Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
And the only thing about Green Turtle that I don't care for is the lousy internet service which has kept me from updating our blog. Otherwise we've had a wonderfully relaxing time here and I highly recommend it. We enjoyed a beautiful (but fishless) sail here from Foxtown and at about 6:00 PM on Friday night we were very happy to anchor in Green Turtle Cay's White Sound. And because Hans and I will happily admit to the fact that we really enjoy marina life (Electric! Worry free sleep!WiFi!) about once a week, the next morning we weighed anchor, motored a few feet and docked at Bluff House Marina.
You can see the Knotty Cat to the left of that yellow building.
Hans talking to a fellow Canadian Cruiser.
Wilbur meets Winnie. She is quite the lady and was okay as long as he didn't get in her face.
Wilbur loves the beach. Check out his sandy mustache.
Sitting at the pet friendly Jolly Roger Bar and Bistro.
And here's a huge bonus we've never heard of, and we're calling it Docking for Dollars, Boating for Bucks, and Cruising for Cash, all of which sounds a whole lot like Dialing for Dollars! After getting us signed in Hans told me that we now had credit at the dock side restaurant for the same amount that our dockage cost. This made no sense to me and I made him explain it again. Apparently Marsh Harbour started this program in order to draw boats into their marinas and it means just that. We are a 35 foot boat and to dock here it costs 1.25 per foot (and I'm amazed at how cheap the marinas are here as I thought they'd be outrageous), and that means we have 45 or so dollars worth of food and drink written off per every day we stay here (all it boils down to is that our dockage is now free). You can look at it any way you want but all I know is like I said before, Hans and I like to be at a marina once a week or so, and free food not withstanding, for us this is a huge bonus. We are also entitled to 50 gallons of water each day at no additional charge! We took huge advantage of this and hosed all the salt off our solar panels and windows and topped off our water tanks.
UPDATE!!! Docking for Dollars etc... expires this Thursday! This is because business is expected to pick up with the April season. Wow! I can't believe we actually lucked into something good for a change.Wilbur patiently sits at my feet while we drink our 45 dollars worth of 'free' beer. At five buck each it didn't take too long! Here at White Sound there's also a beautiful white sandy beach just a short walk away and Wilbur truly enjoyed some wonderful zoomie sessions in the water. We were also able to take him to the dockside restaurant with us and he exuded as much pit bull good will ambassadorship that any pitty possibly can. We were also finally able to listen in to the 8:15 AM broadcast about the happenings here in the Abacos and get a new weather update (which was nice since the internet here sucks!). We wanted to head into town but the water taxi service charges $5.00 per person each way, and to rent a golf cart is $50.00 per day, and the way we're tied up at the marina won't allow us to deploy our dinghy. We had planned on leaving on Monday (yesterday) and move all the way from White Sound to Black Sound (just around the corner!) and anchor. We were then going to use our dinghy to go ashore and pick up a few supplies. However we both couldn't bear to leave yet so we stayed one more day and will skip Black Sound and head instead to Treasure Island where we hear they have better shopping and a three mile long white beach.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
This is most likely because we've been on the 'banks' which is basically the same thing as trying to fish on flooded land.
We finally left Bimini and headed for West End on Wednesday. The winds were not what we'd been hoping for and this meant we had to motor nearly the whole way through the Northwest Providence Channel for about nine hours and even in these deepest of waters our lures held no interest for the Bahamian fishies.
West End was an interesting anchorage but we held tight and actually ended up dinhying ashore the next day. Of course this meant Master Wilbur had to go with us and as soon as we were in shallow waters he was the first one out of the dinghy and he had himself a wonderful zoomie time. Poor Wilbur (whom I swear would make an excellent Blood Hound) couldn't suck up all the new smellies at the beach fast enough and was completely enamoured of every abandoned Conch shell we passed. He would brace his body and dig each and every toenail into the sand, thus bringing me to a complete halt, and would then, with eyes closed in complete rhapsody, lovingly run his tongue over every inch of shell that he could. I would eventually end his love making by yanking him to his feet and unfortunately onto the next abandoned Conch shell.
When he was finally worn out we stopped at a beach side restaurant for a couple of beers (5 bucks apiece! Ouch!) and an appetizer, and were very thankfull that no one cared that we had a dog with us. Actually just as we were leaving a woman who was sitting nearby made some doggy loving noises and we just had to stop. It turns out she and her husband have an 85 pound pitty and like all pitty owners she wanted to gush over Wilbur. During the gushing session Wilbur found yet one more empty Conch shell and at one point I feared he'd dig a hole to China he went so nuts!
We finally moved on the next day and anchored in Mangrove Cay with a few other boats and enjoyed a quiet night. The next day we set out again and this time anchored in Great Sale Cay. We dropped our dinghy in the water and rowed over to another boat we'd been in contact with throughout the day. Jackie and Seldon have an Island Packet (we have and Island Packet Cat) and it is a beautiful boat indeed! That night at anchor was possibly one of the quietest I've ever experienced and looking out over the water was like looking at a smooth pane of glass. Never once during the night did we hear a thing!
But after two days of no internet coverage we decided our next stop would be Grand Cay. Our last weather info had told us that a storm with 25-30 knots of wind was due to move through at around midnight on Sunday and at least Grand Cay had a marina with internet access.
We sailed on into Grand Cay (Rosie's Marina) at a little after noon, and after jumping on to Passage Weather dot com we found the storm had been moved up to 6 PM. (BTW, don't go into the harbour at Rosie's during low tide if you draw more than 3 feet).
The storm hit at 6:30 PM (as the updated forecast told us it would) and as of 10:30 PM it's still blowing stink out there. But we honestly feel that if we were at Great Sale Cay we'd be okay. The bottom there is a really great kind of sandy clay with great holding power and is protected from everything except a South wind.
We do not have SSB and have to rely totally on the internet. And since I have absolutely no trust in NOAA, I will continue to honor Passage Weather until it's out of our range.
We saw this water spout just as we were getting close to Grand Cay. Hans pointed it out to me and my heart just jumped as all I could think was 'TORNADO'!!!!!! Luckily after a spell it just disipated but the other boaters here in the marina saw it.
Low lying clouds here in the marina. Once the wind and rain started, it never let up and even though I'm pretty sure we'd be okay at an anchorage, I'm glad we're thoroughly tied up at a dock!
As I've mentioned before, Internet coverage is iffy but I'll post whenever I can.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Yes, much to my surprise, Hans and I snagged a fish!
Saturday, March 12, 2011
This was taken in Nixon's Harbour after we rode through the big blow and I was still pretty soaked. During the height of the storm, while I was on the radio, I would have to open the companionway door in order to yell information up to Hans, and the rain would hit me in the face full force. This happened too many times.
What a greedy bunch! These pelicans fought like the dickens over the fish entrails that were being tossed to them. A couple of brothers and their teenage sons came over from Miami to do some fishing (actually, they got caught in the same storm as we did and heard us on the radio!) and today, after a trip 'outside' they came back with a wahoo, a mahi, and some yellow tails.
I asked if I could watch the fish get cleaned as it's been years since I've filleted a fish. We took Wilbur with us and he was thrilled when a piece of fish liver got tossed to him. I had no idea that fish had livers!
During our little tour we hit the ocean and Wilbur had many zoomie sessions (all the while on his leash) and here he is taking a rest. When Hans spotted two unleashed dogs down aways from us we beat a hasty retreat. I know these dogs eat scraps and garbage from the locals but I wasn't taking any chances that they didn't want to beat up my baby.
A very tired piggy pitty after a day of socializing.
Friday, March 11, 2011
I didn't mind getting sea spray in my face as I knelt on the bow of the boat while using a rapidly dying (yet new) spot light in order to find day markers and those bizarre houses in Stiltsville (homes just outside of the channel, and really truly built on stilts, and I have to wonder how they feel about spotlights in their houses as many a sailor heads to the Bahamas).
I was okay with the 2 to 3 foot seas that NOAA had predicted, and was quite proud of myself when I waited until we were nine nautical miles from Bimini to puke.
I wasn't overly thrilled with the wind as it remained E SE for most of the day (even though we'd been promised S winds) which meant we had to motor the whole way and never had a chance to sail. Our time in the water went from 8 hours to possibly 12.
I was dismayed when right behind us I saw huge blue black clouds marching across the sky like Nazi soldiers when we were only 7 miles away from Bimini's shore line.
I was more than a bit frightened when the skies opened up and winds hit us clocking up to 51 knots (that's nearly 60 MPH folks!) and visibility went to nearly zero.
I would've liked to puke (but my stomach was empty) when Hans told me to get on the radio NOW and ask for information about entering the Bimini channel.
Thank God some good citizen (as all officials ignored us) answered me, plotted our location, and told us that our best bet was to head into Nixon's Harbour in South Bimini and anchor for the night. I felt a huge sense of relief when he said, "Get yourselves settled and enjoy the evening." Gee, maybe we wouldn't die after all.
Forty five minutes later we rode the wind and waves into Nixon's Harbour and after two attempts at dropping the hook, it stuck. And then we got to spend the rest of the night hoping we wouldn't drag into the ocean.
But when my French Press broke this morning, that was the straw that broke the camel's back.
" I'm. Not. Happy!!!!!" I stated. "Period!"
Welcome to Bimini!
Who would have thought we'd arrive wearing foul weather gear, life jackets, and jack lines!
This morning we navigated the channel into Bimini with 20+ knot winds and hellish waves. I'm not exaggerating! There are boaters here who refused to go out today.
The quarantine flag goes up.
And thank God for miracles, we got through customs and immigration with no problems.
Wilbur our poor little Salty Dog (who hid in our bunk shaking with fear), poses with the Bahamian flag.
Wilbur takes a much deserved rest atop Hans' safety harness.
Of course Internet is expensive and iffy but I'll try to update whenever possible.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
It was very exciting to actually motor past Hans' old family home in the Venetian Causeway area. We could have anchored there if we'd wanted to but the winds were too strong so we ventured onward.
We ended up anchoring in a very small yet pretty area called Sunset Lake near Belle Isle. It was here that it was pointed out to us that we, who have been on this earth for over 50 years each, are not nice people and are really the scum of the earth.
We had no sooner dropped anchor when a land owner buzzed over on his jet ski and informed us that we had a problem. Why we even talked to him I don't know. I guess we were just trying to be polite. But anyway this poor guy apparently has the nastiest wife in the world or as he put it, "My wife is driving me nuts! She won't leave me alone and insisted that I ask you to move." We told him we weren't moving and then when we informed him that Hans was from the area, it seems they actually know a lot of the same people. So things took a bit of a different turn and he said he'd tell his wife we're friends of his and that we could go ahead and stay but only for two nights.
Then since we were now good old buddies he filled us in on how awful his life is. Obviously forgetting that we were on a sail boat he told us how his wife can't function when dirty sailors drop anchor in their lake. She fears for their children's safety (like maybe we're all pedophiles), she can't open the drapes in her bedroom (like we really want to look at her anyway), and don't even get him started on the 'filthy Canadians' (and I only wish we had a Canadian flag on board as Hans is a citizen of Canada) whom he's had to chase away. His tactic is to move his motor boat out beside the offender and blast them with rap music until they leave. Personally I like rap music but I can't imagine his neighbors appreciate this. He pointed to various houses and told us to ask anyone and they'd tell us the same thing; all of the wives are miserable (I wonder what their excuse would be if they didn't live on a lake?). One neighbor even put up huge ugly privacy hedges so they wouldn't have to view our nasty boats and we wouldn't be able to spy on them all day. Oh, the sad sad life of the wealthy folks of Hysteria Lane.
And could we believe it? One sailor had the gall to tell him he should divorce his wife! When he finally left I laughed and said to Hans, "Guess who isn't getting any tonight."
The next day he came over again but we were down below and when Wilbur (who's pretty darn smart) saw him he went nuts. We didn't know he could bark like that and so Mr. C. went back home. We weren't so lucky on our third day when he returned again and this time he was very sad. "Now we really do have a problem." he mourned.
"My wife is hysterical and I can't take this anymore. She won't shut up! You said you'd leave in two days and you're still here. I can see I'm going to have to bring my motor boat out here and blast you with rap music."
Hans was very nice and informed him that we could stay for as long as we liked and did his wife has some psychological problems.
"She certainly does!! She's under extreme emotional duress because of you! She feels like a prisoner in her own home!" Then he told us that he wasn't sure if we were aware that during the night a storm washed through (we live on a boat! Of course we knew a storm washed through, who the hell does he think closed the hatches, our hired help!!) and he was sure our boat was going to drift into his dock and damage his boat, and that our anchor had dragged.
Our anchor did not drag we assured him.
Hans finally ended it by telling him we were leaving anyway and not because of him but because the winds were going to be in our favor.
All I know is that for the most part we had a very lovely weekend when we weren't being harassed (and that's exactly what it was and you didn't see us knocking on his door and telling him we thought his ugly house was offensive). On the other hand, he had to listen to his shrew of a wife, he had to come out to our boat three times, and he couldn't sleep one night because he spent it watching our boat.
I think it's true that money certainly can't buy happiness.
I wish I'd taken pictures of the lake but between going ashore, taking care of boat chores, and spying on the residents, I just forgot. So if any of you out there enjoy a spirited debate, I encourage one and all to please anchor in Sunset Lake while in Miami.
This is the only picture I took while in Sunset Lake. As our boat swayed on the hook, the palm trees would appear and disappear.
Finally, Ma and Pa Kettle and their fleabag pooch Wilbur, reanchored in another body of water.
After being treated like low life's in Sunset Lake, we decided to treat ourselves to a trip down South Beach, Miami, and there we were treated like royalty.
Wilbur went with us and you'd never know pit bulls are banned in Miami as I think we counted at least 4 of them along with an 8 week old pup. Wilbur was fascinated and got nose to nose with it but I didn't get any pictures.
Wilbur was hailed and cheered and petted and fawned over so much so that you'd have thought he was a visiting prince.
This is the hotel Hans' family used to own and it's in the Art Deco district. I'd never heard of this area and if you ever have the chance to come here you've got to see it. Block after block of renovated buildings and sidewalks full of cafes. We couldn't believe how busy it was for a Monday afternoon.
Hans and Wilbur taking a rest on the steps of the hotel.
Here we are in front of the church where Hans' father and his step mother were married.
Our handsome man sitting under the table like a good boy. South Beach is very pet friendly and they even bring water to your pooch if it needs it.
We ended up having lunch with a good friend of Hans' brother. Ros worked with Peter in Switzerland and now spends the winter months in Miami before going back to Geneva. We didn't get to spend much time with her but we had fun.
Sunset over Miami.
We passed up an iffy chance to cross to the Bahamas a few days ago but tomorrow the winds are supposed to be S SE 9-12 knots, becoming S SW with 2-3 foot seas so we're going to give it a shot.
Of course I ran into someone at the marina who told me that the people I saw arriving at the mooring beside us this morning, crossed over last night and they had 20 foot seas!!! We did hear about some Gulf Stream warnings but 20 foot seas?! I'm hoping to hell they were exaggerating as I'm sick to death of all the horror stories associated with the Gulf Stream.
So tomorrow at 4 AM we should be departing but Hans already knows if I'm not happy with how things are looking we are turning around and that's it!