Thursday, February 28, 2013

Week 22: Feb. 27- Mar. 5, 2013 (Day 148-154)

Week 22:

Wed. Feb. 27, 2013—Day 148:
Destination:  Marsh Harbour
Winds:  SW to NM 5-8K
Weather:  partly sunny & cloudy, dark threatening rain clouds passing overhead

Even though we weren’t moving we listened to SSB weather followed by Abaco Net; strong north & westerlies are coming Sat. night, Sun. into Mon.  On our way to shore with Terri & Bill to the new dinghy dock at Union Jack, we dropped in to say hello to Janet & David Moore (Whiski Mak- met in 2008-09).  We gave the grand tour of the commercial & downtown area of Marsh Harbour, meeting Barb & Ken for lunch at Juvenia, then onto Maxwell’s Supermarket.  While the Ellis’ picked up their newly purchased internet booster antenna & router from Out Island  Inter.Net & received all instructions from Chris & Crystal, & Graeme purchased yet more booze, I got my hair trimmed at Katherine’s ($10.00); once again the lower back was shaved too short, I think the rest is O.K.  Black rain clouds to the SW mostly passed us as we only received a short sprinkling.  We brought drinks only over to ‘Second Option’ as all of us we stuffed from lunch & chatted about a myriad of topics, including whether to go elsewhere for a couple of days before the blow this weekend then return; since we were in a good location amongst the big fleet of boats here, the anchor secured for several days before the weekend & the possible lack of space at Treasure Cay &/or Hopetown, it was unanimously to stay put. A clouded sunset, some pink sky followed & light cloud  cover in the night sky with clearing periods & a full moon that was quite visible.  What was more evident was the mass of anchor lights again tonight.

Thurs. Feb. 28, 2013—Day 149:
Destination:  Marsh Harbour
Winds:  NW light & variable strength during the day to max. 10K
Weather:  mainly cloudy with few sunny periods, dryer & cooler air

Some rain fell in the middle of the night but otherwise calm.  The weather predictions for the coming days were much the same.  We did not listen to the Cruisers Net at 0815 hrs. as we tied up the dinghies at Tubbs dinghy dock & went to Mangoes for a croissant & coffee breakfast with ‘Plumpuppet’ & ‘Second Option’.  Most of the shops on Restaurant Row open at 1000 hrs. so we dropped into Out Island Inter.Net for Terri & Bill to ask their few questions & then to the hardware store for PVC pipe to raise their internet antenna.  Then it was browsing in & out of the shops along Restaurant Row, stopping for a beer to quench our thirst at midtime.  Once the window shopping was done, I fast walked to the Post Office on Don MacKay Blvd. to post a birthday card for my sister, then rejoined the group at Mangoes.  It was already 1530 hrs.; as small bite to eat for lunch back home. Then we were off to visit ‘Whiski Mak’ at Marsh Harbour Yacht Club as they had taken a slip for the blow; the Jib Room hosted a cruisers’ potluck happy hour.  ‘Plumpuppet’ had filled their water & diesel tanks & reanchored close to the west side of the harbour.  Some pink sky after sunset.  A dark night with stars & some cloud but no moon till much later.

Fri. Mar. 1, 2013—Day 150:
Destination:  Marsh Harbour
Winds:  WNW 10-12K
Weather:  cloudy, cool, with light rainy period after sunset

Hours, days, weeks & months have not marched but galloped by--- this is March!  The north & westerly winds continued today & are to continue, but seem to have been downgraded some in strength for the weekend; but a secondary stronger front (aftermath) is predicted on Wed. according to Chris.  He believes this to be the last persistent front X 2 weeks with lots of cold air, then strong winds in April returning to the more normal northerly & easterly trades.  A banana pancake breakfast for a nice change.  We dinghied to ‘Second Option’ with computer since I was unable to connect from the distance between our boats & definitely had no problem to connect to their router on their boat.  Onshore we walked to a couple of shops on Restaurant Row (Tupps & Iggy Biggy) then to see the Laundromat (still only cold water but working on it & fewer number of machines), next door to Save-A –Lot, followed by BTC (no English phone instructions & no charge for receiving text messages, but for sending a text message=$0.15/ international text & $0.05 for local) & Maxwells Supermarket; Graeme was on his own.  Back on the boat I started prepping for the dinner party we were hosting with ‘Plumpuppet’ & ‘Second Option’.  Graeme had made arrangements with Mangoes Marina for storing & locking my bike, replenishing water jugs, internet privileges & possibly laundry for a fee.  Thus we were off to shore with bike & computer.  We had difficulty for some reason connecting to the internet, yet on the boat we had no problems; I left Graeme to ask for assistance & work on his emails while I cycled to BTC to register my Bahamian phone so that I may purchase time online, even $1.00, at the end of current service date before the end of every 3 mons. to keep my phone activated & not have to purchase a new SIM card ($14.95)  & maintain the same number.  When I returned a RESET had been activated on my computer; I lost my taskbar (lower right corner icons), my homepage & my toolbar; I was thoroughly pissed off!  A RESTORE was tried that retrieved my taskbar only; more assistance required tomorrow.  We scrambled back to the boat as it was now 1630 hrs. & dinner guests were arriving after 1700 hrs.  A great evening!  Thank you Terri & Bill for the broccoli to accompany the Thai Coconut Chicken  & rice I prepared & Barb & Ken for the brownies for dessert!  A clouded sunset, but there was a conch blowing competition across the harbour between Marsh Harbour Yacht Club & Mangoes; MHYC were clear winners; in fact they were spectacular.  A clouded night sky—no stars, no moon, just illumination of bright anchor lights.

Sat. Mar. 2, 2013—Day 151:
Destination:  Marsh Harbour
Winds:  W 10K, increasing 15-20K          Seas:  1 ft. waves, white caps
Weather:  cloudy, cold, periodic rain showers especially in the afternoon, H= 68F & L=58F

This is a typical picture of cruisers coming & going from shore

Grey, miserable & nasty—words of the day.  My long sleeve T’s & sweat pants were all packed away.  Locals were walking about all bundled up wearing tuques.  According to Chris, what you see is what you get for the next 36 hrs.  On a positive note, there will be relief Mon. & Tues. then again Fri. & onwards.  No sun today, therefore the wind generator was called upon to do it’s magic especially with the strong winds—not too bad a job.  Another new host of the Cruisers’ Net again this am; it is wonderful that several people have stepped up & take turns & thus reduce the workload; it is a terrific service to the cruising world.  Mid morning to Mangoes, where Graeme rode my bike to the Yamaha shop a few miles away for a new anode for the dinghy engine, but the shop was closed. I worked with the help of Ryan to restore my homepage, delete some of the start-up programs, uninstall & reinstall Google Chrome; not many emails so I was able to edit Week 21 & 22 of my blog & insert pictures.  Back on the boat we sat around reading, finishing yet another novel & starting another & doing suduko, pulling on socks & wrapping a blanket around my feet & legs trying to keep warm; I even thought of making some hot chocolate.  The temperature was steadily decreasing from 20C to 16C.  It has been months since we have had the boat totally closed up to preserve warmth.  No sunset, no stars, no moon this evening.

Sun. Mar. 3, 2013— Day 152:
Destination:  Marsh Harbour
Winds:  NW 20K +/-                                            Seas:  1 to 1-1/2ft. waves, white caps
Weather:  cloudy to start & not as grey as yesterday, then sunny periods, H= 66F & L= mid 50’sF

Yup, we had to throw the duvet over us last night!  The howling winds increased to 20K+.  A cold shower, no SSB weather as it was Sunday & no Cruisers net as Graeme dinghied me to shore to catch the bus about 0830 hrs. going to St. Francis de Sales R.C. Church (0900 hrs) via RMHYC & the Haitian community known as the Mudd.  Graeme filled 2 jerry cans of water.  A slightly wet dinghy ride home (full fowl weather gear) against a cold wind.  The sun showed it’s face much more than yesterday, therefore the solar panels took the lead today as far as charging the batteries but in conjunction with the wind generator the results were better today.  Most establishments ie shops are closed on Sundays; Maxwells is open 0900-1200 hrs.  I decided to bake some blueberry muffins to add some warmth to the cabin.  A lazy afternoon of reading, napping & more reading in the cockpit as the sun warmed the cockpit nicely.  Terri & Bill worked on their income tax returns.  But feeling some cabin fever + butt sores from sitting too long, we invited ourselves over to ‘Second Option’ enjoying a couple of hours in their sun warmed cockpit.  Graeme pointed out to us the cold weather clouds passing us by.  Candles were light for their slight warming effect.  There was clearly sunset tonight but it occurred behind land; a lovely orangey sky followed.  We were certainly back to the much to customary rocking motion of the boat, the tugging sound of the anchor especially during the late night hours & the howling winds.  I must say when I get on land I have waves of unsteadiness, mild fuzziness in the head & an almost dizziness of vision.  It was a clear dark night, stars+++ in the sky, no moon until after midnight & a ½ moon at that.

Mon. Mar. 4, 2013— Day 153:
Destination:  Marsh Harbour
Winds:  NNW to N 15K, decreasing to 10K       Seas:  1 ft. waves & white caps to minimum waves
Weather:  sun, blue sky with few clouds during the day

Although cold, the sun shone in the blue sky & it’s warming effect was felt in the enclosure & the cabin.  Graeme rode the bike to Marsh Harbour Boatyard (about 3 mi.) & purchased his water pump fan belt (M19—bought 2= $33.00).  After connecting up my computers to electricity to charge, Terri, Bill & I walked to & all around Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club; the Sea of Abaco on this side was quite calm.  We carried on to Scaggs & split the purchase of 4 individually wrapped lobster tails ($19.00).  Up the hill passed the beach, lovely homes & rental housing & the snorkeling site called Mermaid Reef we could see the rough & trubulent Sea of Abaco with 4 ft. waves from this north westerly direction.  We arrived & checked out Marsh Harbour Marina & The Jib Room; Bill checked for the availability of slips ($0.80 for 2 days or longer but full) & ability for diesel & water fill up.  Finally the long walk back to Mangoes for a well deserved Kalik.  Bill & I inquired at Harbourview Marina price of diesel ($5.72) water ($0.20/gal.) & ease of accessibility.  I then worked on the internet & posting a bit more of my blog.  The wind & waves had died & a few new boats had arrived in the anchorage, one that anchored too close for the upcoming blow; wonder if they move?  Not!   We called a gathering of friends for a drink at The Jib Room—‘Plumpuppet’, ‘Second Option’ & ‘Whiski Mak’.  A lovely sun set behind the land, then a brilliant orangey red sky filled the clear sky.  The night sky was clear & filled of stars & anchor lights & there was a distinct fresh smell to the air; a late rising ½ moon.

Tues. Mar. 5, 2013— Day 154:
Destination:  Marsh Harbour
Winds:  S to N to E to ESE to S to SSW 10K to calm
Weather:  mainly sunny & warmer than last 3 days

Laundry Day & no foul weather gear!

What a difference a day makes!  No howling winds, only calm waters!  A simple glorious, stupendous day!  And everyone came out of the woodwork to do laundry.  In our case it was simply because there was no fear of clean laundry getting wet with sea water.  Unfortunately this was to be the one day of reprieve; Chris re-confirmed that a fast moving cold front would come through Wed. & Thurs., but this would be the last strong westerly & extended cold front for a while.  The laundry was organized, garbage, computer, 1 empty water jerry can were loaded into the dinghy; of course at the last minute Graeme decided to add diesel from the jerry can to the boat tank.  Thankfully we didn’t arrive at Mangoes a minute later, so I was able to grab the 2 washers before others, followed by 1 more wash load, then 2-55 minute dryers; 5 loads X $3.50 = $17.50 (tokens from office).  While doing laundry I was able to work on the internet under the gazebo.  What a waste of another super fantastic day doing laundry!  Afterwards Graeme worked on his emails & I cycled to Maxwells for a few groceries in anticipation of a Thurs. departure to explore other areas of the Sea of Abaco.  No bananas, no bread, & so I stopped at Island Bakery & purchased a raisin cinnamon & a coconut bread, which we split with the Ellis’ ($3.20/ loaf).  The Mailboat for Marsh Harbour arrives & the shelves are stocked every Wednesday.  Quickly as I held the bow & stern lines of the dinghy, Graeme scrubbed the boat’s water line—lots of dirty & green slime.  Dixie & Rex (Wonderland—Dolphin 46) had us over for a lovely evening; a gorgeous & spacious catamaran, decorated with simplistic class.  Rex admitted their proximity to us especially when facing east, but were very congenial about the situation & will monitor & move accordingly.  A phenomenal sunset, red sky with contrasting cold weather clouds, then a clear dark night illuminated with zillions of stars & anchor lights.  A 1/3 moon visible near dawn.


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