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JANUARY---George Town (Great Exuma Island) to Hog Cay (Ragged Islands), Bahamas.

New Years Day was a quiet day in George Town (Elizabeth Harbor). Lazed around in the morning sipping coffee and reading. A little unusual not to have a special brunch or a dinner but just didn't feel like working in the galley! Carl and I hiked my favorite trail with its fantastic view of the Exuma Sound. Had a simple dinner before going to bed. Looking for favorable winds to head to Long Island and then to the Jumentos/Raggeds.

Sailing:

Left George Town on January 3 for Thompson Bay, Long Island. Winds from the east at 10-12 knots basically on our nose. Motored all the way to Thompson Bay (35 nautical miles). Just before making the turn into Thompson Bay, encountered a nice rain shower which was so welcome. A good fresh water rinse to get rid of at least some of the salt.

What a sail from Thompson Bay to Flamingo Cay! East wind at 22 knots gusting 25 to 28.......our course was due west so running with the wind. Carl's instruction to me......do not let the main jibe in this wind. Hand steered through the Comer Cay to the Comer West waypoint about 20 nm where finally turned to 140 degrees. The autopilot took steering responsibilities from Comer West to Flamingo Cay. Waves pretty high with very short interval. DISCOVERY was moving fast enough to just cut through them. Our boat speed was mostly 7.5 to 8.2 knots with several excursions to 9.0 knots all with a double reefed main and just a tiny bit of the small jib out.

The winds dropped maybe two knots the following day when we sailed from Flamingo Cay to Raccoon Cay. Left the double reef in the main and again let out just a little of the jib. Boat speed about the same as the previous day. Lots of waves and wind when we passed between the reefs at Man Of War Cay. The waves did settle down before crossing the Nurse Cay Channel.

Light conditions for sailing from Raccoon to Hog Cay with winds at 110 degrees at 16 knots in the morning and dropping to 10-12 knots before noon. Close, close reach. Turned on the engine to head into the anchorage......too lazy to tack our way in. It was a slow sail....so nice to not have the engine running!

Weather:

January's weather......the wind velocity exceeded 20 knots 22 days in January. It was very windy and a good month for the KISS wind generator. Several times Carl asked me if I wanted him to adjust the freezer temperature so it was colder (using more amps)! The direction for the brisk wind was all easterly except for twice when we had north winds. Wind gusts built to 30 knots a couple nights. Can tell (no wind instrument required) when the wind reaches 22 to 25 knots---the KISS starts to "kick out" or overheat. When the KISS kicks out it sounds like a Blackhawk Helicopter is landing in the cockpit. Up several times during the night to turn off the generator. Can also tell when the wind reaches 30 knots---the side stays start to vibrate. It is possible to stop the vibration by placing a rag between the stays but usually don't do it. Put out a second anchor when the wind is forecasted at 20 knots or higher. The second anchor stops us from sailing around in the wind and adds to our sense of security (we will not be going anyplace unexpectedly). Several cold fronts approached the Bahamas with nasty weather in the NW Bahamas (one of the main reasons we don't go there early in the cruising season). One or two cold fronts made it to the Staniel Cay area with clocking winds. Most importantly, here in the Ragged Islands we were lucky to not have clocking winds so no need to run and hide for protection from the west and northwest winds at Southside. Had three consecutive days of rain and overcast conditions which is quite unusual. All in all on the weather front.....nothing to complain about!!!

Anchorages:

Left George Town with SYNERGY. Only a few boats in Thompson Bay when we arrived .....IMAGINE and CARPE DIEM. Another 7-8 boats arrived during the week---including SEABISCUIT, RUNAWAY, FIRST EDITION and KOKOMO. Had lunch at the Long Island Breeze a couple of times. Checked out the Thompson Bay Club which has been leased to a new owner---had lunch there and a Happy Hour. Walked to the beaches looking for sea treasures---no sea glass but found several hamburger beans. Organized a Happy Hour on the beach. Watched the NDSU Championship Game on TV at the Long Island Breeze. (Results: The NDSU Bison are the 2012 NCAA Division I football champions! The Bison beat the Sam Houston Bearkats 39-13 in Frisco, Texas.This is the tenth national football championship and the second Division I national football championship for NDSU. Last year we listened to the NDSU Championship game while anchored at Galliot Cut---played the same team ) .Prepared for trip to the Jumento Cays/Ragged Island by: filling propane tanks, doing laundry and stocking up on fresh produce at Hillside. Stayed at Thompson Bay longer than intended or even desired (10 days) but the weather was not conducive for moving.

Only a few trails on Long Island (Thompson Bay) that lead to the beach. On the left is the Dead Goat Beach Trailhead Marker (made from beach trash). On the right is a photo of me walking along Dead Goat Beach.

 

Watched the NDSU Championship game on TV at the Long Island Breeze. Carl and I were the only people at the Breeze interested in the game which should not be a surprise since the only people at the Breeze was SYNERGY and DISCOVERY. Karen and Chris were busy with computer stuff and aren't interested in football regardless of who is playing!

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Cruising isn't all fun and games. Lots of mundane chores like laundry. The Breeze had three washers which I used. Karen used the double washer. Did not have to carry laundry bags far just up from the dinghy dock to the laundry room. Nice to leave for the Jumentos and Raggeds with clean sheets, towels and clothes.

Can you imagine......during Hurricane Sandy ALL the water was blown out of Thompson Bay as the eye approached and then rushed back in after the eye passed. All the water you see in these two photos was blown out and then rushed back in after the eye passed.

After one of our hikes, Karen and I called the guys on the VHF radio asking them to join us at Thompson Bay Club for an adult beverage. To our surprise, other cruisers in the anchorage had the same idea.

While visiting at the Thompson Bay Club, discovered that Sylvan and Cecile (CARPE DIEM) are friends with Lee and Sharon (ALLEGRO). We sailed with Lee and Sharon from Grenada to the US Virgin Islands. Had the following photo taken so we could send it to Lee and Sharon. First met CAROE DIEM in Black Point back in Decemeber. Had Christmas Dinner with them on the beach at George Town but did not know they were meeting up with Lee and Sharon in the Virgins this February until a conversation at Thompson Bay Club.!

 

Stayed one night at Flamingo Cay. Anchored in the cove at "One Palm Beach" formerly known as "Two Palm Beach". Hurricane Sandy removed one of the palms. Dropped our anchor which then bounced along the bottom. Moved over just a little looking for as much sand as we could find. Second time....the anchor held. Lots of wrap around waves with the strong east winds. In fact, could see waves rushing in between Flamingo and Brig Cay. Surprised how well I slept.

Raccoon Cay----Bruce on WIND RUSH welcomed us to the anchorage and invited us and SYNERGY over for Happy Hour. Bruce picked up the three bottles of rum that we brought for him from Thompson Bay. Bernie on COUNTESS COSEL was also invited to Happy Hour. Asked Bruce how the lobster hunting was going......he could get lobster any day that he wanted them. Carl, Chris and Karen went hunting in our dingy. Chris' eardrum did not hold. He had ruptured it in George Town. The American Doctor who looked at it told him to wait a couple weeks then try diving (shallow at first then deeper if it holds). Unfortunately the eardrum tore on his first dive at Raccoon. Carl shot his first lobster of the season. He was so pleased.....this year he can see them. In fact, the next three dives, Carl came home with one lobster per hunt. He was skunked on the fourth hunt. Organized a trash burn/Happy Hour on the beach with 100% attendance. Even VALKYERIE anchored at Spanish Well Bay joined us. Karen and I hiked the DYAD trail across Raccoon then continued to the south along the ironshore finding several sandy beaches. Looked for sea treasurea only finding beans. One afternoon Robin (SEABISCUIT) joined Karen and I on a hike from Hogshead Bay to Man O War Bay. Robin found a Mary Bean (rare).

Carl's first lobster in 2013. Big enough to share for dinner.

Trash burning/Happy Hour on Raccoon. Carl is playing the role of supevisor while Chris is the fire tender! Karen (SYNERGY) has a folding table for holding the appetizers. Without the table we would have had to lay our appetizers out on a rock.

 

Last anchorage for the month is my favorite place .......Middle Pen Bay at Hog Cay. Love this place for its hiking trails and sea glass. SCOTCH MIST had been anchored here for a couple weeks before we arrived. JUBILIEE is anchored in the shallower water to the north of Middle Pen Bay .Within a couple days.....the boat count at Middle Pen Bay was up to 23 boats (most of them moved down from Raccoon with a few new arrivals from Thompson Bay). Checked out the structure the cruisers built last year and named "The Hog Cay Yacht Club". Most of this structure was built after we left Hog Cay. When we were here ....cruisers transplanted some palm trees to the spot where everyone gathers for trash burns/potlucks and where Maxine holds her Valentine's Day Party. The palm trees must have blown away with the hurricane but the structure the cruisers built held up during Sandy except some of the roof that was made from old fish traps blew away. Had several Trash Burn/Cocktail Parties at the Yacht Club and one potluck dinner. Made our "sign/doodad" to hang at the Yacht Club. Walked the beaches for hours and hours in search of sea treasures. It has been too windy for the guys to hunt for lobster so buying lobster and fish from Monkey Man.

The Hog Cay Yacht Club. The original section had a "thatched" roof made from old fish traps and some sections were weaved with palm fronds. Hurricane Sandy removed some of the thatched roof. A second section was added this year. The covering is the material used in garden centers. Cruisers have added doodads to the structure made of stuff found on the beach.

A game of bocce ball. Carl and Chris versus Bill and Fred. Carl said he and Chris had their butts kicked.

DISCOVERY's doodad.

Potluck dinner. Top photo on the right is Carl sneaking food. That evening, Robin, Kathy and I all wore seaglass jewelry that I had made. Lots of compliments.

 

Have some excellent dinners while cruising. I don't always remember to bring out my camera. Below is a photo of the pizza appetizer provided by PUDDLE JUMPER (Mara and Bill) one night for dinner on SYNERGY. The picture on the right is the coconut cream pie made by Lynn (FIRST EDITION) for dinner on DISCOVERY. The third photo is the "Mad Baker" getting ready to cut the pie!!!

A starfish in the water just in front of the Yacht Club. So pretty.

Additional entertainment .......playing Sequence, reading and watching DVD movies. Sequence---one night we played on SYNERGY with Fred and Kathy on SCOTCH MIST. Fred brought Karen and I hamburger bean necklaces. Kathy was wearing hers. Girls named ourselves the Bean girls and we were awesome that night. Read "Team of Rivals" and The Sun King" .Watched "Captain Ron" for about the tenth time one night. That movie still makes me laugh. Lynn on FIRST EDITION gave us "Homeland" first season to watch. So far we have watched the first 3 episodes of 15 total.

 

Projects:

When sailing from Flamingo to Raccoon Cay, noticed some loose stitching on our small jib. Thought it was only one spot. Kathy has a sailrite sewing machine so she offered to stitch it up for us. When we dropped the sail we noticed the stitching loose on almost every panel close to the sunbrella cloth (protects sail from UV when furled). Kathy stitched it up for us. Will need to have the sail taken in to the sailmaker when we return to Deltaville for "all over stitching".

The generator was acting like it was starving for fuel so Carl did some work on it. It is now fixed. He did blow the capacitor during the repair. Had a spare so used it. Need to replace the spare--- ordered a couple having it shipped to Rick on SEA LANGUAGE who is coming to the Jumentos/Raggeds hopefully by Valentine's Day. Generator not putting out much water through the exhaust so checked the impeller.....missing a fluke so replaced it with a spare. Ordered more impellers having them delivered to Sharon (IMAGINE) who is in NJ visiting family.

Carl, Chris and Fred worked on Monkey Man's outboard engine. Monkey Man broke the lever that engages and disengages the transmission. The three guys fabricated a lever from a piece of aluminum. Monkey Man was so happy with the help that he invited Chris to go fishing/hunting with him. Chris was impressed by Monkey Man's diving skills.....with one breathe he stayed down for a long, long time and brought up something everytime he surfaced. It is an honor for Chris to be invited by a local to go fishing/hunting.

Carl is helping other cruisers build a structure that Maxine wants on the beach. We thought the work completed on the Yacht Club would meet her expectations but Maxine wants something with a permanent roof to provide shelter when it rains. All most every cruiser told Maxine that the structure isn't necessary for us (or even desired) but she has her mind set on it. Rumor has it that she received money from the Department of Tourism to build it.

Photos taken on a day when the locals were working with the cruisers on Maxine's building. The Carolina Skiffs are from Duncan Town. This was the day the posts were set in concrete. A Hard Day's Work.

 

Made a necklace for Robin (SEABISCUIT) that I exchanged for bags of seaglass that she has back in CT. Made a necklace for Kathy as a thank you for the sail repair. Made a necklace for the Duncan Town School Benefit held on Valentine's Day and finally a necklace for Sharon on IMAGINE for bringing some spare parts from New Jersey when she went to visit her Mom.

Below is the necklace that I made for Robin---seashells collected in George Town and Black Point with sea glass. Photos taken the night I passed it over to her.

Below is a photo of the necklace I made for Kathy to thank her for stitching up our small jib sail.

Below is a photo of the necklace I made for the Valentine's Day Auction on Hog Cay that will benefit the Duncan Town School.

Submitted by:

Marilyn Thoreson
January 31, 2013