I sit here today, Sunday, January 26, as one of the last three boats left in the anchorage as the other boats, which had numbered 15 at their peak this week, leave for other destinations. We think there is a big group of boats going to Calabash Bay and then tomorrow to Conception Island. I’m was just feeling bummed that we can’t leave too today when we got a call from Rode Trip who will be coming over late afternoon for a fair well party, as we are leaving tomorrow morning to of over the North end of along island and sail to Puerto Rico or to the BVI’s, which ever place the winds takes us. We are also looking forward to our friends Ken and Jeanne on SV Sail Away to arrive this afternoon.
I have been busy making preparations for leaving, as this will be a 5-8 day passage we think. I was able to talk to some family members via FaceTime and Magic Jack yesterday and audio FaceTime works better than magic Jack. I made bread yesterday, and started another loaf this morning for when we eat most of it up at dinner. I plan to make spaghetti and we have left over pizza, chicken pot pie (well sort of) and hard-boiled some eggs. Phil was working on getting the software program called, RMS express, up and running so that we can get emails over the Ham Radio. It’s better him than me working on this. He’s really good at this and NOT getting upset. We can’t get the ITSHF propagation program as the server was down yesterday so it doesn’t work yet. It’s been cloudy, so solar panels aren’t working, so that means not enough power to work the computer, which is a power hog, unless we run the engine.
We’ve had a nice stay here as we arrived last Sunday, Jan 19 leaving at 713am with the Main sail raised immediately and after exiting the North Channel letting out the jib very much reefed with the wind 14-17 kts on the beam sailing as the wind increased as the day progressed to the low 20’s. It wasn’t until we rounded Indian Point at 115pm that we rolled in the head sail and started the engine. Rode Trip and SV Gorgeous Girl were here along with one other boat. After we made contact with Penny from her house Fairhaven, jI made chocolate banana muffins and Brian and Stephanie came over and played Triominos with us.
On Monday, January 20 We woke to blue clear skies and then Mike from Long Island Breeze came on at 830am to tell us about the stores and facilities available in the area, which would be open on Tuesday. During the morning, phil and Brian went in the dinghy to try to catch some fish while Stephanie and I paddled in kayaks around the Bay, around Indian Point. There we met a couple who have rented a home at Bahamas Villas. They come down every year and will be leaving on Tuesday. It was great fun to kayak, and I didn’t have any problems except standing to get out Of the kayak. That evening we went with Rode Trip to Penny and John’s home Fairhaven up on the hill.. She has beautiful gardens and we had a wonderful time watching a sunset and seeing a green flash just as the sun set. What could be better!?
Tuesday, January 21, we raised anchor and took Changes about a mile and a half south close to Salt Pond Settlement so we didn’t have to use the dinghy so far. The anchor dragged a s the ground was scoured, but we did set and the wind was light. Phil got diesel and some water in Jerry jugs while I got my hair cut at Margie’s Beauty Store which is a little north in a gray strip mall inside the insurance agent room. She did a great job for $20. We had a nice time chatting about our families and what the kids were doing. Then we had lunch splitting a hamburger and grouper fingers at Long Island Breeze before going to Hardings for a few items. Well it’s never just a few with me, but I’m trying! We were back to Changes by 2pm then raised anchor to re-anchor in Thompson Bay. The trip was 3.6nm. Maybe it would be better to take the dinghy as going closer to shore instead of,having to go around the islands would be better. I have talked with Brian about making bread. I’m going to try his way using the Ratio Cook Book. Starting it at night with cold water and baking it the next morning. I made chicken soup a few days ago, hearing until boiling for 2 min and tonight we have less left, but not enough for two people so I added a can of navy beans and peas to it for supper. I started a loaf of bread after supper.
Wednesday, January 22 didn’t start off too well. Last night in the early morning hours, the wind clocked to coming from the west (300degrees) Then the wind increased to 18kts at 330am. We were protected and not in any danger, but it was bouncy, so I finished the night on the port settee. By 630am the wind had decreased to 12 kts and it was 74f inside the boat. I’m sure that sounds really Really good to you, but for us that’s chilly. No sundress for me so pants were the order of the day. The Cruisers Net started yesterday at 830am on Channel 18. We think we’re going to stay until Feb 2 for the super bowl party then go to the Jumentos. We have been trying to decide what we want to do and where to go, so for now we’ll stick with friends. I finished the loaf of bread and am happy with how it turned out.
By 120pm, we saw a sailboat coming around the corner. We had advance warning from Penny at Fairhaven can see forever from her house. I stead of waiting, we decided to take the dinghy to the beach for a walk. We were given instructions how to get to the Atlantic Ocean side and wanted to take a look. First we walked the beach on the north side of the bay, then started across the island. It seemed longer than it was as it’s a steep walk up the grade to get to the other side. Finally we got to the other side and I looked for beans while Phil went ahead of me. I was so lucky finding 5 beans.. By this time I was getting tired, and Phil was way far ahead. Finally he started walking back so we could get to the path and start home again. He had been trying to find the other road back. I thought he wasn’t coming back but would continue on the road. We did find some palm fronds to take back for weaving and finally we arrived home at 5pm and now there were 15 boats in the harbor. Some of the closest were SV’s Last Flight Out, Silver Linings, John Ray, Kumbaya and Free Bird.
The Mail Boat arrived today so, tomorrow we will go into town for the fresh and newly arrived products.
Thursday, January 23 When listening to Chris Parker we asked about if there was a weather window for us to go to the BVI’s either past the Turks and Caicos. (T&C) or going east into the Atlantic Ocean and then head south when the eastern trade winds kicked in, as the past 2 weeks there have been north winds and easier passages south. He thought there was a window to go east along 24-25N and then head SW till we hit the BVI’s. Something to think about.
We went to to both grocery stores starting at Hillside just north of the gravel pile tying up the painter on a tree by some rocks we were able to climb up. There was a dock with a ladder, but we weren’t sure if it was ok to use as there is a fence around the property even though the fence was open. Then we took the dinghy to Long Island Breeze’s floating dock and walked to Hardings market. Phil and I asked if there was shank on the island, yes but is too far away to walk. My hen an older couple offered to take us to the bank I their car as they were going too. At first Phil didn’t want to, but on further discussion he agreed, so took,the groceries to the dinghy while I told the couple we would accept their offer. It wasn’t too long until Willis and Kate were driving down the street. It was a long way, but good to see the country side along the way. They business took longer than ours which turned out to be a good thing, as the ATM machine wasn’t working. Once I got to the “Wicket” as they call it, the teller got the ATM machine fixed. Then I went out and could. to remember for the life of me my new PIN for my new debit card. Phil took out cash and I kept trying but had to admit defeat. I couldn’t remember if the PIN was mailed to Green Cove Spring before we left or if I had it back at the boat, so I was pretty upset.
Once back we topped off the gas tanks for the dinghy, bought oil for the outboard and went back to the boat. There I was able to find very quickly the PIN so I’m relieved.
I roasted a whole chicken, baked a Bahamian pumpkin and baked potatoes for supper. It was a real treat to have the baked potatoes and the pumpkin tasted like a mild squash though was still a little hard even though it was in the oven for 1.5 hours! I worked on Katie’s sweater in the evening and read.
Friday, January 24 was a windy day so stayed on the boat until late morning to check out how far Thompson Bay Restaurant was to walk there from the small Harbor cut into the rocks where the lone palm tree. It had been made for,future plans, then 8 years ago,the owner died and nothing has been done. We had to be careful at low,tide we were too far right and the outboard eng prop hit the bottom. We think the being more left and raising the prop out of the water to glide over the submerged rock would work, and it did going out. Turns out it’s a 5 minute walk. We’re trying to decide whether we can go to the Bahamian Food Buffet tonight AND do,the Happy Hour at Long Island Breeze. We’ll have to see what the wind does as it’s to get into the low 20’s with maybe gusts to 30 kts.
We walked back and went back to changes to email SV Walkabout to see where they were. Later we heard back from them and they are on the south side of Puerto Rico. Wow! It would be great to be with them. We have been really thinking hard about what we want to do. We’ve been having a hard time deciding what we want with all the choice we have: stay here until Feb 2 and then go to the Jumentos and then start back so,that I can return to work July 1 ( as I really working at HWR), move to another town the latest being Anderson, SC, go down to the BVI’s and then start back up to the states and me go to work, continue on to where, or buddy boat with Sail Away. The choices are mind boggling to me. We will think about it.
As the afternoon went on, the winds did increased to the upper teens and gust to 20, but Phil agreed that we could go to the happy hour. Prepared for,getting wrt, we wore our light foul weather bottom, and I had my trusty shower curtain to spread across myself and Phil. We got there ok, but with the floating dinghy dock bouncing up and down, we went past the government dock and tied up to a wood post in the rocks. Here we were protected and it was easy to get on and off.
We had a great time at the Happy hour meeting new people. I don’t know if I’ve said, but we are well known for, the SSB asking questions on weather. We get the comment “Oh you are Changes Changes”. This night we were asked a few times if we were going to the BVI’s as they had heard us on SSb and out signal is strong. We aren’t sure they were told. There is a couple that are going to Conception Island for snorkeling on Monday so the winds will be light. Phil doesn’t like that people know,what we’re doing when I ask questions. Well soon they won’t hear us as we can’t transmit out on Chris’s other frequencies on 8104 or 12530. I’ll send him an email asking him to give us information on our passage as he’s done that for others that can’t reach him.
We went back to the boat at 7pm and it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. It’s a good thing that we leave the red lights in the galley and over the chart table on, as it really helps us to find Changes in the sea of mast lights because her red hull is DARK at night. I was dry from my plastic shield, so I’m a happy camper.
Saturday, January 25 Started as a gray day and didn’t improve much. We went to the Farmer’s Market at the old primary school getting there at 920am and already there wasn’t much left. I got the last two small cabbages, 2 smaller pumpkins, some plantains, and sour oranges. I was hoping to get some tomatoes, but no luck. The produce are grown on farms on the Island and they also have local crafts. We heard today that it was a success.
After a lot of discussion, we have finally decided that we are going to sail down to Puerto Rico or the BVI’s as this may be the last weather window in a while to get south. After the farmer’s market, we dinghied down to Long Island. Breeze to get water, wash clothes and take advantage of better internet to call family to let them know of our plans and that we will be OFF THE GRID for a while, but will do,the SPOT OK messages at least twice a day to let them know where we are and that we’re ok. As always, check on the SPOT location page in the upper right corner. It feels good to make and decision as it’s early enough to go down and leisurely come back to the Bahamas but then it will be DOWNWIND. We will also be checking in with the Waterway net at 0800 on ham Frequency 7268.0. We also feel good that we have Bob and Jeanne’s ham call signs so Phil can contact them.
After we got back, Phil worked diligently to get the email transmission software downloaded and working so we could get email via the HAM radio. He wasn’t able to download the propagation software to get the best frequency to transmit on so will try tomorrow. For Dinner I cut up the left over chicken and made the filling for Potpie pouring it over the last of the bread and on potatoes. There was enough leftover to warm up for a meal on our passage. I started a loaf of bread after dinner to rise overnight.
Sunday, January 26 started out gray and continued to give us on and off rain most of the day. No weather to listen to, but I got up at my usual time. Today our friends Ken and Jeanne are to arrive!!! As the morning progressed boat after boat left until by about 10am, we were one of 3 boats in Thompson Bay. There are more boats in Salt Pond area.
I started preparing food for our journey. After baking the first loaf of bread, I started making another figuring that we would eat most of one tonight for supper and I do not want to have to make bread the first 3 days. Rode Trip called and asked to come over for a little going away party. We missed breakfast so later I fixed fried plantains to go with the last of the turkey salad and crackers. Ohio will eat plantains now if I cook them in butter and they’re soft. I was going to fix beef stroganoff for,supper, then got a call about 1pm from sail away. They caught a big mutton snapper and will contribute that for supper. WONDERFUL! Fish for supper!! It wasn’t anytime at all before we hearan out board engine from a dinghy and Brian and Stephanie were here. They gave me a 6-pack of Yuengling Beer somthat I can make bread and Ohil can have a rescue dose for a hot day AND a hamburger bean she found on the beach. So thoughtful! About the same time Sail Away arrived and anchored fairly close to us and came over in the dinghy to show us the catch. It was a beauty about 24″ long.Then we went in the donghy to watch Ken filet the fish getting. 2 huge filets. And I got the head (3#) to make chowder out of it. That went into the refrigerator for another day. I went back to Changes to finish cooking the rice and Brian and Stephanie said good bye with hugs. I hope we see them again someday, but don’t really expect to as they are going through the Panama canal in February.
We had a great evening catching up with Ken and Jeanne and the fish cooked on the grill was delicious. They even brought a pint of ice cream for dessert! What a treat! Then we played the card game Sevens which we taught them but forgot. It was fun, but all too soon it was time for them to go.
The dinghy is on the deck and we are ready to leave. I’ll post next when have internet again.