5.7K) to Jack’s Bay Cove; shy to venture closer to the north side of White Point.  We hailed ‘Moma Cal’ making contact, but barely; in Warderick Wells today.  A few hours we spent on the deck reading until around 1400 hrs. when we saw a fleet of 4 boats northbound & looking as if they were heading to Black Point, our intended destination tomorrow or definitely Mon. afternoon; apparently Hetty’s Land got quite rolly.  We decided to take the opportunity to sail & get a good spot in Black Point now.  So it was another good sail, beam reach at 5.8-6.2K.  Soon we were anchored to the NE of the government docks in 12 ft. & 120 ft. of chain.  Another successful day of fishing for ‘Truansea’, ‘Fair Winds’ & ‘Southern Bound’, so a potluck dinner party was organized on ‘Eleohn’ (50 ft. trawler), where the wealth was shared, featuring lobster, crab, another whitefish, meatballs, white rice, rice salad, cabbage salad  & homemade dinner rolls.  Scrumptious & a good time was had by all!  And a big thank you to all for including us old foggies!  It was a slow dinghy ride home against a moderate ESE wind under a dark night sky filled with amazing stars+++.

Sun.  Jan. 6, 2013—Day 96:
Destination:  Black Point
Winds:  E to ESE 12-18K                                 Seas:  1 ft. or less
Weather:  warm, both sun & cloud

The east & southerly winds continued to increase from last evening through the night & were gusting this morning, creating whitecapped chop.  We spoke with Jack on the VHF but even on channel 68 the reception was less than good.  ‘Kathrian’ & ‘Moma Cal’ must have changed their plans, as later in the day we talked to them again & they had made their way to Big Majors, Staniel Cay & were going off in the dinghy to see the pigs.  The housecleaning task this morning was washing the cockpit cushions, cockpit & transom with soap & water.  About 1100 hrs. we picked Candy & Shawn (Southern Bound) up to go to shore as they were out of fuel for their dinghy; walks for Graeme & I but mine more intense.  I found the beach; the 4-6 ft. seas were rolling in quite strongly; it was low tide & I found a small heart bean & a hamburger bean, but no good sea glass.  Church services were in progress at 1100 hr., shops etc. were closed & one could hear singing through the open windows.  Lorraine’s Café opened at 1600 hrs. & were offering a buffet dinner by reservation this evening.  After lunch it was reading on the deck for me for a short period of time, then polishing the stainless, followed by more reading till sunset.  Later this evening I finished my current book titled “Artist on His Island” by Randolph Johnston, father of Pete of “Pete’s Pub” in Little Harbour, Great Abaco, lent to me by Josh from NSC, a friend of Peter Kitching.  The harbour has filled with even more boats this evening with only a few that left today.  I thought we would have the perfect sunset to observe a green flash, but   evening & Lynn was discharged from hospital late Fri.  According to Larry, Dorothy & Glenn are in Great Harbour, Berry Island & Bill & Betty are off to Marathon, Florida in a day or so.  We will need to check emails tomorrow to see where Terri & Bill are.  Another dark night because the moon rose so late & with the clear sky the stars were abundant & brilliant as are all the boats’ anchor lights.

Mon. Jan. 7, 2013—Day 97:
Destination:  Black Point, but just changed location closer to shore
Winds:  E to ESE 10 during day & 10-12K in evening                Seas:  calm
Weather:  mostly sunny with a some cloudy periods, very pleasant temps (80’sF)

Typically, we began the day with the weather forecast on SSB at 0630 hrs. (very good reception) & again with ‘Blue Yonder’ at 0800 hrs. during breakfast.  June is a wealth of knowledge; she still bothering him after a week.  It was to shore mid morning, meeting up with Christine & Mark & their sons, Logan & Cole & paying a visit to the school that had just reconvened today.  Miss Young met us, answered our many questions, allowed me to take a photo of her with some of the more senior students.  School hours= 0845-1500 hrs. All students wear a green tunic for girls & green shorts of pants for boys & yellow shits & both wear a green tie & shoes & socks; so cool!  Arrangements were made whereby tomorrow Christine will assist the 1 teacher for grades 4, 5 & 6 with English & Math, Mark will probably assist the 1 teacher for grades 1, 2 & 3 with science & the boys will join in grades 5 & 4.  Then all of us took a long hike along Kings Highway to the castle on Little Bay; residents in house.  On our dinghy ride back, we paid ‘Audacious’ a short visit & ‘Fair Winds’.  Ken & Shawn dinghied all the way to Staniel Cay for gas.  Over the lunch hour we watched a catamaran get ready to depart, then we relocated to that spot; 9 ft. water & 120 ft. chain.  Internet on shore at De Shamoon till 1700 hrs. Mailboat with supplies do to arrive on Wed. or Thurs.  A gorgeous setting sun, then clouds blanketed the sunset.  A pinky orange sky followed towards the west & dark rain like clouds to the WNW & E.  Stars were quite visible in the very dark night sky.

Tues. Jan. 8, 2013—Day 98:
Destination:  Black Point (24oN 76oW)
Winds:  more SE than E 10-15K with gusts to 20K         Seas:  1 ft. with whitecaps at times
Weather:  partly sunny & cloudy in am, heavy cloud over the noon hour with a small rain shower & slight clearing at sunset

SSB at 0630 hrs., breakfast  & ‘Blue Yonder’ at 0800 hrs.  We eavesdropped on VHF & heard the chatter between ‘Moma Cal’ & ‘Kathrian’, so we knew after fuelling up they were on there way here.  I actually did some isometric exercises this am on top of my usual stretches & back exercises.  Off to shore & got Graeme on the internet at Lorraine’s while I took a walking task to locate Sandra (pink house on west side of road with blue jeep in front) that has a vegetable she was in Nassau.  Will mailboat arrive tomorrow or Thurs.?  As soon as I returned, bought some bread from Lorraine’s mom & sat down to do my internet (hopefully add pics to my blog), the skies darkened +++.  We hurriedly dinghied backed home & low & behold ‘Moma Cal’ was anchored beside us & ‘Kathrian’ was approaching.  The much needed rain shower was only short lived.  A reunion was held on ‘Moma Cal’ until 1600 hrs.  & continued at the Happy Hour at Scorpios, followed by a pizza supper at De Shamon; Simon recognized Doug from a year ago having to supply the bar with Mount Gay Rum at Super Bowl as they had run out.  It had been 4+ mons. since we had seen Cherry & Doug.  Home in our dinghies on a falling tide at about 2000 hrs. on a very dark night with the skies filled with amazing stars & the anchorage ablaze with anchor lights.    

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