Friday, February 29, 2008

pictures at George Town

For those requesting more pictures. Double click on any and see it enlarged.

Climb to the top of the charts! Play the word scramble challenge with star power. Play now!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Velcrow Beach

Still here with good weather and (KNOCK ON WOOD!) engines working. Socializing- just had 10 people over for dinner. It is nice to be able to check off "nap" on the todo list which, somehow, keeps on growing. Tonight we are going dancing to a DJ who likes 50's music. Kinda lets you know who the audience is. Hope all is well.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Beach activities

George Town again

I have finally figured out the attraction to the George Town area. This is the Catskills in its heyday. There are organized activities like mah jong, yoga, basket weaving, bridge, pilates, art, volleyball, softball, moonrise watching, dances, lectures, etc. These are all on Stocking Island which is across the bay from the town itself. You expect to hear about tango lessons on a loud speaker at any moment. Here the loudspeaker is replaced by the VHF radio we all have and announcements are at 8:00 AM on “the net”. They brag about the weather being better than other areas of the Bahamas but it is just not true. Cold fronts come in every 4 days like clockwork. The “town” services are terrible. Two restaurants, greatly overpriced and mediocre in quality. One gas station, one grocery store, one “hardware store” but 2 or 3 liquor stores and all is greatly overpriced. Not just Bahamian overpriced but really overpriced except for stuff the locals would buy. Thus chicken is $1.99/lb. while “steak” is $13 and crayfish tails (local “lobster”) is $28/lb. I guess we were spoiled by the Abacos which have excellent services. I may also be influenced by the fact that it is now over 10 days after my propane was promised. The store closed early yesterday, and is not scheduled to open today or tomorrow or Monday…maybe Tuesday…just now.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Feb 19 George Town

We are still here and doing things like shopping, laundry, fueling, toting water in Jerry cans, etc. Both engines are now working (knock knock on wood) and the weather is good. Must mean that it is time to find the next adventure.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Another cold front.

Monday, Feb 11 Georgetown Marina (Exuma Docking Services) 23:30.2 N, 75:46 W
It must sound like whining to those dealing with 11 degrees and lots of frigid snow BUT this is NOT the vacation I would subject my family to. Chris Parker, the weather guru that people with Single Side Band radios listen to every morning, calls this "the most impressive cold front in two years" - it has lasted about 9 days in all. Whoopie.The wind began to really kick up Saturday night. We would have liked to go out to anchor but our busted starter on the starboard engine prevented our getting off the dock. The boat would have been better swinging around than tethered to immovable pilings. Lew found two more fenders at a store in town Saturday morning, thank heavens! Because between Saturday evening and Sunday night we blew out three of our original fenders, they are the bumpers boats use to protect the hull from the dock. Sunday was not a good day but Sunday night, Monday and Monday night were a nightmare. The wind varied between 25 and 40 knots (gale force is 35) and was slamming our boat against the dock, constantly. Monday evening the boat began to bang unexpectedly. The entire boat would shudder. We thought that it corresponded to low tide. Maybe the sands underneath us shifted in all the wave action and we were hitting bottom. Later, we found out from another boat in deeper water at the marina that they had been banging now and then, too. Now we think it was rogue waves breaking against our hull. Ouch!
Every few hours Lew and I would go out on deck and wrestle the fenders back into place between the boat and the piling. We were rubbing the piling so much that a 2" x 4" x 8' eventually gave way and either floated away or sunk. There are splinters all over our deck. That left us right up against the telephone pole-type piling. That's ok but still not good to be slammed against. We managed to gouge a groove into it about 2 feet long. We got SOME sleep Sunday night and the wind was a bit calmer Monday morning - maybe 25 knots.The good thing is that we were ok. We might need to have a diver check the bottom before we try to take off anywhere at all. The closest place we can have the boat hauled is Spanish Wells, a two day trip north, through about 12 hours of ocean chop, then weaving among inner parts of the Cays.If this "vacation" doesn't give us at least an equal amount of GOOD times we're going to have to rethink this whole Caribbean sailing fantasy. Of course all the boats had their own issues with the weather. Some were tucked into very protected harbors and just had to deal with whatever rocking the waves brought. However, we were all held captive on our boats, making sure anchors were not dragging or more fenders blown out.
On Monday, we were able to borrow two large fenders from “Bullet” which really helped and we were also able to contact Ft Lauderdale and have a new starter flown out on Tuesday. Wed consisted of putting the starter in, test it, get some supplies and get the H off that dock. Now at anchor across the harbor in light winds seems like a new beginning.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Bahamian Time

It started on Wed. I got an email that my parts would be on the Wed plane arriving about 3:00 so it could be picked up at the airport about 4. I contacted Taxi 4 (Junior something-or-other) the agent for Reggie Express. After several tries on the radio, we met by the market and I gave him the cruising permit. He told me "the plane was late" which, I soon discovered, meant that he would do it tomorrow. He also told me that I could get the parts by going to his house, close by, in the morning. OK so far. Next morning I went to his house and the parts were not there. I was told that he would bring them when he came in for lunch. Yeah right! Anyway, can you guess, no parts at 12, 2, & 4. The last time I spoke with someone I assume was his son who asked me if I had given Junior the cruising permit as he didn't have it. I assured him that I did. By this time I was not only ticked off but scared that he had lost my papers. To be fair, about 6 I did get a call on the radio. Junior told me that he had lost my papers but he found them again so all is OK and I can pick up the parts on Friday morning. No apology. I guess he heard something in my voice as he said something about these things happening and it was not over the limits of expectations.
If all goes well we will be at an anchorage on the other side of the harbor but may not have a connection to the internet for a few days. Later that next day we got a radio call from another boat that Junior was distracted because he has just lost a daughter to diabetes. Somehow, coconut telegraph?, the word was out that I was not happy. Talk about feeling guilty.
Well, all did not go well. The parts worked fine and we paid our dock bill, etc and made ready to leave. Florrie went up and got Junior a sympathy card so maybe we will be on better terms with the coconut. Now the Starboard engine isn't working and we are still at the dock. Cleaned off all the engine job. Nothing! Well maybe a small eeeerrr. Today has been spent tracing down the electrical system hoping that that was the problem. Finally, well not finally, I took off the starter, put the spare part we had just bought on it and reinstalled the starter. Nope. Took it off and hooked it up, read Rube Goldberg, to a battery by itself and it did not spin. Even opened up the starter as far as I could and looked inside. Yuck and it smelled like electrical fire which may have been because earlier I got the starter jumped directly to a battery and the ground. I was told there might be a little spark but no big deal. Anyway, after I put out the fire on the jumper cable I know that the starter was getting plenty of electricity.
I called Ft. Lauderdale but they seem to be closed on Saturdays. I did send them an email and, maybe, we will have a new starter by Wed. after the cold front blows through with high winds blowing us onto the dock It looks like a few restless nights.
It is a good thing the grandchildren weren’t around as they might have learned a few new words today.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

George Town

George Town is the mecca of the cruising Bahamas although I don't know why. we were greated by a mother and baby porpoise. There is good anchorage and which is pretty much protected for the 250 boats here but, very few services so getting the starter repaired was a bust. Took a taxi to a place about 10 miles outside of George Town (GT). The guy there (GT marina and repair) took one look and said: "Can't help you". He suggested NAPA a car parts store on the other side of the island. Luther, my faithful taxi driver got me there but after at least an hour trying to adapt other selonoids, we took off to an auto repair shop. No luck there either but we did get the name and number of a parts place in Ft. Lauderdale. For those interested it is Bob Pisut at 954-761-3713 ( They were right there and took down the numbers and said they will mail the part on the Thursday plane which gets in about 4. I will have to go to the airport and pay for it. It should be ticketed with "For Yacht in Transit" so the customs should be minimal. I also asked them to send an extra one as a spare. I am becoming a big fan of spare parts. So far, this has cost more in taxi fares than it part itself. We shall see.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A day of rest

Lazy day, laundry, showers, reading, etc. up to the afternoon when I couldn't put it off any longer and dove into the engine rooms. Starboard was fine but the port, ah the port engine, which is the hard one to get into and out of, needed the belt to be tightened and it wasn't starting. This is the first time for me with belt tightening so it was a matter of figuring it out. This actually took awhile while the sweat poured off me. Then, once I did, it was a "DUH". Anyway, the nut finally did loosen up so it could be retightened under tension. Then, of course, the wrench fell into the bilge and it took awhile to find it. Blah. The starter engine selenoid appeared to be gone and knocking it didn't help. So I tried shorting it and the engine fired right up. At least we can get it started so we can leave here and go to George Town to get it repaired...hopefully. Two showers in one day; a new height in luxury.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Florrie on Snowbirds

If double clicking on the link above (the title) doesn't work, goto
to see some new thoughts for landlubbers written by Florrie.

23 38.18N 075 54.928W

Florrie repairs the mainsail in Staniel Cay
The title for this entry is the coordinates for Emerald Bay Marina where we pulled in yesterday after a night at Galliot Cay (just south of little and big Farmers Cays). Google Earth them to see the marina. It was a salt pond in 2005 and is now trying to be an exclusive resort. In a few years it will be. Four Seasons Resorts has been pouring lots of money here with golf courses, casinos, condos, etc. The greatest things about it are free laundry and water at only 15 cents a gallon (so of course we filled up the day before yesterday at 50 cents a gallon). However dockage is $2.50 per foot with a 40 foot minimum so the 18 dollars worth of "free" laundry isn't really free. For comparison dockage usually is less than half of this and we still prefer to anchor out. The showers were fantastic with enough stuff to put on your body and lots of hot water. Ah, the rich really know how to keep clean and smell nice.
We came in here because it was close, protected from the ocean (upon which we sailed to get here in 15-20 knots close hauled in chop and swells). We had thought that spaces would be few as the Super Bowl is tonight but it is about 1/5 full. There is no party here but at Big D's Conch Spot, a five minute taxi ride into the local "town".

The shark above was one of about 15 that live near the dock at Staniel Cay. They are there to get the scraps from the fishermen and are not dangerous as they are nurse sharks. A 14 foot hammerhead came in two days ago and the natives shot it.

Friday, February 1, 2008