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Snorkeling at Little Bay

Today we took the dinghy 2 1/2 miles to Little Bay for snorkeling. We debated about pulling the anchor and taking Breeze On to Little Bay but knew we would have to come back here to Black Point anyway. The dinghy ride wasn’t bad at all. The snorkeling was as nice as always. The reefs are tiny but there are always a lot of fish there. This time George got the underwater camera to work and he was able to get photos of a few of the fish. Pay no attention to the date and time stamp on the photos. They really were taken today and not last March!








Out for a Walk

Yesterday afternoon we went for a walk to explore some new territory. We walked all the way around the point on the north side of the harbor. We took a look at Exuma Sound and saw that the waves were really pounding the rocks. We passed by huge sand and rock piles that are apparently spoils from dredging around someone’s private island. We don’t know how they got the sand and rocks from a barge to the land. At the turn-around point of our walk we came to a little cove (known as Little Creek) with a dock and a sunken sailboat. It could make a nice protected anchorage or marina if it was enlarged. Along the way we passed some cacti. The land is arid here but I am still surprised to see cacti. Last evening we went to Glory Days for happy hour, along with Alex and David from Banyan. George and I took an appetizer and our own drinks, as is the custom with cruisers. This morning was dedicated to boat chores and then we went for another walk in the afternoon. The supply boat was at the dock …

Coffee Cake

We had squalls all morning yesterday so I thought it would be a good time to bake something. I have always liked to bake but found that I didn’t like baking on the boat. The past two winters I would occasionally bake blueberry muffins for George to eat for breakfast and that has been about it. This past summer we purchased an Omni Stovetop Oven for the galley. I used it once to make a quiche and it worked very well. The biggest advantage of the Omni is that it doesn’t heat up the galley as much as the oven. I recently had an idea to convert the blueberry coffee muffins into a blueberry streusel coffee cake baked in the Omni. Before I leave home I package up a few vacuum bags of the blueberry muffin mix: Bisquick, sugar, dried egg crystals, powdered milk and a separate small bag of freeze dried blueberries. This saves searching all over the boat for the ingredients. I thought I could make up some streusel with the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter I have on board. I had some left…

Little Bay

This morning we raised the anchor and motored 2 1/2 south around Black Point to Little Bay, one of our favorite anchorages. We will have strong trade winds for the next few days. Little Bay has a little less wind protection than Black Point but since we can anchor closer to shore it has much less chop. That makes using the dinghy quite a bit easier. It takes about 40 minutes to walk from here to town but we can use the exercise anyway. After setting the anchor we took the dinghy to the beach and went for a walk. Someone has put quite a bit of work into building a bar right next to the beach. After leaving the beach area we explored the roads that were cleared for a development that was never built. On the higher lots we had a good view of Exuma Sound on the eastern shore and we are happy to not be out there today. Next we walked some of the way toward town before turning around. Along the way George spotted a land hermit crab in the road. The poor thing has completely outgrown its she…

An Interesting Christmas

Every Christmas on a boat is different. This year our plans revolved around staying in Black Point so that we could celebrate with other cruisers at Lorraine’s Cafe. Then it almost didn’t happen. A line of squalls came through last night and just sat over our area. Usually squalls pass through quickly but each one of these lasted for hours at a time. The squalls brought a lot of wind so we wanted to wait for a break in the squalls before we went ashore. We finally just gave up waiting, put our foul weather gear on and headed slowly to shore. We put the dinghy on the beach instead of risking the dock. By the time we got to Lorraine’s, two hours late, everyone had already eaten. We did squeeze in at a table with four other cruisers and they happened to be very nice and welcoming. Lorraine put some Junkanoo music on, put on a costume and invited others to join her in a type of conga line around the restaurant. Junkanoo is a street parade with music, costumes and dance that occurs on Boxi…

A New Experience

Well, I had a new experience today, one I hope to never have again. I fell into the water off of the dock ladder. Right after a shark swam by. Here is what happened. George and I returned to Black Point this morning in hopes of having a Christmas dinner at Lorraine’s, as we did last year. We went ashore, tied our dinghy to the main dock and went for a long walk.  At the end of our walk we stopped at Rockside Laundry (closed for the day) and sat outside to see if we could pick up some WiFi (we couldn’t). Then we stopped at Lorraine’s to make sure they were serving Christmas dinner and ask to have our names added to the list. When we returned to the dock there was another dinghy between ours and the ladder. George climbed down into the dinghy from the dock but it was low tide and too low for me to try that. George said he would drive our dinghy around the other dinghy to get to the ladder so I could get in. Then he asked me to climb down the ladder to push the other dinghy out of the wa…

Errands

Last night, just after we turned off the light to go to sleep we heard a  boom...Boom...BOOM...boom boom against the hull on my side of the v-berth. It was loud!  We both knew it was the mooring ball banging up against the boat but I couldn’t understand why it would be doing that. There was still a fair amount of wind that should have overcome the effect of the current. George went up on deck and managed to get the mooring ball over to the other side. It worked for a minute, the boat sat behind the mooring ball. Then, a few minutes later-boom...boom...BOOM on his side of the v-berth. We knew we couldn’t sleep with that racket going on so we turned on the light, grabbed our books and started reading. A short time later the current must have eased up and the banging stopped. Fortunately, it didn’t start up again with the next tide change six hours later. We left Cambridge Cay mid-morning today with the hope of getting some diesel and groceries at Staniel Cay. Once we arrived at Staniel …

Our Neighbors

George and I were curious about the boat in front of us, Giovannino. It arrived after dark the night before last. There appeared to be seven people on board. At least one person stayed behind and appeared to be cleaning while the others went to shore yesterday morning. George and I also went ashore for a walk and passed by two groups from Giovannino. One group was speaking French, yet the flag on the boat is a US flag. Then it occurred to us that it might be a crewed charter boat. George looked it up online and it is indeed a crewed charter boat. Up to six guests can charter it for a week for a mere $19,000.  Since this week is a holiday week the cost is $21,000. The crew consists of a captain and a cook. We have smelled some of the food they have been cooking and it does smell good. Most of their charters start in Nassau and that explains why they arrived at night. The week started on Wednesday and if they came straight here from Nassau they wouldn’t have arrived until after dark. Si…

Cambridge Cay, Again

We left Cat Island yesterday morning and motored 60 miles west across Exuma Sound to pick up a mooring ball at Cambridge Cay. We are expecting a cold front that will bring strong westerly winds and we wanted to be in a relatively protected spot. The cold front is not due to arrive until tomorrow but we are glad we didn’t wait any longer to come here. We picked up the second-to-last mooring ball for boats of our size. Sometime in the night a motor cat came in and picked up the last one, right in front of us. There are a few large mooring balls left that are meant for boats that are 100 feet or more. Quite a difference from that last time we were here when we were all alone. We entered through Conch Cut, a deep but wide cut, and it was a snap compared to Dothan Cut. It helped that it was close to high tide when we came through. We plan to get off the boat today and go for a hike and maybe snorkel, too. Then we will haul the dinghy up onto the arch and hunker down tonight. I am developin…

New Bight, Cat Island

The wind shifted more to the west overnight and, since Cat Island is wide open to the west, waves built up. The wind was fairly light and the waves weren’t huge.  However, the boat is always swinging back and forth and when the boat would swing so that the waves were hitting us broadside we would rock and roll back and forth. This continued on through the morning so we decided to go ashore for a walk. This time we headed north through a part of New Bight we had never seen. It turns out that there wasn’t much to see except the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, the last church built by Father Jerome. I am glad we took the walk to see it. We walked back on the main road and stopped by Olive’s Bakery to see if she had anything new. It was closed. I think it makes sense to call ahead to make sure they have baked goods made and are open. No problem, we have our coconut bread and it is delicious. The restaurants at the Fish Fry did not appear to be open. Breeze On is still the only boat in the …

Black Point to Cat Island

We took advantage of a favorable forecast and sailed 60 miles east to Cat Island. We left Black Point just before dawn and exited through the nearby Dothan Cut. We could have waited a few hours for slack tide but that would have meant getting to Cat Island quite late. We were hoping that, since the wind would not be opposing the outgoing tide, the conditions at the cut would not be bad. Dothan Cut is deep, about 20-30 feet, and narrow so the current moves through there rapidly. As it turned out we had 5 foot waves with very short intervals so it was a wild ride for a few minutes. I was happy to be done with it. We were pleasantly surprised to have enough wind to sail for the first few hours, then we motor sailed and finally just motored. The wind clocked around from the SW to the NW so we attempted to anchor in the NW corner of the bight for more protection from the waves. We couldn’t get the anchor to set, so after two attempts we motored over to the anchorage off of New Bight. There…

Lunch at Lorraine’s

Today we went to shore for lunch at Lorraine’s. There was a New England Patriots’ pre-game on the big screen TV. It was deja vu all over again. Last January we watched the New England Patriots play in the Super Bowl with our daughter, Pam, and her now fiancé, Brad. That was the night that the dinghy was caught under the dock and submerged. This time the dinghy was right where is was supposed to be and secured with a stern anchor.  Before we returned to the dinghy, though, we went for a walk. We encountered a fenced in yard with a couple of goats. One goat was trying to get at some banana trees that were growing in a sink hole, which was also fenced in.  When I got out my iPad to take a picture the goat walked over, most likely to see if I had anything for him to eat. I did not. 


Big Majors (Staniel Cay) to Black Point

Yesterday morning we raised the anchor and set sail nine miles south to Black Point. The wind was right on our nose once we rounded the corner at Harvey Cay so we dropped the main and motored the rest of the way. The harbor at Black Point is not quite as protected as Big Majors but we like being at Black Point much better. First item on the agenda once we settled in was laundry at Rockside Laundry. We weren’t desperate to do laundry but it didn’t look busy at the dinghy dock so we thought it was a good opportunity. We were wrong. All of the washing machines were full. There was a nice couple sitting there waiting for their laundry so we had a nice chat with them while we waited. A little while later another nice couple came in and we chatted with them as well. Finally, after about an hour of waiting we were able to put our laundry in a machine. Ida, the owner of Rockside, was apparently at a funeral in Nassau so a man named Stick, from Deshamon’s restaurant, was covering for her. He w…

Cambridge Cay to Staniel Cay

Yesterday was another stay-on-the-boat day. The front came through and brought a lot of wind. A boat joined us in the mooring field at 11 pm. It appeared to be a man traveling alone. Pretty gutsy move to come into a dark mooring field at night and pick up a mooring while alone on the boat. Also, the entrance to Cambridge Cay can be tricky even in the daylight. Later yesterday morning two other boats joined us. Since it was so windy and choppy we didn’t venture out to meet our new neighbors. It was cloudy all day and our battery levels were dropping so George ran the Honda generator. While he did that I worked on a new cup holder that we installed at the helm. I made it out of Phifertex and used the HH-66 vinyl glue to put it together. We put strips of 3M Dual Lock (otherwise known as super duper Velcro on Breeze On) to hold it onto the boat. It worked very well when we used it during our fast sail from Cambridge Cay to Staniel Cay this morning. After anchoring at Staniel Cay we dinghi…

All Alone at Cambridge Cay

Note:  This is a post from two days ago that did not post. I will try again. 
Was it something we said?  We left Warderick Wells this morning and had a delightful sail down to Cambridge Cay at the southern end of Exuma Park. We were hoping to pick up a mooring ball here and wait out the next front tonight and tomorrow night. George fully expected the other five boats that had been at Warderick Wells would also come here but not a one of them did. There are 14 mooring balls here. When we arrived there was a sport fishing boat on one of them and it left a short time later. Soon after we were settled in we dinghied up to our favorite snorkeling spot, the sea aquarium. It did not disappoint. It took us a little while to figure out our Up n Out Ladder - this was the first time we’ve used it since last winter. We sat in the bouncy dinghy for several minutes before we finally got it set up correctly. Operator error. As George was working on the ladder I could see the sargent major fish swimmi…

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 thr…

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)&q…

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. 




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…

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…

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 h…

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 Ca…

Pets’s Pub, Little Harbor

We left Hope Town at mid-tide yesterday morning and sailed the convoluted Sea of Abaco route south around the shallows. After going about half way down that southern part of the Sea of Abaco George commented about how clear the water was. There are a lot of cuts in that area allowing water to enter and exit from the Atlantic. We anchored near Bridges Cay, not too far from Little Harbour. Then we put the dinghy in the water and motored over to Little Harbour for a late lunch at Pete’s Pub. If you didn’t know us well you would think we were pub crawling. Actually, we went to two bars in two days for the good food. Really!  The food at Pete’s Pub really is delicious. George ordered coconut cracked conch (cracked conch is what they call deep fried conch) and I ordered  a shrimp gyro. Both meals came with two sides, pineapple walnut slaw for both of us, quinoa salad for me and rice and corn for George. We ate our meals at picnic tables in the sand overlooking the harbor. When we finished w…