Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We are on the move-Eleutheura, Spanish Wells, and Harbor Island

We left Rock Sound on Eleutheura to sail about 20 miles north to South Palmetto.  We had an enjoyable sail but had a hassle anchoring.  We put it down and pulled it up four times until we were satisfied that it was dug in.  It was the first time that we had problem setting the Rocna anchor but less problems than the other boats with different anchors.  The bottom looked like sand but was rather hard with little loose sand.  We wanted it to be set because strong winds were predicted while we planned to be here.

Junk Sculpture in background

One of the pretty homes
We walked across to the ocean side to a gorgeous beach.  Carl, Marilyn, Al and I met Chuck, Sondra and their cockapoo, Freckles, there for a long walk on a gorgeous beach.  They had an interesting way of keeping the beach clean.  They made artwork out of the flotsam by hanging it the dead trees.  Very interesting!  On the way back we saw some cute homes.   Later everyone came to Blue Heaven for dinner and a game of Mexican Train Dominoes.

The winds came as predicted but we were able to get into land for a long walk the next day.  However, for most of the day we just hung out on the boat.  We were thankful that the anchor held in the consistent 20 knots.

My rug is complete!
Anglican Church, Governor's Harbor
We moved the next day all of 5 miles to Governor’s Harbor on Eleutheura.  It was a very gentle sail so I was able to finish the edging on my rug.  Al actually took a picture of me with the rug while we were sailing.   Once again anchoring was a problem in the harbor for the other two boats but we found patch of sand and I told Al to drop it in the light blue spot.  It held the second time we put it there.  Eliora got so frustrated after numerous tries that they went around the bend to another beach.  We walked the town which had more than the other settlements we had been to lately. There were two decent grocery stores, dive shop, clothing store, and two wine and spirit stores.   The library and Anglican Church were two interesting buildings along the waterfront.

The next move was to Alabaster Bay which basically was a beach area with Cocodimama Resort.  I got some kayaking done around the bay and later we enjoyed a drink in the resort.  They had a wonderful sitting area with sofas.  What a pleasure to sit on a sofa!   We have not been on one since when we were home at Thanksgiving.  Oh, such simple pleasures!  Then we went to Discovery for a shared delicious dinner.  You can see we are not starving!

We finally had a longer day to get to the northern end of Eleutheura (a 110 mi. island) which was a brisk sail of 33 miles.  We wanted to go through Current Cut at slack tide but got there about an hour sooner than we expected due to stronger winds than expected.
We got through it fighting about 2 knots of current, but it wasn’t too bad.  What did surprise us was to see snorkelers in the cut. Since the winds were light and out of the west we anchored at Meek’s Patch which is about 2 miles across from Spanish Wells.  Another boat, Tilt, joined us once again.

Flowers covered the graves.
We all took our dinghies across to walk the settlement of Spanish Wells.  This settlement is a more prosperous than many of the places in the Exumas and other islands.  It had the first large grocery like we see in the USA.  The cemetery was a sight to see with all the flowers!  Some lovely homes and numerous stores are here but not much choice for restaurants.  I will say I have not been impressed with Bahamian cuisine.  It is mostly hamburgers, chicken or ribs or fried conch, fish or chicken fingers.  I like fish, but not fried and not with the heads! 

Street on Harbor Island

Pink Beach
Golf carts and people lined up for funeral
Out of the group of boats, Al and I were the only ones who had not been to Harbor Island, so we went by fast ferry for the day.   This is even a wealthier island with lots of well-to-do visitors.  The homes and prices for food or clothing were definitely catering to the wealthy.  When we got off the ferry, we noticed many Bahamians dressed to impress.  We thought that there must be a wedding.  We walked past the Anglican Church which had canopy and chairs outside and lots of people milling around.  After a walk to the “Pink Beach” and lunch at a lovely spot overlooking the ocean, we came by the church and services were still going on.  We asked one of the many waiting in the golf carts what was going on, and it was not a wedding but a funeral.  We were told the preacher had not spoken yet (at least 30 to 45 min.) and then there would be a parade afterwards to the food and beverage to celebrate this woman’s life.  It looked like around two hundred people were there!  On these small islands, I guess everyone knows each other or are related.
The island had some very attractive homes and streets than other places we visited.  Going to and from Harbor Island the ferry had to go what they call the “Devils Backbone.”  It is an area with many reefs and even the ferry had to zigzag through the maze.  You can see why they recommend that you hire a pilot to take you through on your own boat.  The day was a nice change of pace. 

We are off in the morning to head north to the Abacos planning to be around Little Harbor.  It is a 50 some mile trip so we will be up and out early.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Week of Losses

Look at the determination on his face!
Mahi Mahi that was lost.
On Monday, March 14th we finally departed George Town to head back.  We wanted to go to Cat Island but the wind did not co-operate so we and several other boats decided to go up the Exuma chain to Black Point and then cross over to Eleuthera from there.  Al threw out his fishing lure and had a nibble but it got away rather quickly.  A while later, we heard the whiz of the reel and he had on a nice mahi mahi.   While I tried to slow the boat down by heading into the wind, Al struggled to reel it in.  I grabbed my camera to take some shots.  Good thing I did because as soon as it was to the back of the boat and Al was ready to gaff it, the hook broke away from the lure and bye-bye fish.  Oh well, at least he finally had a hit!  And I was so looking forward to fish for dinner!   

Anchorage at Black Point
Once in at the anchorage we had dinner on Discovery with Carl and Marilyn and Sondra and Chuck on Eliora whom we met on Christmas day at the restaurant and again in George Town and whom we are traveling with for a while.

We stayed put another day in Black Point and discovered that Bill and Marge Goettle, long time sailing association friends, were in the harbor.  We did some hiking and enjoyed dinner on Blue Heaven with them.  We had fun catching up on what each had been doing during the winter.

The next day we left to go out Dotham Cut to cross over to the island of Eleuthera.  Unfortunately it was not slack tide so we ended up going through what they call a rage.  We had all ports and hatches closed but somehow missed our favorite Teva sandals (that are perfect for walking beaches) wedged onto the deck next to the cockpit.  We hit a wave that flowed over the bow giving us green water over the deck and our shoes must have flowed right out the back with it.  We are thankful we did not see them go over, because your first inclination would be to try and save them, and there was no way we could have safely done that with rocks on both sides of the cut.  The green water also found its way into our forward head.  We are not sure if it came down our dorade vent or our ventilation fan.  We also had the seat knocked out of the dinghy which was tied on deck on the bow, but luckily got caught on the furling line and so we were able to save it.  The plastic cover on the port bow light was also knocked off and lost.  We will definitely go through cuts a bit differently in the future.  Live and learn!

We anchored in Rock Sound and just chilled once we got in.  The next day we walked to an interesting cave and blue hole.  Unfortunately, there are no pictures because I took my camera but had no memory card in it because I downloaded pictures that morning and left it in the computer.  Live and learn again!  Later that day everyone in our group went in for Happy Hour at a nice place called Four Points.
Chris from Tilt, Sondra from Eliora and Marilyn from Discovery

The guys enjoying Happy Hour

So we lost various things all week, but nothing compares to the loss that we got word about by email that night.  Al’s father died unexpectedly from a brain bleed.  It’s so difficult being so far away.  Al’s mother planned for him to be cremated and have the service when we get home.  We are comforted by the fact that it happened so quickly that he never suffered.  We will miss him dearly.

We hope next week is a better week.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Regatta Continues

Model made with styrofoam hull.
Busy, busy with little time to rest!  What a great second week of Regatta.  Monday was the small boat races.  They had small model boat races mostly made by kids. 
Sailing Inflatables
  Then there were sailing inflatables which could have used whatever they wanted for wind power.  Some used kites (which did not work), bed sheets, tarps, and umbrellas.  It was great fun to watch. 
Next were small sailboat races.  My favorite was the Sunfish with the sailing dog.  They also had kayak races which I would have liked to enter but our friend Don on Jubilee was giving an infosession on photography which I wanted to attend.  Not enough hours in the day to do everything!


I once again tried Bocci in the tournament.  It was my partner’s second time playing also.  We should have got a prize for the fastest team to be eliminated.  Boom, bang, it was a shut out at 13 – 0!  I think I need to practice more.  Later that day we were a team with the Mershons for Trivial Pursuit.  The only thing we walked away with was a memory of the beautiful radiant sunset and how some people dressed for the “Pure Gold” theme.

Wednesday was the Around Stocking Island race so Al and Dave sailed on Jubilee with Don and Sue and Doug from Bad Boy.  Toni and I decided to take advantage of the day away from the guys to hit the stores and have lunch at the Peace n’ Plenty, a nice restaurant and hotel in town.  It was so nice not to eat hamburger or ribs, the mainstay of the restaurants in the Bahamas!  After the guys returned we went to St. Francis Resort for a post race party where I was one of the judges for the baked goods made on the boats that raced that day.  It was a snap judging seven entries, much different than judging 30-80 or more items at many of the local fairs that I judge back home.  

The next day was slow with Al wanting to attend the infosession on fishing.  I hope he learned something for the trip back seeing he hasn’t caught anything with that new fishing rod he got for Christmas.  The morning was spent getting the extension of 90 more days to be able to stay in the Bahamas.  Why they just don’t give you the 180 days at the beginning is beyond me.

I am explaining about rug hooking.
Hooked Rug Display
Friday was the Arts and Crafts fair at Volleyball Beach.  I displayed my hooked rugs and had fun educating people on the process and getting some people interested in the hobby.  I had found one other fellow rug hooker on a boat who displayed her things next to me.
In the afternoon I went to the “ Eating Well on a Boat”  infosession.  She demonstrated making bread, English muffins, an apple pie, and pizza on the beach.  Since I do food demonstrations, I know how much work it is to put together a demo, but to bring everything from a boat in a dinghy had to be a lot of work!   We got to sample her Lobster Dip and Banana Muffins. Yum!  

2nd Place Winner, Al, Dave, Don, Sue and D
 Awards night had our guys take second place in the Class A boats for the Around the Island race and afterwards another romp roaring dance at the Chat ‘n Chill.

Rope Dancer
Kids Junkanoo band with a little adult help.
The last day of Regatta was Saturday and it ended with the Talent Show chair by our friend and fellow sailing club member Sue Engler on Jubilee.  It was a lot of fun with great acts including singers, a Bahamian modern dance group, a child’s Junkanoo band, the high school band, a rope dancer (the guys really liked her!), a skit that had a sax player and an opera singer included and others.  It was a great way to end the two weeks over in Regatta Park in George Town even though it was a brisk windy night.

We plan to leave to start heading back in the next day or two.  We have to wait and see which direction the wind blows to determine where we will go.  We would like to go to Cat Island but the wind often does not co-operate.  Dave and Toni have guest coming next week so they will be staying as well as Jubilee will be staying for the rally to Long Island.  So we will be parting ways  for awhile but might catch each other later in the waterway or the Chesapeake.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Romp Rolling Regatta

Sign-ups for Cruisers  Regatta
Ladies in our Regatta tee shirts
Tee-shirt design entries
What a busy week and we still have one more to go!  It started with registration on Volleyball Beach on Monday where you signed up for what activities you wanted to participate in.  Al and Dave found two more guys to be a team for the Coconut Challenge, Mershons and us will be a team for Ultimate Trivial Pursuit and I signed up for  the Bocci Tournament and to display my rugs for the Arts and Craft Fair.  They had people vote for their favorite tee-shirt design which will be next year’s tee shirt design.  Giveaways and music were all part of the scene.

One of the dinghy in parade.
Tuesday’s activities included a dinghy parade which went all over Elizabeth Harbor.  Afterward we, Mershons and Sherry on Bad Boy were a station over in Georgetown for the Dinghy Poker Run.  We handed out the one card for our station encouraging people to enjoy the drink special, buy two get one free at the restaurant we were located.  People had to have gone to five places to pick up a card and take them back to Volleyball beach to hand them in to see who had the best poker hand.  Then we dashed over to the beach with a dessert which I had made that morning for a Meet and Greet with prizes for the Poker Run participants and a wonderful pick up band that played the night away.  Wow, what a busy day!

Sue decked out for Pet Parade
Wednesday was dead calm, so we zoomed over to town to get water, food, fuel and internet like the majority of cruisers.  After lunch the rain came which was nice for cleaning off the boat.   
The Pet Parade and big Opening Night Free Dinner sponsored by Indiantown Marina were on the schedule for the day.  It cleared so we headed over to Volleyball Beach for the activities.  They only got about four dogs shown and it started to rain and it rained for the next two hours, something that doesn’t happen in Georgetown too often.  People scattered back to their boats if they were close, but the rest of us tried to get into Chat n’ Chill which was a near impossibility, it isn’t that big.  
 However, we held firm and at five o’clock the free drink started and people started coming in wearing their rain gear to get their free meal.  Luckily, the rain finally let up to let us enjoy our barbecue and dancing on the deck with another pick-up band.  This will be an opening night that won’t be forgotten!

The "Geezers" Team for Coconut Challenge

The next day was the big Coconut Challenge.  Our men’s team, “The Geezers,” was ready for the challenge.  The first activity is where almost a thousand coconuts are dumped in the small harbor in back of Volleyball Beach.  The teams and their dinghies are lined up.  The members must be wearing a life jacket, somewhere on their body, and only one leg and one arm are permitted in the water for each participant.  The horn is blown and everyone paddles to try to get the most coconuts.  There were five gold coconuts which were worth more points.  One bucket is allowed so of course splashing others occurs.  Our guys did quite well with 57 coconuts and one gold but not as well as the two half as young couples who had twice as many and four gold coconuts!  There was also a toss the coconut threw a ring, rolling a coconut to knock down a bottle and tossing a coconut over the volleyball net into certain point rings.  It was a great time and a tiring morning!  An afternoon nap was a must have!  

Heeled quite a bit in the race.
Then Saturday was to be the around Stocking Island Race but due to strong winds they decided to do the more protected in Elizabeth Harbor Race.  Mershons, Maugers and Englers were all on Engler’s boat, Jubilee. We were neck and neck with one other boat for most of the race but unfortunately the other boat, Voyager, pulled ahead near the end.  We won’t know the results until Award Night next week.  Since there are ratings for different boats it is hard to tell who won, but it doesn’t matter because we had fun and that is the name of the game!   I think Al just might find some muscles he did not know he had after the Coconut Challenge yesterday and grinding those winches today.
Jubilee neck in neck with Voyager in the In Harbor Race