February 4, 2016
We got up and went over to meet our neighbor on Providence (Bill Roy)in the Warderick Wells, Exuma Land and Sea Park mooring field. Bill decided to make a provisioning run down to Staniel Cay and he invited us along. We jumped at the chance to go somewhere and have some internet service. I had three weeks of blogs to update. It would also be nice to have a meal at a restaurant where the table and floors are not moving.
We left the mooring field about 10:30 and headed down the banks (inner channel) to Staniel Cay. Bill also invited his ex-brother in-law and girlfriend along. They brought their dog. Their dog was out of control. This ex-brother in-law sat there and bragged about the bad behavior of his other dog he used to have. You just want to smack some of these irresponsible people. They don't control their dog and show no respect for the people around them.
We got to Staniel Cay at around 13:30 and Karen and I went straight to the restaurant for lunch. It was late and we were quite hungry. Our waitress was Nakita, Lorraine's daughter over in Blackpoint Settlement. Karen recognized her from our visits to Blackpoint. She told us her mother had expanded her restaurant inside and put on a porch out front for folks to eat at as well.
Our lunch came quickly and I worked on the internet trying to get as much done as possible in the little time we had there. Karen went over to the grocery store to pick up a few fresh vegetables. This restaurant here at Staniel Cay has also been expanded. It is now about twice the size it was a couple of years ago. It is nice to see some businesses thriving.
We all met up around 15:10 and headed back to Warderick Wells. We were hoping to sail back but the winds had died so we motored back. We arrived in Warderick Wells about 15 minutes after sunset which gave us enough light to navigate through the mooring field. We made the turn to our end of the field and Bill almost took out the first boat on our side. We were fighting the current all the way to the turn and then the current was with us. As Bill made the turn he misjudged the current that pushed us into the nearest boat. We just cleared the first boat by three feet. That was a very close call. To Bill's credit, he kept calm through it all even though everyone was yelling at him in an effort to avoid the collision.
We thanked Bill for the trip and returned to our boat for the night.
February 5, 2016
We finally have a beautiful day in the Bahamas. The winds have fallen off to the south east. The skies have cleared and the water temperature has risen from 77 to 88 degrees. It is time to put on the swimsuits and have some fun! It has been way too long since we had a nice warm day.
I washed the boat with seawater to remove the salt buildup and waterline slime. Then I got in the water with a plastic scraper and started removing barnacles from below the water line. I am guessing we are losing as much as a half a knot in speed due to the barnacle growth on the bottom of the boat. I did about half the boat done before wearing myself out. We will finish another day.
We decided to hike up to Boo Boo Hill and make our offering to the Sea Gods. The local legend is that a ship was lost at sea just off of Boo Boo Hill with all hands on board. If you go up there at night you are supposed to hear the lost crew singing hymns to save their souls. To appease the Sea Gods, you collect a piece of driftwood and put you name on it. You then carry it up to Boo Boo Hill and leave it there as an offering to the Gods. It is good fun. There are literally thousands of offerings up there on the hill. We found our old offering from 2013 and placed our current one right next to it.
We had a great hike up to the hill and walked way south on the island near the Emerald Rock moorings. We then crossed the Island to Boo Boo hill and took the more direct route back to the boat. By the time we got back everyone was in the water. The tide had gone out exposing the sand bars all around our boat and every one was wading about the bars and hanging out. We quickly joined the fun.
We went ashore in the evening to play dominoes with some of the others here in the mooring field. We started to play for a bit but the winds came up and the clouds rolled in promising rain. We all made a run for our boats to get in before the storm started.
February 6, 2016
We went exploring the island all day from the dinghy. We ran around the back side of the island to Hog Cay where there are about five mooring balls. The moorings are in a gorgeous setting and well protected but there is at least a two knot current running through there with the tide.
That evening there was a happy hour on the beach. Everyone brought snacks and the Park Rangers brought the ice. We met Celestial Melody there and heard of his plans to head to Emerald Bay the day after tomorrow (sounds like a good place to wait our the heavy west winds.) We also ran into Tempest as well.
February 7, 2016
The winds have been blowing 30+ knots all day. The wind and the opposing current is laying us abeam to the seas, so we are rolling back and forth a bit. The protection is good here, so the rolling is not too bad. Once low tide hit we were sitting in calm seas because of the exposed sandbars all around us. As the tide started coming in, it held our boat in a much more favorable position and things remained much more settled.
In the evening the winds abated a bit into the 20 knot range. I went out and raised the dinghy and got the boat ready for tomorrow's trip down to Great Exuma Island.
February 8, 2016
We were up at 6:00 and waited until there was enough light to pull out of the mooring field. We slipped the mooring at 6:45 and we were the second boat to leave the mooring field. We headed out the cut and into Exuma Sound with several boats behind us. We turned south south west once we were in about 600 feet of water. We plan to put out some lures and try to catch some fish as soon as we are out of the park.
The seas were 3 to 5 feet and the winds were 6 to 12 knots out of the north. The swells were a bit large compared to the wind but were left-overs from the heavy winds last night. We cleared the park in about an hour and put our fishing lines into the water. We continued to skirt the islands trying to stay in 200 to 600 feet of water. You do not want to get in less than 200 feet of water because that is the Barracuda's domain and we were looking for good eating fish. The barracuda are not very good eating and can carry ciguatera which can make you very sick. We were adding miles to our trip by skirting the islands but hoped that we could catch some fish to make up for the lost time.
A few hours later the reels started singing, so I dropped the throttle back and then Karen and I went back to manage the reels. By the time I got to my reel the line had snapped and I had lost all my rigging. Karen pulled in her line but neither of us brought in a fish. Karen put her line back out and I rigged up a new lure on mine and put it back into the water. Two hours later the new lure was gone again. The damage to the leader suggested it was a pretty good size fish that took the lure. We brought our lines in after that and called it a day.
We entered Emerald Bay at 16:40 just behind Celestial Melody (Dave and Toni Smith) and pulled into slip D16 across from them on the dock. We parked right next to George Gumaer our old marina neighbor back in Galveston, Texas. George was on his brother's boat Chloe II helping him sail the Bahamas. It was good to run into George.
We tied up to the Dock with the help of the marina manager Dale. We had met Dale when he started here a few years back and were glad to see he was still here. He invited us to Happy Hour which started at 17:30. We cleaned up and headed up to the Marina Clubhouse. We grabbed a table upstairs and waited until the party began.
They had a huge spread of the following: rum punch, club sandwiches, fruit, conch fritters, cheeses, crackers, and chicken wings. We got in early and snagged samples of everything that looked good. There was no second pass. There were so many people there for the happy hour by the time the first pass was over there was no food left for a second helping.
We sat with George and Celestial Melody and exchanged stories. It turns out the Celestial Melody lives down the street from us on Gondolier back in New Bern. We had met them once at one of the Yacht club meetings last year. We also ran into Moonlight that we met in Nassau Harbor Club and Water Lilly who we had met two years before here at Emerald Bay.
After the Happy Hour fizzled out we headed back to the boat for dinner. The marina had put out a huge spread but there were too many people there to be able to fill up on the appetizers. We chilled for the rest of the night.
Update on Mañana. They have rigged their rudder to work until a new one can be manufactured back in Florida. They are not real comfortable with the rigging, so they are hanging out in Nassau until the new rudder comes in and can be replaced. They then plan to sail south.