Saturday, December 27, 2008
We have been at the marina for a week and it is time to move on. It has been restful and a time to catch our breath so it has been time well spent.
We don’t want to go too far because we want to be back here by New Years for the Junkanoo. Several of the boats anchored here left this morning and went up to Manjack Cay (about 8 miles) to play up there – walking trails and lobster fishing and happy hour on the beach. I suspect we will join them tomorrow. I understand that an ex cruising couple own it and a very cruiser friendly -- even set up a free WiFi antenna for the favorite anchorage area there.
Today I filled the diesel tank from the 24 gallons in Jerry cans on the deck – that fuel was getting old. I washed the boat sparingly using that .20 cents a gallon water and refilled our water tanks. Then we went to town to the library for the cruisers book exchange. Unfortunately it was not open today. It has Saturday hours 9-12 but I guess they consider this a holiday since it follows so closely with Christmas and Boxing Day.
We spent an hour or so walking the town and picking up some frozen orange juice and fresh bread to tie us over for a few days. Ohhh Fresh bread is $4.50 a loaf and Natures Own is $4.75. Some no name carton of orange juice is $5.55 and a Minute Made Frozen Orange Juice is $3.75 -- just a feeling for food prices here. We toured the local cemetery which is quite different from how they are in the US – pictures to follow and I found a little seafood market where I bought 2 lobster tails – 1lb for $14. That will be New Years dinner.,
Then after lunch it was over to the Green Turtle Club to do laundry. Over here there is only one working washing machine and 2 dryers. Over there it is 4 working washers and dryers and a nice beach that we played bocce ball on while waiting for the laundry.
That pretty much consumed the day for me. Karen wanted to do a little sewing project so that kind of got in the way of an early blog today -- sharing table with computer with fabric cutout and sewing machine.
We had dinner with the New Bern contingent again at the Bluff House. We have been here too – long. The waitress asked if we knew what we wanted without giving us any menus!!
The rest of this short evening will be spent readying the boat to travel tomorrow – not much required since we plan on just 8 miles. BUT it takes some effort to unplug after you have been at the dock awhile.
Friday, December 26, 2008
The day started as usual trying to get the weather forecast from the SSB. Chris is away for a week and an Ed in Oriental, NC is filling in. Unfortunately we cannot hear him here in the Abacos. I tried all three times and freqs and - nothing. However some cruisers were talking to him I could not hear him.
I couldn't pickup the BASRA net either I was able to pickup the WRCC Net weather at 7:45am on 7268 LSB.
We listened to the Abacos Cruiser net at 8:15am and picked up a bit more weather forecast.
After that I took the dinghy over to a sandy beach near the Green Turtle Club and looked for an air leak in the dinghy. I put some dishwashing soap in a spray bottle and sprayed the tubes while walking around the dinghy in shallow water - damn the leak is coming from around the patch I did last summer. The leak is on a seam!!! I'll simply have to put a larger patch over the existing one and this time use - STABOND adhesive. I'll also install the holder for my XMAS navigation lights too -- probably
I visited a little with Mark on Rachel and Carl on Diva. Told them plan to get back out of here probably Sunday and continue life on the hook again.
After lunch Karen and I took the dinghy over to the Green Turtle Club and tied up. We took a long walk to the beach and on the beach - about hours worth. Karen found a few very pretty shells, a sea bean, and a few pieces of beach glass.
Back to the boat for showers and a little visit with cocktails with the New Bern contingent of cruisers here. After that it was up to the Bluff House restaurant to eat our daily dockage fee in fine food. Ohhh what a life.
It was funny at dinner - all the guys were nodding off and had big puffy - sleepy eyes. The women where vibrant and ready for more but we guys - it was nap time.
Then it was back to the boat, put some toothpicks in my eyelids and write this blog. I need to stay up a bit yet to talk to Andy on Skype tonight. We have an internet connection tonight but I'm too bushed to post any pictures. I'll send some tomorrow.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
To those expecting a Skype phone call tonight - sorry can't get connected. Sometimes the power goes off, sometimes the internet fails. It all comes back eventually - but not tonight - yet.
We had a great day. The weather was perfect, the wind laid down to 15 or less - tonight it is like 5kts. The day was sunny and warm. Started at 73 degrees this morning and a high off 79 degrees. Doesn't get much better than that.
We had a simple Christmas aboard. I received navigation lights for the dinghy and Karen received gold turtle earrings from here in Green Turtle Cay - real cool.
We splurged and had breakfast at the restaurant this morning - Eggs Benedict. Then we went for a walk on the beach. Back on the boat I dug out my dress flags for the boat and we fully dressed the boat - the only one here in White Sound. Other boats had a lot of flags but we were the only fully dressed boat.
While digging out the flags I had emptied most of the space under the V-berth so I went ahead and pulled out the 45 lb CQR anchor and swapped it with the 66 lb Bruce. The CQRs do very well in the Bahamas where the Bruce is questionable. It certainly served us well down the ICW - just slipped a bit in North Lake Worth.
At 1pm we went to the Cruisers pot luck over near Brendle's Dive Shop. It was very nice. Big crowd of cruisers and lots of food but little meet. No Turkey but had dressing and cranberries, and later someone brought a HUGE ham which was very good. A good time was had by all. Around 3pm we went back to the boat, dropped stuff off, and another walk on the beach near low tide. Karen finally found some nice shells.
Then it was back to the boat for some homemade Pecan Pie - which we did not share and some light reading.
Just before dark we undressed the boats and put the flags away till News Years.
For doing very little work - we are tired tonight.
I'll send pictures tomorrow if I have an internet connection.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
We are just enjoying Christmas Eve here in Green Turtle Cay. It is windy as all get out but comfortable at the dock. Most of the sailboats have settled the drags and too close approaches and everyone is becoming relaxed. Tomorrow will be a medium wind day. The Chris Parker forecast has the wind rebuilding for Friday and Saturday then settling to 15kts on Sunday then light and variable Mon – Wed. We will probably scrub this decadent dock living and go on the hook then – especially since several anchored boats plan to head to marsh Harbour for New Years. We should have the pick of the anchorage then – plan to head to Marsh after New years.
We took the dinghy to town to find some Vanilla Extract for a pie Karen wants to bake. It was not a wet ride as long as I kept the dinghy in the shadow of the land. We had a nice walk around town and enjoyed the 75 degree sunny weather. We headed back to the boat for lunch -- going to blow the entire “dockage for dollars” tonight on dinner at the Bluff House. Tomorrow afternoon the cruisers are planning a huge pot luck over near Brendel’s Dive Shop so we are looking forward to that. I’ll get some pictures there too to share.
After lunch I took a dinghy ride to Green Turtle Club then walked to the community dump site. They burn their trash here on the Island and I expected a huge pileup sine there hasn’t been a burn while we have been here. Surprisingly the piles are not large. Wonder what’s different. I expected some pictures but nothing interesting there.
Tonight they plan Choral singing on the catamaran “PEACE” and DIVA is planning some kind of light show. They are both anchored out front of White sound in the lee of the Bluff that the Bluff House sits on.
Ohh we had a nice chat with Andy this morning via Skype. Works great on the wireless internet connection from OII (Out Island Internet).
You all have a great Christmas Eve..
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Now it’s time for “Island Time”!!
Finally made it through customs this morning. It was an ordeal but it is past us now. Still have not met Bridgett..
I went with my new dock buddies from New Bern – Northwest Creek Marina -- had to come here to meet them!!. There was Bill from Margareta, John from Chanceux, and Brian from Flash II. We arrived at the Customs house just before 9am. There was a trainee waiting to help but the Bridgett was not back on the Island yet. She was now expected in on the 10:30am Ferry from Treasure Cay. She gave instructions to the trainee to open the office with a butter knife – slip the latch. From the looks of the door jamb this has been done before – often.
Well we finally got in around 9:45am -- Bill was able to slip the latch. The trainee passed out the paper work and we filled out all the forms. By this time there were 15 people waiting to check in. She checked our forms and stacked them. She could not complete the process without the big official there. Now she was expected in around 10:45am. We killed time till 11am but no official. The trainee called the official and she had suddenly been promoted and could now complete the process. We all got back in line and she now rubber stamped all the forms, passports, signed the copies, and collected the money – entry fee. By 11:30am we were finally cleared into the country and could conduct ourselves as we pleased for 90 days. Yaaahooo.
We celebrated by going to Pineapples for Lunch and a couple of beers. There is a new Bahamian Beer called Sands now. Pretty good but not the Gold – Kalik gold that is.
Since we had the golf cart I bought a case of the Gold to take back to the boat.. It’s going to be fine.
The wind blew very strong last night. The angle was such that the wavelets were slamming into the upturn Stern of the boat and made a loud popping sound occasionally. I didn’t fight it – I slept in the main salon .
Ohh tonight is “GAME” night at the Bluff House bar/restaurant. They have set up a WII on a large screen to play games tonight. Little do they know what aces Karen and I “used to be” on her WII. We will kill them.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Today we tried to clear customs but unfortunately things don't work as expected in the Bahamas. Even serious government matters are treated very lightly as the mood of the individual officials vary. Fortunately you have to go through this just once on your visit.
Let me explain in detail. Green Turtle Cay is a recognized port of entry with a resident customs official. The hours are 9 - 5 Mon through Saturday. We arrived at the office just before 4pm Saturday and it was closed. We asked around and a friendly person at Sid's grocery called Bridgett's house - the customs official. She told her to tell us to return Monday between 10 and 11 am. We explained that no one is allowed off the boat for the rest of the weekend until we clear. She said it was okay.
Well yesterday 3 more boats arrived at the marina. The dock master told us that Bridgett would come here Monday and clear us in. She gave us paperwork to pre-fill out. Well this morning we are told by the dock master that Bridgett will not come here and we needed to go to her office --- 3 miles by road. Well the 4 of us rented a golf cart and go to town - a bone jarring white knuckle adventure in itself. Well the office is still closed…
We inquired at the post office next door and were told she had missed a flight in Nassau and would not be here until this afternoon. She would make an announcement on VHF 68 when she was in the office and if we heard nothing to return tomorrow morning at 9am.
Well now there are at least 20 boats here waiting to clear customs. There is only one chair in the 8X10 foot customs office.
It wouldn't be so bad if we hadn't been told to appear at the office this morning when Bridgett was still in Nassau. I asked about that and was treated with the ol "How can you be so stupid look". The Bahamas are great just don't expect smooth operations.
Hopefully my mood will be better tomorrow. It is an adjustment when melding into another culture.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
HEY - today is the first day of winter and the high here was 75 degrees and the low 70 degrees -- eat your hearts out!! Sorry just couldn't resist that tidbit.
After dropping the hook and trying to check in with customs we went to Pineapples for a drink to celebrate our arrival with the rest of the flotilla. I had hurriedly prepared the dink and did not install my bag with lights and stuff in it - more on that later.
It was happy hour so we all had a round or two of rum punches and some fried grouper fingers - they have some really HOT hot sauce - I need to find the brand - couldn't read the label in the dark. I think it was because of the dark.
After awhile we all left and headed back the boats. I looked out at the anchorage of about 7 boats and I told Karen - I don't know which one is ours and I don't really care - she said ditto.. I guess the rum punches here are 99% rum and 1% punch.
Well we did find Temptation and that was good.
Today we listened to the familiar cruisers net on VHF 68 at 8am and the BASRA weather net at 7am. Going to be a rip snorting cold front coming in tonight. We then took the dink and sounded out the channel into white sound near low tide. The shallowest I found was 5' 3". That is what I draw so I said we would wait an hour then enter the sound. We checked out the anchorage and there was plenty of room to anchor but a lot of boats are expected today. I checked out the specials on dockage at Green
Turtle Club and Bluff House Marina and decided on the Bluff House but not for their fuel. They were charging $6.75 a gallon for diesel while it was $3.48 at the Green Turtle Club.
After a late morning snack we entered White Sound and went to the Bluff House Marina that currently had 2 boats at the dock. They put me on the end T-dock which was cool but the lady dock master missed tied a bow line and while throwing the stern line the bow line pulled off the piling and the wind was blowing us away from the dock - not cool but nothing hurt.
A lot of our cruising friends made fun of us being the only sail boat at the dock but we will see who laughs tonight when the wind pipes up to 25kts with gusts to 30 tomorrow. Especially now that late today several very large sailboats came in and anchored in this crowded anchorage with a reputation of marginal holding. Note that 3 other sail boats came in late to the dock 2 from New Bern and one from Beaufort, NC. One is called Flash II and the other is Margarita and the third >??
Well the deal here at the dock is anything that we spend in the Bar/restaurant will be subtracted from the dockage charge so we need to go to dinner tonight and eat today's dockage fee. Karen points out at the price of food here this is probably a good deal.. I think it is a good deal in that I won't be on anchor watch tonight when that cold front comes through.