Onward’s Cruise Journal 2015

Updated: 27 February 2015

February 2015

1 Feb 15; Sunday; Black Point

  • A nice day with light winds in the morning slowly picking up and clocking from N to NE as the day wore on. I spent the morning trying to go over my credit card receipts from all the Amazon shopping I did - I'm one of the people Amazon Prime likes.
  • We planned to go in to enjoy the Super Bowl festivities ashore in the afternoon. I decided to go in to the government pier to try to fix the dangerous ladder I discovered last night. When I got there I found someone had cut the twine I'd placed on it with a Danger sign as the ladder was hanging by just the tips of the nails used to hang it. I first hammered in the loose nails to get it in place. Then I drilled holes for some SS square-drive deck nails. While I was doing this some idiot in a red dinghy comes barreling in hitting my dinghy that was half under the pier and almost knocking me into the water. Then he caromed off of the ladder I was trying to fix! Of course as soon as I put the square-drive bit in the impact driver, it fell off into the water.
  • I went back to Onward, cleaned up, got another bit, and Peggy and I went in to complete the task and go on to the festivities. I used the 6 screws I had on the ladder. This got it strong enough to use safely. I guess I need to carry a larger inventory of long square-drive deck screws in the future!
  • We visited Scorpio's bar for rum punches and then went to Shamon's for dinner and to watch the beginning of the Super Bowl with the First Loves and the Persistents. We had a good meal and good time but decided to leave before halftime.

2 Feb 15; Monday; Black Point
  • A beautiful sunny day. Many boats headed out early. We went in to Rockside so Peggy could get her hair done and I could do some computer work.

3 Feb 15; Tuesday; Black Point to Little Bay, Great Guana Cay
  • It was a very quiet night. In midmorning, we weighed anchor and motored in the still air S down the coast around the S headland of Black Point down to Little Bay with its beautiful beach. We anchored about 1130 sharing the anchorage with only 3 other boats.

4 Feb 15; Wednesday; Little Bay
  • We woke up from a very quiet night to find a bit of overcast and a lot of humidity on the inside of the dodger - an unusual event. I spent the morning bringing financial things up to date having taken my eye off the balance sheet for the last 6 weeks or so.
  • That done, I decided to do a minor boat project: install SS hand-holds on the stern support struts of the dodger. The idea is that guests will grab on to these during their ingress and egress — instead of grabbing the canvas side panels. I'd bought last summer in Maine. I'd put off doing the installation because I knew drilling holes in the SS struts would be a bear. I was right!

5 Feb 15; Thursday; Little Bay
  • During the night the wind clocked around to the SSW with light winds. This made the anchorage a bit rolly. In trying to start the genset, I discovered that its AGM had deteriorated to the point that even a jump-boost from the main batteries wouldn't start it. I ran the Yanmar for an hour to top up the house bank while I figure out what to do about the genset.

6 Feb 15; Friday; Little Bay to Little Farmers Cay
  • The N wind had not been uncomfortable during the night and it began to clock to the NE. We decided to sail down toward Little Farmers Cay because the forecast was fairly benign with the winds from the ENE at 20 kts and falling over the weekend. So it looked like the Class C races could be held. We weighed anchor about 0900 and we were able to sail under the genoa alone at > 6kts. As we approached Little Farmers Cay, it became apparent that there was a good fleet of cruising boats in the NE and SW anchorages. The wind continued to build and the skies were overcast. We sailed in toward Oven Rock and then set anchor just SW of it. The wind was ~ 20 kts from the E and with the overcast, we decided to stay aboard instead of Venturing over to the island. We spent a quiet day doing this n thats and reading.

7 Feb 15; Saturday; Little Farmers Cay
  • The morning promised a sunny day with the E wind slowly dropping. We headed ashore at 0830 and I took Peggy on a quick walking tour of the main part of the settlement. I was disappointed not to find JR the woodcarver around as I was hoping to find something for Kian. About 0930 we Ventured N around the island to the NW beach where the firs race of the day was about to get underway. Along the way, I had removed the drain plug to drain the rainwater out of the dingy while we were on plane. Later as we were posttioning ourselves to video the start of the race, I suddenly realized the boat was filling up with water. The drain plug had popped out!. I was able to get us moving fast enough to eventually redrain the boat. We got back to the starting line just in time to catch the start. We chased the fleet about to the first mark so Peggy could get a good view of Bahamian racing: part sailing race, part rugby. Without backup gasoline aboard Onward, I wanted to conserve fuel so we headed in to the Tigh's Sunset Bar beach.
  • Once ashore, I took Peggy on a walking tour of the airstrip and stopped by Little Farmers Cay Yacht Club. There we had beers and chatted with Roosevelt Nixon as he ate lunch. We also got to say hello to his daughter who was visiting from Germantown MD. We hiked back to the NW beach where our timing was good and we were able to get drinks and lunch before the crowds got large. So we found seats on the beach, ate lunch, watched the races, and watched the people. In late afternoon we Ventured home for a quiet evening aboard.

8 Feb 15; Sunday; Little Farmers Cay to Musha Cay

9 Feb 15; Monday; Musha Cay

10 Feb 15; Tuesday; Musha Cay
  • I was up about 0300 and it was still quite calm. However somewhere about 0400 the winds clocked to the W and began to pick up. At about 0430, I heard a VHF transmission and it turned out to be a Pan Pan call from SV Quozi requesting help as they had gone aground at Big Farmers Cay. I heard no other station and I responded that I'd heard them but I was too far away (and without the fuel to get there in Venture). I rebroadcast their message several times as it was barely audible. Eventually Little Farmers Cay responded and said that Aden Bouroughs was coming out in a boat. The sailboat called out several times as things were getting more desperate. The large motor yacht that we'd watched come in and anchor just NW of us responded on VHF and launched their tender. The boat from Little Farmers Cay arrived and realized their boat was not big enough to tow the vessel off. The went back to Little Farmers to get a larger boat. Meanwhile the tender arrived and was able to take on a stern line from the sailboat. However they were unable to budge the grounded vessel as it was low tide. The crew declined the offer to be taken off the vessel and the tender departed. Soon after, I heard a Mayday call from the grounded vessel saying they were now taking on water and requested pumps. When there was no response from other vessels, I rebroadcast the mayday. Then I tried to raise Cave Cay on the cellphone but just got their recording. I called Ocean Cabin on the cell phone and related the message to the person who answered. Soon after Farmers Cay responded that the large vessel was enrollee. By this time dawn was beginning to break. The last transmission I heard was that the larger boat was back on scene. Then no more transmissions.
  • I tried raising Cave Cay marina on the cell phone but got their recording. I called Ocean Cabin and

11 Feb 15; Wednesday; Musha Cay
  • About 0200, I got up to check on the boat as it was high tide and while the wind had abated, the remaining swells from the NNW were able to make themselves felt over the protective sandbar to the NW. I also needed to reboot the anchor alarm app which was a bit of a struggle still being half asleep. I then slept soundly until 0630. As I got up, my right knee with the damaged ACL suddenly started giving me excruciating pain. It was a real struggle to get up and move the short distance to the galley. Last night, before going to bed, I'd felt a few twinges in this knee.

12 Feb 15; Thursday; Musha Cay to Emerald Bay Marina
  • It was a calm night — good. I was up before 0600 to prepare to get underway.

13 Feb 15; Friday; Emerald Bay Marina
  • Peggy had laughed when I told her I usually started laundry here soon after 0500. So about 0730 we went over to the laundry and found we had to wait in line. Peggy graciously elected to stay and read while waiting while I went back to work on boat chores. I continued to work on the Augean Stables task of sorting out all the miscellaneous electronics stuff that I don't use much but can't part with. I finished sorting it, bagging and labeling it, and inventorying it before putting it in a large canvass zip-bag for storage in the forward shower locker. I took a break from this PITA task by rebuilding the depth sounder strut for the dinghy using a longer piece of 1" SS tubing so it will be completely submerged when on Venture's transom.
  • When Peggy returned from the laundry, we decided to make it a pool day at Grand Isles Resort. So we changed and headed to the pool, stopping on the way to buy 1-day pool passes ($35 ea.) We secured lounges at poolside with an umbrella. We celebrated this accomplishment with drinks and lunch. Of course my lunch and 2 beers was followed by a nap. It was a lovely afternoon of swimming, reading, and napping. Someone has to do it.
  • A quiet night reading. I finished the History of Ancient Egypt. A fascinating book about a very fascinating land. Years ago I stumbled upon Elizabeth Peters mystery series set in the heyday of Egyptology late 1800's to early 1900's. Peters was a University of Chicago trained egyptologist and lives in Maryland. So here books were full of references to Egyptian history. Reading the complete history now has finally allowed me to have a full appreciation for the Egyptians and the pastiche of information I'd picked up over the years. The book was well written and very readable I'm glad I stumbled upon it.
  • We finished the night by watching The Last Time I Saw Paris with the young Elizabeth Taylor. The story kind of set me up to read The Greater Journey by David McCullough which covers the era of Americans going off to Paris last century (seems strange to use that term as that's when I was born).

14 Feb 15; Saturday; Emerald Bay Marina
  • We spent a relaxing morning aboard and about 1100 decided to go for a walk to check out the Sandals Resort. Due to their prix-compel policy, they discourage casual visitors. The security guard was nice enough to allow us to wander to the central mall area and we stopped at the gift shop and overlooked the pools and activities areas. They have quite a nice facility and the beauty of Emerald Bay in the background sets is a cut above. On our walk back, we stopped by the Emerald Island strip mall where we found the new Emerald Bay Pub and Grill just opening for the day. This and the beverage store are the only two business left in the mall; gone are the Scotia Bank ATM and food store. Too bad.
  • We decided to have lunch aboard and Valentines Dinner at the Grand Isles Resort. So we spent the afternoon reading and then walked over to enjoy a very nice dining experience.

15 Feb 15; Sunday; Emerald Bay to George Town
  • I was up early preparing for departure. By 1000 we had filled water tanks and checked out, and made a beautifully smooth departure from the slip. As we approached the exit channel, I was just reaching for the VHF to make a Securite call when I heard Jim on Ki Ki call in to the marina. They had departed Geoge Town this morning and were planning to hang out at Emerald Bay while next week's front passages. Drat. Had we not already cast off, I would have delayed our departure to spend the day with them as they were beginning their retrograde to the US by mid April. After exiting the channel, we passed Ki Ki on the way in and waved.
  • We had a bit of a rolly transit to Conch Cut with the wind NE at 10 to 15 as we motorsailed under the genoa. The cut passage was easy and once inside we sailed S to the anchorage as Peggy got to take a close look at Elizabeth Harbour. The anchorage looked quite full, we later learned there were > 370 boats in the harbor. We sailed S and found a hole to anchor near Onward's usual spot at the corner of Volleyball and Sand Dollar beaches. We were anchored by 1230.
  • We were soon Venturing off to the Chat n Chill to see if we could get in on the pig roast. Unfortunately we were just a bit too late but we just enjoyed beers and burgers at the bar.

16 Feb 15; Monday; George Town
  • After getting filled in on the local goings on via the morning Cruisers Net, Peggy and I headed off for Lake Victoria. Along the way, we stopped by Wind Dancer to pick up Sue who is the Cruisers Net anchor. She had a dead outboard and needed a tow of her and the dinghy over to Minns Watersports to pick up a replacement outboard. Sea conditions were calm and using the stern davit bridle to tow made for an easy trip in. Our good deed done for the day, we were off to show Peggy the wonders of George Town.
  • First stop, of course, was Exuma Market. Peggy has just about got the Bahamas food shopping experience — a bit of a random treasure / snipe hunt. We found that the fresh foods container had not yet been delivered from the port so there were minimal vegetables to be found. Somehow we managed to spend $175 on other stuff. After depositing this hard aboard Venture we headed N to Top to Bottom. There I found they had the HCl I needed to clean the electrodes of the LectraScan unit. I took Peggy to see Peace and Plenty as a place to dine later in the week before we turn around and went to the Cafe for lunch. There we had my favorite, their chicken pesto salad grilled panini. Delish! Lunch was followed by a visit to the boutiques. Then Peggy got to be impressed with how inexpensive rum is in the Bahamas. By this time, the refrigerated container was being unloaded and we got a good selection of freshies before boarding Venture for the return to Onward.
  • As the afternoon wore on, the wind picked up and clocked to the SSE. We had stopped by to say hello to Linda and Buck on the C-445 Oasis III as we departed for Lake Victoria. Buck told me that he and other boats in the area has ~ 150' of rode out due to the promised high winds later in the week. So, as we began to shift about in the wind, I increased Onward's rode to ~ 140' to maintain good separation. As we baked chicken breasts for dinner, we got to listen to an incident where a vessel with ~200' of rode was coming down on another vessel with the wind shift. Of course the owner was at Eddie's Edgewater and there was a radio dialog

17 Feb 15; Tuesday; George Town
  • This morning, I decided the easiest thing to do was to host a separate webpage for the George Town Cruising Regatta as a subdomain of the BCG site. So I was quite busy for a few hours starting at 0600 getting it up and running.
  • About 1130, we Ventured off to town to meet the Ki Kis. Jim and Weezie rented a car at Emerald Bay Marina and came down to run some errands and then to go to lunch with us. While they were getting a SIM fixed up at BTC, Peggy discovered that Exuma market had baguettes and she went off to successfully score a couple. We met up with the Ki Kis and decided to drive down to Little Exuma for lunch.
  • I had recommended Santana's beach grill, but they had been recommended a new restaurant located just before the Monument: Tropic Breeze Beach Bar and Grille. So, we decided to do so. The choice was a good one. The chef / owner i Khiston Tirnquist, a Le cordon Bleu graduate. Opened in the last year, it offers a deck overlooking the E coast of Little Exuma. The food was wonderful and we had a fine time!
  • On the drive back we explored the old loyalist plantation ruins, tomb, and derelict beach cottage. We had a lot of goats for company while we explored this time. After photos at the Monument we headed back to George Town where we had to part company. Jim and Weezie will head back to Stuart by mid-March and then on home to Morehead City NC. We had such a delightful time with them it was difficult to say our farewells. Now we will be plotting a new stop on the way N in May - June.

18 Feb 15; Wednesday; George Town
  • We awoke to a totally still environment — no winds, no waves; eerie. Chris Parker was off today but the gribs remain consistent with those of the past several days. A cold front coming through later today but wit winds < 10 kts. Then as it continues to clock through the N to the E it will continue to build to 30 kts by Saturday. So, I guess I will remained anchored here and rely on the water taxi to fetch Tina and Ed aboard dry when they arrive on Friday.
  • I finished revising and updating the website I am hosting for Regatta activities. With Ollie as Chairman, things are much looser and easy going apparently with more delegation of responsibilities to the event chairs. It seems much less frenetic than in the past. But then again I've only just got here.
  • Peggy tortured me; Saint Peggy, that is, who somehow manages to put up with all my miscellaneous boat stuff that I seem incapable to get organized. Not true: she very gently reminded me we had guests coming in 48 hours! So I was able to get focused enough to make headway. So I stayed on task and got the bow compartment in the shower area and the shower / storage locker emptied, cleaned, re-stowed, and inventories. I also got the forward berth almost cleaned off. There is a very good chance now that Ed and Tina will have a place to sleep.
  • While I was doing all this, Peggy was busy cleaning the rest of the boat. How did I ever manage to do this stuff without her help?
  • We called it quits after 1700 and had a leisurely cocktail hour. The I whipped up a Thai curry using the chicken breasts I'd baked and the show peas and spinach. Peggy, new to the idea of curries, watched. My expertise is now about 3 Indian / Thai dinners deep. Dinner was delish!

19 Feb 15; Thursday; George Town
  • The cold front came through yesterday afternoon with light W winds. Then, during the night a secondary front came through and winds picked up to the 20s from the NNW. When I got up this morning, it was cold! Registration for Regatta was postponed a day due to the poor weather conditions.

20 Feb 15; Friday; George Town
  • It was a sunny morning with the winds blowing 15-20 from the E. While we awaited our guests to arrive by water taxi, Peggy and I

21 Feb 15; Saturday; George Town

22 Feb 15; Sunday; George Town

23 Feb 15; Monday; George Town to Conception Island

24 Feb 15; Tuesday; Conception Island

25 Feb 15; Wednesday; Conception Island to Emerald Bay Marina

26 Feb 15; Thursday; Emerald Bay Marina

27 Feb 15; Friday; Emerald Bay Marina to George Town

28 Feb 15; Saturday; George Town