Georgetown Sunday – The SW Crew

Jumanji, Wings and SYL made a fine sail from Lee Stocking.  The contest of the day was a fishing tournament, we all put out lines and did our best but the only fish caught was a Little Tuney on Jumanji.  However, Morning Glory caught two nice Mahi a few miles from the harbor.  The coolest thing is…. All four Seawinds planning to unite in the Bahamas made it to GT this evening. 

Jumanji sails out of their in harbor home at Port Aransas, Texas.  She is a very nice well equipped 2001 boat, they have been sailing alongside SYL since we caught up with them in the Gulf of Mexico heading to Florida’s West coast.  Mike and Laurie are avid sailors, she was the helmswoman and he trimmed sails for many years racing Farrier trimarans.  Mike was president of the F24 and F28 classes for many years, he currently does the PHRF performance ratings for racing sailboats on the Texas gulf coast.  This is Jumanji’s first year to cruise the Bahamas, both sailors successfully retired from Conoco Phillips a few months ago.

Morning Glory hails from Stuart Florida, she is a well sorted out ship with almost every Seawind extra or addition you can attach to a 2000 model Seawind 1000.  If it doesn’t have it yet.. I’m sure it will soon…. The highlights of her many extras include extended transoms, an extended hard top with custom made sunbrella enclosures, bow sprit and screacher and front opening windows.  Ted and Mili are wonderful people, as are all out Seawind friends.  Ted brings a two person Hobie revolution Kayak, a single kayak and an inflatable paddle board with him.  Ted is an avid spearfisherman and Mili sews all the canvas for the boat.  They too (like Jumanji) are lucky enough to keep their boat at their home.  Ted is a retired Miami Beach fire fighter / first responder.

Zephyros is the newest in our little fleet, she is a 2009 XL model that comes from Seawind with extended transoms and front opening windows as well as other changes SW made to their new models.  Frank and Pat live in the Tallahassee area where Frank is a retired pilot and Pat was a teacher.  They have never been this deep into the Bahamas.  They; like Mike and Laurie are ex trimarans racers, they started with an F27 and went to an F31.  It seems there is a natural progression from Farrier racer… to Seawind cruiser in the sailing community.  Zephyros has a bow sprit and screacher like Morning Glory so they are both fast nice riding examples of the Australian brand.

Sea Yawl Later !! is of course the old man of the group, hull number 37, she’s a 1998 model but doesn’t look her age.  When Linda is on board she stays pristine, but Jono and I have taken some liberties in that area.  We don’t live for the boat. We live on it… lol.  It’s not too bad this year, but assuredly not up to Linda’s standards.  My little ship is the most “stock” model of the group.. no extentions of any kind or big headsails.  I’m known for carrying too much weight but still being one of the faster boats in the fleet.  Seawind did good when they built SYL, she’s solid as a rock and pretty darn fast regardless of her deep waterline and lazy captain.  I’m loaded for cruising with a watermaker, radar, single side band radio, and the heaviest dinghy in the fleet.  I’m not sure if Zepyros has a watermaker, but I know the other three boats do.  We are all self-sufficient fully rigged cruisers.

SYL

Saturday the 23rd

We raised anchors right at 7AM heading for the shallows of the Pimlico Cays.  It’s always a little stressful because you’re in the shallows (4 to 6 feet) for a long time.  It seems like hours, but it’s probably only one.  The shallows went well, Mike had all the waypoints in so I followed him.  It was my least stressful trip through there every because I wasn’t in the lead.  Our ETA for the days trip is before 11AM so it will be a short run today.  We only used our mainsails today with all the direction changes..  winds are pretty light anyway.

We are stopping at Leaf Cay for an hour or so, there is a beach Jono wants to check out… that will also allow time for “Wings” to catch up.  They are sailing the deep water this morning in the Exuma Sound.

Wings did rendezvous with us at Leaf Cay – Adderly Cut.  We traveled together another couple miles and stopped for the evening at Lee Stocking Island.  The small beach provided great overlooks to the ocean as well as back toward the boats on the calm side.  It’s a highly rated anchorage for the scenery and its geography.  You should never see much of a current here so the boats sit facing the wind all the time… which is nice.  If the boat isn’t facing the wind you don’t get a breeze in your hatches, and facing the wind.. the waves go right under the boat rather than rolling it side to side so “no current” is a good thing.  This evening wind direction is supposed to clock all the way from SE to South, to West, then from the North by nightfall as the next weak front comes through.  This time of the year fronts don’t normally make it this far south so it will be a very weak front with almost no wind… perfect for the offshore section of run to Georgetown.

Jono and Mike are back from their gris hunt, I guess I’ll go over and see how they did.

No score on the ambergris, more scratched legs than anything else walking through the brambles to access remote beaches.  About 3:30 we all dog piled on to “Wings” to check out Jono’s prospective purchase.  Mike and I looked at it pretty closely.  It’s a well-kept for a 1968 model, it has several cruiser features that Jono would need and I think it’s a good option for him.  I am a little concerned about the mast and rigging (if it’s heavy enough) but other than that it’s a usable boat with lots of extras.

Winds are shifting as expected.  I took a nice warm shower after my swim earlier, we do a good job of conserving water but sometimes you just have to break down and do a full fresh water shower and rinse.

The little anchorage is filling up, Mike and I were the first two boats in, now there are 7 boats here.  I am surprised by the number of catamarans I’m seeing this year.  When we first started sailing it was odd to see another cat, now… half the boats you see are catamarans, even the powerboats have gone to two hull boats.  1 of the 7 boats in this anchorage is a monohull.  There were supposedly nine 57’ Horizon power cats at Staniel when we were there, at 4.5MM a copy they must be a pretty nice rig.  It was a Horizon rally, I didn’t see all 9, only 5 had arrived before we left.

We have good cell service today, I talked with Linda, there were several good things going on back home so that’s a refreshing change for this trip.  I have about 30 minutes left on my prepaid Bahamas phone, I may load it back up in GT so I can keep Linda in the loop, and find out how it’s going back home.

I fed the iguanas on Leaf Cay today.  It’s a one boat beaching opportunity.  I slipped in and hung my anchor in dry sand, stepped down in knee deep water off the bow and went ashore.  We saved some old bread so the iguanas had a feast.  Leaf has great memories for me and Linda, it’s still the same.  The picture on my boat card is at Leaf Cay.

It was black box wine on Jumanji tonight…. They are planners so we talked about where to anchor in GT tomorrow.  As long as Laurie and Mike have a plan they are quite happy.  The plan is to anchor in Kidd Cove so we can go into Lake Victoria and the exuma market for provisions tomorrow evening.  It looks like a wonderful downwind drift tomorrow.  We all agreed not to race, the goal for the day is fishing!  The winner is the one that catches the biggest edible fish.  Anchors aweigh at 7:30…. GT here we come.

SYL !!

Rudder Cut Cay

We left Black Point about 8 and we got to Rudder Cut about 1.  The wind was on our nose a bit so we traveled a further distance due to tacking on and offshore, so it took a little longer than expected but not a bad trip.  We were able to sail all but the last couple miles.  We trimmed steadily to maintain 7 knots over water, it was nice sailing.

Jumani and SYL are the only two boats now, Wings dropped off at Farmers Cay, they may catch up later.  Our goal is to stage tomorrow evening (Saturday) for a short outside run to Georgetown of only 16 miles.  Morning Glory is ahead of us a bit, they may already be in GT.  The day was mostly overcast and windy, not the best day to enjoy Musha Cay but it was pretty as we drifted thru the shallows.  Rudder Cut is as far as the big boats can go before taking the ocean side to GT, it’s an easy exit and it’s deep.  From here on down if you draw 4’ it can be tricky taking the back roads.  Luckily we only draw 3’-1”.

Mike, Jono, Laurie and I dinghied over to dove cay for a walkabout.  It was nice on the remote beach, albeit a bit rough on the evening ride home.  We gathered on Jumanji for evening drinks, laughed, joked and capped off the evening well.

SYL !!

Thursday – Black Point

The wind is howling but the sun is out so the weather is not ugly, just not perfect.  I suspect there have been some gusts over 25 mph.  Jono is getting increasingly better at beach combing.  He’s looking for beaches that are hard to access and he is find better stuff.  I think he has four pieces of “gris” so far.  Nothing big but if they prove out to be the right stuff he may have several hundred dollar’s worth.

Another Seawind 1000 showed up today, he’s from California, boat name “Manyana”.  I heard him talking to Morning Glory yesterday so we invited him to stop by on his trek North.  Manyana is a very clean 2000 model.  You don’t normally see even one other SW in the Bahamas, so besides the 4 of us that planned a rendezvous, we have seen two others that just happened by!

My morning project was to fix the windlass.  Yesterday we sucked up a rope in the winch and sheared a pin between the motor and the gearbox.  I wasn’t sure of the problem until I took the motor off.  Sure enough it was fixable, I had a spare roll pin so we installed it and we are back in action.

Castle Beach developed a roll coming in from the South, it was rocking our boats more than necessary.  With winds projected to swing more that way we all moved to Black Point anchorage.  I went over to check out the possibility and stayed.  Calling back to the other boats they all decided to come around the point.  Manyana was first, then wings followed closely by Jumanji.  It’s 4:45 so I expect we will go over to Manyana for an evening drink soon.

6:30 –  I just got back from Manyana, Tom keeps his boat nice.. it was a good afternoon – everybody visiting together.  Jono is ashore at Scorpio’s with Greg and Angie at Black Point for happy hour.  I suspect I’m done for the evening here.  I’ll kick back and watch the sunset, tonight it will go directly into the water so I’ll look for the “Green Flash”.

No green flash tonight, too many low clouds but the sunset was pretty.  Tomorrow if the winds lay by lunch we will head down to Rudder Cut for the night.

SYL !!  Rusty

Wednesday the 20th

The whole 3 boat crew enjoyed Black Point yesterday.  We walked the main road then looked in a store and the laundry mat after the great meal at Loraine’s.  We didn’t need anything.. just looking around.  The flotilla of dinghies made it back to our boats at Castle Beach just fine.  Wings joined us this evening in our little bay, so there were four boats for the night.

Last night the Mexican train domino game was on Jumanji.  I went over to watch for a while and left about 8:30.  Jono invited “Wings” over to watch a movie on SYL.

This morning Jono was up at daylight to go beachcombing.  I got up before he left and had some of mama’s coconut bread for breakfast, what a treat…. The ocean side of Black Point has some major junk washed up, that’s prime hunting grounds for any floatsom you desire.  Shoes.. always shoes… I don’t know why but every island you stop on has shoes washed up on the beach.  Ever since we started coming to the Bahamas you always see shoes on the beach.  Jono has picked up several fishing float balls so that’s a nice find.  Hopefully this morning he will come across something awesome.  My friends on Crooked Island call the beach Wal Mart.  One family was building a house and needed a big 6” wide beam for a support, he found just what he needed washed up on the beach.

Crooked Island acquires some interesting beach trash.  My buddy has two military torpedoes and a jet drone aircraft they use for target practice, all was found rolling around on the beach.  You never know what you will find.  In fact I think I’ll put my hat on and go join Jono on the ocean side.

I walked about a mile or so but didn’t get as far as Jono went.  He came back with two more hard plastic fishing float balls and one Pre-war aluminum ball.  The metal and blown glass floats are hard to find.  I’ve never found a glass ball.

While Mike and Laurie went to the Black Point laundry I put up my giant American flag, I’m talking about a 15 foot long flag.  I have been ragging on Mike about his “larger than normal” American flag for weeks (It’s not but that set up the big flag gag).  When he rounded the corner coming back from Black Point he saw this huge flag half as long as my boat flying from the top of the mast.  He couldn’t believe how big it was… lol.  The other day I told Laurie why I kept talking about how huge Mike’s American flag was, so she knew immediately what was going on… it was fun.  With Mike it’s all about bigger or faster so the gag went well.

Morning Glory has to be in Barraterri tomorrow so they can deliver their guest to the Georgetown airport via rental car.  They made the short hop down to Bock Cay to stage for the drop off and reserve a car.  They left before 10 this morning.  The rest of the rabble is beach combing at the moment.  At 3:30 we (Me-Jono-Mike-Laurie-Greg & Angie) are all loading on SYL for a trip back to Loraine’s for more of that great food!  The wind is blowing a little too much to dinghy over, so I’ll park us at Regatta Point on the big boat for the short walk to town.  I have my eye on some of those conch fritters, but man that fried fish was some of the best I have ever eaten!  Maybe she will make me up a combo platter.  Lorraine has very good internet so I’ll bring the computer and upload again.  Maybe we can get some pictures on the web as well.

SYL!!

Castle Beach Tuesday 4-19

Jono is about to go treasure hunting on the big water side of the island, I’ll probably make a second cup of coffee and ride over to MG.  Winds are supposed to be high all week, then drop for the weekend.  I suspect our transit of the 16 miles of offshore into Georgetown might happen Sunday.

We all got back to our boats, well except Ted and Skyler… they are spear fishing.  It’s 2PM, we decided to take dingys over to Loraine’s restaurant for dinner at Black Point about 4.  We tried to call her on the radio but haven’t had any luck yet, I wanted to get her mama to cook me a couple loaves of fresh bread.

Jono found another small piece of ambergris.  He’s been hunting hard here at castle beach.  He’s not covered it all yet so tomorrow will be another big beach combing day.

Earlier Ted and I fixed the stripped bolt in my traveller.  He brought me some new bolts from Florida.  We had to do some grinding on the heads to make them fit so he also brought his bench grinder.  We brought it and the Honda generator to the beach so we wouldn’t get metal shavings on the boat.  We installed the new bolt so now we can move our main sail traveller to center.  That is the default position so it’s good to have that back.

Castle beach is one beautiful spot to park your boat.  Normally we are the only boats here but yesterday there were 5 or 6 other boats (besides our three) in the anchorage.  Now there are only two boats that are not Seawinds tucked over along the backside of Black Point, distant but we can still see them so we own the beach!

Ted and I raced our dinghies today…lol. He has a hard bottom boat with a 15 hp two stroke Yamaha so he was feeling pretty cocky about racing me (with my 20 hp 4 stroke Tohatsu on a soft bottom boat).  It was dead even right up to the point I put mine in gear….lol.  It was an easy win.

The wind has been as forecast, brisk and gusty… but it’s a wonderfully clear day and our protected anchorage is taking great care of us.  The next two days may be more so, then calm for the weekend.

At this moment we are sitting inside Loraine’s Cafe, it is now air conditioned (with an actual front door) It’s expanded with a nice big deck out front!  The old internet room is now the “bar”.  Pretty cool!  I’m having a fish sandwich and onion rings, Jono ordered a cheeseburger and rings.  We got some of mama’s coconut bread and some regular bread for the boat, so we are hooked up!

Sea Yawl Later !!

Surprise !

4 seawindsMorning Glory showed up at Big Major last night just after dark, but I was already in bed so I didn’t know it!.  Ted swung by on the dinghy but my lights were out so he didn’t knock.  When I got up this morning I rode over to Mike’s boat, during the trip to Jumanji I took the drain plug out of the dink to drain the water so I was a bit preoccupied getting the plug put back in as I arrived at Jumanji.  I sat down to talk and it took me about 5 minutes to realize Ted and Mili were parked right next door. 

It was a great reunion.  I hadn’t seen Mili in years, and of course Ted came to help me recover from the flood we had at home a month ago.  Morning Glory is sure looking spiffy.  She’s sporting a new hard top extension, new transom extensions, new removable front windows, a bow sprit and screacher.

We did Thunderball cave around noon, did our shopping at Staniel, Ted hauled off our trash, and I filled up with water and gas.  Ted found another Seawind 1000 on the other side of Staniel!  The boat name was De Javu III, he’s and his boat are from Australia.  We went on board to talk, he gave us a mental picture of where all he had been on his 2000 model SW 1000.  He continued to the north before dark, and the rest of the flotilla of 3 SW’s headed South about 5PM.

Our destination was Castle Beach just beyond Black Point.  Ted took the shallow route that is much shorter so he arrived first, but SYL and Jumanji had a sparring match sailing side by side intensely competing to be the first to arrive.  Mike trimmed sails while Laurie handled the helm.  At first Mike only beat me in high wind legs, but he’s learning my trim secrets.. lol.  We traded the lead several times sailing side by side literally 20 feet apart at times; it was intense but super fun.  It was much too intense for a long haul, but this trip took less than 2 hours so we had a blast.  I won’t tell you who won….. but it wasn’t me.  Man… “beat by a dame!!”

We settled our anchors in the softest sand in the Bahamas, played mexican train and enjoyed each other’s company on Morning Glory until “cruiser midnight” 9:00.

SYL !!  Rusty

Sunday Big Major / Staniel

Dinner on “Forever Young” last night was quite the event.  The food and company were equally excellent.  The first course was lightly seared mahi sushi, lightly crusted and served with soy sauce and fresh ginger.  The finish was a light citrus flavor combined with the olive oil the morsels were seared with.  Accompanying the sushi was a cheese plate, and a combination platter with smoked oyster – greek olives – water chestnuts – and assorted other bits of flavor.

The main course was baked Mahi Mahi served with several sides brought by the guests.  One outstanding side was a rice dish prepared with fresh ginger.  Dessert was pecan pie alamode or Apple crisp cake with ice cream.

The guests seemed to all be sail boat people and most owned catamarans.  One couple was on a Catana 57 cat named “Wasabi” they may not count as a just a catamaran couple because they also have a Oytser 56 back home.  An Oyster is a very high end monohull.  Two couples were on Voyage 440 cats travelling together since the south pacific, they are circumnavigators.  We talked about where they liked it the best.  Number one was Fiji, two was the Bahamas, and I didn’t recognize the name of the third place.  Jumanji and SYL made 5 cats in all.  Another couple was on a trawler and I think two couples were monohull sailors.

Lauire and Richard Young are excellent hosts.  Pirate Beach is a gathering place with a revolving door of friends, some know each other, most don’t.  Last night we met quite a few more “Pirates” from this particular time stamp.  Richard and Laurie are probably the most common residents.  Normally they sit on anchor just off Pirate Beach until they need more generator diesel (they carry 2,000 gallons).  Last night I heard the statement “Laurie is the mayor of Pirate Beach”  her petite little frame can often be seen reading in the shade, on Pirate Beach.

Well… if the front came through last night there wasn’t much of an “event” associated with it.  It’s remarkably the same as yesterday, with a little more breeze.  Hopefully we won’t see the big winds they forecast and can move about the Staniel area without impediment.

Mega Yacht City:  This anchorage has always seen its share of large boats but I think this year takes the cake.  I can see 10 from where I sit.  How do you classify “mega” when it comes to yacht size?  I guess I use the 100’ mark as my qualifier.  So does that make the 78’er we were on last night is only a yacht… not a mega yacht?  Surely I’ve learned by now…  everything is relative.

Lunch time and Jono is making his chili dogs, this time I have onions.. Lauire gave me two yellow onions the other day.  I just hadn’t thought to buy any when we were shopping.  We just got back from a dinghy tour of my secret sea glass beach, but our goal this year was ambergris.  Jono picked up a little glass and I did too, but mainly we picked up chunks of everything but ambergris.  We have pretty well figured out how to distinguish what a tar ball looks like, so we don’t pick up many of them anymore but it seems right to check every object that looks suspicious.

SYL!!

Mike is working on his inflatable kayak, it got hot and blew a seam the other day.  We will probably do thunderball tomorrow at low tide.  Mike told me that Ted and Mili on Morning Glory are only about 60 miles away. They are supposed to be at Shroud Cay waiting out the blow like we are here.  Teds goal is to make it down to Georgetown for Family Island Regatta (that’s about 10 days away) so we will probably head down with him and pick up whatever we missed on the way back North.  We skipped Bell Island and the undersea aquarium, that’s a must see attraction.  It will be better done when the water warms up a little.

Great day today, the Pirate Beach gang gathered at 4 with snacks at the beach.  We anchored SYL up on the beach and walked back to and from the boat at our leisure.  It was good to get together again after the great meal and conversation last night on Forever Young.  We had a hot game of bean bag toss and sat around talking about boating and places we had all been.  Jono and I made a new Sea Yawl Later sign to hang at Pirate Beach.

Tomorrow will be a snorkel day at thunderball cave.  That’s all we have planned so far. I expect Ted and Mili might come up and surprise us tomorrow on Morning Glory.

SYL

Saturday Warderick to Staniel

The sail today was 20 miles of fun, we had enough wind to sail nicely but almost no waves…. it was typical Exumas sailing with the added bonus of competing with another Seawind.  We traded information (and misinformation) regarding sail settings all day.  Part of the fun was the friendly taunting on the radio during the 20 mile match race.  It was great!

When we arrived I circled by pig beach, then parked in my favorite spot on Pirate Beach.  I’ll back off a little tonight and set the hook in deeper water.  Right now we can walk right off the boat and up to the beach.  I love to beach the boat and swim / walk around and under it.  The decision to sail to Big Major today was a good one.  There is plenty to do, and several places to go out to eat.  Staniel has fuel and water so we have all the services we need for the next few days.

Richard and Laurie on “Forever Young” went fishing today and came back with two nice Mahi, so they invited us and 14 more of their closest friends here in the anchorage to come eat dinner tonight at 6 on their 78 foot Hatteras yacht.  I begged a spot for Mike and Laurie, so we are set for the evening.

Jono took Angie and Gary to the store in Staniel today in our dinghy, it’s about a mile and ours is faster.  Jono brought home a backpack full of food, it was $60 bucks worth.  2 litre cokes were $5 so it didn’t take long to spend the three $20’s Jono took with him.

SYL, Rusty

Shroud to Warderick Wells

We are listening to Chris Parker, winds look calm today and tomorrow, we will see a front with stronger winds Sunday and Monday.  I’m looking out of the front window, watching a purple sunrise over the trees of Shroud Cay while Jono is getting SYL ready to go for me to get underway.  He already has waypoints in the hand held GPS and his waterproof case loaded to move over to “Wings” for the 20 mile guest ride.

Noon ~ the 19 mile ride to Warderick was nice, we had to pinch a litte (sail almost directly into the wind) but we had a nice ride.  We didn’t have to use motors until we aimed up straight toward the anchorage.  Jono had a good time riding on Wings, he played the sails quite a bit and made some improvements.  He likes the boat, the sails are old and baggy but useable.  I think the old trimaran might be a descent option for him.  It’s more money than he can afford, but not a lot, he has some options to offer the owners if they decide to sell.

After paying our mooring fees Mike and Laurie hiked up to “boo boo hill”.  I enjoyed the view from the park office overlooking the anchorage until Jono finished his beach walk around the West side of Warderick Wells.  In the afternoon Jono and I went for a cooling swim.  Winds had almost died completely so we jumped in under the boat in the cool water for a couple hours.  We went over to Mike’s boat for a while, then Jono dropped me back off at SYL while he went and discussed our sail plan for tomorrow with Wings.

The two Seawinds plan on sailing to Big Major’s Spot tomorrow, about 20 miles South to explore a fresh place while we wait out the next winter pattern blow.  I expect we will pull out about 7AM and arrive  before noon.  Winds may be too light to sail but we don’t have to rush so it will be a nice peaceful jaunt to Staniel Cay / Thunderball Cave and Pig Beach.

It’s almost 9, Jono is still visitng greg and angie.  I turned on the big aft lights, ever since then we have had a large visitor swing by several times.  A 5’ shark has been checking us out, now that we are lighting up the white sand bottom he seems to be checking out the area.  Here in the park it’s common to have big water fish come in and hang around under the boats knowing they are safe inside the Exuma Land and Sea Park.

SYL… Rusty