April 30, 2011

6:45AM Chris Parker said 12 knots today, so we are out of here, heading for Little Farmers Cut some 40 miles North.  We got news that Morning Glory caught a Mahi yesterday and to expect a fish dinner today when we arrive!  We will likely have an opportunity to run the Creatcher today, unless it's gusty.

3:14PM  We are comfortably anchored at Little Farmers.  Farmers is less than 10 miles South of Black Point.  It took 37.37 miles to get here today, a chip shot on easy seas.  I was able to sail all the way without putting on the engines, but it was surely a day for the Creatcher...  We probably averaged 5.5 knots.. maybe a bit less.  I imagine we saw a 12 knot gust.. but winds were 10 and under most of the day.  The good thing was we had 120 degrees of wind, so speed was better than dead down wind (180).  Kaleo was right along beside us the whole way. 

Morning Glory was already at anchor when we arrived.  The day was very comfortable.....

As promised, Mili made a Mahi dinner for us... Linda brought some great potato salad, Christie brought some peas that sure were good....  The fish was rubbed with an herb mixture and cooked on the Australian Barbie, seared to perfection on top of olive oil splashed on the hot griddle.....

We left Morning Glory for SYL about 8:30.

April 29, 2011

We "entered" the regatta yesterday... by that I mean Linda and I took the crews of Kaleo, Storyville and Morning Glory into the races on SYL..... I parked on the starting line of the "A" class race at 4:30PM so everyone could see how they pull the 80' long anchor rode to get up to speed then hoist sail and the race is ON.....  The next lap I was sitting just off the downwind rhumbline... they all flew by us wing and wing.  The last time around the downwind mark we parked below the mark and followed the boats to the finish line.  Photo ops were abundant... I imagine between me, Ted, Matt, Christie and Storyville we took 400 pictures.  When the time was right so as not to interrupt the racers I got right behind a boat and followed them until they outran me and we picked up the next one.... good stuff.  We got right in the middle of the action without being in anybody's way.... we cheered as the boats went by and had a wonderful day.  I kept the sails stowed and motored thru the regatta for maximum get-outa-the-wayness.

The A and B classes run a jib where the C class is main only, class lengths are A=28'-3"  B=21'  C=17'.  Sinking of boats in high winds is not uncommon. With all the sail these guys run, they don't pitchpole, they nose dive when overpowered.  Downwind boats with jibs run wing and wing as you can see in the third picture here.

     Class A boat "Original Courageous"                      "Barbarian" on the bottom....                   A class boats running up and downwind

       A class start, 10 to 15 people per boat            A's run two frys to keep the boat upright           Rigged with short sails for high wind

Getting ready for the start, it's a blast to watch these boats at the line                     The top three A class boats going for the finish

The hot guys to watch were of course Tida Wave from Staniel and Red Stripe from Black Point Exumas.

Red Stripe was awesomely fast downwind and quite the strategist.  He won the first days bout.  But Tida Wave won overall taking the more conservative approach on day two as Red Stripe was hung out to dry being off the rhumbline when the wind died for an hour.

What a classic battle it was, everybody knew the favorites, it was either boats race to win....  Those are the elements that make up a great event, and this race is the Superbowl for the Bahamians.... it was a game for the books.

We had rain, heavy winds..... then we were becalmed all the elements of nature showed up to delight (and soak) the crowd.

Just after this shot Red Stripe overcame Tida Wave and stole her wind.....

Wind strength determines how many people they have on the boat. On a blustery day an A class could have 20 people on board.  The "Pry" is a 2 x 12 plank that they slide from side to side (depending on tack) and have people sit on it to keep the opposite gunwale from going under water.  After the start, everybody has their own idea about which way to tack to get to the next mark the fastest.  The 28' boats are "limited" to a 60' mast... lol. (about the same as a 40' catamaran) Boom length is limited to 32'.

After the races everybody was pretty well done today... it's 8:30PM, we are about to turn in.  Tomorrow the Navy is parting North and South.... Storyville will leave this weekend for points South and the remainder is heading North to the upper Exumas and beyond.  Kaleo and Morning Glory will leave mid morning for Galliot Cut, 30 miles or so North.  The regatta isn't officially over, but the wind is going to go NE soon.  We need to be on the West side of the Exumas... on the banks before that happens or we would have to beat into the wind to get out of GT.  I have laundry to pick up tomorrow so we will see if it's done early enough to get out of GT tomorrow and join the group.... if not we will catch up with them the next day.  We will listen to weather in the morning, but I think we have a day before the wind goes NE.

Ted and Mili have less than 2 weeks before they need to be back home for a couple weeks (Ft. Lauderdale) so we will chase them North as far as we can, then turn around and come back here for Erin and Michaels' visit.  Morning Glory will come back out in a few weeks and hopefully sail North with us as we do the East coast.  They like us will be off the boat back at home most of July then head North up the coast.

We have 4 weeks before E comes in, so we can do quite a tour before then.  We have never "languished" in the Northern Exumas, so I expect this will be the time to do that.  The water is almost warm enough up North to get right in without experiencing the pucker factor.  As soon as my thermometer gets wet... I know instantly if it's too cold...... don't you?  The water is almost walk in warm all over the Exumas... that's when we really enjoy it here.

This morning I bought a couple cans of fuel, we picked up our laundry, made a liquor run then motored over to visit Jim and Lynne's friends on Far Reaches, a 58' Crogan trawler.  Lawrence and Linda were very gracious, we had a good visit.  The boat is big and comfortable with John Deere power.  We visited until the B class races were about to begin then went back to SYL for lunch.

   Lynne here is a picture of "Far Reaches" for you.... lol.

Morning Glory left the harbor this morning early, to be followed soon by Kaleo, however Kaleo hung around to get propane this morning so they decided to not leave until tomorrow.  I think that sealed it for us too, we will spend the night here and head out some time after Kaleo in the morning.  Tomorrow it may rain, but it's 1:00 PM now, leaving now would put us after dark at Galliot Cut. 

I think we will go to Monument Beach and bob in the water this evening.... Tide is low right now, so I can pull up on the beach and not be concerned about getting stuck.  My lunch sandwich is gone... time to move.

6:06PM  Bobbing was nice, we spent a couple hours in the water.  The wind has all but died and the "A" class boats are still on the "race" course.  They may have to call this one on account of darkenss..... I just tuned to channel 9, the regatta control...  I understand the boats are on the second of 2 1/2 laps so they might make it all the way.

Wind filled back in a bit so the regatta ended with boats moving slowly, but moving.  Red Stripe (yesterdays winner) was well off the rhumbline when the wind quit so she finished 5th, having to creep back onto the course while everyone else crept toward the marks.  "Tida Wave" from Staniel won the day, and was second yesterday so she was the overall winner.

Matt & Christie came over to chat for a while then it was off to bed.

April 28, 2011

Lets see, it's been a few days since I wrote anything, we have been enjoying the Navy's company so much we haven't stopped to post.  The last entry was about Regatta Park in Salt Pond. 

Well, the morning after the Salt Pond carnival (Tuesday) Kaleo, Morning Glory and SYL left Thompson's Bay together for the 35 mile trip to GT.  The seas were easier than expected so the trip in the wide shallow water was very comfortable.  Kaleo and I ran beside each other for a while, we got some good boat to boat photos.  Check out that water huh?

Reaching GT, we dropped the hook in Red Shanks early enough to make a laundry run, then gathered back on SYL for Lasagna.

I took some rugs and the heavier laundry only, we like to have Exuma Cleaners do the majority of it, but they charge by weight so since the group was going anyway, Linda worked on dinner while I did a couple loads hanging out with the Texas Navy.

Speaking of the Texas Navy... Troy and Deana on "Storyville" were in GT when we arrived!  It was great to see them.

The dinner was satisfying and flavorful... we put out our best plastic ware....  Since the day had been so full with the 35 mile trip, then hauling laundry around, after dinner all we did was visit a while then retire to our own ships for the night.  No game night tonight.....

Early the next morning (yesterday) we all made our way to the Regatta in Elisabeth Harbor.  The big story of the day was rain......  It rained more yesterday than any other day we have spent in the Bahamas.  Of course the volume didn't match the torrents we get on a heavy rain day in Texas..... the races never stopped. 

Last year at Family Island Regatta they only had "C" class Bahamian sloop races.  This year they have a large contingent of "A" class, and "B" class racers as well.  During yesterdays practice race I counted 28 "C" boats on the starting line so there are a lot of Bahamian Sloops at the Nationals this year.

After the races we rafted up with Moring Glory.  The ladies made our shades for the front salon windows then Ted and I installed them.  We LOVE it, the shades make a huge difference.  The material is a white see through weave that blocks 75% of the sun, so you can still see through it.  Our new addition makes the salon look nicer and feel much more comfortable.  They are snapped to the inside of the window opening instead of the outside, that means we can put them up easier and they never touch the polycarbonate window, which is important.  The previous owner had covers made for the outside of the windows like everyone else does.  The original polycarbonate windows became etched because the wind constantly caused the screens to flap against the windows. 

This way the shades stay cleaner and will last longer behind the UV protection of the window.  It gives the salon a more private sedate feel.  We only did the front windows, they are the ones that cause the most interior heating.

Yesterday we spent a lot of time in town getting things we needed to do done, it was tiring but we got it all accomplished.  Today the weatherman said we may get more rain, but hopefully not as much as yesterday.  The races will be at 9:30, 12:30 and 3:30.

OK, the summary above catches us up to today!   With all the rain yesterday we ran the AC all night to dry out the boat, it was heavenly sleeping under a blanket in the cool dry cabin.  The salon is nice and dry again too, I sure like my little unit.

1:30PM The rain showers have been persistent today.  We were able to make it to St. Frances for some internet

Linda here:

I love, love the window screens.  I have enough fabric to do all the windows but the rest of the material is at Christie's.  I will get her mom to mail it to Beaumont and bring it back with me after July.  The fabric requires a heavy duty machine and Mili from Morning Glory has one and has offered to do the other windows when we see them this summer.  Ted then helped Rusty install them.  What a great couple. 

Yesterday Mili also gave me some insulation material to use to cover our windows to reduce the heat.  I have them installed in the master berth and the kitchen.  They are easy to put up and take down.  This material is something you purchase at Lowe's by the roll.  Mili has sewn fabric on the inside and out side so it looks much nicer.  We will do that eventually.  Cool huh?


April 25, 2011

We got good rain during the night so the boat is rinsed clean and fresh again from the salt water dunking she got yesterday.... lol.  We didn't get much salt on the boat in the big waves the first 30 miles, but the last 12 miles we beat head on into the 3'ers.  I tacked a lot to quarter the wave direction and to keep wind in the sails to maintain speed, so we took the top foot off lots of those 3'ers.  Punching the first big wave slowed us from 7 to 6, the second in a row knocked off another knot, and if there were three big ones in a row (which there usually are) we would drop below 5 then speed would build back up until we hit the next big set.

1:15PM  It's raining pretty good now.  We had a couple showers today but this one seems to be the best yet.  This morning we went with the Tx. Navy to visit some folks that just finished their new house up on the hill.  Ted and the gang met them the other day....  The rain started when we were there so we hurried back to the boat to close up. 

I missed CP this morning but Ted said the forecast looks great for the rest of the week.  I expect we will strike out for GT in the morning with the rest of the Texas Navy remnants....  Ted and Mili, Matt and Christie depending on the sea state, if it's still lumpy we may wait a day.  Ted said they ran into  "Storyville" lately, I don't remember if he said they were going to the GT regatta or not.  GT is a 35 mile run from here, so it's a chip shot, no thin water, just pretty blue sea and half of that is protected by Long Island from ocean swells. 

It's nice to sit here on the boat in the rain.. like sitting on your porch enjoying the solitude of a cooling summer rain.... Not many young folk know the sight and sound of sitting outside on the porch watching the weather, if it's not on Playstation or Wii... most kids have never experienced it.  I remember times as a youth, at my great grandmothers house in Louisiana... sitting out watching it rain... no TV, just us and nature.  Not bad......  Their house was built on a slight hill so as a boy I could almost stand up under the front porch.... it was cool under there and you could hear everybody talking above you through the wood slat floor....  They lived at the end of a red dirt road, when the big road grater came to dress the surface of the road, you could go to the end where the grater turned around and find Indian arrow heads.  Good memories, who would ever think sitting on SYL at Long Island Bahamas in the rain would have conjured up 40 year old memories of DeRidder Louisiana. 

Talking about 40 years ago.... I understand it takes 40 years for sea glass to get fully rounded on the edges.... so some of the sea glass I found on Crooked Island had only recently made it's way to the bottom of the sea when I was under that porch, eaves dropping on three generations of my ancestry..  The discarded glass would be silently broken up as the sea washed them against the bottom rocks, possibly even miles offshore at the same time I was running my fingers through the fine sand under the porch hunting doodle bugs at the bottom of their small sand craters at my great grandparents house.  Now 40 years later... the junk thrown overboard is amazingly beautiful, a rare find.... coveted exponentially more now than in it's previous state, all set for me to run my fingers through the sand, now as a man.. more rounded myself...... finding different treasures... but still just as excited as that young boy under the porch listening to indiscriminate but familiar voices.

Aren't most people really just treasure hunters?  I seem to have found most of my treasured memories in the water and sand, but some find theirs making the first footprints in powdery fresh snow on a Colorado mountainside.  Your favorite mental snapshot might be during the first light of day as the morning sun paints the climbing landscape orange then quickly a vivid white as you look outside from the warmth of your cabin window...  The nights new snow blanket is laid out just for you and the tiny chipmunks begging for food on the rail of the deck.  As you open the door and step outside the scent of evergreen and dry cold fills your head.... a fine mix with the hot chocolate and marshmallows in your cup.  The chilly air feels good.... your back warms the inside of your coat still hot from the crackling fire inside..... Those treasures light up the eyes of the other half.  I have this memory and it's a fine one..... but the sea calls my name.  I say the sea... I can be just as happy on any body of water... in fact I love the inland lakes and all they have to offer. 

It seems to me that people are either water or mountain lovers.... but seldom both.  We have friends that love both climates but normally it's one or the other.  Who knows what memory will imprint a child to be a mountain man or a sailor..... I find it's usually a singular brand.

3:58PM  Matt just called and suggested a game night, Ted agreed to host so we are off as soon as Linda gets her shower.  The rain has stopped but it may not be over.  Kaleo is taking this opportunity to dink over before the rains come again.  It will be good to catch up, the past month our paths have been quite different, we all have new stories to tell. 

8:06PM I just got back from Regatta Park here at Salt Pond.  While we were all playing catch phrase on Ted's boat there was mention of BBQ chicken, fried grouper fingers and peas and rice with all the trimmings for sale in town.  As it turned out, they, like Crooked Island are having homecoming this "Easter Monday"  The locals certainly celebrate Easter Sunday, but all the Bahamas put the big pot in the little one for Easter Monday.  Homecoming hopefully brings all the kids back to the family island they sprang from to see parents and their home place every year.

Anyway we went to Regatta Park to the big party and scarfed up some great carnival food.  I brought ours back to the boat, but I think the rest of the Tx. Navy stayed for the music and good company.   We saw our new friends Penny and John (with the new house) there, it was a nice evening and a smooth water dinghy ride back to the boat...  all good things.

April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!!!

Linda here:  As hard as the decision to leave Landrail was, it was the right decision.  We decided to go on the opposite side of Long Island to avoid the swells, so Clarence town was not on our agenda any longer.  Rusty got up and had us underway at 5:05AM.  He talked with Ted again last night and it was decided that Clarence town might not be a good option unless we wanted to take a slip because of the weather and we always prefer to be on the hook.  The sea state in the big water was quite impressive.  We saw some 12+ footers (I think they were more like 15 but Rusty says not)  Mostly it was 6 and 7's and they were rolling swells with a long interval.  SYL handled them beautifully.  It is still a bit unnerving for SYL to be on top of a 12 footer and look down, it seems your looking down from a two story building.  I still don't LIKE IT but 6 months ago I would have been pitching the EPIRB in the water!  I have to fight nausea when we are in following waves that kick the back end around but I did ok.  I was very happy to see Long Island and to have the protection that the land mass gives from the swell, it went completely away to only windblown chop .  We made great time and were behind Long Island by 9:30AM.  We were making such good progress that Rusty thought if we could make it to the Nuevitas Rocks waypoint on the West side of Long by 2:00PM we could get through Hog Cut at high tide and be in Georgetown before dark.  So much for a short day....lol.  It did make perfect sense though. 

The sail for the next 40 miles was great.  We were slicing through the water averaging over 7 kts. when we heard Kaleo hailing Morning Glory on channel 16.  Rusty and I just looked at each other and then Rusty picked up the radio and said "This is Morning Glory ".  Of course Matt knew exactly who it was and they chatted for a bit.  Kaleo and Morning Glory were in Thomson's Bay at Salt Pond.  When we got to the Comer West waypoint we could continue to Georgetown OR turn back due East for Salt Pond.  It was the same distance to both places.  Problem was Salt Pond would mean beating back into the wind the entire 20 miles and would probably be an unpleasant trip.  Of course we decided to go see the Texas Navy.  The first 8 miles were not bad and we thought wow this is going to be great.  We had been sailing the entire trip but once we turned to Salt Pond the motors had to go into the water.  Then the wind picked up and the "rodeo" started.  It reminds us of the first 40 hours of our trip last year.  It was NOT FUN.  When we finally got to the anchorage in Thompson's Bay we told our friends "if the first 8 miles were like the last 12+ we would be probably be in GT tonight. 

We put our anchor down, hopped into the dinghy and went to Morning Glory.  Kaleo came over and we had a feast on their leftovers from Easter dinner.  Rusty and I pretty much ate and ran because we were so tired.  We came back to SYL, showered and went to bed.

Rusty here:  We did 93 nautical miles yesterday and got the hook down before dark.... the GPS showed 8 knots a lot, 9 some and even 10 three or four times.  My max speed for the trip was 10.7 kts, top speed was of course surfing out in the big waves before reaching Long Island.  As Linda said we hadn't planned on a long day, but the good speed gave us the opportunity to join our friends here in Thompson's Bay.

Conditions being so brisk (15 to 18 knots true) Linda couldn't go below and cook so when we got here I was starving.... the reunion on Morning Glory with all the food was sweet indeed.

Frenchy's big rod and reel did it's best on the trip over but all I caught was two big Barracuda.  They were fun to reel in, but of course too big to eat.  That big rod makes it so easy to handle a fish.... I didn't even slow down to bring them in, I just cranked that big ole 9/0 Penn Senator and here it came... right to the boat.

 When a Barracuda breaks the surface of the water his long body skis on the surface, so after the first breach he skipped on top of the water all the way to the boat... lol.

I pulled a cedar plug lure first, then switched to the Billy Baits mini turbo slammer, I have caught more on it than anything.

April 23, 2011

Today we are going to "swim beach" on SYL, a few miles South and taking 4 or 5 other couples with us on a day sail.  We have invited lots of folks, if they all show up that will be great.  The BBQ last night was good.  The best thing I ate was the fried fish (Snapper and Lion fish). 

                  Party at Frenchy's and Cindy                           Frenchy's Deck                  Fritz entertaining us at Frenchy's

Linda here:  Last night was so much fun.  This group of people are very special.  They have been so kind to us.  The party was at Frenchy and Cindy's house.  Guess where they are from?  New Orleans!!!  They are so cool.  I love listening to them talk. It reminds me of my dear friend GuiAnn who lives in Mandeville.  The food was fabulous.  Frenchy can barbeque those baby backs.  The Snapper and Lion fish were great as well. 

Today we had Jim and Lynne, Doug and Crystal, Frenchy and Cindy and Fritz and Mari onboard for a cruise to Swim Beach.  Everyone brought something and we had quite a spread.  SYL handled the group very well. Doug and Frenchy fished and caught two Permits and a Black Fin Tuna.   I love this boat. We beached SYL, had lunch, bobbed for a while and then headed back.  Jim found some beautiful purple fan coral on the beach and he gave it to me.  Cindy and Lynne found some pretty shells and gave them to me as well.  Such generous people.   On the sail back, the ladies played Hand and Foot.  When we were leaving for the sail our dear friend Ted from Morning Glory called.  I miss those guys and Christie and Matt.  We should be in Georgetown by Wednesday or Thursday.
Rusty here: what a nice sail.... 18 to 22 knots apparent... the boat was humming and easy to sail....  A beam reach both ways made it effortless and tons of fun.   Tacking in to the beach was easy with all the weight I was carrying... Catching fish added an exciting bonus to the day.  Frenchy brought a big rod and reel, Doug used mine...  Doug hooked something really big and fast... the fish ended up catching the boat and getting loose as he wrapped the leader around the starboard rudder.  As Doug was fighting him my 45 dollar Wal-Mart rod & reel gave way... the handle for the reel broke off.  This was BIG fish too, it was bending the pole like crazy.  What a fine day we had.  Once we reached swim beach we had a meal onboard then adjourned to the beach under the bow of the boat....  It was great to hang out with our new friends in the water...... bobbing and telling lies, what a blast....  How could it not be... two New Orleans Coonasses and their beautiful wives, a brilliant computer genius and his wonderful wife.... then Fritz and Mari... a published writer and guitar maker.... holy cow what a fine group.

Swim Beach

Crooked Island Bahamas

As I mentioned... Fritz Damler was onboard, the guy that wrote the book "10 Years Behind the Mast".... his local knowledge was often asked and gladly given.  He made a personal signature in our copy of his book for us.... I will treasure that book for the rest of my years.  The book is well written and wonderfully vivid.  I recommend it to any sailor as an easy... gently flowing but poignant read.  It's not a "how to book" but the tales and stories lead you in the right direction with a wonderful grace and captivate you to read on.

9:09PM  We just left the Finley's for the last time...... we will miss those guys.  I think we are heading out in the morning for Clarence Town Long Island depending on what CP tells us, I think it will be fine.

Linda here:  It was hard to leave Landrail but with weather on its way we felt we needed to take the small weather window tomorrow and set sail for Georgetown via Clarencetown, Long Island.  What a blessing this time has been.

April 22, 2011

Today is boat cleaning day, we have been hauling rope and shells aboard so much that the back deck looks like the sandbar itself.  I want to scrub the floors and straighten the foredeck this morning.  The biggest problem is where to put the big shells and fragile items we collected.  They are bound for Texas, so quick access is not a necessity.

I had asked Jim about property values here, yesterday we looked at a house that might be for sale two lots over from Jim, like all tropical settings we have found.... prices are way too high for commoners.  In the 80's when Jim bought and built lots were cheap but a year or so ago a rich lady came in and wanted a specific piece of property, she told the realtor she didn't care what it cost... so naturally she paid 10 times what it was worth.  Guess what that did for the surrounding property... yep, now everybody wants that price for his place.

The house on the property we looked at is not as big as our boat and was built in the 70's, naturally the property supports the largest value.  The place is pie shaped a bit, 3.5 acres but it only has 100' of beach front so it's over 600' deep with a garage and several outbuildings.  There is no shower in the main house, it's in the garage.  Most lots here have 200' or more of frontage.  The price discussed was $300K.  For that price (like most island properties) the property comes with everything lot-stock-and-barrel.  There is a car and two motorbikes, an aluminum boat and two outboard engines (that look like they may run with some work) the car has an overheating problem.  I understand there are lots of tools, two generators, and a solar energy system.  The problem for us would be that the house is not useable beyond having a place to stay until we could build... that means another $200K so the property is just not within the realm of possibility.  Looking out over the ocean on the lee side of the island through the Castarina trees some 40' above sea level is pretty impressive though.  Interesting.. but not an option we would ever choose.  The best part about this place is there is no property tax for the first $250K and for the portion above that taxes are miniscule.

11:26AM  The boat cleaning is over for today.  I got all the floors and down the back steps scrubbed with Comet, stowed the Creatcher and the spinnaker in the holds, reorganized the forward port locker and placed 4 of the spare gas cans in the locker.  Linda has always wanted to get rid of those gas cans off the back seats.  I got at least some of them stowed away...  The only thing left is to clean the windows, but that's nothing but pouring water and a hand rub... 5 minutes tops.  Linda did some deep cleaning and re-organizing in the port side and cleaned the kitchen.  The boat had never been sandier or more cluttered than it was this morning, but no more... it's sparkly..

I looked at the charts this morning.  The trip to Long Island (Clarence town) is only 40 miles so it will be an easy one, the rest of the trip is just over 60 miles.  Currents and winds will be with us, so we can probably count on a 6.5 to 7 knot average / 15 hours or so of sailing.  I want to check the race schedule to make sure we get there for that.  I don't care so much for the other festivities except for the BBQ chicken and ribs from the concession stands.  The scent of sizzling BBQ sauce fills the harbor all week during regatta.  This weekend is Homecoming/Regatta here.... we will see if they do the same cooking.. I hope so.

6:08PM  Linda is showering for the Cajun BBQ outing at Frenchy's.  I went ashore earlier, Jim and I left about 2:00 on a big round in the car (Suzuki Jeep).  We went to the glass beach but the tide was too high.. we found some glass but not much, I picked up some air plants off the road for Linda, I also found some fresh coconuts for me to chew on when I have coconut rum.. and took a chrome prop spinner off a '62 model Aero Commander that is abandoned in the weeds here on the island.  We had a very successful scavenging expedition.  I don't remember what else we found but it was a fine outing.

Years ago a 1962 Rockwell Aero Commander was stranded / abandoned here on Crooked Island, the windows are broken out, one engine is missing... The bottom of the plane has Bondo on it, apparently it's belly took a blow landing here, it was "repaired" with body filler but I guess nobody was brave enough to try to fly it off so it has sit the past 20 years and been consumed by the local flora and fauna.  I told my buddy Jim he ought to bring a chain saw over and cut the tail off it... and add it to his flotsam collection.  The prop is still on the remaining engine, I'd love to know how to get it off, but I can't figure it out.  I always wanted a big prop to hang in a shop or garage and slow turn it as a ceiling fan.

Hey Jimmy, if you can find out how to remove an aero commander prop let me know via email.  The motor is an old reduction drive unit.  There is one big nut on the front, but I assumed it only removed the feathering unit, maybe not... and is it splined, keyed or tapered?

April 21, 2011

Another fine day.... I slept in this morning.  Jim called about 8:30 and I was still in bed.... lol.  Just resting but I wasn't officially "up" yet.  I didn't get to bed until after 10 messing with sea glass...  Jim doesn't get up early either, but the mail boat came in last night so today is a big day on Crooked Island.  We drove to the dock with Jim and Lynne to get their stuff.  Three crates and one small box cost about $10 from Nassau.  When they need something like a tire or stuff they can't get here, they call and order it from "Discount Tire" or whoever in Nassau, the store gets the product to the Acklins mail boat and it's eventually gets here.  It works like a very slow (but cheaper) FedEx.. lol.  The Crooked and Acklins gets one mail boat a week, it takes 24 hours for the boat to make the trip from Nassau.  So this morning was mail boat day.. so it's the biggest of the week.

The good thing about this community (and possibly most expat Meccas) is that everybody has different tools, talents and supplies.  If one person needs something the other may have it.  The island stock is almost symbiotic among friends.  If you need something your neighbor has.... it's quickly given.  The deal is you pay him for it... or replace it on the next mail boat.  It's an enjoyable interdependency among friends.  Island neighbor aid even goes as far as erecting buildings and accomplishing major projects together.

Tomorrow evening Frenchy and Cindy are putting on a cajun BBQ.  They invited us so Linda's down in the kitchen making baked beans and potato salad for the big event.  I understand they are cooking three big slabs of ribs.  Frenchy and Jim are both from small towns near New Orleans Louisiana.  Frenchy's has all kinds of equipment down at his place, his airplane is a Piper Mirage with a turboprop conversion.

Yesterday evening we visited several folks and ended up at Doug and Crystals on the North shore.  Their place (like Fritz's) overlooks the ocean from a fairly high bluff.  Both Fritz and Doug built their own homes.  Both are truly works of art.  After visiting Doug and Crystal in the den for a while we all moved out to the porch, she served hot cheese bread and Doug got out his big Martin Guitar.....  We sat around singing as Doug finger picked that big Martin and sang.. it was a fun night.

Linda and I just discussed the rest of our stay here on Crooked Island.. including when we need to leave for Regatta in GT.  We want to load up three couples (new friends) on SYL for a day sail before we head out.  They have all been so gracious I'd like to have them over to our place one day.  French Wells is 9 miles away so we could sail down there and back possibly Monday then leave Landrail Tuesday to stay in French Wells until time to go to GT.  We may miss the first day or so of Regatta (depending on the race schedule)  If they don't start racing until Friday or Saturday (we will check the schedule on the internet) we may stay here until Wednesday.  It's only about 100 miles to GT.  We will probably break it up into two legs unless we leave late and need to make the whole trip at once.

Here is some big news.... Erin and friends are coming to SYL in a month (May 21st).  Erin and Sara Rod have been friends since childhood, it will be great to have them on the boat for a week.  They are bringing their boyfriends.. so we will have a full boat.  We haven't met Michael yet, (Erin's beau) but from all indications he's a keeper.  This trip will be our first look at the boy.  (No pressure Michael ... just know I have been to prison already, and really don't have a problem going back if I need to) Just kidding.... we have heard all good things.

Tomorrow we may go hunting for sea glass again.  The Crookeds and Acklins are definitely a do again next year.  I expect we will see Jim and Lynne again.  It's really a good situation.... we both have our own houses so we can bump around together during the day and retire to our respective homes every evening, hopefully for them we don't get in the way too much.  I am certain we both enjoy each others company.  Each person here is a character in his own right, there are published writers, a producer/publicist that managed Goldie Hawn and Harry Belafonte.  A supercomputer technician, an Air Force pilot...... some really neat folks.

A side note about the Acklins and Crooked locals we have met; The overwhelming majority of the inhabitants carry themselves with pride and integrity, and are a well educated lot.  The school system here is outstanding and produces some excellent graduates.  I enjoy the big smiles, warm hearts and quick minds of the local people on this island.  The Crooked Islanders are engaging with excellent auditory skill.... I find them completely enjoyable to talk with.

April 20, 2011

               Our Angels!

        Jim and Lynne Finley.

Another great nights sleep.  I got up this morning and baked some pumpkin bread for our breakfast and I wanted to take some to Lynne and Jim.  I fixed some Beef Stroganoff for us to share for lunch/dinner.  I have several of Lynne's culinary delights that I want recipes for so I am taking the computer today.  We can hopefully post the web and I can copy some of her recipes.  She told us about a place in the New Orleans French Quarter called "The New Orleans School of Cooking".  Apparently, for around $23.00 they will teach you how to cook a several course dinner and then serve it to you.  I think that sounds soooo cool.  Lynne says they have gone several times and it was always outstanding.

Lynne and I are going snorkeling today.  The snorkeling spot she is showing me is right under our boat....lol.  Everyday is a amazing adventure here, I can't believe we came so close to missing it.




Lynne has a book on Sea Glass and Rusty spent a large part of this afternoon reading it.  On the left is a piece he and Lynne named "White Cap".  Pretty nice, huh?!!
                                White Cap                       Rusty in Lynne and Jim's living room.

Linda here... 8:00PM

We just got back to the boat.  Another wonderful day.  We got to Jim and Lynne's about 11:20AM.  We visited, posted the web and had lunch.  We rested for a while and then Lynne and I went snorkeling....right in front of their house.  They have a small but beautiful reef literally right in front of their house.  We went sanddollar hunting and found a few and then swam the reef.  My mask kept fogging up so I couldn't see the screen in the camera.  I just pointed and shot hoping I would get a good shot.  I got one ok shot but it does not do the reef justice.  There were so many beautiful fish.

This evening we went visiting and our last stop was Doug and Crystal's.  I wish I had my camera.  Their place was so cool.  The outside was like a piece of artwork.  Imbedded in the mortar was shells, sea glass, parts of bottles, plates and coral.  It was well done.  You don't really appreciate what you are looking at unless you stop and really look close.  I hope we can go by tomorrow with the camera.  We had drinks and Crystal fixed a pasta and cheese snack and then we went outside to the patio and Doug played his guitar for about an hour and 1/2.  He was great.  It was such a nice evening.  We went back to Lynne and Doug's and dinghied home.  The mail boat came in tonight so there will be the unloading tomorrow.  This weekend is Homecoming so there will be lots of activity.  You can feel the excitement on the island.  Well, I am one tired puppy so I will say good nite.  I will post tomorrow. 

Sea Yawl Later!!




April 19, 2011

Another spectacular day at Landrail, Crooked Islands and it all Jim and Lynne Finley's fault.  I slept better last night than I have in a very long time.  There were times yesterday that I thought I could not walk another step or get out of the back seat  of the jeep one more time but I was having soooo much fun I plowed ahead.  It was sooo good for me.  It is so easy to "stay on the boat" that I have been doing that way too much this trip.  We toured the island again going to Thompson's Creek where there was a fishing shack that a man named Mr. Taylor built so he could "get away".  Keep in mind Mr. Taylor lives on Crooked Island where there are a little over two hundred people on the entire island.  The whole island would be describe as  a "get away" by most of us.  He had a little skiff with hand carved paddles and a sculling oar.  Most of these things have deteriorated pretty bad because since Mr. Taylor died a few years ago but it was fun to see. Lynne and Jim have a painting of the "shack" in their living room.  While there I saw these pretty little shells just lying all over the ground.  I didn't spot them until we were headed back and I started picking them up until it was way past the time everyone was ready to leave.  I just love these little shells.  Lynne says the are called Periwinkles and they are the shell of a land snail. 

We went back to the sea glass beach because Rusty has really gotten into this sea glass.  He has a real artistic side that most people probably do not realize.  He is coming up with some fabulous pieces.  This beach is amazing.  Apparently it has all the right features to make it a very special sea glass beach.  Landrail and the Crooked Islands is a well kept secret and I would not blame them if they choose to keep it that way.  There is so much to see and do but you have to know it is here and a good deal of it requires a car.  Everyone is so gracious and seems truly happy that you are on their island.  I could not feel more welcome.

Among the many people we met were Fritz and Mari Damler.  Fritz is a guitar builder and has sailed around the world.  He stayed out 10 years on a wooden sailboat and published a book about it, we have the book "Ten Years Behind the Mast".

After the circumnavigation the Damler's built their home here in Landrail by hand over 10+ years.   They would bring their supplies over in a Navy Supply vessel they had purchased.  They live here 6 months and work in Washington Island, Wisconsin six months.  Their home is awesome.  You can tell it was built with lots of thought, hard work and love.

<--- This is a picture of the lighting in the guest room, bottles made into the wall with a single light behind them.

Fritz is the author of Ten Years Behind the Mast.   I can't wait to read his book.  Here is the printed introduction so you will see why I am excited about reading it

"In March of 1992, amidst a boisterous southwest gale, I sailed my 35ft cutter, THEODORA R, across a ragged Gulf Stream into Lake Worth at West Palm Beach, Florida.  I set the anchor just beyond the ship channel near Peanut Island, ran out 150ft. of chain and rode it out for 24 hours.  I finally managed to row ashore and contact U.S. Customs from the designated phone.  "I'm calling to report my arrival from the Bahamas," I told the officious voice.

"When did you arrive?"

"Yesterday about noon."

"Yesterday?" He exclaimed, "You're required to report in on arrival!"

"Well, yeah, I know that, but it was blowing 40 knots.  I couldn't leave the boat."

"Don't you have a cell phone?"

What the devil is a cell phone, I thought. "Uh, no."

Deep sigh. "Okay, point of departure?"

"West Palm."


"February 22, 1982."

Long silence. "Ten years ago?"


Short chuckle. "Oh boy, they're gonna love this one."

The Bahamas, of course, had been my last port of call, but in the previous ten years I'd racked up several hundred ports of call around the world.  I'm still baffled by the logistics of how it all started and in retrospect realize I'd taken it one day at a time."

Touring Around the Crookeds

<--- 19th century graves.  Every village has their own "cemetery".  On the island it is said that "everyone has their own cup, spoon and plate".  When someone dies, their cup, spoon and plate are left on their grave or is buried with them.

Fresh Gravesite --->

Dinner at Gibson's #2

Last night Lynne and Jim made reservations for dinner at Gibson's lunch room.  Willie, the proprietor, is the daughter of Marina Gibson who had a little cafe here for years.  The guide books indicate it is still open and a "not to be missed experience.  However, Marina has taken a well deserved retirement though you will often find her in the cafe.  We met Marina on one of our drive-abouts.  What a gracious lady she is.  Now Willie runs a cafe in a different location.  There were about 10 other guest who were here from the Hampton's bonefishing.  We started off with conch salad, followed by a green salad and croissants.  The service was family style. We had huge bowls of fresh corn, herbed potatoes, Bahamian rice and tray's and tray's of lobster.  Oh my gosh, I ate until I could not eat another bite and then came the pineapple cheesecake with strawberry ice cream.  It is BYOB so you could bring what ever libation you preferred and then Willie had a tea-lemonade that was fantastic.  Oh by the way, the guide book says there are no restaurants here in the Crooked and Acklins.... good thing.........

 There simply are not enough adjectives to describe the last two days....and it is not over yet!

Sea Yawl Later!!

April 18, 2011

You are not going to believe this........... Last night after a great dinner Linda and I were both playing word games on the computers when we got a call on the VHF "Sea Yawl Later...  Sea Yawl Later this is Island Time... "  OK we don't know of a boat named Island Time but the signal was close... Who is Island Time and how do they know we are here?  I wondered if it was a boat next door with binoculars.  There are 3 or 4 other boats in the anchorage.  The voice sounded southern.. much like us!  I answered the call. 

It turns out "Island Time" is a home here on the Crooked Islands who's owners we now know as Jim and Lynne..... They have lived here on the island for over 10 years, she's from Beaumont Texas and he's from New Orleans.....  They still have a home in New Orleans.   A neighbor told her about a radio conversation she heard between a boat from Beaumont Texas and a monohull (the Alaskan boat we passed yesterday) so she called to see if we stopped here on their side of the island!!!  How cool is that?  They invited us over, naturally we jumped at the chance to go meet them.  We dinghied over and had a great visit..... how cool is it when you get to meet a coonass from New Orleans with a wife from your home town 2000 away in the middle of nowhere?

Tomorrow they are giving us a tour of the island....  you just never know do you?... lol.  Apparently Pittstown on Crooked Island is a world famous fly in community.  They just sold their Cessna 210 and bought a J3 Cub.  His next adventure is to bring the plane from Minneapolis to New Orleans.  What a trip that will be huh?  These guys are a hoot, Jim and I talked airplanes while Lynne and Linda talked about what the local grocery store has in stock.  I told him about what my brother Jim does at Airfield Technologies, then we talked about some planes that fly in here, about a Grumman Goose he got to fly.  Brother Jim and I saw one when he was here, I wondered about the flight characteristics and fuel burn.  The Goose with radial engines burns about 25 gallons per hour (per side!) so it trues out around 125 knots burning 50 gallons an hour.... holy cow!  We talked about another Goose that has turbine engines, Jim said the turbine guy could fly faster than the twin radial original plane.... with one of the turbine engine off!  He said the Goose was really sweet handling in the air, but was a handful to get off the water.

 We had a fine time and left around 9 for the short dinghy ride back to the boat.  The boat ride back was amazing..... we had a big bright full moon and the wind was GONE... so the water was perfectly flat.  You could see the bottom of the ocean in 15' of water by moonlight............... it was such an amazing experience..  we idled back to the boat in awe of the whole evening.  The night looked like a scene in one of those red plastic "Viewmaster" toys.  Remember the little picture wheel that slips in the top... and the sound the lever on the side makes when you change to the next scene?  The night looked like a movie scene, certainly not something you see in real life.

They told us the "Regatta Homecoming"  that is happening in the Acklins this weekend....  The Bahamian sloops will be here for a big race...   I don't see us leaving this place for quite some time.... Jim talked about launching his power boat and following us to French Wells for the day tomorrow.  I already have tons of stories from this wonderful couple, and we only just met them.

After the clouds left yesterday, as I expected the boat pointed back to the East on her anchor chain.  We now face the shoreline.... the night was so quiet you could hear the beach waves washing ashore through the open hatch.....

Jim and Lynne are going to call us on the radio when they are ready for us this morning, I expect around 9:00.  They are a great couple, we will no doubt enjoy the day with them on our personal tour of the Acklins and Crooked Islands.

8:55AM Jim just called and said 10:00 or anytime after would be great for them.  Linda is making fresh bread for the day, it should come out of the oven at 10, so that's perfect.  I'm straitening up the boat a bit, rolling up lines and putting the ship straight.

7:21PM  Wow what a round... Jim and Lynne drove us all over the island, to 3 grocery stores (each one having it's specialty) two different airports, we saw bars, churches.. the whole shebang...  The guys talked airplane and boat stories while the ladies trades recipes and discovered who both Lynne and Linda knew in Beaumont.  They are the most gracious people..... they brought us to their secret sea glass beach.... I'd tell you where it is but I'd have to kill you.... lol.  Suffice it to say it's very hard to get there by boat, but down the right trail you can find it if you know where to go.. and I promised I don't remember anymore.....

<--- some of the better pieces... I love the clear ones that  now look like frosted gems.

It took us a long time to find this many ----> probably over an hour, we had frozen food in the car so we couldn't stay any long.  We may go back, but wow.....  When it's that easy to find... it just seems wrong to go plunder the site.....they say you can do that every day....

I'm not overstating the count when I say we picked up 80 quality pieces of sea glass.  For any that don't know... sea glass is broken glass that has tumbled on the sea bottom and beach so long that the edges are rounded and all the smooth surfaces have been "sanded" away.... most people are lucky to find one or two pieces in a lifetime.  I personally culled probably 20 pieces because they weren't as nice as the ones I had so I threw them back in the water.

Apparently the Crooked and Acklins are a hotbed of the coolest flotsam and jetsam in the world... lol.  Jim had not one but TWO US Navy torpedoes that rolled up on the beach here.  But that's not the best thing he has ever found... he also has a Navy JET drone aircraft that floated in... This man brings flotsam and "JETsam" to a whole new level.... one of these days when I grow up I want to be Jim Finley.

Now THAT is some serious flotsam and jetsam.....  Their gardens are filled with glass and aluminum Portuguese net floats that washed up...  They have a cannon ball on the coffee table that was found locally.  What a life huh?  I want to be a master beachcomber like these guys!!!!!!  I get excited when I find a cool shell, they don't get too worked up unless war materials or antiques from other continents wash up in front of their house... lol.

Linda here...What a spectacular place this is.  If you read the guide books, which I did, there does not appear to be much to do here.  We almost didn't stop at Landrail Point.  Had we not talk to Moonsong (the boat from Alaska) we would not have stopped. We feel so blessed to have met this wonderful couple.  They have graciously taken us under their wing and shown us sights we would have never seen.  We met the Commissioner of the island today, countless lovely people who live here, the sea glass beach was unbelievable and they say there are two more beaches we need to see.  One of the beaches we still need to see is suppose to be a marvelous shelling beach.  There are sooooo many beautiful treasures, sooo many wonderful people I spent most of today overwhelmed by it all. 

I have to mention that a friend from Kemah saw in our blog that I wanted a picture of Double Wides  dinghy protector.  When I check our e-mail today ( at Lynne and Jim's house) Tony had gotten a picture for me.  It has so helped.  Right now the dinghy protector looks awful and it mainly is something that I get my toes caught in.  Now I know what to do.  Thanks, Tony.

We have decided not to try to do Long Island before the Family Regatta but to spend our time here.  Erin called and it seems she and 3 friends may be coming to see us at the end of May.  We bounced around several places for them to meet us but in the end, GT seemed the best choice.  It is not definite but if their visit does materialize then we can see Long Island between the Family Regatta and Erin coming in.   Time is flying by soooo fast.  I can't believe Easter is next weekend.  Today was very, very special. 

Sea Yawl Later

Rusty and Linda

April 17, 2011

1:07PM  We are anchored at Landrail Point on the NW corner of the Crooked Islands.  We had a very nice downwind sail from Lovely Bay, the trailing seas were light.  It was a nice ~ easy 30 mile transit.

My wheel autopilot has been giving me a little trouble the past couple days, I was thinking the belt may have stretched a bit in the last 3,000 miles, so I changed it, but it still wasn't perfect.  The hardest thing for an autopilot to do is steer downwind in big seas... so it's been stressing the past few days.  I like the belt tension just tight enough to work, but not so tight it catches as you turn the wheel by hand with the autopilot disengaged.... I hate it when the wheel isn't silky smooth.  I know... picky picky... you'll have to just humor me.. It doesn't have to be jerky.. so I want mine smooth.

I tried to adjust the tensioner pulley, but I'm not sure exactly how it works.  It looks like I need a small spanner wrench (I can make that) but I'm not sure if there is a set screw that locks it in place or what.  All the parts are very small so I didn't want to over torque anything until I know just how it works.  Luckily I have another whole unit a friend of mine rebuilt, and actually upgraded to solve some inherent problems that won't occur on this one.....  I put the other wheel pilot on and it works beautifully.  Thanks Tom!  When I get internet again I'll check to see how the tensioner works and adjust my original one back to "silky".  Mine is souped up to be as sweet as the one Tom did for me, but the execution of Tom's upgrades we done perfectly on a drill press in his home shop.... mine was done with a hand drill and a rum trained eyeball..... Unexpectedly.... some how.. Tom's works better!

Landrail Point has a beach, but it's a steep rough looking affair.  I see a person walking on it, but they are stepping gingerly on the hard steep slope.  There are houses and apparently a resort here.  Landrail is very protected from the trade winds, but the weirdest thing.... when we set our anchor it was to the WEST!  I understand why, there is a decent size land effects rain cloud over this end (the lee end) of the island that is creating an opposing local wind effect.  Sooner or later this evening the cloud will break away from the land and the SE winds will control again.  It was so strange setting my anchor to a West wind... lol.  Normally you only get West winds here when a front comes through and wind clocks thru the West just before blowing like stink from the North.  A West wind in the Bahamas normally means you better be ducking in somewhere pretty quick, but this time of year the fronts never make it this far South.

We were going to French Wells today, but we talked to a passing boat headed South to the Caribbean, they said Landrail Point was nice so we decided not to miss any of the things in the Acklins that might be fun... besides that.. it's closer!  French Wells can wait until tomorrow.  The boat "Moon Song" we chatted with is from Sitka Alaska!  He's been out a while.  I saw him and hailed on the VHF.  He said he draws 7 feet!  Man... he needs to go to the Carib.... where it's deep and steep next to the beaches!

The sun just came out as the land effects cloud is starting to break up and blow off the island.. WOW this water is clear!  No wonder though because it's 7 to 9,000 feet deep a mile offshore.  Deep water near shore makes the beach water amazingly clear... maybe that's the draw of the Carib... lots of deep water close to shore.

There is a cool lighthouse on the NW corner of the island.  We took some pictures, I'm sure Linda will post them soon.  The corner marked by the lighthouse was beautiful..... Deep purple 2000' deep water with a 100' azure blue shelf around the islands lighthouse... finished out with baby blue shallows and a wave break near shore.

Linda just brought up the Waldorf salad.....  mmm.  I can smell the serried mushrooms and steaks.... OK, they just came up.. sorry I gotta go!


April 16, 2011

2:40PM  We are in "Lovely Bay" a few miles down the road from Atwood.  We took up the anchor around noon to change beach locations at Atwood and decided we had done everything we want to do there, so we moved on to discover the next bay.  Before doing so we headed offshore to do some "whale watching" it was actually more like looking around to see if there were any where we were, then going into the next bay while we still had good light.

"Lovely Bay" seems a bit overstated so far.  It's pretty shallow with scattered patch coral... no good beach access except by dinghy.  I'll go explore with the dink a bit later.  We have Batelco service for the first time in several weeks, so Linda is talking to folks back home.  We don't have many minutes left, so she's making short calls to check in.

The bays around here have amorous names... I guess to invite people into them.  Names like Delectable, etc......  Tomorrow we will head around the Crooked Islands to French Wells.  It supposedly has the "best beach in the Bahamas" according to one guide book.  I expect to see good stuff there.  Lovely Bay is lovely I guess.... I'll say more after I get back from the beach in the dink.  LOTS of it is shallow.  We entered at a very low tide (.9 below datum) and cruised around, I saw a lot of 3.9' to 4.5' readings.  Just inside the bay at the marked anchorage spot... it's deeper, but it doesn't compare in any way to the Atwood anchorage.  It will hold you if you need it, but Atwood is better.  Atwood did have a slight swell roll in it though... not bad, but more than I expected.  Both spots have clean sand that grabs your anchor like scrooge grabs a dollar bill..... As we sit here.. the waves on our nose roll you around about the same as the swell in Atwood.. not bad but not totally flat.  I'm in 4' of water to get as deep as I can behind the headland (remember I'm at an ultra low tide) and we are rolling a little.  I'm used to being able to run deep into a place and get NO roll.... that isn't happening here.  It's 1/4 mile to the beach (that would be fully protected from the swell) but I hit 3.2 feet before I could get there so we went back to 4' and put the hook in it.

4:45PM  Well, the beach fodder is OK, but not stellar.  It is essentially uncombed so there are finds to be made (and I did) but it has the moon rock type rock structure all through it, much of the "beach" is gravel created as the shells beat against the moonscape rocks and over behind them.  There is no "high wash".  I guess that means the beach here doesn't get big waves or weather on it.  Normally on any beach you get debris well up into the mangroves or flats behind the beach crest.  None here.  That may speak to the protection of this anchorage favorably.  The high wash is where I like to look for the old stuff.  Usually shells are weathered and sun baked with no color in the high wash but you find the best bottles and glass there.  Shells often turn black from oxidation that far up.  The high wash is where you find crab shells that birds have eaten.  They land beyond the beach to finish their meal, out of sight over the crest of sand that tops most beaches.

I found my first sea bean the minute I stepped out of the dink.  Sea beans float over from Japan so they are worn smooth and cool looking by the time they get here.  Sea beans are round, normally the size of a silver dollar and 1/2" thick.  I found a few pieces of rope for the dink bow but not much.  The shells usually had both sides still intact if they weren't ground to gravel by the moon rocks.  I saw a green hard hat.... (didn't pick it up).  It is evident that these beaches are untouched by all but the most intent beachcombers.... like me.

The beach was indeed shallow very far out and not sandy.. lots of marl covered by vegetation for 40 yards off the beach.  I had to run the engine on high tilt to get in and off the beach... not my favorite situation, but that meant almost nobody ever goes there... so the flotsam was less plundered... all mine.  I keep looking for those shiny Gold Doubloons edging out of the sand..... marking a massive undiscovered cash of Spanish gold...  but nothing so far... lol.  I would only make off with 100 pounds or so.. nothing massive... just enough for gas....  a memento..

I just looked at the charts... it's about 50 miles to French Wells, so we need to leave early, but not at daybreak like we did on the previous long legs.  I felt like the next stop may be the crown jewel of the Acklins trip, but as I look into it, the Eastern shore of the Acklins Bight may become my favorite... it has all the markings.

April 15, 2011

     Looking back at Attwood Harbour entry from the beach (deep and wide)                             Rusty perusing the flotsam treasures on Attwood beach

If this first anchorage is any indicator, the Acklins are amazing.  Words can not describe the majesty that is here in this first lonely harbor called Attwood.  As we approached (15 miles out from the NE corner of the Acklins) Rusty saw a whale breach behind the boat making a splash twice the size of our boat.  We were only four miles out when I saw a whale too!  Mine was apparently sunning himself at the surface six boat lengths off our Starboard beam, he gently raised his tail high in the air and gracefully submerged.  I saw his body first then his huge tail as he raised it out of the water, then he raised it more to a height of probably 12 feet out of the water.  It was amazing to see so close up.

Shortly after my whale experience we saw the largest school of flying fish we have ever seen become air borne right in front of the boat.  How do you top that?   Well, we had no sooner entered this secluded harbor and six dolphins greeted us and followed us all the way to the beach speeding around and jumping out of the water circling the boat and cocking their heads to get a better look at us.  The dolphins hung around for a long time.  They kept cruising by as we beached the boat on the rising tide in the center of the beautiful and expansive beach.  It's like they were saying "hey!  come back out here and play"!  Attwood Harbor is a spacious anchorage with 200 degrees of beachfront.  The entrance is deep and wide, We HIGHLY recommend it for any cruiser passing this way.

Rusty went exploring and found all kinds of flotsam and jetsam treasures.  I will go tomorrow.   Rusty says there is netting everywhere.  He brought back beautiful blue and a purple rope to add to our dinghy protector and told me to go get whatever else I might want because netting and pieces of rope are everywhere.  It seems what comes into the deep entrance washes up and stays on the beach forever.  I can't wait to go find the netting I need to finish the dinghy protector.  When we pulled our anchor up to set in deeper water for the night a large dolphin came and escorted us to our anchorage.  I LOVE this place.  Rusty even saw a huge 4" diameter rope longer than our boat.  This is flotsam heaven!

6:40PM, Rusty here:  This place reminds me of the Jumentos but prettier.  It's remote and beautiful like the Jumentos, but the Acklins provide more protected anchorages.  The Jumentos are "wild and knarly" this place seems "idyllic and inviting".  I saw 9 feet of water almost all the way to the beach here.... Atwood Harbor is nice.  If the rest of the Acklins is this good we may not leave.

The wildlife we have seen here already, is better than we have seen anywhere...  I understand there is 15 to 20' tall stag horn coral at the NE corner of Acklins.  The guide books say give the area a wide birth, even though your depth finder shows plenty water, don't cut the corners on the waypoints because the tall coral reaches up so close to the surface.

So far this place is magical.... I need to do some planning about where to go the next few days I guess... Chris said to expect a bit of a blow Tuesday thru Thursday of next week (today is Friday).  We will see if that forecast even holds (that's a ways out)  I have several places picked out along our possible tour of the Acklins if I need good protection if it's needed.  Right now he's only talking maybe 20 knots so no big deal.

I'd love to make it all the way into the Bight of Acklins on the protected West shore by the time it starts blowing... but if I don't, no big deal.  The guide books say "Bight of Acklins is shallow and remote so of the very few cruisers that stop in the Acklins, fewer still explore the bight"..... those words call my name.... lol.  We do really well in shallow water and the cool thing is it's totally protected in a blow, similar to the back side of the Exuma chain.  Like I said, if the rest of the Acklins is this nice.... we won't be going anywhere else before making the Family Island Regatta in GT (the 27th).

A Canadian flagged Lagoon 410 pulled in the harbor a couple hours after we did.  When we left our beach spot, I cruised by and said hello, the two Canadians guys aboard didn't speak English very well, but they got the message across that they too had left Mayaguana today and are heading for Joe's Sound on Long Island.  I moved downwind 150 yards and dropped my hook for the night, I don't want my little Honda to be heard as we make ice and fresh drinking water later tonight. 

Today's sail was good, we had a quartering swell all day and almost enough wind angle off the stern to make good way.  It takes 120 degrees off the wind (or less) to make good speed, today we had to pinch downwind and struggled a bit to find the speed we needed.  I flew the main and jib only because winds would frequently go 10 knots apparent or better, and there were some dark clouds around that could have made much more wind if they covered me. 

The days journey was only to be 50 miles, so we could spend time clunking along at 5 knots easily.  Luckily the last 2 hours I had a large rain cloud off my port stern, and I was working a starboard tack.  What that did was give me a nice lift the last 2 hours so I could go left to make my waypoint at speed.  To explain how that works; a low pressure area (thunderstorm to a hurricane) pulls wind into it from the surface in a counterclockwise motion.  The squall stayed a mile or so away (to port) and travelled the same way I was going...... so it was consistently filling my sails as it sucked cool air up from the surface from the right side of my boat.... if you followed my track on spot, that's how I was able to turn left and make my waypoint just outside Attwood comfortably with good speed.  When I turned left to make Attwood in the lift, that put the swell right on my stern (a good thing) plus... we picked up a full knot of good current at the same time... Atwood beckoned me home sweetly for the night.  Going downwind is a beautiful thing...... lol.  The sail today was truly one for the books, things got better as the day progressed, not worse... lol.

Linda's dinner was astounding.... I don't know where she pulls all this stuff from.. but we eat GOOD.....

6:30AM:  Sunrise this morning leaving Mayaguana

You know..... I have been thinking a lot about what (if anything) this blue water sailing is teaching me that will be useful on land, and truthfully, I have concluded that almost no skill I have developed will be of any use when we get off the boat.  1. Knowing that when the wind slows to near nothing, expect a blow with clocking winds..... how does that help me driving my car to the supermarket?   2. Knowing how to counter steer the boat to ride trailing seas can take an hour off a full day trip.... but I'm not sure how that will help me on Dowlen Road.  3. I know if you travel up high, and sheet the main out fully in light following airs you will go faster... but I don't know how to implement that skill at the Chemical Plant..... 4.  How do I use the skill acquired of setting a perfectly barber hauled jib down my cul-de-sac?  I know of absolutely NO land based advantage for the collection of seafaring skills I have acquired.  In order of real life importance.... where do these lessons rate.  Pretty low on the totem pole I think.

This whole odyssey might be summed up with a single "talking point" when somebody asked me about it.  I can now say.... "I know about half of what I need to know to be a good sailor".   Now if Kevin Costner's "Water World" really happens I might have a leg up, otherwise no life skills transfer, I'm not "better" at anything that really matters.

What does that mean..... OK, I know more than lots of folks about sailing... what does that get you?  I don't know....  What will all this eventually boil down to?  You know.. after the tan is faded and I'm wearing shoes again.  This may become nothing more than pictures on a page, something to read when I get bored, a symbiotic tryst for others... an adventure tale that could be as fabricated as Walter Cronkite's coverage of the moon landing....  we don't really know do we?

I'm not sure what all this means.... but there it is.  I guess I'm wondering if I'm spending my days wisely...  oh by the way, I have no doubt we landed on the moon, I'm not a conspiracy theorist.... lol.  My moon shot/sailing adventure comparison might be this; After the moon landing, people doubted it's relevance, even the fact of it.... great effort was put toward the lunar excursion yet what did it really mean... I can't even fathom how much less relevance there is in what I am doing..... none beyond a personal mental pop for the two people that actually made the trip.  I have no doubt the astronauts enjoyed it... but likewise glad to be home.  There will come that time for us, when it's not fun anymore, I am sure we will know it.  Our schedule is less regimented and on a much slower pace than the moon shots.  One small step huh?  was it really "one giant leap for mankind" or just kinda fun for the guys that did it and that's pretty much it?  This trip is no moon shot by millions of miles, so what does it mean to have sailed our track.... once the tan is gone?

April 14, 2011

It has been a good day.  We anchored last night at Malcolm Road at Provo, right in front of the Atlantic Village.  It seems a lovely, out of the way, secluded vacation spot.  The guides tell you to anchorage in front of the Tiki Huts.  The Atlantic Village was built originally as a set for a French game show called Pago Pago.  The theme was a South Pacific island where contestants could win various prizes by completing several tasks.  Just offshore is a dive site that consists of a large metal cage left over by the show.  Contestants were required to dive down into the cage to catch small plastic pearls that were released into the water by a huge artificial "sponge" inside the cage.  Nearby were several mermaids with Scuba tanks to offer air to the divers when they needed a breath, bracelet-like rings that the divers earned were traded underwater for breaths of air.  However there was one bad mermaid who would signal a diver over for a breath and then swim away.  Apparently they had problems (imagine that) and the show filmed less than a dozen episodes.  Someone had a fire on the beach.  It was a lovely place to spend the night.  We left around 6:30AM, listened to Chris Parker underway and sailed the 60 plus miles to Mayaguana. 

We are anchored at Northwest Point and plan on another early departure to the Acklins tomorrow.  We had a fresh salad, Grannies creamed red potatoes and fried chicken.  For dessert was fresh strawberries with sour cream and brown sugar for dipping.

April 13, 2011

                                               Our last look at Ft George!  

Last night we spent the night in the little cove around from Ft George with Chrissie and Steve.  We had a lovely time, shelling, visiting and then a wicked game of Mexican Train where Steve whipped up on all of us.  Chrissie and Steve are troopers.  They seemed to have handled "camping" on SYL well.  We gently sailed back to the point this morning and we will spend the day here until about 1:00pm.  We will sail  back to Turtle Cove Marina, let Chrissie and Steve off, get fuel and then go to our pre-determined staging point in Provo for an early departure for Mayaguana.  Of course, that is our plan and who knows what might change that between now and then. I guess my learning flexibility is one of the things I most appreciate about cruising.  First is the actual sailing, second is the opportunity to meet new people and third would have to be the flexibility of the cruising life style.   I have thoroughly enjoyed our guest and our visit here on Ft George.  Great spot.

Rusty spent over two hours on his hands and knees searching for just the right little bitty shells to fill this bottle for his mom.  Grannie this is for YOU!!

We wouldn't have had taken the time to do it if we hadn't returned to Ft. George with the Ottawa couple.  He really took his time and put literally hundreds of tiny shells in the bottle, it really looks cool.


6:30PM  We are sitting on front of a resort at Malcom Roads on the West side of Provo.  We staged here to gain a 10 mile jump on tomorrows transit to Mayaguana.  After dropping off our guests we topped everything off, paid the bill and left Turtle Cove by 3:30.... Nice.  We said our goodbyes to Steve and Chrissie and shoved off.

We had to motor out of Turtle Cove... and for the first 30 minutes as we made our way West toward the NW tip of Provo.  Around 4:30 we picked up a nice 8 to 12 knot breeze that allowed us to turn the engines off for the rest of the trip.  Hopefully much of our downhill run (to the Souwest with the trade winds) will be as sweet as the last 2 hours.  There was a NE swell today.. hopefully it will go more East than North tomorrow so it won't be as much on our beam.  The swell is probably only 5'. They make very long slow moving hills, so it's no big deal, but if they were right behind us it would be excellent.  Our heading tomorrow will be around 310 degrees.. depending on what part of Mayaguana we head for.  I suspect we will keep a beam.. or at least a quartering swell most of the way back to the Exumas, but winds are definitely "going our way" now.

April 12, 2011

We awoke to a perfectly calm morning in the harbor.  Chris Parker said we may be looking for wind to sail on for the next few days.  It may be slow, but it beats the heck out of the opposite problem.

After lunch we will check out of the marina, fuel up and stage 10 miles or so at Malcom Road for the 60 mile trip to Mayaguana.  We can shorten it to 40 tomorrow if we stop on the near side of Mayaguana, and we probably will.  Then take the next day to drift the easy 20 mile length of Mayaguana from the SE Point anchorage to Betsy Bay in light airs.  That would put us leaving Mayaguana Friday morning for points West.

The first islands you come to from Mayaguana are the Plana's (East and West) some 20 miles out.  While we could stop there for the day, but we may do the full 50 miles to make Atwood Harbor on Acklins.  All this pre-planning is useful, but we are not too good at planning past the end of the day... we always change it so understand, I'm mostly talking it out.... what we could do the next few days.

Ted & Millie, and Matt & Christie are targeting Salt Pond Long Island for Easter.  The deciding factor for us meeting them there is how much time we need in Acklins to do it right.  I doubt we will ever venture this far East again, so while we are here we need to look around all we want.  If we can do the Acklins comfortably in 4 or 5 days we could still make it to Salt Pond by Easter.

It's 8:04AM, I better go look for the propane place and get that rolling.  We may not have good internet in the Acklins, but I bet there is somewhere we can post the site.  I'll try to do better turning "Spot" on and off... I have been pretty sloppy with it lately.

Sea Yawl Later !!   Rusty

Linda here:  I am getting my last internet fix.  I don't expect to have it this good until we are back in the states.  At least that has been my experience thus far.  We can post but can't do any major downloads elsewhere, so I have been loading my Kindle up with reading materials.  I will probably download a few more before we leave and maybe a game or two.  I am a big game player.  I like Text Twist, WordSlinger and some puzzle games.  I have kind of played myself out on those.  Besides propane we went back to the grocery store to stock up on "stuff". Cokes were $15.00 a case so we got a couple of cases.  We got more beautiful produce, chips and frozen shrimp. We are well provisioned now.  I have finished putting all the provisions up, cleaned out the refrig, got the kitchen back in shape and our laundry put away.  I will clean the head when I shower.  I think we will be heading out soon for our first leg back to the Exumas.  Rusty is giving the watermaker a fresh water rinse and then I think we will buy gas and be off.

Well, plans changed.  While I was in the shower getting ready to leave the marina, Rusty met this couple from Canada and the next thing I know we are taking them to Ft George and are spending the night.....lol  Does this surprise anyone?  Chrissie and Steve are a very nice couple and it is nice saying goodbye to Ft George...again.  I love this man.  My life will never be boring!  Rusty says he did it because we have such a gift that we can give and he just wanted to share our blessing with someone who would have never had this opportunity.  That is my guy!!!  Awesome, I just looked up and there was this beautiful rainbow.  It is like God smiling saying "Yeah"!

Sea Yawl Later!!


April 11, 2011

We have not blogged in a while so this post will be a recap of this past week in pictures.

Sally and Hugh treated us to dinner last night.  The meal and company were both great.

I had a "Tiki Temptation" from the bar and bought the souvenir glass that goes with it................ He's a cute little fellah, and like everyone else around here "baby got back"    --------------------------------------------------------->

Hugh found a great little starfish.... The little guy must have known we were from Texas........... he put his Hemphill camo colors on.... who else do you know brought up a genuine camo colored starfish?  Huh?

Sally in "chill" position---------------------->

Fort George was a pretty cool place to hang out....  The beach was just steep enough to let the boat touch in the front and barely touch the keels.  If you let it set all the way to low tide the bow would come up 6" or so, but man it sleeps good like that.... it's sorta' like sleeping in a trailer house up on blocks.

Hugh is a Galveston Beach guy from way back...... he fell right into the beach groove.  We had to tan him and Sally up a bit.... I think we did OK, hopefully they didn't get too much sun.

As I said earlier... we went to the Tiki Hut here at Turtle Cove Marina.   We had a great time and it was a perfect ending to a great trip.  We love the Whynot's.  We had the last game of Hand and Foot and Rusty and Sally beat Hugh and I badly... they even gave us two attempts at the end and were good sports.
<---- it seems all paths (and jets) lead to and from the Turks and Caicos "Provo" airport.

Sailing from Provo to North Caicos there is a lot of pretty water inside the reef.  There is a major reef line about a half mile offshore on the North side of the "Providenciales"  It's a virtual protected highway up the beach line.  The huge Sandals and other resorts line the beach.  Just East of the developments are some NICE homes, lots of movie stars live here..... away from the maddening crowd.

Hugh and Sally were super fun.... we all think alike, Hugh grew a cool beard while he was here..... we will see if he keeps it.  They (like us) are a product of the 70's.  I played XM radio "70's" a couple evenings and we all grooved to the music..... Sally is a great cook, good friend and lots of help on board.  Hugh is  exactly the same.... These guys are welcome any time and we told them so. 

I'm not sure how much other company we want for a while now that the water is nice and warm.  I'm sure we will get lonesome and invite other folks to come play with us.... but for now we will probably be coasting... just Linda and I.... hunting remote beaches now that the water is warm enough to languish in.  It wasn't cold before... but it's becoming bath water warm.....  we will spend a few days or weeks alone bobbing under the boat before we think about company.  We both love our friends.... especially these two.... but sometimes it's nice to be just us....

The point we inhabited (Fort George) was a picturesque place.....  we loved it so much we pretty much spent all our time there feeding the fish in the morning.... eating a late breakfast..... looking at the new shells the surf brought in every morning and generally being slugs..

Sally is holding two beers, just so you know.. only one of them was hers.... I wouldn't want you to think Sally ever drank too much.

The water here (like in most places we have been) is simply amazing....  I thought we might get "used to" the beauty and color of the water.... but I don't think it will ever happen.

We were blessed with great weather almost every day Sally and Hugh were here.  We had some serious evening "Hand and Foot" games..... Sally and I were the initial victors.. then we were humiliated for a couple days... but we finished out winning again!

           We had lazy day sails!

This is one of our trips (the last one) from Ft George to Turtle Cove.  Hugh manned the helm while I tuned the spinnaker for the two hour trip to the marina.  We look forward to lots of downwind sailing on the way back to the Bahamas....  I don't see anything else supercool that we need to look at around here before we leave.  If we were divers.. yeah, but we aren't.

We had celebrity visits more than once.  This evening Don Johnson (from Miami Vice) had his people set up a fire and BBQ on the beach.  We left him and his "people" shortly after this to give the boy the beach.....

---> Linda starting on our dinghy bow project.  It will be a long job, but that's the fun of it, adding unique strings or different color ropes to the bow blanket as we find it along the beaches.

 We were treated to beautiful sunsets every night.  By 4:00PM we usually had the beach to ourselves.  The tour boats had taken their fares back to each ones selected hotel or condo....

  These pictures really don't do the sunset justice, but oh well... I guess you would have just had to been there...

Our days were filled with relaxing.  Sally and Rusty took turns in the swing.  We bobbed in the water everyday.  The salt water is different than the water back home.  You don't feel sticky or salty when you get out.  The grains of sand here are more "flakes" that really don't bother you (in your shorts) ...... lol

April 10, 2011

We have spent the last few days just repeating the day before on Ft George beach.  Lots of shelling, bobbing in the water, relaxing, reading and taking naps.  I have been working on the dinghy front cover using the netting that Hugh and Sally found for me.  It is fun to just sit under the boat and unravel netting. 

April 8, 2011

We are becoming a fixture here on Ft. George Beach.  The local charter boat captains know me by name.  I feel a bit like the official greeter... as a new group of tourists show up, I like to go over and find out where they are from and share stories.  This morning we sailed away from our anchorage and never cranked a motor all the way to our beach spot. 

Last night we went past the Meridian Club to the shallow basin we anchored in a couple times before.  We had a famous visitor here on the beach again last night, they made a big fire and prepped for a long night of beach music and the big fire.... so I took up the anchor and gave them the beach all to themselves... we idled deeper into Ft. George cut to the little quiet basin at the end.  We won't leave the beach tonight though, I like our spot... we have been through a full tide cycle on this spot without having to adjust lines... I have a back anchor out, we sat comfortably all day so tonight should be the same. 

Hugh and Sally will leave Monday, so I suspect we will go to Turtle Cove Marina Sunday night.  We may get lucky and not run out of water or butane by then but I doubt it.  We can't make water with our bow up on the sand.... the water intake would suck up the sand and be a problem.  I totally expect to run out of butane in the last bottle at any moment....  I guess when we do, it will be time to leave the beach.  This group won't fare well without hot meals.  We have too many great cooks on board to go without butane for very long.....

"Texas Two Step" came thru day before yesterday.... I understand via facebook that they have already struck out for the DR (Dominican Republic). It's only 90 miles so I'm sure they are near... or even there by now.

We had steaks and baked potatoes about 4:00... we all ate so much we took naps.  It's 5:46 now, I just woke up.... Linda is still down below in the bunk... I took my nap in the swinging chair at the end of the boom.  Sally and Hugh are off walking the beach as the sun gets lower in the sky... glistening off the ocean.  Where we are sitting (out on the point of the beach) the sun sets onto a dark blue sea every night.... you hear is sizzle as it hits the water..... lol.

Today I went to the Meridian Club by dinghy to see if they have any cruiser services.  Nobody was at the dockmaster office so I walked back to the boat mechanic shed and talked to him.  He put me in contact with security and he said "this is a private island.... we don't have any services for anybody that doesn't live here" the two gentlemen I met walked with me all the way back to my boat, looked in the dink and stood there on the dock to watch me leave until I was out of sight.  They were courteous but I suspect they have standing orders to make sure nobody wanders around unsupervised (like I was).  I saw a large pen of dogs and a K-9 Security golf cart with dog boxes on it..... I guess they enjoy their privacy.  I'm good with that.

April 7, 2011

We spent the last couple of days on anchor at Ft George.  We have been snorkeling, mostly bobbing, reading, eating great meals, playing cards and relaxing.  The days seem to languish by but before you know it, it is cruiser's midnight.  A gentleman named Simon at South Side Marina does a cruisers net every morning at 7:30AM which is really appreciated.  It seems we will have great weather for the rest of Sally and Hugh's stay.  We pulled up anchor early this morning to make a run to Grace Bay so we can get some groceries, beer and ice.  Hugh and I are anchored off the beach on SYL while Sally and Rusty are trekking to the store.

Exciting news.  Yesterday Sally and Hugh went for a walk on the beach on the other side of cut on Pine Cay and found a clump of netting.  I have been wanting to fashion our front dinghy cover and have been waiting to find a large enough piece of netting.  I am excited.  We already have a repair on the front of our new dinghy.  Some people take salvaged fishing net and make a front shield out of it and then tie different pieces of rope or net that they find in their travels onto the net.  They can be quite pretty.  I was hoping I had taken a picture of Double Wide's dinghy's protector but I didn't.  It was really Kewl.

We are on our way back to Ft George.  Mission accomplished.  Rusty and Sally said the grocery, Gracebay Gourmet, was an upscale market comparable to some of the best in US (with prices to match).  A six pack of Corona is $15.50.  We found Tostitos!!!!  I have been wanting Tostitos or anything I could make nachos out of for two months!  I am excited (it does not take much...lol).  I just looked up and the water is amazing.  I don't think I will ever get use to the colors of the water here and in the Bahamas.  T & C is not considered the Bahamas but it looks very much the same. However,  I think it will be a long time before I am ready to leave the Exumas.  When you have it perfect....well it is perfect!  I still would like to go to Mexico to experience the culture but I don't think any water anywhere can compare to the Exumas.   Mexico's political climate and drug problems will prohibit me from going there I am afraid.  I would have loved to go to Cuba, we were soooo close, but again I just don't want to deal with a communist country, or one with more problems than the US.  I understand they are rioting in the UK.  What a mess!  I feel sorry for my children and their children we are leaving them quite a mess but my crusading days are over.  I plan on spending the next decade in my "selfish phase".  Hum, I better stop here.  I am enjoying my Rootbeer Float (rootbeer, vodka and baileys---yum, yum) and I had better just go back to sipping my drink, watching the gorgeous water go by and listening to good music.

April 5, 2011

The wind did pick up last night but I don't think it ever saw 30 kts.  We took the drag alarm with us to bed and Rusty didn't really sleep well until the boat turned the way he wanted it too about 2 AM.  We are concluded a Hand and Foot Tournament last night.  Hugh and I against Sally and Rusty.  Last night was our third night, we had each one one game.  It was really close and quite honestly unimportant who won, we just had a great time.  We left about 10:00AM so we could take advantage of high tide to get into Ft George.  It is a very tricky cut and even our boat can't get in unless it is high tide.  We still have weather predicted tonight but we will be fine.

Today we spent literally all day in the water.  This is such a lovely area.  Tour boats come here every day but they don't stay long and they are gone before sundowners.  Every tour boat that comes along Rusty makes friends with the captain and pumps him for local information.  Seems that Rusty had already figured out this was the best beach that is accessible by boat in the T & C's.  I have a feeling this will be our base of operations for the remainder of our time in the Caicos. Tomorrow we will go to a snorkel area. 


April 4, 2011

Here's a picture of a guy we met the other day.  You meet lots of different people on the beaches of the world.  It's a great place to chat where everybody is on the same page..... your there on the beach to enjoy the scenery, hang out with loved ones and generally not be bothered by life.

One of the things we love about cruising is being in warm water, chilling with everyone you meet from the live alone sailor that has a boat and nothing else to people that can spend a million a week to be there.  Being on the beach seems to be a great equalizer.... everybody is there for the same thing.... so it's easy to walk up and talk.. then move on along the shore line to pick up shells or wade through the surf to give the other guy space..

I have a way to tell if the guy I walk up on is a cruiser or if he flew in.. I'm right 90% of the time too.  Check his legs and especially the top of his feet, if they are tan he's a cruiser......

8:28AM:  The expected blow hasn't arrived yet, but I just talked to CP and it's still due this evening and clears tomorrow so that's good.  We expected a blow in the "wee hours" this morning so we are tied and cross tied in the slip.  Right now it's sun then showers.. sun then a shower....  no big winds yet.

Have you figured out who the guy in the picture is yet?   Too bad we can't have a "guess the profile" interactive button... to see who figures it out first..... Mom, you can't play because I already told you who it was..... lol.   If you have a guess hit "Contact Us" and submit you're guess....

About 4:00PM we couldn't stand it any longer sitting in the marina. Fortunately, the Whynot's are of like mind.  The weather over the last day and 1/2 had not been as bad as predicted so we decided to head out, save a day's marina's fee and go to the Leeward Cut and anchor in that protected cut.  Rusty felt with two anchors even if it blew the predicted 30 knots we would be fine. The Leeward cut was only about an hour from the marina and Rusty had already marked a good spot we had spent the night in before our friends arrived.  It is soooo nice being out of the marina.  I love it when all you see is blue water, blue sky and no one else except an occasional boat going by.  This is a busy tour boat cut but all tour boats are usually gone by 3:30PM because everyone is headed back to shower and dress for the evenings festivities. It is sundowner time.

Sea Yawl Later!!


April 3, 2011

Yesterday we left Turtle Cove and sailed to a great little place we found.  We had a fine, slow evening walking the beach, picking up shells and lounging under the boat.  We ate some of the wonderful food Sally brought and enjoyed the great company.  

This beach is very popular with the small tour guides, the local guys with a boat that bring people to see the sites nobody can get to except by charter.  It's a special place with a great ocean view over the point of the sandbar full of shells.  We had a visitor yesterday that everybody would know.  I'm not going to infringe on he and his family's privacy by saying his name.... give the paparazzi any information about where to come to ruin the day.... When we talked I didn't let on that I knew who he was, we introduced ourselves on a first name basis and talked a while.  I didn't want him to have to be "on" for his public.. this is the place to just hang out and enjoy the beach.  His tour guide asked if I knew who he was and of course I did.  I want to give him several days to complete his vacation before I say who it is.  I took some candid shots without bothering him for set up photos or autographs so I have my own personal "tabloid" photos... I may post one that nobody would want to buy or use after he leaves the island.  Stay tuned for details (when the cost is clear).

This morning we ate Bagels and Locks (which is thin slices high quality Salmon) with cream cheese for breakfast then walked the beach again.  We never left the spot we landed at yesterday.  Hugh kayaked across the sound to check out the other shore and Sally drifted in the current, walked back up the beach and slowly drifted it again... she said it was better than the Schlitterbahnn lazy river ride.  We left the beach around 11:00, not because we wanted to, but the tide was going out and our exit path is very shallow.  We made it out without a bump.... (very unusual) and are now 2 miles offshore sailing in 9 knots of wind on a very comfortable long lazy swell.

Our intent is not to get anywhere early.. just sail around and end up back at Turtle Cove Marina this evening to hide from the two day blow.  It's probably going to be 25 knots or so for 30 hours, so we won't buck it.  We will come back out Wednesday. 

We had a great day and a half of beach time... When we come back out we may go to the Leeward Cut, who knows.

5:05PM:  We got into the marina in fine fashion.. we had a wonderful clam chowder dinner that Sally brought.  The boat is plugged in to AC, tied and cross tied for the blow and we are literally happy as clams.... in Turtle Cove Marina slip 14.  The chocolate and butterscotch / oatmeal cookies Sally made was a wonderful desert....  Having Hugh and Sally on board are truly like US being on vacation......

7:00PM:  OK, I don't know why.. but Linda made some of her "to die for" stir fry.  I went on walkabout around the harbor and came back to the smell of wonderful veggies and chicken frying in butter and soy sauce with rice.... I wasn't hungry but I ate AGAIN... these women and their dueling dinners..... it's more than a man should have to bear......

OH, sorry about the April fools joke... I think some of our readers were spooked a bit.... I did a good job huh.....

April 2, 2011

They are here!!!  Sally and Hugh arrived yesterday.  We rented a car to pick them up at the airport so we would have it to run some errands as well.  We went by the bank to use the ATM  on the way to the airport.  The ATM accepted our transaction but there was one "little snag", it failed to give us our money.  We went into the bank and a hour later we left with out money, a "report" and instructions to contact our bank.  Even when we explained that we could not do that for awhile and asked it there was anyway we could get the cash we were told our bank has to contact them.  The line was out the door at the bank.  At first I thought they were just extremely busy but I think they are just on island time. 

It was like Christmas!!.  Sally and Hugh brought sooo much food, beautiful produce, New York Cheese and Pasta and a variety of home baked goods out of Sally's kitchen.  We are going to feast.  We went to the Sharkbite for dinner and returned home.  After the long travel time Sally and Hugh were ready for bed at cruiser's midnight (9:00PM).  We just got to bed and the eatery right in front of our dock started with "live" very loud music.  This continued until after 2:00AM.  When we return we will choose another slip ..lol. 

We currently are motoring to Ft George to spend a couple of days.  We will return on Monday and Tuesday to stay in the marina if the weather comes as predicted.  Let the fun begin!!

Sea Yawl Later!!


April 1, 2011

It's over.. we are selling the boat and moving back home.  I think I found a buyer here in Provo already so we can fly home.  Everything on the boat goes with it...... It's just over....  We are tired of the blue water and no alarm clocks....Tired of the sunsets, tired of meeting new people....... big time disgusted with ourselves about sleeping so much.... if you haven't guessed by now... APRIL FOOLS!!