Friday, January 31, 2014

Farewell Georgetown

We pulled out of Georgetown at 7am on January 29th 2014.Riding out we said a fond farewell to a much more crowed anchorage than when we arrived in November. We also passed more ships coming down on our way up to the Little Farmers cut. We had hoped to go up ten miles north to the Dotham cut but the winds were very light and we really wanted to do more sailing than motoring. We sailed wing on wing (for you none sailors, that is one sail on each side of the boat) until the wind dropped below 4 knots and then started the starboard engine to help us make the cut before high tide and sunset.

After going through the cut we turned north and started looking for a place to anchor. The water depth north out of Little Farmers is very shallow except in the channel. We had to watch carefully as we made our way. We were confident that we would not run aground since we had had the same issue watching our depth when we came through this way with Tripp and Dana in December and that was just after Low tide. The banks are calmer than the Sound but the wind was swinging more from the south and we were having difficulty finding a place to anchor that would not be uncomfortable. We anchored at Jacks Bay on Great Guana Cay at 24.02.20 N and 76.22.620 W. We were greeted by two dolphins as we pulled up, set the anchor and ate chili before bed.
A more crowded anchorage in Georgetown than when we arrived.

Sail Repair at sea. Just out of the Georgetown cut, I'm fixing some sail tape that I had put on
the main sail before we left home.

Wing on wing heading north in the Exuma Sound

Freddie diving the anchor that night in clear water.

The dark spot is Freddie still following the 60 feet of anchor chain.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Last day in Georgetown

Well this is it. We have refueled Stray Cat, pulled up the dingy and secured the dingy motor and have everything ready to release the mooring and head out in the morning. We motored over to the marina and had to hold off for around half an hour waiting to pull up to the fuel dock. There was also another boat waiting in line after us. Just as we were turning in the port engine goes out. This baby does not steer so good with only one engine when going real slow. There is not enough water going over the rudders to make them effective. With both engines Freddie can maneuver this baby into the tiniest space but that is difficult with only one. Super Fred still got us close enough to the dock for me to toss the deck hand a line to help pull us in without even coming close to the two cats that were tied up on the dock next door. We have had issues with getting air in the fuel line when the port engine just idles for very long. We haven't been able to find exactly where the leak is but we bleed the line and it will start back up. Freddie had it up and running before I got back from paying for the fuel. You rock Captain Fred ( OK enough, his head will swell and won't fit through the cabin door). After we fuel up we pull out and anchor near by to take the dingy in and buy groceries. We look and see another Wildcat has dropped anchor right beside us. This is the first time we have seen another boat like ours during our cruise. We enjoyed meeting the family on Anticipation and hope they continue to enjoy their cruise. After putting away all the groceries we head back across the  bay to pick back up our mooring and our last day of Dominoes and bridge on Volley Ball beach. We have met so many wonderful people and have had such a great time that it is sad to leave. We are excited though to be on the move during warm wonderful weather window. They are forecasting snow for St. Marys tomorrow! What is up with that. It last snowed in the early 1980's. Schools closing and everything. Here I am sweating at 27 degrees Celsius.
The fuel dock is between the big motor yacht and the blue bimini
on top of the smaller motor cat. just a little snug.

Some of the hard working staff at Chat & Chill and Volleyball beach.

This guy is from Haiti. He is a believer that wore the hat Freddie gave
him every day. He only speaks French but was a joy to see each day.
We gave him several hats to share with fellow Haitians in Georgetown. 

Anticipation. We actually tried to look at this boat when we were shopping
but could never get an appointment with the broker. The owners now
are from New Jersey . They bought her in Florida and have been cruising
for two seasons.

Goodbye Georgetown. We hope to see you again next year!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Our time here is growing short.

We will begin our trip back some time this week. We have had an amazing adventure so far and have grown to love Georgetown. I thought I would answer some of the questions that I have been asked in this post.
What happens if you get hurt or sick?
There are clinics at most places we have been. There have even been Veterinarians at several of the larger islands. We visited our Dr. before we left and made sure to have enough of our prescriptions available for our time away. We got a prescription for antibiotics , just in case and we also purchased Dan Divers insurance that would cover transport to the nearest medical facility in case of a major medical event. I broke a tooth  and  had it addressed when we went home for Christmas. If it had been hurting I could have had it taken care of in Georgetown. I also banged up my shin pretty good but took care of it out of our first aid supplies.
Not Pretty. It stung but no real damage.

First Aid: salt water wash, Fresh water rinse, triple antibiotic
ointment, large band aid to keep out sand. Repeat every
couple of days until healed.

Do you feel safe?   Yes we do. Cruisers look out for each other and the Bahamians are genuinely honest loving people.

Aren't you scared?  At times (those of you that read some of my earlier posts will verify) I have been terrified. You do learn to trust your boat over time. I have also found out from people that have been doing this and have sailed for years that everyone goes through that. That made me feel much better since I really felt that I was such a sissy.I also know that the good and amazing times far out weigh the times of sheer terror. I plan to have none of those on our trip north!

Seriously I would never have met so many amazing people and seen the things I have seen on this trip if I had not taken a deep breath and cut the dock lines.  

Lovely  German family that live aboard their Catamaran.

Steve and Karen got here a little over a week ago.

One of our French Canadian neighbors kit surfing on the
beach side of the island.

Some of Bahamian friends at the Chat & Chill beach

You have a couple that have traveled all over, a former IT(computer guru)
that build his own boat.and a guy that was actually born here all at one table
 getting ready for a  game of Mexican Train Dominoes.
I am really going to miss Georgetown and the people we have met here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Nasty weather but Wonderful People from all over

It’s pretty cold down here. I know that to those of you that have had to endure the arctic blast of winter in the States, temperatures in the low 70’s are warm but for this area it is COLD! I haven’t been swimming in 3 days! Everyone says that is very unusual for it to stay this cool. It’s ok though I have gotten some serious reading and Domino time and I have always slept better under a blanket. Freddie is curled up under a blanket on the couch right now.  We had a women’s luncheon on Thursday and I met over 25 ladies from all over. The lady that sat to my right had just flown in from Australia and another is an aide worker in Mongolia. We had a family from Italy at the table beside us at lunch today after Church. They are spending their vacation here and will be flying out tomorrow. They have been using zero Italian but were able to still communicate. The dad is a fireman and an Ambulance driver in Italy and they have a beautiful 3 year old son named Antonio.  Later after lunch we ran into someone from Carroll County Georgia that is here on vacation. This just blows my mind that one little place can have so-many different people.  Since it was starting to drizzle and cold and windy we left the beach early to head back to the boat. Launching the dingy I promptly fell into the water in my long pants and jacket. Nope , no pictures of that, Ha Ha. But it was a funny site. Thank goodness it was a short, if not wet ride back to the boat. No harm done although I do have some extra laundry to do tomorrow.

Checking out a replica of a local hut in Regatta Park in Georgetown

More local history at the Park

The Rain-The Rain!

Freddie in town exploring

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

We have settled into a routine

Feeling very much at home here. Went over to our new friends on SV (sailing vessel) WaterWitch this morning and Mike and Dee gave us instruction in using our SSB for email and weather files. People have made us feel so welcomed and accepted we are just loving it here. Cruisers are a very eclectic mix. Most have had highly successful careers in their land life. They are very intelligent and fascinating to converse with. We get up and have breakfast and do boat chores or go exploring, swimming or whatever strikes our fancy. 2 pm the volley ball and dominoes get started on the beach. We enjoy socializing and games with everyone until just before sundown then head back to the boat. This feels like vacation finally. I have read several books, enjoy a Tuesday morning ladies bible study, soak up lots of vitamin D  and have been stress free. The beauty of this place and the wonderful people, both cruisers and locals, are why so many cruisers come here and never leave. There are only a couple of minor things to finish up before Stray Cat will be ready to start home. Until then I plan to enjoy my time here to the fullest.

Going to have to clean off the growth on the bottom
before we leave. At least I can see what I am doing in
the water down here. This is from sitting here in one spot since December 9th.

Some of our Mexican Train Dominoes Regulars

Freddie releasing the parking brake for the family car. Ha Ha

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sunday , Beach Church, food and Dominoes

Sunday was our first time attending Beach Church.  It was a wonderful experience. There were around 50 people there. The service was inspirational sitting on wooden benches, outside in Gods cathedral, no denominations just praising and worshiping God and hearing his word. After services we had fellowship with coffee and dainties. I introduced Red Neck Sushi. Thank you Kristi for that recipe, it has been very useful and yummy. We hung out all day. Ate the barbecue pork from Chat n Chill for dinner, played Mexican train dominoes and enjoyed  great company in ideal surroundings. We headed back to the boat just before sundown, did some reading and called it a night. It was a very good day!

Beach Church Social

They are starting to rearrange the Church pews back to picnic
 style and I'm talking.

We love playing Mex.Train Dominoes! and have really enjoyed
getting to know some terrific people.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Enjoying Georgetown

We have started to fall back into a routine on the boat. Getting up early and listening to the local Cruisers Net and catch the weather forecast and information about the local activities. Do a few boat chores, go for a swim or hike or a trip into town then we head over to Volleyball beach for Mexican train dominoes and volley ball. There is such a warm cruising community and access to supplies here that it is easy to see why some people never leave. Tomorrow will be our first time attending the Beach Church and we are looking forward to it. We paid for the mooring for the month of January since we haven't gotten everything quite in shape for a passage yet and we are enjoying a real vacation at the moment. That will mean we will spend less time sight seeing on our trip back but will still have plenty of time for weather delays. The wind is going to get pretty strong in the next few days as the cold front that has been gripping the US arrives. Can't complain our temps are only suppose to drop into the 70's where it was 29 back home yesterday.
There were a lot of questions about our safety before we left. I cannot tell you how wonderful the Bahamians and fellow Cruisers are. We have left a credit card at a business that was kept safe and returned to us, given a ride when we were walking to the Parts Store, and on and on. The other day our dingy motor quit on us as we were crossing the harbor and our Dingy motor quit. Some young men that work at the Chat and Chill stopped and gave us a tow. We cannot say enough about everyone we have met here. I finally gave up and bought a Bahamas cell phone that can act as a hot spot. So hopefully the pictures will now upload.
The charter Catamaran at St. Francis Resort within swimming distance of Stray Cat.

Airing out our mattresses after being closed up over Christmas.
 They were just a little soggy feeling in the humidity.

Me checking our water and fuel levels.

Freddie charging the starter battery for the Starboard engine.
It's a new maintenance free(yea right) battery

Neighbor kayaking that is Stocking Island (again swimming distance)
All of these pic were from New Years Eve.

I have been trying to post this post for several days. Will start to catch up now that I have more reliable internet service.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Back Aboard for the New Year

We arrived back in Georgetown around 4:30 pm. That gave us just enough time to catch a taxi to the dock and have Elvis (Yep that is his name) take us to Stray Cat before dark. We immediately went to work opening up and airing out the boat and also running the engines to charge the batteries. The batteries were seriously low . There was not a speck of wind and the small solar panels we have were not enough to keep the batteries charged while we were gone. We will definitely be adding more solar panels and another wind generator this spring.  Since the boat was closed up and we had a few minor hatch (window) leaks, everything was damp on board. After taking care of only what was necessary we fell into our damp bed around 8:30 pm and slept until 8:30 am the next day.
New Years Eve was spent airing and drying out as much of the  inside of the boat as possible.  My soggy mattresses got sun dried and  toasty warm on the front trampolines. Note to any one who does this for the first time. If you have carpet mats (and many of us do) roll them up and stand them up somewhere. They trap moisture and make a mess of your floors.

We got back into the swing of things with a Bahamas Bath. That is where we jump into the water ( in our  bathing suites, I clarify that because the grand kids asked). We then take our shampoo/soap and lather up and scrub. Swim around and I rinse the soap from my hair (Freddie doesn't have to worry with this for obvious reasons) Finally we  climb out for a quick rinse with fresh water before toweling off and going below to dress for the day. We did more boat work (always) and went into town to get some groceries since everything will be closed for New Years day.

I am happy to be back aboard Stray Cat ( although I could do without the sticky 80 degree humidity). I can not tell you how beautiful the stars are.  Even with the town across the Harbor still lit up for Christmas and a Mega Yacht lit up for a party the stars are the "star"attraction. We even had the friendly dolphin come and swim around Stray Cat and welcome us back. New Years Day was spent mostly doing the same. We had to get our watermaker cleaned out and making clean water. I cooked fresh bread and spaghetti for our New Years Day dinner. 
PS The internet in 2014 here is as frustrating as it was in 2013. LOL