April 1 - April 27, 2007: Treasure Cay back to Old Bahama Bay
We left Treasure Cay around 0930 to ensure that the water level was sufficiently high for our draft, even in a spring tide. The trip to Man of War Cay was just about 7-8 nm. Thus, we went slowly, enjoyed the scenery. Anchoring was another story as the depth on the chart did not really coincide with reality. We hit rock where we were supposed to have 3.4m of water. Juergen got us off in just a few seconds, and we anchored further outside than we really cared for. The weather was good, the wind fairly calm, and it was supposed to be a day anchorage anyway. We were on the boat, watching, observing, having lunch, talking to Byron on the VHF radio (Ariel's flight was delayed. They did not know when they would be able to depart by boat to meet up with us inside the harbor of Man of War Cay). We agreed to speak around 1800 again but we also kept channel 16 on standby.
They arrived at the mooring around 1730 and called to tell us that they were not sure whether or not we would find a mooring in sufficiently deep water. We lifted anchor and began going towards the harbor entrance - though high tide was not for another two hours or so. To the entrance was easy, the water comfortably deep, but then... well, there also was no mooring left for us but the gas dock was available (the Belgian catamaran we had already seen at Old Bahama Bay was tied up there) but there was sufficient room for us, and we tied up at the gas dock for the night. Byron and the kids came over - you can read all about this under "Friends and Family: Visit with the Moger Family".
Today, April 3, we joined Byron and family on their boat to go to Hope Town on Elbow Cay where they wanted to stay overnight. We could not get there with Impromptu and agreed to take the ferry back to Boat Harbor where Impromptu had been tied up at a dock this morning.
Hope Town is a gorgeous place - reputed to be the most beautiful town in the Bahamas. Though we have by far not seen all, after having seen this little town, we consider its reputation well-deserved. We visited its light house, dating back to the 19th century, which is famous as one of very few left to be operated with kerosene light and the proper fresnel lenses to shine for about 20 nm. The amazing thing, no charge, not time limit to be up there, enjoying the scenery with a view to die for. Check out our Gallery.
We had been told that the last ferry was to depart at 1815. After Byron and family went back to their boat, we sat down in a local joint - very colorful with lots of atmosphere - I could have stayed for hours, and I think, Juergen, too - for a beer and a few chips. Suddenly, around 1750, I saw the ferry go by. I quickly checked with the restaurantn owner who immediately went on the VHF to call the ferry and to find out that 1750 is the last departure. She told the captain that she had two people who still needed to catch it and who would run over to the ferry dock quickly. He promised to come back (had departed already). Thank God we had paid already and ran as fast as we could. The ferry arrived, we jumped on, and off we were, to be taken all the way into our marina where the ferry happens to dock overnight. It was just amazing, all done with a big smile and a friendliness unknown to us in the "cold North".
Byron wants to take his family fishing tomorrow, April 4, - we don't know yet whether or not we will do the same - are not that eager even though we for sure would love a wonderful piece of freshly caught fish... We for sure will meet up with them again in the late afternoon in one of the three bays of Great Guana Cay.
Well, Byron did not catch any fish - we did not go to even try, instead went to Manjack straight, where boats happened to arrive at the same time. We anchored and had dinner together on our boat - shrimp in tomato sauce with garlic and a little spice and herbs, brown rice and fresh peppers and zucchini, cookies for dessert.
This morning, April 5, the weather forecast for later today and the following few days was terrible, relatively speaking, particularly since Byron and family must go through the Whale Cay passage again to get back to Marsh Harbor. We informed them of this fact and we all decided to go back to Marsh Harbor today - they to Boat Harbor because their dockage is free - we will, however, go into Marsh Harbor itself this time as we expect to have to stay put for a few days, and there are restaurants and shops in walking distance (though over Easter, all the shops are closed by law). We expect to leave this morning around 1100 - 1200 and get into Marsh Harbor around 1600 or so, all depends on how bad the Whale Cay passage is already - though we hope it will be ok.
Internet access has been really bad. I cannot upload photos. So, please bear with me until that is possible again, hopefully in Marsh Harbor.
Well, if you want to read up on our adventure today, please check under Family and Friends "Visit with the Mogers". It for sure was exciting and a little scary - all with a happy end. We had a nice dinner and went to bed early.
This morning, April 6, it has been raining, just as predicted. We have not seen the Mogers yet but I am sure we will go to check out what they are up to shortly. I backed up many of my photos and am presently also burning a DVD as second back-up. I have still not been able to upload photos but will let you know once that was possible again. Here internet is very expensive, and I don't know whether it is possible through WIFI, the only way I can upload...
We had some excitement yesterday, April 7, which you can read about under Family and Friends: Visit with the Mogers. It for sure was no fun, but it all worked out in the end, except that Byron will be in pain for another day or two...
April 8 - the Mogers left this morning on their own little plane. We accompanied them to the airport to see them off. Ariel went on a commercial flight as she needed to go back to Miami, while the rest of the family was going back to Tampa. If you are interested in our various adventures with them, please check under Family and Friends: Visit with the Mogers.
From now on, I will continue our log here just as you have been used to. We have no firm plans except to leave Boat Harbor tomorrow morning (after doing laundry) and to go back to Man of War Cay. We liked it there, wanted to wander around a little more, maybe take another dinghy ride to the beach which is beautiful. You have seen this already, so I don't know whether there will be more pictures. If so, you can find them in our Gallery.
April 11 - I have not written in the past two days as Juergen already calls me an adict (to my computer and, more so, the internet). Here is the story in brief: we did our laundry on Monday morning (April 9) as Juergen would not permit me to do it on Easter Sunday. It took longer than we had hoped. Reason being: the hotel laundromat was broken, so all machines were used by housekeeping for the hotel laundry. In addition, the machines were incredibly slow.
We wanted to go to Man of War Cay again as we really liked this little and very untouristy island. The mooring space was beautiful, and we hoped for a deeper water mooring this time, but we had to get there by high tide as the harbor entrance is very shallow. Well, we finally made it and got there exactly at high tide (1315). The harbor was crowded and we did not find the usual Man of War Marina white with blue stripe buoys, however, we were advised that we could also take an orange mooring to the extent it did not say "private" or "reserved". We found one in deep water and tied up, an easy feat in these calm waters. We did not even go to land that day as we enjoyed the scenery.
Yesterday, April 10, we finally took the dinghy to land to register with the marina, only to be told that this was not a Man of War Marina mooring and that we needed to go to the "boatyard next door" to register. We did not find anyone in the office, wandered around, instead found a very nice little grocery store right on the water, purchased eggs, bread, turkey breast, an avocado and lettuce and green peppers before finally running into the owner of our mooring. He accepted cash - no credit card - but US check was ok. We promised to pay by check later on - $ 45 for three nights - a bargain by any means. Well, it got so gray and threatening and later on started to rain - see Gallery for our pictures - that we did not pay for the mooring yet. We will do so later today with the proviso that we may stay longer as the weather forecast for the next few days, including Sunday, is anything but good - high winds, rain, extremely high seas.
We only want to go to Great Guana Cay from here, about 7 or 8 nm but first need to find out whether the water in the only marina is deep enough for us. Unfortunately, the mooring field does not seem to be, and we are tired of hitting bottom.
April 12 - we have still not left Man of War Cay. We just like it too much here, and we don't really like to be tied up at a dock. So we decided to stay one more day, to take a dinghy ride, go to the beach, into the water, and just enjoy this picturesque environment. As the weather forecast is still bad for Sunday, possibly including Monday, we decided to make a reservation at Orchid Bay Marina on Great Guana Cay - by Iridium phone - they did not answer my calls on VHF Channel 16.
We had spoken with the owner of "our" mooring yesterday about the possibilty of staying yet another night. He was very relaxed about it, just as he had said to us two days ago to just leave our US check on his desk in his office if he was not there. So, this morning, we took the dinghy to the dinghy dock and I quickly ran over to take our $ 15 check to him - and if he was there, I would have offered to give him one $ 60 check so he won't have to cash two checks. He was not to be seen anywhere, and the $ 15 check was put on his desk. In the afternoon, he went to collect from someone else at another mooring. We again offered to exchange the two for one check - he smiled, "that's ok, I will cash them in the US, thanks to Bank of America", wished us a nice evening and drove off.
So much trust, so much friendliness... after people have been warning us to lock up our dinghy at night, to lock our boat when we leave even for a brief time, etc. We found that nobody really locks up their dinghy, nobody takes it up on deck over night, and we don't believe that many people lock their boats when they go for a dinghy ride or a little land visit. This may be different in more populated areas, but in the islands that we have visited so far, it for sure does not seem to be necessary. Andy, the sailor we had met at Old Bahama Bay, who has been sailing in the Bahamas and beyond for the past 20 or so years had confirmed to us that one for sure does not need to lock up the boat, "except in Nassau". Well, we are nowhere near Nassau and, I believe, even there it may not be necessary everywhere.
On our first attempt to go to the beach, we could not because it was quite rough outside the rocks and inside, the water was too shallow even for our dinghy. We decided to go back to the boat, have lunch, read and to try again when the tide was higher up. We did, but it was still quite bumpy and the larger boats anchored out to wait for high tide so they could enter the harbor where bouncing around quite a bit. We, that is Juergen, took the dinghy as high up onshore as possible. Then we walked over just the few steps to the ocean side. The water looked just wonderful. Juergen was in way before me but even I went in - and I generally prefer showers or bath tubs... It felt nicely refreshing, but I was uneasy leaving our dinghy alone on the other side, and we went back very soon.
Tonight we even had dinner in the cockpit. The sunset was gorgeous after earlier clouds had brought a few raindrops. A lot of boats entered the harbor, including the French people we had seen on our first visit. They seemed to recognize us as well but it did not go beyond a friendly "hello". At present, we are listening to "Die Meistersinger" (Wagner), Juergen is reading about the next harbor or two, and I am again busy with my favorite activity, updating the website, uploading pictures, etc. I had taken a bunch last night around sunset and a couple today as well. Enjoy...
We spoke with Christa - like most evenings - Silvi, sent or exchanged emails with Lippi, Andrea, and a few of our newer friends (Brit, Jean-Pierre, Nancy). It is great to have internet access and to be able to stay in touch with people one cares about... The distance to Christa is too great and the timespan too long. I cannot wait to get to the US so I can fly up to see her.
April 13 - a Friday of all things - well, we survived the day. It was actually an interesting day. We listened to the Cruisers' Net - and have almost gotten used of the "wonderful, what a terrific idea, what fun" type of eccolades. And we know the weather is supposed to turn real cruddy on Saturday night. So, our decision to leave Man of War Cay and to tie up at Orchid Bay Marine on Great Guana Cay would be a good decision. But before we finally left our favorite island, Man of War Cay, a boat came in and greeted us with "welcome back to the US". We had know idea who this was and kept wondering about it, until a dinghy with two guys arrived. By the time they identified themselves, it was Richard Ringman of Valkyrie, a boat we have known for years in Milford, Connecticut, our home port. He was sailing with a friend, Jerry Schulz. Both of them, in the meantime, live in Beaufort, South Carolina, and planned on spending the next four weeks or so in the Bahamas. We would have loved to socialize with them, checking our how they got here, which way they had gone, etc., but we had made arrangements to go to Orchid Bay Marina on Great Guana Cay, and we had to leave as high tide was approaching fast.
We left Man of War Cay around 1535, avoided getting caught with our propeller in the mooring lines, went real slowly as the tide was not really at its high yet. Once we exited the harbor, we went pretty much straight to our weighpoint number 3 which was straight in front of the entrance to Orchid Bay Marina.
It keeps amazing me how small the harbors are after having checked out the charts and harbor descriptions. Here, again, we arrived at our dock, with the help of two people, we tied up properly pretty quickly, and then we helped a motor boat "Summer Mistress" to tie up right next to us. I checked out where the garbage bins were, what the restaurant looked like, the pool. Then I found out that the office which was supposed to close between 1630 and 1700 was still open at 1758. So I quickly went to register - to no avail. They had been there since 0600 in the morning and really did not feel like checking us in at 1800. Fine with me. I called Christa - no luck on SKYPE. Then I called with our Iridium phone - initially not much better but at the second attempt, we finally connected and chatted for a while. Christa told me that her brother was planning on visiting with her early May. I just mentioned that she should let us know so we would not double up on the same weekend. I am not sure she understood what I was saying, but so be it. After our call, I quickly prepared the zucchini (onions, garlic, salt, pepper) and the lobster tails (under the broiler, with herb butter and garlic) - they needed a second broiling as they were still not cooked through - and we were disappointed after the first ones were so wonderful.
We had a bottle of wine - Rodney Strong Chardonnay - had a couple of chocolate cookies, were fighting the moscitoes with our lemon candle - which we still have thanks to Glen - where can we get new ones, Glen??? - and then we decided to go to bed, read, after we put up our moscitoe net over the companionway, washed the dishes, and began reading.
I was not read to go to bed and got up to update our website. We will upload in the morning. Right now, we are just trying to avoid getting the moscitoes into the boat and being eaten alive.
April 14 - the sun is shining, the wind is starting to pick up. More and more boats are arriving at Orchid Bay Marina, despite its $ 2.25 per foot charge for docking, $.40 per kwh of electricity, and $.30 per gallon of water. We are not hooked up or taking water. At Treasure Cay Marina, the charges are much less for all three, and we are considering going there on Monday, if the weather permits us, or Tuesday, to get water, possibly even some power. Our generator charges minimally, and we are wondering whether this is because the batteries are still pretty full or whether something is wrong with the generator. It charges only about 4 amphrs on the 12 V battery and about that or even less on our 24 V battery bank. If Damien of Ft. Lauderdale were here, he would be able to tell us, but he is not, and we keep wondering...
Once the weather improves, we also hope to move further NorthEast to get to Old Bahama Bay Marina again. So far, the weather forecast is not wonderful, and we will be staying put until we get the green light.
A sailboat "DIVA" came in today, but they have no relation to opera. We told them about Michael and Larry's boat Diva from Milford. They claim they have heard about it and about our two friends - don't know whether this is true or not. Still, they are nice people who will keep their boat on the hard in Green Turtle Cay rather than taking it back and forth to and from Canada each time.
We rented a golf cart today. Initially, Juergen drove it all over the island. Then he insisted that I try. I can tell you, it is great fun, and I drove quite a bit, but then, we stopped at the liquor store to buy rum and some Mango juice so we can make "Nippers", according to Nippers Restaurant/Bar. We had a drink there, bought a T-shirt for Juergen, took a few pictures overlooking the reef on the ocean side, and the beach, had two Nippers, and left with the intent to go there tomorrow at around noon time for pig roast. It is a rather tacky place, but then, if on Great Guana, one has to have gone there to enjoy the local scene. As we were sipping our drinks, more and more people showed up, including a lot of boaters from our marina.
Tonight, we will have dinner at the Orchid Bay Marina Restaurant, overlooking the Sea of Abaco. We expect the food to be decent and the atmosphere a little more sophisticated than at Nippers.
We purchased coconut bread at the local bakery and had a hamburger there - not really recommendable. Still, it is the local hangout...
It is April 15, Margret's and Pascale's birthday - a happy one to both of you... It is blowing quite a bit, and the Sea of Abaco is covered with white caps. Even here in the harbor, we have some swell, and the boat is rocking and rolling. We tightened some of our docking lines as the wind has shifted and is coming from the West at this point, blowing warm humid air into our cockpit. We had debated whether or not to turn the boat around yesterday but decided against it as the wind is supposed to clock back to Northwest and then North and Northeast.
A number of boaters, including those right next to us on "Summer Mistress" wanted to leave for either Man of War Cay or Marsh Harbor, but as pretty much no boat is moving due to strong winds (30 - 35 knots prediced) instead, all are staying put, there was "no room at the inn" as we say. So, they decided to go to Nippers. We have not so far, but still might, just for the entertainment's sake. I am frustrated as I cannot get into the internet, will have to take the computer to land where the marina has WIFI for its guests. So much for Out Island Internet which we paid for... but cannot even get a signal. Unfortunately, the weather is not supposed to improve for a few days as we are getting the winds from the snow storm that is supposed to hit the Eastern seaboard today with 7 - 12 inches of snow predicted for Washington D.C. and New York. - I will check it out with Christa and others later on whether it really got as bad as indicated. - For us this means that we will have to stay here for a few days - who knows exactly how long.
We drove around the island for another 45 minutes or so but returned out golf cart after we finally found "Grabbers" where we might go for a drink and to watch the sunset tonight, assuming that the clouds are not covering the sky.
Our dinner at the Orchid Bay Marina Restaurant was wonderful. We had coconut crusted chicken - very delicious, very juicy. It was so much that we ignored the veggies and the rice, but we could not resist the dessert, Coconut-Pineapple ice cream - wonderful. As it was Edy's, we will try to find it in New York as well though I doubt they will sell it there. We watched the water - the restaurant is overlooking the Sea of Abaco, enjoyed a nice bottle of wine, and went back to the boat for a round of Backgammon before going to bed. It was blowing already then quite a bit but not as much as earlier this morning.
April 16 - what a night last night was. The wind increased tremendously during the day. The boat was bouncing, jumping, banging into the dock despite 7 docking lines, 5 fenders and any other possible means of protecting it. I got seasick though we did not go anywhere with the boat, stayed put at the dock just as did everybody else. I went to bed straight after dinner though we did a little socializing with Kathy and Fred our "across the dock neighbors" with their Leopard catamaran "Makai" and shared a bottle of wine before dinner - that was also before the storm really hit. During the day we had winds up to around 45 knots often sustained for minutes at a time, mostly however in the high 30s to low 40s (that is times 1.8 in terms of kilometers). During the night, after the thunderstorm that drove the rain straight into our cabin and made everything pretty wet inside (we had of course left everything open due to the high temperatures), it really started blowing. It was around 0200. We both jumped up to see how high the winds were. We clocked 54 knots sustained with 49, 50, 51 to 54 repeatedly, not just in gusts. It was amazing. Juergen went out to put the boards in so the rain could no longer wet our cabin. He was soaked though he had been waiting for a "lull" which really was not much of a lull in the first place.
On the Cruisers' Net this morning, someone reported having seen 73 knots on this island, and someone else claimed even 80 knots. I know we saw up to 54. That was enough for us.
I felt miserable all night. Now I know seasickness is not only psychological as I was not scared, dit not have to fear anything - and also did not. So what causes it??? Our nextdoor neighbor's one guest also was feeling quite queezy. She is taking ginger pills. I am sticking to our vitamin C - chewable of course.
With last night, we have now experienced winds in the 50 knot range for the third or fourth time, three times on the ocean. I know what I prefer...
This morning, our generator gave us trouble. It would turn on immediately but then die as quickly as it had come on. Juergen checked the manual, the oil, we cleaned the cooling water filter - nothing. Then, Juergen had an idea, and it worked. Now it is buzzing (though we are not supposed to use it in the marina - I guess that rule exists not for quiet generators like ours but the noisy kind which people often put outside on deck to annoy the world with their noise, just as "Phantom Rose" had done to us in Man of War Cay a few nights ago). We need it not only to charge our batteries (the land charges are .40 cents per kwh as you might remember) but also to heat water for dish washing etc. We take showers on land right now. They are clean, sizeable, private, and we can save water from our tank that way.
We heard from one neighbor that the marina dropped the overnight charges per foot to $1.25 from the $ 2.25 we had been quoted, I guess because it really is not very protected and made a few miserable nights for all of us docked here. We hope to be able to leave tomorrow as it is still blowing quite a bit, the winds are to subside for the coming two days before yet another trough is supposed to hit with high winds and seas. Will we ever get out of here??? I am getting more and more antsy.
April 17, a beautiful day though the wind is still blowing at around 20-25 knots. It is, however, predicted to subside before it picks up again tonight back to around 25 knots. We had planned on going to Treasure Cay today, around high tide, i.e., early this morning. Thank God I spoke with a few people who all confirmed that there are a number of sports fishing tournaments going on from now for the next few weeks and that, therefore, there will not be any room for us non-fishermen. I sprung the bad news to Juergen who had particularly looked forward to going there though by then, he had already decided to stay here for yet another day. Four days at Treasure Cay would have been too long... and we would have had to stay there this long due to more weather coming.
At this moment, we are staying here. Green Turtle Cay is out of the question - unfortunately, as even at high tide, we were told, the channel into the harbor is only 6 ft deep, not enough for us. Too bad. It is supposedly a very beautiful island. Juergen does not want to anchor at Manjack when the trough hits on Friday. Thus, we might be stuck here till Saturday, when we hope to be able to go to Manjack (through the Whale Cay passage) and to move to Great Sale Cay from there the following day. All this is speculation at this point as it all depends on the weather.
All this has one positive, I will continue having internet access as long as we are staying here.
A lot of boats have left, as I said, but so many are already coming in here - just amazing. As there is no room in many of the harbors (Man of War Cay is full, both the marina and the moorings, Marsh Harbor and other places inside this area of the Sea of Abaco, all the moorings in our harbor on Great Guana are already taken by boats that just arrived this morning. We expect a number of boats which left here earlier today to be back later. Fred and Kathy from Makai, the Leopard catamaran will also stay for at least one more night, maybe longer, for that same reason. We agreed to go to dinner together at the marina restaurant which was closed Sunday - because of the storm - and Monday (their usual night off).
Juergen is again checking on our generator. This morning, April 18, it again turned on but died right away - again, even after he pushed the safety / reset switch. Anyone has an idea what else it can be? It is a Kobuto engine, from what I understand (in a Fischer-Panda generator). We can use some hints or even a true solution to the problem as we very much rely on our generator).
April 19 - well, we did go to Treasure Cay yesterday, almost too late to make it with comfortable water depth. But we made it without hitting bottom. Juergen just did not want to stay yet another night at Orchid Bay Marina. Around 1000, he told me that we were trying to go to Treasure Cay and if they truly had no room for us, we would go to Manjack to anchor - though he was also not too interested in that as we had Westerly winds (virtually no protection in that anchorage under those conditions). We were lucky. Not only did they have a dock for us at the marina, but we also even sailed over with a nice almost beam reach - a rare opportunity, and we also had enough water under our keel not to have to watch each and every foot we made way.
This marina has so much more character than Orchid Bay. It is much larger which is not always a good thing. In this case, it seems to be. Then we had another surprise. A large Nordhaven 57 arrived right next to us at the other side of "our dock" - Total Return. I had met the woman of that ship - I don't think we can call this a boat any more - at Boat Harbor about two weeks ago. We had a nice casual chat about water depth, different places to go, the pros and cons of those places, anchoring versus docking, etc., etc., then she had asked for our boat's name and I for her's. That is how I "knew" Total Return. We chatted for a while after they docked. Juergen later on chatted with Russ, Molly's husband. The boat's home port is Newport, RI. They had gone North from there and took the river system into the Gulf of Mexico before rounding the Florida Keys and coming to the Bahamas. This morning as we were still listening to the Cruisers' Net, we heard them leave. They wanted to go to Green Turtle Cay, also for them possible only at high tide.
We had a leisurely breakfast (banana pancakes) in the morning, a treat because we went shopping at the supermarket here on Treasure Cay. They had all sorts of really good vegetables and some meet, and we bought more eggs and another bread. We had initially wanted to have a Hamburger at the shack on the beach where we had enjoyed Goombay Smash and a Grouper Burger last time we were here. At 1640 when we arrived they informed us that they were closing but that we could still get a drink - no food. They were in the process of setting up for a fishermen's dinner related to the fishing tournament. We each had a Goombay Smash, sat on the beach watching the water, the clouds, and people (not many though). Then we went back to the boat to have an early dinner - we did not have lunch and were both hungry. We had a nice salad, saffron rice with peas and a pork chop, accompanied by "Conundrum", a California white wine.
We had gotten the code for internet access last night and spent quite some time talking to Christa, Luise and Robert, Silvi and Brad. It felt good to not just rush through but really chat for a little while. I will try to call Ulli and family later on and maybe, we also will try Guenter and Waltraut though we did talk to them not too long ago. We also checked emails and know that John and Coralia from Malbec have arrived in Marsh Harbor. We hope to meet up with them shortly as we recommended to them to try to come up here to Treasure Cay. They, too, had heard that there was no room due to the fishing tournaments. At this moment, the marina looks like it has lots of room.
We still have trouble with our generator. Though Juergen gets it working after a few attempts and repeated pushing of the reset button, he fears that it is overheating and does not know whether or not there is a problem in the cooling system. Now he is checking whether there truly is a mechanic for the Kabuto engine on Green Turtle Cay. That would mean that we would depart early tomorrow morning to get there at high tide - around 1045 or so. People now tell us that, at exactly high tide, we should be able to get in with our depth requirement contrary to what others have said. We are eternal optimists and hope that we can make it. If Total Return can, we definitely should be able to as well.
April 20 - we are still at Treasure Cay Marina after enjoying a wonderful Hamburger at the Beach Bar yesterday, swimming in the gorgeous blue water and sitting on a beach chair enjoying the scenery. This time, there were a lot more people at the beach. We happened to meet Kathy and Fred who had tried to snorkel but were not comfortable in what they considered "murky waters" - well, I guess, all is relative. Kathy wanted to check emails. So we invited them to our boat as we had free internet access from the marina. They stayed through dinner, and we had a nice time.
One rather exciting thing occurred. Juergen had tied Kathy and Fred's dinghy to our boat when they arrived. The men wanted to go check on Makai as it was anchored and, of course, unattended while they were on our boat - their dinghy was gone. They took ours to check on Makai, while I went on the VHF radio, Channel 68, "to all stations from sailing vessel Impromptu. If anyone has seen a Caribe dinghy floating around in the marina or vicinity, please let us know. Impromptu standing by". Not even a minute passed, when a woman from another boat answered that they had seen the dinghy floats from the marina towards the anchorage, that a motor boat had come by and picked it up to tow it back to the marina. Of course, I let Kathy know who already wanted to wander around the marina to find it. We both went to the dinghy dock - no such luck, but as we continued walking, Juergen and Fred were also back from checking on Makai and had heard from another boater that the dinghy should be back in the marina. That boater had overheard my call to all stations. We found it, somewhat deeply tucked away under a dock. Kathy retrieved it, and while Juergen towed the dinghy with Kathy in it back to Impromptu, I walked back. We were all relieved because it would have been an expensive undertaking to get a new dinghy for them with engine and all. Thank God, we did not have to.
We had dinner together on Impromptu and enjoyed each other's company very much. They called on VHF to confirm once they got safely back to Makai.
This morning, they arrived with their camera. They wanted to take a picture of us and the boat so they would remember who we were. They also promised to stay in touch and to call if and when they got anywhere near New York. We wished them a good trip to Man of War Cay which is where they were headed for snorkeling and swimming. They wished us a safe trip back "up North".
Juergen then tried to tackle the generator again - which has been giving us trouble in the past few days. Nothing worked. Now, we are waiting for the mechanic who promised to be here at 1500 (it is 1320 now). Of course, we hope that he can fix the generator so that we are self sufficient again. If so, we plan on leaving tomorrow around high tide - most likely around noon time - to go through the Whale Cay passage to Manjack. From there, we hope to continue the next day to Great Sale Cay and back to the West End, Old Bahama Bay Marina, on Monday. This all is depending on the weather, but the forecast looks good around these waters. This would also conclude our Bahama adventure. We will keep you posted as we proceed because, you must have noticed by now that our plans don't always materialize... due to weather and other unforeseen events.
Something amazing happened to me earlier. I had gone to the marina office to check about Anthony's late arrival. He was the mechanic who promised to come at 1500. By almost 1600, I got antsy.... they called to confirm that he was still coming. I took my post cards to the mailbox and, on my way back, started chatting with a woman who sat on a golf cart, working on her computer. It turns out that she and her husband, on their 32 foot Cheoy Lee, have been sailing pretty much for seven years, around Mexico, New Zealand (though they flew there and met up with friends to sail to Fiji). This year, they want to cross the Atlantic to go into the Med. We talked about our trip, she about her daughter working in New York, trying to become an actress, working in a lawfirm during the day to make ends meet, etc., etc. During all of this, a couple was cleaning a most gorgeous huge fish. I asked what kind it was. They responded: a Mahi Mahi - and stuck to cleaning their fish. I thought, they were not very friendly but ignored all of that. I wished Linda, the woman from "Interlude", the Cheoy Lee, good luck with their continuation of their trip and went back to Impromptu to let Juergen know that Anthony was still coming.
We began playing Backgammon when someone called "Impromptu". I jumped into the cockpit and saw the woman who had cleaned the fish, with a ziplock bag with some of the Mahi Mahi. She handed it to me instructing me to cut off the darker meat as "she had not done a perfect job" and wished for us to enjoy it as it had seemed to her that we had never had Mahi Mahi before". I was stunned, happy, thanked her... what an incredible gesture and generosity. She for sure had absolutely no reason to share any of her fish with us. We will have a wonderful meal!!! - This is how nice people are around here, though she clearly was not a local but an American - from where??? I don't know. If I find out, I will let you know.
April 21 - it is Saturday, and we had wanted to leave here around high tide to go to Manjack, but the weather forecast indicated fairly strong winds and squalls so we decided to stay here for yet another day, purchase a few more bottles of wine - we are getting awfully low on our supply - and enjoy this harbor and the island for one more day.
Last night after dinner, we walked around with a bottle of wine to thank the woman who had given us the wonderful Mahi Mahi. Well, we found her, on a friend's boat. They invited us onboard, and we spent an hour or so chatting. She even served dessert. Amazing. They live in Florida, are retired and go to the Bahamas often - for the fourth or fifth year already. Someone from yet another motor boat had actually given them the fish, and she just shared some with us, Linda, the woman from "Interlude" and someone else I don't know. As I said, what generosity.
Our generator did not want to work this morning, but Juergen got it to run finally so that I even put our washing machine to work. We are getting low on clean T-shirts and shorts, and we don't want to use the local laundromat because it does not look very nice. We will do the overall laundry at the West End again, but it will take a few days till we get there, so it is nice to have our own machine aboard and use it. We can refill our water tank here - normally difficult or outrageously expensive to do. Therefore, to date, we had shied away from using our own machine though I generally prefer it to the public ones.
The laundry is done, at least the smaller items, and our shirts, hapkins and placement are hanging on our lifeline to dry - the "unmentionables" as the old pilgrims used to call underwear is kept down below for drying even if it takes a little longer.
The weather has so far been a lot nicer than predicted, and barring any unforeseen horrible weather, we will leave tomorrow for Manjack, even if it might be a little bumpy through the Whale Cay passage. We are looking forward to anchor at Manjack and just enjoy the scenery there before heading to Great Sale Cay the next day or so. From there, another 64 miles or so and we are back at Old Bahama Bay Marina.
April 22, Sunday. We have not left as the Whale Cay Passage was indicated to be an 8 on a 1-5 scale with 5 being the worst. We checked it out ourselves, from the beach. It did not look pretty. And while we COULD have made it, it would have been a highly uncomfortable ride - what for? So we informed the marina of our extended stay. Their response, you won't leave tomorrow either. They are right. We will not as the wind is predicted to be at least around the 20 knot range, uncomfortable for the passage.
We used the time and the internet access to make a bunch of SKYPE phone calls and had a good time catching up with Sid (Luise is sick in bed with a bad cold) and Sigi. We tried Lo and also Maren and Hannes, they were not home. We had lunch in the cockpit. Juergen is taking a nap while I enjoy watching the clouds build - there were only fair weather clouds earlier. Now, they are mounting to huge threatening sculptures in the West, coming from the East. The South still only shows cumulus clouds. The night sky is generally very clear with lots of stars, and the moon is shining very bright though it still is not full. I guess, in another week or so, we should have full moon again. that would be nice for our crossing over to the US. We will see whether the weather cooperates.
Last night, we had dinner on the boat - a big salad with Avocado and Romaine lettuce and a pork chop - of course, we also had a bottle of wine. Around 2100, we heard life music at the marina bar. We put on long pants and different shirts and went to check it out. Unfortunately, by then, the wind was already quite cold so that Juergen started getting chilly within half an hour. I was annoyed by a woman who demonstratively danced with her daughter, in between the bar and the musicians so that all we could see was them trying to dance - not a nice sight and certainly annoying as they were really presenting themselves in an unpleasant way. We paid, left, went back to the boat and read - a much more enjoyable pasttime (spelling???).
April 24 - we are back at Manjack since yesterday. We decided to depart despite the continued breaze of 20 - 25 knots. The Whale Cay passage was a little bumpy with some rollers, but we took the genoa sail out to stabilize us somewhat, and we increased our speed by over 1.5 knots - not bad. All that in beautiful sunshine. We dropped the "hook" and enjoyed the scenery. Not too many boats were there, but some, two of which actually lifted anchor shortly after our arrival and sailed further West - we assume to the Hawksbill anchorage.
Two days ago, after a brief walk around the marina and its neighborhood - I could not stand sitting on the boat any longer - Jerrie, the woman who had given us the beautiful Mahi Mahi before - brought over some home baked bread. She loves her bread machine and just wanted us to enjoy a freshly baked break also. We opened a bottle of wine, I cut some cheese and bread, and we sat in the cockpit, enjoyed watching the clouds race by, the moon rise and the stars, got out a blanket for Juergen as he was getting cold, and we had our "dinner" this way - wonderful.
Yesterday, we said good-bye to Jerrie and her friend Ernie on whose boat we had sat for about an hour or so two or three nights ago after having received the Mahi Mahi. Ernie also helped us get out of the dock without running into things as the wind was pushing us rather hard away from the dock, towards a piling and our neighbor's boat. We made it without incident and slowly wound our way out of the channel into the Sea of Abaco and towards Whale Cay.
Today, we reanchored so that I would have internet access. Unfortunately, our anchor keeps dragging, and we will have to reset it for the third time this morning. The holding ground was a lot better where we had anchored last night, but there, we could not get the internet at all... We already prepared our navigation for tomorrow, when we want to go to Great Sale Cay. Juergen is presently inputting my weighpoints into his Garmin plotter. The wind is still blowing though the clouds look a lot friendlier than they did in the past few days, and I am hoping for a very beautiful sunset tonight.
April 27 - Old Bahama Bay Marina. We arrived last night, just on time for a shower before Mary's two for one Goombay Smash at the Tiki Bar and the Junkanoo which followed - typical for a Thursday night at Old Bahama Bay Resort. We met a few other sailors who had taken the same trip from Great Sale Cay to Grand Bahama, except that each one of them could take the shortcut via Indian Rock - too shallow for our boat. We, instead, had to make an about 15 nm detour which, as it turned out was quite rough as the wind opposed the gulf stream and we headed right into the waves. Thank God I did not get seasick this time as it was not going on long enough. We also filled our Diesel tank so that we have sufficient fuel for our trip to Charleston, SC.
The day before, we left Manjack around 0900 and had a pleasant motor-sail all the way to Great Sale Cay - 60 nm in sunshine with some wind. We had put the Bimini up despite its problems as we just could not stand being in the sun any more, and we kept it up until now - will most likely take it down tonight for our trip to Charleston. In our gallery, you will find one last beautiful sunset at Manjack and a picture of the "Center or the World Rock" - yes, that is what the Bahamians call this tiny little rock, full of cormorants, in the middle of the official route - one of many - indicated on the chart. The line, as described under the picture, goes straight to the rock, then a dotted line goes "around the rock" and once the rock is behind you, the route line as indicated continues with the same course as before - very funny.
We decided this morning before breakfast that we would depart tomorrow. We checked "Windfinder.de" for the area from Grand Bahama North past Florida, Georgia and to Charleston. It looks reasonably good both from a beaufort windspeed but also direction. Hopefully, their predictions are correct so that we don't have any unhappy surprises.
We had a little visitor for a while, a tiny bird - we think it was a Black and White Warbler, a migrating bird. It inspected the deck, hid near the anchor for a while, between docking lines, then moved about, flew away, came back, to inspect the boat a little more, even took a couple of bites of Carr's crackers which we had put outin the meantime. We don't think that the wobler took any of the water we put there. Maybe, he did not like it. We were quite sad to see him depart after a while, but we went with us for way over 3-4 nm. This visit was not the first ever of a small bird. We have experienced such visits a couple of times up North, but on this trip, it was a first, and we loved it.
Juergen is washing the boat - actually mostly the deck because we want to put our dinghy onto the deck, upside down, for the trip North. I will have to do laundry in a little while so that all is clean and we don't have to start doing laundry immediately after our arrival in the USA. The writeup about our trip and the subsequent experience will be found on another page called "Back to the USA". There are no new pictures right now, but I am sure, once we are in Charleston, you will find some gain in our Gallery.