Friday, March 22, 2013

Week 25: Mar. 20-26, 2013 (Day 169- 175)

Week 25:

Wed. Mar. 20, 2013—Day  169:
Destination:  Green Turtle Club
Winds:  SES < 5K to W 5-8K
Weather:  mostly sunny & warm, increase cloud late afternoon, H= mid 70’sF & L= 70F

Fires on Great Abaco Island

New Plymouth
A calm, tranquil & warm night.  Once again the forecasted bad weather did not materialize & another expensive night at a marina.  Drier climate this am, pleasant temps & sunny.  After a morning shower, I spent much time on the computer gathering weather info from different sites because the reception of Chris was nothing but poor & discouraging; we are faced to stay another expensive night in the marina with predicted 30-40K winds from midnight till midday Thurs.  But we still have not seen 3 consecutive comfortable days in any predictions to cross to Florida. I think Graeme washed some of the deck & the cockpit & filled the boat’s water tanks.  After lunch we dinghied across to New Plymouth & walked up & down, in & out the concrete roadways.  Before heading back we stopped for a beer at the Wrecking Tree Bar Grill & Bakery.  The skies were beginning to show threatening type clouds so we jumped in our dinghies & motored to check out Black Sound & met Donna & Walter (Windspell) on a mooring ball ($10.00/night)—maybe going to Munjack Cay tomorrow afternoon.  We dinghied back to White Sound to Bluff House Marina & walked about for a very brief time.  With the shift of wind to the west, we experienced ash all over the deck & the cockpit from the fires on Great Abaco Island.   For supper we attended the marina’s steak night special—superb!  A port aperitif on our boat after dinner.  Partially clouded sunset from the fires & clouds with mild west winds.  A light cloud cover & ½ moon & very few stars to nil visible stars in the night sky.

Thurs. Mar. 21, 2013—Day 170:
Destination:  Green Turtle Club
Winds:  NNW 20K to 15K to <10K
Weather:  cool northerly breeze, warm sun, few clouds

Green Turtle Club Pool
The west winds picked up after midnight, especially 0200 to 0600 hrs. when Terri & Bill saw lightning from every direction & winds of 18-23K. I seemed to have slept through the whole thing, only woken in the am when the wind from the stern pushed the boat forward so the bow anchors where hitting against the dock.  It was near impossible to hear Chris again this am; a big power trawler 2 boats to our starboard had all electricals on & we could clearly hear him requesting Chris’ advice for passage from Green Turtle to Cape Canaveral but not the response.  We were told by a few other boaters that Chris reported a 70K squall in Marsh Harbour at 0200 hrs. with HAIL!  Another cold front with high winds predicted for Sat. & Sun. & ? weather Mon. through Wed. because the GSS & Euro models are not in sync.  I was beside myself today, frustrated, depressed & vented in my emails to friends  yesterday & today.  I have to keep reminding myself that there are a lot worse places to be & how lucky I am to be in paradise.  After breakfast & a shower I took my computer to the lounge & in a quiet & peaceful environment worked at some emails & cleaned up areas neglected.  Graeme decided that we were not leaving as originally planned.  I had some lone quiet time  walking to the Ocean Beach & laying on the beach reading X 2-1/2 hrs.  We enjoyed a happy hour of frozen fruity drinks on ‘Second Option’.  Another (#2) shower of the day & another excellent dinner in the dining room; food & drinks towards our dockage fee.  It cooled right down near 1700 hrs. & a great sunset I’m sure somewhere without trees & land to block the view.  A crisp clear night, ½ moon & umpteen stars & very very calm winds.

Fri. Mar. 22, 2013—Day 171:
Destination:  Green Turtle Club
Winds:  E very calm to SE 5-8K
Weather:  glorious sun & blue sky, warm H= 75F

Horseshoes anyone?

A little chilly on the bare legs in shorts this am, but not for long.  Scratchy reception & weather report from Chris; only 1 day, today, of reprieve before we are to be hit with extended number of days of high winds Sat. through Wed.  Thank you Eileen & Bud for emailing me Chris’ report.  Another land shower; why not when it is available & we are paying for it.  Our dockage meal of the day was a lovely breakfast.  Then we checked several weather internet sites.  Late am the Ellis’ & ourselves took off in our dinghies & explored & beachcombed Fiddle Cay (no shells or sea glass), then Crab Cay, where Terri & I found lots of sea biscuits &/or muffins & some sea glass & shells on the Atlantic side.  When we returned the guys were playing a game of horseshoes with a stick in the sand & a piece of plastic shaped like a horseshoe.  No moping today!  When we returned to the marina we found some boats had left to cross the Whale over to Marsh Harbour & others from Treasure Cay & Marsh Harbour area through the Whale to here.  One boat verified 70-78K winds & HAIL!  We had supper on board for a change tonight & met the Ellis in the dining room after they completed their dinners.  Clouds filled in rather quickly before sunset.  Light cloud cover with 2/3 moon barely visible.

Sat. Mar. 23, 2013—Day 172:

Destination:  Green Turtle Club

Winds:  SE 15-20K till sunset, SSW about 10K overnight
Weather:  rain & cloud, humid+++, sunshine late am till late pm, H= 80’ish & L=70’s

A gentle rain, some lightning & thunder & calm winds during the night.  A scratchy weather report on SSB; squalls possible with 30-35K gusts & clocking to SW, then Sun. clocking to W 20-30K (not a good direction for any anchorages here) with ? overnight squalls of 35-40K & clocking to NW Mon. at 20-25K.  So our marina bill increases, as does my grey hairs; one won’t believe how grey I have become, from nearly nothing 5 yrs. ago to this & then there is the weight thing—not looking good.  The rains continued till near mid morning & SE winds increased to 15-20K straight down White Sound; 1 ft. chop with whitecaps.  Some gusts were higher whereby one flexed the wind generator blades enough so one blade hit the support bar & damaged 2 blades.  About noon the sky started to clear & soon the sun broke out, but winds continued.  I worked on the computer till & after lunch.  Graeme & I had a late lunch; this was our meal of the day towards our dockage.  An Italian buffet was on the menu for supper tonight, but expensive ($40.00 each) & some of the food was fish; Graeme doesn’t eat fish & he eats very little so not reasonable to part take in this meal.  The Ellis’ had another meal on their own.  We did go for an after dinner drink(s).  The skies clouded over before sunset & SSW winds decreased.  A mostly cloudy night sky but we caught a glimpse of a ¾ moon.

Sun. Mar. 24, 2013—Day 173:
Destination:  Green Turtle Club
Winds:  SW to WSW-W 20-25K                        Seas:  1 ft. chop & whitecaps in White Sound
Weather:  partly sunny & cloudy am & mostly sunny & warm afternoon with less humidity by sunset, H= 80’s & L= 70’s

Brain Coral
A warm night & calm till dawn, then increased wind velocity with howling SW winds.  We slept in a bit being a Sunday.  The Sea of Abaco was reported to be a sea of white & it’s not looking good for a departure tomorrow as hoped with increase WNW winds.  The bed linen was changed & we watched a fuel freighter skillfully arrive & depart from the dock after breakfast.  Mid morning we walked to the Ocean Beach & combed for shells & sea glass imparticularly along the north end.  We were somewhat protected from the SW winds & so it was very warm.  The dockage meal of the day was lunch (late) again; the wind was blasting through the dining room with the plastic curtains up.  Then we took in the marina pool till 1700 hrs. & read, short nap & a dip in the pool.  A great shower after the day’s activities.  Clouds again at sunset.  A bright 7/8 moon tonight. 

Mon. Mar. 25, 2013-- Day 174:
Destination:  Green Turtle Club
Winds:  SW-WSW to NNW 10-12K in am to 20-15K most of afternoon, then N 15-20Kafter sunset
Weather:  cloudy, brief sunny periods, humid in am, less humidity in pm, H= mid 70’s & L= 60F

At 0300 hrs. I was woken to a sudden but short duration of increased westerly winds, the dinghy ramming into the stern & rain.  Shortly after 0600 hrs. a line of lightning +++ & thunder rumbled through without an increase in wind; very humid.  Chris was more audible this morning; some interference with lightning flashes only; weather forecast was still poor.  Threatening clouds throughout the day especially to the south but there were no squalls as predicted.  After breakfast I walked up to Bluff Point & the Tranquil Turtle & observed 10-12K winds & 1 ft. shop on the Sea of Abaco.  I checked emails & weather on the internet, then Bill & I started cleaning the stainless on our respective boats. Graeme changed the damaged wind generator blades.  Another late lunch in the dining room.  Bill continued working on his stainless, Graeme went to the pool then topped up the water tank, while Terri read as well as I then showered.  A small bite to eat for supper.  Movie night was held on ‘Second Option’; we watched Castaway.  A bit of a pale orangey sky after sunset.  A mix of patchy clouds & clear skies, stars & near full moon tonight & a cool north wind.  This might be our last night!? 

Tues. Mar. 26, 2013-- Day 175:
Destination:  Green Turtle Club to Manjack Cay
Departure:  0945 hrs.                                   Arrival:  1055 hrs.                              Distance:  3.5 NM
Winds:  NNW 15-20K                    Seas:  1-2 ft. rolling waves, mostly whitecapped
Weather:  coolish because of breeze but sunny

Ocean Beach
A comfortable cool quiet night.  Although a scratchy report from Chris, there was not much change over the next few days, nor with Barometer Bob from the Cruisers Net.  Our decision was made—we were going to stick with the plan ie leave this am & make short hops, skips & jumps north & west & cross to Ft. Pierce Sat. or Sun.  My last Bahamian land shower & last emails out to family & the Morrows until we are States side..  Graeme looked after the marina bill; yikes, but as expected.  ‘Second Option’ left first, then ourselves with assistance of the other cruisers; uneventful, a good start to the day.  We were approaching 2 hrs. after high tide exiting the channel, seeing 8-9 ft. depths.  The Sea of Abaco had 1-2 ft. rolling waves, mostly whitecapped & we motored dead into the NNW 15-20K winds.  Five boats already in Manjack Cay anchorage; by evening the total was 10.  We anchored in 9-10 ft. with 100 ft. chain out.  Shortly after lunch we launched the dinghies & went to shore, meeting the island owner, Bill Henderson.  We walked to & along the southern Ocean Beach; the waves were coming in pretty good from the NNW; fine powdery white sand, tiny shells & no sea glass.  We met a friend of Mr. Henderson on vacation & a young Irish couple who were helping cut the casuarina pines, whose root system invades the beach & the sand erodes away.  We took a new path recommended by Mr. Henderson that lead to Coconut Tree Bay, which eventually hooked up to the Ocean Beach Path.  Our hike was >3 hrs. in total.  Back at the boat we had a discussion about our destinations over the next few days in relationship to winds.  WIND DRIVES EVERYTHING!  It was certainly lumpy & bouncy with the NW to NNW winds & the rolling waves from the west.  About 2000 hrs., before it was dark, Graeme noticed we were slowly dragging; we up anchored & reset, setting out 120 ft. chain, I think.  He sat observing & was tracking our position on the GPS for awhile.  A clouded sunset; some orangey sky.  A mix of cloud & clear sky, stars & full moon.  But of most interest was the vivid forest fires still burning on Great Abaco Island to the west despite the rains the last number of days; an orange-red hue was clearly visible in several spots along the island.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Week 24: Mar. 13- 19, 2013 (Day 162- 168)

Week 24:

Wed. Mar. 13, 2013—Day 162:

Destination:  Marsh Harbour
Winds:  SSW about 5K, WWN to N +/- 15K                             Seas:  Minimal
Weather:  cloudy & muggy, short lived rain over the noontime, clearing skies & sun late, less humidity & coolish in afternoon, H= 69-70F & L= 59F

Ladies Mexican Train Table

Men's Mexican Train Table 
A warm & quiet night of sleep.  Some interference but we did get the weather predictions from Chris through the weekend & a possible forecast for next week with a cold front coming the following weekend; therefore it seems to be a weather window to head north & cross over to Florida this weekend, which Plumpuppet will likely to.  Tentatively we were thinking of moving to Treasure Cay on Sat., cross the dreaded Whale to Green Turtle on Sun. & slide north in short hops & cross by Mar. 23rd.  Laundry morning (0900- 1100 hrs.) for me (2 wash loads + 2 dry loads X $3.50= $14.00), current propane tank must be near empty so in anticipation had it filled at Standard Hardware; leave early in am & able to pick up at noon for $15.00.  Internet a BIG problem again today; how frustrating!  To Jib Room for 1430 hrs. to play Mexican Train till 1700 hrs. & I was the big loser again today, as Bill was a the men’s table; 3 tables on the go + 1 bridge table.  We had supper in the cockpit at sunset near 1900 hrs.; still trying to get used to DST.  Then to ‘Second Option’ to connect to their internet via their router & to discuss some form of plan for the coming week.  A partially clouded sunset.  Stars in a clear dark night sky.

Thurs. Mar. 14, 2013—Day 163:
Destination:  Marsh Harbour
Winds:  N & NNW at about 10K in harbour but 15-20K out on the Sea of Abaco
Seas:  minimal in the harbour, 1-2 ft. waves & whitecaps on the Sea of Abaco
Weather:  mix of sun & cloud, cool dry breeze, H= maybe 70F & L= 59’ish

The north winds picked up & woke me at 0100 hrs.; that is a benefit of wind generators, gauging the wind speed.  I peaked outdoors & saw that all was well, read a couple of pages of a new book & fell back to sleep till dawn.  A cold front is now expected Wed. pm through Thurs. from the N & ENE respectively at 20K according to Chris’ forecast given this morning; that throws a kibosh into our plans.  And the cold front previously forecasted for next weekend may be weakening or be non-existent.  In any case, back to the drawing board—will postpone our crossing but will progress northward slowly, beginning with our attendance by ferry to Guana Cay to the Barefoot Man Concert tomorrowà Sat. to Treasure Cayà Sun. or Mon. through the Whale to Green Turtle Cay for now.  Tom from ‘Polar Pacer’ confirmed his foursome added to our 6 definites to purchase 2 books of 10 tickets for the ferry at $21.00 each person return rather than $27.00 regular fare.  Once ashore Terri & I visited Bristol Liquors, Maxwells (groceries), Out Island.Net (questions re internet reception outside of Marsh Harbour) & Kalik Liquors, while Bill & Graeme walked to Albury Ferry Office to purchase ferry tickets.  We retrieved my bike from Mangoes, checked out emails + posted 2+ weeks of my blog without pics, then mid afternoon played Mexican train on ‘Second Option’ rather than with the cut throats at Jib Room.  Again a clouded sunset with a slight pink sky following.  I have failed to mention the religious, ongoing, wonderful conch blowers each night, the best in the Bahamas!  Cool, (wearing long pants & sweaters these days + foul weather gear when out & around in the dinghy + closed pots, hatches & companionway X several nights now), mostly cloudy night with a crescent moon setting late just above a bank of heavy cloud.  

Fri. Mar. 15, 2013—Day 164:
Destination:  Marsh Harbour
Winds:  N 15K+/- to NE & calm at sunset
Weather:  cool! mainly sunny especially by afternoon

"The Gang" at Barefoot Man Concert including Barefoot Man!

The winds stayed up all night & the wind generator worked all night.  Cool temps & breezy in the am as we prepared to attend the Barefoot Man Concert (free) on Guana Cay at Nippers.  We listened as usual to SSB at 0630 hrs. & the Net; we are not entirely sure what the upcoming cold front mid week will bring.  The Ellis’ picked us up in their dinghy & we were waiting at the ferry dock by Curly Tails by 0915 hrs. for the 1030 hrs. ferry; we wanted to be sure to get a seat.  Albury put on 2 boats for this departure for the concert; ours left at 1015 hrs.  The Sea of Abaco was quite lumpy & those boats who left Marsh Harbour for Guana Cay had the wind on their nose, while the boats leaving from Hopetown had a very tight close haul/beat.  A most beautiful view from Nippers overlooking the Atlantic (top of the hill) of the waves rolling in & crashing on shore.  We grabbed a table for 8 & this time I remembered to get a group picture including the Barefoot Man himself.  At 1300 hrs. the concert & music began & the place was rocking till 1800 hrs.  There were lots of college students on Spring Break but more of us cruisers.  Lots of beers & Frozen Nippers were consumed.  We met up with people we had met in Vero, in the Exumas & here in the Abacos.  After the concert we said our goodbyes to Joe & ‘Plumpuppet’ who are crossing the Whale tomorrow & continuing so they can cross the Florida Straits/Gulf Stream to Ft. Pierce on Sunday.  We caught the last ferry at 1830 hrs. back to Marsh Harbour; the winds had died mid afternoon & the water was calm.  What a great day!  A lovely sunset & the conch blowers at Mangoes went nuts tonight.  A clear night, tremendous stars & a sliver moon shone crystal clear in the sky.  

Before the Concert

During the Concert



Sat. Mar. 16, 2013—Day 165:
Destination:  Marsh Harbour to Treasure Cay
Departure:  0830 hrs.                              Arrival:  115 hrs.                              Distance:  14 NM
Winds:  W 1-3K                         Seas:  flat calm
Weather:  cool am only 59F, sunny+++ & pleasantly warm daytime temps H= mid 70’s & L= 64F

Treasure Cay Beach at Low Tide
Winds during the night shifted east through west & calm calm.   It appears the weather forecast has changed some for the coming midweek per Chris’ report; I guess some internet research is in order, if possible of course, because Bill made reservations for us for Tues. at Green Turtle Club which is now a light & variable benign day.  We saw a dolphin close to shore just west of Harbourview Marina.  Many boats left Marsh Harbour yesterday, some of which went to Guana Cay.  A few of us left this am on a rising tide.  The Whale Channel was calm so as we made our way to Treasure Cay we could see a parade of boats doing or had done the Whale.  There was no wind so we motored across the calm Sea of Abaco water.  The crystal clear aqua coloured water (10-12 ft. depths) became cloudy aqua water about 2 miles from shore.  Boats were leaving the anchorage as we anchored.  We sighted turtle(s) X 3, almost running over 1 with the dinghy.  Early afternoon we tied our dinghies at the marina, walked the 2 strips of shops; I was unaware of a largish grocery store.  Then we walked the entire length of the beach from the beach bar looking for shells & sand dollars on a falling tide.  The water was cool until we reached the sandbars & shallows at mid falling tide.  From here we had a view of the calm Whale Channel.  We paid our $10.00 anchorage fee which gave us garbage disposal, shower & pool privileges + WiFi (TC1 or TC2--- beach).  I would love another day like this to simply lie out on the beach & read.  Eleven boats in the anchorage tonight.  The sun set behind the land but was a blazing red with a red sky following that appeared that it was on fire.  A sliver moon, stars+++ in a clear night sky.  I saw a shooting star tonight!

Sun. Mar. 17, 2013—Day 166:
Destination:  Treasure Cay to Joyless Point, Green Turtle Cay
Departure:  0910 hrs.                                   Arrival:  1240 hrs.                              Distance:  15 NM
Winds:  SE & light, then clocking ie SW to WSW at sunset & NNW to SE at bedtime
Seas:  calm & near flat
Weather:  light cloud at start of day but warm, & soon gloriously warm, sunny & blue skies

The Whale Cay Channel at it's best!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
No SSB today (Sunday) + unable to get very much of Cruisers Net in Treasure Cay, but did hear Troy giving the weather report.  After up anchoring we stopped at the fuel dock as we exited the anchorage (not a pretty landing) & added a whole 2.1 gal. of diesel (a bit over $6.00/ gal.!) to the boat tank; then again this was the last stop before getting diesel next in Florida.  The Sea of Abaco & the Whale Cay Channel were calm with maybe a 1 ft. swell, if that—well planned all!  There were only an occasional low crashing waves against Whale Cay, so very benign in a big way.  With less than 5K of wind we motored from treasure Cay, crossing the Whale at 1115 hrs.  & anchoring in a mix of sand & light grass tufts off Joyless point, NW of White Sound & the channel leading to Green Turtle Club & Bluff House Marina with 100 ft. chain in 10 ft. water.  The water was so very clear here; we could follow the anchor chain along the bottom to the anchor without a look-bucket.  We chilled for a couple of hours of reading in the sun on deck.  Mid afternoon we dinghied slowly via the marked channel into White Sound to Green Turtle Club, clearly seeing several large starfish on the bottom; we were checking out the facilities as we had made reservations for tomorrow seeing that the cold front was to arrive; cased out the ease of entry to our assigned slip #11.  A posh & expensive resort especially drinks & food prices (1 beer + 1 rum drink= $16.00)!  The 2 marinas here in White Sound were having a March special whereby one can apply their meal expenses towards dockage fees ($1.50/ft.) & that was our reason for trying it out.  We walked to Coco Bay & onto Ocean Beach at low tide; a few small shells & fewer sea glass.  We were back at the boat before sunset, just as a bank of clouds moved in, yet we still had some pink evening sky.  A light cloud cover tonight with ¼ moon & a few stars.

'Second Option' in the Whale 
Mon. Mar. 18, 2013-- Day 167:
Destination:  Joyless Point, Green Turtle Cay to Green Turtle Club
Departure:  1055 hrs.                           Arrival:                                              Distance:
Winds:  S to SE, calm at start & increased to 15K late am & 20K most of the rest of the day with whitecaps even in the anchorage, then decreased to 10-12K at sundown
Weather:  mix of sun & cloud with increased cloud midday

A quiet calm night with near no wind; the wind generator came on for a brief time predawn.  Chris was almost impossible to understand this morning because there was so much interference; must be weather induced.  Graeme made out bits & pieces.  We heard weather from Cruisers Net & that’s about all.  Some weight & theraband exercises & reading most of the am till the tide rose enough that we felt we could enter White Sound without going aground.  Donna & Walter (Wind Swept—Island Packet 38) dinghied by & stopped to say hello; they snorkeled No Name Cay yesterday & off to snorkel the reef off Fiddle reef today; they are on a mooring ball in Black Sound—shallow.  The wind suddenly picked up as did the waves; whitecaps started to appear.  We up anchored & made our way to Green Turtle Club where we had reservations (slip #11), 2 hrs. before high tide; we saw 8 ft. at 1st channel markers (1st sign), 6.5 ft. at 1st mooring ball channel markers, then mostly 8 ft. until the entrance into the sound’s anchorage area, 7 ft. & 12 ft. in the actual anchorage area.  Lots of excellent assistance dockside to tie up.  On registering we chose the ‘Free Dockage Special’ ($1.50/ ft. & use the food & beverage purchases towards dockage fees = $54.00, rather than $0.90/ft.  We had lunch at the Green Turtle Club = $43.00 including 15% gratuity & then a few drinks later in the afternoon.  Internet down!  I can’t believe it!  In frustration I removed my bike from the garage & rode to the point overlooking the area we anchored at last night (quite lumpy!), to the Bluff House Marina & past the dump on the way to New Plymouth to the Ocean Beach—no shells.  We were all too full from lunch, so no supper but all showered & then played Mexican Train.  Cloudy at sunset & cloudy & raining at night.

Tues. Mar. 19, 2013—Day 168:
Destination:  Green Turtle Club
Winds:  SSW to SW calm to 8K, W late afternoon about 5K to flat calm, not a breath
Weather:  warm & muggy, cloudy & brief near sunny periods

New Plymouth
 Light rain throughout the night with periods of more steady rain.  A discouraging weather report again for several days from Chris & from Cruisers Net & changed from the day before + conflicting forecast from internet sites.  The apparent cold front today with predicted squalls & high winds did not materialize.   On Wed. night & Thurs. am we are to experience a converging of 2 cold fronts & squalls; will that materialize?  Between weather & my inability to bring up emails, I’m was totally frustrated, impatient & had a great longing to be home.   We saw 2 dolphins swimming in the harbour mid morning at breakfast; this is apparently a common phenomenon when the waters are calm.  Threatening skies & predicted squalls with high winds made us indecisive to dinghy to New Plymouth.  Once the office staff got me online I worked on a few emails & added pictures to my blog.  The Ellis’ did 1 load of laundry (?$4.50 per load) from 1100-1500 hrs.  Mid afternoon I cycled to New Plymouth, in & out of streets, cemetery, water front, Gilman Beach (shoreline lined with lovely, brightly painted homes); a sore ass & no sea glass, calm seas out on the Atlantic & the Sea of Abaco.  Lots of boats had moved into the marina tonight.  We stayed another night because of the pending weather, which did not happen & so applied a good breakfast ($28. 64) & amazing supper & wine ($74.07) at the restaurant towards our dockage.  A clouded sunset, then some clearing & blue sky with a red hue in the NW.  In the night sky a near ½ moon & few stars were visible through the light cloud cover.   


Week 23: Mar. 6- 12, 2013 (Day 155- 161)

Week 23:

Wed. Mar. 6, 2013—Day 155:
Destination:  Marsh Harbour
Winds:  SW & calm to W at 20-30K
Seas:  calm to wind driven short interval <1 ft. to 2 ft. chop by midday, white caps of course
Weather:  mainly sunny, some fair weather clouds, warm in the sun but cool in the strong midday winds, more threatening clouds at sunset to the north

Unique Marsh Harbour Residence
I guess the calm of night & dawn was the calm before the storm.  By 0900-1000 hrs. there was an incremental increase in west winds, just as Chris said in his synopsis.  Because it was near still calm at 0800 hrs. we had breakfast, I showered, washed the dishes, made a sandwich for lunch, packed up my backpack, dressed in layers for varied weather & temps & Graeme dropped me off at Mangoes.  I had almost reached the ferry dock to take the 0900 hrs. ferry to Hopetown as I was going to crew for Joe (Gemini—Tartan 3700) in the Hopetown race at 1055 hrs. when I received a phone call that the race was cancelled/postponed till tomorrow.  My brisk walk became a more leisure touristy walk back.  Now new arrangements were made with the Ellis’—will take the 0900 hrs. ferry to Hopetown tomorrow for the day; if the race is on, I will crew for Joe, otherwise we will enjoy a day there.  By noon the winds were blowing from the west at 20-30K, Brown Tips cancelled re diving our boat to check the anodes, I had to quit cleaning the rust marks on the transom & the port deck & I cancelled going to shore all because  it was too windy.  The anchorage was a sea of white.  I am getting worn down re all these extended cold fronts that lay us up for usually more than a week at a time; boat bound & no activity, just sitting around reading, suduko, eating & drinking & today concerned about a boat too close to us with these weather conditions drives me a little carzy.  Dark clouds mostly to the north, a sunset & orangey sky. A clear, dark, howling, windy night.

Thurs. Mar. 7, 2013—Day 156:
Destination:  Marsh Harbour
Winds:  N 15-20K, decreased to 12-14K early afternoon & 10-12K after sunset 
Seas:  1-2 ft. waves out on the Sea of Abaco
Weather:  Mainly cloudy but frequent sunny breaks

On Hopetown Ferry
The Gemini Race Team
The howling strong winds settled some about 0200 hrs. & clocked more north of west, so by dawn the anchorage was quite calm & the winds north.  It was difficult to hear Chris as there was a lot of background interference, especially at some critical points.  Showers for both of us, breakfast & dishes done & by 0750 hrs. we were dinghying to Tupps dinghy dock with Terri & Bill.  The four of us walked about 1 mile to the ferry dock (15-20 min.) & took the 0900 hrs. ferry to Hopetown ($27.00 return trip each).  I met Joe, the race was a go, so the others walked up & down & all around Hopetown while I crewed for Joe along with Ray & Mike.  The 5 minute gun went off at 1055 hrs., we had a good start & were 1st around the windward mark, 2nd around the jib & leeward marks, then in the lead again at the windward mark & back to 2nd around the leeward mark.  The last & windward leg was the best; we were able to point higher & Joe played the lifts & knocks perfectly, the sails were trimmed near perfect against our nearest competitor, a J95 suited with full carbon sails.  Our other competitor, an Erickson, made a tactical error & was out of the picture.  Those factors made the difference & we crossed the finish line 1st.  On corrected time ?  We had a victory beer then brought the boat back to it’s mooring ball.  Famished we met Terri, Bill & Graeme & had lunch at about 1415 hrs.  We spent the remaining 2 hrs. walking all the places the 3 had done all day before catching the 1700 hrs. ferry back to Marsh Harbour.  More walking & a dinghy ride back to the boat just in time for the setting sun; a spectacular picture of the red sun in a clear band just above a line of low clouds over the land.  A red sky followed, then a mix of clear sky & stars & some patchy cloud on another dark night.

Hopetown Lighthouse
Colourful Hopetown

Fri. Mar. 8, 2013—Day 157:
Destination:  Marsh Harbour to Scopley Rocks, Man-O-War Cay                                                Departure:  0915 hrs.                          Arrival:  1035 hrs.                                 Distance:  5 NM
Winds:  N 10K to NNW 10-15K                              Seas:  1-2 ft. & choppy
Weather: partly sunny & cloudy, fresh temps  with H= low 70’s & L= 60’ish

Man-O-War Cay Atlantic Beach
Good quiet night & solid sleep.  Terrible interference on SSB at 0630 hrs. for weather.  Joe hailed us with race results—we finished FIRST!  As we prepared for departure we had VHF chats with ‘Plumpuppet’ (moving somewhere tomorrow) & ‘Whiski Mak’ (moving south to Little Harbour today).  Small whitecap chop on some of the less than 1 ft. waves.  We were motoring along about 30 degrees off the wind & no attempt made to try to sail (?).  We took a look see only at the anchorage off the beach above Scopley Rocks, but Graeme thought it was too shallow; how did we anchor in there 2 yrs. ago?  We dropped the anchor at Scopley Rocks but to near the cable so reanchored—100 ft. chain in 10 ft. water.  After noontime we dinghied to Man-O-War Cay Marina dinghy dock then walked Bay St., then up & over the hill to the beach; we beach walked to the south end, visited the cemetery, & a local took Terri & I in her golf cart to the bakery; we had passed it as there was no sign but close & across from the cemetery.  The marina restaurant closed for lunch at 1430 hrs. so we had to settle for an ice cream cone.  Near 1600 hrs. we dinghied back to the boat; a semi wet ride as the seas had increased & of the rolling & choppy kind.  We had a Skippers Meeting & decided a tentative plan for the next few days  so we would be back in Marsh Harbour on Wed. Mar. 13th & ferry to Guana Cay to the Barefoot Man Concert on Mar. 15th.  A very bouncy evening; I wonder how much sleep anyone will get tonight?  We lifted the dinghy.  The sun set behind clouds, but a red sky occurred above the low cloud cover.  Mainly clear skies with stars on another dark night.

Sat. Mar. 9, 2013—Day 158:
Destination:  Man-O-War Cay to Tavern Cay, southern anchorage, Tilloo Cay
Departure:  0800 hrs.                               Arrival:  1015 hrs.                              Distance:  11 NM
Winds:  N 10-15K                             Seas:  1 ft. & whitecaps
Weather:  mix of sun & clouds, cold—H= maybe 70F & L= 61F

Tavern/ Tilloo Cay

Happy Birthday Maureen!
Large swells are expected in the Bahamas for several days because of massive area of gale force winds off the Carolinas—the reason for the bouncy night last night; nevertheless I slept.  Chris was much clearer this am but he did not have encouraging news re weather.  Although we made a plan for several days we will alter them daily as required.  It has been so discouraging with all these fronts & weather too cold for swimming/snorkeling or even reading on deck & too windy; as the months pass I feel so boat bound & want to be home.  We listened to the Cruisers Net as we were underway to Tavern Cay.  Due to the wind direction the northern anchorage was too unprotected & experiencing whitecaps & waves + swells from Tilloo Cut.  Thus we were the 1st 2 boats that anchored in the southern anchorage with 100 ft. chain in 11 ft. water in a falling tide; other boats both sail & trawlers pulled in during the day for a total of 10 by sunset.  A clouded sunset with few patches of red sky & mix of cloud & clear sky with stars. 

Sun. Mar. 10, 2013—Day 159:
Destination:  Tavern Cay
Winds:  NNE 10-15K                   Seas:  <1 ft. to 1 ft crossing to Tahiti Beach, light whitecaps
Weather:  heavy cloud with few sunny periods, very cool, H= 70F if that & L= 60F

Tilloo Cut
Tahiti Beach at Low Tide

Daylight Saving Time, so we lost 1 hr. of sleep, but then again being Sunday we did not have to rise early to listen to 0630 hrs. SSB.  The wind generator worked all night but the water was calm as the winds shifted slightly easterly to NNE.  Rage conditions at all the cuts were reported today; the Net asked that no one attempt a departure, as they have had 2 deaths in similar conditions.  The American Embassy in Nassau asked Americans not to go out.  These cold & windy conditions have not been good for local dive operations; in fact Troy of Dive Guana sounded down today on the Net.  And no improvement is expected all week.  It has been nearly 2 weeks since we crossed to Abacos & weather & temps have been the pits; it may have been better to stay in the Exumas.  Late am we climbed into the dinghy & explored the shoreline of Tavern Cay, south then north, where we saw 2 large starfish.  We then crossed to Tahiti Beach at low tide, beaching the dinghy on the spit of sand, chatted with a few people & picked a few small shells.  To the east & in the distance we could see the rage conditions at Tilloo Cut; the waves were rolling & crashing against, up & sometimes over the rocky shore.  I wanted to walk Elbow Cay up the road toward the east shore to get a look at the Atlantic but was out voted & so we dinghied across to Lubbers Quarters & passed Cracker P’s & Lubbers Landing, returning to the boat mid pm.  Afterwards & for the rest of the afternoon till after sunset over to ‘Second Option’ where Graeme & I tried to remember the rules & teach Terri & Bill the game Mexican Train, as we munched on poppycock & popcorn & beverage of our choice.  There were only 3 boats here tonight.  A clouded sunset but an orangey red sky.  A few clouds this dark night but amazing stars in the clear areas of the sky.

Mon. Mar. 11, 2013—Day 160:
Destination:  Tavern Cay to Marsh Harbour
Departure:  0910 hrs.                                 Arrival:  1150 hrs.                            Distance:  14 NM
Winds:  E to SE by sunset at 5-10K                  Seas:  1 ft. or less with occasional whitecaps
Weather:  mix of sun & cloud but it felt warmer, H= low 70’s & L= mid 60’s

A Marsh Harbour Sunset

Happy 65th Birthday Lynn!
The winds gusted up & down during the night & shifted from NNE to E by dawn.  It seemed that Chris had a slightly new schedule for Spring DST—SSB 4045: 0630-0700 hrs., 8104: 0700-0800 hrs. & again 4045: 0800-0900 hrs. & this morning he seemed more attentive to time.  And yup a massive cold front was on it’s way & the sea swells were still horrendous.  After the Net we up anchored & motorsailed with the jenny only as the wind direction & required route around Lubbers Bank dictated.  We anchored near the same spot as last week in Marsh Harbour—80 ft. chain in 7.4 ft water 2 hrs. before low tide.  Mid afternoon we dinghied to Tupps dinghy dock, disposed of our bag of garbage & connected to internet for myself while Graeme refilled 1 water jerry can, emptied 1 diesel jerry can into the boat tank & filled the dinghy engine tank.  We met up with Joe doing his laundry at Mangoes, then Terri & Bill for drinks.  After a quick supper we dinghied to ‘Second Option’ & phoned Lynn to express birthday wishes to her on her 65th.  We reminisced our travels thusfar, discussed plans for tomorrow & the next few days & plans & expectations for crossing back to the USA.  A clouded sunset & heavy threatening clouds advancing from the east which seemed to dissipate, so the dark night sky was clear filled with stars.  

Tues. Mar. 12, 2013—Day 161:
Destination:  Marsh Harbour
Winds:  S 10-15K                             Seas:  minimum chop
Weather:  sunny & cloudy mix, warm & humid, H= low to mid 70’sF & low = upper 60’s

Happy Birthday Donna!
I slept soundly through a quiet night, waking just before 0630 hrs.  Although reception was surprisingly fine for Chris, our unit’s batteries suddenly died; when replaced then the unit needed resetting, so we missed weather predictions.  We did listen to the Net.  To the Conch Inn Marina for 1 jerry can each of diesel & gas; there we met Canadians from Blind River who just finished a charter & gave us the remains of their provisions.  Mid am to shore to hopefully Skype my sister & post my blog & pics but the internet was on & off mostly, & when on was super, super slow—CRAP!  To the Jib Room at 1300 hrs. to really learn the rules of Mexican Train as we played along; 2 tables of 5 & 6 players respectively; our table didn’t finish till 1615 hrs.  First pizza night with happy hour drink specials was held at Mangoes from 1730-1900 hrs.; in attendance was Gemini, Plumpuppet, Second Option. Whiski Mak & ourselves—a superb time!  A partial cloudy sunset with a red hue on the underside of mackerel clouds.  Stars, stars & more stars in the many clear patches in the sky.