Onward’s Cruise Journal 2013
Cruise in the Bahamas

Updated: 1 Mach 2013

February 2013

1 Feb 13; Friday; Little Farmers Cay

  • The wind was essentially still overnight and began to pick up to ~10 kts from the N at dawn. Winds are to be >20 kts from the NNE for the next 2 days during the start of the Five F's Festival.
  • On the first of each month, I prepare a new monthly Journal page for this website. It always surprises me that a whole month has passed by since last doing this task "only yesterday".
  • Andrew and Carolyn are due on the 18th so that means it's time for me to switch into high gear on all those cleaning and organizing tasks I need to do in preparation for having guests aboard. No more "I'll do it later" The problem is I want to play at the Five F's Festival.
  • At ~ 1015, we headed off to shore. While Heeling Time went in and found a place to safely beach the dinghies, I went over to Beckoning because Tom was having problems staring his outboard. He was using his left arm because of the injured right arm and I was impressed by how much strength he had to attempt to pull-start the engine. My left arm would have about 3 pulls in it. He finally gave up and I gave the Beckonings a ride in.
  • After beaching the dinghies, we walked into town to Ocean Cabin where I got to say hello to Terry Bain. Then we walked over to the Little Farmers Yacht Club were the mailboat Captain C was tied up and using its crane to step masts on the Bahamian Class C sloops. Roosevelt Nixon opened up his fabulous hand-carved bar for us and after posing for photos served up some delicious rum punches. The fuel system is still not in operation. He has sold the operation to one of his daughters and they have been upgrading the interior in stages. She is away with her children as they go to high school in Nassau and will reopen the restaurant in the future when they are done.
  • With a rum punch for walking in hand, we headed back to "town" for lunch. I ordered a grouper dinner at the small takeout shop on the road. Service was so slow that the others went up the hill to Ocean Cabin where I later joined them.
  • After lunch, I took them up to visit JR the woodcarver and island maintenance man. There Mary Kay pointed out a carved owl which I immediately bought for Elena. Don & Mary Kay bought a conch horn and Don demonstrated his trumpet playing prowess.
  • It was then off on a walk to the airstrip where we found what had just been an octagonal shaped pavilion had been turned into a nice restaurant and bar with a big deck overlooking the shore where the races are run. I met the two owners and told them what an impressive job they had done.
  • Just before we got to the shore, one of the Class C sloops sank and a couple of skiffs were engaged in the process of bringing it up. Tom told me the process is to dive down and offload the pigs of lead used for ballast and the spars. This allows the hull to become buoyant. Then they tie a tow rope and pull so the hull planes while guys bail like crazy. Interesting...
  • We returned to the boats about 1700. The sea had been nice and calm on the shore at the point where we beached the dinghies but by the time we got out to the anchored boats it was bouncing around a lot. Heeling Time was going to make their fajita dinner but we decided to postpone it because of the difficulty of handling bouncing dinghies in the dark.
  • I got involved in monitoring the powerboat which was anchored inshore of Onward. With the wind shift to the NNE, its stern was < 90' off my bow. I called to check on their scope and found they had 100' vs my 70' so that accounted for some of it. After checking the offset to the waypoint I put over it, I found Onward's anchor was still at the same place it was set. So I decided to just continue to watch and take periodic laser rangefinder measurements.
  • About 45 minutes before sunset, Police Boat 19 called to ask for boats anchored in front of the S runway approach to move. While ashore, I'd sighted down the runway to make sure Onward was off to the W of the approach. Now I verified that I was located outside of the no-anchor zone shown on the charts. I decided to stay in place while several other boats including Beckoning picked up anchor and moved to the SW. This included the powerboat I was concerned was too close.
  • Winds rose to > 25 kts. I think Onward's keel bounced off the bottom a couple of times in the wave troughs. I was pretty tired out from the day so I just had a bowl of soup for dinner and read.

2 Feb 13; Saturday; Little Farmers Cay
  • Today is an ugly day: heavy overcast with winds NE @18-25 kts. It should be an interesting day for the Class C sloop races. About 1100 we headed out in the dinghies to go ashore. The wind had clocked to the E enough that the beach on the W side of the airport was calm. On the way over, we encountered the Class C sloops preparing to start. They line up at anchor prior to the start with a crew at the bow to pull in the anchor while other crew are ready to raise the single sail. At the gun, they pull like mad at the anchor line and the halyard so as soon as the anchor breaks free they are off. I shadowed several boats to get some nice photos of them underway with crew out on the "prys".
  • I brought Venture into shore and watched the finish from the deck in front of Ty's. A boat from Long Island won the race as it did the one yesterday. It came in second in the second race of the day and then won the last race making it 3 of four firsts with one second.
  • We had a nice lunch of ribs. In mid afternoon I headed back to Onward. The Heeling Times invited us over for fajitas so I sautéed some peppers and onions to take over. We had a nice evening together.

3 Feb 13; Sunday; Little Farmers Cay to Musha Cay
  • The winds backed N during the night but were < 15 kts. At 1040, I ventured off with the Beckonings and the Heeling Times to go over to Oven Rock to the NE of Little Farmers Cay. However, once we got around the point at the S end of the runway, the swells picked up enough due to the shallow water to make the ride a wet one. So we decided to bag it. When I got back to Onward, I had difficulty getting aboard because the wind had gone NNW and the chop had Venture bucking up and down.
  • In the past, they had a race on Sunday morning but this year they did not. So I proposed going S to Musha Cay where the anchorage would be quitter in the N wind. Beckoning decided to stay in order to attend the Super Bowl party. So Heeling Time and Onward headed S. Once underway we were able to sail under genoa alone. I was towing Venture and that combined with being so heavily laden and having a bottom that needs cleaning, made me a slowpoke compared to Heeling Time. It was a nice leisurely sail and I anchored in the usual place off Musha Cay.
  • Tom grilled up some hamburgers and I brought over hamburger buns and we had a great lunch. That done, I returned to Onward and had a nice nap in the sun. I invited Tom & Dana over for dinner so I woke up and got myself going to straighten up a bit and prepare for dinner. We had a nice cocktail hour and then I made angel hair pasta with meatballs. Dana made some fresh biscuits so we had a delightful dinner.
  • I've created a Farkel monster! Dana and Tom really enjoy Farkle and Dana has a nice touch. She won the first game and then a second coming from behind. This makes for three in a row. Another woman who can manipulate the dice faster than the eye can see. I can't wait to set up a match between Dana and Harriet.

4 Feb 13; Monday; Musha Cay
  • The Heeling Times came over to listen to Chris Parker on the SSB. They brought along their Sony portable SSB receiver and antenna so they could compare its reception. This enabled them to get familiar with Chris's SSB transmission format and learn how to pick it up on the portable. This worked out well and they took the unit back to Heeling Time and rigged the antenna full length vertically and were able to get good reception. This now allows them to get Chris's broadcast in addition to the emails they subscribe to.
  • The weather for the week looked to be good so Tom & Dana decided to spend another day at Musha Cay. I spent the morning working on "stuff" and after lunch I picked up Tom and we Ventured over to Cave Cay. Along the way, the outboard kept on getting fuel starved so we would have to keep pumping the bulb on the fuel line. Now I've replaced the Raycor fuel filter cartridge and disassembled and cleaned the on-engine fuel filter. After each cleaning, the fuel starvation problem seemed to abate only to come back. I'm really puzzled because it doesn't seem to be a carburetor dirt issue as it runs fine at slow idle.
  • At Cave Cay we pulled into the marina basin and were immediately impressed with the size and depth of the basin. What a great hurricane hole! The only issue is a controlling depth of 5.5' at the entrance at MLW. We went to the fuel pier and I filled the dinghy tank (at $6.20 / gal!). The dock master, Steve, whose father is the owner and developer of the island came down and gave Tom and I a tour of the cay so I could update the BCG entry. They have a nice set of floating piers with a floating dock house. A shoreside building has showers and heads. The fuel pier is separate and easy to get in and out of. The owner has built a large home at the S end of the island and a large building has been built directly above the marina at the N end of the lagoon. It is just a shell and will eventually be the clubhouse for the resort. Three rental cottages are approaching completion between the future clubhouse and the owner's home. The island sports a runway which the owner and guests use to fly in. They are slowly building the facilities and are not advertising the marina but relying on word of mouth until the resort is more built out. We had a really pleasant time talking with Steve.
  • On the way back, Tom and I Ventured around the N, W and S coasts of Musha Cay looking at the several guest cottages and support facilities -- quite an operation with a beautiful vista in any direction. In the crescent bay at the SW tip of the island there is a mysterious walled compound with three big gates enclosing a large pavilion.
  • I dropped Tom back home and then took Venture to explore the small cays to the W which have small homes on them but show no evidence of people living there. Since filling the fuel tank, the outboard had no problem with fuel starvation until just before I got back to Onward. This is mysterious. I pulled off the modular connection between the hose and the tank and checked it for blockage and found none. I actuated the plunger valve and it worked freely. I then put it back together and the fuel starvation problem disappeared. I'll have to check the tank connection to see if it is damaged or blocked.
  • The Heeling Times invited me over for dinner so I took half the rye bread dough I'd made in the morning and baked fresh dinner rolls. A delicious grilled pork tenderloin dinner ensued where Dana introduced me to a sweet & sour chopped red cabbage that she buys in bottles. Delish. Once dinner was done, we got into a Farkle game. This time I won with Dana nipping at my heels in spite of a large lead I'd built up. I tried several times to set up Tom by giving him 3 or 4 die to build on a large score of mine but luck was not with him. I've made real Farkle converts of the two of them. But I think a Dana - Harriet match would be one to watch!

5 Feb 13; Tuesday; Musha Cay
  • The Heeling Times listened to Chris on their SSB receiver and decided to head NE to Powell Pt and thence back to the US via the Abacos. Tom needs to get back to FL and then home to TN and his golf course for the Spring after a 3-month cruise. They headed out at ~ 0800. I had a grand time with them and look forward to a repeat next year.
  • I spent the morning working on my boat tasks. Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time looking for the replacement part I'd bought for the SailRight sewing machine. When I'd received it, I was undisciplined and didn't take the 2 minutes needed to put it with the sewing machine. So now I spent about 3 hours trying to find the "clever" place where I'd put it to be safe. Today I found it (in navstation desk) and installed it. Now I have no excuse for not getting some needed sewing chores done. I also made a new mounting strut for the handheld depth sounder transducer for Venture and drilled a hole in the leg of my new navseat base so it can be locked in position. I also made a rig so I can mount the Ryobi metal cutoff saw on my work table so I can do a better job of getting a square cut on 1" SS tubing.
  • I got an email from the Beckonings saying they were moving to Musha Cay from Little Farmers and it included an invitation to dinner. At mid day I took a break to lay out on the starboard side deck to work on my tan. With Onward weathercocking into the wind, the side deck is a nice place to sun because there is always a nice stream of cool air flowing over one. The hard work of erasing the tan line - just about gone - was then offset by lunch -- a sandwich made from one of my freshly baked rye bread rolls and a beer. Of course, a remedial nap was then needed.
  • I worked on more boat tasks then baked more rye dinner rolls before heading over to Beckoning. As the weather looks to be great for the rest of the week, I suggested that Beckoning should grab the opportunity to head down to George Town. It turned out they had come to the same conclusion. So, we had a nice dinner together and talked about a rendezvous at the end of Feb after my guests return to Boston.
  • While enjoying pre-dinner cocktails, we were entertained by a G&G Shipping roro ship coming in and nosing up to the cargo ramp at Musha Cay. Crews from the ship and the cay scurried about in the dark to unload 2 containers and load another on the ship which then spent the night in position.

6 Feb 13; Wednesday; Musha Cay
  • The G&G ship departed about 0530. At 0730, I brought over MK's jacket that Heeling Time had given me to transfer and we said our farewells prior to their departure at 0815.
  • I spent the day working on task and took time off after lunch to work on my tan while lying on the side deck. Over the years I assembled quite a collection of unsorted SS nuts, bolts, and screws. Today I decided to get them sorted out as part of the overall task of organizing all the boat stuff I've got stored forward. A nice mindless task that actually brings with it a feeling of accomplishment.
  • I'm reading "The Fortunate City" a history of Venice. I read another complete history a couple of years ago and then came across this eBook. I developed an attraction to Venice after reading Dona Leon's mystery series set in modern Venice. A republic from the mid 400's to 1805, it has an amazing history.

7 Feb 13; Thursday; Musha Cay
  • Another relaxing day. I began to tackle one of my favorite tasks, Stainless polishing. I took break for some sunning on the side deck. I also did some research on Mush and Rudder Cut Cays.
  • I made a new mounting strut for the depth sounder transducer I use in the dinghy. I spent more time sorting all those SS nuts, bolts, and screws I accumulate.
  • Today I learned that David Copperfield commissioned an artist to make a mirror-finish stainless steel grand piano modeled on a Steinway that he has located on the bottom of one of his lagoons with a mermaid lying nearby to watch over the piano. Neat. I also learned that the mysterious compound I'd seen on shore was his Secret Kingdom watched over by monkeys and with hidden passages and rooms -- all part of his "magical" experience at the Musha Cay Resort.
  • I completed watching the Civil War series. Watching it and reading Team of Rivals was a great combination. There is another good book on the Navy during the Civil War that I now want to read.

8 Feb 13; Friday; Musha Cay
  • One of my morning tasks was to whip up a batch of bread dough as well as biscotti dough. During the night, I had a sort-of waking dream about puff-pastry dough. As readers might recall, last year I got personal training in making this dough by the chef at Fowl Cay Resort. I haven't tried it since mainly because of the amount of butter it requires (~ 1-lb for 6 cups of flour). But during the night, I got the idea of trying it using olive oil which I would brush on before folding and rolling to make multiple layers. I decided to try this today.
  • I took 2 cups of flour and ~ 1 cup of water and made a dough that I put in the cooler for a while. Then I took it out and rolled it into a sheet then sprayed a bit of olive oil on and then brushed it out thinly before folding the sheet in half and rolling it out to the original size. I repeated this about 5 or 6 times the put the dough back in the cooler. It was very similar to that I'd made at Foul Cay.
  • After noon, Pipe Dream came in and anchored nearby and proffered an invitation to dinner. I, of course, accepted. I took advantage of the sunny afternoon and light winds to don my fins, mask and snorkel and clean the waterline. I had a good layer of growth that I've been hauling around from the ICW. I did the complete waterline to about an arms-reach down. I need to work on some of the deeper stuff - maybe when I've someone else aboard and can use the hooka unit.
  • I decided to bakes some dinner rolls. I've gotten this process down and it goes quite well. I preheat the oven to 450 ºF and in the interval form the dinner rolls. I divide a half-batch of dough, ~ 3 cups, into four equal parts and form these into 3 hamburger-sized rolls on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. I bake these for 15 min and then turn them on the baking sheet and bake for another 10 to 15 min. Thus, fresh dinner rolls can be prepared ~ 1 hr before going off to dinner. There was a wrinkle this time because my propane tank went belly-up in the first 15-min period and I had to change the tank. It is nice to have the second 10-lb tank available. I'll get the empty refilled before Andrew and Carolyn arrive.
  • I took my last remaining apple and cored and peeled it before chopping up into small bits. I added cinnamon a bit of nutmeg, walnuts, dried cranberries, some splenda, and some coconut rum. I then took the sheet of layered dough and rolled it out and scooped the fruit mixture in it. I baked this at the same time I baked the dinner rolls.
  • Sue Seemann put out quite a spread for grazing while we enjoyed drinks together. We had such an enjoyable time, the grilling of chicken for the dinner seemed like an interruption. I think I will add "grazing nights" as a regular part of my entertainment repitoir. After a delicious dinner of grilled chicken along with vegetables, we decided to try out my experimental dessert. Unfortunately, Sue had an allergy to both walnuts and coconut so that left Jim and I to carry out the evaluation phase of the experiment. It was quite good. I found the filling alone to be wonderful and the dough did have a bit of a flaky layered consistency, a bit like the dough in sfogliatelle. Jim went back for another sample as did I.
  • The network went down and I could get no cellular data service. Because the system and the equipment is new to me, I'm unsure weather it is a network problem, data account problem, or my local equipment, although I'm now fairly sure it is the network.

9 Feb 13; Saturday; Musha Cay
  • This morning I decided to start the job of recaulking around the floorpan of the stern shower. I removed the old caulking, scrubbed the joints with bleach cleaners, and let it dry overnight.
  • At about low tide, I set out on an expedition to check out Rudder Cay and the passage S. The charts indicate there might be a route to move Onward S using a rising tide. I mounted the new depth sounder strut on the dinghy and headed S. I was able to find a route with ~ 7' at low tide almost all the way to the dredged basin in the SW quadrant of Rudder Cay.
  • Rudder Cay has an interesting history. In the 1990's it was purchased by a Florida insurance tycoon who built a home, airstrip, and support buildings on it and dug out the natural basin to form a protected anchorage with a narrow entrance channel. A few years later, his insurance company went belly-up and the Florida insurance commission had to bail it our and got the island in the settlement. It is still for sale. Apparently the airstrip is used by Musha Cay.
  • I found the entrance channel and the basin to have > 7' even at low tide. The remnants of several support buildings are visible on the S side of the lagoon. The shell of the substantial main residence is almost completely hidden by trees on one of the hills. This would be a great hurricane hole.
  • Going S, the connection between the entrance channel to the lagoon and the deep water at the SW end of the cay is fairly thin but I think a route with > 6.5' exists even at low tide. From the headland S of the entrance of the lagoon to the end of the cay and Rudder Cay Cut, there is plenty of water, > 10'. I Ventured out to the cut and although a bit narrow, has good depths. It would be fine under winds < 15 kts with any E in them but might be challenging at higher.
  • In late afternoon a catamaran came in and anchored just N of Onward. They immediately launched their dinghy and headed off to the pier at Musha Cay and then came back. Then they decided to come over to Onward. It seems they had caught a beautiful fish and they were not sure if it was ok to eat. It looked a lot like a snapper. They asked if I was a fisherman and I said I was just a fish-eater. Then I went below and got out the fish book from the beautiful set of guide books I bought several years ago at Exuma Park. I checked under snapper and sure enough their was a picture of their fish, a mutton snapper. They were still not sure about eating it and headed back to their boat. The internet came up enough for me to check and found this was deemed to be a delicious fish so I called them on VHF and read the passage to them.
  • I nuked a serving of pasta and meatballs for dinner and settled in with a glass of wine to watch the first episode of Downton Abbey. I had read and heard about this PBS Masterpiece series last summer but other than it getting good reviews from friends, I knew little about it. I decided to buy the series for my iPad before leaving the US but I didn't pay enough attention and the download had not gone well. Then, while in the Abacos, the first and second seasons mysteriously appeared on my iPad. Well, the effort was worth it. After only a short time I could see why so many have found the series captivating.
  • During the night, the wind picked up and went E when I was expecting N. This left Onward with its stern toward the sandbank instead of lying along the channel. In the early morning I felt an unusual movement and checked to find that there was < 0.1' under the keel and the tide was at MLW.

10 Feb 13; Sunday; Musha Cay to Black Point
  • I caulked the shower. Working in that narrow space is such a joy.
  • I was pleased to find that the cellular data network returned. I've become used to having it all the time whenever I can see a cell tower. So its the pits when the network goes down.
  • Just after 1200, I weighed anchor and headed N to Black Point. It was just about low tide and there wasn't much extra water (6.8') at the shallowest point of the route just WNW of of the N tip of Cave Cay. A line of squalls moved E to W as I headed N and Onward got a good washdown. However, the seas were up and on the last segment of the trip lots of salt water got blown aboard. So, I will be looking forward to a future rain squall to wash it off again.
  • The winds were ~ 25 kts from the NE when I anchored at Black Point. I had considered going ashore for dinner but bagged the idea. I had a simple dinner of Progresso soup and fresh biscotti. Then I enjoyed the second episode of Downton Abbey.

11 Feb 13; Monday; Black Point
  • The winds calmed to ~ 15 kts from the E and the sun returned. I spent the morning doing tasks including some fiberglass work on the broken corner of the cabinet in the shower. I also added a shelf to it. I continued to work on organizing boat stuff and in the process, the interior looks like a cyclone went through. About 1330, I went ashore to have lunch at Scorpio's and to upload my websites. The BTC cellular data system is fine for email and simple website downloads but it will not handle uploads at the Edge data rate level currently available.
  • Back in Northeast Harbor ME, I had found and repaired two minor punctures in Venture that had been plaguing me with a slow leak for a year. Since, I had been reveling in how nice it was to have a nice firm dinghy every day (don't laugh, where is your mind going?). Well, when I went in to do my laundry a week ago, some thoughtless cruisers had come into the dinghy dock after me and tied their dinghies up so as to force Venture under the pier and against the rocks. As a result, there is another slow leak I will have to chase down and repair.
  • Back aboard, it was time for a nap, of course. Then I did a bit more work before cocktail hour. I took the second half of the bread dough batch that I'd bagged and left in the cooler and made dinner rolls. I have gotten this down to where it is now very easy with great results each time. I experimented a bit and made two hamburger bun-shaped rolls and two loaf-shaped rolls. I enjoyed a fresh dinner roll with spaghetti and meatballs while I watched Downton Abbey. I've now gotten quite hooked on this.
  • For some reason (perhaps the cold green tea I had after my nap) i had one of the rare cases of not being able to fall asleep -- so I played with the iPad until I finally dozed off.

12 Feb 13; Tuesday; Black Point
  • Yesterday I kept my fingers crossed as the Landsat 8 satellite was launched from Vandenberg. Laura, Kurlen and Elena were nearby as she had a Landsat technical meeting to attend. It was a perfect launch and a much more capable satellite should be on line in a short while. Today I got of photo of Elena watching the launch with her mom. Neat!
  • I managed to keep myself on task all day. I completed repairs and modifications to the rear shower cabinet and reinstalled it. I also fixed the shower head mount so it holds the hand sprayer head more firmly. I then tackled stowing away some backup electronics gear (autopilot computer and control head that I replaced and need to be sent in for repair) that I'd been staring at for months. I continue to amaze myself with the boat "stuff" I continue to accumulate and keep "just in case". I even managed to bring myself to toss some stuff out I realized I will never really use. Amazing. I gave myself a break for a delicious chicken salad lunch with one of my bread rolls and a short nap in the sun and then went back to work. I'm beginning to get addicted to those bread rolls!
  • Just before cocktail hour, I tackled the delightful job of defrosting of the freezer. This went pretty quickly and I was a bit amazed at the amount of food I have in there. To help reduce the inventory, I took one of the 3 vacuum-bags of stew meat out and made some goulash stew. I enjoyed eating my delicious dinner with the folks at Downton Abbey.

13 Feb 13; Wednesday; Black Point
  • I spent the day on task converting my work/storage room in the forward stateroom back into a stateroom. One of the joyous activities was having upside down to access the wiring of the LectraSan unit. It keeps giving me a "low voltage" indicator so I wanted to monitor the voltages at the unit. Operating on just the battery and with the generator running, it still indicated a low voltage while my DVM indicated there was proper voltage at the unit. Time to replace it, I guess -- another opportunity to help the economy and build the middle class. I again rewarded my hard work with time off for a beer with lunch and a nap. Then I was back on task until 1530 when it was time to clean the shower and me before going ashore to enjoy one of Lorraine's barbecue dinners.
  • I took advantage of Loraine's faster internet to update iPad apps, buy a book and Season 3 of Downton Abbey. Unfortunately I forgot that it would take a long time to download so it didn't get completed.

14 Feb 13; Thursday; Black Point
  • A sunny day with light winds from the SSE. I made another attempt at diagnosing the LectraSan problem before throwing in the towel and closing up under the forward berth. I got back on task cleaning. I used my 15-min timer technique so as not to get overcome by the boredom and discomfort of the task of cleaning all surfaces. In this way, I managed to stay on task and remain efficient.
  • I rewarded myself by making a nice sandwich with the last of the rolls I'd baked and then heading off to my private beach in the small inlet at the N end of the cay. I took my depth sounder to check out the cove to see if I could anchor Onward there. I arrived just at high tide. My sounding show that there is enough water for me to anchor just inside then mouth. This would provide good coverage through > ~ 270º from N around to NW. This would be great for S to W winds but I'm not sure how it would be when the winds clocked to NW.
  • The tide was up enough that the little beach I use was underwater. So I had to be content to lie out in the dinghy while I ate lunch, read, napped, and continued to erase the last remnants of my tan line. I had never tried this before but I found it comfortable to like on my stomach on one of the tubes and nap!
  • I managed to even get back to work after my lunch excursion. By the end of the day, I had made a huge amount of progress, so much so that I suddenly felt very relaxed. So I went ashore to do one last load of laundry. While using the wifi, I found out I had not completed the downloads of the Down'ton Abbey series. In the time available I managed to download only one more. Drat.
  • I enjoyed stew for dinner and re-watched episode 4 of Downton Abbey -- saving the latest one downloaded for a special occasion. I'm not one who usually enjoys re-watching anything so I find it interesting that I enjoy re-watching Downton Abbey (or is it just the memory thing with agen that is in play?).

15 Feb 13; Friday; Black Point to Compass Cay
  • After looking at the GRIBS, synoptics, and listening to Chris, I decided I didn't want to wait our a 6 - 12 hr period with winds > 15 kts with a West component. At 0800, I weighed anchor and headed N to the protected anchorage S of Compass Cay. With winds out of the SSW at > 10 kts, I had a pleasant sail under genoa alone N up the banks. I arrived at the W entrance of the channel to Compass Cay at just about high tide. I had been concerned that Sandy may have moved the sand banks around but the channel hadn't relocated and the minimum depth I saw was ~ 9.5' right at the W entrance. It was nice to watch on AIS as a > 50' motor yacht navigate the channel ahead of me. There was a gaggle of about 4 boats waiting to get into the marina for the blow. I anchored in the usual place all by myself.
  • I had a nice lunch and a short nap. Then I had problems getting myself motivated to continue my cleaning chores. I am definitely a morning person. If I get going in the morning I can keep the momentum going into the afternoon. But I now find it hard to get on task in the afternoon. I guess I'm programmed for that to be play time. However, I did manage to get myself going even if at half-efficiency.
  • I rewarded myself with a grilled steak for dinner. One of the good things about having defrosted the freezer is I found all the good stuff I have hidden in there. I began reading PD James' newest mystery: Death Comes to Pemberley. As I got through the introduction, I realized that I had read about this book and the attendant controversy when it first came out as James had crafted this to be a mystery in the style of Jane Austen based on her character Elizabeth in Mansfield Park. Since I'm not an Austen reader, I am missing all the allusions and just enjoying it for the good mystery and writing. I am able to appreciate how James adapted the writing style that made her famous as a mystery writer to the purpose.
  • During the night, it became so calm and still, it woke me up and I had to check that all was alright.

16 Feb 13; Saturday; Compass Cay
  • A Good Story: As I was going through my mental list in preparation for my guests, a great true story told me by the folks on Argo came to mind. Here's the story: The captain of a charter trawler up in the Pacific northwest was briefing a newlywed couple on the operation of their bareboat charter trawler. He, of course, got around to the discussion of the care and use of marine heads and he explained what not to dispose of in the head and how the notorious joker valve was susceptible to becoming clogged. To prevent this, he cautioned that no more than seven square sheets of toilet paper should be used. A few days into the charter, the captain received a call from the young husband saying that they needed to end the charter early. When he enquired why, the husband explained that his wife was having problems dealing with the marine head -- it seem she had already used up almost all of the seven sheets of toilet paper and was daunted at the prospect of dealing with additional days aboard!
  • The first task of the day was to whip up a batch of bread dough. I spent the morning and afternoon on-task with my cleaning chores using my timer. It is always amazing to me how this "slow but steady" approach makes great progress without me getting aggravated by the unpleasantness of the tasks. I found myself almost running out of things to do.
  • The winds up to noon were very light from the SW. I began to wonder about the coming front being less that predicted. As I enjoyed lunch in the cockpit, the winds picked up to ~ 15 kts and clocked to WSW. During the rest of the afternoon it continued to build.
  • I baked fresh dinner rolls and made some pepperoni rolls too. As I made my cocktail an noshed on a pepperoni roll, l, I heard a vessel broadcast that the front had just come through Warderick Wells. Polar Pacer is anchored nearby in Pipe Creek and we chatted a bit as he tracked it on radar.
  • I decided to enjoy cocktail hour in the cockpit reading PD James and watching the front. The front became clearly evident running from NE to SW in a bit of an arc with its apex approaching Compass Cay. This was the most pronounced and clearly developed cold front I have ever seen in these waters. The good news was there was no evidence of thunder squalls with it. The front came over at just about sunset adding to its ominous gloom. The winds actually got calmer before picking back up to ~ 15 kts with the beginning of rain squalls. As time went on, the rain squalls got longer and heavier and the winds increased. In late evening the winds were averaging > 25 kts and gusting to > 30 kts. In the anchorage the seas were nice and calm and Onward confidently rode out the storm.
  • I had a delicious sandwich with freshly sautéed breaded chicken breasts on one of my fresh-baked rolls with a beer to wash it down. Delish! I then spent a relaxing evening reading PD James and feeling snug an secure while the winds howled outside.

17 Feb 13; Sunday; Compass Cay
  • When I got in bed the wind had calmed a bit but then picked up. I turned on the A90 chartplotter next to the bed and set it up so I could monitor Onward's motion in the storm. With a good sand bottom and 100' of chain out in ~ 12' of water, I wasn't worried in this calm anchorage -- but it was another case where "trust but verify" was appropriate.
  • As a matter of safety, I maintain a watch on VHF Ch-16 at night. I turn up the squelch to eliminate static and those transmitters too far away for me to do anything about. This morning I was awoken by several transmissions between 0400 and 0500. One involved sailing vessel Juno who was trying to contact a 100'+ motor yacht off Bell Island that appeared to be dragging down on him. Another was a boat in the Big Majors Spot area trying to alert another boat that it was dragging. The third was at ~ 0500 by a 60'+ Hatteras, Off the Grid, that had gone up on a rocky bar by Big Rock Cut because his anchor rode broke. He was seeking assistance from any large tender to tow his stern our so he could back off. He broadcast a Securite call for some time without response. This of course was at a bad hour when most people are still asleep and most don't follow my practice of keeping a radio watch for safety. I contacted him and gave him some phone numbers for locals who might be able to help. I also called him on the phone and suggested he broadcast a Pan-Pan request because he was in danger of being holed and also suggested he request help from smaller tenders who could help him put out a stern anchor. He followed this advice and sometime after sunrise larger vessels went to his aid and he was towed off.
  • Every day is a learning day aboard Onward -- that's one of the things I enjoy the most. Today I learned a new use for a double ended seafood fork. The little spatula-like end is perfect for poking a wash cloth into the space between the slats of the teak louvered doors and clean out the grime that accumulates in the corners. Neat.
  • Having completed the overwhelming majority of my cleaning tasks, I decided to play with the sewing machine. Many months ago, I had injured it trying to sew a hem on an old pair of jeans buy inadvertently tugging on the needle sideways as it was descending. As a result the thread got frayed after just a few stitches. I had tried readjusting the clearances and then bought and installed a new bobbin spring. Today the fraying problem persisted. There must still be something out of alignment. That put paid to my quick sewing job.
  • At cocktail hour, I decided to write a "Guest Advisory" with those helpful instructions guests need to have on a vessel new them. In the process of checking some information on the iPad, it went into the "Recovery Mode" this happens when it is having problems accessing the file structure. In the almost 3 years I've had the iPad, it has been bulletproof and has caused me no problems as it has been absolutely reliable. So I was stunned by this problem which might have been caused by me accidentally as I was pushing its buttons without paying attention while writing. The impact on me was huge. My faithful friend who has been at my beck and call and been my companion meeting my whims and needs was dead! Very difficult to contemplate. I then began trying to figure out what to do to recover. This was complicated by limited Edge-level internet access. I got the process started and due to internet and power problems this continued most of the night. I have been thinking of buying the newest model when it comes out in March so I will have a backup and now I am committed to it as the iPad has become such a part of my life.

18 Feb 13; Monday; Compass Cay to Staniel Cay
  • The winds clocked around during the night to the NNE and at about 0100 high tide allowed some mild swells to penetrate into the anchorage from the Sound. The mild motion of Onward was so different than the quiet I had been experiencing that it likely gave rise to a vivid dream that woke me up: Onward was at anchor and was pulled down backward into the water! Needless to say, that got me out of bed to check things out and I found all was fine.
  • Job One this morning was to continue the recovery of the iPad and this went quickly helped along with the recent backup I had done. What a relief. I was then able to check the synoptics and gribs in time for Chis Parker's SSB broadcast.
  • Anchors aweigh at 0845 with about a foot of rising tide that enabled Onward to depart the Compass Cay channel without incident. Once on the banks I had a great sail S under genoa alone at speeds up to 7 kts in the 15+ kt ENE winds. This enabled me to sail up to the entrance channel to Staniel. I found my close-in anchoring spot near the grotto empty and was able to quickly anchor. It seems the sand has moved around a bit to cover more of the hard bottom.
  • After finishing my cleanup chores, I cleaned me up. I was astounded when the forward port water tank that I'd switched to only a day or two before went empty - of course while I was trying to rinse off. When I switched tanks, nothing happened so I had to get out my hammer to provide some gentle "percussive adjustment" -- for some reason the pressure-sensitive switch stuck - the second time in the last couple of weeks. This means I'll have to try to clean it out. By the time I got this done, got rinsed, dried, and dressed, it was time to go to the airstrip. I walked by Burke's, the Blue Store, and was buying some items of opportunity when my phone rang. It was Andrew saying they had missed the connection due to a customs & immigration delay and would be in on the 0845 morning flight. So, I headed back and took a well-earned nap in the sun then had a quiet evening.

19 Feb 13; Tuesday; Staniel Cay
  • This was one of the rare mornings where I slept past my normal wake time so my plan to bake some almond biscotti had to be put off. At 0830 I Ventured in to Isles and checked that they could fill my propane tank. Then I walked over to the airport to await the Flamingo Air flight. There I found a nice Citation V jet sitting on the parking pad. Things must be going upscale here. The flight arrived on time and we picked up the duffels and headed back to Onward. I made Onward omelets for my guests. As they unpacked and settled in, a mound of stuff grew on the salon table. Prominent were two large light blue towels. I was puzzled by these and was told they had arrived in the box with a couple of light-weight nylon running shorts I'd bought. I hadn't ordered these beautiful Egyptian cotton towels but they were now here so I told my guests to enjoy them. I thanked them for transporting all my swag which didn't amount in volume to 1/2 a towel.
  • Carolyn & Andrew enjoyed just relaxing in the cockpit for the balance of the morning. Just before lunch, I found an email from Ariel saying they were at Big Major's. So I gave them a call on VHF and we arranged to meet at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club for lunch. Shortly after settling at a table, Miles and Laureen arrived and we had a nice reunion. Our relaxing and chatty lunch was capped by a round of mango daiquiris at Miles' instigation -- Delish.
  • I was able to get the propane tank filled at Isles General Store and then we headed back to Onward and weighed anchor to move closer to Ariel. I planned to go into the SCYC to take on water but found a large catamaran was tied up for the night. So we pressed on and anchored off Pig Beach.
  • The Ariels joined us for dinner. I grilled a pork loin and made porcini risotto along with a bit of lettuce & tomato. Laureen provided appetizers and dessert and a good time was had by all helped along by cocktails, wine, prosecco with desert, and sipping rum. Delish.

20 Feb 13; Wednesday; Staniel Cay to Cambridge Cay
  • A picture perfect Bahamas day greeted us. After breakfast we weighed anchor and headed N to Sampson Cay Club to take on water and top off fuel. At the marina I learned they were low on fuel so were limiting it to marina guests so we just topped off water. We met Spartina from Claiborne MD with Sara and Phil as they came in for water. As all tanks were empty it took a bit of time to fill and I decided to also top off my 2 water jerrycans on deck. The restaurant was now open for lunch and we decided to stay. Andrew and Carolyn went on a walk around the cay and I read. At lunch, I had a delicious blackened Grouper entree.
  • After lunch we headed N to Cambridge Cay arriving just before high tide so the southern entrance was a breeze. We picked up a mooring and then I had time for a nap while my guests relaxed and enjoyed what they went on vacation for -- downtime. After cocktail hour, I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. We then sat around and talked. Andrew is very much down on the Downton Abbey series with one of the reasons being he believes there is a lot of better British TV that should be presented in place of this "soap opera" on PBS. I enjoyed poking at him a bit because he actually hasn't watched an episode and objects on general principles.

21 Feb 13; Thursday; Cambridge Cay
  • After breakfast, we got ready to go snorkeling. I wasn't sure I was going in so I just took my wetsuit along. As we headed N, the outboard quit again due to fuel starvation. It has been doing this since I got to the Bahamas. In the Abacos, I changed the Raycor fuel filter as I thought it was clogged. While it then worked a bit better, the problem persisted whenever I ran with wide-open throttle. Andrew was pressed into service as an auxiliary fuel pump and he pumped the squeeze-bulb continuously until we got to the Aquarium.
  • Once tied up to the mooring, Andrew and Carolyn went out to explore the reef. I decided to try to fix whatever the problem was. It was obvious that fuel was not getting out of the tank and to the squeeze-bulb. I took the hose off the tank and then took the dipstick out of the tank to find that it was not blocked. In the bright sunlight, I was able to see more clearly into the small holes of the brass valve fitting that goes onto the hose to the engine. I could barely get any air to come out of this valve when I blew on the end of the dipstick and held down the valve stem. No wonder why the engine was acting fuel-starved. While the interior of the holes looked brass-colored, I was able to see some fibrousness. I needed a small pointed object and the only thing I could find aboard was the tip of a fine-lead mechanical pencil. With that, I was able to pick at the holes and dislodge some material that was fibrous in nature; perhaps it was a small piece of paper towel or some fiberglass. With a lot of perseverance, I was able to pick the material out bit by bit as it had lodged between the outside of the holes of the inner valve and the inside of the outer brass fitting. Eventually I got it all out. What a difference. It was more a wonder that the engine had run at all. I now have a lot of respect for the fuel pump!
  • When Carolyn and Andrew got back aboard Venture, we decided to go on a dinghy tour. At the tip of OBriens Cay just E of the Aquarium, there are many beautiful beaches which would be great clothing optional beaches -- something to remember on my next visit. We then did a circumnavigation around Little Halls Pond Cay which is the private island retreat of Johnny Depp. There is almost no evidence of the presence of his home and other facilities as they are modest and blended into the island. This is in far contrast to White Bay Cay just to the S of Warderick Wells where the Hollywood producer who bought it seems intent on paving the entire cay with the roofs of buildings -- so much so its hard to see any vegetation or land.
  • We had lunch on a small cay were there are supposed to be iguanas -- but we saw no evidence of them. Then we explored an almost dry salina just N of the cut and then inspected the shores of Bell Island. The Aga Khan dredged out a short connector to the natural channel and then a large basin from the edge of the island to form a marina which can easily accommodate ~200' yachts on each of its 3 bullheaded sides. There is a major land-reforming job ongoing with the spoils from the dredging: the low-lying connector to one of the SE points of the cay has been built up and they were apparently bringing in materials to reestablish ground cover over the spoil sand.
  • As we turned around to go back to Onward, my 6-gal fuel tank ran dry and we started drifting into the Aga's basin. I transferred fuel from my 1-gal emergency tank as Andrew fended us off from a steel reinforcement rod sticking out of the rocks. All that excitement called for a return to Onward for showers and naps.

22 Feb 13; Friday; Cambridge Cay
  • We had a lazy morning following our Onward omelet wraps. Then I made some lunch and we headed off the beach on the SW corner of Cambridge Cay where we put my new beach tarp under some Casurina trees and had a nice lunch. While I napped, Andrew and Carolyn walked off for a tour of the beach and a swim.
  • We returned to Onward in time for Cocktail hour. After dinner we began watching "A Good Year" first on the iPad and then my laptop when we discovered the disc was damaged and my software didn't convert all of it to mp4 format. There was still a small damaged section so we missed the key piece of information about why the estate produced a garbage public wine and a secret "garage wine" that was very excellent, expensive and hard to come by. I guess this will remain a mystery. Otherwise it was a good movie.

23 Feb 13; Saturday; Cambridge Cay to Staniel Cay
  • Onward dropped its mooring at 0730 to use the high tide to be able to negotiate the S exit from the mooring field. We had 15 - 20 kts on the nose for the trip S and it was a bit slow and bumpy. We anchored at the NE corner of Big Majors Spot near to Ariel and Fowl Cay Resort.
  • Once settled, I decided to try to fix the leaking fresh water pump. When I disassembled the pump head, I was astounded to find the body of the electric motor full of water. I could find no obvious tear or hole in the seals of the pump. I cleaned all the parts carefully and then reassembled the pump. It worked fine until the end of the cycle when the pressure gets close to 55 psi, then water again leaked from it. This time I could see it was from around the rubber seals for the wire feedthroughs in the pump body. I disassembled it again and again found the pump body full of water. A close examination of the membrane that is supposed to seal the pump body from the motor showed that the membrane had become deformed around the 3 actuators -- a result of the millions of cycles of use. I tried improving the damaged seal by putting some lanolin between the membrane and the metal sealing surface. Of course, the first time reassembly went flawlessly and quickly this time it needed me, Andrew, and Miles to get it back together correctly. One of the problems was reinserting the motor brushes. Andrew figured out how to get the brushes in finally. After reassembling the pump, it worked but it still leaked. I decided to just live with it until a new pump arrives.
  • By this time it was time to clean up to go to Fowl Cay for dinner. I ran the water pump breaker for Carolyn and Andrew and then they did the same for me. I guess I will have to develop a longer arm for when I am alone.
  • We Ventured over to Fowl Cay and were met at the landing by Yves. I brought Yves some pepper biscotti and told him he should add them to their repetoir. We had a pleasant cocktail hour chatting with two sets of guests who were staying at the resort. The a very nice dinner with good wines followed. We had such a good time chatting over dinner that we were the last to leave albeit a bit unsteadily.

24 Feb 13; Sunday; Staniel Cay to Musha Cay
  • I got my feet caught in the sheets and was up late today. This morning all of us were moving very slowly as a result of a good time last night. After a leisurely breakfast, we moved Onward over to the fuel pier at Staniel Cay Yacht Club. There I took on diesel, gas, water, and offloaded trash. It is always amazing how quick and easy this process is when I'm not alone aboard.
  • I moved Onward to anchor nearby and made lunch. Then it was off to deliver my guests to the SYC pier so they could head off to the airport and thence the flight, Boston, cold, snow, and workaday world. I remember those days -- but there weren't any sojourns to the Bahamas to break up the winters for me. These days are better.

25 Feb 13; Monday; Musha Cay to George Town
  • Dawn brought a clear and sunny day. Gribs and Chris Parker indicated the winds would be SE at ~ 10-15 kts with seas < 2'. Not the best conditions but easily doable and about as good as it would be for a while. Miles concurred so it was anchors aweigh at 0710 for an easy transit out of the Cave Cay Cut. Winds and seas picked up a bit as Onward motored S with them on the nose. But the motion was not uncomfortable and it was possible to maintain ~6 kts SOG. A peaceful and uneventful transit got interesting when I detected an electronic alarm signal that I had problems localizing it over the engine noise. I finally tracked it down to the CO detector located on the overhead near the engine. I removed the batteries to shut it down. As there was good airflow in the area, the alarm was likely due to need to change batteries.
  • With the alarm problem taken care of, it was time to begin making the passage through Conch Cut into Elizabeth Harbour. Ariel had crept ahead and Onward followed her in. As we approached the first waypoint after crossing the cut, a large RORO ship came charging down the channel. I was directly off its bow but well on the N side of the channel and it did what it should have -- turned sharply to the E and went out the cut. Still a bit disconcerting to have it charging at one.
  • Elizabeth Harbour was fairly full of boats but it is so large there is always room. Ariel peeled off to find an anchor spot just outside Gaviotta Bay, Miles' normal spot. I continued a bit S to anchor just inside the bight S of Volleyball Beach -- my normal spot. We are all creatures of habit. I spotted Beckoning anchored N of the monument as I moved S.
  • Once Onward was securely anchored, my personal batteries were drained and all I had energy for was an air bath and nap in the sun. I eventually woke up when an announcement was made about a cocktail hour on the beach. So, my energy back, I quickly freshened up and whipped up a snack food dish then headed in. There I ran into a number of friends and had a very nice evening.

26 Feb 13; Tuesday; George Town
  • I was moving slowly for some reason this morning. However I got myself going enough to Venture in to town by 0900. The wind had picked up from the S so the ride was very bumpy -- welcome to George Town. I took a walk around to see what changes had occurred since last year and I found a number of new businesses whom I visited to take pictures and get information for the BCG. I then did a bit of shopping and was a bit amazed to realize how little I actually needed. That done, I Ventured back to Onward with my swag.
  • Once aboard I set about ordering the replacement fresh water pump and getting it shipped to Ed's home. Then I headed over to gather up the Ariels in their dinghy and made our way S to have lunch at BD's on Hamburger Beach. There we rewarded ourselves for our braving the bumpy seas with cold beers. We all ordered the grilled snapper special: fresh whole snapper with onions, tomatoes, squash, and sweet potatoes sealed in an aluminum foil pouch and grilled. It was delicious: hot, juicy, tender, delicate yet flavorful and all the vegetables were a welcomed treat.
  • After lunch, we started out to hike to the Monument but that got quickly cancelled when Miles took a chunk out of the sole of his foot with a sharp tree root on the edge of the beach. So the Ariels headed home to do first aid and I headed back to Onward stopping along the way to say hello to the Beckonings as I passed by. Once aboard it was time for an air bath and a nap.
  • In the evening I Ventured in to "No Talent Night", the start of the Regatta festivities. I met the Ariels and we had dinner together as the festivities began. I "sinned" and had ribs. Delish. One of the highlights of the show as a repeat performance of the "Men's Olympic Synchronized Swimming Team" that had debuted last year -- a great treat. At the end of the show as the dance began, I took a walk around. It's times like this when there are so many couples being couple that I really feel being alone. As there were no loose women about to cure the problem, I decided to call it a night and Ventured home.

27 Feb 13; Wednesday; George Town
  • Today was a lazy day. I managed to get organized enough to go into St. Francis for lunch and to use their internet to upload my website files. The BTC cellular internet service here has been good and consistent enough to handle email and conduct internet business. I am still having problems with uploading website files -- even though they are relatively small in size. My website publishing software does the upload if rather slowly -- but then when I check the result, the files I have just supposedly uploaded are blank -- I don't get a missing file error but the files / pages have no content. However, when I upload the same files using the St. Francis internet, it goes normally. This problem is bugging me. Tomorrow I will need to renew my cellular data service and I will see how that works.
  • After lunch I came back with the intention of straightening up things aboard which I haven't done since I arrived. It seems like all the cleaning and organizing I did before my guests arrived combined with having other humans aboard has made me totally uninterested in boat keeping chores. I guess I will get spun up again before Ed and Tina arrive.
  • I took my afternoon air bath and nap and that energized me enough to make a batch of bread dough and then turn half of this into a calzone filled with broccoli, provolone, and pepperoni as my contribution to the noshing party that the Beckonings were hosting in the evening. I've now gotten quite good at making these. I made the dough at ~ 1330 and left it to warm in the sun under the dodger. By 1530 it was ready to bake with. In the 15 minutes needed to preheat the oven I sautéed the broccoli with olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes then filled the stretched out sheet of pizza dough. So it takes ~ 45 min to prepare and bake one.
  • The party hosted by the Beckonings included the Pipe Dreams, the Southerlys, the Argos, myself and Mag whom they'd met on a trip to N Great Exuma. Sue Seemann brought some prosciutto-wrapped melon pieces that somehow found a home in front of me. A grand and delicious time was had by all which is probably why my hope that there would be some calzone left to take back turned out to be a vain one.

28 Feb 13; Thursday; George Town
  • Today was the Bocce Tournament and I managed to get a slot in spite of missing registration. As it turned out, I was paired with Linda from Southerly. Our opponents included Fred from Southerly. Linda was quite good and we won 4 of the first 5 rounds. But on the sixth, the other team managed to score 4 points in one fell swoop and that was it because we were only playing for 8 points on the set. Ah well. I headed over to Beckoning to retrieve my hat and sunglasses I'd managed to leave behind last night. Then I headed home to Onward to have lunch and rest up for the afternoon's beach golf tournament.
  • The Baracuda Golf Classic was held on the ocean beach of Stocking Island. So after gathering up the other members of the foursome and our club, balls, and tees, we hiked from the harbor side to the Sound side. We were supposed to be the first foursome but the guys from B&G and Moon Shadow were late so we went off second. The fourth member was Muriel from Dutch Treat whose husband came along as "caddy" -- he carried the beer for he and I. Muriel said she spoke just a little English and I told her, in French, it was more than my ability to speak French. Her husband spoke good English and we enjoyed each others company. Well, the other 3 golfers were pretty good. My first hole was inauspicious and I set a new course record: the only golfer to lose both a club and a ball on the first hole. I had neglected to get all the sand off my hands and it was like having teflon gloves on. I did mange to recover the club but not the ball. In spite of the start, I didn't do badly overall. After playing 9 holes down the beach, it was time to turn around and head back to the dinghy. I fetched my 2 beers from our caddy and really enjoyed them. Back at the first tee, I found the Pipe Dreams and the Southerlys teeing off -- an all C470 foursome. While hiking back, I managed to lose my VHF radio - something that always happens when I neglect to attach its lanyard to me. I discovered this when I got back to Venture and so had to hike all the way back where I came across my caddy who had found the radio. He said he would carry it back to the dinghy as I obviously couldn't be trusted with it. Smart man.
  • Once back aboard Onward, I stretched out for my afternoon air bath and nap. After my nap, I heard the announcement that there would be a sudden-death playoff to determine the winner of the tournament. They called 4 boat names and it turned out 3 of the 4 were the other members of my foursome. Go figure.
  • Miles called to invite me to go to the Rake & Scrape at Peace and Plenty at 1830. I turned him down as I'd just woke up from my nap and didn't feel energetic. After reading for an hour, I felt invigorated and noticed the wind had died. So, I changed my mind and told the Ariels I'd meet them at Peace & Plenty. I had intended to go into Lake Victoria to tie up Venture and then walk over but Miles pointed out the winds were off shore so the infamous pier at Peace & Plenty should be OK. When I got there, I tied up at the projecting pier with the wind and current streaming Onward away from the pier. Miles suggested tying up near him so Venture wouldn't get caught under the pier. I didn't think it necessary (you see where this is going…). We were done with a nice dinner where I had grilled Mahi and were listening to the band starting to play. Then I heard a muffled announcement about checking dinghies. So, Miles and I walked over to the railing of the deck and looked down at the pier. After a bit, I realized there were a lot of dinghies but I couldn't see Venture. So I ran down to the pier and lo, it was gone! I looked around to see where it had drifted off to but then thought about how well I'd tied it up and figured that it was highly unlikely it had gotten loose. Then I noticed the painter was still on the piling where I'd put it and it seemed to be leading under the pier. I lay down and looked over the side and could not see Venture under the pier. Then Miles who was doing the same thing closer to the shore end said he found it. Apparently the two large tenders that had come in after I'd arrived had simply pushed Venture aside and under the pier and it had streamed down the length of the pier with the motor end going under one of the cross-beams. The tide had come up enough that the motor wouldn't allow it to be pulled forward. I got the bow pivoted out and got down into the dinghy to see how to get it our. A wave or a wake came in and pushed the dinghy under the pier before I could fully get into it and I found my chest compressed between the beam of the pier and the tube of the dinghy. I was just able to talk a bit and one of the guys who came to help was able to step on the tube and depress it enough to free me. I got down between the tubes and determined that the only way out was to get the bow under the cross piece that trapped the engine and to do this I had to let a lot of air out of two tubes. I got the bow pivoted out so I could get out of the dinghy. Then with help from Miles and the second helper, we managed to finally get Venture out. I re-inflated the tubes and moved Venture over next to Ariel's dinghy -- where I should have put it. A bit scraped up and worn out, I went back to finish my drink and along the way met the second guy who was helping me. It turns out I'd had dinner with him at Long Island last year and it was he who had reported the problem -- thank God. The worse part of the whole thing is now I have to listen to Miles reminding me to pay attention to his good advice! But there is another lesson: any time folks in large tenders come in, the odds are they don't give a damn about any other tender -- so it is important to take preventative measures -- which I'd not done.
  • Somehow, I had lost the party mood in part due to the fact that I had done a loose woman survey which came up empty so I called it a night and returned across the calm harbor to Onward.