Sunday, December 9, 2018

Exuma Park

Yesterday was cloudy, windy and squally so we were lucky to be able to get off of the boat at all. In between squalls, at mid-day, we dinghied ashore and hiked up to the top of Boo Boo Hill. We saw another squall on the horizon so we didn't linger. We went back to Breeze On and back to our reading. We have done a LOT of reading recently.
Today is a much nicer day so we spent most of the morning off of the boat. We first hiked along the beach and over the hill to see the blow hole near our mooring. We could see and feel the spray from the blow hole from time to time when we first arrived here. Since the wind direction has changed the waves at that location were smaller and there was nothing happening at the blow hole. Next we changed into our bathing suits, grabbed our snorkel gear and tried to find a spot to snorkel. Our first choice required a wild dinghy ride through some significant chop that we deemed not worth it. Our next choice didn't seem to have many fish, as seen through the look bucket, so we decided that wasn't worth it, either. Then we took the dinghy to the beach near the park office (named Powerful Beach, not sure how it got that name). We hiked with our snorkel gear on trails that we thought would take us to Butterfly Beach where there were supposed to be reefs near the beach. It looked like it would be a short hike according to the map. Not so much. It was rather difficult walking on the sharp iron rock. Since it was near high tide a portion of the trail was under water and slippery. We found Barefoot Beach but never found Butterfly Beach. At one point George walked ahead while I waited with the gear. After he came back and described the trail that he thought would take us to Butterfly Beach we both decided that wasn't worth it either. After we returned to the beach we went for a nice swim before returning to Breeze On.
So far today we have seen several sea turtles in the anchorage and one shark that swam right by our boat.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Rock Sound to Warderick Wells

We left Rock Sound just before daylight to sail across Exuma Sound to Warderick Wells. The wind had subsided to the low teens overnight and varied from 13 to 20 knots from the ESE after we left the anchorage. Although it was nice to have enough wind to sail, Exuma Sound was quite lumpy. That is always the way. Wind=waves, no wind=calm water. The conditions were not my favorite. It was a downwind sail so we had to be careful to avoid an accidental gybe. The wind was always shifting and the waves were pushing the boat this way and that so I had to keep my eye on the sailing angle at all times. If it was too high we would be heeled over, if it was too low the jib would gybe over. I found that if I even took my eye off of the apparent wind angle reading to look around for a few seconds the boat would be immediately sailing too high or too low. At one point, 1 1/3 hour into my watch, I saw George check the time. I then said to him "I am counting the minutes (until my watch was over)". He very kindly offered to take over 20 minutes early. By the time his watch was over it was time to take the sails down and enter Warderick Cut so I drove the rest of the way in. Warderick Wells is part of the Land and Sea Park system. The mooring balls are first come, first serve. George was worried it would be crowded but there are only two other boats here and twenty empty moorings. The changes in depths of the water here make this place really beautiful. We plan to spend our time hiking, swimming and snorkeling before moving on.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Calm Before the Storm

We had a day of very light wind before a front came bringing strong wind. Rock Sound is over 2 miles wide so George and I decided to move Breeze On to the other side of the sound, away from town and the dinghy dock, to an area with a little more protection from northerly wind. It is a completely different world here, very quiet and no buildings at all. One big bonus is that the bottom is soft sand without grass, making it much easier to get the anchor to hold well. After moving the boat we spent the rest of yesterday on the boat waiting for the front to pass. We were hoping that today the wind and chop would ease enough to make it worthwhile to put the dinghy back in the water and go to shore for a walk on the beach. It didn’t subside much and we decided it wasn’t worth crashing through the chop in the dinghy to go for a walk. We aren’t quite that desperate yet. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Nort’ Side Restaurant aka Rosy’s

Shortly after 3 pm yesterday Rosy met us at the dinghy dock with her car. She drove us the 2 1/2 miles across the island to the ocean side. Along the way Rosy shared some of her life story. It was quite a story. When we arrived Rosy introduced us to her three dogs and one cat. Her restaurant is actually rooms of a house. We entered into the bar which has sand as the floor. From there we went into the main dining room, a large sun porch, which can actually seat quite a few people. It was set with Christmas tablecloths and filled with items she collects from the beach. Rosy walked us out to the large deck and suggested we take a walk on the beach while she finished up cooking our meal. Her restaurant is set on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic. We took the 32 steps down to the beach and went for a walk. Shortly after we returned Rosy had our meal ready. It was a delicious Bahamian meal of fried grouper fingers, plantains, peas and rice and coleslaw. Rosy laughed that since her deep fryer wasn’t working properly and the grouper fingers didn’t turn out as well as she liked, she was calling them grouper finger cousins. There were still delicious. After we finished she brought out a photo album and showed us pictures of her six adult children and their families who live all over the world. We also saw pictures of Rosy in the many places she has traveled. Rosy was born in Freeport and raised by her grandparents after her mother died when Rosy was a infant. Rosy’s husband was from Rock Sound and came to Freeport as a teacher when Rosy was 17. Rosy said her godmother spotted Rosy’s future husband and told her she had seen the man Rosy would marry. When Rosy’s husband first saw Rosy he decided he wasn’t going to let her get by him. They married the following year and lived a happy life until he died 18 years ago. They would have been married 50 years (hard to believe since Rosy looks to be between 45 and 50). She and her husband built four cottages with a plan to build more and rent them. He died before they were finished. She had them finished and carried through with the plan and also opened her restaurant on the property. Although her husband would have built more cottages she stopped at four. She could only do what she could do. Before she drove us back to the dinghy dock she took us on a tour of one of the cottages. The cottages are even higher on the bluff and the view is absolutely stunning. The cottage was lovely. 
Rosy took us on a tour of the back roads of Rock Sound on our way back. She took us by Dingle’s to pick up the laundry we had dropped off in the morning. As we were getting out of her car at the dinghy dock George realized he had left his new hat (purchased a few months ago at the boat show) at her restaurant. Rosy insisted on driving us back to get it. She is a lovely person. 

View from the deck

32 steps to the beach


Nort’ Side Restaurant

Monday, December 3, 2018

Coco di Mama to Rock Sound

All right, I am willing to give the Coco di Mama anchorage another chance. We had a peaceful night after the wind and the waves finally died down last night. Under the right conditions it is a nice place to anchor. The Coco di Mama Resort did not appear to be open. The four colorful buildings were lit only by outdoor lights in the evening and we never saw any people on the property. 
We left the anchorage this morning on our way to Rock Sound. We bypassed Ten Bay, an anchorage we like a lot. We are traveling quickly along Eleuthera for a couple of reasons. We wanted to get to Rock Sound with enough time to get some errands done ahead of the next cold front. Also, we want to be prepared to go to the Exumas in order to pick up our water maker part in Staniel Cay. 
The wind was light all morning so we motored to Rock Sound. The predicted wind did not pick up until we arrived in Rock Sound. The wind and chop made arriving and departing from the dinghy dock a little challenging. We wanted to put the dinghy on the side of the dock that would allow the dinghy to blow away from the dock. As we approached I noticed that the only ladder on that side was swaying in and out. The piece of wood that holds the bottom of the ladder had broken off. I got out of the dinghy on a sturdier ladder on the other side of the dock. George tried putting out a stern anchor to hold the dinghy off of the dock on that side but finally gave up and went back around tied up to the other side.  Then he climbed up the swaying ladder. Fortunately, he made it without mishap. We walked the short distance to Dingell’s gas station and bought 10 gallons of diesel. While we were there we made the arrangements to have our laundry done tomorrow. We will drop it off at Dingell's early in the morning and pick it up at the end of the day. George called Rosie’s Restaurant to make reservations for dinner tomorrow. Garth and Sue from Jabulani raved about Rosie’s when we saw them in Hope Town. I am looking forward to it. 

Rock Sound

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Coco di Mama

Late yesterday afternoon a few more boats came into the small Spanish Wells mooring field. A large catamaran picked up the mooring directly behind us. The couple on the catamaran quickly put their dinghy in the water and left. A little while later we noticed that the four monohull boats in the mooring field were all lined up but the catamaran behind us was perpendicular to us. Not only that, at times it seemed to be edging sideways closer to us. Later on it turned even more so it looked as if it would be pointing the opposite direction and right up beside us. Much to my surprise George didn’t seem at all worried about it. He joked about putting some fenders out, but ended up going to bed without putting fenders out and didn’t even get up during the night to check on the catamaran. At 7 am this morning Bandit, the manager of the mooring field, was out in his boat asking the people in the catamaran to move to a mooring that is meant for larger boats. Then he stopped by our boat to say he normally doesn’t like to come out this early but he saw a squall on the horizon and was worried what might happen between us and the catamaran if the wind picked up. Bandit likes for people to call him either on the VHF radio or telephone before picking up a mooring. Not surprisingly, the people on the catamaran had not called ahead. I also noticed that the last boat to arrive had already left, presumably without paying for the mooring. We think that is so sleazy. 
We left Spanish Wells by 8:15 with a plan to get to Current Cut around 10:30. We had written down in our log 2 years ago that we went through the cut 1 1/2 hours after low tide in Spanish Wells. Last year we went through the cut about 2 hours after high tide in Nassau. The idea is to time it for slack tide since the current can really rip through the cut. It was more convenient for us to go after low tide so that’s what we were aiming for. We must not have timed it right because we had a current of almost 2 1/2 knots against us through the cut. We are thinking that timing it about 1 1/2 hours later would have been better. That would make it 2 hours after Nassau low tide.  So it makes sense to go either 2 hours after Nassau low tide or 2 hours after Nassau high tide. 
After exiting the cut we aimed for an anchorage near the Coco di Mama resort. We plan to spend just one night here so haven’t bothered to go ashore. So far it is not one of our favorite anchorages.  It was difficult to get the anchor to set and it is a bit rolly. The rolly conditions may be because the wind has been from the southwest (forecasted to be from the southeast) all day. There really isn’t much protection from southwest winds along the western coast of Eleuthera. 
One thing worth noting that I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post.  A couple of dolphins came through the mooring field!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Spanish Wells

The first item on today’s agenda was try out that fix for the water maker part and put some fresh water in the tank. The fix didn’t hold. The part cracked again right through the Sugru George had used to repair it. Next he tried wrapping the part with Rescue Tape, a very stretchy vinyl tape used in plumbing. That worked well enough. About half of the water leaked out of the fitting, so instead of collecting 30 gallons an hour he collected about 15. Also, the pressure was lowered than usual and not enough to get the water up to the water intake at the bow. George filled a 5 gallon jug 5 times and hauled it up to the water intake to pour it in. In any case, we have more water in the tank and can limp along with this set up until the new part arrives. George decided to have the part (and a spare) sent to Watermaker’s Air in Staniel Cay. We have used them before and it worked out very well. They handle all of the paperwork required and are very fast. We should be able to get to Staniel Cay within 1 1/2 to 2 weeks to pick it up. We felt a bit guilty running the water maker this morning in this mooring field. The water maker is quite noisy and there were boats in close proximity ahead of us and behind. Oh well, it couldn’t be helped. 
After George finished with the water maker we dinghied ashore and bought jerry jugs of diesel and gas. I bought a few fresh vegetables at the small Pinder’s Grocery Store. We brought the fuel and groceries back to Breeze On then went back to shore for a walk and trip to the larger grocery store. We bought a few more fresh vegetables there. When we first visited Spanish Wells two years ago we were struck by how much the residents seem to get into the Christmas spirit. The more sparkle the better. Today we saw a few yards that were filled with Christmas decorations.