Sorry that it's been so long. Wifi connections have been hard to find and not very reliable.
It's a good thing that I keep the log book up to date because I am often checking back to see where we were and when.
We have been moving at a fast forward kind of pace with a goal in mind. Lois and Don, who we are traveling with are meeting their grandson in Marsh Harbour on the 13th. Then we'll relax for a bit.
From the Turks & Caicos we did 62 miles to Mayaguana. Then the next day another 69 miles to Lady Slipper Cay on Acklins Island. A really pretty place to drop the hook. We had beach on 3 sides and a calm place to sleep then we were off the next morning bright and early for Rum Cay.
|The gulls were happy with our cast offs|
The next day we were at Conception Island. We were hoping for a good snorkel because it is known to be a great site but it was cloudy and the water choppy so perhaps the conditions were not ideal.
When we arrived back in George Town the anchorage was nearly deserted. When we had left the beginning of March there had been over 200 boats there. Now I don't think there were 20, and most of those were leaving shortly. When we stopped in at Exuma Yacht Club to fuel up we found that they were experiencing financial problems, had laid off all the restaurant staff and only had about 100 gallons of diesel on hand.
We grabbed a mooring ball in the hurricane hole on Stocking Island and took a break. It's very protected in there. Perhaps a little too protected because once the sun started to go down the Mosquitos and no-see-ums came out by the millions. I have never, ever seen Brian even slightly itch from a bite, but me.....oh, it's awful. After going to St Francis for dinner the first night I'm sure that they followed us back to the boat. By the time I was inside the boat I didn't have enough hands to scratch everywhere that itched. I tried Benadryl and cortisone with no relief. Finally Brian swabbed me with rubbing alcohol which helped for a little while. After a tip from a friend (thanks Gina!) I found that Oragel will numb the itch. While I didn't exactly have Oragel, I did have Walgreen's oral anesthetic paste. It was a little like rubbing toothpaste all over your body, but it worked like a charm. I think poor Cricket suffered from bites as well because she was scratching quite frantically and now has a big bare spot on her tummy.
From here, we decided on a different route north. We headed to Cat Island, then Little San Salvador. We had been joined by another boat in our flotilla and it was as we were about to drop anchor that they radioed to us that they had experienced a problem with the furling system on their headsail and it had fallen down on their deck. Brian, having a solution for nearly every problem offered his assistance. He loaded our dinghy with tools and our bosun's chair to see if he could repair the furler. Being a 26 foot sailboat, Brian was a little too big to go up their mast so it was up to the captain who was afraid of heights. What a difference between this little boat and the Moose. Little winches and skinny lines, but several hours later the repair was complete. The ball bearings that had bounced onto the deck and then into the water when everything fell to the deck were not in our stash of spare parts. McGuiver himself came up with the idea to use shot out of a shotgun shell. While not a perfect fit, it did the trick.
Little San Salvador looked like a perfect place for lobster. We had to slowly pick our way through coral heads to get to the anchorage and coral heads are where these guys hang out. Unfortunately all the big coral heads ended up being too far from us.
The wind totally died and by sunset you couldn't see where's the water ended and the sky began.
Our next destination was Eleuthera. The wind had abandoned us and we were lucky to see anything more than 4 knots all morning so we were back to motoring. We were however going through some deep water (over 1000 feet) and this is where the fish are. The good to eat ones anyway. We had a little bad luck with our best catching lures. One, we ran over and other someone else ran over. The tackle box was getting a little low so Brian got me to dress up a plain cedar plug. He told me to paint whatever I wanted on it.
All morning long we heard reports from the boats ahead of us. Mahi!.........another Mahi! Sigh! Maybe I painted the wrong colours, or perhaps the grin was too intimidating. Who am I kidding? I don't think the tuna looked before he took a big bite! That was the catch for the day.
|tuna! I'm happy that my creation caught something.|
I have always wanted to see Eleuthera. Mostly I guess because it just looks so amazing from the air.
It is 110 miles long and at some points less than a mile wide. The first 5 miles was through Davis channel where we met a mailboat coming in the opposite direction. I was a little worried that there wouldn't be room for both of us but we passed port to port and there was lots of space.
So with all of these long days some people wonder how we spend our time. Truly, it gets monotonous some days. When all there is around you is water it can lull you into a near coma. Our big excitement could be spotting another boat on the horizon or seeing how far a flying fish can actually fly.
When the weather is good one there's no excitement (usually). One of us needs to either supervise the autopilot at all times or steers. The autopilot while operating better than it has, has this annoying habit of waiting until one of us remarks on the fact that it's behaving and then...it does an about face. Steering in light winds and seas is easy. A finger or a toe on the wheel and a slight course correction here and there is all it takes. Heavier seas and winds takes a little muscle. It's true that you can't hand steer as straight as the autopilot. Checking back on our track line some days it looks like a drunken sailor. It zigs and zags all over the place.
So, other than steering, what do we do? We take turns reading. I have a new addiction to a Soduko app on the IPad. I won't comment on how many hours I have logged playing it but I keep trying for a better time than the one before. It's very annoying when Brian asks me for something that interrupts a game.
Then there's sustenance. Sometimes we eat before we leave, but more often than not its breakfast while underway. Eggs are easy. Fried, scrambled or fold them into a wrap. Toast, if we have bread. The nice thing about a percolator is the ability to reheat coffee without it getting bitter. Water...water...water. Water with lemon, water with Mio and just plain water.
Just yesterday while Brian was making an underway repair to the fan on the inverter (another story) I was left to steer for several hours. The engine room is extremely hot and Brian came up soaked in sweat. He remarked they he would kill for a Ginger ale. Of course we had none. So as I steered along I thought about ginger ale. This thought morphed into a cookie, then ice cream and then settled on an orange. Everything that was not readily available. All I wanted right now was an orange. As much to eat it as the fun in tossing the peels overboard and watching them drift off behind us.
All our organic stuff goes over the side. Veggie scraps, banana peels, fish carcasses. You have no idea how bad chicken fat can smell after several days on a 90 plus degree boat with no available garbage can.
So, back to the underway repair. While going below at one point yesterday I heard this awful grinding noise that seemed to be coming from behind the kitchen sink. After a long search it was found to be the fan on our inverter. The inverter turns battery power in house power. In other words all our electrical outlets, the washer and TV. Not a small task because the inverter (along with everything else) is in a hard to reach place.
|When your arms are just...not...quite...long enough to reach|
|Contents of the lazarette|
Under one of the seats in the cockpit is a lazarette or storage bin. This is filled with boat cleaner, wax, bungee cords, pumps, fresh water hose and basically lots of junk we need above deck. Inside is a removable panel which gives access to the far side of the engine room. It has lots of screws. I know this because I have removed and replaced then many, many times.
Once Brian had the fan removed, he found that a piece of what looked like a twist tie had fallen into the fan causing it to jam, eventually crack and cause the terrible noise. If there's something we have an abundance of on Blue Moose it's spare parts, but not a fan for the inverter. Brian did however gut an old laptop several months back and the fan that he saved from this is working perfectly.
By mid afternoon yesterday we had a little scenery coming up. There is a cut between Current Island and the top end of Eleuthera. Going through this cut would save us about 8 miles of travel time but was not without it's challenges. Being such a small channel the current is reported to really rip through here sometimes up to 8 knots. We hoped that we had timed the tides right so it would push us through. As we turned into the channel the boat started to move. We flew through the channel at 7.4 knots with the engine at an idle.
Once clear of the cut we had another hour and a half to Spanish Wells. Brian put all the boat bits back together while I played captain and Cricket joined me on deck as first mate.
|Cricket checking that we are on course|