Onward’s Cruise Journal 2010
Cruise in the Bahamas

February 2010

1-Feb 2010; New Bight, Cat Island.
1 Feb 2010; Monday

  • Wow! It's February already. Only 6 weeks before I start back to FL and then fly to LA. Laura sent me a couple of photos - yes, she really is pregnant - and just as beautiful as her mother was when pregnant with Laura. Friends tell me my world will change once I'm a grandfather. We'll see; I'm looking forward to it.
  • I brought my propane tank ashore for a refill. A local resident saw me walking along the road and stopped to give me a ride. He too was taking tanks to be filled. The station's tanks were out but I was lucky to get there just as the owner was driving a number of tanks N to be refilled.
  • We hiked up to the Hermitage. It was just as spectacular on the second visit as it was on the first. We decided to rent a car for a day and headed N to explore Cat I. We stopped for lunch at the DDD restaurant near the airport and had their day's special - a spicy steamed pork chop. Delish. We drove to the N tip of the island - but there really isn't much to see. There are a number of small settlements along the road. We also visited Fernandez Bay Village resort. Last year I had visited it with Ed & Tina by dinghy from the anchorage offshore. On the way back we did some shopping and I purchased some Campari to experiment with. I just finished reading "Mediterranean Summer" - a book about an American chef cooking Italian food on the classic sailing yacht of an Italian billionaire couple. This has me wanting to try the many things he talked about in the book - a great read! I also bought some 8-yr old Hatian Rum and a bottle of Amarula - a liqueur from S. Africa made with the fruit of the Marula tree that is made into a brandy and then fresh cream is added- a la Bailey's Irish Cream. I really bought it because it had a picture of a big elephant on the bottle.
2 Feb 2010; Tuesday
  • This morning we headed S to visit the S part of the island. Again, not much to see. It is clear that the island has a lot of flat area compared to others. The land showed evidence of previous development for agriculture - but there is none evident at the moment. Tragically, the Bahamas have gone through numerous cycles of agricultural development followed by a complete bust. This started with loyalist cotton plantations here in the 1700's. Apparently the last round of agriculture was pineapple plantations which are no longer in existence. We visited the ruins of the Deveraux estate at Port Howe. It must have been impressive in its day but it has been destroyed by termites. We also visited the Greenacres resort where I met the owneer who kindly gave me a lift to the service station with my propane tank yesterday.
  • Hawks Nest Point marina, resort and development was very impressive. Well laid out and well maintained. I met the owners who were from the US. They told us they had bought the place ~15 yrs ago as a result of a drug confiscation. They have really done a nice job of developing it. There are nice homes built, I guess, by folks who have aircraft that they fly in to the airstrip on site. The marina caters to sports fishermen.
  • We returned the rental car and then found that the Blue Bird Club was open so we went in and had a great lunch - baked chicken & Bahamian fixins. The sisters who run the restaurant remembered me from last year.
  • When we returned to the pier where the dinghies were tied up, I walked up last and found the others staring at me. The front pontoon of my RIB was deflated. My heart fell. The good news was that the RIB was still dry and floating. When I climbed down to it I found that somehow the bow tie-down strap had gotten loose and wrapped itself 5 times around the bottom rung of the ladder thus holding the bow into the pier. A big swell must have come along and pressed the port bow of the RIB around the corner where there was a large SS bolt protruding from the back side of the ladder. This punctured and tore the pontoon. What a disaster. The bolt had not been visible when I inspected it on arrival. if the strap hadn't gotten caught, the dingy would not have been pulled into the bolt. BAAAH!
  • I was able to free the RIB and then motor very slowly back to Onward. The string of adverse events continued. I was using the painter to try to hold the deflated pontoons up out of the water to keep the wave chop from coming over the bow. While concentrating on keeping he bow dry, the end of the painter got loose and, as I discovered this, it got sucked into the prop stalling the engine. So I had to fix this. The string continued when I got to Onward. I have a system to keep the davit falls from getting twisted; but, of course, today when I needed to get the RIB out of the water quickly due to the chop, both falls were twisted. I got the bow one fixed and connected to the RIB so I could haul the bow out of the chop. I had to take the stern fall into the cockpit to finally figure out how to untangle it. I finally got the RIB secured on the davits - and then I crashed. I was physically and psychologically exhausted. I took a nap in the sun. When I woke up, Harriet called to see how I was doing - it was a big help to lift me out of one of my few (thank God) downers.

3 Feb 2010; Wednesday; New Bight, Cat I to Black Point, Exumas
  • We delayed departure from New Bight to listen to Chris Parker. A few days ago, the weather promised to be calm enough to allow us to visit Conception Island and then move on to Thompson Bay, Long I. He had more recently forecast dire conditions of high winds from the W to NW quadrant on the coming weekend when a cold front moves through. As a result we decided to head back to the Exumas to find protection. Chris came on and said the front is still going to be strong so we headed to the Exumas.
  • On the way over, Angie suggested I put the RIB on Onward's foredeck to work on the repair - as opposed to bringing it to a beach. It was a brilliant suggestion and I planned to do this as we are hunkered down in an anchorage for the coming cold front.
  • The winds were ENE @ ~10 kts so it was a fast motorsail across. We ran Dothan Cut just before low tide and the conditions were benign. I anchored at Black Point to do some laundry in the morning. Mike and Angie were busy cleaning up after a problem with the macerator pump for their holding tank. It was a reminder to make sure I order a spare parts kit and perhaps a spare pump. I also need to verify that the pump is above the level of the tank - or install a shut off valve between the tank and the pump to avoid having to clean sewage from the bilge, an unpleasant event that befell Lady of Lorien . Skip & Harriet came over and we had a relaxing grill night. We tried the new Amarula Creme liquore that I bought at Cat I. It was really good.
4 Feb 2010; Thursday; Black Point to Warderick Wells, S Anchorage @ Hog Cay
  • Harriet and Angie picked me up in the dinghy and I got to do a load of laundry. I took my laptop but found that the battery was low (I thought it was fully charged) so I didn't get to use Lorraine's WiFi connection.
  • We departed Black Point at 1000. Mike thought winds on Exuma Sound would be light with no chop so they opted to go back out Dothan Cut and head N to the S Anchorage at Warderick Wells. The exit wasn't too bad but I did take some small waves over the bow. Onward really handles these conditions well. Once out in the Sound, the wind was ENE@ ~15+ kts and the seas were lumpy. Onward ate it up and I sailed on a broad reach at 7 - 9 kts SOG while Moondance and Lady of Lorien had to motorsail under foresails alone. I spent a lot of time reading about sail trim. I still don't think I've got the knack of it due to the lose-footed main and all its controls. I did trim the whole rig "looser" than normal and this seemed to improve performance. More reading and experimenting to follow...
  • I heard Jim Seemann on Pipe Dream, C470-143, on the VHF. I called him and found that he was going into the Emerald Rock anchorage just on the other side of the cay. He told me he'd been into the S anchorage before and that the Navionics charts were good. It's always great to have local knowledge!
  • The entrance to the S Anchorage between Warderick Wells and Hog Cays was "exciting" as the winds made for substantial swells on the beam and the crashing waves on the rocks made the narrow passage seem more difficult than it actually was. The outer waypoint on the Explorer Chart was close to a rocky bar whose brown mass became apparent when close. Jim was right, the Navionics charts were great. Once through the narrow opening, the water was calm. As I approached the mooring the wind piped up to 20 kts in a strong current. Together they moved the bow of boat sideways so fast that once I left the helm to go forward, I wasn't able to get it right until the 3rd approach.
  • The anchorage is well protected from the sea surge. In the 1700's, it served as a pirates' lair. There is an area ashore with a spring they used and it is surrounded by plants from far-flung areas due to seeds brought in with the pirates' booty.
  • In the evening Harriet brought a ham and we grilled it aboard Onward.
5 Feb 2010; Friday
  • The winds were 15 - 30 kts this morning. I emptied the dinghy and prepared to move it from the davits to the foredeck with the help of Mike and Skip. However the winds were so high we had to postpone it. In late morning, the winds began to ease and I heard Jim say that he was moving Pipe Dream to the available mooring just N of Lady of Lorien. I later watched Pipe Dream as it wended its way through the entrance channel. Jim dinghied over and we had a nice reunion over beers. It calmed enough that Skip & Harriet picked up Mike and Angie and went ashore for a hike. Wnen it got to < 10 kts., Jim helped me take advantage of the calm to move the dinghy to the foredeck. This went fairly easily. Once the RIB was aboard, I inspected the damage. The puncture is just below the rub strake on the port bow. The good news is I have 10 patches the right size. The bad news is that it is a challenging position to fix. Something to do after the storm.
  • It remained calm in the evening so everyone came aboard for pizza. We had a grand time. Delish!
6 Feb 2010; Saturday
  • The front moved through today. Some squalls to 25 kts but nothing worse. For the first time in the Bahamas, I experienced rain that lasted hours! I went out on the deck in the rain and used the deck brush to wash down the boat. I then spent the day relaxing and thinking over how to do the dinghy fix. I was able to get good Globalstar satphone time and talked to my three children and my sister. Laura has ordered the changing table she wanted - a gift from me as I learn to play grandpa. Harriet brought over some fresh-baked scones. I allowed myself one for desert after dinner. Delish!
7 Feb 2010; Sunday
  • Mike, Skip and I spent most of the day working on the foredeck in 15-20 kts of wind attempting the repair of the tear in the dinghy. The tear was located at one of the worse possible places - between the rubstrake and the lower seam. Mike used his surgical skills to do a beautiful job of sewing the edges of the T-shaped tear together with fine stitches of sailmaking thread. We then applied patches and clamped them in place to cure overnight.
8 Feb 2010; Monday
  • While the patch continued to cure on the foredeck, we went for a long morning hike N along the E shore of Warderick Wells Cay. I continued to make sound recordings for my "Music of the Rocks" collection. I also made a video of a great blow hole spouting water on one of the outer small cays.
  • In the afternoon we placed a second patch over the first patch and then patched a second small tear caused by the bolt.
9 Feb 2010; Tuesday
  • In the late morning we went on a dinghy exploration of the area in the two working dinghies. Just before we returned to the boats, Moondance's outboard went belly up! It had run perfectly for an hour and then flooded and would not start. Mike towed us the short distance back to the boats - no we were down to one working dinghy!
  • I checked the patches on the dinghy and found there was still a slight air leak where the patch had to go over the edge of the seam tape. This was slight and the dinghy was very usable even if I couldn't find a way to stop it. I then applied a circular patch over an area where the bow davit falls has worn the hypalon surface coating.
  • I also took the opportunity to install the pump access port in the floor of the dinghy. The dinghy had been plagued with a leak problem since I bought it: water (most likely from the interior) leaks into the are between the floor and the hull. This can be drained through a drain plug but the RIB has to be out of the water. Sometimes, so much water has gotten below the floor that I can't get the RIB on a plane. While in Vero Beach, I had finally found a screw-port that I could install in the RIB floor to enable me to put my hand pump through it to pump out any water that accumulates. So, today I got the port all ready to install and then I went to look for my 5200 sealant. I have at least 3 tubes of 3100 or 5200 aboard. I tore the boat apart but could not find it. BAAAH!
  • Lady of Lorien contributed some prosciutto and I made a large antipasta. I have missed the large glass serving dish my mom had given us as a gift. For about 30 years I had used it to construct the antipastos I made for all our holiday dinners and family celebrations. Even when we went to the homes of relatives or friends, I was often requested to bring an antipasta. When I moved aboard Onward, the serving dish went to my daughter Laura. Since then, I had only made antipasta aboard one time - this past Christmas - because I lacked a good serving dish. Today I had an ahha - i realized the plastic tray I bought and almost never use was the perfect size; it is now my antipasta tray! I baked foccacia and invited the Lady of Loriens and Moondancers over for dinner.

10 Feb 2010; Wednesday

  • What a bummer! I went out to check the dinghy repair and discovered that the patches we put over the tear had all delaminated overnight! For some reason, the glue formed a very weak bond with the hypalon surface and it just peeled off when pulled. So, after I went away for a while to allow my depression to wear off a bit, I went back and peeled off 3 of the 4 patches. The 4th was the one I did yesterday. I used the same patch material, glue, and technique and it is very firmly attached. Go Figure!
  • I cleaned off the few remnants of glue from the hypalon surfaces on the RIB. I noticed that the stitching Mike did was not leaking air. The hypalon glue had done a reasonably good job. That gave me an idea: try 5200. Skip found an old tube aboard Moondance and I was able to cut open the bottom to get access to some usable sealant. I sealed and installed the pump access port in the RIB floor. I then applied 5200 over the stitches and tear edges. In late afternoon, I reinflated the forward pontoon and found that it was fine except for a very minor leak in a hard-to access area.
  • We moved Onward's Yamaha outboard to Moondance's dinghy. Now there are 2 working dinghies in the Fleet.
11 Feb 2010; Thursday
  • I applied more 5200 to the tear seams and cleaned up the patches so I could reapply them. I then reapplied the patch over the big tear and the small hole. I used a new tube of hypalon cement and did a great deal of abrading of the hypalon surface using my dremel tool with a wire brush. The new patches seemed to hold well. There was still a slight air leak where I could watch a bubble very slowly grow mm by mm. This would be readily manageable.
  • Angie made a fantastic dinner and we watched "Priscilla of the Desert" - a great Australian low budget film.
12 Feb 2010; Friday
  • The patches from yesterday still held. I put some 5200 over where the slow leak was then I put a covering patch over this area to give it more physical strength.
  • We went ashore and took a nice hike around the S tip of Warderick Wells Cay. After returning to the boats we got them ready for the coming blow.
  • After lunch, with the help of Skip and Harriet, I relaunched the RIB and then we transferred the Yamaha back to my RIB. It was great to have a dinghy again!
  • In late afternoon the winds began to strengthen from the S with gusts to > 32 kts. I had left the dinghy down in anticipation of the winds remaining light and I was going to fetch the Lady of Loriens and Moondancers over for dinner to say thanks for their help with the dinghy. But the winds were too high so I put the dinghy up on the davits. It looked really good to see it back there! For some reason I felt exhausted and I napped in the sun in the afternoon and then went to bed early.
13 Feb 2010; Saturday
  • The front went through in the early morning hours. I was woken at 0130 by a torrential downpour. I remembered I had left a salon hatch cracked open and I had a really hard time wading out of a deep sleep to get up and close it.
  • I took the resuscitated RIB for a trial run and in the process picked up Harriet and Bailey for a run on the beach. Bailey has become a real boat dog. He loves riding in the dinghy. Seeing his joy when he gets ashore and can run around is wonderful. The RIB did well on its exercise run. It still has a very slow leak; but this can be managed by a few strokes of the pump in the morning. After picking up Harriet and Bailey on the beach I was rewarded with lunch aboard Moondance. I spent the rest of the day working on a redesigned mount on the RIB for my portable depth sounder. I also reworked the mount for my waterproof TV camera so that I can mount it on the forward base of the mast to show the trim of the genoa - something I cannot see from the cockpit. I also worked in a nice nap in the sun. The evening was completed by a dinner of chicken souse that Harriet has perfected - with grits - Delish. We topped things off by watching a movie about Peter Sellers.
14 Feb 2010; Sunday
  • While Mike and Angie went for a hike to the ECLSP office, Harriet, Skip and I went over to Hog Cay and hiked around. This Cay has few trails so were traveled along the E shore where the larger waves have cleared vegetation far enough back that it is possible to hike along the edge. Near the N end of the cay, a tunnel has been carved by waves through the rock to the anchorage side. It is really interesting to watch swells come out on the anchorage side as a big bubble of water that spreads and dissipates as it progresses.
  • While looking for a place to have a picnic lunch, the strap at the toe of my L Keens sandal got hooked on a small outcrop of eroded rock and tripped me up. I was able to slow my fall and luckily hit relatively softly. The only damage was a slight cut to my L palm - very lucky considering how sharp and hostile the surface is. While walking, I'm very careful where I place my feet. But, I had been standing looking into a hole to watch the sea go through the tunnel and I must have swiveled my toe under a piece of rock without being aware of it.
  • The erosion on Hog Cay is dominated by vegetation erosion. This is where the sand turned into a hard rock around the roots and root-balls of ancient vegetation while sand further away from the root surface turned into a softer form of stone. Then, after the softer rock eroded, the outline of the root system was exposed and is more slowly eroding away so these structures dominate the exposed surface..
  • I made angel hair pasta with olive oil, sausage, onions, and peppers for dinner. Then I got to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
15 Feb 2010; Monday
  • A beautiful day with light scattered clouds and calm winds. We went for a hike around the S tip of Warderick Wells Cay and had a picnic lunch. I find it fascinating to see how the geology of the cays can be so different at different locations on the same cay.
  • The patches to the RIB appeared to be holding well. There is still a very slow air leak that requires about 10 - 15 strokes of the hand pump each day to remedy. This is very manageable compared to the sense of being stranded that comes from a non-working RIB / motor. Even though Lady of Lorien and Moondance were always ready to assist, the loss of freedom and spontaneity of action was significant.
  • When we returned to the dinghies Harriet and Angie went for a swim near low tide when the waters were calm. After taking Harriet and Bailey to the beach for a run, I returned to Onward where it seemed like a great time to sunbathe in the cockpit and have an afternoon nap. I got captured reading another Tom Corcoran novel set in the Keys when I got a call about dinner. Somehow I missed that the roast lamb dinner Angie had talked about on the hike was tonight! So I did a quick clean up and then picked Skip and Harriet up for dinner aboard Lady of Lorien.
  • Accident at Staniel:
  • According to Superintendent Evans of the Exuma and Ragged Island District Police in The Bahamas, at 12:30 a.m. on Monday, February 15, six yacht crewmembers left the Staniel Cay Yacht Club to return to their yacht in a 300-hp Intrepid when the tender ran up on some rocks. All six crewmembers, two females and four males from the U.S., Canada and the UK, were airlifted to a hospital in Nassau. Superintendent Evans said that two of the crewmembers were discharged and the other four were held with serious injuries. An investigation is ongoing.
  • Accident at Staniel Cay - I learned of this after it happened: A local captain tells us they were the crew of M/Y Man of Steel, and says they hit the southwest corner of Big Majors at high speed. This accident occurred mere months after a center console tender from M/Y Integrity hit the rocks, also after leaving Staniel Cay. All three people involved were seriously injured.
16 Feb 2010; Tuesday
  • The expected cold front came through early in the morning with not much increase in wind but with heavy overcast and rain squalls. It was nice for Onward to get a fresh water washdown. The overcast skies and winds at 15 - 20 from the W made it a good day to hang around the boat. The overcast was heavy enough that for the first time it was evident that it was cutting down on satellite reception from the Globalstar constellation as the "sweet spots" were smaller than ever. I was finally able to get phone calls through to my children after several days of attempts.
17 Feb 2010; Wednesday
  • The winds were light and the sun was out so I decided to take the dinghy around the S end of Warderick Cay and up to the ECLSP office to take care of my bill and work on the internet. By the time I had me and the dingy ready, the wind had come up to 10 -15. Harriet came along and we managed to get around and only slightly wet. The park office had just taken delivery of a shipment of clothes from Androsia on Andros I. So, with the help of Harriet and Darcy I bought island outfits for Joahna and Laura.

18 Feb 2010; Thursday; Hog Cay to Staniel Cay
  • When I went out to put the dinghy on the davits, I found a bird resting on the crossbars. It was some type of a spoonbill with slightly pink feathers. It calmly stood there and watched me while I worked in the cockpit. It wasn't until I climbed into the dinghy that it decided to fly off. At 1000 we dropped our moorings at the S Anchorage at Warderick Wells and headed S down Exuma Sound to Staniel Cay. The wind was ~15 kts from the NNW - N and I decided to sail under the genoa alone. Lady of Lorien and Moondance motorsailed on ahead. Then Skip called on VHF to remind me we needed to get to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club for our bacon cheeseburger fix. So I motorsailed and closed the gap. This was my first entrance from the sound into Big Rock Cut which is a bit narrow. The sea was quiet except for just at the cut and Onward handled it easily. After entering and making the turn to the S, it was necessary to manage the fact the ebb tide was trying to sweep me onto the rocks. This is where the COG vector on the E120 chartplotter is great as it allows me to be sure the boat is moving in the right direction over the ground - in spite of where the bow is pointed and it accounts for the crosscurrent effects. But then things got more interesting: a couple in a small dinghy were dawdling in the center of the narrow channel that passes between the NW shore of Staniel Cay and the infamous rock outcrop dubbed "the crown of thorns". It was difficult for me to slow down enough to miss them yet still maintain steerage in the swift current. But with the help of the COG vector, I managed it.
  • I anchored with the other two boats in a deep pool just W of the cut between the southern two of the three small cays W of Staniel Cay - the northern one being the famous Thunderball Grotto. The narrow channel between them carried about 13' at 2 hours before low tide. I anchored Onward in 10' of water at the N edge of the pool. After a quick cleanup, I launched the dinghy and went over to tow Moondance's dinghy ashore to get their new outboard. As I approached their boat, the wind started gusting to > 20 kts and I wasn't sure that I would be able to get them and the dinghy - but I managed in a lull. Then things got more interesting, Angie and Mike had asked Harriet to have me pick them up. I wasn't sure I'd be able to do that while towing the other dinghy in the wind and chop it kicked up. But, I somehow managed it and then went on to negotiate the narrow opening in the new beach breakwater at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. There were so many dinghies that we had to help others launch theirs so we would have room for outs. Here's where Mike really pissed me off by just walking away and leaving me to do the heavy work. After that, I was ready for a couple of beers and a cheeseburger!
  • After lunch, we walked to Isles General Store so Skip could pay the freight on the motor shipment and we took the opportunity to do some shopping. Skip finally found Vivian Rolle and paid the freight. Then I towed his dinghy to the beach near the Government dock where Skip unpacked and mounted his new outboard. He had been focused on lowing the new motor by rope from the pier down 8' to the dinghy. As I sat in my dinghy being bounced around and watching his dinghy being bounced about even more, I saw a disaster in the offing. I finally yelled to get his attention and convinced him to move the dinghy to the sandy beach and install the motor there. This worked out fine. By the time I got back to Onward, I was exhausted from all the dinghy hauling and cold as the sun had disappeared behind high clouds. I just grabbed a book and climbed into bed to get warm. I ended up sleeping through to morning - waking periodically to check Onward's position on by A70 chartplotter that I keep next to my bed. But it was a quite night. This is a good anchorage I will use in the future.

19 Feb 2010; Friday; Staniel Cay to Black Point.
  • As soon as Staniel Cay Yacht Club opened, I weighed anchor and brought Onward in for water. They were out of diesel until the end of the month as a large boat had pumped them dry. That accomplished, I set out for Black Point with Lady of Lorien and Moondance.
  • I talked to Tina Burke during the trip to Black Point. She and Ed have booked flights into Staniel Cay on 2 March and will sail with me to about the 10th. After sitting down to look at the calendar, I made the decision to not go further south with the other 2 boats but to stay in this area. The weather has been so challenging this year with cold fronts coming through every 2-4 days, I was concerned about getting trapped in the S Bahamas and not being able to make it back to the states in time to fly to LA to be with Laura. Since I have a good time wherever I am the central Exumas are fine with me. I will be more relaxed not having to worry about how to get back in time.
  • The anchorage at Black Point was the emptiest that I had experienced - only 2 other boats besides Lady of Lorien and Onward. After anchoring I immediately went ashore to do laundry - but Angie and Harriet beat me there. I was able to get 2 machines and while they ran, I had a nice lunch of fresh conch fritters cooked by Ida. It seems a senior member of the extended families here died and many of the residents had gone to Nassau for the funeral. Ida was trying to keep the laundry and Adderley's store going. Only Scorpio's wifi was working and by the time I got there the bandwidth was minimal but I was able to get email and upload recent updates to the Bahamas Cruisers Guide. This year there is no station broadcasting open wifi to the harbour. On top of that, it seems my Engenius wifi transciever is no longer working.
  • Angie and Harriet told me they were planning to leave for Long Island in the morning. I told them of my decision to go no further S because of my concern about not being able to get back when I needed to. As I returned to Onward I stopped by both boats who were already prepared for departure. It was sad to break up the "herd" as we call it - based on Bailey's view of us.
20 Feb 2010; Saturday
  • At 0630 Moondance and Lady of Lorien weighed anchor and set off through Dothan Cut for Long Island. There is a slight chance that I will get to see them again before I have to start back to the states.
  • In early afternoon, as I was about to return from shore, I looked out and was surprised to see that Onward had moved - I did a double take and then realized another Catalina 470 had anchored just N of Onward. It was Samvaro III - a boat I was not familiar with. I tried to contact the owners but was unsuccessful.
  • I went ashore for dinner at Lorraine's Cafe and sat with the crews of Leprechaun, a Catalina 36, Just Limin, a Catalina 375 and Akasha, a Kadie-Krogen trawler. We had a great time at dinner.
21 Feb 2010; Sunday
  • A nice sunny day; a lazy day. I noticed Samvaro III was leaving the harbor and I was able to reach them on VHF. Paulo Souza is the owner of Hull 105 and has a home port in Miami. We exchanged info and later in the day I got an email from him. He was on his way to Nassau where he will leave the boat for a month while he returns to the US. We agreed that I'd give him a call when I was back in the US. I will also add Samvaro to the C470 fleet map.
  • I backed up the computer and installed the Mac OS X Snow Leopard update. I also installed the Raymarine 5.52 software update on the E120. A new driver for my Engenius wifi transciever made no difference; it seems the transciever died yesterday.
  • I went ashore to have a beer and access wifi at Scorpio's Restaurant & Bar. I've had fun interacting with Zhivago, the proprietor of Scorpio's, and Raymond Andrews, a young man who has worked hard to put himself in the boat rental business. Both have been really happy that I created the Bahamas Cruisers Guide and have put information about their businesses there. As I worked on the internet, I decided to have a beer - then at the bar I realized that I didn't bring my wallet with me - so no beer. I have to get this $ thing fixed. While at Cat Island, I realized that even when I checked my wallet before leaving Onward to be sure I had enough cash, I often spent more than I anticipated. So I decided to fix that by carrying additional backup $ in the pack that I usually carry with me. Now today I had neither my pack or my wallet! Now I'll have to put some backup $ in my Tilley Hat. Then, I'll have to think of somewhere on the dinghy to hide a stash. Then, I'll have to find some way to remember where my stashes are..... Ah well, at least I have $ to stash.
22 Feb 2010; Monday
  • The weather picture deteriorated today with the two minor cold fronts predicted on Saturday for Tuesday and Thursday of this week now having turned into nastier customers. Also, an even more severe front is forecast for next week. This made me feel even better about the decision that I made Friday not to go further S.
  • Leprechaun, a Catalina 36 and Just Limin, a Catalina 375, who I had met at Lorrain's on Saturday night were still in the anchorage so I invited them over for pizza dinner. This motivated me to spend the day cleaning the galley.
  • Now I think as a guy an a singlehander I do a pretty good job of keeping Onward neat and clean. But, it reality, I don't have the time or energy to keep it REALLY clean when I'm busy moving. I need extended periods of time when I can just vegetate in one place to be able to muster the resolve and find the time from all my other tasks and hobbies to focus on cleaning. Having Ed and Tina scheduled to come in next week provided additional motivation.
  • Jim and Leslie from Just Limin and John and Cheryl from Leprechaun enjoyed the pizza and we had a nice time together.
23 Feb 2010; Tuesday
  • I looked at my Sirius weather synoptic charts this morning before listening to Chris Parker. I thought the data was messed up because it showed so many cold fronts. Then I listened to Chris and I found out that we were setting a new record: 4 cold fronts in 8 days! Apparently the el Nino is causing the jet stream to sink low across the US W of the Mississippi and this is causing lows to move lower across the US with more effect in the Bahamas.
  • I did some more cleaning and then went ashore to use wifi. Zhivago, the proprietor of Scorpio's brought me over a refill of my Kalik to say thanks for putting him on the website. I was really touched. Then I ran into Raymond who runs a tour guide and boat rental business here. I've talked with him several times and have improved the entry for his services so we've become friends. I asked him about renting one of his jet skis. He told me he would arrange it whenever I wanted and would not charge me. I told him I was uncomfortable with that and he replied that if I "wanted to bless him" with something, that was up to me. The latter are just two example of why I enjoy the Bahamians so much.
  • I got hooked on another Sue Grafton novel and spent a relaxing evening reading.
24 Feb 2010; Wednesday
  • Today I decided to include a short autobiography in the Bahamas Cruisers Guide so I amused myself writing it. In the process I remembered a couple of great photos of Onward that Deb Gregg had sent me. I tracked them down and included them on the page. I also realized how few pictures I have with me in them.
  • I finished the novel and went ashore to use wifi. When I stopped by the store the owner said how the miserable weather was driving all his cruising customers away. I told him I was staying around to help out but I can't eat enough food to make a difference. (We will NOT discuss my electronic scale data!) Before I went ashore, I was contacted by Daniel on Nyiad as they move N from George Town. He told me there were many fewer boats there this year due to the crazy weather pattern.
  • I received email from Jack Noble today and he and Sandy aboard Sandy Lee have finely been able to get out of the Abacos and are now in Spanish Wells. Maybe I'll get to see them before I have to return to the US.
  • I went over to Just Limin for a great dinner and returned to Onward before the rain began. The front came through late at night and the passage wasn't too uncomfortable although I kept a close eye on the A70 chartplotter next to my bed check that Onward and its anchor stayed where they should. They did but I lost a bit of sleep.
25 Feb 2010; Thursday
  • Splat day. In the early morning the wind eased, I got up and said "that wasn't bad" and then it kicked up to 30 kts from the NW. Waves came around the point and every 6th or so was a large pair that really made even Onward which is usually very stable pitch. Of course, with the weather being a mess, Chris Parker is on vacation and his replacement is hard to hear on SSB. I tried to tune to a station I've never used before on the SSB. The IC-M802 manual was useless. I spent most of the morning playing with the controls to figure out how to use its several different tuning functions. When I worked it out I typed out a set of instructions so I will be able to repeat it in the future. Other than that, all I did was read a book I swapped for at Black Point. Ah Well.

26 Feb 2010; Friday; Black Point to Compass Cay
  • I was sitting at the navstation when John from Leprechaun called and said he was planning to move to the anchorage S of the entrance to Compass Cay Marina. I had been looking at the charts to find a place to get shelter from the 2 coming cold fronts on Sunday and Tuesday. Onward and I had survived the front passage and the rough waves from the NW winds following the seas. But - I don't need to do that again only because I didn't get anything done yesterday because Onward was bouncing around too much for comfort. I made an instant decision to go with Leprechaun who could lead me through the shallows shown on the charts.
  • I made the journey just after low tide and followed Leprechaun and Just Limin. I managed to make it through without incident until the section just W of the marina entrance. I touched once and then backed off and went to port - then after a bit, I repeated the the process. Then I was home free. The anchorage area S of the marina entrance and off the E shore of Pipe Cay is great. It holds about 8 boats.
  • After anchoring we went ashore for lunch and had great burgers. We took a hike to the beach on the E shore - a beautiful sandy crescent. This is very beautiful place!
  • The good news is that the marina will pick up someone from the airport and bring them to Compass Cay.
27 Feb 2010; Saturday
  • A beautiful day at Compass Cay. After doing the dishes and cleaning up it was noon. So I showered and went ashore to have lunch and use the wifi. Then it was return to Onward and read a good book.
28 Feb 2010; Sunday
  • OK, I was planning to do more cleaning today but I ended up baking pepper biscotti and then lying in the sun in the cockpit reading a good book. The front came through in the early morning and winds were 20-25 for a good part of the day. The water was calm in this anchorage. Great!