Onward’s Cruise Journal 2012
Cruise in the Bahamas

31 Mar 2012

March 2012

1 Mar 12; Thursday;

  • Wow, another month has passed in paradise! This means it's time to start planning the return to America. The real plus of that is getting closer to visiting my children on the W Coast.
  • I joined Mike aboard Mimosa with Arnon and Rita Kay to do the Around the Harbor Race. The winds were light from the ESE at ~ 10 - 12 kts. It was a beautiful day to race even with the light winds. This was the first time Mike had ever been in a sailboat race with his Hunter 31 so it was a bit of an adventure for him. He has a small jib, barely 100%, so we were not competitive agains any of the other boats with their larger genoas. But we had fun. The course consisted of two laps around the harbor. Mimosa had already been lapped by several of the larger monohulls and cats by the time we crossed the finish line. In deference to the need of the committee boat to get to the after race party, we graciously opted not to complete the second lap.
  • JoAnne's friend Jan arrived last evening and brought along some mail for me along with my new Canon Power Shot D10 camera that I bought to take underwater photos. I got to try it out for a few shots during the race. Now to handle it carefully so it will stay watertight for its intended use.
  • A nice party ensued at St. Francis to cap off a very pleasant day.

2 Mar 12; Friday;
  • For anyone who has not gotten emails or replies from me, it is a result of the local WiFi source (the only source), Gaviota Bay WiFi, has been trying to get a new router up and working. The previous router could only take 15 clients at a time and got bogged down when there were 10 or more working. With > 270 boats around, that made for problematic connections. They sold "tickets" that provided only 75 min of connect time to encourage users to log off and free up the router. This means I have only been able to use it in burst mode and have not been able to stay connected for long periods. The new router is working in beta and can handle many more clients at faster throughput rates. I hope to be able to catch up on my emails in the next few days.
  • There were a lot of Regatta activities this morning on Volleyball Beach so the Art on the Beach Group did not meet. I promised myself that I would work for an hour aboard Onward -- but, of course, broke the promise.
  • I went into town to get water and JoAnne came along to do some shopping. She's planning to race Walkabout in the Around Stocking Island Race tomorrow and wanted to pick up a few things at the store. While I was filling water jugs, JoAnne went off on errands. She found someone to give a quick hair trim and I decided to do the same before we did the food shopping and headed back. With winds > 15 kts from the S it was a bit of a wet ride both ways.
  • I had made some bread dough in the morning and returned to Onward to find it ready to bake. So I spent an hour or so playing with the dough. The dough recipe I use results in a rather wet dough that is sticky and not easy to work with. Thus I usual just spread it into sheets on the silicon baking sheets using a spatula. Today I used some of the skills I was taught in my puff pastry lesson at Fowl Cay. I used one of the large spice shaker plastic jars and filled it with flour. I covered a large silicone sheet with a layer of flour and dumped the batch of dough on it then liberally covered the surface with flour. I guess this is a no-brainer for experienced bakers -- but I'd never tried it before with this dough. By sprinkling flour on the surface I was able to make the dough ball handleable. I cut it into smaller pieces and then tested these to see how easily they could be stretched and worked with. In the end, I made two calzones stuffed with ham and thin tomato slices, two pepperoni rolls, a small focaccia and a baguette. I made the calzones long and thin so they could be cut into slices to serve for lunch or for appetizers. All this worked well. Delish.
  • The weather next week is not going to be nice. Chris Parker has dubbed it the "event of the season". A cold front is moving through Sunday night and Monday. It won't have any W component winds when it gets here to George Town. However a strong H will move in rapidly and a week of 25+ kt winds is forecast for Tuesday on. So today I put out an extra 50' of anchor chain this afternoon.
  • The Frauleins invited the group over for cocktails. They and the Vision Quests are planning to depart here on Sunday to take advantage of the light wind day to go N to the Marina at Emerald Bay. I spoke to Ingo May on Ladyhawke who is planning to sail down from Little Farmers Cay to Emerald Bay on Sunday. So two sets of my friends will end up in Emerald Bay.They will be "captured" in Emerald Bay for the period as exit under the predicted conditions will be hazardous.
3 Mar 12; Saturday
  • Today was the Around Stocking Island Race. JoAnne entered Walkabout and Jan, Rita Kay, Mike, Chuck, and I were crew. Walkabout is a Taswell 44 Deck Salon and is cutter rigged. We dropped the mooring at 0900 to give time for the crew to get familiar with the boat before our 1015 start. This is the first time I've sailed on a boat with its inner forestay and staysail sail rigged. It was quite a job to tack and gybe the 135% genoa because of the need to coax it through the slot between the forestay and inner forestay. I had the helm for the practice session and start. JoAnne "trained" the crew on how to handle the tacking and gybing. For the tacks, I would slowly make the turn to windward being sure I had enough momentum to get through the eye of the wind and then hold it just on the other side while the genoa was coaxed through the slot by keeping tension on the clew while wind pressure pushed a bend of the genoa through the slot enough for it to then pull itself through. Not a quick process. To gybe, it was necessary to furl the genoa by more than 50%, then slowly turn through the wind before letting it out on the other side.
  • When I ordered Onward from Catalina, I had them install a reinforcing crossbeam under the deck where they installed a toggle for an inner forestay. This was at the suggestion of C-470 owners on Cygnus and Certa Cito. Before leaving Annapolis in June 2007, I had the mast rigged to install the inner forestay and running backstays. However, as I had no experience with saying a cutter-rigged C-470, I decided not to buy and install the yankee and its furler before departure. After cruising New England that summer, I decided not to install the staysail and rig. My reasoning was that tacking and gybing Onward under all wind conditions was a challenge enough for me as a singlehander that I didn't want to complicate things by adding dealing with the staysail to the mix. Besides, I found the conditions when I would use the staysail were a very small fraction of my sailing activities. Now, having sailed a cutter-rigged sloop, I have decided my 2007 decision was an excellent one. I have a tremendous amount of respect for JoAnne that she has the courage and patience to deal with this complication to singlehanding.
  • We all had a ball sailing the race. We held our own with a number of fast boats but were no match for a couple of the "George Town Sleds" -- Anania and Nocturne. The highlight was our entrance through the S cut back to Elizabeth Harbour. We tacked a bit past the point where we would have just been able to lay the mark off of Middle Rocs on the port tack. I was at the helm and did this to avoid any wind shift from heading us and preventing us from making the mark in an "interesting" area of the cut. So when we tacked, we were on a close reach on the port tack and flying at > 7kts. Two other boars had elected to tack at the "proper" time and had to pinch to make the mark so Walkabout just flew by them and rounded the mark first on the inside. Neat -- and I got to be at the helm during this event. The race finished with a nice broad reach N to the finish line during which we were able to hold off one of the boats we beat at the mark.
  • The race complete, we then played musical moorings as Vision Quest gave up their mooring in Hole 2 to Walkabout and took Walkabout's in Gaviota bay.
  • The night wrapped up with a social on the deck at St. Francis Resort. A good time was had by all. It was also time to say farewell to the Frauleins and Vision Quests as they start N tomorrow.

4 Mar 12; Sunday
  • I managed to get off Onward and ashore to Volleyball Beach for Beach Church at 0930. The cold front started coming through and the winds clocked around from ESE to WSW at 15+ kts. But, I got ashore dry. I've come to enjoy Beach Church and this morning was no exception. I got to say hello to a couple from MA that keep their boat in Warwick Cove.
  • I departed in time to get over to Exuma Market before it closed at 1100 and I was the last customer admitted to the store. I didn't need much just some flour. I filled 2 water jerrycans and then headed back. The winds began to lie down as promised so it was a dry ride back.
  • I was scheduled to participate in the dinghy scavenger hunt today but arrived at Volleyball Beach just on time to find out the teams got rearranged. A story here; some insights into people…
  • I decided to bag it and picked up some internet "tickets" at St. Francis before returning to Onward. I spent a very pleasant afternoon reading "Turning the Tide", the story of Carlos Lehder the cocaine trafficker and the rise and fall of his "empire" during the 1978-1982 period on Norman's Cay in the N Exumas. Norman's is a beautiful place but only a shadow of what it had been and was becoming before the druggies moved in. It apparently has been in stasis since the downfall of Lehder. There is Norman's Cay Beach Club, aka, Mac Duff's where I enjoy stopping for lunch or dinner but the marina, hotel, residences -- all the property taken over by Lehder is mostly in ruins. The book was quite a good read. I learned that the cay was named for an 18th century buccaneer who operated out of it. Its northern lagoon which has a narrow opening to the E and the ocean, is apparently the mating ground of hammerhead sharks every April. I'll remember not to vista then. When I explored the E side of the cay with Ed and Tina Burke, I considered it one of the most beautiful beaches I'd ever been on.
  • I cooked myself a healthy and hardy dinner of lean sirloin steak chunks sautéed in my small cast-iron skillet along with steamed snow peas and mashed potatoes. Delish. Then I went to bed early and finished reading the book.

5 Mar 12; Monday;
  • At 0130 the winds clocked around to the NE and picked up to sustained 25 kts with gusts into the 30s. Thus a week of high NE winds is upon us. I added chaffing protection to my anchor bridle yesterday afternoon. Onward rode well through the night. Today I will prepare my secondary anchor to me launched quickly and I will also rig my 3rd anchor for emergency use. The next 3 days promise to be the worst weather I've experienced in the Bahamas with steady high winds and the potential for a lot of squalls. I plan to use this time to discipline myself to work on all those tasks I've been having too much fun to do before. We'll see.
  • In the afternoon, I went onto the foredeck to check the anchor and bridle. The chafing protection I put on yesterday seems to be doing well. Then I reorganized the stuff I've got stored up there to make sure my secondary anchor rode could run free in an emergency and in the dark. That done, I decided to run out some of the secondary chain and there I got a surprise. In the summer of 2010, I replaced my original chain for new chain because the first 100' had gotten very rusty. I took the remaining 200' which was in pretty good shape and put it on the secondary anchor. This chain has been laying in the locker unused since then. Today I found a number of sections where links had so rusted together that I had to beat on them before they would move freely. I ran about 60' of chain back and forth through the windlass to make sure it would run freely if I had to deploy it in the next few days when squalls with winds to > 40kts are a possibility.
  • That done and the galley cleaned up, I rewarded myself with reading the section of "The Cocaine Wars" a book that deals with drug running in the Bahamas. During the 1975 to 1985 period, the amount of drug running through the Bahamas was astonishing. I'd heard a lot of stories and gotten clues that it was substantial but I really had not grasped the full extent. The extent to which the government -- from the Prime Minister to the police were corrupted and on the take is even more astonishing. And the drug money was so plentiful it was spread down to the lowest levels of society -- with all kinds of people getting a cut to look the other way. It was not unusual to have the local police working directly for the drug runners in the transshipment process. Now I finally know why there are so many large houses that were built in that era that were never completed and sit as derelicts: the huge amount of $ that floated around for almost anyone to grab suddenly dried up when the US finally got the Bahamian government to clean up its act. Now, I know a lot of really wonderful and decent Bahamians and when I've asked about all these derelict homes from the early 80's -- they "know nothing". Ah well.
  • I cooked myself another nutritious dinner: grilled chicken, green pepper, onion and snow peas medley, and mashed potatoes with a salad. Delish.

6 Mar 12; Tuesday;
  • The morning dawned sunny with winds in excess of 25 kts and climbing. Max recorded was ~39 kts. I made some pizza dough then spent the rest of the morning trying to get my backlog of emails organized. After lunch I relaxed in the cockpit as the winds continued to howell. The couple on the catamaran, Double Diamond, that has been anchored nearby for the last week called me on the VHF and invited me to dinner. This was just after I'd decided not to try to get into the St. Francis for the Texas Hold'em game which was moved to the afternoon. The wind had clocked ~20º and I was checking the chartplotter to be sure the anchor was still in the same place. Once I verified the anchor was holding, I figured I could dinghy the 100 m or so to Double Diamond so I accepted.
  • Having a social engagement to meet motivated me to do a couple of chores I'd kept putting off. Then, showered and garbed in a bathing suit and T, I headed over for dinner and was quite wet from blown spray by the time I got there. Judy and Andy helped me aboard and Judy gave me a dry T-shirt -- something much appreciated and something I should have thought to take along. It turns out they are from RI and have a house on the water on Warwick Neck! Andy and I lived within a quarter mile of each other in the Dean Estates / Woodridge area of Cranston as teens. They keep their cat at Nortons and we had most likely seen each other sailing many times the last few summers. What a small world! We enjoyed some Manhattans, good fellowship, and a delicious dinner over a bottle of wine I took along. I was able to get back to Onward safely if wet. Once I'd dripped off, I just climbed into the shower to rinse me and my clothes of salt water. A good night's sleep ensued.

7 Mar 12; Wednesday
  • Another sunny but very windy day with winds 20 - 25 kts most of the day. In the afternoon, I Ventured ashore to N Sand Dollar Beach for the Barracuda Golf Classic - a beach golf game. Due to the high winds, the venue was moved from the ocean side with its wide sandy beach to the banks side where the beach is much narrower. The nine-hole course was laid out so that we could play in the wind direction. I haven't touched a golf club since before I retired. I managed to find a pitching wedge among the clubs provided. Much to my amazement, I managed to keep the ball in the narrow fairway and only one shot rolled down the beach and into the water. Of course, some of my best shots (well hit) came when they shouldn't have… Ah well, it was fun.
  • I received an email from Jim Wohlleber telling me I had a tech article due for Catalina's Mainsheet magazine in 2 days! Jim has just sold his C470, Beckoning, and consequently relinquished his position as "Technical Editor" for the C470 section of this quarterly magazine. Jim had put the arm on me to write a couple of articles before. But, sometime in the last month when I wasn't looking, he managed to get me "appointed" -- and I found out too late to say no!

8 Mar 12; Thursday
  • Wind continued at ~ 25 kts from ESE and I spent most of the day aboard. I spoke by satphone with Jim Wohlleber. He sounded much better than the last time we talked after his cancer operation. Today we also chatted about the article I "owed". Given the nonexistent lead time, I decided to write an article I'd thought about doing before on things I'd done to increase and improve storage on Onward. So I spent a few hours today knocking out a first draft.
  • About 1600, I donned my rain suit over my shorts & polo and Ventured in to the St. Francis to play in the Texas Hold'em Tournament. Last year, I played for the first time and lasted to the last four - just out of the running for the 3 cash prizes. This year, I ran into a couple of hot hands that kept me from progressing beyond the first table. In any case, I had fun.

9 Mar 12; Friday
  • The winds abated to < 15 in the morning. What a nice change. I went in and had lunch at the St. Francis and then went over to the Arts & Crafts Show on Volleyball Beach. Early this morning, I decided to exhibit two of my watercolor masterpieces ;) Opus 5 and Opus 7. So, I made mats out of pieces of heavy watercolor paper and then put plastic sleeves over them. I joked with Toby, the organizer of the show, that I'd entered them to provide comic relief. A number of the participants in the Art on the Beach group participated and I was impressed with their work. A woman I had met at a Sundowner who was also exhibiting and several other fellow artists had some kind remarks about my pieces.
  • There was also a sand sculpture contest with 6 teams competing -- several with young children involved. The results were quite impressive.
  • Next came the Awards Ceremony to end the Cruising Regatta. To our surprise, we found that Walkabout had won 3rd place in class for the Around Stocking Island Race - Neat. The awards were followed by the closing dance. By this time, my back and left hip were bothering me enough that I left early to give it a rest and get some acetaminophen.
  • I finished the first go at the Mainsheet article. I exchanged emails with Julie Olson who is the Associate Editor for the C470 section and told her of the topic I was working on.

10 Mar 12; Saturday
  • A busy day running cruising errands. I was off to town at 0730 to take advantage of the calm and to be first in line at the laundry. This was the first time I'd used the Corner Laundromat and by the time I'd figured what washers were available, they were all gone even though I'd been first in the door! A woman took pity on me and was going to allow me to use one of the 3 washers she had commandeered when the operator let me use one of he big commercial units. I then met Lee, the owner, and got her to pose for a picture for me to put on the BCG. I then arranged for her to dry and fold the clothes while I ran other errands.
  • I then filled my water jerrycans. did a trash run to the dumpster, got a cup of coffee at the Driftwood Cafe. I then bought new U bolts for Venture to replace the current ones which are too short for their new, lower, location. The new ones will allow me to seal around them better. I got gas for the outboard. I also bought and filled a new 1 gal gasoline jug. I got this to be able to take it along in the dinghy when the fuel level in the main tank has gotten so low that I'm a bit worried about it. Now I can have a separate emergency tank to take along.
  • After buying some vegetables and picking up my nice clean, no-longer-salty clothes I stowed them aboard Venture, I then stopped by Julian's barbecue stand and got an order of ribs for lunch. He told me his business has increased since I added a photo of his business to the BCG. Neat. I bought a beer and wandered over to the pier near Regatta Park where I met "Buzzy" Rolle - the local driving forces behind the big National Family Island Regatta to be held here in April. I got a picture of him and his young son with the new racing sloop he'd built.
  • After lunch, I found that Ingo and Jeri May had sailed Ladyhawke into the harbor and were anchored near Onward. I made arrangements with a taxi to pick up Jeri and take her to the airport to greet daughter Sarah when she arrived. A bit of grocery shopping and then it was back to Onward.
  • I stopped for a few minutes to say hello to Jeri and Ingo who were busy getting Ladyhawke settled. Later, before going into town to get Sara, Ingo stopped by to drop off my mail he'd been hauling around for a couple of months. I made taco/burritos for dinner: I prepared ground beef, onions, peppers, taco mix and then added to it a batch of Zatarain's Red Beans & Rice. Delish.
  • I found out that JoAnne had taken advantage of the 24 hr weather window and sailed Walkabout N to the central Exumas this week to be with the Vision Quests and Frauleins for a bit before she returns to George Town.
  • I sent Julie a first draft and she suggested making it a two part article.

11 Mar 12; Sunday
  • A beautiful sunny day dawned an hour later due to switch to daylight savings time. I'm really happy to have an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day from now on! Of course, my body now has to adjust and set up a new circadian rhythm. But… I'll take it.
  • I again went to Beach Church which I have come to really look forward to. I great bunch of people engaged in very relaxed and simple worship together -- a great way to start the week. This is one of the benefits of staying in place for as long as I have this year.
  • I joined Ingo, Jeri, and Sarah May at Chat 'n' Chill for the Sunday pig roast. We had a great time enjoy a good dinner on a picnic table on the beach. I then returned to Onward where I continued to work on the C470 Mainsheet article and got the first draft done.
  • The Ladyhawkes joined me for a pizza dinner. We sat around and caught up on a lot of years. Since I took delivery of Onward in 2003, we had been unsuccessful in managing to get our boats in the same anchorage so we could just hang out. There were many times when we passed each other, literally, as we entered or exited one anchorage or another along the E coast managing a short chat from the side decks as we passed by.

12 Mar 12; Monday
  • A frontal trough passed over the area today bringing one of the most miserable days I've yet to experience in the Bahamas with overcast all day and a continuous chain of intermittent squalls. I planned to catch up on computer work. However this didn't quite happen as I managed to loose several days work in my websites due to a power failure. That bummed me out and my motivation went to zero. I finally got on track in late afternoon and accomplished a bit. I got my first article as C470 "Tech Editor" off to the editor.
  • I took the water taxi into town last night with the Ladyhawkes and we went to Eddie's Edgewater for a delicious dinner (I had broiled grouper). We then enjoyed the Rake 'n' Scrape live music session. I've finally gotten smart and started wearing my rain pants and jacket when using Venture when the wind is up. This keeps me dry especially in the last 50' to Onward where rogue waves ALWAYS crop up and soak me even though I usually have managed to stay dry that far.

13 Mar 12; Tuesday;
  • Today was Art on the Beach day. I went in even though the sky looked threatening just to keep up the discipline I'd begun. As today was also the wrap-up day for this year's Regatta Committee and the start of next year's, many of the usual group were tied up in meetings. So at first it was just me, and then a woman joined me and and another came to just look. Then, Wright from SV Raven stopped by and started talking to us. It turns out that he is a very accomplished watercolorist. After talking a bit, he showed me a couple of photos of his work he happen to have on his phone -- they were gallery / museum quality! He agreed to come in at the next meeting on Friday and give the group a demonstration of the techniques he uses. Neat!
  • Back aboard Onward, I turned my C470 tech article into a two part piece and expanded it a bit to cover a couple of new items. I've done so many things to Onward that I'd forgotten some! I spent a quiet day writing and reading.

14 Mar 12; Wednesday;
  • Today was a nice sunny day -- good for photography. So I went about taking photos to illustrate all the modifications I have made to Onward to improve storage and livability. Of course, many of these photos required me to empty lockers or move stuff around so that by the end of the day, Onward was a mess from bow to stern. I edited the photos for publication and then called it quits. The mess would have to be dealt with another day.
  • I took a break to make a run to town to get RO water. On the way back, I encountered Buzzy Rolle's new sloop in Kidd Cove under sail for the first time. These sloops have such huge masts, booms and sails, it is amazing they stay upright. In strong winds close hauled, there are two "prys" 2" x 10" long boards that crew crawl out on to provide moving ballast.

Buzzy's New Sloop Under Sail

  • Hugh, the captain of Patience, the boat JoAnne and I had helped get off the rocks, gave a concert on the deck at Chat 'n' Chill this evening. He is quite a talented musician playing an acoustic guitar and a number of mouth harps. It was a great 2 hours of music with a beautiful sunset to to it off.
  • While at the concert, Ingo introduced me to Mike, the captain of a new Beneteau "Sense 50" sloop that had recently come in. The owner is Alexandra, a woman from VA who had Mike and his girlfriend Courtney aboard as crew for a cruise to the Bahamas. They invited me over for a drink after the concert. The boat design is ultra modern with a broad open-stern cockpit and a hugh open and airy salon. It has a number of automated systems including computer-controlled sail drive propulsion that are having growing pains. I had a nice time chatting with Alex and was impressed with her making the decision to buy a boat like this. A wonderful chicken-caesar salad dinner ensued prepared by Mike and Courtney. Truth be told, there may have been too many good drinks, too.

15 Mar 12; Thursday

  • My body has not yet adjusted to the time change. Well, maybe one drink too many last night may have played a role. In any case this was a late rising morning for me.
  • I managed to get the Mainsheet article and the photos emailed off to Julie before the wifi system got bogged down.
  • I forced myself to go in to do Yoga on the Beach. Since I hurt my back a couple of weeks ago, The initial lower back pain and pinched nerve in my left leg have slowly gotten better. However, out of the blue, over the last several days a sharp excruciating pain has developed in my left hip joint. With some motions, the pain is so acute I loose strength in that leg. This is not a good thing being alone on a sailboat. I have coped by being very careful about moving around. Thankfully, it doesn't bother me in straightforward walking or climbing. Strange. It actually bothers me most while sleeping where it has been difficult to find a position that doesn't cause the pain to bloom after a bit. In doing yoga, there were a number of positions which stimulated this pain syndrome. Although I quickly stopped trying to do them, by the end of the morning my hip was not a happy camper. I made a run into town to get water and the bouncing across the harbor didn't help thing.
  • I spent the rest of the day lying quietly in the sunny cockpit reading a book on parenting adults. I am looking for insights in how to develop improved interaction skills with Joahna, my middle child. While my interaction with my three children is good and I delight in them, my relationship with Joahna is a challenge while that with her sibs is relaxed and easy. Sooo, i'm reading this book which is quite good as it describes just how complex being a parent to adults is in today's world.
  • I invited the Ladyhawkes over for dinner but they wanted to have a quiet night aboard before Sarah had to fly home in the morning. Ingo came over and we had a nice cocktail hour together. In talking about my leg problem, I had been looking at it as sudden onset of arthritis or such. Ingo suggested it was more likely an inflamed nerve or muscle in the joint area. Later that evening, based on this discussion, I decided to take a Meloxicam, a strong NSAID -- anti-inflammatory drug that is a safe version of Viox, which used to make my back pains go away with only one tablet years ago before being taken off the market. Within an hour or so of taking the med, I began to feel relief in my hip!

16 Mar 12; Friday
  • At 0900 I Ventured into St. Francis for today's meeting of the Art on the Beach group. Wright Massy from Raven, whom I'd met on the beach on Tuesday gave a demonstration of his watercolor painting technique. What followed was an amazing 2 hours. Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to charge my new camera's battery that morning so I was able to take video of most of the demonstration. He works with washes and with almost reckless abandon. But his eye for the details of color or shading that brings a painting alive was amazing. It became evident to me that my own technique is too anal retentive. At the end of the session he showed us several of what he considers "throw-aways", paintings he doesn't like and saves only to be able to paint on the reverse of the 300-lb paper they are on. I only wish I had the presence of mind to ask for one of his throw aways.

Wright & His Painting

The Painting



  • After the demonstration, I bought Wright a beer and we sat and talked on the deck. He is quite an interesting person. He single hands his Bristol 48, Raven. He is a trained architect and designer. He designed and engineered the Coco Cola sign in Times Square. He also worked to develop the store image for Starbucks and several other well known business.
  • I went into town to get water and do a bit of shopping in preparation of the possible Rally to Long Island tomorrow. The annual Music & Heritage festival was set up in Regatta Park and I went there to sample the food on offer. I ended up having a lightly fried red snapper (whole). Delish. I came across a compilation of music of the Bahamas put together by Erick Minns, a local resident. I bought a copy for my son Joseph and Eric autographed it and posed for a photo.


Music & Heritage Festival Grounds

Eric Minns & Bahamian Music Book.

  • The Ladyhawkes invited me to dinner and I had a delightful meal of grilled salmon and an even more delightful chat with Ingo and Jeri.

17 Mar 12; Saturday; George Town to Thompson Bay

  • I was up before 0500 to put Onward back into sailing shape - finally getting the energy to put away all the stuff I'd torn out to take the photos. Winds were E @ 15-18 as I raised anchor ago 0900. I quickly deployed the genoa and found that I would be able to make good speed sailing S out of the harbor on it alone. I decided to take it easy as the Ladyhawkes had got their toes caught in the sheets and were not stirring yet. The Rally was going to follow the standard course / waypoint set to Thompson Bay. The race was set up from the White Cay waypoint to a finish line in Thompson Bay just E of the Indian Hole Point waypoint which was marked by a motor yacht at each end. The exit through the S cut was lumpy with the E wind agains an outgoing tide. I had to power into the wind and lumpy seas for this section but was able to sail the balance of the time to the starting point of the race using just the genoa - and still passing some of the smaller boats. About 5 nm from the starting waypoint, Ladyhawke under full sail caught up with me. I continued under genoa alone for a while and then deployed a reefed main. About 3 nm from the start, I decided to deploy the full main -- only to find out that I couldn't as something seemed to be stuck. Thankfully I was patient and didn't try to overpower whatever it was with the electric winch. I eventually discovered that during he high winds of a few days ago, the end of the port spreader flag halyard had gotten loose. The wind coming over the port side had carried it into the furler line/screw area and it was getting wrapped in the mandrel and seizing it up. I had to power up and a bit into the wind, don my PFD/harness, clip on to the jack line and go forward to the mast to correct the problem.
  • We had originally thought that we would have to power the leg up to the starting point but the wind shifted to the N just enough so that it was a very close reach - almost hard on the wind. It was a timed race where each boat got a starting time (from gps time) as thy crossed the waypoint. Onward was pretty much alone as it crossed the start and reached off a bit to starboard to head to Indian Hole Point. What a fantastic day of sailing. Wiinds were steady at ~18 to 20 kts apparent and an apparent wind angle of about 60º. Onward reveled in the conditions and managed to pass a couple of boats that had started well ahead of her. As the finish approached, wind conditions got fluky as some squalls were in the area. At this point, sailing Onward singlehanded showed the real challenge: i really needed to hand steer through the gusts but at the same time needed to play the traveler to reduce the weather helm in the gusts. Since I couldn't do both, I tried to reach a compromise. Once passed the Indian Hole Point waypoint, I had to continue on far enough to be able to go on to starboard tack to lay the finish line. Of course the autopilot (or, more likely, its operator) tacked and then went to standby so I had to scramble to get back on course but easily made the finish. A great race. AND I didn't break anything on the boat or the captain! Although my back got a good workout on that tack.
  • With the race finished, I found a lot of loose stuff lying around the cabin sole but I elected to nap in the sun instead of cleaning up. At 1700, the rally members met on the beach for a sundowner and I got to meet a number of my fellow racers. I was invited over to French Kiss for dinner where I had a great meal prepared by Courtney and Mike and spent a pleasant evening chatting with Alex.

18 Mar 12; Sunday; Thompson Bay
  • A relaxing morning. I heard a couple of cruising buddies on the VHF: Bruce on Zyngara and Steve on Fine Lion. While trying to reach Steve, I was contacted by Alato while anchored at the NW point of Long Island in Joe's Sound. This is supposed to be a nice anchorage. However the entrance is narrow and curvaceous -- not the kind of place that I'd take Onward into without local knowledge and preferably a boat to follow. Alato said the controlling depth was 7' which doesn't sound too bad under the right conditions. I asked them to send me some waypoints for the entrance.
  • At 1230, I Ventured ashore to the beach and met the Ladyhawkes there. A short walk later we were at the Thompson Bay Inn run by the inimitable Tryphene. A Bahamian food buffet lunch was arranged for the Rally participants and about 60 cruisers showed up. I walked back to the kitchen to say hello to Tryphene and received a big hug. She got a real kick out seeing her photograph on the BCG website. A nice afternoon of good food and good fellowship followed. On my return to Onward, I took a nice nap in the sun and then spent a relaxing evening reading.

19 Mar 12; Monday
  • I spent the morning backing up my MacBook and organizing files while I ran the genet to heat water. Then it was time to defrost the freezer. I don't mind doing this job. The difficult part is taking all the food out and repacking it. I don't have enough hands as I need another pair to updated the freezer inventory while I try to do the job quickly so nothing thaws out.
  • That done, I made lunch and read in the cockpit before engaging in a post-prandial somnolence.
  • Tonight was the Rally dinner, dance, and awards ceremony at Long Island Breeze. The festivities started off with a cocktail party on their pool deck overlooking the harbor. Race awards were given after dinner. Onward won an award! They used PHRF ratings for corrected times. I'm not sure what Onward's was but I think it is based on results for lightly loaded "harbor boats" -- a far cry from the massive amount of equipment and stores I carry. I am just happy I was able to complete the race without hurting Onward or myself. During the dance that followed, Courtney from French Kiss ended up in the pool along with another young woman friend. I was tempted myself.

20 Mar 12; Tuesday

  • Ingo and Jeri rented a car and I joined them for a trek S. We decided to head all the way to the S tip of Long Island which I had not seen before. The road ended on the SW tip at a beautiful beach. While walking the beach, I discovered what I thought was an archeological find - a huge fossil conch that was 18" high. After working a bit I was able to dig it free of the sand -- only to find out it was a manmade anchor made of rocks cemented around a piece of rebar. It had eroded in a way to look like the spiral of a huge conch. Ah well, and I'd been reading the paper I had planned to write about the "find".
  • Next we headed N and decided to take a look at "Little Harbor" - a small harbor on the SE side that can be used as a refuge from W winds. It was a good thing Jeri was driving an SUV because the road was notional at best. I'd forgotten to take my handheld gps so we tried to navigate with the Explorer chart for the area. Unfortunately ground truth did not agree with the chart. I probably would have turned around earlier but Jeri was undaunted by the rough road. After a long rough rjde we ended up at what we believed to be Little Harbor. On looking at the harbor and the cut to get into it, I decided I'd never try to use it. However, we did find a good selection of sea beans and I found another hamburger bean! As we returned, we "discovered" a road we'd missed on the way in. It took us to the "real" Little Harbor which lay N of where we'd gone originally. This harbor was much larger and deeper with a much better cut. However, we found the remains of a large fishing boat, a ~45' sail boat and 2 runabouts wrecked on the shore. Not a high recommendation in my book.

  • We headed N to Clarence Town. We found the Forest Restaurant has been closed - the place where Skip Hardy found the best cheeseburger in the Bahamas.
  • We went to Sts Peter & Paul Catholic Church. We were greeted by Father Grant a the local priest who is on a sabattical from RI. In fact he knows a number of Rocchios there. With his OK we climbed up into one of the towers of the church - a tight fit at the top where we had a spectacular view.

  • We ended up stopping for lunch - which turned into dinner as it was so late, at Rowdy Boys Bar & Grill. This is located in the Winter Haven resort across from the marina. I'd noticed it on the last several visits but it didn't look like it was open. It turned out to be a great place where we had a good dinner in the waterfront restaurant. After dinner I got to talk with the grandson of the founder of the National Family Island Regatta as he worked on a Class A sloop that had received minor damage from Irene. It was next to a Class B sloop - a class I'd not seen before.

  • On the way back to Salt Ponds, we stopped a Dean's Blue Hole. Jeri was content to just look without snorkeling.

21 Mar 12; Wednesday

  • This morning we headed N with the car. We stopped at the Beach Bungalows beach bar for drinks. I got to talk to the owner again and he told me they had installed moorings so it might be a nice place to visit when sailing by to and from Thompson Bay. We then went N to take a look at Stella Maris Marina. Then we headed for the road to the Adderly's Plantation ruins. This is the road the Frauleins and Vision Quests had started down and then given up on when it got rough. Given Jeri's prowess at driving rough roads demonstrated yesterday and armed with the information I'd since learned from a local that there really were extensive ruins there, we headed in and drove until the road ended on the beach. At this point we could see the ruins perched on a rise just to the NE. I walked N along the beach and found the remnants of a stone wall and on its other side a trail to the ruins. This is the largest and most intact set of plantation ruins I have seen in the Bahamas. The plantation was established in 1795 on 2500 acres. It passed out of the original owner's family hand to that of its overseer. It continued in operation in some fashion until 1927 when a hurricane destroyed it. The tract of land was eventually sold to German industrialist who eventually established Stella Maris Resort.

  • We next headed to Stella Maris Resort Moonshine Beach Bar where we had a great lunch and drinks. We then explored the N tip of the island before heading back to the S where we had made reservations for dinner at Chez Pierre. Jill from Eairendel who had accompanied us tried to reach Bud aboard the boat so we could arrange a ride for him to Chez Pierre. It turned out he'd just overturned his dinghy and been rescued by several boaters. So we ended up taking Jill to the beach where another boater picked her up and took her back to the boat.
  • We went on to Chez Pierre's and were joined by 6 others from French Kiss, Second Chance. A very nice dinner ensued.

22 Mar 12; Thursday; Thompson Bay to Calabash Bay

  • Long Island Breeze has been having problems getting water. Mike & built the resort with assurances that the public water line would be extended a few hundred yards to service it. A decade later, this still hasn't happened and to complicate things, a new higher capacity water storage unit has been causing the existing pipes to fail due to its higher pressure. So, they haven't been able to get a truck load of water. Today they got enough to be able to allow laundry for the first time in a week. I managed to get an early spot in the cue to find only the single industrial front-load washer could be used as it uses half the water of the top-loads. So, I sat in the bar and caught up on some internet work and had lunch. By 1300 the laundry was done and I did a bit of shopping before heading back to Onward.
  • Ladyhawke decided to spend another day here while French Kiss had left to go to Calabash Bay. The three boats had planned to go to Conception Island together. So, I decided to follow French Kiss and Ladyhawke intended to sail directly to Conception tomorrow. Onward was underway at 1415 and took advantage at the ~15 kt E winds to have a nice broad / beam reach up the W coast of Long Island.
  • Along the way, I tried to reach French Kiss by VHF but they were apparently having problems with it and had a very limited range. A bit later, i picked up their AIS signal and saw they had headed E instead of taking the normal course to Calabash Bay which takes you through a shallow area that is no problem to transit. Apparently Mike was trying to sail around it. I tried to get him on VHF and cell phone to tell him that there was no good route that way without going all the way back to Pigeon Cay. A later got a cell call from them saying that they had run into shallow sand waves and couldn't find a path N. Due to chartplotter problems they decided to head back to George Town as they were more than half way there.
  • I pressed on to Calabash Bay and found Second Chance with Jon and Mindy there. After anchoring, Jon called to say they were headed to the Exumas in the morning. So I decided to hang out until Ladyhawke showed up on Friday.
  • On the trip up, I got a VHF call from Alato which was anchored in Joe's Sound. They invited me to stop by on Friday.

23 Mar 12; Friday; Calabash Bay
  • I made dough for pepper biscotti and sour dough bread. The I worked on a mounting strut for my portable depth sounder so I can use it while underway in Venture. Once that was done, I set out with depth sounder and portable GPS to explore the entrance to Joe's Sound. The channel is very narrow, < 40' and shallow with sand on the N side and rocks on the S. At 1230 - 1300 hrs, I found a minimum of ~6.2 '. However, given the narrow sweet spot in the channel, I would probably want to enter or exit only at slack high tide to get additional water depth and avoid being swept onto the rocks by a current. Once inside the channel is reasonably broad and carries > 6.5' well E. I found 2 sailboats, 3 powerboats, a houseboat, and a fishing boat all anchored with good room.
  • I stopped to visit with Mort and Fran on Alato. i met them last year at Treasure Cay when I was there with Moondance. Fran kindly prepared me a delicious lunch of salad with beans as I'd not realized it was lunch time when I headed out. We had a nice visit. Mort is a very experienced diver and he told me how he had gotten drafted by Overseas Salvage (based out of Staniel Cay) to assist in the salvage of a brand new 125' aluminum super yacht that was wrecked when its owner hit the reef at the entrance to Lyford Cay Yacht Club on SW New Providence. It was on its maiden voyage and delivery to the owner's estate at Lyford Cay. It was a total loss because adverse seas ground it apart on the reef to the point it had to be striped and removed in pieces. Soon after finishing the story, Mort saw a sloop sailing by Hog Cay. I got on the VHF and found it was Ladyhawke. I said my goodbyes then and headed back to Onward.
  • Onward had been alone in the anchorage and by the end of the day there were seven other vessels there. One was Manatee, a boat that had been at Salt Ponds. I had met Evelyne while doing laundry yesterday and they waved me over to say hi. The Ladyhawkes went off to explore the bay and Cape Santa Maria. I relaxed aboard, cleaned up, read and prepared dinner. The Ladyhawkes and Manatees, Rod and Eveline, joined me for dinner. I baked some focaccia for appetizer and grilled a pork roast and served it with quinoa pasta with olive oil, garlic and broccoli flowers. With red wine flowing and dark chocolate for dessert, a great time was had by all.

24 Mar 12; Saturday; Calabash Bay to Conception
  • Today was pepper biscotti baking day and I got a new batch baked while I organized Onward to sail on.
  • At 1000 Onward weighed anchor and set off for Conception with Ladyhawke. Winds were WSW at ~10-15 kts. I felt lazy so it was a combination of motorsail and sailing using just the genoa. It was a beautiful day and sail with the 4' to 5' gentle swells. As Onward pulled into the anchorage, I received a VHF call from Odysseus alerting me to a sundowner planned for that evening. Ladyhawke sailed in and anchored nearby. Ingo & Jeri went off in their dinghy to explore the N reef and I took a very nice nap in the sun.
  • I rode into shore with Ingo and Jeri. On shore we met Bert and Pru from Exuberance. Bert had put together the spreadsheet used to organize and score the Rally race results. The Odysseuses, Paul & Carol, next arrived. Soon we had the crews of all the sailing vessels in the anchorage assembled for the party. One was Umido with Pierre-Yves and his wife. Pierre-Yves had been the only other guy doing yoga on the beach with me back in George Town before I departed. His wife does Tai Chi and promised to tutor me the next time we are together. A vessel, Duale, from Italy with four men aboard (Francesco, Roberto, Marko, Alberto) also joined us. They have been sailing the Bahamas for a year or so after crossing over with the ARC and planned to return to Italy shortly. They made a bit of a stir with the women (receiving "10" ratings) as they were all "dressed" in just their speedos. I learned from the women that it was OK for a guy to wear a speedo outside of the US. I asked the women exactly what the attraction of our four Italian friends was and learned it was a combination of their speedos and their good abs - lack of a beer gut. Perhaps the way they "filled out" those speedos had some effect on the rating??? (the women were reticent on this aspect). In any case, I guess I'll have to work harder on the abs part…

25 Mar 12; Sunday; Conception to Cat Cay; Old Bight
  • Today was almond biscotti day. I have come to really enjoy these biscotti. The fact that I have adjusted the recipe to use olive oil instead of butter and Spleda instead of sugar plus 2/3 whole wheat flour makes me feel better about eating them. I've baked them more this year than previously and as a result have run short of sliced almonds. When i tried to buy them here, I found they were $7 for 1/4 cup! As there recipe calls for a 1.5 cups - I limited my purchase to one bag - for a touch of almond. Thankfully I have a lot of walnuts. Next year I will remember to stock 2 large bags of sliced almonds.
  • At 0830, the Ladyhawkes fetched me in their dinghy to make the trip S and into the salina to explore the steams and inlets. It was overcast and not a pleasant way to start especially with the wind to the SSE on on our nose as we headed S. I brought along almond biscotti for Ingo & Jeri and received some chocolate cookies in return. Along the way the painter got loose and stalled the engine. The exuberant seas and the lack of sun made the entrance into the salina a challenge. I was giving steering instructions to Ingo and as we were making the dash to the entrance cut, he turned too late and we went over one of the shallower spots in the trough of a wave and stalled out the engine. After getting it started we headed inside. I had to steer by memory because of the overcast. We clipped the edge of a sandbar and the engine stalled again. Then we discovered the tilt lever was jammed and wouldn't allow the engine to tilt up. We jumped out of the dinghy in the shallows and were able to diagnose and fix the problem. I found one of the retaining springs had jumped our of place and was preventing the tilt arm from going into its slot. The sun came out and totally changed the character of the day. We had a great time exploring the salina at just before high tide and we saw more turtles than I'd ever seen before.
  • We returned to the boats and were underway by 1030. The Umedos had accompanied us on the trip into the salina. They planed to head further S so decided to stay at Conception. They were trying to decide if and when they should move to the E side of the island to shelter from the W winds of the coming cold front. So, while underway, I radioed back the forecast wind conditions from my Sirius weather system. The winds were forecast to stay in the SSE to SSW overnight so I think they stayed in the NW anchorage. While in transit, I talked to Fine Lion and learned they were going to spend the night at Old Bight vs New Bight which is 4 nm N because with wind predicted to stay in the SSE to SSW overnight there was less scope for waves to build up at the Old Bight anchorage. I hadn't considered this and on looking it over it seemed like a good idea. I discussed it with the Ladyhawkes who later agreed.
  • I sailed Onward in under genoa alone and then rounded up and anchored without having to restart the engine. Fun. After getting Venture down, the water looked so inviting that I went for a refreshing swim in my skinsuit -- something I will really miss being able to do at will when I am back in America. The Ladyhawkes invited me over for dinner and Jeri made a delicious caesar salad with fish. It was a perfect way to end a beautiful day.

26 Mar 12; Monday; Cat Island; Old Bight to New Bight
  • The winds stayed in the S all night but didn't get up to the forecast 20 kts+. In the morning, the winds started clocking to the W. So about 1000, we weighted anchor and moved 4 nm N to tuck in to the shore and the lee of Bonefish Pt. in preparation for the winds moving into the NW and N. With the winds clocking and picking up to 15 +, it was a good afternoon to stay aboard and read. I finished reading the book on parenting adults and spent some time thinking about it.

27 Mar 12; Tuesday; New Bight
  • I spent the morning writing a letter to my children about what I had leaned from the book I had just finished that described the changing roles and the ensuing relationship challenges experienced by parents and children as they both mature. I really love and like my children; they are the jewels of my life and our relationship is good. I learned from reading that maintaining and improving the relationships will take a lot of communication and listening as our lives grow ever more complex.
  • In late morning, I launched Venture and picked up Ingo & Jeri and headed ashore. First item on our agenda was a visit to the Blue Bird for lunch. I was greeted by two of the three sisters, Grace & Nica, with a hug. We had a wonderful lunch of boneless chicken breasts in a light spicy sauce. The beans in rice were light and subtly tasty - the best I've had in the Bahamas. Delish. Coming here to just talk with the sisters is worth the trip.
  • After lunch we looked at the ruins of the Armbrister ruins across the street. Then we hiked up the hill to Mount Alvernia and Father Jerome's one- man monastery. In spite of having visited here twice before, I am still amazed at Father Jerome's skill in designing and building his retirement home so that it looks like it is many times its real size -- a ruse that is maintained from the beach to within 100' of the building! He was an amazing man who led an very varied life. It would be great if someone wrote a biography. His presences is still felt here.
  • On the way back to the beach, we passed several areas where someone has hacked off the tops of the shrubs and small trees at chest height. Then then burned off the vegetation leaving a stand of small trunks standing. Apparently, the add commercial fertilizer to the soil around the base of the trunks and plant vine vegetables that then use the trunks for support.
  • Once back on the beach, I heard a VHF call from Miles aboard Ariel who was sailing into the anchorage. By the time I had relaunched Venture, Ariel was anchored so after bringing the Ladyhawkes home, I popped over to say hello. We had a nice reunion and I invited them aboard Onward for dinner.
  • The Ariels and the Ladyhawkes had a good time together as we all shared cocktail hour. Then I served dinner: spinach fettuchini, chicken parmesan and eggplant parmesan. Delish!
28 Mar 12; Wednesday; New Bight
  • Miles arranged for a rental car at 1100. I picked up the Ladyhawkes and headed in to join the Ariels on a car tour to the N. The first step was to visit Fernandez Bay Resort where we had a very tasty and relaxing lunch. We then headed N. As the road is close to the shore, the damage done by Irene was quite evident. As the storm came up Exuma Sound, it apparently slowed down as it was around Cat I giving the wind and water more time to do damage. About 5 nm S of the N tip of the island, we found a road to go E toward the ocean beach. Miles was a bit put off by the road and the CRV's ability to navigate it but with encouragement from Jeri, we got to the beach. It is amazing that the entire E side of this island is empty! The beach in spite of being on the E side and off the track for expiration by boaters was amazingly devoid of sea beans. I managed to find a heart bean while Jeri had the find of the day a nice hamburger bean.

29 Mar 12; Thursday; New Bight to Fernandez Bay, Cat I
  • By 0730, I was ready to move so I weighed anchor and headed for Fernandez Bay where we had made dinner reservations for Friday night. The Ladyhawkes and Ariels were still sleeping. I motored slowly towing Venture through water that was like glass because it was so calm; I could see every ripple in the sandy bottom. Along the way, I remarked the anchor rode as all the use thus far had shaved off the wire ties and ripstop nylon I use to mark every 10' to make it easy to set and retrieve the chain while at the helm station.
  • By 0930 Onward had made the transit around Bonefish Pt and was settled in Fernandez Bay. Ariel came in a few minutes later and rafted up. Ariel suffered sail damage on his main on the way over to Cat. The three braided straps that hold the headboard to the head of the sail failed. I agreed to try to sew on replacement straps and I figured the best way to do it was by us rafting together in the calm of Fernandez Bay. We rigged my SailRight sewing machine on Ariel's foredeck and I showed Miles how to use a seam ripper to remove the old straps. That done, we found some replacement strap material in my bag of spares. Starting at about 1045, the three new straps were sewed to one side of the head by 1200. Then we began to try to do the other side and ran into trouble. The extra thickness of the material was the issue and we began to run into problems - first a broken needle and then dropped stitches. Laureen called a lunch break and served some out-of-this-world burritos! The only thing that could have been better would have been a cold beer -- but I didn't want anything to get in the way of the sewing challenge that remained. What ensued was more than 4 hours of frustration as the problems continued: broken needles, need to raise the foot clearance, need to readjust the hook-needle offset clearance, lubrication, reviewing of maintenance manuals, etc. I managed to get in ~ 25% of the length of stitches that I'd been able to sew on the first side. At least the straps and headboard were in place and would probably survive under light loads. A friend of Miles, John, from another boat that had just come in and anchored came buy and luckily had a hand-punch single thread repair tool which Miles tried. This worked well enough that he felt he could use it in the morning to finish off the sewing. So, we packed up the sewing machine and Ariel separated and anchored nearby.
  • The Ladyhawkes remained at New Bight to allow Jeri to get some consulting work off to the states by internet. Their plan was to join us tomorrow.
  • Exhausted from the sewing efforts, I took a air bath nap in the cockpit. Then declared cocktail hour. At 1900, just as I'd gotten out of the shower, the Ariels showed up to ferry me in to the Island Hop Inn -- a bed & breakfast resort also located in Fernandez Bay. It is operated by Kathy a woman from Ohio who with her young daughter lives here for ~ 10 months a year. She is a former fixed and rotary wing flight instructor and had found this spot during a visit > 17 years ago. She operates 4 rooms / suites and the restaurant. I was the Ariel's guest for a wonderful "home cooked" meal: lobster bisque, mahi in a ginger sauce, rice, asparagus, onion bread, rum tort. Delish! Miles had come prepared with a couple of bottles of chilled white wine and a fine time was had by all!

30 Mar 12; Friday; Fernandez Bay, Cat I
  • I got up at my usual time, made breakfast, and wrote in my journal until 0700 when an irresistible urge to crawl back into bed came over me. It felt good to nap to 0900.
  • Fernandez Bay is really beautiful but, unfortunately there is no way to get internet service here.
  • I helped Miles get his mainsail back in place after he finished the sewing job. Ladyhawke sailed in and anchored as I took Venture around the anchorage making depth measurements. I finally got around to mounting the transducer for my potable depth sounder on Venture's transom. This makes it very easy to check out interesting anchorages. I discovered that the anchorage here is much bigger than shown on the charts as good depths extend all the way to the S end. This is good to know in case I ever find it crowded.
  • I returned to Onward and grilled a canned ham to have four lunches and then made a nice salad with him.
  • At high tide Ingo fetched me in the dinghy and we headed off with the Ariels to explore the salina. As in my previous visit here, i saw two small (2.5' - 3') baby sharks not far from the entrance. We followed the channel well back and it took us to a second entrance to the SW - near Bonefish Point. We explored the beach for a while before heading back. On the trip back, I sat on the bow of the dinghy trailing my toes through the crystal clear water. Great fun -- now if there were only some way to do that while I was driving Venture. Once back at Onward, I had an overwhelming need to go for a swim. So I donned my skinsuit and indulged. I find that I enjoy swimming with my swim fins as it helps me deal with any currents there may be around the boat. I had such a nice time I decided to scrub the waterline and got the stern half done on both sides. My bottom paint looks like it just was put on.
  • After a nice nap, I showered and went into Fernandez Bay Resort with Jeri and Ingo and the Ariels. We had a nice cocktail hour where I met interesting couples from around the world who were staying there. These include a German couple on their honeymoon, and a United / Continental pilot and his family. They owned their own plane and had flown over for a week. Their oldest child, Christopher, showed us a technique for modulating the blowing of a conch horn - neat. We had a delicious buffet dinner with lobster tails and filets. Delish. Talking over dinner, I learned that Laueen and Miles had met Wright from Raven a couple of years ago while at Highborn Cay and had seen some of his paintings.

31 Mar 12; Saturday; Fernandez Bay, Cat I
  • Miles is to blame. He's the one who put the idea of an early morning nap in my head. That's why after getting up at 0500 and staying busy on this 'n' thats for 2 hours, I suddenly had the need to take a nap and so slept to 0900. This is the second time this week!. In fairness to Miles, it could be due to the fact I ran out of regular coffee to mix (1:3) with the decal coffee, or then, too, it could be because of all the imbibing the night before. Hmmm.
  • Just after I got up from my nap, Miles called asking if I wanted to depart immediately for the Exumas. I said no because I hadn't been able to get the Steward to clean up the boat because of my nap that he was the blame for. (I still hadn't put the boat back together after getting all the stuff together to sew Miles's sail.) So I tried to clean up a bit in prep for moving to the Exumas tomorrow morning.
  • After lunch i waited for the high tide and headed into the salina to see if I could find out how far E it went. Even with the tide near max, the water got shallow not far E of where I'd gotten to with Ingo and Jeri yesterday. I was going to spend a bit of time on the nice little beach there but a squall line came in and it was too cloudy and cold to beach. So I returned to Onward and, of course, it immediately got sunny. So I spent the afternoon napping and reading in the cockpit.
  • Last night we had discussed getting together for a potluck tonight but I got a VHF call from the beach bar saying that Jeri and Laureen didn't want to cook so we were going back to the Island Hop Inn. Then I got a hail from a couple in kayaks who asked me if Onward really was from Annapolis. They were both pilots and had flown their twin engine plane in as they were just finishing up a 2-week air tour vacation of the Bahamas and Caribbean. Neat.
  • At 1830, Ingo came to fetch me. We met a couple visiting from Pasadena with their young son who were staying at the Inn. We had a nice chat. He's a lawyer and a private pilot. I meet a lot of pilots here. Another delicious dinner ensued. We were in no hurry to break it up because tomorrow we were planning to part company. Ladyhawke would start the journey up through Eleuthera to the Abacos while Ariel and Onward would head to the Exumas and then start back to the US. We were entertained with a gymnastics routine by the young daughter of Kathy the chatelaine. She also demoed her Junkanoo costume and let several of us try it on. I figured I didn't need any more help looking silly.