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MARCH----George Town (Great Exuma), Bahamas to Gulfstream Waters Between Bahamas and Florida

George Town Sailing Regatta:

The 33rd Annual George Town Cruising Regatta started on February 25 with Registration and continued through March 8. Stayed for the entire Regatta because Carl crewed on NOCTURNE. Captain Len and his crew did well in both Regatta races. Prizes given for class (size) and division (mono or multi hull). Around Stocking Island Race---NOCTURNE was the first monohull to cross the finish line but placed second in the monohull division when time was adjusted based on PERF rating. NOCTURNE placed first in its class for both the In Harbor and Around Stocking Island Race and then won first in the monohull division for the In Harbor Race after time adjusted based on the PERF rating. Not too shabby!!. Each race was followed by a party at St. Francis Resort where the prizes were presented to the winning boats. After Regatta, Len and Izzie took their crew and the crews' significant other out for lunch at Cheaters to thank the crew for a job well done. Had a great lunch at Cheaters.

Photo on top left is NOCTURNE taken during the In Harbor Race. Photo on right is the awards NOCTURNE won for the In Harbor Race. Just like last year......the bottle of rum was given to us. In return, made Izzie a chocolate rum cake. Bottom two photos taken at the appreciation lunch at Cheaters.

 

Did not participate in any of the other Regatta events (Bocce Ball, Poker Run, Coconut Harvest, Scavenger Hunt, Softball, Volleyball, and Small Boat Races). It appears to me that the number of people participating in Regatta events is down from previous years. The individuals who run the Regatta work very hard to make the Regatta a success and have to have thick skin to survive a lot of the criticism. This year the criticism was in the open and "out of line" including clicking the VHF microphone during Regatta announcements. Most of the cruisers are over 60 years old but some of them act like children---excuse me I just insulted children so I will say some cruisers act like two or three year olds. Rockin' Ron and Kool Karen's last dance on the deck at Chat n Chill was a huge success based on the number of people attending. I hope Ron and Karen return next year and continue their great dances.

Photo taken by Arlene on BLUE HEAVEN---Closing Night Dance.

Pre-dance music provided by Greg (SERANADE), Ken (ROCKING BEE) and Ted (MEKHAYA). This is the same Ted who entertained us with his music when we were in Hog Cay.

 

Set up a display to show some of my seaglass jewelry at the Regatta Arts and Crafts Show. Wanted to get feedback to help decide if I should try selling some of my stuff. People really liked what I made and several people returned more than once to see if I would sell them a piece. One lady suggested that I contact boutiques and shops where artwork is sold to see if I could sell through them. I have a contact in St. Augustine and there is a cute shop in Deltaville that sells jewelry made by local artisans that I might contact next fall. I need to start using sterling silver.

My jewelry work continues. Below are photos of the jewelry display. Used pillows covered with a black shirt or black cover-up to display necklaces. Made a pendant and earring tree out of dead branches placed in Kris' mason jar filled with sand and then surrounded a circle of sand with seaglass and shells. Bottom photo is a set that I made for Rose on CAMELOT.

 

Farewell to Skip and Cherylle:

A couple of George Town cruisers organized a farewell Happy Hour for Cherylle and Skip who sail on the ELEANOR M. Cherylle and Skip decided to sell their boat and do other things. The two of them will be missed. Skip cut and maintained dozens of hiking trails on Stocking Island. He also marked the reefs with channel markers. Cherylle has been an elder at Beach Church, sang in the choir and instrumental in leading Women's Bible Study. The two of them are great people. The farewell party was well attended. Carl on ISHMAEL wrote and read a fantastic poem he wrote about Skip and Cherylle and I mean the poem was fantastic. When the sunset, there was a blowing of the conch horns as a tribute to Skip.

The food arrives.

Photos taken during the "program" . Looks like Skip is defending his behavior in the photo on the right!

 

Happy Hour, Dinner and Sequence:

Kris and Craig invited Curt, Kathy, Carl and I over for dinner during Regatta. Kris made sweet and sour pork, Kathy brought salad and I brought a pumpkin dessert. Great dinner followed by Sequence. Kathy invited Kris, Craig, Carl and I over for dinner one 5 and DIME---just happened to be Carl's birthday!! How easy was that for me!?!! All I had to do for Carl's birthday was bake a cake! Dinner our last night in George Town on ONE EYED PARROTS along with TILT. Leigh made a wonderful chicken dish, Kris brought the salad and I made a cake. Have to say that sharing dinner on a boat is one of my favorite things to do in the Bahamas. Definitely on my top ten things I like to do while cruising. By the way, going out for dinner is also on the top ten list! The girls winning a Sequence set makes my top twenty five favorite things to do when cruising . On the other hand, the guys winning at Sequence doesn't make any of my top lists.

Carl's birthday on 5 and DIME. Kris and Craig know that the boy loves his candy. Photo on the right is the two-C's (Curt and Craig). Middle two photos are the two-K's (Kris and Kathy) and bottom photo is dinner. Thanks TILT and 5 and DIME for making Carl's birthday special.

 

Meeting other Saga owners:

Ginnie and Ted on FIRECRACKER a Saga 43 came over for Happy Hour on DISCOVERY. This is their first year cruising in the Bahamas and they are loving it. Met Bill and Judy on J & B, a Saga 48. Bill and Judy invited all the Saga 43 owners in George Town over for Happy Hour. As you can imagine.........the talk was about Sagas but also strayed into cruising the Bahamas since this was the first year cruising for Bill, Judy, Ginnie and Ted. Also met Brenda and Bob on PANDORA (another Saga 43) at Thompson Bay, Long Island. So this year, there were 5 Sagas that passed through George Town which is the highest Saga count since the 2005-2006 cruising seasons when there was 6 Sagas in George Town.

Long Island Rally:

Decided we would leave George Town on Wednesday, March 13 and head north if the winds were southerly or north if the winds were southerly. The winds were southeast so the decision was to go to Thompson Bay, Long Island with the Long Is and Rally. Yes, DISCOVERY was headed to Long Island with over 30 boats. The group was supposed to race once they reached the White Cay Bank waypoint. By the time the faster boats reached the waypoint, the wind died (5 knots or less) so the race was delayed. The Rally had a Happy Hour on the beach Wednesday night---invited all the boats in the area to attend. The appetizers were outstanding probably one of the best appetizer spreads I've seen in the Bahamas. The Regatta Committee passed out some free Kaliks and who says you cant get anything free these days???? While in Thompson Bay walked the beaches in search of treasures (one hamburger bean and no sea glass) and picked up a few fresh vegetables at the store.

The Rally Race was re-scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Carl crewed on CAMELOT because Keith was sailing single handed (Rose returned to CT for her Father's funeral). Keith told me he appreciated Carl's help. I guess Carl made a difference for Keith......the two of them placed second in the monohull division losing by ONE second.

The last night of the Rally was a dinner and dance at Long Island Breeze. Jackie and Michael who own and run Long Island Breeze did an outstanding job. They invited local artisans to display and sell art/craft work and arranged for a Junkanoo Rush Out. The dinner they prepared was excellent considering it was for a large crowd .....choice of steak or grouper fingers. Rockin Ron and Kool Karen put on another outstanding dance.

On the left---grouper fingers with special sauce, cole slaw and Bahamian mac n cheese. On the right---the dinghy parking lot. Middle left and right--Junkanoo Rush Out. Bottom left more Junkanoo Rush Out. Bottom right is Ted--once again the pre-dance entertainment.

 

Anchorages:

Traveling with TILT. Sailed from Salt Pond to Calabash Bay which is close to the north tip of Long Island. The northern tip of Long Island is called Cape Santa Maria named after Christopher Columbus' flagship which supposedly ran aground on the reefs that surround the cape Calabash Bay is just south of Cape Santa Maria---the bay has a 2 mile beach. The bay offers good protection from the east to south although some swell does work in from around the Cape. Only stayed one night. Bert and Pru on EXUBERIANT went to the resort for dinner---asked us if we wanted to go with them. We declined the invitation because we had a big dinner at the Long Island Breeze the night before and hoped to eat out when we arrived at Cat Island.

Anchored one night at Old Bight with TILT. Kris, Craig, Carl and I walked to the settlement of Old Bight. Visited a recently restored church and an orchid nursery (still wondering who buys the woman's orchids). Stopped at the Gas Station that is run by two sisters. One sister fixes tires and pumps gas while the other sister has a Beauty Shop. They work out of the same building. The lady that does hair was so sweet and funny. Stopped at a little restaurant called Destiny for beers (too early for dinner and too late for lunch). The next day we moved over to New Bight .....where we visited the Hermitage. Had lunch at one of the Fish Shacks on the beach. Would have loved to stay around Cat Island for another 3-4 days but the weather chased us away. The cruising guides say "never anchor in the bight in strong winds from southwest to northeast.

Photos of St. Mary The Virgin Anglican Church in Old Bight. I love the windows and doors.

 

A greenhouse in Old Bight. There are not very many people living on Cat Island so just wonder.....who are the customers??

 

Destiny's menu (the only restaurant/bar in Old Bight). This menu is typical of what you find in the Bahama Out Islands.

 

 

The Hermitage sits on top of Mt Alverna (a.k.a. Mt Comer) the highest point of land in the Bahamas (206 feet). Father Jerome was born in 1876 . He studied architecture in London and became an Anglican Minister. In 1911 he went to Rome to study for the Catholic priesthood. Father Jerome returned to the Bahamas where he built two churches in Clarence Town, Long Island. He left the Bahamas and became a bush priest in Australia. Father Jerome received permission from the Catholic Bishop in Nassau to retire on Cat Island as a hermit. He arrived on Cat Island in 1939 to survey Mt. Alverna. in 1940 he started construction of the Hermitage which is a miniature replica of a European Franciscan Monastery. He built the entire structure by HIMSELF out of native rock. He lived in the Hermitage until he died at age 80. Father Jerome is buried beneath the Hermitage.

Approaching the Hermitage from New Bight.

 

The following photos show the Station of the Cross along the path up Mt. Alvernia.

 

Photos taken in the chapel. There is a guest book on the alter to sign.

 

The view from the windows.

 

Carl resting in the photo on the left. A view of the back of the Hermitage on the right and a photo of the living quarters bottom left.

 

Below are photos of the Henry Hawkins Armbrister Great House located in New Bight. This house was built in the 1760's so it is pre-Loyalist. It was burned by slaves right before emancipation.

Next stop---- Rock Sound, Eleuthera. Still traveling with TILT. Good place for groceries, laundry and eating out. 5 and DIME joined us here. Had both boats over for dinner one night. Out for lunch at Sammy's one afternoon. Another afternoon---Bess and Jimmy on DESTINY joined us for lunch out at Rose's Northside Restaurant. One day.....two inter-island freighters came into the harbor. There isn't a marked channel on the charts so it is hard to know where the freighter go but they managed to get to the government dock without asking any of the boats to move. Rock Sound was gearing up for their Easter Homecoming . Talked about staying for most of the activities which includes music, fashion show, Junkanoo Rush Out and other activities. However, decided on Friday to head to Alabaster Bay with 5 AND DIME and TILT on Good Friday.\

Signs around Rock Sound. Love the coffins for sale along with property (selling the property of the customer who purchased a coffin????)

 

Wednesday was a big day for freighters in Rock Sound. The freighter get close to anchored boats.

 

Lunch at Rose's. Teddy, Rose's fat sweet dog, rushed out to greet Kris. The view from Rose's deck is outstanding---so many reefs on the western coast of Eleuthera.

 

Alabaster Bay is such a pretty anchorage. It is located next to the airport that serves Governor's Harbor but only small aircraft fly in and there are not that many flights so the anchorage isn't noisy. The holding, on the other hand, is not good---thin layer of sand over marl. You can find a sandy spot if you search hard enough. Kris invited Curt, Kathy, Carl and I over for dinner and a game of Sequence. The girls won the last set of Sequence played that we would play in the Bahamas.

The last Bahama's anchorage for the 2012-2013 cruising season was just outside of Current Cut.. Had a short "Happy Hour" on 5 AND DIME to discuss departure times the following morning.

Sailing and Fishing:

We try to sail as much as possible. Cruising is about great anchorages, people, food , adventure and sailing. Enjoyed an easy, comfortable sail from Salt Pond (Thompson Bay) to Calabash Bay. Winds from the east at 13-15 knots with some higher gusts. Sailing pretty close to shore so no waves. You know, every once in awhile it is nice to have an easy sail.

The sail from Calabash to Old Bight, Cat Island was another easy sail that is until we rounded the bottom of Cat Island to head up to Old Bight. Winds from the east at 18 knots gusting 20-25 knots. The seas were a little mixed up once we were past the north tip of Long Island but they settled down later. Yup, a great sail until the wind was directly on the nose all the way to Old Bight and the wind started to increase in velocity! So the last couple hours had to run the engine.

Motorsailed from New Bight to Rock Sound. Winds were light and variable and then southwest at 5 to 10 knots. Not enough wind to sail. Carl caught a fish.......did not know what is was. Decided to clean it, cook it and if it tasted good we'd eat it. If it tasted bad we'd ditch it. Ended up eating it!

The fish that Carl caught during motorsail from Cat Island to Eleuthera. A mystery fish but it was pretty tasty!

 

Sailed away from anchor when we left Rock Sound headed for Alabaster Bay and continued sailing for about 90 minutes when we were had to turn on the engine because we were pointing too high to sail the rest of the way to Alabaster. Darn. It was good sailing from Alabaster to Current Cut. Once again, sailed away from anchor and actually had to slow the boat down around 10:30 so that we were not in the cut at maximum flood. Slowed down by dropping the main, rolling in the big jenny and letting out the small jenny. In spite of slowing down, we had 2 to 2.5 knots of current against us when transitting the cut.

The almost 230 nautical mile run from the anchorage at Current Cut to Fort Pierce was a motorsail all the way. Only needed about a1500 RPMs to get 7.5 to 10.0 knots speed over ground. The waves were very mixed up at times....like a washing machine but other than that a great crossing to Fort Pierce. Lots of ships to keep track of when we reached Freeport, Grand Bahama. Thank goodness out AIS was working.

The courtesy flag is shredded so it is time to go home! Need a new one for next year.

Submitted by:

Marilyn Thoreson
April 04, 2013