May 01 to May 07 2012

May 01, 2012

Yay!! Off the boat!!! It is still pretty windy and overcast but we made a run for shore anyway.

We docked the dinghy at the Guana Dive shop where we rented a golf cart to take a drive around Great Guana Cay. This is a cottage and resort area with colourful houses and lush gardens. We made our way to Nippers, the hot spot here. It was highlighted on Paul and Sheryl Shards” Distant Shores” video, so we had to check it out. It is located on the Atlantic side overlooking a long, powder sand beach. Nippers was empty so we went for a nice long walk…

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Beach in front of Nippers

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Excited to stretch our legs we over did it a little. Tired and thirsty we returned to Nippers to have their signature drink – “The Nipper” with four different rums and two fruit juices. “They sneak up on ya” was the bartenders warning.

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On the deck at Nippers - Sundays are the real busy days as they throw huge pig roast party

A little tipsy we got back in the golf cart to tour the rest of the island, pick up a few things are the groceries and some ice then headed back to the boat.

May 02, 2012 

We will be passing through the Whale Channel to get to No Name Cay by this afternoon. The channel passes through the Atlantic and can be very uncomfortable and/or potentially dangerous in any wind with a north component over 10 kts. It creates what’s a called a Rage. We listened to the “Cruiser’s Net” on ch 68 this morning get a forecast. We got the green light as a boat sailing into the Whale reported only 2 foot waves. Good enough for us. We packed everything away and were underway by 0930hrs. The winds are 15kts from the east which should make for good sailing. 

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Map of Whale Cay Channel – Great Guana is just south of the “Ship Range” way point.

We are hoping No Name will be quiet so with any luck we could be laying on the beach and snorkeling by mid-afternoon J We plan to hang out there for a couple of days before heading to Green Turtle Cay.

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It was a bit of mass exodus from Great Guana. I believe we followed 6 other boats out of the anchorage this morning. There is comfort in numbers – if they feel the Whale is passable today then so do we! 

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Convoy of boats headed to the Whale Passage

We came through the Whale Passage unscathed!! It was a little rolly with 3-4 foot waves but that’s it. However, we can imagine how rough it could be in bad weather.

We got to No Name around 1330hrs with plenty of time to go for a dinghy ride to explore a little estuary filled with healthy mangroves and a little beach with the most sea glass we have seen so far.

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Pretty mangroves filled with fish and interesting rock shelves underwater

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All along the shore are mounds of old conch shells in various stages of decay

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Atlantic side – a beachcombers paradise, an environmentalists nightmare…

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No Name Cay  -  view from anchorage

No one joined us in the anchorage tonight, so it was a nice quiet evening on our own.

May 03, 2012

Birthday Announcement!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Someone on a little 29foot sailboat has a birthday today but he doesn’t like making a big deal about it so I won’t…his parents however did J

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Steve’s mom and dad braved the cold Sudbury weather to go to the “beach” in Bell Park to do a message in the sand for Steve

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Happy 50th Birthday Steve SUDBURY” isn’t it wonderful?!?!

Since we pretty much saw all there was to see of No Name Cay, so after a big birthday breakfast, we weighed anchor to make way to Green Turtle Cay to play on the beach for the afternoon. 

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Waterfront Green Turtle Cay

Once anchored we packed our beach bag and headed to town to find the beach…and we were not sorry to have made the move today…

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Not a bad place to spend a birthday eh?

The water was SOOO pretty I had to post another picture…

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Turquoise water of Green Turtle Cay

We went for a nice long swim then made the walk back into town to check things out for tomorrow and inquire about two people we know that live here. One is man we bought Diana from and the second is an old club member. We asked at one of the shops and sure enough we were pointed in the direction of a bar called Sundowners where we were told they hang out.

Sundowners is a comfy little place with friendly faces and good bar food. It is filled with funny quotes written on the walls, old t-shirts and flags hanging from the ceiling, games and things strewn about and rock music playing in the background. I instantly feel at home here J

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Inside Sundowners

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Funny quote in the ladies bathroom – LOL!!!

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And what the heck is this?!?! Looks like a torpedo…Steve thinks it’s some sort of scientific measuring tool…any guesses!?!?

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Steve’s birthday pizza (yum!!) with the Sundowner’s signature drink “The Sundowner”. It consists of dark and coconut rum with fruit juice – delicious!! (I had two of them)

Unfortunately neither man showed up for drinks but we did meet a nice couple from Indiana who told us of a good band playing at a place called Pineapples tomorrow. Our dance card is full!! 

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Sunset at Sundowners in Green Turtle Cay

May 04, 2012

Up and out for my first jog around Green Turtle Cay. It’s a pretty spot with friendly people and pretty cottages for rent. This is a destination cay for a lot of people from the states as it is only an hour flight or so from Florida.

We had intended to finish up our souvenir shopping today but sadly there was a funeral in town and most of the town shut down to attend. The liquor store was open though enabling us to replenish our rum and beer stock J

Since, the shopping was a bust we managed to find a marina that allowed non-marina guests to use their laundry machines. So, I spent the afternoon at the Leeward Yacht Club doing laundry and enjoying rum punches and free internet. This is a very nice and CLEAN facility with cottages for rent too and it has a bar and restaurant. Doing laundry was a pleasure!

We did go to Pineapples to check out the band. It was not the Gully Roosters but a couple of local guys with bongos, a keyboard and a guitar playing island tunes. We met a nice couple from Key West who we spent most of the evening with drinking beers and Pineapple Smashes (yum!).

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Pineapples

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BEFORE the Pineapple Smashes, oh and Diana is at anchor behind the trees

May 05, 2012

Birthday announcement!!!!!!!!!!!! It is my grandmothers 49th Birthday today ;)

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“Happy Birthday Nanny” in Green Turtle Cay Abaco

I was feeling a little rough this morning (Gee, I wonder why!?!?) but I managed to drag myself out of bed to go for my very last run in the Bahamas. It was a short one but I was very glad to have gotten out.

As this is our last stop for provisions in the Bahamas, I picked up some groceries on my way back to the boat.

We spent the day getting the boat ready for our last leg in the Bahamas (there are lots of “lasts” in this post…)

We decided to remove the head sail and the cutter rig to replace it with a bigger jib. We entered the Bahamas a cutter and we will leave as a sloop. We think this will be a better configuration for our ocean passage allowing us to take advantage of the winds. It also frees up deck space for the dinghy. With the new sail, Steve tuned the rig while I tidied up the cabin. By two o’clock our chores were done so we headed back into town for our last ditch effort to finish up our souvenir shopping. We found a little shop with everything we needed and were able to cross everyone off our list J We spent the rest of the afternoon going over charts and making our tentative sail plan for the month of May.  It’s about 70 miles from Green Turtle Cay to Walkers Cay so we could do it in a few days if need be but we could take as many as 6 days to cover the distance.

May 06, 2012 – To Manjack to go hiking/and or snorkeling.

May 07, 2012 – To Allen’s Cay for the night

May 08, 2012 – To Great Sale Cay

May 09, 2012 – To Double Breasted Cay where we may spend an extra day to say goodbye to the beach.

May 11, 2012 – To Grand Cay, our last water and fuel stop

May 12, 2012 – To Walkers to stage for ocean passage to Charleston, South Carolina.

If the stars align and we get a weather window, we hope to make the 340-mile jump to Charleston sometime between the 13th and the 15th of May. This will be the farthest offshore we have ever been – almost 125 miles at the farthest point – and the longest ocean passage we have done to date. We believe it will take us about four full days to complete and we are pretty excited for the adventure. Think calm weather thoughts everyone!!

That said, we may not have internet access until we get back into the US, so don’t worry if you don’t hear from us until the end of May!

May 06, 2012

Steve and I are happy to be underway once again headed to Manjack where there is some potential for exploration.

We’ve been talking seriously about the end of this trip. We originally planned to take the Erie Canal home to spend the summer slowly making our way home through Lake Ontario, the Thousand Islands and the Rideau Canal but the reality of our engine bed/mount issue is forcing us to take the shortest route home through the Champlain Canal. The second lag bolt did come loose where Steve had to epoxy it in place. This is a temporary band aid and not a solution to our problem. During Steve’s daily engine inspections he is noticing small amounts of dust gathering around the other bolts signaling more vibration as our shaft is a little out of alignment. This could potentially shear other bolts if we are not careful. As a result, we are using our engine sparingly in an attempt to “save it” for when we un-step the mast for the trip home from Castleton NY. It is very discouraging as we put so much time and money into the engine itself before we left then to have the bolts that hold it in place to let us down. It will be the project for next spring!

On a lighter note, we sailed into Manjack Cay and spent the afternoon exploring an estuary and saw many large turtles swimming around. We snorkeled on a beautiful reef where we discovered lots of fish, colourful coral and several sea biscuits.

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Steve snorkeling on the Atlantic side!! Since the winds were from the west we were able to take the dinghy out on the Atlantic side to snorkel on an amazing reef.

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Steve found a young horse conch – a first! 

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His conch horn is made from this type of shell but this guy is way too small and very much alive so he put him back

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Sea Biscuits after a good cleaning. If I can only keep them from breaking they will make nice keepsakes J

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Diana anchored in Manjack Cay, Abaco

May 07, 2012

Chris Parker is hinting to a potentially nice week in the Bahamas and perhaps to good weather the following week to make our way north – we are keeping our fingers crossed!!!

It was a nice and uneventful sail to Allan’s Cay. We were anchored around 1600hrs in front of many little beaches decorating the shoreline. Steve put the motor on the dinghy and we went for a ride before supper. There is a “Boo-boo”-like hill on the Atlantic side of this cay where cruisers can leave pieces of driftwood with their boat names but we weren’t really interested. We were happy to take a nice stroll along the beach instead.

Steve noticed something onshore…

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An abandoned Walker Bay sailing dinghy!!

The salvager in him tried every way to rationalize bringing this dinghy home but it was just way too big. There was just no way to store it on deck or safely tow it behind us during our ocean passages. He couldn’t help himself however to see if it would float.

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And it did!!!

Since he couldn’t take the dinghy, he kept the paddle J