Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Little Famers Cay

Andrew made all of his flights and arrived at Little Farmers Cay on Dec 14th around 4pm. Thanks to Damon and Melanie for taking him in and getting him to the airport in time!

The airport terminal at Farmers is a gazebo on the beach. We took the dinghy around the island to wait for him. As you can imagine, the plane was maintained in the Bahamian style, landing on an airstrip the size of a sidewalk with a nearly flat tire. We were very glad to see him again and he looks great. A short dinghy ride back and he was home, aboard the Adamo.

Interesting news from college: Andrew has a girl friend.

Due to the weather we spent the next few days at Farmers waiting out TS Olga. The boys speared fish and lobster. Did not take Andrew any time to get in on the lobster action. Sue and I went to town (that is the dock, a restaurant, liquor store/bar and a nearly empty 20 foot by 20 foot grocery store).

On Dec 17th we had our weather window and sailed with following wind and seas to George Town. There are 71 boats anchored up here. Later in the season that will mushroom to over 450. We’ll be out of here by then!

As Captain, it was good to make it here with everything working (knock on wood). Some minor repairs needed: small tear in the main sail and reconnecting the conduit inside the mast for the wiring leading to the lights and instruments at the mast head.

Fortunately, we found an islander who could patch the sail. We pulled the sail from the mast and boom and dinghied it to shore. Doug and I carried it to a little house where the repairs took place in the yard on an old (very old and rustic) Singer, foot pedal sewing machine. Three hours later we were ready to go.

Also, the local hardware store had one rivet gun in stock which we will use to repair the conduit. Having stocked up on water and fresh provisions, we hope to have the next weather window by Dec 22nd to sail to Long Island.

Exuma Bound

The sail from New Providence to Norman’s Cay was the perfect sail. We had 12-15 knots on a beam reach with minimal waves. It just doesn’t get better than that. Doug caught the biggest fish of his life, a 3 foot Barracuda. At Norman’s there were about a dozen boats in the anchorage. We went to shore and were surprised to find the bar/restaurant had been rebuilt. It is really nicely done in Bahamian Style. It was also packed with boaters. We walked back across the airstrip and down the road in the pitch black to our dingy wishing that we had our shake flashlight that we bought in Stuart.
We awoke to another beautiful sailing day so we set sail for Compass Cay. This time we sailed on the outside in the ocean. We had to motor sail, but again it was a great day. We anchored up in a cut outside of the marina. We were the only boat in the vicinity. We were surrounded by white pristine beaches and the bluest of water. It was gorgeous! Phil the lizard catcher had to catch and tame a Ringtail Iguana. Sue held firm though. No pets aboard!

At the marina Phil swam with the nurse sharks. They had grown since our last visit! The marina here has been expanded and rebuilt. Still it was very quaint. This is a favorite area once again.
We stayed for another day at Compass and explored the beaches…at the marina we got the weather report for the upcoming week. Wind! A lot of wind! So we left early the next morning for Farmers Cay en route to George Town.
We are now holed up here at Farmers Cay. The weather turned and we are having 20-30 knot winds from the southeast and huge waves. The passage to George Town is not in the cards as we would have to sail in the ocean. So, Andrew will have to fly into Little Farmers Cay onto this tiny airstrip. It should be a scenic flight down the Exuma chain. We are anchored in the bay and will be able to watch him fly in.
The guys went out fishing yesterday while I had quiet time doing the laundry and reading! Simple pleasures… They caught snapper, grunt, lobster, bar jack and conch. So I made some awesome fish chowder and we had movie night. We are rocking like crazy and the wind is howling. We will home school this week while we wait for another weather window.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Making Progress Through the Bahamas!

Wow! A lot has happened since our last entry! Our crossing to Cat Cay was good even though the wind was on the bow. The waves were 4-6 ft. to start, but they subsided to 1-3 by the afternoon. We anchored up behind Gun Cay and cleared customs. The guys couldn’t wait to dive for conch. Phillip was looking through the window as it got shallow and it was like cat nip as he saw fish, conch, and lobster beneath us. We dove and collected conch for a conch chowder, ceviche, and fritters plus we used the slop leftovers for bait! The anchorage at Gun Cay was very wavy, so we re-anchored further out on the bank. By morning I was done with the back and forth rocking so we set sail for Chub Cay across the Great Bahama Bank and The Tongue of the Ocean. It started out as a calm beautiful day. Again the wind was due East which was not ideal so we motor-sailed. By mid- afternoon the wind kicked up and guess what? So did the waves! I knew this would be another uncomfortable night as we anchored on the Bank. "Red sky at night, sailor's delight" is a myth. As you can see from the photo, the sky was quite red however, the sailor's delight did not happen.

At the crack of dawn, we again began our push into the wind and waves. I could tell this was going to be an exciting voyage as the waves were around 6ft. and tight (about 12ft. apart) and the wind had reached a steady 21 knots! It was a good thing the cats were not aboard! We were in sight of the NW Channel Light when “Bessie”, our diesel engine, stalled. This was great…not! Mike, the mechanic, changed the primary fuel filter, in record time I might add, as we rocked violently in the turbulent sea. We each held our breath as he cranked the engine, then cheered when she started! But she began laboring again. The secondary filter needed to be changed, but that is harder to get to and an impossible task in these conditions. We decided to try our luck, throw up the Main and push forward. Poor Bessie, she sounded like she would stall with the trough of each wave. I was tense, Mike was quiet, Doug cheered on Bessie, and Phillip covered his ears so he didn’t have to listen as she moaned. I was worried, not because we couldn’t throw up the sails and tack, but because we were approaching Momma Rhoda Rock and the reef. Also, there is a huge shipwreck protruding above the water that was proof of the danger lurking ahead. We decided to go to the back side of Momma Rhoda where it was calmer and avoid the channel next to the reef. We made it and lowered the Main. However, it was shallow so Mike decided to go for it in the channel. With Doug and me on the bow spotting, we headed back into the huge waves. We felt like we were on a rollercoaster ride rising and falling 12 feet with each wave. We were also drenched as they crashed over us while we held on for dear life. We could hear Bessie droning and then beeeeeep…. the alarm indicating that the engine stalled, rang out. The wind and waves were pushing us to the reef…Phil quickly cranked her back up and by the grace of God Bessie started again. How do you spell relief? We anchored, popped open the wine and breathed.

Chub Cay is beautiful. We have been here four days. The alternator broke (It’s always something) so Mike called the guy who rebuilt it to see if he could fix it. This morning my sexy mechanic fixed it! Doug and Phil have been fishing. They caught a huge bone fish (catch and release), a grouper and a trigger fish. I have been making bread, cooking, and reading. I’m on my third book! The guys have been fishing and snorkeling on the reef.

We met an English couple who are also heading to the Caribbean. We exchanged books and they gave us some movies. We will sail to Nassau in the morning.

Our sail to Nassau was nice, finally a smooth sail. The wind was still on our bow, so once again to Mike’s chagrin, we motor sailed. The guys were trolling and hooked a huge marlin! It jumped and snapped the line. Our rig was not sufficient for that kind of catch! Of course this motivated Phillip to rig a rod for the “big” fish! We are anchored up on the West end of New Providence and discovered that our English friends are also anchored up here. There is also a catamaran with younger kids on it behind us, the first kids we have seen so far. We will venture into town today at Lyford Cay, a very exclusive part of New Providence.

Our phone works here, but I’m sure it will cost a fortune! So we will stick to email! Only two more weeks until Andrew comes. We are looking forward to his visit.

Today we tried to go into town but it was too rough to get around the point.