Saturday, April 30, 2016

Manjack Cay

We get up early and I put a new primary fuel filter in, thinking the filter was clogging up and causing the fuel starvation problem we seemed to be having yesterday. I transfer the fuel from two of our rail cans into boat fuel tank. We refill these cans at Green Turtle Marina. Linda tries hard and is successful at using up all our remaining Bahamian money at the little convenience store before we leave. Most places will take and give change in US currency, but not here. They know most people are heading back to the states, so they hope you will spend more getting rid of the Bahamian currency. 

We leave for Manjack Cay a few miles to the north. Manjack is a private island. The owners live there and welcome cruisers to come ashore and hike the island on trails they maintain. After lunch we dinghy to the Atlantic side reefs to look for dinghy moorings that are shown on the Bahama Explorer Charts. It is fairly rough and we cannot find any of the charted moorings. I assume they washed away in past storms and were never replaced. Being rough and due to the depth we are not comfortable using our dinghy anchor to hold the dinghy in place. We head back in to the calmer side of the island and explore the mangrove creek on the south end of the island. The owners have a couple very protected docks up the mangrove creek for their power boats. We later hike on one of the owners trails to a remote beach on the east side of the island.

Trail across Manjack
Remote beach on Manjack


Friday, April 29, 2016

Green Turtle Cay

In the morning we take a dinghy ride and check out homes along some of the canals. We leave around 11:00 AM for Green Turtle Cay and arrive there around 2:00 PM. As we pass New Plymouth, the town on Green Turtle we see “Antares”, anchored, a Lake Champlain boat that we know and have seen twice on this trip. Once in Florida and once in Georgetown, Bahamas.

As we were getting ready to drop the anchor the engine started sounding like it wasn't getting enough fuel at slow speed. Sounded like it was going to stall at any moment. We quickly get the anchor down and set. We take the dinghy to New Plymouth and hope to stop by and talk with “Antares”, but when we get there they have left. We pick up a couple items at one of the food stores. I buy two pounds of frozen conch. And of course an ice cream stop.

For dinner we planned to go to the Bluff House Marina. Unfortunately they are having a special function and the restaurant is closed to the public. They have the “Beach Bar” open elsewhere on the property and we go there for sandwiches. A bit of a let down. We had eaten at the Bluff House restaurant on our last trip and thought it was fairly good.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Treasure Cay

Left late morning for Treasure Cay. Said our good byes to “Sea Vu Play” and “Departure”. Got into Treasure Cay around 3:00 PM. Treasure Cay has a very protected harbor, but is basically a Time Share community. There are canals with lots of private homes and undeveloped areas. Feels like we are in Florida. Went ashore and walked the beach, which is made of a very fine silica sand that does not pick up much heat from the sun. No hot feet walking here. Interestingly the Super market is the most expensive food store we have found in the Bahamas. I guess they figure, if someone will buy a time-share they will pay these prices.

Treasure Cay Beach

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Man-O-War, Day 3

Around noontime Mark& Karen and Linda & I head north in our dinghies to snorkel around Fowl Cay. This is a designated Bahama park area. We snorkeled there two years ago but it was fairly rough and the visibility was poor. This time conditions are excellent. 

Dinghy moorings

School of Blue Tags
We snorkel at another spot on the way back, but it was not as good as the Fowl Cay location. Marketa and Tom had gone up earlier and snorkeled some other areas.
Later in the afternoon, after we are all showered off, all six of us head into town to a small outdoor ice cream shop.  After we all have dinner at the “Dock and Dine” everyone comes back to “Manana” for cards and more Chocolate Truffle.  

Diner at Dock and Dine (Tom Hagy, Mark Hallquist, Marketa Hagy, Karen Hallquist, Linda)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Man-O-War, Day 2

Bought more water here and completely filled our tanks, should be all the water we need until we get back to Florida. Lunch again at the Dock & Dine, Conch Stew again. After lunch we walk to the south end of the island. When we got back we saw “Sea Vu Play” coming into the Harbor to pick up a mooring. Nice surprise, we were not expecting to see them for a while. That evening “Sea Vu Play” and “Departure” come over to our boat for games, “Pictionary and “Hand and Foot”. Linda made Chocolate Truffle for desert.

Monday, April 25, 2016


Lunch at Dock & Dine
Left for Man-O-War at 9:30 and was on a mooring at 11:15, short trip. As we tied up to the mooring “Carrie Mae”, Bob and Marie came by in their dinghy and we visited for a while. After that, as I am getting the dinghy down and “Departure”, Marketa and Tom come into the harbor and pick up a mooring. We went ashore to have lunch at the Marina restaurant “Dock & Dine”. Had and excellent Conch Stew. 

Man-O-War is a dry island. The stores do not sell liquor and last time here the restaurants did not either, but now you can get beer or wine at “Dock & Dine”.

Albury Sails, they make travel bags

Gator attack, he thought I was wearing Croc's

Selfie in a traffic mirror

Narrow connection to the north end of the Man-O-War.

Man-O-War was settled by Europeans and the islanders were noted boat builders. Today they build very nice Fiber glass skiffs. Most of the people on the island have the same last name, Albury.

After lunch we walked to the north end of the Island. Found another Sea Bean and Hamburger Bean. On the way back stopped at the Grocery store for a few items and an ice cream bars. Back on the boat I bake some brownies to take with us over to “Departure” for Dominos after dinner.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Hope Town Day 5

We take a long dinghy ride around the north end of Elbow Cay, home of Hope Town, to check out snorkeling on a couple reefs. Was rather rough and the snorkeling opportunities did not look to good so we came back in. In the afternoon we hung out around the pool with Heather, Sam, Arliegh and Heather's parents.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Hope Town Day 4

Walked to the beach in the morning. We found one Sea Bean and one Hamburger Bean. I don't know if it is the weather, winds or what, but this trip we have found very few sea shells. Two years ago we returned with a couple buckets full, but hardly any Sea Beans. We have a work afternoon. I filled our water tanks, buying RO (Reverse Osmosis) water 35 cents a gallon, by filling our folding 5 gallon jugs and dinghying them back to the boat and pouring them into our tanks on the boat. Linda does laundry at the Marina.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Hope Town Day 3

Hope Town Light house
Walked to the Reef Resort Restaurant for lunch by the beach. After a long walk on the beach we take the dinghy back to the other side of the harbor to climb the Hope Town Lighthouse. This is an active lighthouse and one of the few in the world that is illuminated by a kerosene lamp. The rotating lenses are driven by clock type counter weights that are wound every two hours through the night. 

View North

Harbor view
Manana in the harbor

We head in to the Marina for showers. Then we sit on the wide porch reading, enjoying the view and listening to a local fellow playing guitar.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hope Town, Day 2

Get up late and make coconut french toast for breakfast. We then head to the Marina for showers. The first real showers off the boat since Nassau. Nice not having to be miserly with the hot water or showering off on the stern of the boat after dark. After lunch we walk through Hope Town, a very quaint village of cottages close together, very picturesque. We walk on the Atlantic side beach, enjoying watching the surf from the beach and not from the water. 
Life is a beach !
Linda and I both find a sea beans. I guess most tourist are looking for shells of which there are very few. Too years ago at this point we had collected loads of shells, but this year it has been slim pickings. I don't know why the change, high winds, high surf ?


We head back to the harbor for Ice Cream at Sugar Scoops, one of our favorite places here from our last trip. Unfortunately, we see they have had a fire in the recent past and are closed, bummer.

Hope Town Harbor
We have back to the boat and put on our swim suits and head to one of the pools at the marina for the rest of the afternoon. Again we meet up with the Maewyn Crew. After an hour or so clouds roll in and it is threatening rain, so we all leave to head back to our boats with open hatches. An hour or so later the winds pick up and we have a couple showers. The winds are still blowing hard and the boat is dancing and rolling around on the mooring.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Hope Town

We leave around 9:30 for a two hour motor, east to Hope Town.
Entering Hope Town harbor
After lunch we visit with “Maewyn” on a mooring in front of us. Heather and her two boys (Arleigh and Sam) and her visiting parents. Her husband, Gary is off on a month long job taking a large ship from Hawaii to the Panama canal. When he returns in the beginning of May they will try to sail back to Nova Scotia in less than a month before his next job assignment.

We head into the Hope Town Inn and Marina to pay for the mooring. The mooring includes using the pools. We head over to Captain Jack on the other side of the Harbor for Lunch. The food is good and their WiFi is excellent. The Hope Town Inn's WiFi is rather poor, you can connect, but you can't do anything.

We later meet up with Heather and her Dad around the pool at the Hope Town Inn, while the boys are swimming.

Sam, Mom (Heather) & Arleigh

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Marsh Harbor Day 2

Fairly calm in the harbor, finally. Went to the “Corner Store” to drop off our propane cylinder for a refill. Walked around town and stopped at a bakery for some coconut bread and then back to Maxwell's Supermarket for some more provisioning.

As we were heading to the Conch Inn Marina on the south side of the harbor we noticed “Carrie May” on the dock at Harbor View Marina. We stop by to visit. Bob and Marie are heading back to the States for a couple weeks and are leaving their boat there. We finally move on to Conch Marina to fill two diesel cans and water jugs. I drop Linda and the containers off at the boat and make a quick run back to shore to pick up our propane can, while Linda makes lunch.

In the afternoon I finally make contact with someone at ProMarine, via Skype, to explain how to get our new charger to equalize our batteries. The instructions in the manual are not correct. His directions are correct and I am able to equalize the batteries. Equalizing charges the batteries at a higher voltage with a fixed current. The higher voltage generates gases that remove some of the oxide build up on the plates in the batteries from longer term use. These oxides fool the charger into thinking the batteries are properly charged when they are not. The equalizing works fine, but now my new solar panel controller stops working. Not sure how equalizing the batteries could of caused the controller to fail. Anyways, I swap out the solar controller with the old less sophisticated controller that I kept on the boat.

Late in the afternoon we take the dinghy to Marsh Harbor Marina on the north side of the harbor to go for a walk. On the way back we stop at the dock side bar for Happy Hour and run into Maris & Linda on “Amekaya” an Island Packet 420. We met them previously at Black Point in the Exumas. I did not realize at the time they were full time sailors, no home to currently sail back to.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Marsh Harbor, Day 2

Went to Snappas on the waterfront for lunch and hopefully a WiFi connection. Lunch was good, but WiFi was slower than dial-up, pretty much worthless. Wayne and Betty came over to play Rubie Cube in the afternoon. Wayne and Betty came over to play Rubie Cube in the afternoon. Still rough and windy in the harbor.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Marsh Harbor

After breakfast we head to Marsh Harbor. It is still fairly rough, but less than yesterday. The wind is on our nose most of the way, we do little sailing and of course we reapply all the salt we washed off the day before. We drop anchor in Marsh Harbor around 1:30. Even in Marsh Harbor there is a pretty good chop on the water. We head to Maxwells Supermarket before they close at 4 PM. Maxwells is comparable to any large super market in the States, except the prices are higher. After we get back we head over to Bright Ayes for Happy Hour with Wayne and Betty who have been here a couple days.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Lynyard Cay, Day 2

We planned to head to Marsh Harbor after breakfast. After checking the weather I see that there are isolated squalls west of us, south of Grand Bahama Island. I invoke the “Ginnie” rule, “stay put if there are thunderstorms in the forecast”. A few hours later we have a repeat of the previous days squall, but still have high winds after the rain stops. No grilling tonight. We make pizza. The boat moves around all night, have to sleep on our backs to stay put.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Lynyard Cay, Sandy Cay

We decide to stay put for another day and dinghy two miles north to Sandy Cay, one of the best places in the Abacos for snorkeling. Sandy Cay is exposed to the ocean swells so it is often too rough to snorkel the reef there. Today the swells are not too bad. We tie up to one of the many dinghy moorings with a number of others. Very nice variety of corals and fish. The water is not real clear because of the waves and swell action.

After lunch we snorkel around our boat and try to adjust our masks better, we were both getting leaks. We discover Linda's new mask has a leak between the glass and mask. Hopefully I can seal it.

Art from “Salt Shaker” at Island Packet 40 swims over and as we are talking we see a squall approaching. He heads back to his boat. We get everything buttoned down for the approaching storm. It pours for over an hour and the wind is blowing in the 30's. I finally turn on the engine and leave it in neutral, just in case we start dragging because of the changing wind direction. 

Salt Shaker in squall
We stay put, maybe move 20 feet or so before the anchor resets. The boat is now completely washed off. Our VHF weather alarm keeps going off for squall warnings on the Florida coast. Finally calms down enough we are able to cook dinner on the grill. “Cay de Cay” comes in around dark from Spanish Wells and anchors near us, hopefully they were well south of the squall we had.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Lynyard Cay, Abacos

We pull anchor and leave around 7:30 for the 60 mile sail north to Abacos. This takes us out into the open waters of the Atlantic and the ocean swells. A rolly day with the swells almost perpendicular to our course. 
Tanker passes in front of us

The winds die by late morning and we motor the rest of the way to Lynyard Cay. Drop anchor around 4:30.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Spanish Wells, Day 2

We decide to stay one more day to get ready for the full day sail north to the Abacos. Wayne and Betty leave late morning to head to Harbor Island about 10 miles east of here over the “Devils Back Bone”. This is an area of reefs and sand bars that was difficult to navigate prior to Chart Plotters and the Explorer Charts of the Bahamas. I don't have much interest in going there, so we will see them again up in the Abacos.

We take the dinghy into Spanish Wells and I refill an empty rail fuel tank. With all the wind in the last couple weeks we have not used much fuel. We stop by the Shipyard to check out the dinner menu and talk with a visiting couple from Montreal who are staying with a friend. They are having a drink before they paddle back on their two person kayak.

 Tom & Jean had invited us to Happy Hour at their place, so we get cleaned up and head there around 4:30 and plan to head over to the Shipyard for dinner after. Another two boat couples also join us for Happy Hour, George & Carolynn Chamberlain on “Indefatigable” a Whitby 42 and Doug & Karrie Kisling on “Cay de Cay” a Catamaran. Jean runs the local museum and the two couples met her there in the morning. 

Jean, Doug, Nile, Karrie, Doug, Tom, Linda & Carolynn

We have a good time visiting with fellow sailors and wind up staying later than planned. We decide to head back to the boat for dinner instead of motoring back in the dark, again.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spanish Wells

We are up at 5:00 AM and head out of Hatch Harbor at 6:15. Not an original idea, there are about 6 boats (Bright Ayes, Wind Lass, Tanda Tula, Lady Hawk, Slow Desire) heading out at the same time, trying to time Current Cut as close to possible to slack tide. Worst case, the current can run up to 8 knots, not bad if it and the wind is in your favor. We are trying to get through around low tide, 9:30 before the current will start running against us. Even then, the current is briefly 2 knots against us and almost 3 knots for boats 20 minutes behind going through the cut. We anchor on the southeast end of Russel Island close to Spanish Wells around 11:30AM.  

Interesting boatyard on the harbor road.  They put up detour signs for the cars when the road section is lifted out
Road cross over marine railway

Road section lifted out of the way of marine rail

I love the graphic on the building showing the two owners


After lunch we head ashore. Linda has a project. Cathy, who cuts our hair back in Vermont spent a lot of time here staying with friends of her parents when she was a child. She has lost contact and only remembers their first names. Skeptic that I am, I tell Linda there is no way you are going to find these people with just first names, why waste your time. We get to the dock and Linda walks up to the first person she sees, a fellow sitting in his golf cart (half the vehicles here are golf carts) by the docks and asks if he knows Ann & Herb. I roll my eyes, but he says of course, Herb died last year and Ann is doing well and is still working. Of course we now have a last name. He pulls out his cell phone and calls Ann and then hands his phone to Linda and drives off to park his golf cart and walks off saying just leave the phone on the front seat when we are done. Spanish Wells, a small fishing community of about 1600 people, where everybody knows everybody. Of the 1600 people here over half of them have the same last name, Pinder.

Linda and Ann

Anyways, Ann says she is done at work at 3:00 PM and to call her around then and she will come meet us. We call her at 3:00 and she finds us walking on Pinder Avenue. We have fun talking with her and getting her connected with Cathy via email.  

Jean, Linda and Tom

We tell her we are going to visit another couple from Rhode Island who have a cottage here, that we met two years ago, Tom & Jean. Ann says, I know them, hop on and I will drop you off at their cottage. Ann drives off and we visit with Tom & Jean.

We had planned on having dinner at The Shipyard restaurant on the water, with Wayne and Betty, but they are closed on Tuesdays. We decide to meet at 5:30 at Budda's, a unique eatery with a large open sided covered deck. The kitchen is an old school bus.

We get back to the boat after dark, again. When we leave the boat after noontime we turn on the mast light in case we don't get back before sunset, which happens frequently. I check our email and Cathy has emailed us a thank you, she and Ann have already been in touch. Come to think of it, I still don't know Ann's last name.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Eluethera, Hatch Bay, Day 3

Another day of high winds. We go ashore around 11:30 to have lunch at Da Spot, a very funky bar. Was told they have WiFi, but when I asked the woman behind the bar sitting in a chair watching TV, she says “I haven't put in a password, yet”. On the other hand it was not even turned on and she made no effort to do so.

We walk over to the Atlantic side, about a 1-1/2 mile walk. We walk through some overgrown pastures areas from when they tried to start some dairy farms back in the 70's. Still some cement silos around. Once we get to the beach we see that it is quite rough and feel much better about hanging out in Hatchet one more day. Beautiful watching the breaking waves. We both find some more Sea Beans, which come from South America. The only foot prints on the beach are our own.

This picture is what I call a decomposed vehicle. This is what happens to a car left at the beach for 40 years or so.  All that is left is plastic parts, rubber, glass, paint and iron oxide.

Linda alone on the beach
Linda leaving the beach
When we get back to Hatchet Bay we run into Wayne & Betty “Bright Ayes” walking down Queens Highway. We go over to their boat for Happy Hour and play Rummikub  Qube. 

Betty & Wayne on "Bright Ayes"

Then back to our boat for dinner and to bed earlier than normal to leave around 6:00 AM. We are trying to make it through Current Cut at slack tide around 9:00 AM on the way to Spanish Wells.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Eluethera, Hatch Bay, Day 2

Relaxed most of the day. Linda did not sleep as well as I managed too, last night. Late breakfast of Popovers and sausage. Laid around reading. It was fairly windy and cool most of the day. Made a casserole with the extra crab from last night for dinner. Did a movie and pop corn.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Eluethera, Hatchet Bay, Day 1

We go for a walk through the town and look for a liquor store to replenish our rum supply, too many rum and cokes. Some cute homes, but unfortunately many abandoned homes that are eye sores. This seem to be a common problem in the Bahamas. Families move and abandon their properties as the population declines in certain areas.
Hatchet Bay dinghy dock
We buy Stone Crab claws from a local fisherman for dinner. Sure glad we have a hammer on board the boat. You just have to remember to put the claws in a plastic bag first before you crack them with a hammer in the cockpit. I had a little boat washing to do after dinner.
Stone Crab claws for dinner
Saturday night at the town park they have bands and DJ's playing music on a sound system that would be suitable for a rock concert in Yankee Stadium. We are a mile away across Hatchet Bay and our hull was practically vibrating and they did not quit until 3:30 AM Sunday morning. We had to close the hatches and turn on our fans to mask the sound, so we could sleep.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Eluethera, Hachet Bay

Owner of The Buccaneer

We got up around 7:00 and head ashore to have breakfast at the Buccaneer. Had a very relaxing breakfast and we got to talk a lot with the owner, Liz, a very interesting Bahamian woman who is well traveled and lived in Europe. The previous afternoon she was conversing in Italian to a large group eating there. 


Linda finds a Hamburger Sea Bean
Finally we leave to walk over to the Atlantic side. As we are walking up the hill a local resident, Kathy Colman, offers us a ride to the beach. Kathy rents out vacation homes at Governors Harbor. As we get to the top of the hill we pass a house that we saw on our last trip here and comment on how much we liked that house. Kathy says thank you, it's mine. We get her business card. Would love to fly in here sometime and rent a vacation home for a couple weeks.

Club Med beach
We walked the length of the Club Med beach. Club Med was wiped out by Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and never reopened. Most of the destroyed buildings have been removed and the rest of the out buildings are falling down. The grounds are still being maintained, but not the remaining buildings.
The main pool at Club Med

We walked back to town, had lunch on the boat and pulled anchor at 1:00 PM.

We have a nice 3 hour motor to Hatchet Bay. Hatchet Bay is a very protected harbor. It is a pond that has a narrow man made cut to the ocean. Holding is not all that great. We have to drop the anchor twice to get an acceptable set.

Can barely see the cut into Hatchet Bay until you are right there

 The Car ferry arrives from Nassau, it just barely fits through the cut.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Eluethera, Governors Harbor

The Library at Governors Harbor

 We got up at 6:00 and left shortly after 7:00 AM followed by a bunch of other boats that waited for good weather for moving north. The forecast predicted winds in the mid-teens out of the east, with the winds dying by afternoon. This time the prediction was correct. We had a fast sail to Governors Harbor and were anchored by noontime just as the winds were petering out. We anchored close to shore near the Library and rowed ashore. 

Manana and dinghy

We headed to lunch at one of our favorite restaurants in the Bahamas, The Buccaneer. Outside dinning under the canopy of a large tree. Had some great music playing, jazz singer Stacy Kent.

Lunch at the Buccaneer
Walked around town and headed over to an ice cream parlor we remembered on the other side of the harbor. On the way back to the boat we stop by to talk with Marketa and Tom who came in shortly after us.

Mooring mate at Governors Harbor

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Eleuthera, Rock Sound, Day 6

We left around 9:00AM for Governors Harbor. Winds were predicted to be around 15-18 knots out of the east. We should have a fast sail with the wind coming from the east. Being on the leeward side of Eluethera, the waves should not be too bad. Well after we get out of Rock Sound the wind picks up to the high 20's with gusts over 30 knots. 
Salty Sailing
The wind is out of the northeast so the waves now have a 15 mile fetch not the 2 miles from the east as planned on. We are close hauled into the wind and the waves are getting pretty large, coming over our bow and deck running water all the way up to our dodger. So much for our recently washed decks. After an hour of this I say screw it, and we take in the jib and run back to Rock Sound under a shortened main at about twice the speed we were doing beating ourselves up going north. 
The Bernie style from 30 knots of wind and no hat
We drop anchor back where we started and relax for the rest of the day. Didn't bother putting the dinghy down.

Shortly after we drop anchor I get an email from Marketa on “Departure” ( Met her and Tom in Elizabeth City and crossed to Bimini together) asking if that was us coming into Rock Sound. They have been there a couple days and we did not notice each other.

During the night it rained so we were free of salt again. Wonder how long that will last ?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Eleuthera, Rock Sound Day 5

Now that the cold front that produced the thunderstorms has moved east, we have a very pleasant day, low humidity and temperatures in the high 70's. For the last few days with temperatures in the mid 80's and high humidity we have been doing a lot of sweating. We are staying put one more day because the winds are blowing 15-20 knots out of the north, the direction we plan on heading. I have a number of projects to work on, the main one is resewing some of the UV degraded stitches on the Dodger, now that mother nature has done a thorough cleaning and before we take off and reapply the layer of salt.

From Google - "The Schneider surname was generally adopted by one who made outer garments; a tailor. From the the German verb schneiden, meaning "to cut." "  Well, can't get much more outer garment than a Dodger.
It is so nice not having salt on the bottom of our feet from walking on the boat, your feet just never feel dry.

This season in the Bahamas has been so windy we have worn out our Bahama Courtesy Flag in 2-1/2 months and 3 weeks of that we were sitting in Nassau. The upper flag is our new 2016 flag. The lower Flag is from our trip two years ago. The trailing edge has been re-sewn, but otherwise it is in good shape.
Our 2016 Bahama Courtesy Flag

Our 2013 Bahama Courtesy flag