Thursday, March 14, 2013

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.

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