MARCH---George Town (Great Exuma) to Great Harbor Anchorage (Berry Islands) in the Bahamas
It is March 1....time for the George Town Cruising Regatta's "In the Harbor Race". Carl crewed on NOCTURNE---a Beneteau Oceanis 500 owned by Len and Izzie.The same boat he crewed on for the Staniel Cay Cruisers Regatta last December. Lots of boats entered the race including a large number of catamarans--the largest cat fleet ever. While Carl was racing, I watched the race from the cockpit of our boat. The racers pass through the anchorage coming so close that you may have to pull the dinghy line in to make way for a passing race boat. NOCTURNE was the first monohull to cross the finish line---finishing first in their class. I joined NOCTURNE's crew for lunch after the race. Izzie asked me to help crew for Saturday's "Race Around Stocking Island"---I accepted the invitation. After lunch, hurried back to our boat to clean up for the Party After The In the Harbor Race at St. Francis Resort.
Below are photos of two catamarans ....their first tack on the first leg. They were so close together at the start of the race but then GLORY DAYS pulled way ahead finishing shortly after NOCTURNE. GLORY DAYS is a very fast boat.
Below is NOCTURNE moving through the anchored boats in the harbor.
Entered the Regatta's First Dessert Competition. When the competition was announced on the VHF Radio, there were only a few entrants so"what the heck"! Wasn't sure how the dessert would be judged. If the competition was about "fancy dessert"--- did not have a chance. Don't have the pans or the ingredients for a fancy dessert. On the other hand, if the competition was about "great tasting dessert that can easily be made on board" ----I could do that!! Made a delicious "Upside down Chocolate Cake" using ingredients most cruisers would have on board (cake mix with extra ingredients including a cream cheese filling). The desserts were to be judged during the Party After the Race Around Stocking Island. Nuts .....I agreed to help crew on NOCTURNE so when would I find time to bake the cake and crew??? My only choice was to bake the cake the day before which might have been a deterrent.
The After the Race Party at St. Francis was well attended (note all the dinghies at the dock). No one (other than race committee) knows the final results (each boat has a "handicap"). However, this was a good time to share racing stories! Racing results are not announced until the Awards Ceremony at the end of Regatta.
Kris invited us over for taco dinner the Friday night between the two races. She also invited---Ron & Karen (SEA DANCER),and Keith and Rose (CAMELOT).. Good food and good conversation. In George Town there is plenty to talk about .....what businesses are open, the pumpout boat, speculate on who won the race the day before and how the Regatta should be organized.
Taco night on TILT. Pictures taken in the cockpit before SEA DANCER arrived. On the top left is Keith and Rose. Top right is Kris. Bottom left is Carl and Craig.
NOCTURNE had a great second race whish is around Stocking Island on Saturday. Perfect conditions for the 50 foot Beneteau.I tell ya, Izzie knows how to trim the sails .....I was very impressed. NOCTURNE once again finished first in its class but it was not the first boat to cross the finish line. GLORY DAYS that super fast catamaran managed to cross about 5 seconds before us. Another great lunch in the cockpit after the race. Conversation was cut short because had to get ready for the Party After The Race!! Plus, I had to get my dessert over to the party early. I am guessing there were about 30-40 desserts entered in the competition. I did not win .....not even close. The top two desserts were "fruit based" and on the fancy side. Next year, if I decide to compete .....I am brining my springform pan and a serving platter/tray. I already have a dessert in mind but will need a back-up if I can't get raspberries in George Town!!!!
Right in the middle of the George Town Regatta.....the wind started to build. A cold front passed through the Exuma Chain and stalled south of George Town as a frontal trof. Had a strong high pressure system to the north. So, George Town sat in a compression zone---the frontal trof to the south and a strong high pressure system to the north. Our weather forecaster, Chris Parker, said, "This is the most significant weather event of the entire winter". The cold front passed through Sunday night .....several boats dragged their anchors moving further out and resetting. The north northeast winds built after the front from 10 to 15 to 20 knots. Monday the winds continued to blow at 20 knots with gusts to 25 knots. The next day the sustained winds were 30 to 35 knots with gusts and squalls with an additional 5-10 knots. I tell you......it was "blowing like stink". The winds did not drop below 20 knots for 4 days. Several Regatta events were cancelled or rescheduled due to high wind.
Len and Izzie have a tradition of taking their crew out for dinner after the races are completed. Len arranged for a water taxi to transport the crew from Chat-n-Chill on Stocking Island to George Town Monday evening. In general, we don't like to leave the boat when the winds are blowing over 20 knots. This time, we made an exception and I am glad we did. Had such a good time with NOCTURNE's crew. Dr. Bill picked us up in George Town and drive us to dinner. Bill's truck has a crew cab so the girls sat in the front with Bill.....the guys rode in the truck bed. Before returning to the boat, we stopped at Eddie's Edgewater for Monday night Rake and Scrape.
NOCTURNE's Thanks To The Crew Dinner was held at Housemans On The Bay Restaurant located west of the airport. Great food and beautiful view. I ordered cracked lobster and could not eat it all. Photo top left ....water taxi ride into George Town. Thank goodness Elvis' taxi is partially covered. The ride in was fine but powered into large rolling waves on the way back. Top right---just loved this guy's tee shirt. Bottom left is the crew--Carl, Izzie, Wayne, Sharon, Len, Pam and Dr. Bill (don't know where Ollie was but he is missing).
Stopped at Eddi'es Edgewater for some Rake n Scrape. What makes a band Rake n Scrape? The main thing that makes Rake n Scrape unique is the Carpenter's Saw. This instrument is scraped with a nail or butter knife when the saw is bent against the body of the player and flexed. The Goombay drum is the main rhythmic component in Rake n Scrape. It is also referred to a goatskin drum, as the skin of a goat was stretched over a wooden barrel. It is decorated by simple or complex geometric designs in bright colors. One of the cruisers is a regular with this band....he plays the bass. Most Rake n Scrape bands do not include electric guitars but what the hay.
Below are photos taken at the Regatta Arts and Crafts Show. Top left are a few paintings from the watercolor group that meets every week on Volleyball Beach. The paintings on the bench were not for sale. Top right is the Clothesline Art Show. In this case, the watercolors are for sale. Proceeds go to the school's art department.
Below is Karina from SPRAY. Karina has spent a lot of time in the San Blas Islands where she purchased molas. Molas are hand made using a reverse applique. Several layers (usually two to seven) of different-colored cloth are sewn together. The geometric design is then formed by cutting away parts of each layer. The edges of the layers are turned under and sewn down. Often, the stitches are nearly invisible. Karina told me that making Molas is considered women's work by Indian people. However, two of the best mola makers are two men. These two men dress as women and have taken female names. Karina uses the molas she purchases to make decorative pillows and bags that she sells. Karina also makes jewelry and hats like the one she is wearing. She is a very interesting lady.
Below are pictures of the sand sculptures another Regatta event.
One night after Regatta was finished, Hugh Price gave a free concert on the deck of Chat n Chill. He is a great singer. Sang for two hours straight. Hugh plays solo and is a member of a band called Triple Lindy. He has been playing music for a living for 14 years--based out of Charleston. Hug has a website where you can hear him sing a couple songs. Top left is Hugh playing his heart out to a very appreciative crowd. Top right is Aimee and Kris shooting the bull during the concert. Bottom left is Kathy and Mike (SAPPHIREP enjoying a brew with the music. Hey Mike, thanks again for the Kalik!!!
Celebrated Carl's 66th birthday in George Town. Invited Leigh & Ken (ONE EYED PARROTS), Kris & Craig (TILT) and Keith & Rose (CAMELOT) over for dinner. Lots of good food to eat and lively conversation. Made Carl a chocolate rum cake for his birthday. When the party was over, Carl said to me, "I had a good time. Thanks for the party". He is a man of few complimentary words so I was very pleased.
After Carl's birthday, we both had the urge to move on. Wanted to go to Cat Island and then on to Eleuthera. The wind did not cooperate so stayed on in George Town a few more days. Attended Aimee's 66th birthday party on SOUTHERN ESTATE. It was a surprise party. Aimee knew that two couples were coming over for drinks to celebrate his birthday. Suddenly about 8 more dinghies show up. This party had some fantastic appetizers and an awesome cake baked by the Queen of Desserts, Karen. The party was lots of fun Also attended a Seven Seas Cruising Club lunch where the topic of discussion was cruising the Caribbean.
Finally escaped from George Town on March 16th. .Anchor up, raise the sail, turn the engine off and sail out Conch Cut.. Winds 13-15 knots with gusts to 18 knots. Two fishing lines out......had a mahi mahi on line but lost it while pulling it in. Sailed in through Galliot Cut and up to Black Point. Did not start the engine until just at the point where had to turn directly into the wind to anchor. TILT also left George Town just a couple minutes after us and passed us about half way to Galliot Cut. It was perfect sailing conditions for them with all their sails a flying. We had a single reef in the mainsail with the small jenny.
Anchored in Black Point along with about 50 other boats---KUMBAYA (Barb and Jerry) and GRACE (George and Doris). Had not seen George and Doris since last October. Iinvited them over for Happy Hour along with Kris and Craig. Stayed in Black Point for a week. Attended a benefit for a woman getting cancer treatments in the US. Volunteers prepared and served lunch which was a choice of curry chicken, fried fish, chicken or ribs with the traditional Bahamian sides. Collected sea glass. Hurricane Irene changed the beaches in Black Point and the blow hole--the surge eroded the beach and the wind blew the sand away from the blow hole. There is still glass but it is harder to find. Went to Scorpio's for Happy Hour (appetizers and drink specials). Played Sequence on TILT one evening along with Barb and Jerry. Did laundry at Rockside Laundry. While my clothes were washing, the owner, Ida, cut my hair. Friends Karen and Chris (SYNERGY) arrived from Long Island Sunday night. Great to see them one more time this cruising season.
With Barb, Kris and Doris out searching for sea glass at the blow hole. Hard dirty work. Found it by digging in the sand to the east of the blow hole. Hey Kris and Doris.....what is with the white shorts/capri's?
Pictures taken from the road during one of many walks for sea glass. Top left---Don't know what kind of plant it is but thought it was cool. Top right and bottom left is a shot of the anchorage.
Moved from Black Point to Rock Sound leaving Black Point when the tide was still flooding so the current was against us (1.5 to 1.8 knots). The winds had been blowing pretty hard for about three days so expected the sound to be rough. At first, it was a bit rough and the point of sail was a close reach. Carl said, "It is going to be a long day"! Over time, the wind dropped and clocked just a tad. The seas also settled down so the sailing was pretty good. Two fishing lines out and not one bite. Sailed 5 hours and motored 3 hours.
Rock Sound is always a fun stop. Hit the grocery store .....fruits, vegetables and bread. Kris invited us over for dinner followed by Sequence. A cold front forecasted for Sunday night with strong westerly winds so we moved to the west side of the harbor. Invited Kris and Craig over for a game of Sequence Sunday late afternoon. Bob and Bev (SAVAGE SON) arrived from Black Point with their crew, Mike. Lots of lightning during the night. The pre frontal activity started Monday morning around 9 AM. with a quick squall and mild thunderstorm. I believe we were very lucky ....could see tall thunderheads to the north and south of us. I assume anchorages like Alabaster and the Pineapple Cays had some pretty strong squalls and thunderstorms.
On Monday, met Bob, Bev and Mike at Four Points for lunch. Mike was stationed on Eleuthera in 1972. He was drafted (lottery) and decided to join the Navy. Rather than going to Viet Nam he was stationed at a Navy Base near Alabaster Bay. After lunch--Bob, Bev and Mike drove thei rental car up to the old base. Mike had a great time. He found old acquaintances and saw what is left of the base (a bunch of old ruins). Tuesday, I went on a road trip with Bob, Bev and Mike. What a blast. Drove all the way up to the Glass Window. Stopped at several beaches to search for treasures. Had lunch at The Beach House near Governor's Harbor. It was a fun day for me. Carl stayed back at the boat because our single side band radio died. What could he do?? Look for a new one. Found one one eBay.....used software to manage his bid.
Last day in Rock Sound.....out to Rose's Northside Restaurant for lunch along with Bobbie & Francie (BAREFOOTIN'), Bruce (ZANGARA), Bob, Bev & Mike (SAVAGE SON), Kris & Craig and George & Marci (MIGRATION). Lunch was served family style--Jerk Chicken, Fried Fish and the traditional Bahamian sides.
Note: While in Rock Sound received the news of the shipping of PEPPA II. It happened on Saturday (3/24) which was a beautiful, sunny and clear day. They were sailing from George Town in the Exuam South to Black Pointt.. The Captain--Goran hit what he thinks was a submerged container which “holed” their boat. The two persons aboard, Goran and Barbara, managed to get into their dinghy about 2.5 miles offshore from Farmer’s Cay in Exuma. A very sad situarion. Deep concern filled the hearts of all cruisers knowing the boat went down. I only know who Goran and Barbara are---talked to them a few times on Volleyball Beach. Another cruisers t spotted the dinghy as the masts of PEPPA II slipped under the water.
Tried to get onto Windermere Island. The island's five-mile long beach is protected by a reef which is rich in fish and underwater flora. The beach was considered by Jacques-Yves Cousteau to be one of the two most beautiful in the world. Princess Di stayed in one the the private homes on the island--it was when she was pregnant and photographed in her bathing suit Mariah Carey was married on the island as were our cruising friends, Wendy and John (WINDEMERE). Pulled up to the gate in our rental car. The guard asked what we wanted. Bob said something like, "We know John and Wendy Richards. Wonder if they are on the island." The guard replied, "No, turn around". Oh, have seen two different spellings for the island--Windermere and Windemere.
Below is a picture of SAVAGE SON's rental car top left---if wonder if the car would have been a Mercedes if the guard would have let us go over to Windermere Island????The road to the beach was so rough that Bev and I walked rather than have the car bottom out! Top right--tried to capture the beauty of the pink sand. Bottom left is a view one of the beaches we visited.
In past years, I was way to discriminate with sea glass. Always looking for all smooth edges and small-medium pieces often tossing back the rough pieces into the sea for further processing. Well, this year I learned that you can use "less than perfect" pieces for jewelry and especially for craft projects. Below are a few uses of sea glass that I saw on the Eleuthera Road Trip. Top left---sea glass and pottery in the concrete step in front of a boutique. Top right and bottom left are mirrors made with large pieces of sea glass (most of which have rough edges). Bottom right is a close up of the glass used in the mirrors.
The turn around point for our Eleuthera Road Trip was the Glass Window. The Glass Window once was a natural rock bridge 85 feet above sea level. This rock bridge was washed away during a hurricane in 1926. It was replaced in 1960 by a concrete and steel bridge. To the east lies the dark blue waters of the Atlantic: to the west is the Bight of Eleuthera with its emerald and turquoise water. On Halloween 1991, a rouge wave picked up this steel and concrete bridge and moved it 7 feet to the west (away from the Atlantic side). Can you imagine the size of power of the wave to move a bridge this size??? Top left shows the cobalt blue Atlantic waters. Top right shows the Bight. Bottom left is Bob and Bev peering over the bridge. You can see how the bridge shifted!!!
Lunch at the Beach House on the east coast not far from Governor's Harbor. Ordered Caprese Salad. Beautiful and delicious.
Lunch at Rose' Northside Restaurant. Rose also has cottages that she rents. Top left is the front of the restaurant. Top right is the view of the east coast from Rose's deck. Middle left and right photos are the gang enjoying a beer on the deck before lunch. Bottom left is "chow time"--whoops the picture is TILTED!!.
Next stop---Alabaster Bay. Waited until 9 AM to leave Rock Sound where we had internet. Carl needed to find out IF he won the bid on eBay for the single side band radio. He did. It will be shipped to Vero Beach. Very light winds so we motored the entire 25 nautical miles from Rock Sound to Alabaster. Just a place to anchor for the night. Have been here before but now Alabaster Bay looks different.. I had wondered what the empty decrepit buildings were. Now I know......all part of an old Naval Base. Kris and Craig came over for dinner (wahoo fish) and a game of Sequence Left Alabaster Bay for Current Cut at 9 AM. Only 23 nautical miles from Alabaster to the anchorage on the west side of Current Cut but it took us 6.5 hours to get there. Why? Wanted to get to the cut around 3:00 PM so would not have to fight the current to get through. That means we had time to burn. Sailed along at 2.5 to 3.0 knots for three hours to "kill time". Saw dolphins and several sea turtles. TILT went through the cut about 15 minutes before us---they had less than 1 knot of current against them. By the time we were in the cut, the current was changing direction so we saw 0.1 knots of favorable current. Over to TILT for pesto chicken and a game of Sequence.
Carl cruising along at 3 knots from Alabaster Bay to Current Cut.
In case you haven't noticed......we are working our way to Vero Beach, FL. Traditionally, our route home is through the Abacos. A dead single side band radio changes tradition. This time we are heading north via the Providence Channel past the Berry Islands, south of Grand Bahamas and out into the Atlantic. Based on the weather forecast, decided the next stop should be in the Berry Islands. Where are we getting the forecast without a radio? Why from TILT of course!! Anchored at Great Harbor....south of Great Stirrup and east of Goat Cay. Winds were forecasted to be 10-15 knots from the northwest in the gulfstream which is not good. Had a Sundowner Drink on TILT the first night and played Sequence on TILT the next afternoon.
Carl cruising along at 7 knots!
If you saw February's activity log you will have noted how fantastic the weather was. March brought several cold fronts followed by brisk north and northeast winds which influences where we go and when we can go. Requires patience and flexibility.
In closing......just hate having to leave the Bahamas. It has been such a good cruising season but summer is just around the corner so we have to start our return to Deltaville.
March 06, 2012