Thursday, January 31, 2008


Almost forgot.  When we arrived at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club (a marina) some people were cleaning fish and throwing the scraps into the shallow water.  On closer inspection, there were about 15 sharks swiming around getting the food.  They were nurse sharks and not considered dangerous so one young man climbed down and began petting them.   For some reason, Florrie refused to join him in the water.  Me too.  The day before, a 14 foot hammerhead also came in to feed but the natives shot it.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Staniel Cay

This might be misspelled but it is about 50 miles SSE from Allans Cay and we are here with internet, sort of. That is why several posts are all dated today. This is the island where Thunderball (James Bond)was filmed. Well not here exactly but it is on a little island about 1/2 mile away. We are in a slip and tomorrow I need to sew the sail and find out why the fresh water ran out-leaking somewhere and the alternator is not putting out any voltage so we are now running the generator more ofter just to keep the batteries charged.
This is NOT my favorite island (it took over two hours to get connected to the internet and we can't get water now because it is after 5. On top of that, there are no showers here. But we did find another catamaran named Harmony. Nice people too (Ed and Beth).

Allen Cay 24 44.75 N 76 51.40 W Jan 29, 2008

We are anchored in one of Florrie’s favorite spots on earth. It is an excellent anchorage within the protection of three small cays and some tiny unnamed ones to the north. To the south is the crescent-shaped SW Allen’s Cay. There’s space there for only one anchored boat. That makes the ideal post card picture; one catamaran surrounded by a low island covered in low shrubs and one coconut palm punctuating the horizon. To the west is Allen’s Cay. It is very low, not more than 30’ high, with scrubby brush and no visible coconut palm trees. Coming in from the Exuma Bank we could see the 60’ masts of about eight boats already here. The sunset was typically magnificent but the real surprise came after dark. The entire “island” was raucously noisy with the calls of different kinds of birds. Florrie remarked that she wished she were an ornithologist so she could identify each species by sound. It is Leaf Cay, to the east, that is the real treat. That is where the “prehistoric” marine iguanas live. As we pulled in to anchor we saw their long black bodies dotting the small beach. At that time a couple of power boats had brought tourists (day trippers, possibly from Nassau) to see and feed them. People bring grapes and put the fruit on long sticks, keeping their distance from the wild but reasonably approachable lizards. We have an apple that we’re willing to cut up for the critters when we visit them this morning.

Cruising: Fixing your boat in exotic places.

The motor sail from Royal Harbour was an eight-hour trip, not long out of sight of land. Florrie entertained herself by starting what may be a series of essays “for the landlubber” (the boat was rolling too much to try to paint) and Lew read “A Walk in the Woods”, commenting about the similarities between long distance hiking and sailing. We used the starboard engine and the jib. The 15-20 knot winds and the waves were on our stern the whole trip, which was uneventful though the rollers were probably 5-6’ high. As we navigated the cut from the blue-water Northeast Providence Channel into the turquoise waters of the northern part of the Exuma Banks the seas calmed considerably. All was not well within the boat, however. Once again we had a “water issue”. Somehow the toilet in the forward head had overflowed in the night (clean water) and filled the floor up to the 6” door sill. Simultaneously it seems there was a leak somewhere and the starboard bilge was filled with what was left of our fresh water! We have enough bottled water on board to last at least two or three days so decided to press on anyway, looking forward to getting our tanks fixed (if they need it) and filled in Staniel Cay, a day trip south of Allen Cay. As we approached Allen Cay, needing both motors for a smoother anchoring, the port engine would not start. So instead of “decompressing” from a long trip, Lew had to descend into the bowels of the engine room and try to fix whatever was amiss. He emerged later, dotted with motor oil (yes - there is another “issue” to deal with) but the motor now runs.

Making the conch horn

First you find a conch shell - which is rather easy to do. They don’t put empties back in the ocean so there are lots of them wherever someone cooks them or makes a salad from them. They don’t look all glossy and colorful like at the shell shops. The back of the shell is brown and dirty with some type of growth on it while the inside has lots of dried sand and glop. Ours was found near a beach bar and liberated. We soaked it in a bleach solution for several days using a small pocket knife and an old toothbrush to help get off the brown growth on the outside and most of the sand in the inside. These conch shells have a two-inch hole near the top which is made to help get the critter out. This hole needs to be filled and a new one, closer to the top, made with a hacksaw for a mouthpiece. It is amazing how hard that shell is! The sawed hole is about the size of a trumpet mouthpiece and needs some of the insides drilled out. We then put marine toilet paper into the first hole and covered it and the hole with 5200, a very tough sealant which takes 24 hours to really cure. Of course some of the 5200 was absorbed into the hole and a second coat applied. Then the shell is soaked again to get the toilet paper to disintegrate, clearing a path for the horn to be blown. Voila! A week later you have a horn which gets blown as if it were a trumpet. The sound is quite loud and is best described, in Florrie’s words, as “the sound of a dying moose.” It gets played at sunset. We greeted the sunset at Allen Cay and were answered by at least two neighboring boats with their hand-made horns. It is quite a connection among strangers who never see each other.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Royal Harbour 25 30.95N 75 50.489W

We left Marsh Harbour and went down to Little Harbour. Dinner and drinks at Pete’s Pub after buying a beautiful small brass sculpture of a ray at the Gallery. Next morning we went out to sea and a 50 nautical miles Atlantic Ocean day trip to Eleuthera. Winds were from the SE about 10 as we headed S so it was motor sailing on both engines as we wanted to get in before dark. Pulled in and anchored. This harbour, despite being fully enclosed and well protected, was hit badly by a hurricane in 1998 and there are only ruins here. What do you expect when there is a surge during a hurricane (Floyd) with 200 MPH winds? Yet people are buying million dollar lots; go figure. Spent the next day puttering and moved to the above coordinates because a front is expected with N to NE winds of 20 to 25 tomorrow.
Larry and Joyce from a Gemini 105 arrived and came over for drinks then left: rice and beans and hot wings for dinner and Dog Whisperer while we charge batteries and run the fridge. We may sit it out or go to Spanish Wells (we need ice for our rum punches).

Now in Spanish Wells, about 6 miles east of Royal Harbour. Stay here until Monday and then off to ??

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Little Harbour 26 19.5 77 00.0

Good trip to Little Harbour and dinner at Pete's Pub. Florrie says that threading your way down is a navigational challenge. It is like living in some type of math equation. Big Kahuna also left but radioed with "taking on water" through the shaft. We slowed down to be with her as she was steaming because "her bow was down". Another boat, anchored at Lynyard Cay had some packing so Kahuna went over there and anchored but not before running aground. Talk about your bow going down! She was able to power off. Little Harbor is very well protected and lots of mooring balls available but, other than Pete's, there is nothing here. We came in one hour after low tide and there was two times when the alarm went off and the depth was less than 6 feet so if you are coming come nearer to high tide!

I am now listening to Chris Parker weather guru while five boats have already left BUT the wind is directly South...on the nose so we may wait until Sat when it should be North at 15 which would be really good depending on the sea state.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Riding out a Gale

I know it is hard to get sympathy from those shoveling snow but we are riding out a gale in Marsh Harbour. It has been two days of Anchor Watch with one resetting of the anchor while it blows and blows and rains and rains. Have to get up every so often and check the anchor as well as the other boats so there are no expensive sounds. We expect one more day of this and then it should settle down. Meanwhile, we have buckets outside and a directed stream down the deck to collect water as we do not have a water maker. Oh well. Just another day in paradise.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Where are they?

View Larger Map Some of you have asked for a map of where we are. We are just above the arrow in Marsh Harbor. If you go directly East you will come to Hope Town. Use the + and - and the arrows to get there. If you click on the image, you should get a bigger copy.

Hope Town plusses and MINUSES

When we're using some on-land service, it is hard to get on the internet/phone after dark because we've been back at the boat before then. Lew just signed up for OII for a week so we should be in better contact. It is so much easier to do the internet and make phone calls from the boat. I can't tell you how much of a "Challenge" it is to use the internet at some beach bar!

We are in Hope Town and I LOVE IT! It has charming small houses on little bits of land with lovely gardens and palm trees waving overhead. The streets are one car width wide but everyone drives golf carts or bicycles so that isn't much of a problem. The shapes of the houses remind me of Cape Cod and particularly Nantucket. However! ... imagine the gray houses of cape cod in every pastel shade available, and combinations thereof. Most of the trim is white but sometimes you'll see a white house with bright yellow trim (for instance) and maybe a bright turquoise door. I could draw and paint for a week! There's a candy striped light house that dominates the western vista. At night it is so lovely, high above the water-level harbor lights. (There's another wonderful painting op.)

We did gift shop shopping and I got myself a perfect T-Shirt! ;-) It is of a Curly Tail lizard. I photoed a couple of them fighting on the street. They are only about 6" long. And I hit a close-out sale of some other T-shirts, adult size. We grocery shopped. We did two loads of laundry. We ate lunch at Capt. Jack's and fed the big fish off their pier that gather like pigeons in a park. All in all it was a great day.

As might be expected (?) Lew hates it here! He feels claustrophobic. He is bothered by the Atlantic surf crashing on the rocks about 1/2 mile (as the crow files) over the land to our east. I can barely hear it. I feel all snug in a very protected harbor, let the weather do what it must. However, as I write this he's riveted to the Cruisers' Net to see if we can leave this morning, safely. If we leave, we'll have a day sail to Little Harbour on Abaco Island, which is more protected by the barrier Cays. We're on Elbow Cay, which sticks out into the Atlantic the farthest of all the Abacos. It seemed he was having nightmares the past two nights so I guess we'd better go somewhere he's more comfortable. I was hoping to connect with the artists here. Sigh.
I'd better close. We hope all is well with you.

Lew Responds:
Florrie is right. I hate it here. The moorings are piled up extremely close as are all the housing. It is as if they are trying to squeeze everyone into a subway car which is already overflowing. The noises are all wrong as I don't want to hear crashing surf while I am trying to sleep. I guess I am getting claustrophobic. Since it is not a good weather window for going south we have compromised and will return to Marsh Harbour until we get a good report for going south.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Great Guana Cay

FYI - A cay has no fresh water, an island does.

We have had seven amazingly beautiful days moored in two of the places that are quintessential “paradise”. Treasure Cay was well worth the visit and now Great Guana is the kind of vacation anyone would hope for. The nights have been so clear the stars make a blanket of lights above the open hatch. Days have been in the 80s, also so clear that jade/teal/ultramarine waters float beneath skies of cobalt blue. Puffy pure white clouds drift here and there, just enough to add variety to the heavenly expanse.
We have spent some part of each day at Nippers, a beach bar perched high on the dune/cliff on the Atlantic side of this Cay. During the day it is a gathering place for lunch, sodas and to enjoy the view. (Evenings are right out of a Jimmy Buffet song.) The vista is too much to take in one photo. To the south the palm- and pine-topped cliffs sweep down to the sandy arc of the broad beach. A rustic set of steps take you down to the beach which also sweeps far to the north, punctuated here and there with rugged rocks. Depending on the tide the rocks are either fully exposed and dry or the site of delightful little waterfalls as the breakers crash on the other side. They seem to be uninhabited but now and then some crab the size of your hand will scurry along the hot surface to shelter. The tide pools are unusually empty of snails, little fish or anything else you might expect.
The white dashed line of the barrier reef - the third longest in the world - breaks up the dark blue on the horizon. Nature has provided a smaller reef close to shore so less expert snorkelers can go all around this reef without having to deal with the crashing currents of the Atlantic. It is the broken coral swept in with the tide that lends pink to the otherwise off-white powdery beach.
Harmony is moored in a field of about eight boats in Fishers Bay on the western side of Great Guana. It is a very protected harbor so we plan to stay here through the cold front expected to arrive this evening (Sunday). It will make travel ill-advised until Tuesday.
Yesterday was a Five Ray Day! Early in the morning, Lew spotted a ray and called me topside to see it. By the time I got there it was just an amorphous dark shape floating away. A few minutes later he called me again and the show began. All of a sudden an enormous ray leaped out of the water. It must have been 5’ or more from wing tip to wing tip. The entire kite-shaped body was out of the water. In a minute or two it did it again! People on three other boats were also riveted to the spectacle and Dave identified the ray as an Eagle Ray because of the spots on its back. A few minutes later, Lew called me again and there were three rays swimming in formation near our boat. They were close enough that I could see the light color on one’s “chin”. What a day!
We topped it off with a fabulous rib dinner at Grabbers with new friends. Grabbers is on our side of the Cay and one of the other terrific gathering places on this still very Bahamian island. Anyone who has seen only Nassau (for instance) really hasn’t experienced all that the Bahamas are. This is one of the places that cruise ships can’t reach. We expect to be here comfortably until we can get underway to Hope Town on Elbow Cay on Tuesday morning.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hello all,
We're on a bigger Cay (Great Guana)now, still a marvelous beach on the Atlantic side at Nippers Bar. The water is gorgeous - of course. This beach has rocks that add drama to the beach but still plenty of room to swim.

I finally did a painting a like it is a beachscape with nice color and deep space. This beach has a barrier reef between us and the horizon.

It is our 27th Anniversary! I never expected to be any place like this when we said I do>

There's a Friday life model for Artists on another Cay. We'll get there by next week. It is too far to rush down there now.
Please Forward this to anyone I've omitted.

OK Lew wants me to tell you that HE remembered our anniversary. He gave me the most beautiful little gold dolphin earrings. JUSt WHAT i WANTED! aND WHEN I went to the stores, I forgot to get him anything. So we're shopping today. How many t shirts does he need? Maybe we'll pierce an ear for him. What would be an appropriate I'm sorry gift> Tee Hee.

A boat note. Everyone monitors channel 68 on the VHF here. The way people reach each other is to say the name of the boat they're trying to reach twice then say "come back". I swear I heard someone say "Fishy Fishy Fishy Fishy" Come Back" This morning. LOL

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Treasure Cay

It IS the prettiest beach I have ever seen. About 3 miles long, crescent and the water is the most amazing color. OK now what? That is all there is to brag about and nothing much more to do here so tomorrow we head for Great Guana. We had a wonderful evening with Dave and Camilla aboard Southern Heat and, around midnight, I was able to get on the WIFI.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Abaco Horses

Three maresMimi & PintoMare & stallionBlue HoleFlorrie & Mimi
On Saturday, January 5, Florrie went with Mimi Rehor to the Wild Horses Of Abaco preservation center. For about four hours they watched a herd of four mares and the stallion, saw the rescue dogs Mimi also cares for, and visited the Blue Hole, a 250’ deep swimming hole.
Here are a few photos. The male horse has a diamond on his forehead and another on his nose. The pinto is the one Florrie felt most comfortable approaching. There is a longer description of this adventure in the website

Friday, January 4, 2008


I know it is hard for you to feel sorry for us and the fact that it got below 60 degrees last night but it is still cold here with little sign of letup for the next 48 hours. Velcro is keeping us to the dock and Florrie wants to go out to see the wild horses of Abaco, the most endangered species of horse in the world with only 8 left. They are a separate species and if you are interested goto: In a few days we will leave and have little chance to add to the blog, I think, unless we can find a WIFI available somewhere. But keep those cards and letters coming and we will respond when we can.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Reality Check and Junkanoo

It is honking out there! We are at a dock in a well protected harbor with white caps and a one foot chop off our stern. The boat is bouncing and I am sitting here with my Rutgers sweatshirt on. The palm trees are facing in one direction, some bending in the "breeze". A cold front came through last night and it piped up to an estimated 35 +/-. The sky is totally grey and it sounds like a wind tunnel. Just another day in paradise.

Yesterday was a hoot. We climbed on a bus with 20 other happy cruisers for a half hour ride to Treasure Cay and then took a ferry to Green Turtle Cay for a Junkanoo. It was supposed to start at noon so we arrived about 2 and only had to wait an hour for it to begin. Island time. Florrie went crazy with the camera and will have lots to say, I'm sure.