Thursday, January 10, 2013

Week 15: Jan. 9-15, 2013 (Day 99-105)

Week 15:

Wed. Jan 9, 2013—Day 99:
Destination:  Black Point
Winds:  E 15-25K with gusts especially after sunset upper 20’s           Seas:  near 1 ft. chop
Weather:  mix of sun & cloud, warm & less humid        

The Girls at Work

And the Boys Concept of Work

The easterly winds kicked up sometime during the night, but it was interesting that there were cyclical, brief periods of much calmer winds then back to the howling gusts.  The winds remained strong with white crested chop all day, maybe slight moderation in the afternoon, but increased significantly after sunset.  Also of interest was the little number of boats who called into Chris Parker after his synopsis & forecasted weather yesterday & today; I guess most boats were staying put for this prolonged blow till next week.  About 1100 hrs. we dinghied to shore & connected up to the net for some emails but finally posted pictures on my blog for the last 4 weeks, a very time consuming job.  Now I see that since I have increased the prose to the template of my blog, pictures etc. are not set up as attractively as I have in draft; another project when I get back to Ottawa.  Cherry was at Lorraine’s doing real work & laundry, & Jack & Donna did projects on board before coming to shore to do internet & laundry.  I was glad Jack checked our Wind Alert as I had forgotten to do so.  Later in the afternoon once the day’s projects were done we collected at De Shamons for a drink, then continued Happy Hour till 2000 hrs. on ‘Kathrian’.  The wind was quite fierce & perhaps it appeared so because the night was so black, which added to the eeriness.  No moon, amazing stars & howling winds.

Thurs. Jan. 10, 2013—Day 100:

Winds:  E 15K & gusts to 20K                               Seas:  white crested 1 ft. chop & rollers
Weather:  mostly sunny, few clouds, warm

Terrible, scratchy reception by Chris this morning & very late broadcast as well.  While the tide was high we went ashore to fill 2 jerry cans of water from the town spigot, emptying 1-1/2 cans into the boat tank & to shore again to refill 1 jerry can.  Late morning we arrived at De Shamons & got Graeme set up to do emails while I walked X 1-1/2 hrs. to the north end of the island & checked the beach for sea beans on the return route.  We sat & talked to Jackie & Roger (‘Audacious’) over the lunch hour.  The mailboat was in Staniel Cay this am & finally arrived here at about 1400 hrs.  There was a line up at Atterley’s; people had been waiting an hour while they were still unloading supplies from the mailboat.  We went home for lunch then returned 1-1/2 hrs. later for some fresh veggies & fruit; NEAR NO SUPPLIES LEFT!  To say the least, I was very disappointed; no butter, no ground beef, no bananas, poor pick of apples & tomatoes only.  I drowned my sorrow at Happy Hour at Scorpios with their 2 for 1 rum punches.  Kidding, only partly but shared conversation with treasured old friends & new friends.  We had a quick but substantial supper at home despite the late hour & too much rum.  Another dark night but amazing clear sky of stars+++.

Fri.  Jan. 11, 2013—Day 101:
Destination:  ancora Black Point
Winds:  E 15-20K                                              Seas:  1 ft. chop & rollers
Weather:  partly sunny & cloudy

Excellent SSB reception this am; what a difference a day makes.  And the best news was the improving/ moderating easterly wind conditions over the coming few days & week.  This was all supported by the weather report from ‘Blue Yonder’.  Extreme high & extreme low tides were observed today.  After breakfast it was a morning of cleaning the main cabin above the floor level, washing the cockpit cushions & cockpit & changing the bed linen.  As a departure day appears to be in sight, the laundry was organized & it was off to Rockside Laundromat late am; 3 loads of washing & 2 loads of drying ($17.50) + internet + charging cell phones, toothbrush & iPod.  Unfortunately the laundry was still damp after the drying cycle & required it to be spread throughout the boat.  An impromptu social lunch was held with Cherry & Doug.  Jack & Donna had relocated their boat to a more eastern, more protected part of Black Point.  Happy Hour again at Scorpios, but I was better behaved tonight.  We met friends of Dave & Wendy McConnell of Winnipeg (‘Sa’ Yes’).  Although another dark night with no moon, the stars in the clear sky were phenomenal.

Sat. Jan. 12, 2013—Day 102:
Destination:  Black Point—I sound like a broken record
Winds:  E 13-17K                        Seas:  1 ft. chop
Weather:  mostly cloudy but frequent sunny periods

Wow, another morning with good SSB reception & with news of improving, moderating trade winds.  There was a possibility of leaving tomorrow but most likely Mon.  The propane tank in use since Nov. 23 ran empty at breakfast.  We topped up the boat water tank with 1-1/4 jerry cans, washing the cockpit floor with some fresh water, then to shore to refill the jerry cans.  I purchased a raisin cinnamon bread, checked on a friend that required some medical attention at the Government Clinic, while Graeme added gas to the dinghy fuel tank, all in preparation of a departure soon.  Then the rest of the day was just relaxing & reading; one would have thought it was Sunday.  The mailboat returning to Nassau arrived near 1300 hrs. loading a car, empty propane tanks etc.  A Skipper’s Meeting was held at Lorraine’s to discuss our probable departure on Mon., slowly hop scotching down the chain to set ourselves up for the best day to go out into the Sound.  We saw less moderation of the winds although on Thurs. on Wind Alert than seen yesterday & this am.  Graeme & I watched a fabulous quarter final NFL game between Denver & Baltimore; Baltimore, the underdogs, won in the 2nd quarter of OT on a hail mary pass.  We dinghied home on a high tide on another dark night but stars galore above.

Sun. Jan. 13, 2013—Day 103:
Destination:  Black Point
Winds:  fresh E to ENE 10-15K during the day & NE at night     Seas:  1 ft. chop
Weather:  mainly sunny especially in the am with a few cloudy periods in the pm

No weather report this am as Blue Yonder’s source unavailable.  This was truly a Sunday, a day of rest; the only cleaning was that of the head.  I had a near 2 hr. walk out Kings Highway, past sections of corn gardens, to the beach on the Sound side, then onto Little Harbour on the Bank side.  On the Sound beach, 4-5 ft. white crested waves were crashing against rocks & shore; I combed the beach for sea glass, shells or beans but none.  There was only 1 sailboat & 1 trawler in Little Harbour; waters were very tranquil, no chop, powdery white sand & a boarded up windows on a building overlooking this harbour with a sign saying O’Briens Landing.  When I returned to the boat lots of boats had departed.  After lunch I laid on the deck reading while Graeme went to Lorraine’s to watch the 1st of today’s quarter final NFL games between Atlanta & Seattle; at half time he picked me up.  There were lots of people taking in Lorraine’s buffet supper ($15.00) + 2nd playoff game between New England & Houston.  I will surely miss this tomorrow.  Another dark night dinghing home, excellent conditions for star gazing.

Mon. Jan. 14, 2013—Day 104:
Destination:  Black Point to White Point, south beach
Departure:  1030 hrs.                           Arrival:  1210 hrs.                            Distance:
Winds:  E 11-14K until nighttime, then 15+k                           Seas:  minimal
Weather:  mostly sunny & some clouds 

SSB was good, except when a rude, ?? person was transmitting /downloading data, whatever on the same frequency on top of Chris; the winds are moderating over the coming days.  I went ashore with Cherry & Doug, laundry for them & to purchase more phone time minutes, but the office only open Tues. & Thurs.  So I skyped Mom instead with a great connection, emails & charged my laptop.  Jack & Donna did laundry & land showers ($4.00 X 8 mins.).  Many, many boats left yesterday but especially today & a new batch were arriving; good for the community.  I actually remembered how to up anchor.  Farewell Black Point!  It was a good motor sail with the jenny only at 5.5K; I suggested to continue sailing for a while before anchoring at White Point.  The anchor was set in sand, 11 ft. of water & 80 ft. of chain.  Then it was time to explore the white, sandy beach shoreline that has been so alluring in the past; the approach was ripply sand then grass to water’s edge that looked like a sopping wet shag rug on the falling tide; both semisoft & powdery white sand with 2 distinct rows of tons of tiny shells.  We discovered a huge falcon’s nest & a resident falcon.  A special sunset tonight; a definite green flash!  A red sky followed, increased E winds.  Lights from Little Farmers Cay were visible.  A dark night, no moon & partly cloudy sky with stars seen occasionally.

Tues. Jan. 15, 2013—Day 105:
Destination:  White Point (south beach) to Little Farmers Cay
Departure:  0945 hrs.                          Arrival:  1110 hrs.                           Distance:  approx. 6.5 NM
Winds:  E 10-18K                                  Seas:  minimal to 1 ft.
Weather:  partly sunny, some heavy dark clouds at times

The east trade winds remained in the 15K range all through the night & decreased a few knots after sunrise.  Weather was received both from SSB & Blue Yonder.  Jack was once again making bread before he departed; little did we know some was for ‘Moma Cal’ & us—can’t wait to try tomorrow morning!  We rolled the jenny out & motor sailed on a beam to close reach at 5.5-5.7K.  Dark threatening squall like clouds were in the vicinity of Little Farmers Cay; thankfully they moved off to the west before we got there.  We anchored on the west side of the cay, in line with the Batelco tower in 10 ft. water (at the time) & 80 ft. of chain, but with a current effect.  Once the dinghy was launched & motor was lowered down & fastened in place, ‘Moma Cal’, ‘Kathrian’, ‘Sea Camp’ & ourselves went ashore.  After a walk about from the west shore over the hill passed St. Mary’s Baptist Church (doors open for us to view—beautiful), along Little Harbour & up over another hilly road passed Little Farmers Cay All Age School, the Batelco Multipurpose Center & back to the starting point, we had lunch at Brenda’s Place, as all the windows were still boarded closed at Ocean Cabin.  After lunch we climbed up to Ocean Cabin now that the windows were open, but there was a $10.00 fee for internet.  Brenda & Tasha secretly told us that we could get internet at the school.  While the others had a drink or 2, Jack & I walked to the school, acquired the security key for internet access from the male teacher who asked us to share it with other cruisers as he knew the importance of communicating with family & the need for weather; how understanding is that!  The children were just finishing school; they stopped & very politely talked with us, answered out questions & let us take their picture in their uniforms & new backpacks they had received for Christmas; so precious!  Oh, & Wind Alert was predicting very favourable weather especially from Fri. through Tues.  We had to hurry back to the dinghies because a large black rain cloud was quickly advancing in our direction; it past mostly to the east in a northerly direction, so in the end we only had a brief shower.  It was now low tide & the dinghies were high & dry.  Also the water depth where we were anchored was only 5’6”!  A clouded sunset & calm, but the winds increased once it was dark & the anchorage became a little bouncy.  It was not as dark tonight, as a sliver of moon was visible + stars in a partially clouded sky.

FYI:  Little Farmers Cay was settled 165 years ago by freed slaves from Exuma.  It is 1-1/4 mi. long & 7/8 mi. wide.  The smaller bay is Little Harbour & the larger Big Harbour, separated by a piece of land called The Point.

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