Onward’s Cruise Journal 2014
Bahamas Cruise

Updated: 4 March 2014

Note: stay tuned for updates of past dates.

February 2014

1 February 14; Saturday; Black Point

  • The BTC cell tower here is only serving "Edge" data rates but they are sufficient for email and downloading gribs and synoptics. Chris Parker's analysis confirms that we should have about a week of steady E winds without any cold fronts. Good.
  • First order of business was to get ready to go up the mast yet again to get the anchor light and wind transducers installed and to make yet another attempt to fix the VHF antenna which is still performing poorly.
  • At 1000, my bosuns deck crew, Ed and Tina, came over and up the mast I went. I sewed a set of stirrups out of 2" nylon strapping that I could attach to a fitting at the masthead to allow me to stand up to see above the mast. I've been working on this concept for a bit and today I thought I had it set. Unfortunately, when I got to the masthead I discovered the carabiner that I took along to connect it to the masthead fitting was too small to go on the 1/2' dis SS loop; also, the lift line tension prevented me from getting it loose from the lift rings where it was temporarily attached. I ended up straddling the genoa and the upper roller bearing of the furler actually made a comfortable thing to straddle. This also had the effect of lifting the bosun chair seat slightly and moving it a bit further away from the mast so I was in a more comfortable working position. To make things interesting, while it was a sunny day, the wind was blowing steadily at > 15kts from the E and the swells were making the masthead sway gently. Thankfully I'm not bothered by the height or the motion.
  • The first item was to undo the antenna connector from the antenna. Ed had measured the impedance of the cable from the radio to the antenna before I went up and it indicated there was almost a dead short somewhere. No wonder why I was getting such bad performance. When the connector was undone, there was still a very low impedance reading but not quite a dead short. Shorting the conductor to the shield at the connector clearly gave a dead short. I reattached the connector to the antenna and then took apart the two barrels on the splice connector. When these were unscrewed just leaving the center probes and shield contact fingers in place, the VHF began to work normally. I examined the barrels but could see nothing wrong with either. I then screwed on one barrel and the radio continued to work well. Then I screwed on the other and it continued. Go figure! I wire tied the connector to the cable of the TV antenna on both side of the splice connector to immobilize it.
  • Then I went on to install the bracket for the wind transducer by using one of the two 1/2" studs of the starboard spinnaker fitting loop to fasten it. Then I installed the anchor light / bracket on one of the studs for the port loop. Then I installed the wind transducer on its mount. All went fine.
  • Next came making the wire connections. Thankfully I had found enough of 2 different size 3M crimp connectors; 4 larger and 6 smaller - one of each for spares. I tested the connections for the anchor light before crimping and all was fine. When I had crimped the 3 connectors the light didn't work and I discovered the ground wire had come loose from its connector. So, I had to cut off the bad one and use the spare. This time the light worked well!
  • Next it was the wind transducer cable - with five wires. The 3M connectors worked really well. The only challenge was the boat bouncing around and the less than optimal physical position I was in. But after slow but steady progress, all were done and the wind instrument was back in operation!
  • The only fly in the ointment was that I'd not been clever enough to buy new self-vulcanizing waterproofing tape before leaving the US. The roll I had was impossible to separate the clear plastic membrane from one side so it would seal. I got enough separated to do the anchor light but had to just overwrap the membrane on the wind transducer lines and then cover this with electrical tape. I will need to redo this when I get more tape.
  • I took photographs of my handiwork and the surrounding view before asking to be let down. I was so focused on getting the work done that I didn't realize there had been a shackle on the head of the genoa that was pressed upon the inside of my left upper thigh. As I moved I saw stars and couldn't wait to get on the deck. At the upper spreader, things got worse. The Boys had been reasonably comfortable because of the fluffy fleece mitt I use for padding and because I hadn't been tipped as far forward against the crotch strap of the seat as I had in the past. But at the top spreader something shifted my position and all my weight was on my right gonad. I couldn't even yell for the pain. Thankfully, Ed engineered unbidden one of the fastest descents ever.
  • It was great to be back on deck even if I couldn't walk because I was back to having a working VHF with great range along with working anchor/tricolor/strobe as well as a working wind speed and direction instrument.
  • The Merlins left for home and then to go ashore for dinner and I cleaned up and followed them if walking slowly. We met the Heeling Times and had lunch at Deshamon's restaurant. A couple of beers and good food and friends restored me. After lunch I headed back to Onward for a cockpit nap. There was a cruisers meet and greet ashore but at 1800 I was still to beat to make the effort. I had some soup for dinner and read for a quiet evening.

2 February 14; Sunday; Black Point
  • I bought laundry tokens last night when I stopped in to talk with Ida at Rockside Laundry. I also talked with her husband and reminded him that Ed and I had helped him try to remove the dents from a big polyethylene tank that he had found abandoned and was planning to use as an auxiliary storage tank. He told us that the tank had developed a crack and he was unable to use it. Unfortunate. I told him that they had "heat welding" techniques to use on the material and that it might be saved.
  • I headed in early to do laundry as I had the tokens. The Merlins and i had the place to ourselves for a while. I used the time I was waiting to make use of the local wifi open to the public to upload my websites as I am still unable to upload them over the BTC cellular data network. The laundry and internet work done, managed to get the laundry back to Onward dry. One quickly learns not to transport clean dry laundry in a dinghy without wrapping it in a heavy duty plastic garbage bag. Dry laundry is a magnet for splashes.
  • Around 1600 I Ventured in early to see if Lorraine needed help setting up the restaurant. I found a few people there and things in reasonable order. I snagged a table near the side door for fresh air. Then I assisted Lorraine's nephew to stock the cooler with beer pre-chilled in the freezer. Of course I had to do quality control by buying one and drinking it.
  • It looked like there would be a good crowd, The Merlins and Heeling Times came in and we chatted until thing were supposed to begin at 1700.
  • Lorraine doesn't like to talk to crowds so she asked me to make an announcement about the post-it-note bookkeeping honor system where boaters were to tally their drinks as they got them.
  • With so many people and 13 tables to get in orderly line for the buffet table, I asked Lorraine if she had a plan to manage the crowd. In past years it had been a mess and a lot of people felt upset by the way folks rushed the table. She didn't have a plan so I suggested a lottery where people would draw a number for the order in which tables would go to the buffet. As she had set up tables outside this year, she asked me to start the drawing there. So with some help from the fleet, we made up numbers, got several different people to mix them up. I then took them around starting with the outside tables to draw a number. I was having fun with the folks and asking them to pick the most beautiful person at each table to make the drawing. There was a lot of laughter as the drawing went on. Inside the restaurant, I was halfway through when a guy at a table near ours jumped up to grab a number. I jokingly said he wasn't beautiful enough and gave the backer to a woman sitting there to draw. As I walked on to do the last table I heard this guy bitching about the process so I asked him if he had an issue he wanted to tell me about. He said I was a control fregue. I just looked at him and "may God bless you" before walking on. A woman at the next table watched this and said "it takes all kinds" thanks for doing the drawing.
  • The pre-game festivities started but there were so many people talking with each other it was impossible to hear anything. One woman got everybody to be quiet for the National Anthem -- then the noise returned.
  • The buffet was great and plentiful. Lorraine apparently learned from past years when the food had run short -- not this year! The food and company were great and that made up for a poor game we couldn't really hear much of. The halftime show didn't hold anyones attention nor did the commercials -- except for Maserati's.
  • With the second half showing it was going to go like the first we headed back to the boats.

3 February 14; Monday; Black Point
  • We decided to spend another day at Black Point and it was a lazy morning. I made a run in to pick up 10 gal of water.
  • We packed lunches and headed off in a dinghy parade to go out around the N headland to the NW tip of the island where there is a lovely sandy inlet that almost no one knows about. It was just before mid tide of a falling tide and we were able to take the dinghies all the way E until we came to the point where the ocean has broken through and connected to the salina. The current was strong and swept Venture forward onto some sharp rocks and the scraping sound wasn't nice. I managed to get off and turn around. We went back to the pool at the mouth which is one of my favorite swimming places. We found a place where we could sit and eat our picnic lunches. The first time I visited here there was the remnant of a trail to the N end of the island but it was no longer viable. In stead of a hike we went snorkeling. The wreck of an old wooden fishing boat which was mostly out of the water intact in the center of the pool on my first visit had now been reduced to a few remnant timbers and the mast and fuel tank lying on the bottom. I is interesting how the wooden timbers and ropes provide an environment for plants and creatures to make a home in the otherwise sandy desert of the pool's bottom.
  • Our excursion done, we headed back to the boats. I immediately got into my skinsuit for a nap in the sun. After about an hour, I woke to hear someone calling my name. I raised my head to see Samvaro passing close by. They had left in the morning to start their trip back to Nassau before heading to London. Paulo asked me to get on the radio and when I did he told me that his mainsail roller furling was jammed and he could not retract or extend the sail. I advised him to anchor off Onward's stern and I would come over. I managed to quickly find some shorts and then Ventured over.
  • At first it looked like a simple jam that can happen when the boom is not free to move up and down as needed for the main to roll around the mandrel smoothly. So, I tried to pull it out a bit -- and it wouldn't move. So I tried to furl it a bit -- and it wouldn't move. I then loosened the outhaul stopper and went on deck. I could not move the clew car at all. the outhaul line was taught even with the stopper disengaged. Paulo was able to pull the outhaul line at the base of the mast back to the winch. But the line inside the boom was jammed.
  • We took a dock line and used it to tied down the clew independently of the outhaul line and control the boom. I then carefully went to the end of the boom and found what I had expected: the nylon she eve of the outhaul had fractured and the outhaul line was jammed between the remaining fragment and the side of the housing.
  • We then cut the outhaul line free from the clew of the sail using the dock line to keep it and the boom tame. I then was able to free the outhaul line from the jam at the broken sheve and then run it through the unused sheave back to the clew. With the now functioning outhaul line, the main was quickly furled. I got some good photos of the damaged sheave.
  • I had made a note to buy a backup sheave from Charleston Spars before I departed the US but it didn't get done. This is now moved up on the priority list.
  • The Heeling Times had invited us over for grilled chicken and they were wonderful to extend the invitation to Paulo and Sylvia. That no longer was settled when Escapade with Jon and Marilyn sailed in and anchored near by. Tom and Dana added them to the invitee list too. What wonderful hosts!
  • We had a wonderful cocktail hour and dinner. It was kind of like the loaves & fishes but with Sam's Club chicken breasts which seemed to multiply. It was a great opportunity to learn more about Paulo and Sylvia whom I've "chased" about the Exumas over several years without being to actually spend time together.

4 February 14; Tuesday; Black Point to White Beach
  • We departed Black Point anchorage ~ 1100 and headed S around the headland to the anchorage off of White Beach. There were 4 or 5 other boats anchored already. I managed to find a spot fairly close to the beach as there is good depth quite close in. This provided a bit more protection from the S by the small headland. Heeling Time had gone up to Staniel Cay to take on water and fuel. Samvaro set out again on its trip to Nassau.
  • After lunch, the Merlins and I took our dinghies in to the beach and then took a walk around the area. We found new signs promoting the development of this area as a huge housing, marina, and hotel complex. The development had begun > a decade ago. The first house had been build on a bluff overlooking the future marina entrance - but it had been closed in but left unfinished. The marina basin had been largely dug out but the rock barrier to the banks had not been broken through. The development had been dormant but now there was evidence of new activity. We hiked the rough roads to the ocean side and explored the bluffs overlooking the Sound. Tina slipped on some loose scree and scraped her knee. My emergency pack in my backpack came in handy to help her clean it up.
  • Standing on the bluffs and looking 360º around, the beauty of the land with all its variety of elevations, coves, bluffs, beaches on both Sound and banks is quite overpowering and would raise the development blood of anyone.
  • We attempted to hike to one of the ocean beaches to the S but could not find a trail through the scrub so we headed back to the boats. I immediately succeeded to the need for a nap.
  • Around 1600 the Merlins said they were going ashore to a beach cocktail hour. I was considering going but felt the need to continue my nap for a bit in bed. When I came to it was too late to bother going ashore. I decided I needed some comfort food and set about making mini-farfalle pasta. I invited the Merlins and Heeling Times over. The Merlins had already decided on a steak night. I discovered that Peg had left me a package of her homemade meatballs in pasta sauce and I decided to use half of these. Just as Tom & Dana and & were about to eat, I managed to talk Ed and Tina over with their steak to grill aboard. We had a very pleasant relaxed evening.
  • While ashore, the Merlins met the couple who own and are living in the house. They are slowly finishing it while living there. They periodically return to the US for medical and family visits. They related that a Bahamian Government group had just toured the site and were going to approve it for continued development. They would shortly seek new investors to build the first stage of the marina. Building lots with spectacular views were available for ~$1M. We'll see.

5 February 14; Wednesday; White Beach to Little Farmers Cay
  • During the night, the wind moved more to the SSE allowing a swell to creep into the anchorage. Merlin and Heeling Time were anchored farther off the beach and had it worse. The gentle roll didn't bother my sleep but affected that of the others. As a result we decided to move further S down the coast of Great Guana Cay to explore other anchorages and to look for less swell. I have always bypassed this section of the Great Guana Coast on my way to Little Farmers Cay so I was interested in exploring it. We weighted anchor about 1100 and motored S. As our initial goal was only 3 mi away, I decided to slowly tow Venture.
  • Merlin went ahead and poked into the anchorage which already had 4 -5 boats in it and found it too shallow and still with swell. So we decided to head further S toward Oven Rock. Onward continued to dawdle S while Merlin and Heeling Time forged ahead. They eventually decided to anchor S of Oven Rock. As I came up I found there to be more depth than the chart showed. We were at about 2+ feet of a falling tide so I decided to see how far S I could go and still carry 9+' of water. I have never used the N approach to the E side of Little Farmers Cay. So I left some waypoints for what looked to be a good channel for getting the the NE corner of the cay. After exploring fairly far S, I turned around and anchored just S of Merlin.
  • Once settled, we all headed off in the dinghies to explore Oven Rock and search for the large cave reported to be nearby. Oven Rock is as its name implies shaped like a traditional oven: domed with an oven door formed by a cave opening. We found it decorated by an osprey nest with its owner letting us know we were in its territory. Seeing this dome rising from the water ~ 100' off the beach made me wonder what the geological process was that caused this particular dome of sand to form and have its exterior turn into a hard form of calcium carbonate so that it would survive in this form for so long.
  • One thing I've not been able to find sufficient information on is the variation in hardness of the beach rock I see. The cays of the Bahamas are all formed out of calcium carbonate granules that precipitate from the seawater, agglomerate, grow in size, and then form an interlocked matrix to become "stone". There are several crystal structures of CaCO3 but I see more variations in hardness that seem to be accounted for based on these few crystalline forms. Something to continue to ponder…
  • We beached the dinghies nearby and headed off to find the cave using some guidance from other cruisers who were on the beach. We found a trail that took us inland to the NE around the NW base of one of the N of the two small hills there. At the NNW point of the hill we cut uphill to the S and found the entrance to a large cave -- perhaps ~ 100' in diameter at its base. It had a couple of stalagmites and stalactites and a large pool of brackish water at its base.
  • Seeing this cave and how close its dome is to the surface causes me to wonder about how many hidden caves I've walked over. The cays of the Bahamas are just riddled with these caves. The shoreline of every cay where the rock comes down to the water has caves that have broken open to reveal their hollow interior. Many are just 5' to 10' in diameter but many others are quite large: 50' + in diameter. Down on Long Island, famous Deans Blue Hole, was formed the interconnection of several large caves that were in a vertical column resulting in a "hole" some 600' deep. The remnants of the edges of the upper dome is still in evidence as the N rim of the hole with a diameter of ~ 300' or more. Impressive.
  • Just think: when you buy a piece of land here you will likely get a lot of caves under you.
  • From the hillside of the cave we looked forward to a beautiful horseshoe bay facing the Sound to the E. It would make a great place for an estate. It is really amazing to me how beautiful this cay is and how empty it is. Its terrain has many areas that look like they would have supported a plantation in the Loyalist era but I've never come across any mention of it or any physical evidence. Yet another thing to ponder.
  • On the way back to Onward, it became evident that Venture has a slow water leak somewhere. Likely it is at the joint between the tubes and the hull somewhere in the bow. Oh joy!
  • Once back aboard, I succumbed to the need for a nap. (A recurring theme, Eh?)

6 February 14; Thursday; Little Farmers Cay
  • It was a bit of a lazy morning that I used to engage in the never-ending battle to organize things below. Around 1100 the Merlins and I headed off to check out things ashore. Tom continued his ongoing battle to get his refrigeration system to work properly as it has been plaguing him since departing the US with the cold plates failing to get really cold and hold.
  • We landed at the Little Farmers Yacht Club because I wanted to check out the water point as I intended to bring Onward in to fill water tanks. Another dinghy landed between Merlin's and Venture and the French-Canadian couple took out jugs to fill from the water point. At the same time another Canadian boat, Haven, was departing their slip inside the T-head. I didn't see what exactly occurred, but as the first water jug was being filled there was a loud "crack" and the spigot end of the water pipe broke off and water started gushing out. I went off to try to locate a shutoff valve -- but in true Bahamian construction fashion there was none. Eventually Roosevelt Nixon shut off the water somewhere inside the building. There went the idea of bringing Onward in to fill up.
  • We walked into town for a look-see and found it very quiet so we headed out to the airfield to Ty's Sunset Bar where we found more people. We went in and found the Calypsos, Rick & Eva, sitting at a table and we joined them. The beers were quick to come and nice and cold. The lunches we ordered were quite good but dribbled out one person at a time over 2 hours as the kitchen was not quite up to speed. Our extended lunch over, we walked outside to meet the Country Dancers and the Escapades. Both C470s had come in during the mid-morning and anchored out by Onward. So we got to visit for a bit before heading back to the boats.
  • It was a warm afternoon and I donned my snorkel gear and skinsuit and went in to cool off and make an attempt to clean the water line. Somehow I managed to lose my hand scrubbers and brush for this job and had only a long-handled brush I use to work from Venture. Using this I was able to clean most of the waterline except for the ~ 2" wide bands of green weed that started growing while at the marina in FL. There was no way the brush would touch this stuff it is so tenacious. Having cooled off and fought the good fight, I was about to get out of the water when I saw a curious sight on the bottom. A ray about 18" in diameter was hovering over the bottom and a large fish about 24" long was keeping station with it -- moving wherever the ray moved like they were attached. I guess he wow looking for prey stirred up by the ray as it fed. Interesting. My swimming done, I enjoyed a sun/air bath for a bit before heading for the shower.

7 February 14; Friday; Little Farmers Cay
  • Today I decided to remove all the no longer necessary SS mounting brackets on the stern now that all the braces they had supported were made obsolete by the davit arch. This first required the two stern lockers to be emptied of all their contents so I could get down inside with a wrench for the nuts holding all those mounting bolts. Ed came over and suggested using my new impact driver to make things easier. Brilliant! I had bought this tool just in case -- without an personal experience in using one before. Well, it made short work of removing all the bolts. Nice to have it aboard.
  • With my task of the day done, we decided to go in to watch the first of the Class C races. Our timing was excellent as they were just towing the boats out to the starting area where they all anchor in a line. At the start of the race, they haul in the anchor line while they haul up the big sail. Makes for lots of activity. The antics as they jockey along the line for position before the start is comic. I spent the next hour or so chasing the boats around the course and taking pictures. Smashie, the boat built and captained by Vern from Black Point was a close second at the start and then led by the first mark and then for the rest of the race! Lots of action and color. Great Fun! At the end of the race I met the others ashore at Ty' Sunset Bar where cold beers were ready.
  • We then walked into town to check out the action. When I first attended a 5Fs festival in February 2008, the center of land-based action was Ocean Cabin, the restaurant & bar operated by Terry Bains who was also the original organizer of the festival. Since then, with the building of Ty's Sunset Restaurant at the airfield beach site where the races are held, the center of action has moved there. Thus we found the area around Ocean Cabin and the town pier a bit thin of people. I went up to say hello to Terry and to have a lunch snack before heading back to the dinghy and boats.
  • Eva and Rick invited the Merlins and I over for Souse. Eva, a wonderful cook, decided to try her hand at this traditional Bahamian dish -- somewhere between a soup and a stew. It is often served as a Sunday brunch dish or an evening "pick me upper". Eva found some turkey and made a wonderful dish. She couldn't find celery but it really wasn't missed. Delish! I brought some pepper biscotti which went well with it. It turns our Rick loves these biscotti and I will have to have him over to do a biscotti bake. It was a lovely evening and even the long dinghy ride back from the anchorage off the Little Farmers Yacht Club to Oven Rock didn't mar it. I set my blue LED strobing beacon and it guided us right home.

8 February 14; Saturday; Little Farmers Cay
  • This morning, I decided I would fill all the holes for the bolts that I removed yesterday. This required another return to the bowels of the stern to clean up the holes to accept an epoxy putty filler. I got all this done.
  • We headed in to the airfield beach to watch the days races and have lunch. We got there in time to watch the finish of the first race. After the race I discovered that Smashie and Vern were no where to be found -- a mystery. Perhaps connected to the interaction between the two lead boats just before the turn at the first mark of the first race.
  • I returned from the sojourn ashore while the others were still there. It was a really warm afternoon and I decided a swim to clean the waterline was in order. So after donning my skinsuit and snorkel gear, I set about getting rid of the weed that had grown on the waterline during the sojourn in FL. I found a scraper place with a moderately sharp blade did a good job of abrading off the tenacious weed. I used a scouring pad to clean the remainder. I managed to get the whole waterline done. Impressive!
  • After a bit of a rest aboard, I headed over to Country Dancer where I joined the Escapades, Heeling Times, and Merlins for a nice cocktail hour. Great fun with the 4 C470s in one spot.
  • I learned from Gary that he too has been unable to get FTP to work using the BTC cellular data network. So its not just me. He tells me the BTC servers are blocking VOIP ports. Perhaps they are deliberately blocking FTP. Problem is finding someone in BTC who is knowledgeable enough to talk to about this.

9 February 14; Sunday; Little Farmers Cay to George Town
  • We had set an 0700 departure time so I was up at 0500 to get Onward ready to move. The salon and forward stateroom were again in disarray due to the work I had been doing. The cockpit was still full of loose items from the starboard stern stowage compartment because I discovered the hanging bag they go in wad its attachment points weakened. So at 0545, I was sewing reinforcement straps onto the stowage bag. Next it was a climb down into the locker to get all the stuff down their in order before climbing out to restow the stuff in the cockpit into the newly reinforced bag. By 0615 Onward was in good shape to move.
  • We weighed anchor at 0645 and headed S with first a detour N and then W around the N part of the Little Farmers Cay bar. We traveled down to Cave Cay Cut where I waved hello to David Copperfield (or at least his island estate) on the way out. It was sunny with light clouds and about 5 kts of wind from the S and with the outgoing tide there were light swells at the entrance to the Sound. Merlin got out the fishing gear. We got to motor S in company with a number of other boats and got to listen as several of them caught Mahi.
  • As we approached Great Exuma, a train of clouds that had been formed by convection over the island moved NE towards us and we got treated to one of the longest rainstorms I've ever experienced in the Bahamas. This was great as it gave Onward a good washdown.
  • We entered the cut to Elizabeth Harbour about 1330 and made our way S with 3 other boats. We anchored off Black Point just S of Volleyball Beach - my favorite place to anchor here. That done, everyone took a nap as it had become quite warm in bright sunshine without an wind.
  • I remembered that this was Sunday when they usually have Trivia night at the St. Francis Resort and I confirmed that by VHF. So we decided to go in at 1615 for beers, dinner, and trivia.
  • This got me stirred up enough to check out the bottom of Venture while it was on the davits to see if I could find where it was leaking. I found some scratches from when it had been swept onto sharp rocks at the ocean end of the salina we had explored in Black Point. None of them seemed to be problematic. I couldn't quite see the one in the port stern area well enough to see if it was a crack or a scratch. So I decided to put a layer of reinforced tape over it to see if that affected the leak at all.
  • After a quick shower, I joined the dinghy procession and headed off to the St. Francis. The beers were cold, I succumbed to the allure of a hamburger - and a salad to make me feel healthier. We managed to score 22 out of 40 in the trivia contest with the winner scoring > 26. Ah well. I sent the blue LED beacon at low power and it turned out that just wasn't enough to be a good guide. In any case it was a good end to a good day.

10 February 14; Monday; George Town
  • I was up at 0515 to get an early start on the days tasks. The BTC cellular data network was serving 3G and I managed to download the day's gribs and synoptic charts -- then I used up the 2 GB data plan and service ceased. When attempting to update the data plan, I found that I had no $ left in the prepaid plan and I could't add more without going into town. From the downloaded files, I did learn that we would be getting a cold front on Wednesday - Thursday and this was later confirmed by Chris Parker on SSB. So this gave more impetus to get into town early to get stuff done before other cruisers were stirring. After breakfast, I transferred water from the 2 5-gal jerrycans to the tank and then put these and the empty gasoline jerrycan in the dinghy. I was pleased to see that Venture was essentially dry - no water leaked in overnight. But this meant that that "scratch" I put the tape over yesterday afternoon was really a crack that was causing the leak. Looks like a day ashore for bottom repairs is needed.
  • I was off to town at 0730 and found the water point open so I quickly refilled the 2 jerrycans and headed over to the float at the gas station. There I quickly it filled. By the time I brought the fuel can back to Venture and moved Venture to the other pier, Top-2-Bottom was opening up. I managed to find a new 2-gal emergency fuel can to keep in the dinghy for $27!. Oh Mon, that be expensive! In the last year they totally restructured the shelving in the store and everything is more accessible. This little store carries an amazing variety of things and I bought a few other items I didn't know I needed. This done, I was off to Exuma Market for some food shopping. Their vegetable section was really cleaned out but I bought a few other targets of opportunity.
  • Next on the list was the BTC office / store where I had to wait around for 30 min for it to open at 0930. I quickly got $ added to my prepaid voice and data accounts. Then I headed over to the customer service folks to work on the problems with getting FTP to work. The woman who helped me was very friendly and put me in touch with someone in Nassau. I then wrote out a statement of the problem and she wrote an email to the IT group in Nassau to try to get me help. Well, at least I have several new contacts to try.
  • Next it was a visit t other grocery store, Shop Rite where I had a friendy chat with the women stocking and cleaning as I shopped. I managed to snag some fresh ice burg and celery here. When I left, I alerted the Merlins to the vegetables. I also called the Heeling Times to alert them to the possibility of replacement fuel line connections at Top-2-Bottom.
  • I stopped at Exuma Yacht Club, the new name of the marina, and talked to Clevon about their fuel pier. I took some photos of it also. The second of my 2 35-gal fuel tanks ran out as I approached the cut into Elizabeth Harbour -- not bad: 70 gal of diesel between Nettles Island and George Town.
  • The last task was to get rid of garbage. I found the free garbage dumpster for use of cruisers was gone due to misuse by local businesses. I had to pay $2 to leave a bag with the water taxi office.
  • All my tasks done, I headed back to Onward. It had become very warm ashore with little breeze. I couldn't wait to get back and unload Venture then change into my skinsuit to cool down.
  • After verifying that I did indeed have cellular data service aboard again, I managed to get the energy to make a nice fresh salad for lunch. I had a nice cold can of narcotic, aka Heinekin, with it and then took a nap in the cool air of the cockpit.
  • At 1600 we met ashore at Chat & Chill for cold beers and another session of the Intra-Fleet Bocce Classic. Lacking Peg as an able partner, I had to throw two balls while each of the two couples used one per person. The Merlins moved into an early lead followed by the Heeling Times. Tom decided to get cute and hide the pauline behind a picnic table. The Merlins then used the picnic table to score the two closest balls. I was beginning to feel quite inadequate but continuous harassment from my "friends" got my competitive spirit up and I ended up winning the match! Ha! The Merlins won a quick 3-point wrap-up match before we headed back to the boats. The evening was complete with a grill night aboard Heeling Time.

11 February 14; Tuesday; George Town
  • Chris Parker and the gribs & synoptics confirmed the coming cold front on Wednesday to Thursday. Conditions look to be tolerable for just staying where we are.
  • I spent the afternoon working on the dinghy davits. I was trying to combine a cam cleat with a turning block and mount them on the mid-rail of the stern rail on each side.
  • The Heeling Times had us over for a BOM dinner: bring your own meat to grill. I brought some red beans and rice and we had a relaxing evening eating and chatting in Heeling Times air-conditioned salon.

12 February 14; Wednesday; George Town
  • The morning weather report showed conditions would be fine for just staying here.
  • I Ventured off to town early to fill water jerrycans and fill my new, very expensive, 2-gal emergency gas can for Venture. With no one else about, getting these errands done went quickly. I finished off with a visit to Exuma Market where I was rewarded by a well-stocked produce section. I planned to make a beef stew for dinner and there were lots of fresh vegetables for me.
  • At 1230, the crews of the 3 boats headed for shore on Stocking Island. Armed with picnic lunches and the beach bocce set we beached the dinghies and hiked across the island to the ocean beach. We walked N until we found a shady spot where we stopped for our picnic lunch. As we ate we watched a large rain storm move off shore from the S to the NE. It avoided us but was a harbinger of the cold front due to pass tonight.
  • The Intra-Fleet Bocce Classic continued. We chose a challenging section of beach with hard and soft sand rocks and pools. For a bit I had the lead but then the Heeling Times on the strength of Dana's throws took the game. We played another short game that the Merlins won. My ancestors are not happy with my performance: Heeling Times 2 games; Merlins 2 games; Onward 1 game. Hmm...
  • We met Bill and Margaret from Margareta as we walked back and they remembered Ed and Tina from their 2008 sojourn here. On return to Onward and after the requisite afternoon nap, I set about making the beef stew. It was nice to be able to use all fresh vegetables. While that simmered, I cleaned up the cockpit, salon, and Captain.
  • We had a great cocktail hour with Tina's crudités and more of Dana's punch. The stew was served with Dana's biscuits. Delish. I then experimented with a berry pie using a pre-made graham cracker crust and canned berries. I planned to use the container of whipping cream I bough on Monday in the whip cream generator I have aboard. But with the whipping cream and N2O cartridge in hand, I couldn't recall where I had stowed the gadget. Such go great plans. I learned a graham cracker crust doesn't have much structural integrity. If the disappearance of the failed experiment was any evidence, perhaps it wasn't such a big failure.
  • We decided to end the night with Farkle. Tina played an amazing game. Both she and Dana had amazingly hot hands with the dice but Tina's was the hottest: she won at the end of just 6 rounds. Amazing!

13 February 14; Thursday; George Town
  • The cold front came through at ~ 0240. The winds remained fairly mild with only a few periods >20 kts. There were about 3 distinct rain squalls with heavy rains and lightning. I checked out Onward and then perched in the companionway to watch the storm and the possibility of moving boats. It quieted down substantially after the first squall and I got lulled into going back to bed only to be awoken by the second with a truly biblical downpour. There was only one report of a boat dragging anchor and this down at Crab Cay.
  • I spent the day inside on tasks, cleaning, doing research on a project for Joahna, sewing. I decided this was the day to finally use some of the leftover Sunbrella upholstery material from my previous boat to recover the original throw pillows I bought for Onward. These had gotten pretty ratty with use and Harriet Hardy made me three beautiful new ones. I was supposed to trash the old ones -- but I have problems throwing anything away. So today I finally measured and cut the fabric after getting some sewing consultation from Tina yesterday. As I began sewing, the SailRite machine started making hideous noises. I had to stop and began oiling it but to no avail. Then I took off more access panels and oiled places I'd never seen or oiled before but the noise continued. I called Ed and told him I needed engineering expertise. He came over and in less than 2 minutes identified the place that needed oil. Hola! A quiet, smooth running sewing machine. Nice! Now I realize how badly it was performing before because of lack of oil. I completed the pillows. At least one thing brought to closure.
  • At 1500 we dinghyed ashore for another segment of the Intra-Fleet Bocce Tournament. It was nip and tuck as all three teams are getting better. The Merlins managed to win another game. As I was making a quick departure to register for Texas Holdum, I realized one of my red bocce balls had gone missing. I left the others to look for it while I went off to St. Francis. Ed later joined me and said they had searched for 20 minutes but couldn't find it. Baaahhhh!
  • At the St. Francis, we met with Sandy and Ann Davies, Corinthians from CT, and their family. Sandy had seen my Corinthian Flag flying while we shared an anchorage on the way S but this was the first time we had time to talk. They were enjoying their first cruise in the Bahamas and enjoying being here instead of being in a blizzard back home.
  • Texas Holdem was fun but I only lasted until the break having good hands but coming in just second too many times.

14 February 14; Friday; George Town
  • Happy Valentines Day. I heard from Peggy and how she was snowed in in a blizzard that dropped 24" on the ski slopes in VT. At least she has her family with her and has plenty of snow for skiing.
  • I headed ashore and did a search for the truant bocce ball and made an announcement of its going walk about. Sad, like losing a little friend.
  • I am working on a project for daughter Joahna regarding carbon sequestration as a tool in the kit to combat global warming. Problems with BTC internet service has made downloading large pdf reports a challenge. But I got a lot done in the afternoon.
  • I took a break to have a fantastic stir-fry dinner aboard Merlin. Tina upped the ante -- more like swept the table of stakes -- by finishing up the meal with a desert of fresh-baked brownie covered with ice cream, strawberries, and topped with whipped cream. Wow! Delish!
  • The Heeling Times and Merlins were heading in to Chat & Chill for the annual Valentine's Day dance emceed by Rockin' Ron. Valentines Day has a lot of memories for me as it was the day of my first date with my former and late wife, Cathy. Along with all the memories that it evokes, going to the dance as I have in the past only makes me more acutely aware of my being alone. So I opted out this year. I elected to go back to Onward and the carbon sequestration research project.

15 February 14; Saturday; George Town
  • Dinghy Repair Day. Poor, long serving, Venture has suffered a number of traumas that were causing her to leak water and air. So, today I finally had the energy and opportunity to take her ashore to beach and empty her so I could work on the problems. By about 0800 I had loaded Venture with my tool bag with all the stuff I thought I would need -- the only issue was what I would forget and discover missing once I was ashore and couldn't get back to get. I went back to the beach where my bocce ball went awol. I beached Venture, struggled to get the outboard off, then emptied her of all the gear I carry aboard. That done I first scrub bed out the empty interior before flipping it over so I could work on the bottom.
  • I scrubbed the bottom and began looking for damage caused by the grounding in the salina at Black Point. About this time Ed called on VHF to check up on me and I was able to get him to fetch the acetone and soapy water bottle for leak finding. When he arrived, his eagle eye discovered a section where the starboard tube was joined to the hull where a hidden tear had occurred which would allow water to leak into the interior. Thank God he found it as I might have missed it.
  • Before heading back to Merlin, Ed conducted one more beach search for the awol bocce ball to no avail. I will have to search ashore for a ball that is a close match...
  • I spent the next ~ 6 hours working on Venture. Once the bottom was as clean as I could get it, I prepared the two places on the hull where the rocks had deeply scratched it so I could fill them. They turned out to be essentially cosmetic and were unlikely the source of the water leak. I quickly filled them which was a challenge as the epoxy putty set really fast in the heat.
  • I then attacked the preparation for repairing the hypalon tape that joins the tubes to the hull. To get good glue adhesion, it is necessary to abrade off the hypalon layer to get down to the rubber layer beneath. The hypalon layer on this tape was amazingly robust. After working it with the dremmel tool, I made such little impact that I swathed to the electric drill with an abrasive brush tool that I bought for polishing stainless steel welds. This did better but one 18-V lithium battery was soon worn down. I then switched to the second battery to prepare the hypalon patch strips using a sanding disc tool. Buying the Ryobi 18-V One multi tool was a really smart move. I was chagrinned to find that my can of 2-part hypalon glue was almost empty. I had thought it was half-full so I neglected purchasing more before departing FL. Bad move. I was lucky to have just enough to patch the really bad place on the starboard tube and another bad place at the bow before I ran out of it. It seemed to adhere really well though. I had some duct tape so I put pieces of this over the leading and trailing edges of the hypalon patches to hold it. This glue should set overnight but that can't happen.
  • All the time I was doing the above repairs, I was in pain. My lower back muscles were in spasm due to the stress of lifting stuff and having to work bent over.
  • Just as I finished the repairs and completed righting and then refilling Venture, a rain storm moved in and gave me a wash down. I got back aboard Onward and after taking some ibuprofen for my back pain, I crashed in the cockpit and napped as I took an air bath.
  • When I awoke, I had to turn down an invitation for dinner because I needed to clean up Onward enough to be able to sail to Long Island in the morning. Once awake, the fact that I was free of pain really energized me. I was able to clean up the tools and stuff from the dinghy work and still had energy to work on 2 sewing projects. The first was a new sunbrella cover for the small trash can I keep on the stern rail. The second was a sunbrella cover for the new Brother 2270DW printer I bought before leaving FL. The last printer had been ruined when one of the side ports over the shelf where it is located leaked just a few drops but they unfortunately got onto the transfer drum and heater bar and ruined them. So, now the new printer has a waterproof cover.

16 February 14; Sunday; George Town to Long Island; Whale Head Pt.
  • The fleet, Onward, Merlin, Heeling Time, Country Dancer, was underway by 0800 and headed S down Elizabeth Harbour toward the S cut. The morning promised a sunny day and we had hopes for a nice sail to Long Island as the winds were to be from the NE and < 15 kts. As often happens, NOAA didn't get the memo out to Mother Nature and she provided winds with much more E in them. We did managed a few hours of sailing at speeds 5 kts or less before the SOG got down to < 2kts.
  • With winds from the E at < 15 kts forecast for the evening, I thought this would be a good time to try out finding an anchorage near Chez Pierre which is located just E of Whale Head Point on Long Island. This is the restaurant I "discovered" in spite of myself when friends, Arnon and Nancy Garonzik on Vision Quest had insisted that we try to find it while driving the island 2 years ago. I had thought the idea of a French restaurant being located here was a fiction. It turned out to be a delicious reality. Located on a long crescent beach facing SW with two tiny "cupcake" cays off shore, it was a good target for visiting by boat instead of having to rent a car at Salt Ponds and drive N. Unfortunately, like most of the W coast of Long Island, the area is poorly charted and it wasn't clear that one could get in and anchor closer than a mile offshore.
  • The rest of the fleet jumped on the idea and I was able to call and make dinner reservations for us. Heeling Time was the first to convert to the iron genoa so Tom was the first to explore the unknown section on the chart. As I watched and talked with him, I concluded that this was a typical basin on the banks where the bottom changed very slowly unless there was some unusual terrain feature to canalize current and form sand bars. So, I slowly glided by anchored Heeling Time and got in to about 0.25 nm off the beach and anchored. Onward had carried ~ 10' in from Whale Head Point and anchored in ~ 9' at just about low tide.
  • We cleaned up and headed in for a realizing cocktail hour followed by a delicious dinner. A fitting end to an experiment. We were rewarded with a quiet night.

17 February 14; Monday; Long Island; Whale Head Pt. to Thompson Bay
  • It was a lazy morning. Country Dancer, Merlin, and Heeling Time all decided to move to Thompson Bay early and Onward was alone in the anchorage before I could weigh anchor. Once underway, I was able to sail under genoa alone at ~ 7 kts S toward Indian Hole Point. When I rounded the point it was ~ 1000 and I calculated high tide to be at ~1130. So, I continued on toward the mailboat pier at Salt Ponds to see if there was enough water to go into Long Island Petroleum to get fuel and water and perhaps to anchor for the night. At 1030, the channel in had about 8 to 9' at a tide state of about 2.5' above datum -- so there was no chance of anchoring for the night due being too shallow. I found the Long Island Petroleum pier to be empt and in the same state of disrepair as last year. Only one of the three concrete bollards that one is to tie off to is whole, that on the S end. The center one is sheared off and the N one has nothing but bent rebar sticking out. I called on VHF and they sent someone down to help me. It was a bit of a trick to get berthed with the offshore wind and my desire not to get too close to the concrete. But we got it done and I took on 70 gal of diesel. That's about the total fuel Onward used from Nettles Island to Long Island. Not bad. I also took on 90 gal of water and 5 gal of gas for the outboard.
  • When I went up to the service station on the road to pay my bill, I realized the pier attendant hadn't written down the gasoline so I told the woman ringing up the bill about it. Then I realized she hadn't charged me for the 70 gal of diesel and I had to tell her to correct it. The offshore wind made the departure easy and I motored back to the northern anchorage. I found the other 3 boats at anchor a bit farther to the E than my usual spot and I took that as an opportunity to push the anchoring envelope a bit farther to the SE where I anchored in ~ 9' of water (abut 2' above datum).
  • At 1430 we took the dinghies in to Long Island Breeze where they were going to host a pizza and pool party 1500-1800. There we found the Country Dancers and we had a fine time drinking beer, rum punches and eating pizza slices on the sunny deck with an occasional dip in the pool.
  • In the evening, the Merlins had a movie night and we got together over appetizers. All had decided that they had had enough alcohol in the afternoon so water was the principal beverage. The Heeling Times got introduced to Boston Legal. The wind had continued to build and it was rather amazing that both dinghies made it home without getting the crews wet.

18 February 14; Tuesday; Thompson Bay
  • Another sunny but windy day was promised at daubreak. I talked to Rick on Sea Language by SSB to get his insights about the Jumentos when the winds are ~ 20 kts from the E. The cuts would be a challenge due to the potential of wind vs tide if we were to take the ocean route S to the larger cays. If we took the banks route S, we couldn't get down to the larger cays the first day and the anchorages would be rolly in the 20 kt E winds. Merlin talked with Chris Parker about going to Conception later in the week and that looked like a good possibility. So we talked and decided to skip the Jumentos at this time and try for Conception if the forecast holds.

19 February 14; Wednesday; Thompson Bay
  • cape santa maria
  • stella maris
  • quiet appetizers on Merlin

20 February 14; Thursday; Thompson Bay
  • joahna project
  • cleanup
  • roast beef

21 February 14; Friday; Thompson Bay
  • Country Dancer had run through its cellular data plan and hadn't set up to be able to use EZ-TopUp on the internet. Gary had managed to lose the card that the SIM came on so he didn't know his phone number which made topping up by other means impossible. I suggested he bring it over and we'd try to find the phone number. He had cut down the SIM to fin in his iPad. We took it out and tried to use the plastic carrier that came with my SIM cutter to put it in my phone to find the number. Things went south badly -- the plastic carrier caught one of the phone's SIM contact fingers
  • project

22 February 14; Saturday; Thompson Bay to Cape Santa Maria
  • project finish

23 February 14; Sunday; Cape Santa Maria to Conception I
  • After a very peaceful night with almost no discernible swell in the anchorage, the Fleet (Onward, Merlin, Heeling Time, Country Dancer) weighed anchor and was underway by 0800. A beautiful Bahamas day with light clouds. The wind had shifted to the SE at 13-15 kts. Once around the extended reef to the N, we headed for West Bay on Conception Island. I decided to motorsail as it was only a 2 hr trip on a very close reach and I needed to run the engine for at least that time to charge the batteries and make hot water.
  • Onward led the Fleet with some motorsailing and some sailing. About 5 nm from Conception with Onward about 0.5 nm ahead, Merlin announced they had seen a whale. In a short time, the other three vessels had whale sightings. Heeling Time had to take evasive action not to run into one that was as long as the boat. With 3 boats making the sightings and with many more than 3 cameras aboard -- somehow only Heeling Time and Country Dancer managed to capture a total of 3 photos!
  • As I was in the lead, I could see nothing. I had obliviously passed through this area. There turned out to be a whole pod of six or more whales and sighting reports kept coming in for ~20 min. Now with close to 50,000 nm under Onward's hull, I have yet to make a whale sighting. Only one small one, maybe, in all those miles. I was just a bit jealous!
  • We arrived at Conception and found 7 other boats at anchor. We all anchored in closer to shore at the S end of the anchorage. The water is deep to within a couple of boat lengths from shore. By 1100 we were all settled in. Boats continued to come in until there were > 35 in the anchorage!
  • I polled the Fleet and it was unanimous that tonight would be a pizza night. It seems the other boats were too busy whale sighting to execute their assigned task of catching a Mahi for dinner. I got the Chef on task and the pizza dough was soon ready. Country Dancer sent over onions and peppers for toppings and Heeling Time sent over pepperoni and mozzarella. Nice.
  • At 1500 we congregated ashore where I chose a long virgin section of beach stretching to the S for today's bout of the Intrafleet Bocce Tournament. It was amazing fun to play on the varied topography of soft an hard sand. The Heeling Times were off their game and the Country Dancers picked up theirs. It is the Merlins who are the real sleepers - coming up with amazing tosses. But, genetics prevailed: Onward's Captain managed to win this bout - the first in the Intra-Fleet Series. There is a God (with great tolerance and forbearance!)

24 February 14; Monday; Conception I
  • Guess what? Another Bahamas Day dawned. Nice! I got the Steward on task cleaning up the galley after last night's pizza party. That done, the Chef prepared the Captain a delicious omelet with sautéed squash and bacon. Delish.
  • After Chris Parker, the Fleet had a discussion about the day's plans. We agreed on a morning hike, lunch aboard our respective boats, and then an afternoon exploration of the salina in the center of the island.
  • At 0830, the Merlins, Country Dancers, and I headed ashore for the hike along the N shore. Along the way we met another couple Bob and Alice who joined our hike. We hiked along the N headland until we came to the long crescent beach in the NE corner.
  • We them did what cruisers do: hike the beach searching for sea beans in all the sea wrack. Now, if you recall, last year I decided I'd done enough of that, I had all the sea beans I needed, and it was kinda dumb being in the middle of fantastic physical beauty and yet looking down at a bunch of junk in the sand. Well, I couldn't overcome the temptation -- telling myself I was going to find beans to give to the Heeling Times who had yet to find any. I walked the entire length of the beach and back and managed to find only one bean. Ed, walking in my tracks found a nice coveted hamburger bean that I'd overlooked. This is the story of my bean searching. Harriet always managed to do the same. There is definitely something flawed in my visual bean search algorithm. This is yet another good reason for ceasing the search. I am again fully resolved. But it did get me to take a long walk….
  • I took a panoramic photo of the cove. It looks like a nice place to anchor to hide from a W wind -- but I'm not sure there is a way in through the outer reef. The group headed back toward the boats. It was so warm and the water looked so inviting, I told them I was going to hang for a swim. With them gone, I declared the huge cove a clotting optional beach and got wet. I floated around long enough to cool off nicely then got out, stuffed my clothes in the backpack and headed back through the dense foliage to dry out along the way. It was much cooler hiking in the buff. When I got to the top of the first headland I could just see the group ahead on the next headland. Being dried off in the sun and wind, it was time to accede to social convention and don my shorts to complete the hike back to the dinghies.
  • Back aboard Onward, I took another short dip to cool down and followed it with a short nap before making some tuna salad for lunch. I used my chicken salad recipe of onion, celery, walnuts, dried fruit, garlic, rosemary, basil, sage, olive oil. Delish.
  • At 1300 we headed to the SW corner of the island to enter the salina on the rising tide. We were able to use the tide to go far to the N and really get the experience of being near the center of the hugh mangrove saltwater flat that makes up the interior of this island. At one point, Tom Talkington discovered that if we just anchored the dinghies, green turtles started popping up to stare at us. Neat.
  • This area is still on of my favorites and a bit magical. However, since my first visit in 2008 it has paled a bit. The mangroves are a bit more sparse near the entrance and overall the fish life seems to have fallen off. When I snorkeled the mangroves along the edge of a deep pool, there were still a good deal of fish but the large fish I saw hiding deep in the mangrove roots on my first visit were not evident this year. This year was the first time I have seen small, ~3'j, sharks in this salina. Maybe that accounts for the difference in fish…
  • We returned to the boats and all decided we needed a quite night. After a nap, I read and then rewarded myself for such an active day by making a steak dinner. Delish.

25 February 14; Tuesday; Conception I
  • I must have done a poor job of hydrating myself because I was awoken just after midnight with the first twinges of leg cramps. I know that I need to act immediately and get out of bed before hard cramps make that very painful. My immediate course of action is to guzzle some tonic water as the quinine seems to help the problem. I then followed this with water laced with the electrolyte drops I should have put in my water bottles yesterday. When I had made myself a couple of G&Ts for last night's cocktail hour and dinner, I had though of it as prophylaxis for leg cramps -- wrong. Note to self: hydrate! electrolytes!
  • Good friend, John Pellegrino, is due to arrive in George Town on Friday the 28th. Somehow, my metal calendar had the 28th coming on Saturday. But the reality means I've "lost" a day to get Onward's guest suite ready to accept a guest. Our plan is to head back to Great Exuma tomorrow morning so that means today and Thursday will have to be cleaning days -- no playing with my friends today.

26 February 14; Wednesday; Conception I to George Town
  • We weighed anchor about 0645. Winds were light from the SE so it was a motor trip back to George Town. The cut was quite calm.
  • I set anchor at 1315 in the usual place off Black Rock on Stocking Island.
  • With my guest, John Pellegrino, due in Friday, I had to give up on my favorite activity: playing with my friends. It was time to get on with completing the cleaning of the guest quarters. Once or twice a year I "detail" Onward's interior. This requires a rather meticulous scrubbing of all fiberglass surfaces with Fantastic with bleach or its equivalent and then with fresh water. This combats the buildup of mold in the various nooks and crannies -- something impossible to combat on a vessel that is in continuous operation. The buildup is slow and not very visible but after several months of "neglect" suddenly seems to be everywhere. Nothing for it but to clean every square inch. So today I started in the forward head to complete the job I'd started before Peggy had come on board back in December.

27 February 14; Thursday; George Town
  • Another day of cleaning. Completed forward head and guest room and moved on to the salon. I've learned its necessary to have the "threat" of an impending guest visit to provide the motivation necessary for me to stay on task doing this job. It does look really great when it is done.

28 February 14; Friday; George Town
  • I arranged for JJ Rolle to pick up John at the airport. I've used JJ's Taxi service many times and it is always great to see his smiling face and effervescent personality. I Ventured in and was on hand when John arrived. We packed his luggage in a garbage bag and headed off to ensconce him on Onward. The trip back across the harbor was reasonably benign and we managed to stay reasonably dry under Venture's "spray shield".
  • Once John's gear was settled aboard and he had a chance to change clothes (it was 10º when he left Dulles this morning), we headed out to Chat n Chill for lunch and were joined by the other members of the Fleet.
  • Lunch completed, we headed off for a game of beach boccel
  • Onward hosted the fleet aboard for a welcome dinner for John. I made pasta, of course, and a grand time was had by all.