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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Post Memorial Day

Hope all of you had a great Memorial Day… we sure did! First, I got to talk with all three kids and they are all doing well. Next, we spent the day exploring the waters around the island of Compass Cay in our dinghy and lastly, we had a great dinner and conversation at the Memorial Day Pot Luck Dinner.

We have had many storms pass through with little rain, but lots of wind so, we have had to stay close to the dock. This gave us a chance to meet a lot of really nice people and Schooner made friends with 2 Vizsla’s (Lola & Miles) and (Coco) a Miniature Pincher on a power catamaran named “The Rover.” They all left today, however, and she is sulking, but exhausted!!

As I said at the beginning, last night we attended a potluck dinner and sure got our fill of good food and good conversation! I can’t even begin to imagine where all of the food came from, but, needless to say, it was produced in abundance. This is a whole different crowd of cruisers, still hanging out here in the Bahamas after the regular season has passed. Boy, do they like to party!!

Today, following another bout of rain and squalls, (with 20 to 25 knot winds) Gordon, Schooner, and I took the dingy down to Sampson Cay (4.5 miles away) for lunch. It was a bumpy and wet ride, through an area called “Pipe Creek,” going there, (Schooner got sick) but the return trip was much faster and certainly much smoother. The water was like gin and the most beautiful blue that you can possibly imagine. Lunch at Sampson Cay was great and I had a Philly Steak and Cheese sandwich that was really super and Gordon had a Ruben on grilled rye that he said was “to die for.”

On the way back, we stopped and did some snorkeling off of the west side of Compass Cay. We went into a large, sandy cove and discovered a conch bed that was littered with conchs. They were all over the place!! The only problem was they were all juvies (four to five years old), so no conch salad tonight!! We also saw some starfish, and the water was warm and only 3-4 feet deep.

We have decided to stay here until the end of the week before heading to Nassau and picking up Andie and Havyn…this place is so much nicer for Schooner and cooler for us. Hopefully we’ll have more pictures and adventures to share with all of you during the rest of this week!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Yesterday, we left Cape Eleuthera. Neither of us had much sleep, as all of the power from Rock Sound south was off!! It could have been due to the high temperatures of the day (96° UNPRESIDENTED), and there was no wind, so the inside of the boat was HOT!! I gave up the bed for the deck. It was cooler, but the mosquitoes were hell and now I am covered in bites. Also, all of Gordon’s bragging about fixing the generator went down the tube in less than 6 minutes, when the NEW belt shredded and the pulley broke!! He said it was due to not being able to weld cast iron to steel with the little, low power welder he used. We are again without a generator…it lasted all of 1 day and a total of 8 minutes running time!! Thank you NEXTGEN!!! (I promised not to complain too much about them.)

The crossing back to Compass Cay was great and it is nice to be back, it's something about the familiarity. It didn’t take us long to get the AC hooked up and take a nap…life is so stressful without sleep! LOL Today it is still very hot (90°)…even Schooner is chillin' in the AC! Life should change here tomorrow, though, when the cold front arrives. We are expecting high winds (nothing new for this winter) and rain (which is greatly needed). Looks like we will be the ones with a yucky Memorial Day weekend.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to thank a soldier! (veteran) Also, I want to wish Hank and Carol (Warrior Soccer Classic) a great weekend of soccer, I miss being there!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Still here....

Well……..here we are, still at Cape Eleuthera Resort, on the southern end of Eleuthera Island, Bahamas (this is Gordon writing this section of the Blog, since Kim is busy painting her toenails and eating Bon-Bons with Schooner, the Wonder Pup. (Yeah right! Lol.)) Anyway, we are still here!

Yesterday, we found out that there might be a small arc welder here on the island. You might remember from an earlier posting of the Blog, that we lost the use of our generator due to one of the pulleys separating from the electrical-end shaft. If there really is a welder here, we might be able to secure the pulley to the shaft (via the welds) and run the generator between now and when we make it back to the US. This would make our life much easier out here at anchor. Well, we decided to stay an extra night and hope for the best.

This morning, our hopes were rewarded when we learned that there really was a small, “Lincoln” 120v. MIG welder here at the resort. No one here knew how to use it, and no one here knew how to set it up, but there was darn sure a welder here and, after about 20 minutes of cleaning and wiping and reinstalling the various components, I had it running and feeding the fine welding wire through the welding nozzle. (I hope no one here finds out I haven’t used one of these things for about 20 years :-).)

One of the managers helped me get the welder back to the boat on the back of his golf cart and I soon had it below and ready to go. It was like I told the Manager (his name is Daniel,) however, it would take 30 minutes to set up the job, 15 minutes to do the job and 30 minutes to put everything away when the job was done. I wasn’t too far off, as this job was a 30/30/30 minute project.

I finally got the pulleys aligned on the generator and hit the pulley with the first “spot weld.” I realigned the pulley and hit it with a second “spot weld” that was 180ยบ from the first. From here, it was a process of gradually turning the pulley and filling in the spaces in between welds with more “spot welds,” until I had the entire joining surface, between the pulley and shaft, filled with weld. While it’s been 20 years since I’ve used a MIG welder, the welds look O.K. and held up when we test-ran the generator.

Ya’ never know how long a repair like this will last, especially when you’re using a lightweight welder on a shaft that’s not really designed to be welded. But, we know that it will last longer than before it was welded (IT DIDN’T WORK AT ALL) and this repair gives us that much more chance of a successful trip when we have the kids on board next month. The important point here is, the people at Cape Eleuthera Resort really cared how we were doing and went out of there way to help us in our time of need. It’s just one more reason why we love this place and stay here whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Great Weekend

This was a great weekend… we arrived at Powel Point, Eleuthera, and

the Cape Eleuthera Resort and Yacht Club on Friday, May 16th. (Check their website at www.capeeleuthera.com). Cape Eleuthera offers fishing, diving, and many extreme water sports and adventures along with first class lodging. The marina here is so clean and the water so clear we have been making water dockside. Every one here has been so friendly and helpful; this has to be one of our favorite places to stay in the whole of the Bahamas.

Our best friends and “family”, Perry and Rosie, drove down from Current to spend the weekend with us, and a great weekend it was. They arrived early Saturday morning and we spent most of the morning catching up on all of the local news. After a short drive to Rock Sound, for some grocery shopping, we got back to the Cape in time for an early dinner at “Barracuda’s”, the beachside restaurant. The dinner menu was limited, but was well prepared and very good! We watched the sunset from the cockpit of the boat and, although there was no green flash, it was spectacular!

Sunday morning, Gordon fixed us his signature sausage and biscuits for breakfast. We then drove to “Princess Cay.” This is where the Princess Cruise Lines has its “island set up” to make everyone believe they are on a private island. We have cruised by here twice passing their ships, but had never been to this part of Eleuthera. Unfortunately, no ship was in and the place was all locked up. The only life we saw was a group of boys fishing! After our drive, we returned to Cape Eleuthera for lunch at the Bahamian Coffee Company & Deli. The sandwiches there would make any US deli proud!!

We were sorry to see Perry and Rosie leave for home Sunday night, but it will only be a short time until we will be up their way. We are planning on spending another day or so here before heading back to the Exumas and Sampson Cay. Until then, we are cleaning, waxing and doing general maintenance before heading out (Such Fun!!!)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Highborne Cay

We arrived in Highborne Cay after a hellish night off Norman’s Cay. The winds were so strong; the wind generator sounded like it was going to fly us out of there! (Normally we hardly hear it) By morning though, the wind dropped off and the seas settled down and it was an enjoyable ride straight into a north wind. Once in the marina and all tied up, we took Schooner to the beach and did some swimming. It feels great to be tied up to a dock again and to have some AC!!

Today is a sad day… we part company with long time cruising friends Chip and Kay (BESO) as they start their journey to Rhode Island. We have been together since making the crossing 2 ½ months ago from Florida and what a great time we’ve had! We look forward to meeting up again next fall. Hope you two have a great crossing!

After seeing BESO off, Gordon and I took a walk and did some picture taking about the Island. Highborne Cay is a privately owned island, (one of the many which were sold by the FNM the last time they were in charge of the government!) and everything is brought in by private transportation (either plane or boat.) The cost of everything here is really EXPENSIVE, even for the Bahamas (like $60.00 for a case of beer or $36.00 for a case of canned Coke! Holy Moley!!!) There isn’t much else here other than the marina, private homes and a small settlement with a BATELCO (phone) station. The beaches here, however, are long and beautiful and they even make their road signs pretty!

Gordon scored us 8 pounds of Dolphin (mahi mahi) from a fishing boat docked beside us (he had to do the filleting though) in exchange for a bottle of wine, so we’ll be eating gooood for the next couple days.

More bad west winds are predicted for the weekend so we are leaving for Cape Eleuthera on Friday and will be there until at least Tuesday. This is Troy’s big weekend of soccer and I wish we could be with them, but will just have to wish them well from our vantage point here on the beach. Good luck, fair winds and may there be NO rain!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Land and Sea Park, Wardwick Wells, Exuma

To backtrack a few days… Last entry was at Compass Cay, where we celebrated my birthday. We left early Saturday morning, heading north to the Exuma Land and Sea Park, in Wardwick Wells. We anchored in the north moorings at about noon and the wind started blowing lightly, which was a good thing… it was about 92° with almost NO humidity and frankly unheard of here in the Bahamas. We did some swimming from the boat and I’d like to report that Schooner now knows how to dive off the back of the boat, it’s the getting back on, we’re still working on!
Gordon is going to try and modify our ladder so we can still use it and her too! Later that evening, we attended a beach party celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Park. We were provided hamburgers, chips and 2 beers each. (Nothing like rationing) The beer was “SANDS” made in Freeport, Grand Bahama, and it was quite good. (Cheaper than KALIK, too!)

Mother’s day started off with breakfast ala Gordon, then we hiked to BOO BOO Hill and the blowholes before more swimming.
It was an incredibly hot day! We were treated to a spectacular sunset as we dined on Omaha steaks, au gratin potato, and green beans. (Not bad eatin’)

We headed out Monday morning for Norman’s Cay’ as the wind kicked up from out of the west! It was the most miserable, wet run we’ve had in a long time. At Norman’s, we anchored and proceeded to wash the boat down with fresh water, bucket full by bucket full!! We took Schooner ashore and got the chance to look around the island. For those of you who don’t know, this island was the former property of drug lord Carlos Lederer. The USA came in on a raid, guns blazing and captured him, back in the late 1980’s. Since that time, not much has been done here and the only thing in order is the runway and a bar that is closed on MONDAY’S! (more to come from Norman’s when we return)

After a very windy night, we pulled anchor 10:30am and headed for Highborn Cay, Exuma.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Birthday

I spent my birthday swimming and dingy riding all about the Compass Cay. This is a completely private island with its own water system and power supply. They are very "green" here and everything is recycled. What is so cool is it is immaculate! The water in the marina is kept clean by the group of friendly sharks... they say friendly, but I didn't get in the water to check them out! And there are so mant reef fishes here, I have seen more from the dock than from snorkeling!

It was a quiet but fun day. Chip and Kay helped celebrate my birthday by fixing one of their famous rum drinks! And Gordon and I shared a chocolate rum cake after dinner. I enjoyed the cards that all of you sent me....just like home!!

We are heading out today for Wardwick Wells and the Bahamas National Trust Land and Sea Park. Needless to say we won't have internet for a few days!! I just want to wish everyone a Happy Mother's Day and hope all of you have a great time!

Thursday, May 8, 2008


We made a short shot up to Big Major yesterday. This is where the piggies are and where I got bit last year. We learned that the big brown pig that jumped in the dingy and bit me, was Christmas dinner at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club this year. Anyway, there are now three white, medium pigs and one of them has five little ones. We were able to get pictures of the big ones but not the little guys. Schooner was not impressed with them or they with her. The sounds that came from her were really strange and she about took Gordon down scrambling away from them.

We took the dingy into Staniel Cay for the afternoon and made the rounds of the gift shop and groceries (3) and hung out at the yacht club for a couple of beers.
We also visited a local artist, Joan Mann, and checked out her gallery. You can see some of her work online at www.joanmann.com. She really does some nice stuff.

Today, we are headed to Compass Cay Marina… time to do some laundry (t-shirts and swimsuits) charge up batteries, and do some serious beach combing! We should have Internet for at least two days there so I can catch up on e-mails. Oh, by the way we again have TV…. I will get to see the final of Survivor. Yea, and thanks to all of you for keeping me apprised of what was going on…NOT THAT ONE OF YOU DID!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Black Point, Exuma

We have arrived in Black Point, Exuma, via Georgetown, Exuma.
Our crossing from Clarence Town, Long Island was fairly uneventful with only some large swells, but a Northerly wind that helped with our sailing. We did have to say goodbye to Brenda and Grant, (BELLEZA) as they headed for New Bight, Cat Island while Kay and Chip (BESO) headed with us to Georgetown. Last year, when we were in Georgetown, is when I hurt my back crossing from the anchorage to town!
This year I was able to enjoy the sights a bit better and most of the boaters have already headed north, so the anchorage was almost empty.

Our first night there we were anchored off Sand dollar Beach. It is long and shallow and Schooner couldn’t wait to check it out. She has really taken to swimming and chasing crabs and digging up starfish from the bottom. Later that night we experienced 35knot winds, rain and the anchor slipping. When we got up we were in the channel!! So much for the new Bruce Anchor holding! We moved down a ways to Monument Beach and found a quiet spot and cleaned the bottom of the boat. (Always something) Oh, and more boat problems!! The generator threw a belt and broke a pulley but Gordon has it kinda fixed and is hoping to find someone with a mig welder to complete the job. We are running the engine to keep the batteries up to speed and trying nor to use much of any electric stuff. And then there’s the voltage regulator, died, dead, gone, kaput!!! Chip had a spare and we are up and running again with that one. All that in a matter of three days!!

So we sailed in here to Black Point, yesterday and found Lorraine’s. It is a little restaurant/bar with a room for Internet. The bar is on the honor system and the beer is cold….cokes too! We will be leaving in the morning headed north, maybe Sampson Cay, but we will be following the Exumas up to Norman’s Cay before heading into Nassau.

We wish all of you mothers a wonderful day on Sunday and we will toast all of you from here.