Browsing: Life aboard

Pigs, Iguanas and Family

Hi everyone, it has been a while since I have written a blog and my dear mother in law reminded me of such yesterday so I guess this one is for you Ruth Anne.
Eric has pretty much kept you up to date to our little day sails to different points here in the south of the Exuma Chain of Islands. The Bahamas are 700 islands with only 30 inhabited, this is not counting the Cays (keys). The islands are divided up like provinces, ie; Berry Islands, Abacos, Bimini, Grand Bahama, Andros, Exumas, Long Island, and there are others. We have visited very few when you consider the vastness of the area that these islands would have. So we are just finishing a 4 week visit in the Exuma and Long Island area.
This past week, Jan 27 – Feb 3, we had Andrew and Amy come and spend time with us. For me, it was just what the doctor ordered. It was such a blessing to have them with us, even though Amy was pretty sick when she arrived, we were concerned that they might not make it! I’m sure it was out of her sheer will that she got here. While they were here Amy had a few activities on her wish list, seeing the swimming pigs and iguanas and Andrew wanted to snorkel and scuba dive. I think we checked everything on their list and maybe a few more experiences.
On Monday it was overcast and we pretty much relaxed. Amy was pretty much spent from the travel, short on sleep from coughing and getting up early to catch their plane. Eric and Andrew went into Georgetown in the evening for Rake and Scrape. It is the type of music that is native to the Bahamas. It involves hand made drums(Goombay), hand saw/hammer, guitar, accordion and what other instruments might be available. On Mondays you can go the local pub and possibly join the ad hoc band. Andrew got the privilege and joy to play with them for a song, I know he would have loved to play with them more but it was not to be.
Tuesday we sailed to White Bay Cay (key) . On White Bay Cay we saw the swimming pigs. Yes they do swim….. out to your inflatable dinghy…. and then try to get in so they can eat all the carrots FIRST! Yikes!!!! They are quite aggressive, they don’t share well to the point of biting each other, running each other over so they can get the carrots, hmmmm so when you call someone a pig it is definitely not a compliment. It was wild there for a while, you had to hide that you had any carrots or they would be all over you. As soon as we ran out of carrots they literally ignored us, the ungrateful wretches! They just threw themselves down on the sand and went to sleep which was nice for us, since we could then look around and we found 2 litters of piglets who were about 3 weeks old.
Wednesday we went over to Leaf Cay to see the rock iguanas. On this wee island there are about forty iguanas of all sizes sitting on the beach. We had cabbage to feed these much more patient and polite reptiles. Yes some of the old codgers were staring each other down but none of us felt we in danger of getting our fingers bit off or toes trampled on.
Thursday -Saturday we hiked, snorkeled, scuba dived, got tattooed and just enjoyed one another. Sunday came all too early and I must say they were wishing they could stay as well. They returned tanned, relaxed, refreshed and for Amy almost healed ready to return to the winter life looking forward to spring to come soon.
We now have done laundry, got some provisions and today (Feb 6) we are now heading back up the Bahama islands. We are going to stop in a few places that we didn’t get to see on the way down. I have another blog percolating in my head that I will write soon. Thanks for following us

 

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Back to Elizabeth Harbour

We found a spot at the bottom of the sign

It was a great week of visiting, fishing and sightseeing, but it was now time to go back to Georgetown and Elizabeth harbour to await Andrew and Amy’s arrival at the end of the month.   We moved the boat back out of Joe Sound and anchored out in front of the beach where Pete and Christie’s house is.   It was a bit of a rolly night, but we were up at dawn and headed back across Exuma Sound in very light wind.   We arrived back at around 11:00.  This time we anchored over at Monument beach as that was where our friends Bob and Diane on “Two of a Kind” were.   We visited with them and learn more about the area.   They are leaving at the end of the week to go attend the birth of their next Grand Child.   They keep their boat here in Georgetown year round and come down and use it through the winter.

You can see why we had to move at high.

As there is a front (or two) on the way we consider where we might go to anchor to gain some comfort from the wind and the seas.   Stocking Island provides great protection from the prevailing easterlies but can become rather unruly in a south or west wind.  We learn about a group of anchorages behind Crab Cay known as Red Shanks Anchorages.
There are 4 different spots for a bunch of boats.   It is regarded as a hurricane hole, which affords protection from the seas 360 degrees.   It is generally entered at high tide due to the rather skinny water and the entrance and between the holes inside.   We move the boat down to Hole number 1 and wait there while the wind does clock 360 degrees over the next several days.   Since the wind was not much above 15 or 20 it may have been a bit of overkill but we did meet another interesting couple and had a great time snorkeling as well.

 

As sunday approaches we are up in the air about where we might go to church.   There are two options and both will have their challenges.   The first option is to check out “Beach Church” which is held at Chat N Chil   it is a Volunteer lead interdenominational service run by the boating community.   The other option would be to go to St. Andrews Church in Georgetown.   Our immediate problem is distance and weather.   For either location it would be about an hour of travel time in our dinghy.   Then there is the weather, which is looking thunderstormish.   Remember this it the same weekend that most churches in Maritime Canada had to reschedule or cancel their services.   The system that is affecting them is the same system (much warmer) that we are dealing with.   It stretches all the way from Cuba up to Newfoundland.

The Beach Church begins at 9:30 and we are back and forth as to go or not, when we look at the sky and it looks particularly dark.  We decide to wait and see what it will be like in an hour and then try to make the 11:00 at St. Andrews.    Within a few minutes we hear on the radio that they have canceled Beach Church.    By 10:00 the sky is looking reasonable so we set out up the inside of Crab Cay, under the bridge, around February Point and into Lake Victoria.   We walk up to the Church, getting there at about 10:40

We note that there is a keyboard and drum kit, along with all the other fixtures and decor you would find in any traditional Anglican Church.  After our experience in Bimini, we are anticipating an alive vibrant community of believers with richness and diversity in their worship tradition…. we are not disappointed!   St. Andrews Parish is the hub church for the Exuma Island area.   It has a school and is active in many community ministries.

The service lasts nearly 2 1/2 hours, which we are regarding as quite normal.   Another visiting family from a resort we note:  is sitting behind us and when the notice the drummer walk in, sticks in hand, they move to the other side of the Church.   We eventually notice that they don’t make it to the end of the service.   Must have been a bit much for them I guess.

I would not have believed it unless I had experienced it.   My hope has always been that each of the traditions are firmly routed in the work of the spirit of God and has in it all of the very best intentions.    As with any tradition, they ways that we do things can eventually get mechanized, wooden, devoid of spirit or locked into some kind of legalism.   Within my view of the Anglican Church there are two main traditions and a third that has come of late.   These are, the Anglo-Catholic movement, The Low Church/Evangelical movement and of late the Renewal or Charismatic movement.   Across Canada and in many other places you can find examples of these traditions that are full functioning models of the body of Christ.     You can find them in healthy  condition or in complete disfunction or anywhere in between.  The thing that we have experienced here however is very unique.    It is a blending together of all the traditions, without loosing or compromising anything.

The service began with a number of songs and hymns as a preparation time.   As the people continued to arrive the strength of the singing and sense of deeply engaged worship increased.    At this point neither the opening hymn, nor the opening sentence had happened.    This was 20 minutes into the service.  Once again we experienced the full depth of an Anglo Catholic Service, with Evangelical preaching and charismatic freedom and anointing.

Later in the week I visited with Ethan, the Rector to ask him about this blend, that we had experienced now on two different islands.   It seems that the reason for it was that when the Charismatic renewal happened it was embraced by the Bishops and other significant leaders    It was intentionally integrated into the liturgical tradition of the time, which was quite traditional.     The result is something very precious.

 

After the service we thought we would get something to eat before we took the long ride back to the boat.   We found however that there was not one restaurant open.   It was Sunday.   It is still a day of rest in the Bahamas!    We knew that there was a weekly Pig Roast happening over at Chat N Chill on Stocking Island, so we headed over there in the dinghy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because of the fronts that rolled through this past week we had time to do some Repairs and upgrades.   Amoung them was to oil the teak, install a new bow roller, fix my centerboard crank holder, repair a crack in the salon table fiddle, make a conch horn etc.

On Thursday we move back out of Red Shanks and anchor in front of Georgetown to do laundry, get water and provision.   Friday morning is the first time we have had not had excessive wind in well over a week.

 

 

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Tropic of Cancer

 

Yesterday we did a road trip down long Island.  Along they way we crossed the “Tropic of Cancer”  You can click on the link to see why that is significant!  Let me back up a bit and cover the time from Black Point to where we are now and then say a bit about what is to come.  (I will do this over a couple of posts) You can check out our FB pages to see some pics and some of our experiences along the way.

After we left Black point we went out into the ocean through a cut in the islands.   The reason for this is that the inside gets very shallow and you have to travel significantly further to get to your destination.   I decided it would be good to break it up into a two day journey to Georgetown.  Upon reading the reviews and recommendations I settled on Lee Stocking Island as our stop over.   A short day sail with good protection.   We could wait there for a weather window if needed.

We set out the next morning and had an uneventful passage down the Exuma chain and made our entrance through Adderly Cut and found our way around to the anchorage in front of the old Caribbean Marine Research Center.   This is an abandoned station, that has been bought by a developer to make a high end marina someday.   We have noticed that there are loads of places like this where there has been a start and a stop and an abandonment of development.   Things happen on island time… or they just don’t happen at all.    If someone happens to tell you that they will be putting a roof on a new building next week, chances are they have been saying that for 10 years or so.     They might put a roof on it in the future or maybe not at all.

We spent the night and since the weather looked strongish the next morning we thought that we might spend one more day to let it settle some more as we did have to go out the cut into Exuma Sound again.   It was at about 11:00am that we discovered we had no more fresh water.   Not a problem I thought as I turned the valve for our 40 gallon reserve tank…… not a drop!    Still not sure what happened but I suspect that I did not have the valve fully off and over the last couple of months the contents of it drained into our other two tanks!  I used to regularly check it and top it off when I filled the other tanks, but it was never down, till today!

I knew that we were going to soon need water and also to top off on fuel and would like to do that before Georgetown, since there is no dock in GT that you can do those two jobs.    In GT you need to take the dinghy into the town dock with jugs and lug back water and fuel.    One would think that with 300-500 boats sitting in the harbour for months at a time, someone would have put in a proper fuel dock!

Our only option was a rather high end Marina about 13 miles away called the Marina at Emerald Bay.  It is a Sandals Resort.   The entrance is tricky, especially in East winds over 20.   It was blowing a solid 15.    I called them to ask about their entrance and they assured me it was passable.   You do have to radio ahead to make sure that the channel is clear of traffic as you approach because you can’t necessarily see vessels that are about to leave.

The most exciting part of the day was about to happen.    There is a phenomenon that some of you will be familiar with called “Wind against Current”   When this happens the waves get steeper, break and get higher too.    As we left Adderly Cut this was what we encountered.    Two knots of current flowing out vs. 15 knots of wind coming in.   The sailing instructions said to veer off the main channel as soon as you had cleared the submerged reefs at the entrance of the cut….. but not too soon.    Waves were breaking at about 8-10 feet and we were taking some water over the bow.   This is usually fine, since the boat is well designed to shed water and continue on.

When it is hot we open our hatches…….

Usually we close them before we head out….

After the first wave Val went below to secure the hatches but was unable to move toward the forward hatch due the the motion of the boat and a couple more waves soaked our sheets and mattress!

By the time we got things battened down we were out of the channel and on our way to the Marina.

At one point I saw three flying saucers… not UFOs but actual corelle saucers flying from the port side of the galley across to the navigation station.   Thankyou Dow Corning and NASA engineers for coming up with a material that can stand high impact and not break!

The entrance to the marina was as advertised.   We got in, took fuel and water and got out in less than an hour.   One of the good things was that because the water was metered and our tanks were completely emptied we got a measurement on our capacity for water.   We now know that the two side tanks are 25 gallons  and the forward one is 40.    I had always thought it was more than that and wondered if because of the position of the tanks they were never emptied.    Now I know.    12 gallons of fuel and 90 gallons of water cost $103.    Now to Georgetown.

The timing was tight.    I did not want to be doing the tricky dogleg route into Elizabeth harbour in less than ideal light, even along the deep water route.     We still had 15 knots on the beam so we would be able to make it before sun set.

Georgetown and Elizabeth Harbour, for most people that go there, is the “end of the rainbow” ;  It is the pot of gold and the final destination.    Each year yachting snowbirds sail toward Georgetown, drop the hook and don’t go any further for 2-3 months.   There is a very organized community there that can fulfil every interest.

We entered the harbour and found a spot right in front of Chat N Chil and dropped the hook.   Within the next few minutes we heard a chorus of Conch shells being blown to signal the setting of the Sun!    We have arrived!

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What it is like to travel the ICW

This blog is for all those sailors in the Saint John area that are wondering what it is like to travel the Intercoastal Waterway.  I will frame it in comparison to travels along the Saint John River.

A day on the ICW is like leaving Saint John and traveling to Gagetown…. every day for 5 days in a row.

It would also be like going through the entrance to Grand lake, washdamoak and Bellisle all in a row… for 8 hours, including going over the flats near Shampers, with 1 foot under the keel.

It might be like traveling through grand lake and then going up the Salmon to Chipman, and then back again.

Some parts, like the “Great Dismal Swamp” would be like going along Manawagonish road, as if it was a canal. … for two days.   The trees in many places almost touch over  you….. and … there might be alligators.

 

Then you anchor and have supper and get up at 0600 and do it all again! After about a week you pull into a marina and pay your $1.50 to $3.00 per foot and have a chance to take a long shower, have a courtesy car, see some sights, have a meal out, do some shopping and then return to 5 or so more days as above.

The history that  you will see and experience will rewrite so much of what you were told in school.   We have spend hours in museums and reading monuments and talking to locals.   There is something to learn at every stop along the way.

If you have ever dreamed about doing this… go for it!

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Where is that heat???

To all who have continually encouraged me on whenever I have whined about the weather thanks but nothing has changed. ❄️🤔We are closing in on the Florida border, if all goes well it will be a days sail Thursday). Now I know we are not experiencing the (-)Degree weather but we are oh so close to the 0C that is considered the NB norm for the first of December. This morning we awoke to a 3C frosty cold morning. Now I am sticking with the Galley Wench role therefore not sitting out in the cold pushing the boat onward south. So, I gave Eric my scarf to wear and both of us wished we had hats!!!!! We have decided not to stop and visit but just go until we hit the pursued place of promised heat.

As I have been more ‘inside’ I have been trying to stay on track for Advent readings and for the past few days one of the reoccurring readings has been Psalm 90. In this psalm we see that God has been, is and will be around from the birth of the world to the end, that a day is a thousand years to Him,that he sees and knows everything about me including my secret sins, and He has never promised life to be easy. Yet still in His all knowing He has an unfailing love for us, for me, and that in the midst of my life he can walk with me and I can shout with joy and be glad all of my days.

This Christmas season will be very different for Eric and I. No family events, no bustling around attending events, preparing for services, no shopping so we are able to absorb the gift of the season. We are grateful for our gift of time to do this adventure, for our kids, family and our love for Jesus.

As you can see not much to report on regarding landmarks and places but much more on on the bigger things in life. Blessings everyone

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It is beginnng to sound a lot like Christmas

I had a moment this morning as we were cruising down the Beaufort river and we found our selves listening and singing along to Christmas carols..

We did not bring much of anything for  decorations with us but do hope to get a few when we stop in Vero Beach.  We do have a very simple manger scene that is now adorning the magazine rack next to Val’s guitar.

 

We are now seeing white sand beaches, Palm trees and of course pelicans.. and listening to Christmas carols!

One of the things that we have started to do is to watch some of those Christmas movies the one that we watched the night we grounded was called something like “Letter to Santa”  These are always love stories of some kind, but do put you into the reason for the season.   We will try to watch a number of those, when we have a good Verizon signal.    That one was watched with my cell phone hoisted up the mast!

The other thing that came our way was the song that Stephanie just released.   Check out her FB or Blog and have a free listen.  That helped.

 

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A wild 24 hours

Arrival in Rocky Creek

We had an good and uneventful passage on our first day back traveling arriving in a designated anchorage called Rocky Creek.   They probably should not call it Rocky Creek but rather shifting sandbar creek, or mud creek or, You will probably go aground creek.

All was well as we set the anchor with in a few feet of the spot on the chart.    After we watched the first “Christmas Movie” of the season I noticed that the boat had a slight list to it.   I figured it was laying over a bit due to the current being against the wind and we were lying broad side to the wind (and now rain)   But I also heard a tell tale sign of water lapping agains the side of the boat, indicating that we could possibly be aground.

They say that there are two types of people that travel the ICW:  those who have run aground, and those that will.   We are now in the first catigory.

It was pitch black, sideways rain, no moon and we could not see the shore because of the glare off the rain when we shone the light.   Only the chart plotter and compass.   The chart plotter would not show our orientation because we were not moving, so looking at the compass was the only way to know how we were actually lying.

 

With some persuasion from the engine and windless we got off and got the anchor up and moved down creek a few hundred feet to the deepest spot we could find, after running aground once more.   By the time I had let out enough scope we were sitting in 9 feet of water, but it was low tide, so that was fine.

I posted a note to the Waterway guide with the two spots that were 3 feet deep either side of their marked anchorage spot.

This was not the end of the rain however as we were to find out in the morning.

We were up at first light as we had some challenging shallow spots and timed bridge openings to transit and wanted to be away as soon as we could.

I discovered that in all of the confusion the night before I had left the spreader lights on all night.   Good thing we have a good battery bank!   We burnt about twice as much as we usually do in a night, about 85 Amp hours.    You learn to be careful with electricity when you have to make your own every day!

As we set out we saw the flat bottom of thunder clouds to the north and east.    I had hoped that they were going to pass us by but it was not to be.   It rained that day between 6 and 8 INCHES!

We anchored in a beautiful anchorage at Beaufort SC.  Val has already talked about the difference between these namesake cities of NC and SC.   The rain continued through the night and we worked at drying our outer and under ware out.   The next day we decided to forgo the city tour and press on!

In the morning we saw a fragment of blue sky and some warm temperatures.

 

 

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Back on the water

I think it has been a month since I have posted a rseport so I guess I am long overdue. Since Nov 13 I have been in Saskatchewan visiting with Kait, Justin, David, Nathalie and the girls. It was a great time going to Norahs hockey games, cooking and just enjoying family. I got to see a little of Cold Lake Alberta where Dave and Nathalie live. Needless to say my time flew by and it was time to head back. In Edmonton I got to visit with my brother Gerry for a few hours. Time is such a precious commodity that really one needs to cherish our moments with care. I left Canada with a thankful heart and looking forward to returning in the spring.
Eric and I returned on the same day within minutes of each other. We headed back to the boat and both were ready for a sleep. This flying is not a relaxing way to travel. In Toronto I sat in a loaded plane ready to go but had to wait for a new part to be put in the plane before we took off. Now I do appreciate the care they take in keeping us safe but I could feel myself getting anxious as we were more and more delayed. I knew I had about an hour (which I felt was great timing) to get to my connection for Charleston. Well we chewed that up in Toronto so when I got off the plane these old legs ran to the other end of the airport to see if I could catch the flight. As I was leaving the Air Canada guy had a voucher ready for me if I missed my plane. Well I made it!!!!!!!! I was the last one on with no minutes to spare.
So our first day we spent doing all the laundry we could and getting groceries so we could leave on Saturday. We decided to head out right away and not visit the plantation now and will wait until our return. We really did enjoy Charleston, the depth of history, the spirit of the place and the people. Eric went to a church there for the three Sunday’s he was there and we want to return when we come back in the spring.
I am writing as we are now on the Intra-Coastal Waterway heading to Beaufort SC (pronounced Būfort) not to be confused with Beaufort NC (pronounced Bōfort), you will be corrected if you get it wrong 😬. We have decided to push hard to Vero Beach where I have a cousin, provision the boat there and then wait for our weather window to go to the Bahamas and be there by Christmas.
So the adventure continues and we continue to search for the ever elusive warm weather. My cousin Stan tells me Vero Beach’s weather is beautiful. Let’s pray.

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Reset!!!!!

My sister emailed me this morning to say we have been a bit quiet on the social media front! We agree! I will try to give you a quick update.  Thursday we beat Hurricane Michael to Easton Maryland by hours. Thanks to Melinda Finlay who found us not just any place to anchor our boat but at a private home!  We arrived in Easton and was welcomed to the home of Paul and Faith Carroll’s and they allowed us to moor our boat there for 4 days while we had a rest from boating, or may I say while I had a rest from boating. Poor Eric worked on the boat 2 of the 4 days we were in Easton.

I had to do some modification to the tensioning arm to make it fit.

 

 

New (proper) alternator installed. The old one did not fit and are belts every 50 hours or so. I had bought this one in Saint John but did not get the pulley until Staten Island.
Fan installed for warmer climate. Have not used it yet!

 

The days were definitely filled, Friday and Monday we went into Washington DC and spent some time in two of the Smithsonian Museums. One was the National Air and Space Museum and the other was the American History Museum. We really only got to see about ⅓ of the Museum after a full day. There was so many displays and so much information we left with our brains suffering from information overload. 😬We also walked up to the Lincoln Memorial and around  the National Mall getting the classic pictures in front of the Washington Monument.  That took 2 days and obviously we could have spent a week and not put a dent in the many things to see.

Saturday we did errands or necessary jobs that needed to be done. I got my hair cut (I told you Eric would NOT be cutting my hair) and glasses fixed and then got to Walmart to pick up a few things we needed there. None of this would have been possible but the Finlays lent us their van so we were able to get to places further than we could have been able to if we were walking.

Sunday we went to the First Wesleyan Church in Easton Maryland. We were given the warmest welcome, worshipped and received a great message to fuel us up spiritually for the week. Our hearts are overflowing with thanks, for 4 days we had no worries about the boat and for us we just relaxed and felt like a healthy reset happened for both of us.

Eric and I both felt that wherever we went on our 4 day hiatus the kindness and how quick everyone was to help us out was humbling and so heart warming. We want to thank Paul and Faith for allowing us to moor at their house, leaving Tevah there took all the stress off knowing she was safe and looked after. To Dave, Melinda, Juliana, Ty and Ethan a big thank you for your hospitality and making us feel right at home. Maybe we’ll see you on our way back!

 

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Warmer Days.

From Staten Island down there has been a significant change in temperature, thank goodness. We have put in long days trying to get more south and to spend a few days with the Finlays ( our son in laws brother Dave and his family). I will say the days have been long but warmer. Even with that the Jersey shore just about did me in, so I’ve decided to raffle my ticket on the Tevah off in 1 week increments if you’d like, to travel back to NB from about New York – north. I’ll keep you posted. 😬

The interesting things that I have observed is the water had changed to a greenish colour off the New Jersey coast, then back to a greyish colour again and is much warmer than our dear North Atlantic at its warmest. We also picked up a hitchhiker on the second day sailing in Jersey, a cute little swallow. He was pretty tired when he arrived and stayed with us until we were coming into Cape May. It’s interesting that we all need to take free rides when we are tired it’s just most of the time we don’t recognize that we are exhausted early enough and we push on. I have to say that the Psalmist seemed to understand his state of mind so much better than we do. Ps 40: 1-3. He hears my calling out, tiredness, answers and walks with us. Thank God!!!!
All is well on the ‘small craft’. The Galley Wench and the Captain I think have lost a little weight since when we are to shore we need to walk everywhere which is a nice change from when we are on the boat. It hasn’t been every day but very frequently we get our steps in! Life is good and ‘til the next entry, blessings.

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