2007.12.15 Hope Town

We arrived in Green Turtle Cay last Sunday and stayed five days…. We do love New Plymouth still very unspoiled although we did notice the houses getting smarter looking, fresh paint …and some developer is building condos, we think he is asking just short of a million….the locals say he has not sold any yet!!!!
The marina where we stay on Black Sound is very laid back to say the least, Kevin the owner seems to be enjoying life and is not extremely pro active at keeping his marina in good shape and maybe that’s part of its charm…. he has a great spot that sells itself and he knows it… we did things quite differently this time around… never went to the “Wrecking tree café” but hung out at Pineapple’s beach bar where we had wifi, nice drinks and great sunsets.
We met up with a couple of Canadians from Ottawa, who had dragged anchor and almost plowed into Soli at one in the morning back in Manjack Cay… it was nice “running into them” but not so literally…
We went to our beach and walked all around the South end of the cay…Jacqueline found her first sand dollar,we found starfish and even a live sea biscuit… and David a conch shell.
We also found out that our dinghy, which we had spent a whole day patching up in Westend still leaks….these supposedly inflatable floors, Zodiac anyway, are not an engineering marvel as far as we are concerned…I have never heard David use profane language like this before and of course being French like Zodiac I felt responsible … especially since I had talked David out of buying a new one this summer while in Canada or the States and of course now it’s very difficult to find one in the Bahamas and also much more expensive…. I messed up on that one!!!!
Well it works well enough for David to come and get me at the dock!!!
Please note the banking hours !!!

We also found that our macerator was still not working on our way from Green Turtle to Great Guana Cay…. So yesterday, anchored in idyllic Fisher’s bay instead of relaxing after having made the potentially stressful Whale Cay passage without any problem we were experiencing the literal meaning of ASDIP (an another s----y day in paradise) !!!!! we took the b----y macerator apart AGAIN and saw that the new impeller we had just replaced was missing a couple of paddles!!! We were somewhat discouraged to say the least and since we did not have another spare we started reassembling the pump again… Captain Weber, monitoring our progress (from the cockpit of L’Equipe anchored nearby) or lack thereof hailed us over our walky talkies and started talking about rotation…clockwise or anti…at this point we were so fed up but we started taking it apart AGAIN and really studying all the components very carefully…I won’t go into the smelly details of that operation but we realized we had not noticed a notch in the casing and had basically almost blocked the poor thing… anyhow IT NOW WORKS and we can take a macerator apart and put it back together in our sleep… good thing too as we will have to do it AGAIN when we find a new impeller!

We woke up this morning and the wind was really up…. More importantly the direction was changing to the west and that meant we had zero protection in that anchorage… we had to get out and make our move to Hope Town a few days early… so the stress of not being in position to catch our flight to the UK on Wednesday is now over… all we need to do is to get a ferry to Marsh Harbour, a taxi to the airport, a puddle jumper from Bahama Air to Nassau and British Airways to Heathrow….piece of cake!

So we are really back to the point where we turned around last year… we are tied up to a dock in Hope Town marina with power on board while we are away so we will not lose all the goodies in our freezer…

We gave Soli a nice fresh water rinse, a bit of a luxury at .25 a gallon, but she deserves it, launched the dinghy (which did not need pumping exceptionally…. must have gotten scared with all our talk of replacing it!) did some laundry… and went to our favourite restaurant for supper…Wahoo with a mango sauce… now remember this is the kind of fish which the guys caught. We had three, last year, as well as a mahi mahi when we went deep sea fishing…we are looking forward to going again with Truman on Lucky Strike and this time Jacqueline is coming… not staying behind and reading “The other Boleyn girl”! .

So here we are nicely and safely tucked away, the wind is howling outside but we are cozy and David is doing some business…. The Blackberry is working very well so he is 100% in touch with the office…. I also changed the sim card in my phone to a Batelco card so calls will be less expensive… Alan (Agro-Hall’s proud agent) tested it last night at one AM with great success….’tis like being married to a doctor!!!
We would never dare complain about Olga (a tropical depression) which is sending us these strong winds when we hear about the snow expected in Montreal tomorrow…35 cms… we hope Catherine and Mike have no problem driving to Montreal on Tuesday…try and leave early guys!!!
I have been trying to post pics... but keep getting kicked out of the wifi connection sorry!!!!


2007.12.11 Green Turtle Cay

We are holed up in Black Sound waiting out some high winds...probably side effects from huricane Olga which is hamering some islands further South...New Plymouth on Green Turtle is a good place to be stuck as we love it... very laid back and pretty...
Yesterday was quite an interesting day, David and I took apart our macerator pump and changed the impeller...good thing we had a spare !!!! some of you may ask what is a macerator pump... it is the pump that empties our holding tank and liquifies the whole thing and disposes of it overboard... they do not have pump out stations in the Bahamas.... so that was a good job done!

David is doing the stainless steel on the boat today...do not let anyone tell you that SS does not rust...in salt water EVERYTHING rusts!

I have been sitting at this lovely little beach bar where they very kindly let me bum their wifi signal...thanks Pineapple's... but it is noon and people are starting to arrive for lunch so I guess I better clear my stool...
2007.12.07 on our way to Great Sale Cay

I have been so bad!!!!! I could tell you that the battery on my laptop is not as young as last year and it runs dry a lot quicker which is why I have not written as often as I should…but the true culprit is CJ (yes Mrs. Catherine MacLellan) who loaned me a copy of “Gone with the wind” which I had read as a kid but am rereading with so much pleasure and a totally different perspective…the first time around I enjoyed the love story and found the war and politics boring … this time I am thoroughly enjoying the history lesson and a very interesting rendition of the times and the people and what they went through …. So thank you CJ!

Now back to our trip, I left you so far back I am not even going to try and catch up….well maybe a little it will make my mind work!

I last wrote on the way to Fernandina beach, we did stop there and anchored in the same place as last year….it was another one of those tide against wind situation, sorry to be so repetitive, but here is poor old Soli stuck in the middle of a power trip between tide and wind …one is pushing her one way and the other is pushing her the other way so she ends up riding forward on her anchor…long story short.. I know it’s too late already, in the middle of the night I woke up David as the chain was rubbing against her poor gelcoat and we were up for the next few hours monitoring her as we were swinging all over the place and coming very close to L’Equipe…. I am glad to report we did not hit her… we finally picked up the anchor and reset it further up the river…..That was Fernandina Beach.!!!

The next stop was in St. Augustine …. There is a wicked current in the marina which is just South of the bridge of Lions …the two previous times we docked there we were on the North side of the dock and it was not bad at all ... this time they assigned us a slip on the South side….we were caught in that current and found it very difficult to maneuver the boat…. Coming very close to boats already tied up ….so we ended up on our good old North side again.
I then went in search of some bread…. A fellow cruiser and I walked to this convenience store where they had ONE loaf of white sliced bread…I offered it to him, he kindly declined and we both walked out empty handed…. Needless to say he was another spoiled Montrealer and we both could not bring ourselves to buying that bread!

L’Equipe had gone up the St. Sebastian River and tied up to a very nice little marina in Oyster creek which they said was well worth the extra few miles and they will go there again.

The next leg was to Daytona and nothing too memorable happened except that we went aground near Matanzas inlet…. Now inlets are openings between he ICW and the Atlantic so there is a lot of water movement, tides and currents shift the bottom constantly and as hard as they try to keep the markers updated the sea works faster to change it again….so after about 20 minutes of revving engine, a little cursing but most likely the tide coming up we were afloat again and catching up to L’Equipe who had sailed right by us… was it not nice of us to show them NOT where to go!
We docked at Halifax marina in Daytona, did laundry and went for a nice supper at the Charthouse.

The next leg was to Titusville also pretty uneventful except that we went aground AGAIN … this old boy was shouting to us from the shore “just wait for the tide…. It will float the bloody thing off”… we resented our precious Soli being referred to as a b….y thing so this time David got us off in 10 minutes !
Titusville Marina is where I played with Manatees last year but we anchored so I did not get a chance to say hello to my old friends and see how big the baby had grown.

Last Saturday (a week ago… did I ever need to catch up) we were on our way to Vero Beach… which Louise had aptly renamed Velcro Beach as they could not seem to leave! The most memorable thing about it was the most unpleasant man working at the marina… we wanted to ask him if he was the mayor’s brother in law to keep that job!!!
We rafted up to L’Equipe on a buoy and had drinks and guacamole….starting to get that cruising feelin!

Sunday was on the other hand very memorable… if you remember the film/song “Never on a Sunday” it would apply to when NOT to go through St. Lucie and Jupiter inlets unless it is raining of course…
Every single yahoo and there are lots of them were out enjoying a nice sunny Sunday on the water…in their fishing boats, runabouts, seadoos anything with an engine that floats was out on the ICW that day and they have no idea or care what their wake do to the sailboats they are passing or the erosion to the shore for that matter… it was an absolute zoo!
We arrived at out destination of Lakeworth and a blessedly peaceful anchorage ….ouf!

On Monday we stayed at anchor did some bits and pieces as David likes to say, he worked in the office and Heinz drove J and I to shore a couple of times to do a bit of provisioning …I was so afraid of overbuying that I put my bag in the shopping cart and every selected item went into the bag…. This way I was sure not to have a problem bringing it back.

Tuesday was positioning the boats to their jumping off point in by Lakeworth inlet…. It was a short hop … we spent the day getting Soli ready for the crossing…jack lines , were attached on both sides of the boat to secure to with tethers which in turn are attached to our PFD (inflatable life jackets) ….and we all went to bed early as we had a 0330 start planned for the next day.
David trying on his new foulies (foul weather gear) we fortunately did not need them!

Wednesday was “C” day for crossing….we had a nice track from the inlet to the anchorage that we had made the day before so we had no worries finding our way back to the opening of the inlet in the dark…well just like Tom Thumb having his bread crumbs eaten by the birds … our track had vanished off the screen of our chart plotter, fortunately J had plotted some way points and we followed L”E to the inlet.

Heinz was wondering what that “unchartered green light” was… a fisherman has dropped anchor right in the middle of the channel and that green light was his starboard running light….
There was more breeze from the North than had been predicted and that made for some fair size rollers and we were pitching and rolling … I can think of a couple of people who would not have traded places with me!!! But as the morning wore on and we started to leave the great Gulf Stream the waters calmed down considerably for the last part of the crossing…
I, exceptionally, did not keep David supplied with endless mugs of tea at the beginning of the trip when it was pitch dark and he was doing battle with the elements….and you all know why… what goes in must come out and I was not keen to take over the helm… later when the day broke and I could see where we were going I happily took over several times.
We did the crossing in 9.5 hours same as last year and arrived in Westend and the magical turquoise water of the Bahamas and docked at the Old Bahama Bay Marina …renamed Ginn sur Mer… (I will try and attach the website of the horrors they are planning) the staff remembered us, as friendly and efficient as usual as long as you are not in a rush…we need to get into the island time mode!
We changed linen, did laundry had deliciously long showers and went out to enjoy our first grouper sandwich.

Thursday - We spend an extra day to rest up a bit and get ready for the couple of long days to get us to Green Turtle Cay before Sunday… Sorry CJ your friend John was not here this time …Chris Parker (our weather guru) was all doom and gloom for next week and we wanted to be within easy reach of Hope Town where we are going to leave Soli while we are in the UK….so if we are stuck somewhere with bad weather let it be Green Turtle. Thursday did not end up being restful at all…it was really dinghy day… D and I spent most of it finding and patching leaks on the inflatable (or very deflatable in our case) floor of our Zodiac … it was hard work but hopefully we have done it and it will last this season …otherwise David wishes to give it a burial at sea and without honors…

We were planning on going to the beach bar to enjoy our first Rum punches and Bahama Mama (J’s new poison) with music from the local band but by the time we were through with Mr. Zodiac’s reject and had our showers the band had packed up… 1700!!!! We are amazed how few boats there are about, we are told the season has not really started yet…wonderful…we like quiet and deserted!

We had our first dinner on L’Equipe, Soli’s galley produced a salade niçoise which went very well with J’s ciabbatta and some Beaujolais nouveau…not a bad year!

Friday – We left at a civilized hour, after a quick dip in the pool, to make the next leg to an anchorage off a deserted island called Great Sale Cay…it was a long but easy day for us … Heinz on the other hand was trying his hand at fishing from L’Equipe stern with his new fishing rod.
He did extremely well…caught 3 very large barracudas which are unfortunately not good to eat (although some of the natives do) and had to be thrown back, not before a picture was taken of course, he also caught another delicious fish…we are not sure as of yet what it was but the nasty thing tore his way out of the net. In any case this is very encouraging… not sure why I bought these little beef filets unless it will be our contribution to surf and turf!
We anchored in the bight of the Great Sale Cay and with zero light pollution were treated to the most magnificent starlit sky…

Saturday – TODAY… aren’t you happy we are reaching the end of this long diatribe … I know I am… we have picked up our hook at 0630 this morning, I took my first sunrise picture and we should be in Green Turtle Cay by sundown or shortly thereafter…I need to go topside and stop this NOW…


North Lakeworth 2007.12.02

Soli's herb garden, basil, parsley and mint for mojitos...

We are anchored in Lake Worth and will try to blog soon... I just wanted to see if I had managed to fix the comment (or lack thereof) problem...it seems to be working now ...so hope to hear from y'all soon... a good old boy from Georgia just came to visit and have a chat, David showed him the book he is reading of another Southern boy, Bill Clinton so not to be outdone I showed him the book I am reding, a good Southern girl, Scarlett O'Hara, Gone with the wind!!!