Mar 22-27, 2017
Well, the winds are due to escalate, again, over 30 knots, clocking-N-NE-E, and we needed to find another hiding spot for a long blow, further South. This time, we were heading down to the Georgetown area. We sailed most of the way with the Main and Genoa out, ocean side. Mark had a Mahi on the line but lost it just within reach of the boat. We had mild 3-4 ft rollers, and Sognare caught another 16# Mahi! It was a beautiful day to sail, before hunkering down for the next storm rolling in.
Crab Cay is a very nice, calm anchorage. It looks really tight and shallow on the charts, but we were pleasantly surprised upon arrival, and found our spots for the next few days.
However, it made for a very long dinghy ride to get to town. Everyone was soaked by the time we got there. It was nice to get to a grocery store and see what fresh stuff we could work with. Angie has two favorite “fun” stores in Georgetown she always has to check out and see what new crafty things are happening with seashells, seaglass, jewelry, etc. We had our first Kalik Radlers of the season. (A Bahamian beer that tastes like it is mixed with lemonade.) We also enjoy the Pink Sands Radlers, which are beer mixed with grapefruit juice instead. Very Refreshing! I think they call them Shandys in the USA. Both Kalik and Sands now have other fruity flavors, but we stuck with the citrus.
Having some down days, we had boat projects going (Surprise, Surprise!), and Mark is constantly researching which way to head further South. Should we go to Long Island, Samana, Mayaguana, and try to fit in Rum Cay? Or, Long Island to Acklins, then East to Mayaguana? Or, run Jumentos Cays, Ragged Islands to Great Inagua? Which option will offer the best protection if winds shift or clock around? What if a blow of 25 plus happens? Where can we hide? When is the next storm predicted? Which way will offer the flattest sea conditions to keep everyone and the boat happy? Which way will set us up better for heading further South? Do we next go via Turks and Caicos, BVI, USVI, SVI, Puerto Rico? Do we risk the notorious Mona Passage between Dominica Republic and PR? Do we ride the current between Cuba and Haiti? Then head East to PR? Our goal is to be in Bonaire by mid-May. We will then leave Uno Mas and head back to the states to finalize ongoing work projects.
Mark threw his back out and is using the back brace to get around, so his project lists slowed in progress. He took some down time and watched a few movies (Band of Brothers series). However, he did manage to daisy chain the stern anchor line, for a more respectable presentation.
He also added a remote pump for the genset, which will only activate when the generator is generating 110 v, so not to hydrolock the generator with multiple times trying to start. The hydrolock is what killed the genset last year.
He also found the boat zinc ground wire corroded on the port side and ran a new wire. Yet another crimped electrical fitting from the previous owner, most likely original to the boat, gone bad.
Since we are sitting for a few days, Angie has decided to try her new bean and alfalfa sprouting system out. (Much luck!) The spinach and lettuces had to be ditched. More bugs L So, we need to work on another way to get fresh, green, crunchy food. The herbs seem to be doing ok.
Angie also rebuilt the Man Overboard (MOB) pole flag and throw lines. This seems to be another annual event. The toss line disintegrates in the UV. Another boating irony… The things that are meant for safety, and are extremely important if needed in an emergency, last the least amount of time, due to the UV and salt water environment.
With three styles of sewing machines on board (a Sailrite canvas machine, a regular Brothers machine, and a small handheld battery operated machine), one would think making a simple flag would be easy. Instead, it was a frustrating 2 day project. The Ripstop material is so slick and thin, it gets eaten up by the fabric feeds. The thread tension was another issue all in itself. Finally, the solution was to use the heavy duty Sailrite canvas machine, add at least two layers of binder tape to the seams, to give the fabric more structure, and have the tension adjusted all of the way out (top and bottom thread). While in the sewing mood, Angie also made a cover for the very important sundowner beverage tray, so the UV does not kill its colorful “Speedy Turtle” finish.
Another fun, “make it obvious, if it is stolen, that it is ours” project for Angie was to add vinyl flames to the scuba and propane tanks and to the lower end of our outboard. This worked out well, because we ran out of propane and had to do a tank “Shuffle” (And, probably the reason Mark’s back went out). One bottle a month seems to be our usage with the new tanks. This would entail daily use of the 3 burner cooktop, at least twice a day, and 3 major (45 minutes each) runs with the oven or pressure cooker, and a few times using the grill.
On one of the days, we had a suture and medical review class on Sognare. Craig (a retired veterinarian) showed us how to do sutures, practicing on a towel. He also went through our medical kits, explaining everything and offered recommendations. We ended up purchasing a military emergency medical backpack kit in lieu of the “marine” emergency medical kit, saving us $150, plus we had a kit left to us when we purchased Uno Mas. We also had some items procured from survivalists at a Tanner Gun Show we attended in Denver. (A good source for things like that!) All we need, now, is to get a decent stock of prescription meds. We are hoping larger islands in the Caribbean will be able to provide those without too much hassle and at a lower cost. We shall see.
We tried for an Epipen last year in Eleuthera, but it didn’t work out. Angie had a severe reaction last year when trying a new local “starch” root (Name) in lieu of potatoes. Thank goodness she started reacting to it while preparing it for dinner, and did not actually ingest any. So, an Epipen now is high on our list. In the Bahama Islands, meds are very limited in supply, and Angie felt guilty taking the limited medicine from a pharmacy, anticipating a local would need it more than us. We did find one Epipen for $100, but it was expired, and they would not sell it to us.
We made our final trip to Georgetown with Craig’s center console tender. We had it loaded down with propane, diesel, and gas tanks to fill, and trash to dispose of. Angie wanted to see if she could find some fresh produce to start the trip with, and stock up on eggs for Mark. The tender was so overloaded, we were sitting on top of the gas cans. It was another very wet ride for everyone. Of course, the gas station was out of diesel, but we found gas for the dinghy. We found that the marina, wrecked from Hurricane Matthew, had some diesel available to sell. While the boys took care of the fuel, Angie went searching for produce. She found carrots, celery, and romaine lettuce, and was pleased about that. No cilantro or other fresh herbage. The first store, Exuma Market, didn’t even have onions or potatoes, let alone anything green. So after a few tries, Angie found the second market that had cheaper prices and a better selection.
We could not find the place to walk to in town for propane. A hotel “up the hill” could not be found. So, we ended up taking the tender one bay further over, to Augusta Point. More waves washed over everyone from the wind. We were able to tie the boat up to a dock, and walk our propane tanks “up and over a hill” to an actual propane fill station ($10 each). The tender dock space was next to a resort we liked to eat at, so decided to stop for some tasty burgers, seafood pizza, conch fritters, and Kaliks at Splash (the resort’s restaurant)… A good end to a long day of walking and procuring. Then, we had a very wet and long ride back to Crab Cay.
While getting ready to up anchor, and move to Elizabeth Cay, we had large Southern Stingrays jumping out of the water around our boats.