Sunday 15th March 2009

Well…… we really are great failures at blogging !!! Over a month and no new word from us, what a disgrace !!!

This evening however I am moved to write since we saw something, even from a great distance that I would love to see up close and personal!! Yes, we saw the shuttle launch into the northern sky and although a long way away it was still an awesome sight …. We saw it disappear to the NNE and difficult to believe at the speed that it was travelling and that there were human beings on board. It left a con trail that could be seen well after it passed and also a most amazing bright cloud formation which hopefully your resident photographer managed to capture.

So what have we done in the last months…??? Simply put. nothing too much !!!! We have continued to live a simple life .. I have tried to work as needs must, we have walked the beaches, had lunches with friends and spent a very relaxing time here in Hope Town,
Hence the lack of blogging.

We left Hope Town last week and spent the majority of last week in Fisher’s Bay , Guana Cay, more beach walking and one day at anchor and exploring Shell Cay which is a man made island from the dredge of the big ship channel past Whale Cay… lots of interesting shells and many live conch which we left to grow bigger, or be harvested by others.

During our time in Guana I went up the mast to have a look at out wind instruments which are not turning as they should. They were frozen with the salt air, I did my best to release the cups but they are not working too well still. I think that they need to be disconnected and brought down in order to do a proper job, that’s not likely to happen before we get back to the USA. Whilst up there, swinging at 58 feet above the deck in the boatswain’s chair, I hope that I managed to get a couple of good unusual shots of the boat through my feet and behind my back !!

We also tried to anchor in Man of War Cay, narrows, but to no avail. We could not get the anchor to bite in the hard sand. In heaving up the anchor for the fourth time, we got a chain link into the windlass the wrong way and the whole thing jammed tight. That was when we gave up and went to Fisher’s Bay in Guana, where we freed the anchor chain but in doing so damaged something in the windlass so now the chain has to be let out manually…. Fortunately we can still heave the anchor with the windlass so at least my back will not be broken in weighing anchor by hand.! There’s always something !

We had a grand sail back to Hope Town in 20 knots of wind … to made up for the frustration of the anchor windlass and allowed “Solitaire 1” to stretch her legs again. Now if we can have that sort of wind on the return trip from Great Sale Cay to Cape Canaveral, which where we would like to re enter the USA this time it would be golden !!

Yes, return is starting to rear its ugly head and we are thinking that we will make a start in the early part of April aiming to be back in Montreal by the end of that month. We are still somewhat undecided as to where we are going to leave the boat although we do have a firm booking, once again in Thunderbolt, Savannah. It maybe that ‘Solitaire 1’ will spend her summer there and we will return to the Abacos next year…..stay tuned, nothing is decided!!!

Beyond all this life continues very pleasantly….. we have had much more wind this year and the Kiss wind generator has really come into its own giving us a lot of power, which coupled with our solar panels has really helped to maintain our batteries. We have rarely had to run the engine, other than to run the engine driven refrigeration and our Honda generator has proven its worth in bringing the batteries up as and when needed,. So much so that we had not refueled since we left West End , way back in December of last year. We have just refueled and had used 34 gallons between December and March so feel that the additional expense of our various purchases, wind generator and solar panels, were well worth it !!

One additional expense which we did not envisage was a four day trip to Montreal that I made in February in order to arrange things which could not be done at long distance. It snowed most of the time. Unfortunately I got sick from something that I ate the day before I was to come back but a restful day, mostly in bed, cured that and I was nearly as good as new to return to the boat. Catherine had done a great job of looking after things in my absence …never let it be said that the Admiral is helpless when the Captain us away, ‘cos she is not at all. It was wonderful to see her bring the dinghy to the dock to collect me from the ferry in order to return to the boat – she was handling like an
absolute pro !! Unfortunately she got sick (in sympathy????) very soon after I returned , but was recovered after 24 hours or so.

Today (15th March), we bade a sad farewell to David and Hannya, our friends from Bournemouth, who are taking their boat back into layup in Man of War Cay for the summer, before returning to the U K, where Hannya’s daughter is getting married in May in Salisbury. We shall miss them but will hope to see them over the summer should we be in that area. We have spent many pleasant hours with those two!

So life goes on…… lunches, seminars, lectures from very interesting residents and visitors, and on Tuesday a concert in celebration of St Patrick’s Day….. quite the social life we have here but probably not the reason to blog about it. Why is there not a celebration of St David’s Day we ask ourselves?????

That’s all for now and again our apologies for the long delay in this report. It took the shuttle and brave adventurers into space to get me up and running again… hopefully the pics that have been taken will add some spice to this.

G’d night all !!!

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