Sunday, March 31, 2019

Hopetown, Harbour Lodge

Quiet day. We have lunch at the Hope Town Harbour Lodge which is on the beach on the Atlantic side. We split a very good lunch of ribs and then go for a walk on the beach. The beaches have been covered with Sargasso seaweed. We have been dealing with dodging floating mats of this stuff on many of our open ocean passages. 

We come back to the restaurant and play an afternoon game of Mexican Train.

Mark ready for Mexican Train

Saturday, March 30, 2019


We get up early and leave by 7:30 for Hopetown hoping to get a mooring. Mark and Karen leave before us and snag a empty mooring and find one more empty one, which they dinghy over to and hold for us. We had a back up plan with sailing friends, Jay and Tanya on “Minx”, who had been on a mooring here for a few weeks. They were going to be out of the harbor for the weekend and we could use their mooring if needed. It turns out Mark had grabbed a Charter company mooring. The owner came out and offered to rent it to him for the week, which he did. 
Hopetown Lighthouse

At the local bakery

We later head to the dinghy dock and look for the “Farmers” market. Turns out it was a Farmer Market, one guy with minimal produce.

Friday, March 29, 2019

MOW, Prop

We all walk to breakfast at a new Cafe that includes a museum. Very enjoyable addition to Man-o-War. 
MOW Cafe

After Breakfast walk

After we return to the boats Mark and I fill our boat water tanks. Next we fill our diesel tanks from our diesel rail cans. Then we refill these cans at the MOW Marina fuel dock. They had been out of fuel until yesterday and since their storage tanks have had time to settle down we assume the fuel should be fairly clear a day later.

I borrow a spare prop from Mark since ours is now slipping if we go much faster than idle speed. Yamaha’s don’t have shear pins, they have a rubber hub that breaks loose when over loaded. We went through some weeds the other day, but I did not think it would have been a problem. Wrong. We go for a ride testing out the new prop and south to the East harbor and find Autumn Borne on a mooring, a boat who’s home port is Hop-o-Nose Marina where we put our mast up and down on the Hudson River. Dean and his wife are not currently on their boat.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

MOW, Wind

Rained hard overnight, but the northeast winds pushed us away from the dock, restrained by our dock lines. A better option than listening to our fenders squeaking as we are beinging pushed against the dock. We are bouncing around quite a bit at the dock. Linda and Karen do laundry in the morning. 

Had a very interesting show on how the marina gets its fuel, via Tanker truck brought out on a barge.
Here comes the fuel truck
Fuel delivery

After lunch we go for a long walk north on the island to see the rough seas on the Atlantic side of the island. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019


Mark made reservations at Man-o-War Marina for three days, assuming Hopetown would be full for the next front coming through. Mark and Karen leave around 7:15 to get ahead of what looked like and approaching squall. We stay put and wait for it to pass, which it does after a short down pour. Mark and Karen get hit while under motor on the deep water route north. We take the much shorter shallow water route north to Hopetown, but find no moorings available, but do find “Minx”, friends, Jay & Tanya’s boat on a mooring. I assumed they were there from Marine which tracks AIS transponders. We give up and head 5 miles north to Man-o-War.
Man-o-War Harbor

We are docked by 11:30am and have lunch at the Dock & Dine at the marina. Then we go for a short walk through the town ending at the food market. Late afternoon we start to get isolated showers and wind so I start putting up part of our cockpit enclosure. We play cards in the evening on our boat. Check the dock lines to get ready for predicted north winds.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Abacos, Tilloo Cay

Early morning at Spanish Wells
We are out at 7:00 for our long day north to the Abacos over deep water in the Providence Channel. We will be crossing a busy shipping lane to keep us entertained. But first we have to pass through the Ridley Head Channel, just north of Eleuthera, which is a narrow passage through the shallow reef. We have done this passage before and it is well plotted on our navigation software. The depths are very good in the actual channel to you can actually navigate by bottom depths, if you loose visibility and all your gps navigation. Many cruisers avoid this area all together and head north about 8 miles to the west at Royal Island. Once we clear the reef we have well space swells coming from the southeast, not enough to cause problems with the autopilot. 
Another hard day on the high seas

We motor sail north all day, because I am too lazy to put up the main sail in these swells. We have good wind all day, contrary to the forecast (should of put up the main) I have the engine idled back to keep our speed down. Sea Vu Play was under sail most of the trip north. Since we made good time on this crossing we head further north than our usually anchoring spot, to Tilloo Cay. We are anchored by 5:15pm.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Spanish Wells, Shipyard

Rained hard overnight and early morning over 1” of rain. 

Belladventure leaving early for Nassau

morning down pour

streaming off the deck
After the last squall came through the water calmed down a bit and we headed to town, to the Shipyard for lunch, before the wind picked back up. 

Tom and Jean (pink shirt)
After lunch we walked over to the Museum run by Jean & Tom Goldson, winter residents from Rhode Island. We met them on our first trip and visited them again, the second trip, for Happy Hour at their cottage. Being ex-cruisers they usually invite cruisers to their home each afternoon for happy hour. This is the first time we have been in town when the museum is open and we find Jean and Tom there. I chatted with Tom and Jean for a while the rest of the group headed to Budda’s, a funky bar/restaurant to play dominoes.

I catch up with them there and we get a full game of Mexican Train in, before heading back to the boat.

Another loosing game for me

One of many signs at Budda's

In all the rock and rolling yesterday it appears that our lexan gate on the stern got knocked over board. I go snorkeling to search for it, but find nothing. Just for the heck of it I turn on the AIS transponder and it comes to life, fully functioning with the new update. Apparently it needed to be off a long time to discharge residual power to actually do a full reboot.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Spanish Wells, Boat bound

We were all going to head to the Shipyard restaurant for lunch, but it is rather rough and we would be quite wet by the time we get there. We all decide to hang on our boats for the day. We work on various projects. I was having some issues with our AIS transponder and the vendors technician recommends that I download and update the software. I do as he says and the units stops working all together, so much for the upgrade. I now have a $600 brick. No AIS transmission or reception.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Spanish Wells, Bellaventure

Leaving Hatchet Bay

We leave at 8:30 AM heading for Current Cut an aptly named channel between Current Island and Eleuthera. We start with a rather cool morning 63 degrees when we wake up, blanket weather. Passage through the cut is best timed around high or low tides when the current is near slack, otherwise the current can run up to 8 knots in either direction. We pass through the cut a little early and have about 2 knots on our nose. The current only lasts for about a mile before we veer off, out of the current stream once we pass the channel between the islands and head north to Spanish Wells.

Bellaventure is at Spanish Wells and we anchor next to them. After a quick trip to town we have Bellaventure and Sea Vu Play over to our boat for Happy Hour.

Karen, Karen & Linda

Friday, March 22, 2019

Hatchet, Road Trip

We head to the dinghy dock at 7:30. Unfortunately, Emmit apparently is sleeping in today and is no where in sight. After 10 minutes or so, Emmit does appear, looking like he just woke up, even though his store says open at 7:00 AM. Apparently a Bahamian 7:00 AM.

Where's Emmit?

Another car with Japanese instructions

We drive north to Gregory Town for breakfast. Gregory Town is kind of a surf town. There are some well know surf beaches on the east Atlantic side of the island here. We have breakfast at “Da Corner Cafe” mainly "take away" place serving breakfast and lunch. We have a very good breakfast on one of their two outside tables after we move a couple chairs from the other table.
Nile, Linda, Karen & Mark at “Da Corner Cafe”

After Breakfast we head north to the “Glass Window”. This is a narrow neck of “land” connecting north and south Eleuthera by bridge. Years ago it was a natural stone arch. Then it was a two lane bridge. Now many hurricanes later it is a one lane bridge. It has frequently been moved westward by the pounding Atlantic surf. 


Glass Window viewed from the north, Atlantic on right Eleuthera Sound on the left

Wave in

Water out
Early this month several people climbing on rocks near the bridge were injured and an American visitor swept offshore remains missing according to Bahamian police. The bridge is often closed. I have talked with locals that have stopped and directed traffic passing over the bridge between waves. Today it is only moderately rough, but still quite impressive.

This idiot survived, Believe it or not

another video

From there we head to the north end of Eleuthera to visit Preachers Cave. Early white settlers shipwrecked near the here and found shelter in this large cave.

Preachers Cave

Coffee Shop that we passed
Traveling back south to through Gregory Town we head out to surfers beach. Don’t get to see any surfers. 
Surf Beach

Continuing south we stop just north of Hatchet Bay to visit the Hatchet Cay. This is one of the longest caves in the Bahamas. Mark and I explore a 1/3 of a mile or so. Supposed we can exit out the other end near the shore, but don’t have the time to check that out. Unlike northern caves that are rather cool, usually the temperature inside is the yearly average temperature of the outside location. The same thing applies here, unfortunately that makes the interior in the mid 70’s, so hiking around it kind of warm and sweaty.
Cave Entrance

Some long straight sections almost like a lava tube

From here we head further south to Governors Harbor for lunch at the Buccaneer, one of our favorite restaurants. As we drive by the Harbor we see no boats, but lots of white caps. We did well not anchoring here. 

The Buccaneer, I miss the chickens roaming around the tables

After lunch I walked a couple blocks back to the harbor and run into a couple that seems familiar. They have been seeing our AIS signal for a number of weeks and we have seen their boat a number of times. Susan has to remind me that last fall we helped her and David on their boat ”Jacquelin”,navigate south out of Wrightsville Beach and then that evening we had dinner with them at St. James Plantation Marina. As first time south bound cruisers they had lots of questions. Just like we did on our first trip south. I am sure we will see them again. I catch up with Linda, Mark and Karen in town and we explore a number of shops.

Next we head to the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve a few miles south on the Atlantic side. Late afternoon we drive back to Hatchet Bay and return the car. Dinner and to bed early after a long day.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Hatch Bay

We leave around 8:00 am and had planned to go to Governor’s Harbor a few hours north. As we get near we review some of the wind forecasts and decide there might be a chance of a northwest wind tomorrow which could make it rather rough to anchor there. We decide to head on to Hatchet Bay which has 360 degree protection. A very narrow entrance that is hard to see until you are right in front of it. Don't want to meet the mailboat coming out while you are going in.
Very narrow entrance to Hatchet Bay

Hatchet Bay, Alicetown, a has small boat dock. Alicetown, like many small towns in the Bahamas have lots of abandoned houses in disrepair from storm damage. Like many small towns, young folks migrate to Freeport and Nassau where 75% of Bahamians live to make a better living. After their parents are gone their homes fall into ruin. A few move back for the more laid back lifestyle.

Emmet who we met 3 years ago has expanded his business (Farrington's Boaters Haven) he was just starting then. He now has a small store, and hand scoops ice cream cones. Has a small laundry, restaurant and bar. Most importantly for us, he rents cars and we arrange for one tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM.
Alicetown dinghy dock

Farrington's Boaters Haven

After dinner on the boat we head over to Sea Vu Play to play cards. I close all the hatches, except for the head in case we get a brief shower. Just as we finish playing a squall blows through and Sea Vu Play starts to drag towards our boat. So Mark starts his engine and he pulls the anchor and I motor forward as the squall starts dissipating to re-anchor. Linda and I get back to a wet very wet boat. The head is quite wet and so is our the cockpit cushions. I should of put them below. I have to take the foam out of the vinyl cushions to dry out. We clean up and go to bed.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Rock Sound, More Mango

I make Popovers for breakfast, but for some reason that I can’t figure out, they don’t pop. We wind up with crispy biscuits which Linda likes. 

We have had a lot of partially cloudy days which has made walking around quite nice without the sun beating down on us. The downside is I have to run the generator this morning to fully charge the batteries. 

We walk with Mark & Karen to the laundry for one load and then Halls for lunch. They have a “Take away” that is open just a couple days a week. Nothing looks to appealing, and since they don’t have tables we head back to Sammy’s for lunch. After lunch we head back to Hall’s grocery to buy pints of ice cream which we take over to the Pavilion at Ocean Hole to eat. 
Ice Cream Feast

Viewing area at Ocean Hole

Ocean Hole

I take Linda back to the boat and I take our propane tank to the Hardware store to get it refilled. One of their employees sees me coming and takes the tank which they fill about a block away from the store. He tells me I can pay at the store and he will drop the tank off at the dinghy dock at Frigates. On the way back I pick up the tank since I have our cart with me and it is a short distance to the dock. I then go to the Market Place to get a case of soda and find the store is closed. It’s 4:15 and the sign says closes at 5:00 PM. Ah, Bahama time. In the mean time Linda is on the boat cleaning a conch shell for her sister, downloading bank statements and making dinner.

Moon over Rock Sound

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Rock Sound, Road Trip

Bahamian Breafast

We head in to town at 7:00 am to rent a car with Mark & Karen. Most of the cars on Eleuthera are used cars from Japan. They have right side steering and all the touch screen instructions are in Japanese, printed and verbal. Kind of hard to use the navigation software. We drive to Sammy’s for breakfast. 

They are suppose to be open at 7:00 am for breakfast, but they are closed, ah Island time. We noticed this rather funky food truck the other day so we stop there for breakfast. I have a good Bahamian breakfast, Grits and Sausage.  

Our goal today is to drive south to Lighthouse Point on the most southern point of Eleuthera. Disney has bought Lighthouse Point for a Cruise Ship port and entertainment facility. They will be donating 150 acres of the southern most point for a National Park. I assume they will be developing the area to the west of Lighthouse Point. There has been a lot controversy over this purchase, but will provide employment for local people. Only two miles north of this site is Princess Cays Cruise Ship port for cruise ship day visitors. Unfortunately for us the road just got too rough for the car we rented and we had to turn around. 
Getting ready to turn around

The next place we visit is “The Island School” where “students do college-level marine biology research in conjunction with research scientists”. I was hoping to get a tour of some of their facilities, but no one was available. I did wander around and got an informal tour of their fish growing tanks and edible plants that use the fish waste, from Iona a student from Ireland.

Fish tank aqua-culture

Plants growing in fish waste, clean the water

I thought this toilet was pretty cool. After you flush, clean water  runs into a sink on top of the toilet tank to wash your hands. The water then refills the tank for the next flush. Very effecient use of water.

From there we drive a mile west to Cape Eleuthera and the marina there, that we passed the other day on our sailboat. Just as we get there “Quiescence” is just pulling in. We knew they were going to spend two days there. We help tie up their dock lines before heading to the restaurant at the marina for lunch.


New golf course

We stop at Jacks Bay on the east shore heading back north. There is a development in progress there, homes, condos and a Tigerwoods 10 Holes short course, par 3. The club house is built and the golf course is under construction. The whole course is using grass sod, laid over some very sandy soil. Hopefully this will not be another Bahamian development gone bust.

We come back into Rock Sound and stop at Hall’s store. Their prices are better than the Market Place and they have almost as much variety. They have our now favorite Mango Fiesta ice cream that we found at Long Island. Even better, they actually have it in zero degree freezers. The Market Place keeps their ice cream in open top “freezers” only a degree or two below freezing, making it soft serve, yuck.

We stop by another beach on the ocean side of Rock Sound and I finally find my first “Sea Bean”. We return the car and head back to our boats for a quiet evening


Monday, March 18, 2019

Rock Sound, Fuel

Calm before the "storm" or high winds in our case.

This morning I refill our diesel fuel tank and gas up our generator and outboard fuel tank. Then I head to the gas station to refill the rail cans I used to fill the aforementioned items. Linda cleans the inside of the boat while I schlep fuel. After lunch we walk to Hall’s grocery store with Mark and Karen. We did not know about this store on our last two visits. We usually go to the Market Place a short walk from Frigates dinghy dock and one of the better grocery stores in the Bahamas. Unfortunately Hall's close early on Mondays. We walk over to Ocean Hole a blue hole surrounded by a park. Usually we find people swimming here. It is thought there is and underwater connection to the ocean since there are lots of ocean fish here. At the viewing platform schools of fish are swimming circles since lots of visitors feed them. No luck with us. On the way back to the dinghy dock we pass Grandma's Goodies, an Ice Cream and sweet shop that is closed. We can not find the opening hours. We head back to the boat for dinner and watch the movie “Green Book”

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Rock Sound, Laundry

Sunrise at Rock Sound

Laundry day. Rock Sound has a nice Laundry and we head in around 8:00 am figuring on a Sunday it would be empty. Wrong, most of the machines were in use. It turns out that a number of their washing machines are currently not working.  Mark and I leave the ladies while we head back to our dinghies to fetch water to refill the tanks on our boats. There are some faucets with free water just south of the dinghy dock that we have used before. Today the water flows so slowly it takes almost 10 minutes to fill a 5 gallon jug at that speed. I just as soon pay for it at that flow rate. I next head to Frigates a restaurant with a dinghy dock that supposedly has free water for cruisers and is much closer to where we are anchored. Their water is good and flows fast. After we refill our boats we head back to the laundry just before noontime and Linda and Karen are just finishing up. We stop at Sammy’s for lunch with our bags of clean laundry. Late afternoon we all go over to Quiescence for happy hour.

Mark, Karen, Cathy & Linda on Quiescence

Cathy & Kim