Thursday, January 17, 2019

Exumas!





 







Here are some photos from the past few days. We are currently anchored in Norman’s Cay, and enjoyed a nice day of snorkeling and beach combing with the iguanas of Allen’s Cay yesterday. Headed further south later!


Monday, January 14, 2019

Around and about Nassau

Hi everyone,
The three of us had a nice day in Nassau, with a blend of chores and being tourists. There was a stop at Batelco, where Mary got her phone set up for use here in the islands. We procured some more groceries at two different markets. We checked out of the marina and went back to the anchorage. Then we walked all over the older part of town, finally returning to the boat for dinner. And then just hanging out in the cockpit, solving the problems of the world and reflecting on how fortunate we are to be enjoying this tropical sojourn. We will likely sail over to Allan's Cay tomorrow.

Best to all, Charlie

Arrival of crew

Mary and Maggie arrived without incident yesterday and I am delighted to have them aboard! We are planning to hang out in Nassau today and will get some provisioning out of the way. At the marina at the moment, but heading back to the anchorages by lunchtime.

More to follow,

Charlie

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Observations

As I am hanging out waiting for Mary and Maggie to show up tomorrow I thought I would climb up on the soapbox and pontificate for a bit.

It appears that I am the last cruiser relying on oars to propel my dinghy around. This has been a slow transition that I have been seeing play out over the last 50 years. And I find it rather pathetic. I feel sorry for all these folks, dealing with expensive, filthy, polluting, gas guzzling, noisy outboard motors. They have to maintain these horrible things, store dangerous gasoline onboard to feed them, and worry about being sliced to ribbons should they have the misfortune to fall overboard when these aquatic cuisinarts are in operation. Plus, their limbs atrophy from lack of exercise, and they obviously haven't heard about global warming. And I wonder if there will even be a rowing competition at the Regatta in Georgetown. And I also wonder what it is like if they need to run a second anchor out at 4 AM with an inflatable and an outboard. Cause you sure as heck aren't going to be rowing an inflatable in a stiff breeze.

Next topic, megayachts and the unequal distribution of wealth in the cruising fleet. This situation mirrors what has been taking place on land, but boy, is it noticeable here on the water. A few feet away from my boat is a motor vessel of around 175 feet in length, which I would expect to have cost somewhere in the 20-30 million dollar range. And this is just one of many. Fortunately, these aberrations are so big that they can't fit in to the smaller nooks and crannies of the Exumas, but they are having a deleterious impact on the sport as they slowly elbow out the low budget cruiser such as myself. For example, Highborn Cay, a once rustic place where anybody was welcome, has morphed into a facility that caters mainly to megayachts, with correspondingly high prices.  Ditto for Nassau, as marinas try to figure out how to accommodate ever bigger boats, while pushing aside the smaller ones. And this is a trend that has really taken off in the 8 years since I was here last.
What about the environmental impact of these yachts? I know we are all complicit to some degree, but these things are very big contributors to the carbon situation. I remember when I was at the dock in Charleston and the attendant laughed because I only got 6 gallons of fuel, while the megayacht next to me got a thousand. Oh well. I guess the boats are just getting bigger as the uber rich continue to lavish ever more money on to their exalted selves. Hope they are getting enjoyment out of them. Personally, I would be embarrassed to be seen on something so ostentatious and reeking of self importance.

I will be quiet now! All the best to my fellow sailors and followers from the proletariat!

Charlie

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Continued

Since arriving in Nassau I have been more or less hanging out. I sailed over to the northern Exumas for a few days, came back to Nassau because I was out of fresh food, and decided to hang here and wait for Mary and Maggie. I greatly enjoyed Junkanoo on boxing day, but am recognising my limitations in regard to age. By about 3:30 I was ready for sleep, and so returned to the boat. But Junkanoo really gets going at about 4 AM, and I know I missed the best part. I have been doing a ton of reading, some writing, and a lot of walking around in the old part of Nassau. I spent a couple of hours at the Bahamas Historical Society, and got to talk at length with the president and one of the other officers. I have also spent some time drinking cheap iced coffee in shops in order to get wifi. But now that I have a phone I don't have to do that.

That's it for now,

Charlie

Night offshore

I was really tired. Nassau was only 35 miles or so away, and I knew I could get in there. Heck, if a thousand foot long cruise ship drawing 30 feet could get in, it would be easy for White Seal. So I sailed several miles away from Andros to make sure I was well away from the fringing reef, lashed the tiller, and started taking a series of cat naps. It worked out pretty well and I just sort of poked along towards the bright lights of Nassau. Around 3 AM I started getting more serious and worked on getting closer for a daylight entrance. The cruise ships started showing up around 5 and there were 6 of them all told. I called Harbour Control and they gave me permission to enter after the cruise ships were all in. So little White Seal came nosing her way in around 8:30. I went under the bridges and tied up at Nassau Yacht Haven. After a couple of hours I had completed the customs formalities and turned in for several hours of deep sleep. When I awoke I was delighted to find Calypso tied up next to me. They had continued across the banks without stopping and arrived in Morgan's Bluff just as the wind was picking up. They anchored, but were unable to get off the boat all day. They spent all day and all night pitching up and down and finally gave up and crossed to Nassau, where they cleared in.

To be continued....

Mackie shoal

Let's see, where was I? Oh yes, crawling up on the foredeck. Normally, when I pull up the anchor I just walk up forward and start pulling on the anchor line. The boat starts moving forward, all 13000 pounds of it, and in a minute or so the anchor comes up over a roller on the bow, I secure it, walk aft, put the engine in gear, or trim the sail, and leave. But with the wind and waves, there was no way I could pull that boat forward. Heck, Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn't. So first I removed the jib from the foredeck, where I had left it secured from the previous evening. I stuffed it down the forward hatch. Then I rigged a snatch block (type of pulley) on the starboard rail. I pulled excess anchor line from the hawsepipe, ran it through the snatch block, and aft to my big primary winch. I had already started and warmed up the engine. Another trip forward to unclear the anchor line and now all the force was transferred to the winch. Putting the engine in gear, I motored ahead into the waves, steering the tiller with my legs, and hauling in the anchor line with both hands. When the chain leader reached the snatch block,knew the anchor was all the way up, I took the engine out of gear, went forward and secured the anchor. Then I hoisted the main, killed the engine, and started sailing. I was averaging over 6 knots under just the main so I didn't bother with the jib.

It was actually a great day of sailing. I had decided I would try to sail to Morgan's Bluff, Andros Island, where there is a Customs station. I knew it might be tough there, but hoped the wind might moderate and let me get in. Looking at the charts I hoped the shoals and small cays might provide some protection. I was quite tired but just kept on sailing across the banks. I encountered another sailboat out there and started up a friendship over the radio. Eventually, I left the banks and headed out onto the deep water of Tongue of the Ocean. As dusk approached I headed in towards Morgan's Bluff, and my heart sank. It was really rough and there was terrible visibility due to the glare on the water from the setting sun. I couldn't risk it, and reluctantly headed back out on the Ocean as the sun was setting.

To be continued.....