2011.01.24 Hope Town!!!

WOW… swinging from a hook…I had forgotten the feeling!!!!
Here we are our first night in Hope Town and although we have not been ashore yet, we are thoroughly enjoying the magic of swinging from a hook with the light house flashing around astern of us.
We are sitting in the cockpit enjoying fresh mint tea ( I knew I was not growing this mint for Mojitos since we do not have any Tequila on board!),  everyone in the harbour has gone to sleep it seems, Capt’ Jack’s bingo night is over but we have been chatting over supper and a bottle of wine by the light of our little oil lamp and listening to “Sleepless in Seattle” and “Space cowboys” (thanks Sharon).
Johnny's Cay...

Do I see the light house?
We left Marsh Harbour this morning and had an easy motor (no sailing…wind on the nose!) over here...picked up one of Rudy’s moorings first shot, I was afraid we’d lost our touch with all this marina nonsense!
Tomorrow I want to do one thing and one thing only …THE BEACH… I still love the beach in Hope Town more than any other in the Abacos,,, can’t say for the Exumas yet.
Then we may go over to see Vernon and Bobbie and maybe buy a pie.
The back yard
We launched the dink but have not explored the harbour yet but we do know that “Sea Echo” is right astern of us and “Orient Express” and other friends boats are around us…we are happy to be tucked in as we are expecting another big blow on Wednesday but then the skipper tells me it is good for the rest of the week. The weather has really been quite unsettled the last couple of years but we are not complaining.
We miss our friends from Green Turtle Cay and hope that they will get over here soon.
Good night.


Well we did not get to the beach yet…the tide was too high, so we walked around town, rediscovered all our favourite places and people….. We saw Margaret (The Chopping Block) and made an appointment for David to have his hair cut, finally…he had been saving himself for Margaret! We then dropped by Vernon’s who was looking just fine and had a nice chat…the streets seem a little emptier than usual,  I guess they are hurting here as well. Rolf and Susan came by in their gig, it was just great seeing them again

Which sweet lady puts out this lovely sweet water....am I a humming bird...too large....  not sure....
Find  Soli (not Waldo!!!)
Even the weeds (sorry landscaping ) is colour coordinated
Nice addition to the neibourhood....don't you think?
Karen and Steve (Sea Echo) had invited us for drinks (I know I know…it seems like that’s all we do eat and drink!) and we caught up with their news, they also drove across Canada this past summer, it was fun comparing notes.
We had another huge rain storm but not as high winds as had been expected …


I spent a good part of this morning on Skype…it is working quite well this year with Bahamas Wimax. Spoke to my Dad, Wendy, Danielle and Marilyn and of course David had his daily dose of Veronica, she is doing very well.
David went to see Margaret and got a gorgeous haircut…chatting with the ladies, Susan was having her hair done….no wonder he did not want to go to the barber in Green Turtle Cay!!!!
David with new haircut!
First beach walk....

Do we read this right...she was 17 and a wife and mother...how sad!
Although I pride myself on being a thoroughly modern Millie, modern technology still blows me away…as I said I was talking to Wendy on Skype and she was telling me about a winter coat (a what?) that she wanted to order from Land’s End, of course I was immediately on their site and here we were shopping around comparing 2 coats, she then called them on conference call (with me still on Skype) …so here I was floating around Hope Town harbour, part of a conversation about selecting a coat as I was flipping between 2 pages comparing the merits of pockets and thickness of down!  Totally amazing!
After lunch we did finally go for our beach walk and David started perusing the “wrack” for his yearly lucky sea bean…none to be found, nor any sea glass for that matter.
We met a lady who had adopted a “potcake” , a local breed of dogs, pretty much Heinz 57,  very smart and this little bitch was very sweet, she started to dig a hole in the sand and probably dug herself in a couple of feet deep, looking for a crab, we were told, she had already dug up and eaten 5 today….I thought she should give them to her mistress who could make potcake crab cakes (I know that was not funny but I could not help myself!)
We then ran into Susan and Rudder…who asked us to lunch tomorrow (Susan did, Rudder just wagged his tail and licked my hand)…that’s about it folks, we are back on board, the skipper is happily snoring in the cockpit getting his strength to grill a little jerk chicken for our supper. I must wake him up soon ‘tis happy hour !
Tony, this one is for you.... what is it?


2011.01.22 Marsh Harbour

Conch Inn Marina, Marsh Harbour.  22nd January 2011.

We last wrote about ten days ago and since then we have endured a couple more fronts going through with heavy winds and rain , in fact we are presently in the midst of our third or fourth and are bouncing around despite being tied to a dock.   So what has happened in the interim ?  Well not a lot really.
Think I'll add one more off shore line.

There were a great group of ladies at Leeward Y C who enjoyed their morning water aerobics in the pool.  They were in the water at nine a m and worked hard for the best part of an hour.

Val & Lynn...could not get them to both stop talking at the same time!!!
 We walked some more and shopped as necessary, getting to know many of the locals as we stopped and chatted everywhere.  Leeward Y C happy hours also proved to be very popular with the cruisers and there was often as many as thirty people all sorting out the affairs of the world over a couple of rum cocktails.
Reg, Val, Jan and Tom

Some fine day a bunch of us decided we were going to walk to White Sound for lunch...Renee was very happy to see us indeed!!!
Marie Francoise , JP (Nido) Steve and Karen (Sea Echo)
Lynn & Walter (Iolar)

 Our month at Leeward Y C was up on Sunday 16th but we decided to stay an additional two days to allow yet another front to pass us by, with heavy wind and torrential rain.  On Tuesday the 18th the weather calmed down and was beautiful so we had a last shop and a farewell cocktail hour and supper with all the friends that we had made in Black Sound  and prepared the boat for departure the following day.
Pretty and old house on main street in New Plymouth GTC

High tide was around 07.30 and we left Leeward Y C (aka Velcro South) on the tide and had an uneventful ride around the infamous Whale Cay passage en route to Marsh Harbour.  We arrived there, being chased by very heavy and threatening black clouds, which were unexpected.  Our intention was to anchor in the harbour after taking fuel, the first that we had needed since North Palm Beach, however as we were berthing the heavens opened and we both got soaked, Catherine much more than I, so we eventually decided to stay warm and comfortable tied up a dock.  Chicken I know !!  We took a little more than 28 gallons of diesel for USD 131 ($5.00 a gallon), about half a tank full, which is probably the most that we have ever paid for fuel.  The weather died down sufficiently for us to berth with little problem, after which we had a warm shower and relaxed with supper at a local eating spot “Snappa’s” with Val and Reg of “Aquabella” who had also left Black sound just ahead of us and are anchored in the harbour.

On Thursday the cockpit was upside down as we had Clifford Burrows (the refrigeration engineer for Moorings Charter fleet) come to try and get our electrical refrigeration up and running once again.  He found a couple of things which he thought were wrong, fixed them and then purged, vacuumed and refilled the system with fresh Freon.  We switched on and the plate started to heat again, the same problem that has plagued us for the past three years.  Poor man, he really did try to get us up and running, spending most of the day aboard, but it was to no avail.  He was all set to come back the following day to try again, but we decided that enough was enough and have accepted that we will not have any electrical refrigeration for the rest of this voyage.  We do not seem to have lost too much food so far and we are managing to keep the freezer at a reasonable temperature by running the engine drive on a twice daily basis for about forty minutes or so.and are consuming and/or cooking a lot of more perishable items from our freezer…spaghetti Bolognese anyone?

The next problem that we have had is that our brand new mascerator pump, fitted last April in St Augustine and unused so far, did not do what it was supposed to do and we were unable to empty the holding tank as we wished to do.  Normally in the USA and Canada this would not be a problem since most marinas have a pump out station and in fact it is illegal to pump out under way.  Here in the Bahamas however there are no pump out stations thus this was a big problem. Since we had been at marinas most of the time it was not a problem as we used the on land facilities but certainly did not feel comfortable going further afield without this “issue” being sorted out!
 We spent two or three hours taking the pump apart but could not get it to suck, so off to the local marine store to buy a new pump, this time exactly the same one as we had replaced in St Augustine.  Another handyman from the Moorings fleet spent his lunch hour replacing the pump – we switched on and “Voila” we had suction and were able to empty the tank.  Thank heavens for small miracles !!!

A catamaran had sunk, not sure when, just off the Conch Inn Marina...so we had an entertaining couple of hours watching a salvage (?) operation as the Carib first tried to hook and lift, then drag the cat away...when all else failed they rammed it and tried to completely sink it, unfortunately it was too shallow, so disappear it would not, they finally dragged it a hundred yards away and left it in the way of the Moorings fleet...there should be lots more entertainment coming up as charterers plow into it as it is almost submerged! 

Friday (20th) evening, with great sighs of relief,  we were able to put everything away and  Catherine spent an hour or so cleaning and scrubbing our cockpit so that our new room is once again livable in.  In fact I am sitting here typing this very comfortably, as the wind howls around us and we bob up and down in the swell coming up the harbour.  What a success the new canvas has been and in particular our full enclosure – how did we ever manage without it???
While the admirals run around provisioning the Captains chat!!!

Saturday, 21st,   has been a relaxing day,(at last!!!) a shower in the morning followed by a walk to the grocery store with Val and Reg. The new Maxwell’s is quite amazing…just like an American super market1…we were supposed to have lunch with Val and Reg but Aquabella was bouncing around so much they felt more comfortable staying with her) Lunch back aboard and relaxing this afternoon reading or using the computer for e mails etc (first time relaxing with a good books in days).  Val’s brother arrived from the UK  this evening and has certainly had a rude awakening to the cruising life as I suspect that he had a rough trip out to “Aquabella” on the dink  this evening with the wind at a fairly steady thirty plus knots.  (and that’s after a 20+ hour trip,welcome to the Abacos Chris!).

Our plans, such as they are, is to leave here on Monday morning for Hope Town, the tide is at a reasonable hour and I like to try to enter H T harbour fairly close to high water, although it is probably not necessary.

That’s it for this report.  I shall leave it to the editor to correct what I have written, make additions, corrections and of course load up another bunch of her great snaps of our life aboard.

Potee Limousine (Soli style with ingredients found on board!!!)
Bahamian coconut bread French toast with Canadian maple syrup...a .marriage made in heaven.
Not sure when or why I became a bird lover....but there we are!


2011.01.11 Green Turtle Cay…yep…still!

I have renamed the Leeward Yacht Club “Velcro South”… need I say more.

What have we been up to since New Year’s day aside from reading, walking the beach and doing boathold (?) chores. Not much but here are a few pics showing us doing just that..actually when I say “us” there is no pic of me…do I just look better behind a camera or I am just vain…probably both!

We have been for a couple of walks to our favourite beach on Gillam Bay. Unfortunately, the sand has shifted drastically, some say, due to retaining walls put up by some residents…they now have all the sand and our beach is being eroded as you can see on the pics of those poor palm trees which are just collapsing as the sand is being washed away from under their roots. It is still a lovely walk and David found lots of sand dollars.

Amazing root system...very wide but unfortunately shallow!
Still love that little island...is there a house on it?
We then had a gorgeous much needed downpour with a front on the 6th… The island needed water and Soli a shower.

The novelty of the full enclosure has not worn off.
What is David up to?
Is he REALLY!!!
Yes he is scrubbing the deck , could not resist all the free water!

D obviously not able to tear himself from the computer not even for breakfast.

Met Jan and Tom having lunch at the Wrecking tree
Sybil & Hannya on Bita Beach
The next day the weather cleared up but the winds were still quite fresh.. Hannya, Sybil and I went for a walk on Bita bay beach on the Atlantic side of the island.

On the 8th we had our Brits and Sibyl over for supper…we had missed Hannya’s big birthday and since it was Ukrenian Xmas and I had some goodies on board we had a bit of a celebration, champers, cassoulet and plum pudding with hard sauce....quite a combination...just like us I guess!

The beach at Bluff House
We then had an absolutely brilliant day, the kind of day we come down here for, as David says…. so we took the dink for a ride to the beach by Bluff House….again completely deserted, we scared 3 big green parrots who flew away protesting loudly our invasion, sorry could not pull out my camera fast enough… 

Laverne & Nika... best cooks and bar tenders...thank yoi
Back at the ranch for happy hour…these ladies know how to prepare my “special drink”….whatever the cocktail of the day is with half the alcohol….I think I’m going to dye my hair like that!
Karen, Val, Marjorie and Lynn
Try and picture 10 or so mermaids in there doing it with "Billie Jo"
 Every morning we have aqua gym in the pool..it is great for my knees and we all love it, when I came back David greeted me with “am afraid I have bad news” after I heard that the “B….y fridge had packed up again”, I started breathing again. We thought that there was a bit of of frost built up on the plates so we decided to defrost…remember all you nice people with frost free refrigerators who ask me “how was your vacation” ….well this is part of it !!!
As it so happened, it did not help and it looks like we must have another freon leak as we are getting far too many bubbles in the sight glass…..so David sent a poison email to the manufacturer and we are using the engine drive system…thank goodness we have a back up system that still works.

Frost free NOT
Can you believe all that was in the fridge/freezer!!!!
Got it all back in nice clean fridge...Whew!!!
To reward us for our hard work we went for a nice beach walk…
Black sound - Green Turtle Cay
The vanishing Gillam bay beach
This is the house where Neville Chamberlain British prime minister during WWII)  spend some of his youth.
Val shopping at Curry"s
Yesterday we went into town with Val & Reg for lunch, a bit of exploring and grocery shopping.

And I finally got one...
A handsome Green Turtle Cay rooster!!!
I received a very good comment on our blog from Joanna (Mysterious Ways) about Junkanoo....her daughter Charlotte had, I believe stumped the "cruiser's net" with a trivia question about the origins of the word Junkanoo....she said it was from "gens inconnus" which is French for unknown people which makes a lot of sense since they were masked...I like it ...thanks Charlotte.