Saturday, 28 February 2015

Jeff's Birthday in Red Shanks

It was Jeff’s birthday, and we celebrated with a blueberry pancake breakfast, and a hand-painted card I made for him, with a gift certificate for Season 4 of “Call the Midwife” (which comes out in May). We’re both addicted! Then he opened several funny e-cards from friends, and played a streamed message from Mika and our grandchildren singing “Happy Birthday” – very sweet.

We did some cleaning up, in preparation for my brother’s visit, and our non-functional dinghy motor was picked up to be taken back to George Town for repair. Meanwhile, I went in another couple’s dinghy, with a further dinghy carrying three friends from last night’s “sundowner” to the other end of the bay. There we tied up the boats and hiked to a plantation ruin, and a gorgeous unfinished resort that had apparently been abandoned mid-construction (nobody knew why). On the way back we stopped to see the resident sea turtles in this beautiful little cove, and then made our way back to our respective boats for dinner. We had Indian butter chicken to round out a pretty great day. The only down-side is that both Jeff and I seem to be developing colds – just as we’re expecting visitors – sheesh! It’s a good thing they’re staying on land, and just day-sailing with us.

Tomorrow we head back to George Town to meet Robert and Susan for the famous Stocking Island Pig Roast  - should be a fun start to their vacation.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Glorious Red Shanks

This morning we headed South to a glorious little harbor in Red Shanks Cays, only about an hour away from George Town. We need to stay close to home now, as my brother, Robert, and his wife, Susan are coming to spend the week with us on Sunday. We don’t want to take the risk of getting stuck somewhere because of the weather, and not making it back on time.

So here we are – in the most beautiful harbor we’ve yet seen in these parts –totally surrounded by craggy coral heads, green palms and other vegetation in a lagoon-like setting that seems to attract lots of wildlife. We’re told there are sea turtles here, though we haven’t encountered one yet. But this afternoon two gorgeous dolphins swam under our boat and surfaced beside us, smiled, and then swam off, and later we saw a whole school of flying fish skim the water.

The humans are nice here, too. Gail and Gabe on Sea Wolf, a 44 foot trawler, invited us to a “sundowner”, along with 6 other couples – so we met just about all of the boaters in this bay on their spacious, well-equipped boat tonight (they even have a washer and dryer aboard!). We’d like to bring Robert and Susan back here to feed the turtles next week. Some of the couples we met have dropped their anchor here and haven’t moved for two months – it’s very tempting!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Onto the Anchor at Last

We finally left the Hurricane Hole yesterday and headed straight to the dock at George Town for water, fuel and groceries. We also reconnected with all our local friends, chatted with other cruisers, and really enjoyed being with other people again after three days alone together on the boat. It’s great that the locals now recognize us and call us by name, as we do them. We really feel like we’ve become part of this wonderful community. One of the cruisers on the dock called Sea Change a “sexy boat” (not quite sure why – but we liked it anyway J).

Then we left the dock and headed over to Stocking Island, where we are now anchored with 300 other beautiful boats, all engaged in a very active Regatta. There are events every day. Today we sat in our cockpit and watched a harbor sailboat race – a couple of boats travelling under sail in the 25 knot winds missed us by about three feet – pretty exciting!

Having now fixed everything that wasn’t working (except the oven, which had been working and now doesn’t – go figure) – we made chocolate brownies on the bar-b-que this morning. Then we celebrated by dinghying over to Stocking Island for a lie in the sun and their amazing Pina Coladas. We fed the rays, watched a bocci ball tournament, read and generally enjoyed being on the white-sand beach. A bath in the ocean after we arrived at the boat ended our afternoon. Tonight it’s fresh lobster tail Pad Thai for dinner. Then we’ll figure out how to make a horn out of the conch shell we brought back from the beach. Tough life … Here are a few pics from the last 4 days.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Hanging Out in Hurricane Hole 3

What a lovely, restful two days we’ve had since we arrived! We’re waiting for our macerator pumps to be delivered from the airport where we had to leave them to be brokered for entry into the Bahamas. So we’ve just hunkered down here, at our home mooring in Hurricane Hole 3 – where the calm water and lovely green surroundings have been a balm to our souls. Jeff is feeling energetic – puttering on the boat, as he loves to do, and I’ve gotten over the sinus infection that’s been haunting me for at least a month.

Yesterday we visited our host’s 3 week old baby, rested from our trip and shopped for groceries late in the day. Today we both felt like working on the boat, so Jeff fixed the water pump that mysteriously stopped working, and I scrubbed rust and black marks off the hull, from the dinghy. Then we went snorkeling right here in the Hole and saw some amazing fish! Hopefully, tomorrow we’ll get the macerator pumps, install one, and be on our way.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Back to our Bahamas Home

Hi, All - 

We're now here in our Bahamas home - ready to cook dinner! It was a smooth easy trip, despite the hordes of people because of reading week. The boat was in fairly fine form - though we had to leave our new macerator pumps at customs, waiting for a broker, rather than paying duty to bring them in :(. We'll get them tomorrow. Of course, there's always something with the boat - I think she punishes us for leaving. This time, the water pump doesn't work, but fortunately Jeff had the foresight to instal a hand pump, so we can still access our water in the tanks, though not as conveniently as with taps (Esther and Tim will sympathize - having been without water at home for a week!).

No matter - it's 27 degrees and sunny, and I just finished painting a card for the new baby of the couple who keep an eye on our boat at the mooring (Bob and Beatrix). We'll visit tomorrow to meet the new baby, get our macerator pumps, maybe go snorkelling right here in the hurricane hole, and do some provisioning. And hopefully my captain will be able to fix the water pump problem. Then we're off - probably to a small anchorage nearby called Red Shanks - supposed to be gorgeous.

So another sailing adventure begins - Robert and Susan - we can't wait to share this with you next week!

We'll miss the rest of you lots - see you in the Spring.