Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Georgetown, Great Exuma Island New Years Eve

We again had a day of motoring with just a light headwind. We went out through a nearby cut to the ocean side which gave a straight shot to Georgetown on Great Exuma Island. We were amongst 4 or 5 boats also heading to Georgetown. It's a popular place. There are a lot of anchored sailboats and a smaller number of power yachts about the area. Walter and I took the dinghy to town and got rid of garbage for the first time since Florida and filled the 3 gasoline jugs. Tomorrow we will all go in and actually eat out somewhere and find wifi. I'm not sure if it will be tomorrow but before setting out again we will buy some more groceries and fill the 3 six gallon jugs of diesel fuel.
To enter and cruise in the Bahamas you must buy a $300 cruising permit. This also allows you to catch fish. Walter has a big salt water fishing rod and reel and our second time trolling we caught a nice Dolphin today. Not the mammal kind but the fish kind.. also called Mahi Mahi. They are really colorful. It was sad to watch it die but we ate it for dinner tonight and it was tasty. There was no good place to fillet it so we did it on a way too small cutting board on deck and flushed and scrubbed the deck after filleting it. It might have weighed about 5 pounds? Since I used to fresh water fish I was the exert on board but I know nothing about salt water fishing. It was the first fish I had filleted for perhaps 25 years?
Once we continue from here through the Turks and Caicos and beyond we will have longer distances. Some that can be made in a day but often overnighters or more might be required. I doubt we will be doing any staying up to midnight tomorrow but who knows? I imagine we will be back on the boat before dark.

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Location:Georgetown, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas

Final days at Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park.

It was Saturday the 27th that I bought the $15 for 100 megabyte wifi. Later that day Candace and I did go snorkeling once. Well I did anyway...Candace doesn't like snorkeling as it were but prefers to use only swim goggles and no fins. We went in the dingy to the very nearby Emerald Island where there are a couple special yellow dinghy buoys for snorkeling. The edge of the island is undercut and there were a lot of colorful,fish on the shady side especially. Also some coral around the perimeter and a few patches near the island. It was better than I was expecting. Two toes on my right foot which got boo boos a few days back while dealing with a backup anchor were on the mend and my left food was pretty sore in the swim fin. I also got a bit chilled.. Anyway we were at it a bit shy of an hour and had gone around the island twice. We did not do any other snorkeling but other spots sounded more interesting but also had strong currents and you had to know when slack tide was to snorkel those places. We were also quite low on gas for the dinghy. When I have a sailboat, I will obviously have a couple sit on top kayaks for use or a tandem that could also be paddled solo. They would be great not only to reach snorkeling places but just in general to reach shore or just exploring. Dinghies are of course much faster and you need a good one but obviously a long time kayaker needs to have that ability to paddle from the sailboat.

Several boats both power and sail left Sunday and others arrived. On our final day Walter again worked on installing solar panels he had brought but not yet installed. Candace and I assisted. Candace crawled into small places to feed wires and catch wood and metal shavings from drilling holes in the deck. I used a manual aluminum nibbler and filed the frame round on the end of each panel to fit the stern rail and clamps. One set of 2 panels add 4 amps with the sun not even close to an optimal angle. As I write this he is wiring up the 2 panels on the other side.

After the solar panel work was finished for the day we went ashore for a little more hiking. There was much remaining to explore both snorkeling and hiking but we set out this morning for Little Farmer Cay. It's very near an outlet to the ocean and we are bound for Georgetown on Great Exuma Island tomorrow. We plan to spend New Years there.

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Location:Little Farmer Cay, Exumas, Bahamas.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Using the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park

I thought I'd upload one photo to the blog which will maybe no go or use up all my megabytes. 100 doesn't go very far but they generously give you 24 hours to use them... All for a bargain $15
The view from the Park Office/gift shop/museum

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Location:Warderick Wells Cay, Exumas, Bahamas

Friday, December 26, 2014

Exumas Land and Sea Park

No photos as Internet is expensive and lacking... I'll eventually add them to the 6 or 7 posts I wrote earlier and am posting now December 27th

After 3 nights we moved 20 some miles into the Exumas Land and Sea Park and are anchored near Warderick Wells Cay. There are mooring areas in 3 places around Warderick Wells Cay but we are in the anchoring area. We took the dingy to the Park office/gift shop shortly after we anchored and got a map. Candace got some post cards and I bought a T-shirt. We took a hike to some ruins and across to the ocean side. We saw numerous little rodent like mammals we think were the Hutia. These are surprisingly the only native land mammals to the Bahamas. They look like miniature beavers but without the flat tail. They have just a short tail. They are about the size of a cottontail rabbit.

The popular mooring area is obviously the north one as it had quite a few boats moored. We are anchored near the Emerald Cay mooring field and there are only about 3 power boats moored here with a lot of open balls. We are one of 3 sailboats anchored nearby. They have WiFi you can buy access too for $15 for 24 hours or 100 mb, which ever comes first. We could only barely get the signal on Asperida's bullet plus 100 mb wouldn't be worth it for blogging. I'd use that up in 10 minutes.
Surely we will find WiFi in Georgetown...and I'll have time to finally post to the blog with some photos. I'm not sure how long we will be here but hopefully at least 3 nights as it's vastly more interesting than Highborne Cay. There are some patch coral gardens to snorkel and various hiking trails.

We are running low on gasoline however for both the dinghy outboard and Georgetown is beackoning.

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Location:Warderick Wells Cay, Exumas, Bahamas

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day at Highborne Cay

No photos as Internet is expensive and lacking... I'll eventually add them to the 6 or 7 posts I wrote earlier and am posting now December 27th

We had pancakes this morning and there were gifts under the little fake tree Candace brought along. I was the only one not baring gifts. It was more candy for all of us from Santa and I got an Asperida embroidered visor hat from Santa but I think Walter had something to do with it !
After breakfast we discovered the mobile service Walter bought at Bimini had already been all used up which is questionable as its only been receiving and sending a few emails from each of us and one Skype call by Walter. Plus a couple of Grib file downloads. Anyway I'm on the boat alone now as Walter and Candace are going to the Marina...

After they got back it was bad news on getting access to the Marina WiFi but they mentioned that there Internet was problematic today as well. Later Walter did get the Mobile hotspot working so we were not out of data and were able to get a fresh Grib file download and check email.

My mom is in the hospital but I get updates from her friend via email. Sounds like she was sick and went to the hospital on around the 23rd?

The SSE wind of 10 to 15 knots has calmed tonight and light east winds are forecast for tomorrow. This will be our 3rd night here next to Highborne Cay. Tomorrow we are moving on to Warderick Wells Cay which is inside the Exumas Land and Sea Park.

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Location:Highborne Cay, Exumas, Bahamas

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

On to the Exumas

No photos as Internet is expensive and lacking... I'll eventually add them to the 6 or 7 posts I wrote earlier and am posting now December 27th

We again had just a light headwind today so still no sailing. We started out crossing a shallower area of the Bank and were going pretty slow with visual navigation and then Walter started using his horizontal sonar as well. Soon we were back to the more typical 15' or 20' depth. The sun was still fairly high when we arrived to Highborne Cay of the Exumas. We again had trouble with getting the CQR anchor to set. After 2 attempts we went out away from the anchorage with Candace steering as Walter and I worked to swap the CQR for a Rocna type. It set nicely on our first try. We are anchored off the NW corner of Highborne Cay. There are 6 sailboats and one powerboat anchored here tonight. It has gotten windier since we arrived and gusts are likely 15 knots now.
Candace brought a little artificial Christmas Tree and set it up tonight.

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Location:Highborne Cay, Exumas, Bahamas

Monday, December 22, 2014

Another night anchored out on the Great Bahama Bank

No photos as Internet is expensive and lacking... I'll eventually add them to the 6 or 7 posts I wrote earlier and am posting now December 27th

We set out toward Providence Island this morning hoping to at least motor sail but the wind was too much from the south so we gave up and motored into a light headwind.

We were approached by some Bahamian officials. The blue hulled speedboat said 'Security Police' on the side and there were 4 on board. They just asked were we had come from where we checked in to the country at and were we were on our way too. We told them and they waved and said have a good day.

We had left one part of the Great Bahama Bank and crossed over what's called the Tongue of the Sea and were again over another area of the Great Bahama Bank. We are 10 miles south of Providence Island bound for the Exumas. Providence is the nearest land so again out in the middle of nowhere in 15' or so of depth.

There is no telling how long before we happen upon wifi so I can add photos and upload these blog entries. This is the 4th since loosing my mobile network as we were crossing the Gulf Stream.

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Location:Great Bahama Bank

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Anchored at Chub Cay

No photos as Internet is expensive and lacking... I'll eventually add them to the 6 or 7 posts I wrote earlier and am posting now December 27th

We are anchored on the west end of Chub Cay. There's a little marina here and a few houses. I hear a generator perhaps for the community? There is a water tower (rusty) and radio tower with a lot of antenna and dish arrays on it. I suspect I'll be able to email again on Walter's hotspot but no blogging. Two 30some foot catamarans motored to this anchorage and now we are 3 boats. The 2 cats know each other and seem to both have families. They are still flying their yellow quarantine flags. Both launched their dingys and motored around briefly for no apparent reason. Restless kids perhaps? I'm pretty sure there is no customs and immigration here on Chub Island so they can't legally go ashore.

We all took a swim and I toweled off and changed to dry shorts. When I returned to the deck I noticed Candace and Walter were on the way swimming to shore. They've walked a bit on the maybe 100 yard beach fronted by private homes and are now on the way back.

It's after sunset now and 2 more sailboats and a power boat have also anchored.

Happy Winter Solstice to all my blog reading friends... At least it's the 21st of December as I write this.

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Location:Chub Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Great Bahama Bank

No photos as Internet is expensive and lacking... I'll eventually add them to the 6 or 7 posts I wrote earlier and am posting now December 27th

After a second night anchored just west of North Bimini we continued eastward. We went south a while to a charted route just south of Turtle Rocks. We were able to motor sail with just the Mizen and Genoa for a while with the light east wind. As we headed east we furled the Genoa. The light east wind calmed to nothing as we motored through the day across the shallow Great Bahama Bank. As sun set we moved about a quarter mile off the charted route and dropped our anchor. It was strange to see no sight of land anchored in just 10 or 15 feet of water.

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Location:Great Bahamas Bank

Friday, December 19, 2014

Arriving to Bimini just after sunset

No photos as Internet is expensive and lacking... I'll eventually add them to the 6 or 7 posts I wrote earlier and am posting now December 27th

The Gulf Stream crossing was about as calm as could be. Winds were zero to 5 knots on our stern. We put out the U.S. Ensign and raised the quarantine flag as we approached the Bimini Islands. The sun set with a couple miles to go. We anchored in 14 feet of water a few hundred feet from the west shore of North Bimini fairly close to the channel between the North and South Bimini's

As I write this, Walter and Candace are clearing us in to the Bahamas and I'm waiting to come pick them up when they return. Walter talked about getting a SIM card for his mobile hot spot so I might be able to email but I'm sure posting on my blog will be when ever I manage to find wifi.? Likely uploading multiple blog posts.

It's calm here exposed and open to our west but we get swell though perhaps more boat wakes almost constantly. So far this morning it's again calm to a very light breeze.

Once cleared in we will go to a nice anchorage and hang a while. I think we might even be putting up the cockpit canopy. Walter wants to install his extensive array of solar panels so we don't have to use the Honda 2000 or at least not as much.

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Location:North Bimini, Bahamas

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Placid crossing so far

It's going to be a relaxing Gulf Stream crossing.

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Lovely day to cross the Gulf Stream

We have entered the ocean and are on our way across. I'll be loosing my network soon and will only be able to post on the blog when wifi allows. This should mostly be a motor crossing with light to calm and variable winds.

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Location:S Ocean Ln,Fort Lauderdale,United States

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Fort Lauderdale Police

Walter and Candace returned with the transmission parts and some salad items. As Walter began to put things back together the boat had moved into the channel from current and or wind. It sat perfect all might but now it seemed we would need a stern anchor. Walter and Candace took the stern anchor in the dingy and dropped it toward where we wanted the stern. We had to move it a second time and ended up with the boat about where it was last night tucked in the corner of the Y of channel intersection. The Police boat came while we were setting the stern anchor and wanted us to move a mile or so to a better spot to anchor but we had no driveshaft connection. He said he'd be back to make sure we were clear of the channel or would expect us to ca Tow Boat US if need be. They returned in the dark and slowly motored around the corner past us and I guess decided we were ok.
Photos wouldn't post last time? Hope they do now.

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Location:St Se,Fort Lauderdale,United States

Ooops..we are still in Florida

Yesterday we had light wind to start and sailed a little although slow. Then it became totally calm and we motored south. We decided rather than pull in near Fort Lauderdale after dark and anchor, we would turn east once south a bit past Fort Lauderdale and cross the Gulf Stream during the night. With our mechanical problems of recent days Walter was shutting off the engine every couple of hours to inspect things. On a routine check about an hour and a half from when we would be turning east he noticed a transmission fluid leak. When a subsequent inspection once we were very near the Port Everglades inlet it seemed to have increased. It was decided to pull in and anchor in the residential canals of Fort Lauderdale. We are at a busy waterway intersection with scenic boat rides, water taxis and private boats. It got quit enough at 11 pm but it's nonstop traffic during the day. It was pretty much the closest anchoring option and really had only room for one boat.
In the morning we found a marine transmission place and Walter and I took the dingy to shore and walked about 2.5 miles to the place we had found in the marine yellow pages but ended up stopping at a different place not quite so far. This ended up being good as a mechanic was at the parts counter and looking at the 2 flange like parts said not only a new seal was needed but the spindle end was scored and needed to be capped or rebuilt or something or it would still leak. He said he could probably get it done before the end of the day and sure enough not more than 2 hours after Walter and I returned to Asperida he called my cell.
Now I'm hanging out on Asperida while Candace and Walter go to get the rebuilt parts. They brought two Scooters Walter had on board. The little self propelled 2 wheelers with handlebar steering. Fun...
Assuming the weather window is still good which I think is...we will head across to Bimini in the morning.

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Location:St Se,Fort Lauderdale,United States

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Last blog post from the US

The sun just set. Once we are south of Fort Lauderdale, about 2 hours, we will head east across the Gulf Stream. We guesstimate getting to Bimini about 5:30 am.
I will continue to create blog posts regularly but can only upload as we find wifi. By for now those who read this.

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Location:Pompano Beach,United States

OK new plan : )

About an hour after I posted about anchoring a night near Fort Lauderdale it was decided it would be too late and dark to bother with that. Now we are simply motoring south and when we are once down to Fort Lauderdale we shall turn east and head straight across the Gulf Stream during the night. Once across we will head south to Bimini guesstimating arrival early morning 5 or 6 am.

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Location:United States

A little sailing

We decided last night to use today to sail south and then go back inside and anchor near Fort Lauderdale.
We had a very light wind and did raise all sails but the best we did was a little over 3 knots though mostly 2 knots. We were quite near shore but perhaps it was partially the northerly Gulf Stream current? After 3 hours or so the wind really dropped of to nothing. At least we can shut down and inspect the flange bolts. As one might expect we at nervous about the bolts loosening?!
Dead calm now as I'm about to upload this.

Heading out the inlet.

While we were sailing.
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Location:N L St,Lake Worth,United States